RE/MAX 440
Peter Cerruti
440 South West End Blvd, RT 309
Quakertown  PA 18951
 Phone: 215-429-7273
Office Phone: 215-538-4400
Fax: 267-354-6992 
petecerruti@yahoo.com
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Peter Cerruti

My Blog

10 Innovative Railings to Give Your Neighbors Deck Envy

March 7, 2016 3:04 pm

With the wide variety of deck designs and materials we've been talking about over the years, it occurred to us that we're not paying enough attention to the railings. So we made the acquaintance of James Pader, whose North Carolina-based Mountain Laurel Handrails imagines and designs a huge variety of railings for clients around the country.

Pader has been personally building artistic branch railings for more than a decade, and shipping them nationwide for the past five years. He recently assembled a list of 200-plus pictures of deck railing ideas and designs, organized by type for quick reference on his company’s website, AWoodRailing.com.

According to Pader, when either building or remodeling, there are many different deck handrail ideas to choose from. The first consideration should be the space where you're fitting in the deck. Is it a comfortable, cozy space, or is it wide and expansive, with long-range views?

The character of the space and also the home will determine how to best design the deck to fit. This should always be the No. 1 consideration.

A well-designed deck begins with planning, Pader adds. Deciding on the basic deck style will determine a lot of other details. The top 10 deck handrail designs and materials for this year, according to Pader and his sources, are:

1. Horizontal Wood 2x2 Handrail Design
2. Craftsman Vertical Wood 2x2 Railing
3. Asian-Inspired Craftsman-Style Wood Railing
4. Rustic Triple Horizontal Board Handrail
5. Sideways Arrow Wood Railing Design
6. Horizontal Rebar Rustic Handrail
7. Different Width Vertical Board Railing
8. Double Vertical 2x2 Baluster Design
9. Continuous 2x6 Top with 2x4 Balusters
10. Horizontal Metal Pipe Handrail 

To learn more, and view dozens and dozens of deck railing ideas, check out Pader's website, AWoodRailing.com.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Pre-Purchase Education Key to Homeownership

March 7, 2016 3:04 pm

Buyers new to homeownership have a lot to learn in their first go-around—and recently released insights reveal just how important education is.

According to an analysis by Freddie Mac, borrowers who received classroom and home study counseling had reductions in their subsequent rates of serious delinquency of 26 percent and 21 percent, respectively. The same data show that borrowers who received individual counseling averaged a 34 percent reduction in their rate of serious delinquency.

“Freddie Mac believes objective, unbiased homebuyer education and counseling can improve the ability of borrowers to make prudent homeownership and home financing choices,” says Sean Becketti, chief economist at Freddie Mac. “The benefit is likely to be greatest for first-time homebuyers, and, as a result, Freddie Mac requires financial literacy education for first-time homebuyers who take advantage of Freddie Mac's low-down-payment program, Home Possible Advantage.”

The information gleaned from the analysis, which confirms that pre-purchase education can lead to positive outcomes for homeowners, comes at a pivotal time for the housing market.

“Housing was one of the few bright spots in the economy last year, and we expect continued improvement in 2016,” says Becketti. “The imbalance between demand for housing and the supply of both houses and apartments has supported rapid growth in both house prices and rents. The gap between demand and supply will not be closed any time soon; thus, we project continued house price appreciation in 2016.”

Source: Freddie Mac

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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4 Tips for Millennial Job Seekers

March 4, 2016 3:04 pm

Unemployment claims have remained consistently low, signaling a robust recovery in the job market. This trend is encouraging, particularly for millennials who bore the brunt of the recession—but with employment on the upswing, they now face competition for the best roles, says Kyle Kensing, online content editor of CareerCast.com.

“As the unemployment rate drops and more people find jobs, there is still competition for the best positions,” Kensing explains. “Even with a rosier employment outlook, applicants need to be prepared for job market competition, particularly for the high-paying positions with a positive outlook that everyone wants.”

Kensing offers job-seeking millennials the following tips:

1. Network – The most common source for new hires is employee referrals. Professional groups and industry meet-ups are ideal for networking, but don’t neglect other outlets for connectivity, like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and even Snapchat. Twitter's hash-tagged chats, for example, are a simple way to “get your foot in the door” with like-minded professionals.

2. Go Outside the Norm – A graphical resume can grab a prospective employer's attention aesthetically and demonstrate your skills and experience.  A personal website functioning as a resume can also give hirers an example of your abilities.

3. Know Your Worth – Research what comparably-skilled employees make at your experience level and in your region. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, PayScale.com and job postings, such as those on CareerCast.com, can assist you in your search.

4. Stay Positive – Attitude still goes a long way in the job search. You may be looking to leave one employer for another, but focus on the positives of your current and past employers when interviewing for new positions.

Source: CareerCast.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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A Step-by-Step Moving Checklist

March 4, 2016 3:04 pm

Made the decision to move? Congratulations! You’re one step closer to living in the home of your dreams. Make your move go as smoothly as possible by following this checklist, mapped out in timeline format by the experts at Roadway Moving.

60 Days Before You Move…

• Start strategically planning your move, step-by-step, to alleviate the stress of last-minute packing and planning.

• Think about holding a garage sale before your move to help reduce the amount of stuff you bring into your new home.

30 Days Before You Move…

• Check-in with your mover regarding details for move-in day.

• Confirm with your moving company that they will be able to connect or disconnect cable, Internet, electric and any additional services you're using.

• Begin packing and develop an unpacking plan for move-in day.

2 Weeks Before You Move…

• Clear out any rooms in your house that haven't been emptied yet.

• Collect all of your most valuable belongings, such as jewelry, and keep them separate from the rest of your packed items.

On Move-In Day…

• Compile a list of items you’ll need for your first night in your new home, such as bottled water, snacks, towels and toilet paper.

• Take inventory of all boxes that were picked up and delivered to your new home, making sure everything is there before the movers leave.

Source: Roadway Moving

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Can't Sleep? It May Be Your Neighborhood Street Lights

March 4, 2016 3:04 pm

Is your neighborhood well-lit? It may be a well-intentioned safety measure, but it could also be contributing to a restless night’s sleep, according to a recently released study.

“Our world has become a 24/7 society. We use outdoor lighting, such a street lights, to be more active at night and to increase our safety and security,” says Stanford University’s Dr. Maurice Ohayon, author of the study. “The concern is that we have reduced our exposure to darkness and it could be affecting our sleep.”

Using nighttime data from the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program, Ohayon and a team of researchers assessed how much outdoor light some 15,000 test subjects were exposed to at night. People living in urban areas with populations of 500,000 or more were exposed to nighttime light that was three to six times more intense than those living in smaller towns or rural areas.

In the study, sleep disturbances were found to be associated with nighttime light exposure. People living in more intense light areas were 6 percent more likely to sleep less than six hours each night than people in less intense light areas. People living in more intense light areas were also more likely to be dissatisfied with their sleep quantity or quality than people less intense light areas. People with high light exposure slept less per night than those with low light exposure, according to the study, averaging 402 minutes, or 6.7 hours, per night.

“Light pollution can be found in any sizable city in the world,” says Ohayon. “Yet, excessive exposure to light at night may affect how we function during the day and increase the risks of excessive sleepiness. If this association is confirmed by other studies, people may want to consider room darkening shades, sleep masks or other options to reduce their exposure.”

Source: American Academy of Neurology

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Shoppers: 5 Deals to Score in March

March 3, 2016 3:04 pm

There’s a reason spring is synonymous with sales. Retailers across the board are clearing stock from the past season by doubling down on deals, attracting shoppers flush with cash from refunds.

"A wide seasonal inventory shift collides with tax refunds, offering March shoppers very timely savings on high-quality personal items," says Brent Shelton, online shopping expert for FatWallet.com. "Consumers will find some the lowest prices ever on last year's winter clothing, electronics, mobile devices and outdoor sports gear this month."

According to FatWallet.com, the best savings in March are on:

• Electronics – Televisions in demand last year will be pushed to clearance as newer models with 4K technology hit the shelves. Shoppers can also expect to save up to 40 percent on Bluetooth media devices, smart home technology and DSLR cameras.

• Smartphones – Newly released Android phones, tablets, wearables and virtual reality technology will result in a fire sale of last year’s models, as cell phone brands and carriers market discounts. During this time, shoppers can expect to save hundreds on older smartphones, tablets, and even smartwatches.

• Sports Gear – Seasonal sports equipment will be on sale all month, with some of the lowest prices of the year seen on hockey, hunting, ice-fishing and skiing gear. Bicycles of last’s year make will also be discounted, as well as collegiate and professional team apparel.

• Travel – Last-minute Spring Break packages and March Madness hotel deals will be available early in the month. Later on, first-come travelers will see summer vacation deals and luggage savings.

• Winter Clothing – A selection of top-brand outerwear from retailers like Columbia, Land’s End, Patagonia and REI will be available at outlet prices, with some merchandise up to 80 percent off. Big-box retailers, such as Target, will also offer savings with extended seasonal clearances.

Source: FatWallet.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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30 Ways to Upgrade Your Outdoor Space

March 3, 2016 3:04 pm

Yearning for the outdoors? We’re with you! Spring’s almost here, and quality outdoor time isn’t far behind. To get the most enjoyment out of your outdoor space, now’s the time to consider an upgrade (or two) while the weather’s still in between seasons.

Need inspiration? Here are the most common outdoor upgrades and add-ons, according to the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), ranked in order of popularity:

1. Fireplace/Fire Pit
2. Lighting
3. Wireless Internet Connectivity
4. Dining/Seating Area
5. Outdoor Furniture
6. Planters, Sculptures and Other Garden Accessories
7. Grill
8. Pergola
9. Counter Space
10. Deck
11. Outdoor Heater
12. Arbor
13. Fencing
14. Sports Courts (Bocce, Tennis, etc.)
15. Porch
16. Spa Features (Indoor/Outdoor Saunas, Hot Tubs, Jacuzzis, Whirlpools)
17. Stereo System
18. ADA-Accessible Structures (Bars, Ramps, Shelving, etc.)
19. Movie/Television/Video Theater
20. Swimming Pool
21. Utility Storage (Tool Sheds, Garden Sheds, etc.)
22. Sink
23. Pavilion
24. Play Structures (Swing Sets, Treehouses, etc.)
25. Refrigerator
26. Outdoor Cooling System
27. Shower/Bath
28. Gazebo
29. Hammock
30. Labyrinth

Source: ASLA

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Renting? 5 Tips to Consider

March 3, 2016 3:04 pm

For many, renting is a necessary stepping stone on the path to homeownership. Embark on the journey wisely with these rent-smart tips, courtesy of NeighborWorks America.

1. Be on alert for rental scams. Scammers often advertise rentals that don’t exist or aren’t available (“phantom” rentals) to trick prospective tenants into sending them money. Signs you may have encountered a scam include a person telling you to wire money, or send a security deposit and/or first month’s rent before you’ve met or signed a lease. To report a scam, contact local law enforcement and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

2. Get your finances in shape. Nearly half of renters are spending more than 30 percent of their incomes on rent, according to Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. Strengthening your credit can help save you from overspending. A good credit score is important because most landlords use a credit check to vet potential renters. Consider financial counseling to help build up your creditworthiness.

3. Know your options. Depending on your area, you may have the option to rent directly from a landlord or from a managed property. Weigh the pros and cons of both—you can easily get in touch with a property manager for maintenance issues, for example, but landlords may have flexibility when it comes to rent.

4. Obtain renter’s insurance. Renter’s insurance protects the valuables inside your home, whether you're living in an apartment or renting a house. If there were an incident like a fire or water leak, the landlord's insurance will cover the building itself, but you would still need to replace your own property if it were damaged.

5. Research moving companies. Moving schemes are common, especially in larger cities. Conducting research before hiring a mover is essential. Look for online reviews, check out social media, and ask your family or friends for a recommendation.  Be sure to get estimates from a few moving companies to compare prices. 

Source: NeighborWorks America

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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How Often Are We Unplugging from Technology?

March 2, 2016 3:01 pm

Disconnecting from technology is challenging, but not impossible. In fact, many Americans are actively unplugging, according to a recent Harris Poll®. The poll found that 45 percent of Americans cut back on screen time at least once a week, whether to enjoy quiet or “me” time, or to spend quality time with their families. For most, “unplugging” means avoiding the Internet, email, social media, calls, text messages, apps, videogames and/or television.

But is that enough? According to the poll, 60 percent of Americans wish their family members would unplug more often, and nearly 30 percent have been told to unplug by others. What’s more, almost 40 percent believe it is “unrealistic” to unplug for more than a few hours at a time, and have a fear of missing out (FOMO) if they’re disconnected for too long.

The poll also found that the device most difficult to detach from is also the device inducing the most anxiety: mobile phones. Over 40 percent of Americans—especially Gen Xers and millennials—feel anxious when they don’t have their phones with them.

Still, unplugging gives way to other enjoyable activities. Reading ranks number one, according to the poll, followed by spending time with family, sleeping, relaxing and gardening.

Ironically, nearly 20 percent of Americans cited in the poll make an announcement on social media when they’re going to unplug. Go figure!

Source: The Harris Poll®

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Decoding Energy Efficiency Lingo, According to Home Builders

March 2, 2016 3:01 pm

With so much science involved in contemporary homes, your RIS Consumer Confidant knows folks can sometimes get lost in the lingo. So it was great to see a recent post from the National Home Builders Association (www.nahb.org) that helps efficiency-minded homeowners decode a few of the most often used energy efficiency terms.

According to the NAHB, the following simple definitions can help you understand popular energy-saving options for your home:

“Energy-Efficient” Home – A home that uses less energy than a traditional home without compromising service to owners and occupants. Energy efficiency can be achieved through things such as improved thermal envelopes, solar-oriented construction, low-e windows and efficient appliances. Note that energy efficiency and energy conservation are different in that conservation efforts reduce or eliminate services to save energy. Learn how efficient your home is and ways to improve your home's efficiency with ENERGY STAR's Home Energy Yardstick, available at energystar.gov.

“Net Zero-Energy” Home – A home in which energy production and consumption are equivalent. That means the energy produced by the home must meet the household's needs. Rooftop solar panels are perhaps the most common way for homes to produce energy. To help achieve net zero-energy, the home should be designed using a holistic, whole-house approach that strives for efficiency and reduces energy consumption without sacrificing service or comfort.

“Net Zero-Energy-Ready” Home – A home that is outfitted with the necessary structural and technological support to install energy-producing technologies. Net zero-energy-ready homes are appropriate for homeowners who plan to install energy-producing technology in the future, but do not have the means or desire to do so at the current time. When the homeowner is ready to install such technology, it will be a much simpler process.

“Net Positive-Energy” Home – A home that produces more energy than the household needs. A homeowner could receive credit from their utility company for the excess energy returned to the grid that is produced by the energy technologies and saved by energy-efficiency measures.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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