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

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NAR Video Spotlight: 2017 New Member Orientation

March 30, 2017 1:05 pm

Editor’s Note: This is part of a monthly video series from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) to inform and educate members about important aspects of being a real estate professional. Watch for this series each month in RISMedia’s Daily e-News. The National Association of REALTORS®’ (NAR) new 2017 Orientation Video includes an introduction by […]

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Prepare for a Real Estate Rush This Spring

March 30, 2017 1:05 pm

Homebuyers this spring will meet out-of-this-world prices and unsparing competition—a real estate rush. According to Clear Capital’s recently released Home Data Index (HDI) Market Report, the national median days on market is 43 days, down from an 85-day stretch seen in January 2012. Days on market in Denver, Colo., Lincoln, Neb., and Raleigh, N.C., are […]

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Pending Home Sales Warm Up in February

March 30, 2017 1:05 pm

Pending home sales warmed in February to their highest level in almost a year, rallying 5.5 percent in the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) recently released Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI). The PHSI posted 112.3 in February, up from 106.4 in January—the second-highest reading since May 2006, at 112.5. The Index is based on contract […]

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More Than Just a Mattress

March 28, 2017 12:33 am

Choosing a mattress is more than a years-long commitment; it’s a choice that will impact how well you sleep for what amounts to a third of your life. With so many options, and baffling price differences, how on earth do you begin?

From the Better Sleep Council, the consumer-education arm of the International Sleep Products Association, here’s how to pick the mattress best for you:

Determine your needs. Are you currently sleeping well? Waking up with aches? Do you wish your bed was softer? Firmer? Flexible?

Know the differences.
- Innerspring mattresses support you with coil springs. Cost is generally determined by the number of springs, and while it is not absolute that the number of springs determines overall comfort, the cheapest options may not have enough springs to provide adequate support.

- Memory foam mattresses are layered with different densities of foam that respond to weight and are known for comfort because they contour to the shape of your body. A memory foam topper added to your mattress might also do the trick – but memory foam products are also heat conductors, so if you have temperature issues while sleeping, they may not be right for you.

- Latex mattresses are made of natural or synthetic rubber and are uniformly firm – a boon for people with bad backs. If you prefer a softer bed, latex is not for you.

- Air or ‘Sleep Number’ mattresses are high-end air beds that look like a standard innerspring mattress, but use air-filled chambers instead of coils and are topped with a foam layer. They are adjustable in terms of firmness, which makes  them ideal for couples with different preferences, but even if you sleep solo, you will need to experiment to find the firmness level best for you.

- Adjustable beds are able to bend and elevate at various angles, and since springs don’t bend, they are most commonly made of latex, foam or air. They are especially helpful for people with sleep apnea or acid reflux issues.

Do a thorough test-drive. Wear comfy clothes, remove your shoes, and lie down on several mattresses. Spend at least 15 minutes in each, changing positions and trying out adjustments, but focusing on your usual sleep position. Some stores allow you test the mattress at home and/or offer a return policy.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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3 Easy Ways to Spring Clean Your Pipes

March 28, 2017 12:33 am

Spring has sprung, and you’re likely already freshening up the house. But have you given thoughts to your pipes?

ABACUS offers the following DIY tips to spring clean your pipes:

Freshen up those pipes: Want to remove or prevent sewer odors from invading your drains? ABACUS technicians suggest using a natural bacterial drain cleaner to clear debris and build-up from all the drains in your home. If you have a "frequent clogger" take the time now to snake it and get rid of the problem. NEVER use those popular acid-based drain cleaning products. Instead, use a product that is both environmentally safe and friendly on the pipes, and your plumber. Those acid-based or harsh chemical products can cause pipes to crack or tear and create more issues.

Check the hoses and drains: Even small tears or swollen lines can mean big costs down the line. ABACUS technicians recommend checking the water supply lines to your washing machine, faucets, toilets, and other water-using appliances or fixtures. If you see bulges, tears, or leaks, replace the lines. Please remember to turn off the water before you start and don't put tape around a leaky line once it heats up or cools, the hose will expand and cause pressure down the line, which can be very expensive.

Don't shower in filth: Aside from making your shower head look dirty, these deposits can often times block the jet openings on the shower head, preventing it from producing the desired spray. ABACUS technicians suggest taking a gallon size zip lock bag with warmed vinegar inside and using a zip tie to secure it around the back of the shower head. Let it soak for 30 minutes. Remove the shower head from the vinegar, and wipe it off with a rag. If any tiny jets are still clogged repeat one more time.

Source: ABACUS Plumbing, Air Conditioning & Electrical

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Give Back to Your Community This Spring

March 28, 2017 12:33 am

More than 70 percent of Americans engage in the annual tradition of spring cleaning, according to a 2013 survey by the American Cleaning Institute. And nearly three-fifths (57 percent) of American adults will shop for spring/summer apparel in whole or in part this year according to a 2016 poll by ORC International, done on behalf of ICSC.

However, you can look outside your own home as you prep for spring. Goodwill compiled its 12 ideas to spring into action, which provides suggestions on ways to get ready for spring while making a positive impact in the community. Ideas include:

- Mix and match to create your own unique collection of glasses as you prepare to host a spring fling on your patio.

- Collect records or start on your own catalog for the perfect spring soundtrack. Get vinyl records from artists like Prince, David Bowie or George Michael. What's your pleasure?

- Explore. Breathe in that fresh spring air and get outside again! Visit the National Park Service and plan your spring camping trip or checkout your local municipality website for day trip locations. Pick up your camping gear and equipment at Goodwill.

- Design a statement wall and show off your individual style. Mirrors, frames, baskets, art, clocks, plates and decorative items can showcase your chicness, charm or elegance.

- Get moving. Spring cleaning isn't just for your closet. Toss out unhealthy winter habits and shape up for spring! Pick up some workout clothes and equipment at Goodwill.

- Donate the business attire you no longer wear. You'll be helping your community and someone else can use it to rock their interview or first day at a new job.

- Spring forward, while being fashion forward, this year with a new watch from Goodwill.

- Play! Tis the season for spring sports — think, soccer, softball, lacrosse, golf — and you can save on sports equipment. Be a game changer for someone in your community by shopping at Goodwill for your gear.

- Power up and change your community. Donate your electronics for someone else to enjoy and be a sustainable shopper by picking up something too!

- Shop for spring style. Warmer weather means time to shed those layers! Update your wardrobe with bright colors and patterns by shopping at Goodwill.

- Clean out the clutter and organize your space. Take your unwanted items to Goodwill and pick up some storage bins or creative storage items at Goodwill.

- Grow opportunity and plant seeds of change in your community this spring by donating to and shopping at Goodwill. Get your gardening items and creative planting pots to create the perfect front yard and backyard landscapes.

Source: www.goodwill.org

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How to Stay Safe in a Power Outage

March 25, 2017 12:33 am

Whether it’s a bad storm or a downed utility pole, power outages can strike at any time. While most only last for a couple of hours, a prolonged power outage presents a whole host of obstacles. Here’s how to make sure your home and your family stay safe next time you lose electricity:

- Stay far away from downed power lines and any debris those power lines are in contact with; they have the capability of delivering a fatal charge. Wait for your utility company to take care of the problem.

- If flood waters in your basement are covering utility outlets, do not step into the water. Call your utility company and have them turn the water off at the meter.

- If using a generator, make sure nothing is plugged into the generator when you turn it on. Operate generators in well-ventilated, dry outdoor areas.

- While power is out, be sure to turn off all electronics, otherwise your circuits could overload when power is restored. Leave one light on so that you’ll know when power is back.

- For lighting, stick to flashlights not candles to avoid fire hazards.

- Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. According to the American Red Cross, an unopened refrigerator will keep foods cold for about four hours. A full freezer will keep the temperature for about 48 hours (24 hours if it is half full) if the door remains closed.

- Avoid traveling, especially at night. With traffic lights and street lamps out, driving becomes hazardous.

When power returns, continue to avoid downed power lines and examine food carefully - throw anything away that you suspect may have gone bad while unrefrigerated. If you hadn’t done so already, make an emergency supply kit with dry food, water, batteries, flashlights, blankets, etc. so you’ll be well-prepared next time the lights go out.

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Preparation Is Key for Buying or Selling Home

March 25, 2017 12:33 am

Whether you’re buying or selling a new home, preparing well in advance is crucial to a successful transaction. In fact, of over 13,000 U.S. residents surveyed, the number one regret for both buyers and sellers was not starting their home search or prepping their home to sell soon enough. 

The Zillow Group Report on Consumer Housing Trends reveal strategies for how to buy and sell in today's highly competitive market.

Buyers

Keep your options open. More than half (52 percent) of buyers said they also considered renting, and more than one third (37 percent) of first-time buyers seriously considered continuing to rent. Savvy shoppers will have a Plan B in place, hoping to buy if it works out, but willing to sign a lease for a home if they don't make a deal by the time they need to move.

Be realistic with your budget. Once you set it, stick to it: first-time home buyers are more likely to exceed their budget than repeat buyers (39 percent vs 26 percent). Before you meet with a lender to determine how much mortgage you'll be approved for, take a good look at your individual finances and spending preferences to determine the monthly payment range that you feel you can comfortably afford.  

Get your financing squared away early. Plan to meet a few lenders four to six months ahead of when you're planning to buy to ensure you can make a competitive offer quickly when you find your dream home. The majority (82 percent) of buyers get pre-approved, with 77 percent getting pre-approval from a lender before finding a home on which they are interested in placing an offer.

Find an agent with a winning track record. Take the time to find an agent who has expertise in fast negotiation, leveraging escalation clauses, and winning bidding wars. Only 46 percent of buyers got the first home on which they made an offer, demonstrating that competition is now part of the process.  

Communication is key. Make sure your preferred method – and frequency – of communication matches that of your agent. One third (33 percent) of all buyers preferred phones call with their agent over emailing (21 percent) or texting (15 percent). Buyers can use the agent reviews on Zillow to learn more about prospective agents and their clients' experiences. 

Sellers

Start early and be strategic. Sellers consider putting their home on the market for five months before they list it. But the top seller regret is that they wished they spent more time prepping for the sale. Many cities have a magic window in the spring when homes have a higher likelihood of selling quickly for more money.

Work with an agent from the start. The vast majority (90 percent) of sellers who sold quickly and for more than list price worked with an agent, and two out of three (58 percent) began working with an agent at the very beginning of their selling journey.

Pay attention to your online curb appeal. The majority of buyers begin their search online. Sellers who sold their home for more than list price made imagery and home information available online: 48 percent had professional photos taken of the home, 30 percent shot video footage and 21 percent even shot drone footage.

Home improvements can be a worthwhile investment. Sellers who fetched above list price tackled home improvement before listing their home, being 50 percent more likely to take on a large project like modifying an existing home plan and 20 percent more likely to renovate a kitchen than the average seller. 

Don't be afraid to try again. In many markets, nearly half of listing views occur in the first week the home is on the market. Twenty-six percent of those who sold above list price took their home off the market once to adjust the sales price, opting to start anew rather than letting the home languish on the market with minimal activity. 

Source: www.zillowgroupreport.com

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Tips for a Vintage Kitchen Remodel

March 25, 2017 12:33 am

(Family Features)--When you renovate an older home, the goal is not always to replace old with new. In fact, some renovations are all about preserving the past with a design that reflects and pays respect to the yesteryear features that make your home unique.

Whether you're planning a renovation for a 60-year-old home, or working to infuse some retro charm into a newer place, the ultimate goal is capturing the nostalgic feel of older homes: the classic lines, hardwood, moldings and woodwork, and features like fireplaces or stonework, bannisters or windows and doors.

The kitchen can be a particularly challenging room to renovate because the blend of old charm with modern convenience and functionality can seem at complete odds. These ideas from the design experts at Elmira Stove Works can help you combine practical function with timeless features for a room filled with character and purpose.

Keep cabinet facades true to the era. Updating the cabinets is practically a necessity for any vintage kitchen remodel. Although many older kitchens lacked the cabinet space modern homeowners desire, you can still achieve a retro look with ample storage by focusing more on the shape and style than on the quantity. With this approach, you can add as much storage and as many functional amenities as your space allows while still capturing the right look for the era. Opt for sleek and understated styles, or for some extra flair incorporate exaggerated angles and curves common to mid-century design. Material and color options abound, so you're free to go bold and glossy or more subdued.

Design with a focal point in mind. In a retro kitchen, standout elements such as colorful appliances can enhance the space and act as a focal point in the room. Stainless steel has become almost "default" in kitchens from coast to coast. Whether your home is on the beach, in the mountains or in a suburban neighborhood, for those who find beauty in the past, choosing a retro refrigerator or a vintage stove might be a better choice. These appliances act as a major design element in the space, and fortunately there are plenty of options when it comes to retro appliances with exciting pops of color.

Let the details bring it all together. Vibrant color is the signature of any retro kitchen, so don't forget to carry that design element through the space with accessories like dishes, cookbooks and vintage relics that celebrate bygone days. Other details like hardware, small appliances and utensils that harken the past can bring a cohesive look to the kitchen for a seamless style that feels like stepping back in time.

Bringing old character to life can be a tricky proposition when it comes to remodeling, however, with the proper focus on appliances, major features like the cabinetry and small details that make a big difference, you can confidently create a new space that takes you to another time.


Source: Elmira Stove Works
 

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Are Environmental Hazards Lowering Your Home’s Value?

March 24, 2017 12:33 am

You may be well versed in the factors that can improve your home’s value, like adding on a bathroom, installing energy-efficient appliances or putting on a new roof. But are you aware that certain environmental hazards, such as poor air quality can actually detract from your home’s value?

Research from ATTOM Data Solutions Environmental Hazards Housing Risk Index shows that 17.3 million single-family homes and condominiums are at high risk of an environmental hazard, such as brownfields, or property potentially contaminated by a hazardous substance, polluters, poor air quality and superfunds.

"Home values are higher and long-term home price appreciation is stronger in zip codes without a high risk for any of the four environmental hazards analyzed," says Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at ATTOM Data Solutions.

ATTOM details how home values have been affected by each of these environmental hazards:

- In areas with a "very high" brownfield risk - areas previously used for commercial development which may now have environmental contamination - 17.2 percent of properties are "seriously underwater," according to the Index; in areas with a "very low" brownfield risk, 8.9 percent of properties are seriously underwater. Median home prices in very high brownfield risk areas are 2.8 percent below 10 years prior, while median home prices in very low brownfield risk areas are 2.8 percent above 10 years prior. Home sellers in very high brownfield risk areas gained 25.3 percent on average at sale, while sellers in very low brownfield risk areas gained 18.9 percent.

- In areas with a very high polluter risk, 12.7 percent of properties are seriously underwater, compared to 9.2 percent of properties seriously underwater in very low polluter risk areas. Home sellers in very high polluter risk areas gained 16.6 percent on average at sale, while sellers in very low polluter risk areas gained 27.7 percent.

- For areas with a "low" or "moderate" risk of poor air quality, home sales volume has increased 26 percent in the past five years, according to the report; for areas with a "high" risk of poor air quality, home sales volume has increased 16.5 percent in the past five years, while in areas with a very high risk of poor air quality, home sales volume has increased 3.3 percent over the past five years.

- Median home prices in very high superfund risk areas - a U.S. federal program designed to fund the cleanup of sites contaminated with hazardous substances and pollutants - are 1.5 percent below 10 years prior. Home sellers in high superfund risk areas gained 19.6 percent on average at sale, while sellers in very low superfund risk areas gained 24.4 percent.

Source: ATTOM Data Solutions

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