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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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How to Hang a Hammock

July 30, 2014 6:03 pm

Whether you’re spending your summer curled up with a favorite book, listening to music or just enjoying the view, hammocks are the perfect spot for outdoor lounging. They require almost no maintenance once they’re hung up, but hanging one is no easy task. String your hammock up quickly by following these steps:

1. Weigh your options before purchasing. There are two common types of hammocks: traditional, which are designed to hang loosely, and ones with spreader bars, which keep the hammock taut. Spreader bar hammocks keep the hammock open, so no one gets wrapped up in the material.

2. Select your support. Choose two, sturdy trees that show no signs of rot. Maple, oak or beech varieties work best. Traditional hammocks must be hung 6 to 8 feet above the ground, to accommodate the material dipping. Spreader bar hammocks can be hung 4 to 5 feet from the ground.

3. Measure the distance. Whether you have a traditional or spreader bar hammock, try to use trees that are distanced enough so that your hammock is stretched out completely. In most cases, trees are not placed ideally and homeowners will have to extend the hammock with a chain. Make sure the chain isn’t more than 18 inches on either side to avoid tearing.

4. Hang it up. Secure the hammock with tree-fastening straps, which sometimes come with the hammock. If you’re buying separately, look for straps that have a loop and a metal ring. Attach the straps with S-hooks to the hammock, and enjoy your new backyard retreat.

Source: Zillow Blog

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Wood or Composite: Which Deck Material Is Right for You?

July 29, 2014 6:00 pm

(BPT) - Adding a deck or replacing an old one is a popular project in warmer months – one that provides outdoor entertaining space and enhances home value. If you’re considering a deck project this season, will you choose to build with wood or composite?

Decks built from either material have a high return on investment at the time of resale. Both can provide your family with a great space in which to enjoy warm weather. Before you decide which material is right for your deck, learn the truth behind these common myths.

Myth: Wood is “greener” than composite decking.

Truth: In many ways, composite decking is more eco-friendly than wood. When you consider the life cycle of both products, composite products emerge as materials with minimal environmental impact. Your final, finished deck requires no harsh chemical treatments to make it resist rot and stain, and it will last for decades. That durability means less energy consumption, fewer resources needed to replace it and less discarded material in landfills.

Myth: Composite decking is too expensive.

Truth: While the initial outlay for materials may be the same as exotic woods or more than pressure treated wood, the durability, longevity and low-maintenance requirements of composite mean it will actually cost less over its lifetime than wood. Composite eliminates the cost of re-staining a deck every year, and its rot-resistant qualities greatly curtail repair costs.

Myth: Wood is a better material for do-it-yourself decks.

Truth: If your DIY skills are up to working with wood, you can definitely build your own deck using composite materials. In fact, composite products are easier to work with than wood in many ways. Unlike wood, composite planks won’t splinter or fracture. Finally, when your deck is done, you can start enjoying it right away, without the need to stain or seal the deck before you can use it.

Myth: Composite fades, looks fake and does not have the same beauty as wood.

Truth: Wood is undeniably beautiful, but many composite decking options now mimic the natural grain and beauty of wood. Whether your taste runs to classic or contemporary, you’ll find composite selections that deliver the look of traditional wood grains and even exotic hardwoods. Advances in composite technology have yielded products that so closely resemble wood, you may not be able to tell the difference until you step on one barefoot – you’ll find the composite smooth and splinter-free!

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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EMV Credit Cards to Secure Shopping in 2015

July 29, 2014 6:00 pm

Following several high-profile security breaches in recent years, consumers have more reason than ever to be concerned about their privacy when using debit and credit cards. Fortunately, an effort is underway to implement new technology across the United States that will better protect shoppers and their private information.

The Europay, Mastercard and Visa (EMV) card is widely used overseas and can be found in the United States. You may have an EMV card in your wallet without knowing it. In fact, according to EMVCo, 45 percent of the total payment cards in circulation globally include EMV chip technology. New guidelines being rolled out in the United States will hold banks or retailers that have not implemented this new security liable for fraud, so by late 2015, consumers can expect to see these changes closer to home.

What is EMV?
The Smart Card Alliance describes EMV as a set of specifications for smart card payments and acceptance devices that provide strong transaction security features and capabilities not possible with traditional magnetic stripe cards. The EMV chip in the payment card is an embedded microprocessor that keeps your money and financial information from falling into the wrong hands.

What makes EMV more secure?
EMV offers greater security than the traditional magnetic stripe debit or credit cards. An important distinction is that data is stored on a chip rather than the familiar magnetic stripe, making it nearly impossible to counterfeit an EMV card. EMV boosts security through a smart card chip, a unique code and advanced cryptography.

How will EMV change my shopping experience?
Instead of swiping your card, now you'll "dip" your card into the payment terminal, holding it in place to allow the transfer of data. Shoppers should expect that this process will take slightly longer than the traditional quick swipe of a magnetic card. EMV technology also enables contactless payments, so shoppers may instead "tap" their contactless EMV cards, which are just as secure and speed up the check-out experience.

Card issuers (your bank or credit company) will determine whether you are required to enter a pin or sign to verify your purchase.

Initially, cards will include both EMV and magnetic stripe technology, so you can be assured your card will work whether the retailer has adopted the new system or not.

Source: Gemalto

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Four Renovations That Can Affect Your Home Insurance

July 29, 2014 6:00 pm

Expensive home upgrades undoubtedly have an effect on a home’s resale value. They may also impact a home’s insurance value, no matter how costly the renovation. It is important to let your insurer know prior to making improvements, so that unforeseen circumstances, such as a fire or robbery, are covered during the renovation. Not sure which upgrades are worth the policy adjustment? These four upgrades commonly result in altered home insurance policies.

A home-based business – If your main source of income comes from a home-based business, what will happen to it if your home is compromised? Most homeowner policies only cover up to $2,500 in equipment compensation, so it may be wise to add an endorsement or rider to your existing policy.

A new roof – Because roofs fall victim to most weather-related damages, they offer the greatest discount on your premium. When you install a new roof, your premium may decrease 10 to 20 percent, depending on your insurance company. To ensure the discount is applied to your policy, be prepared to present documentation from your contractor stating that the new roof is up to code.

A new pool – Pools create numerous opportunities for lawsuits, so from an insurer’s perspective, they are one of the riskiest upgrades to make. Because of this, insurers may require up to $500,000 in liability coverage and security measures such as locks and fences. Your homeowner’s insurance will need an additional adjustment to cover the value of the pool, as well.

An addition – Your insurance company must be notified any time you increase the living space in your home, to compensate for the added value. Specific additions, such as a finished basement, may need water coverage to protect from flooding or landlord coverage if the space will be rented.

Source: Bankrate

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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3 Tips for Staying Hydrated This Summer

July 28, 2014 5:57 pm

(Family Features) As warmer temperatures heat up the summer nationwide, being prepared for the season's outdoor activities means more than sunscreen protection and appropriate dress. Health experts state that keeping yourself hydrated by drinking enough water and other beverages when temperatures rise is critical to safely enjoying the fun of the season.

"While we typically put time and thought into what we'll serve at family barbeques or which foods to bring to the beach or park, we sometimes overlook the need to hydrate throughout the day, particularly on hot summer days," says registered dietitian Lisa Katic.

If you feel thirsty or worn down, it's a sign you're likely already past the need to re-hydrate," Katic suggests. She offers three hydration-related tips to remember when packing the cooler for summer outings or enjoying warm weather days:

1. Bring enough water.

Remembering to drink water before, during and after activities is important, but especially when doing outdoor or intense activities in the summer months. Experts with the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association note that water intake improves overall mental and physical health, and improves heart function while reducing both actual and perceived exertion. The Institute of Medicine recommends a total fluid intake of 11 eight-ounce cups (91 ounces total) a day for women and 15 cups for men (125 ounces total), including fluid from all foods and beverages. Katic recommends keeping an extra supply of bottled water in your car, garage, pool and other easily accessible places. Remember, if water isn't your favorite beverage choice, there are plenty of other beverages to choose from, all of which can help keep you hydrated.

2. Diet beverages help with hydration.
Katic says there are too many myths about diet beverages, such as sodas and teas. For example, you may have heard that they can make you hungrier or dehydrate you. This simply isn't the case based on the body of science. In fact, a recent clinical trial published in the June issue of the journal "Obesity" found that dieters who drank diet beverages as part of an overall weight loss program were able to not only lose weight successfully, but also reported feeling less hungry.

3. Don't forget foods can hydrate too.
Summer snack favorites such as watermelon, strawberries and cantaloupe are fruits with a high water content of 90 to 91 percent, while veggies like lettuce, tomatoes and celery are even higher, containing as much as 95 percent water.

Beyond the heat of summer, Katic says it's also a good idea to make hydration a part of your everyday life year round. "Staying hydrated also has been shown to reduce the risk of other health problems, such as heart disease, hypertension, exercise asthma and hyperglycemia."

Source: EatRight.org

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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10 Investment Tips for Buying a Vacation Home

July 28, 2014 5:57 pm

1. View the home as a form of recreation, not an investment.
If you buy one, make sure, above all, that this is a house and an area you enjoy. It will be worth the cost if you spend as much time there as possible, put your heart and soul into caring for it or plan to keep the home in the family for future generations.

2. Approach joint property investments carefully.
These types of agreements can start wars even in the warmest families. Set down some rules about the percentages of ownership accorded each party and what rights those percentages confer.

3. Don't buy outside the country.
In other countries, rules about title and ownership are not as clear as they are in the United States. In many countries, you run the risk of your property being ransacked or nationalized.

4. Research all four seasons before you buy.

It's a good idea to visit the area in which you plan to buy during every season.

5. Make sure the house and location make a good rental.
If you're really going to work to rent out the property, make sure it's well suited for vacationers.

6. Work with an agent who knows the area.
The agent can also be a great resource for little-known information on hidden bonds and community events.

7. Don't buy a timeshare.
Even in a good economy, it's hard to sell a timeshare.

8. Buy an existing home instead of land.
To build a house from the ground up, you may have to deal with coastal authorities, local building restrictions, aggressive homeowners associations and sketchy contractors.

9. Factor in extra costs.
In additional to the loan, you'll have to cover taxes, insurance, maintenance and utilities. If you live more than an hour away, you might have to factor in the cost of a caretaker or property manager.

10. Buy only what you can afford.
You simply enter what you make and what you owe, and the calculator will tell you how much more the banks will lend you.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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4 Questions Every Home Seller Asks

July 28, 2014 5:57 pm

Are you thinking about selling your home this spring? If so, you're likely to have many questions—especially if you've never sold a house before. It's helpful to understand the basics.

Brett Furman, a broker/owner in St. Davids, Pennsylvania suggests asking these four questions every home seller asks:

What makes a house sell? The five biggest factors are price, terms, condition, location and market exposure.

When is the best time to sell? As soon as you decide it is. In order to receive top dollar for your house, it is important to give yourself as much time as possible to get the house ready. More time means more potential buyers have a chance to see your home, ultimately resulting in more offers and more options for you.

Is there any seasonality to the market? Early spring and early fall are the prime seasons. People like to move in by the holidays or the start of a new school year. "The time of year you sell shouldn't dominate when you sell. It's best to do it when you're ready and, if possible, give yourself as much time as you can," says Furman.

What about price trends, interest rate and the economy in general? When interest rates are low, there will likely be more potential buyers. When inventory is tight, it benefits the seller.

"The ultimate decision of when to sell your house is guided by your family's needs. These factors usually won't have a bearing on when you list your home for sale," says Furman.

Source: www.homesellerhandbook.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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5 Ways to Save at the Amusement Park

July 25, 2014 5:48 pm

According to a recent TripAdvisor survey, more than half of Americans plan to visit an amusement park this summer, with more than a quarter spending over $1,000 on the visit. Families can keep costs down by making the visit budget-friendly. Here are five ways to save on amusement park admission:

1. Plan (and purchase) in advance. Rather than purchasing day-of tickets, consider purchasing tickets online. Some parks offer discounted rates if purchased ahead of time, which can save a significant amount on the ticket cost combined. It's also worth checking park websites for flash sales and other discounts. Purchasing tickets as part of a combined package with other attractions can also save on individual costs.

2. Look beyond park-specific promotions. Coupon sites like RetailMeNot and flash sale sites like Groupon and LivingSocial often post a collection of deals and discounts to amusement parks. Membership groups like AAA and AARP also offer discounts to theme parks, and some credit cards provide special promotions to cardholders.

3. Don't overlook multi-day passes. For families spending more than one day in the area, or who live within close distance to an amusement park, purchasing a season- or multi-day pass can help save hundreds. Season passes can also provide additional bonuses like exclusive ride times and free or discounted parking.

4. Spend the night. Many parks partner with nearby hotels to extend special offerings to hotel guests, such as discount tickets, complimentary breakfast or early park entry. Some packages also include transportation to and from the park to help families save on the cost of parking.

5. Time your visit wisely. Some parks offer discount tickets after a certain hour in the day. If you don't mind a shortened visit, or don't have time to spend an entire day at the park, check to see if there are half-day or evening tickets at a discounted rate. Visitors may save as much as half-off by taking advantage of off-peak deals.

Source: Family Vacation Critic

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Combining Focal Points: Your Fireplace and Television

July 25, 2014 5:48 pm

(BPT) - When choosing a focal point for a room, designers and homeowners alike often plan for a single feature – windows, TVs, artwork, or fireplaces – to take center stage. However, the explosion of flat screen TVs for every room in the home has created a debate – can you really have more than one focal point?

Online resources and various design blogs have made it easy for homeowners to discuss that question, with many in favor of combining two features that typically stand out on their own – fireplaces and TVs – on one wall to blend the warm and comforting aesthetics of a fireplace with easy TV access.

In large rooms with adequate space, TVs above the fireplace can create an ideal angle of vision. In fact, stacking TVs and fireplaces can be a great choice for several reasons:

Easy design: Combining two elements in one location makes it easier to design the rest of the room, allowing for a single grouping of chairs and couches. In some room designs, it also leaves room for other areas to be turned into reading corners or small work spaces.

Enhanced functionality: Open-concept floor plans and homes that have the kitchen, eating and living area combined into an open great room are perfect for placing the TV and fireplace on the same wall. This arrangement provides optimal viewing of the TV while cooking in the kitchen or relaxing in the eating area, while also incorporating the warmth and comfort of the fireplace.

Subtle style: Higher placement makes a TV less obvious when a person first walks into the room. Visitors notice a beautiful fireplace, especially when lit, and may only observe the TV if it’s turned on. Plus, there are other decorating tricks designers can use if a homeowner really doesn’t want the TV to stand out, like hiding it behind a painting or mirrors.

For a quick living room update, consider placing your TV above the fireplace to create a warm, welcoming and inviting space. You might also install a fireplace to your existing TV room to add relaxation and ambiance.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Make Outdoor Living Easier with the Right Lights

July 25, 2014 5:48 pm

Looking to spend your days outside this summer? How about your nights? Enjoy outdoor living long after the sun goes down with lighting that adds both beauty and safety. From evening dinners to late night cocktails, the right outdoor lighting can provide sophistication and ambiance to set the mood.

Light the way to a better outdoor living space this season with the helpful tips from the experts at Trex:

Safety First
– A well-lit outdoor living space is not only welcoming, but helps make guests feel more secure while walking. Brighten walkways with warm, focused lights like Trex LandscapeLighting Path Lights. For stairs, consider using riser lights to illuminate each step.

Added Ambiance – Don’t let harsh lighting spoil a nice summer night. Add soft lighting to specific areas on your deck or patio, such as a kitchen and seating and dining areas. Trex LandscapeLighting Spotlights use the latest LED technology to shine a beautifully bright light through a modest head. When not in use, they’re designed to practically disappear into their surroundings.

Customization – Outdoor lighting allows you to transform your deck into a customized creation. Highlight architectural features, gazebos, pergolas or trellises bringing together design and function. For a sophisticated look find lights that provide illumination for landscaping and small structures.

Source: Trex

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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