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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Summer Home Repair Safety Tips to Prevent Serious Hand and Finger Injuries

June 28, 2013 10:28 pm

Hand and finger injuries are among the most common causes for emergency room visits, but taking time to prepare a safe work area, using proper tools and alerting someone nearby about your home repair project can reduce your risk for serious accidents this summer.

The National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS) database reports that nearly 3.5 million people a year are seen in a U.S. emergency room for injury to an upper limb, which ranges from shoulder to fingers; of these, 45 percent occur at home and 23 percent involve deep cuts, called lacerations. Dr. Nebil Bill Aydin, a board certified plastic and reconstructive surgeon with the New York Group for Plastic Surgery and an attending surgeon at Westchester Medical Center, has operated on many home repair-related upper limb injuries, including the wrist laceration experienced by 55 year-old David Guiliano of Valhalla, NY, that nearly cost him his left hand.

Guiliano, a firefighter as well as a professional bricklayer, was renovating a friend's pool house and needed to demolish a brick seven feet up a wall. He stood on an overturned plastic bucket and held his heavy electric grinder tool in both hands high over his head. As he pushed grinder to brick, the blade tip caught and jerked, pushing him backward. As he fell, the grinder slipped from his grasp and the blade sliced his left wrist, cutting through tendons, nerves and arteries down to the bone.

Looking back, Guiliano recognizes that his many years as a bricklayer led to complacency about home repair work. "I didn't secure my balance, and I used a grinder with an exposed blade instead of a saw with a protective guard," he said. "I bypassed important precautions because of my experience, but I'd urge everyone to take time to prepare properly and put some simple safety measures in place for any task using tools."

Regardless of experience, following simple safety rules can help you avoid a serious injury:

• Think through the tools and materials you'll need in advance, and position them strategically in your work area before starting. If you realize in the middle of the project that you've forgotten a tool, carefully and fully disengage from your work to get it — do not lean over or reach up for it.

• Do not use a tool that lacks safety mechanisms or is inappropriate for a specific task. If you're unsure, check with an expert at the hardware store.

• Alert a family member or neighbor that you are undertaking a home repair project and ask if they'll come by to check up on you periodically.

• Keep a phone and first aid supplies nearby, in case. If you're not working at your own home, be sure you know the specific address so emergency dispatch can find you, and be aware of nearby major medical centers.

Source: New York Group for Plastic Surgery

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Foreign Home Buyers Continue to Identify U.S. as Profitable Investment

June 28, 2013 10:28 pm

International home sales in the U.S. declined in the past year, but are at their second highest level in recent years and are over six percent of total existing-home sales in value. According to the National Association of REALTORS® 2013 Profile of International Home Buying Activity, interest in U.S. properties continues to grow, signaling that America continues to be regarded by international buyers as a great place to own property.

The survey, which asked REALTORS® to report their international business activity within the U.S. for the 12 months ending March 2013, showed that total international sales were $68.2 billion, down approximately $14 billion from the previous year. The decline is attributed to a number of temporary factors, including economic slowdowns in a number of major foreign economies, tighter U.S. credit standards and unfavorable exchange rates. Of total international transactions, $34.8 billion (51 percent) were attributed to foreign buyers with permanent residences outside the U.S. and $33.4 billion (49 percent) were attributed to buyers who are recent immigrants or temporary visa holders residing for more than six months in the U.S.

“Foreign buyers are experiencing hurdles not only abroad, but also here in the U.S. when it comes to purchasing property,” said NAR President Gary Thomas. Difficult economic conditions, particularly in Europe, have impacted foreign buyers, but several factors in the U.S. have also affected their purchasing power here. Tight credit standards have made financing challenging for immigrants, and low housing inventories have made finding a house difficult. However, none of these factors appear to be permanent.”

Foreign buyers continue to have a substantial interest in U.S. properties. Over a five-year timeframe, more than 70 percent of REALTORS® reported a constant or increasing level in the number of international clients contacting them.

“REALTORS® provide international buyers with a significant advantage when purchasing property in the U.S. REALTORS® who have earned NAR’s Certified International Property Specialist designation have received specialized training and are well prepared to service the international market,” said Thomas.

Twenty-seven percent of REALTORS® reported having worked with international clients this year. The most important factors influencing international clients’ purchases reported by REALTORS ® were that the U.S. is viewed as a desirable location and that the real estate market is regarded as a profitable investment.

REALTORS ® reported purchases from 68 countries, but five have historically accounted for the bulk of purchases; Canada (23 percent), China (12 percent), Mexico (8 percent), India (5 percent) and the United Kingdom (5 percent). These five countries accounted for approximately 53 percent of transactions, with Canada and China the fastest growing sources over the years.

Canadian buyers were reported to purchase properties with a median price of $183,000, with the majority purchased in Florida, Arizona and California. Chinese buyers tended to purchase property in the upper price ranges with a median price of $425,000 and typically in California. Sixty-two percent of Mexican buyers purchased property in California and Texas, with a median price of $156,250.

International buyers tend to cluster in specific locations based on countries of origin, as well as several other factors. “Many factors influence foreign buyers’ decisions on where to purchase in the U.S., but the most important are proximity to home country, presence of relatives and friends, availability of job and education opportunities, and the climate,” said Thomas. “International buyers also differ on the type of desired property. Some are looking for trophy properties while others are interested in modest vacation homes.”

Source: NAR

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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What to Do After a Car Accident

June 28, 2013 10:28 pm

Every year hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S. are involved in traffic accidents. Many of these accidents result in only minor injuries, but massive insurance claims. It is wonderful if you find yourself physically unscathed after an accident. However, you will at some point have to deal with your insurance company as well as the insurance agents of others involved in the accident.

Filing an insurance claim and handling insurance adjusters can be quite a task, and it is important to get legal advice. However, here are some things you may want to do on your own in order to better protect yourself.

Make sure you have an emergency kit in your vehicle. This should include pen and paper, a camera (sometimes your cellphone camera can be damaged in an accident), a medical card listing emergency contacts and any known allergies, a flashlight and, if possible, a set of cones or emergency flares.

Contact your insurance company as soon after the accident or injury as possible. Don’t forget to keep safety first, and move vehicles off to the side and out of the way if possible. Unless you have some very serious injuries to take care of, your insurance agent is the first person to call in case of an accident or injury.

Do your best to get as many details of the accident as possible. This will include taking pictures of the damaged vehicles and any injuries. Make sure to take pictures from different distances as well as from different angles. Also, do try to take down the names and numbers of any witnesses to the accident who may later be able to help your case in the event the other driver disputes your account of events.

Source: www.florida-accident-law.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Bring Your Personal Design Style to Life

June 28, 2013 10:28 pm

(Family Features) You’ve made the decision to remodel your home. The budget range and project scope have been set, but now you aren’t sure how to begin this new adventure. Following a few simple guidelines and tips can simplify the process of turning your vision into a ravishing remodel.

Set the Style Scene

Many homeowners know exactly where their preferences fall on the style spectrum, while others have no idea. As a first step, identify your personal style before moving forward with any steps of the remodel. There are even websites that offer a style quiz to help you determine where your style falls.

Even if you think you know what you want for a space, develop a mood board to help you visualize your design style. A mood board will ensure that others, such as professionals or family members, understand your vision. Gather items on your board such as colors, patterns and images that make you feel good. You (and a designer) can make sense and draw meaning from it later.

There are some great resources online for developing these boards. Pinterest, a tool that enables users to “pin” their favorite items, is extremely useful for finding ideas and forming a vision.

Turn Dreams into Design


Once you are in tune with your style, engage a designer. The remodeling process is overwhelming and designers are a great resource.
“One of the biggest advantages to working with a designer on a home project is that they really understand functionality, while accomplishing your desired style,” says Sarah Reep, director of designer relations and education at KraftMaid Cabinetry. “By telling a designer the details of your lifestyle and gripes about your current layout, they can turn out a well-designed space that will fit all of your needs.”

Working with professionals doesn’t have to break the bank and can actually save you time, money and provide peace of mind in the long run. Avoid costly mistakes and ensure that the professionals you hire are fully certified and qualified for the task.

Great kitchens and baths start with great design. At the end of the day, you’ll be thankful for the time spent during the dreaming and designing phases of your remodel. These steps will help bring your dream to life, just the way you imagined it.

Source: KraftMaid

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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New Study Finds U.S. Diesel Vehicles Have Lower Total Cost of Ownership than Gasoline Vehicles

June 28, 2013 10:28 pm

A new study released found that diesel vehicles saved owners between $2,000 to $6,000 in total ownership costs during a three- to five-year period when compared to similar gasoline vehicles, according to data compiled by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.

"Overall, the results of our analyses show that diesel vehicles provide owners with a TCO (total cost of ownership) that is less than that of the gas versions of the same vehicles," according to the study. "The estimates of savings for three and five years of ownership vary from a low of $67 in three years to a high of $15,619 in five years, but most of the savings are in the $2,000 to $6,000 range, which also include the extra cost that is usually added to the diesel version of a vehicle."

Fuel efficiency has always been a major attraction of clean diesel vehicles. Because diesels are 20 to 40 percent more fuel efficient than gas cars, drivers save money with diesels even when diesel fuel prices are slightly higher than gas prices.

The findings in this study will also be helpful to car buyers as they research their next vehicle purchase. This is an exciting time for diesel vehicles as the number of diesels is expected to more than double in the next two years. This will give drivers a broad selection of vehicles to fit their individual driving needs.

Highlights from the diesel-gasoline comparisons include:

• Total Cost of Ownership: In the three year timeframe comparison, diesel vehicles in the mass market passenger car segment are estimated to save owners significant money, with the VW Jetta owner saving $3,128, the VW Jetta Sportwagen owner saving $3,389, and the VW Golf owner saving an estimated $5,013. In the luxury segment, all the diesel versions of the Mercedes-Benz E Class ($4,175), Mercedes-Benz GL Class ($13,514), Mercedes-Benz M Class ($3,063), Mercedes-Benz R Class ($5,951) and VW Touareg ($7,819) save owners money in the three year timeframe.

• Fuel Efficiency: All of the diesel vehicles had better miles per gallon than the gasoline versions with the diesels having between 8 to 44 percent higher miles per gallon.

• Fuel Costs: All of the diesel vehicles had lower fuel costs than all the gas versions of comparable vehicles, with 11 of the 12 vehicles showing double digit reductions in fuel costs, ranging from 10 to 29 percent. Similar to the three-year comparisons, five-year estimated fuel costs for diesel vehicles are less than those of comparable gas versions. The percentage difference in terms of the reduction from gas to diesel costs decreased for some diesel-gas comparisons as diesel prices began to increase around the 2005 timeframe.

• Depreciation: Eleven of the 12 diesel vehicles held their value better than comparable gas vehicles over the three-year timeframe with eight vehicles showing double digit percentage savings ranging from 17 percent up to 46 percent.

• Nine of the 10 diesel vehicles hold their value better than comparable gas vehicles over the five-year timeframe, with five vehicles showing double digit percentage savings ranging from 10 percent up to 39 percent.

The report analyzed the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for clean diesel vehicles and comparing their TCO to their gas vehicle counterparts. The study developed three- and five-year cost estimates of depreciation by modeling used vehicle auction data and fuel costs by modeling government data. The study also combined these estimates with three- and five-year estimates for repairs, fees and taxes, insurance, and maintenance from an outside data source.

Source: Diesel Technology Forum

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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The White House Beats Out A-List Celebrity Pads as the Home Most Americans Want To See

June 28, 2013 10:28 pm

Despite the insatiable fascination with the lives of Hollywood celebrities, if given the opportunity to view only one famous home, one in three Americans (31 percent) would choose to see The White House instead of the luxury home hideaways of known stars such as Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt (14 percent), Jennifer Lopez (10 percent) and Jay-Z and Beyonce (6 percent) -- proving that First Families are always en vogue.

The inaugural "HGTV HomePulse Survey," the first in a series commissioned by Scripps Networks Interactive and Vision Critical to monitor consumer perspectives on home-related topics such as real estate, renovation, decoration and budgeting, also uncovers that Americans' true obsession is with improving or enhancing their own homes.

Home Improvement Spending Trumps Vacation
The survey of approximately 1,000 randomly selected respondents ages 18+ finds that more than 81 percent believe that "money spent on improving my home will show a good return," while 66 percent agree that "now is a good time to invest in my home." In fact, Americans love their homes so much that 61 percent indicate that they would "choose to spend on their homes rather than on something else like a vacation or the latest electronics."

"We expected the 'HGTV HomePulse Survey' to confirm that people love their homes and are willing to spend money to improve them, but we didn't expect that they would be willing to give up something as important as a vacation to do it," said Denise Conroy, senior vice president, marketing, HGTV. "The appetite that Americans have for where they live transcends other popular interests and indicates a much deeper relationship between consumers and their homes."

When it comes to the preferred home improvements, men and women tend to agree on the need to expand the overall square footage of their home. However, 31 percent of women vs. 17 percent of men would opt to update the decor while 19 percent of men vs. three percent of women would choose technological enhancements. Interestingly, while many people want to create a comfortable home on the inside, 1 in 3 respondents tagged "a beautiful outdoor space" as extremely important to them.

Sending Out an SOS
Americans are passionate about home improvement, but in need of advice and information when working with professionals. Only 1 out of 5, about 22 percent, is confident that they are knowledgeable enough to keep a contractor honest.

Pursuing the American Dream
The "HGTV HomePulse Survey" also reveals that 76 percent of all non-homeowners are optimistic that they will eventually own a home, undoubtedly underscoring an improving housing market. Also worth noting is that a whopping 64 percent of non-home owning Millennials believe they will be ready to own their own home in their 30s.

Source: HGTV

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Home Remodeling More Popular Than Ever as New Home Prices Rise

June 28, 2013 10:28 pm

According to the Census Bureau, a 28.9 percent rise in new home sales since last year -- coupled with a lack of premium existing properties on the market -- is causing home renovation spending to hit a six-year high. Power Home Remodeling Group cautions homeowners to spend smartly on remodeling projects by investing in fundamental improvements such as roofing, siding and window replacement that will earn the biggest return on investment in this time of cautious optimism as the housing industry continues to slowly improve from the recession. According to Remodeling Magazine, homeowners who invest in an upgrade to vinyl siding will recoup around 72 percent of the renovation's costs in added value to the home.

"Homeowners are investing money in their homes again as the cost of renovations is less than the cost of buying a new property and selling their existing property. Though it may be tempting for homeowners to make personalized improvements, it is important to spend money wisely when renovating and focus on upgrading basic home functionality to get the biggest bang for their home improvement buck," says Corey Schiller, Power's chief executive officer.

Power offers the following tips for exterior home improvements that update a home's style and curb appeal while also making it more valuable:

• Vinyl Siding – Updating the exterior of your home with vinyl siding will help increase your home's curb appeal while boosting its energy efficiency. Replacing the exterior of your home with vinyl siding will cut down on the maintenance of your home's facade and the project can recoup up to 72 percent in added home value.

• Energy Efficient Windows & Doors – New, energy efficient windows are ideal for insulating a home from extreme temperatures that change with the seasons. If a window overhaul is unrealistic, replacing windows in key rooms of the home where the sun rises and sets can make a huge impact. Old or improperly sealed doors can also significantly affect a home's energy efficiency by allowing air to easily escape. Installing a new door can provide more effective insulation than older ones. Window and door replacement can recoup up to 74 percent in added home value.

• Roofing – Though roofing typically lasts between 20 to 30 years before needing a full replacement, weather can loosen or damage shingles, putting a home at risk for water damage and air leaks. Fixing small issues before they turn into a huge headache can help save you time and money in the future. However, if your roofing needs to be replaced, the project can recoup up to 62 percent in added home value.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Five Tips to Take before Hitting the Road

June 24, 2013 6:18 pm

(Family Features)—Millions of Americans are expected to take a summer vacation this year. If you're one of those hitting the road to reach your final destination, here are a few reminders to help ensure you're road-trip-ready.

1. Check under the hood. 
Even if you properly care for your vehicle year round by keeping up with regularly scheduled maintenance, it is wise to check your vehicle's oil, coolant and wiper fluid levels before heading out on the road. Hot summer temperatures can cause your engine to overheat, so keep an eye on all of the warning lights on your dashboard -- from the engine light to the gas gauge.

2. Inspect your vehicle. To help avoid any unfortunate surprises, do a thorough check of your vehicle, paying special attention to the only part that actually touches the road -- your tires. Be sure to properly check all four tires with a tire pressure gauge. The optimum tire pressure required for your car can be found on a sticker in the door jamb, on the inside of the glove compartment door or in the owner's manual.
"The proper inflation is essential for the performance and longevity of a tire," says Ron Margadonna of Michelin. "In fact, keeping your tire pressure at the recommended level can boost fuel efficiency by one mile per gallon."

3. Check the weather.
Unexpected storms are common during the summer months and the first few minutes of a rain shower can be a dangerous time for drivers. Oil and grease trapped on roadways rises to the surface and can create slippery driving conditions that can impact the traction and grip of your car. In fact, stopping on a wet road can take up to four times the normal distance as a dry road. It's best to slow down and increase the space between you and the vehicle in front of you.

4. Prep friends, family and your home. Remember to tell neighbors, friends and family that you'll be out of town. Ask your neighbors to keep an eye on the house and have someone pick up your mail and newspaper. It's also a good idea to set up timers on lamps and lights in various rooms throughout your home so it looks occupied.

5. Review the route. No matter how well you plan your journey, you can never predict what obstacles you might encounter along the way. Road construction, traffic detours or bad weather can be troublesome if you don't have a backup plan. It's best to review your route and understand the alternate roads that can help you arrive at your destination safely, stress free and ready to enjoy your vacation.

Source: www.MichelinMan.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Existing-Home Sales Rise in May with Strong Price Increases

June 24, 2013 6:18 pm

Existing-home sales improved in May and remain solidly above a year ago, while the median price continued to rise by double-digit rates from a year earlier, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 4.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.18 million in May from 4.97 million in April, and is 12.9 percent above the 4.59 million-unit pace in May 2012.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the recovery is strengthening and to expect limited housing supplies for the balance of the year in much of the country. “The housing numbers are overwhelmingly positive. However, the number of available homes is unlikely to grow, despite a nice gain in May, unless new home construction ramps up quickly by an additional 50 percent,” he said. “The home price growth is too fast, and only additional supply from new homebuilding can moderate future price growth.”

Existing-home sales are at the highest level since November 2009 when the market jumped to 5.44 million as buyers took advantage of tax stimulus. Sales have stayed above year-ago levels for 23 months, while the national median price shows 15 consecutive months of year-over-year increases.

Total housing inventory at the end of May rose 3.3 percent to 2.22 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 5.1-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 5.2 months in April. Listed inventory is 10.1 percent below a year ago, when there was a 6.5-month supply.

The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $208,000 in May, up 15.4 percent from May 2012. This marks six straight months of double-digit increases and is the strongest price gain since October 2005, which jumped a record 16.6 percent from a year earlier. The last time there were 15 consecutive months of year-over-year price increases was from March 2005 to May 2006.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Speed Bumps Remain for Electric Cars; Incentives Could Recharge Interest

June 24, 2013 6:18 pm

Electric cars are beginning to post all sorts of impressive numbers. Recently, the 100,000th plug-in vehicle was sold. And last year, roughly 440,000 cars deriving some degree of "go" from a battery – including hybrids, plug-in hybrids and cars running on electricity alone – were sold in this country, with approximately 50,000 of them being pure electrics.

Those are big numbers, but it's important to look at them with an equally big dose of perspective. With roughly 14.5 new million cars and trucks sold in the U.S. last year, combined hybrid sales of roughly 390,000 vehicles represent 3 percent of total sales; those 50,000 pure electrics? About 0.3 percent. But with more and more manufacturers producing battery-propelled vehicles of one kind or another, and fuel prices showing no sign of falling, many anticipate continued growth for the sector.

"Consideration has been on the rise over recent years for traditional hybrids, while other electric car segments – though showing points of growth – have been more sporadic in their gains," explains Mike Chadsey, vice president, Solutions Consultant at Harris Interactive.

When asked which of several improved-efficiency vehicle types they would consider the next time they are in the market for a new vehicles, nearly half of American car owners (or anticipated owners) indicated that they would consider a traditional hybrid (48 percent), while nearly four in ten (38 percent) would consider a smaller and/or less powerful gas-powered vehicle. Just over one-fourth (27 percent) would consider a plug-in hybrid, two in ten (19 percent) an electric vehicle and 16 percent would consider a diesel vehicle. Roughly four in ten (41 percent) indicate that they would only get a vehicle with lower operating costs if they could do so without changing their driving habits or expectations.

Current and prospective drivers were also asked how their likelihood to consider several types of vehicles has changed within the past two years.

• Over four in ten (43 percent) indicate being more likely to consider a traditional hybrid (43 percent) – roughly twice the percentage saying they're less likely to do so (21 percent).
• Adding an electrical plug appears to put the brakes on consideration growth, with current or prospective drivers reporting being more (30 percent) and less (30 percent) likely to consider them in equal percentages.
• Taking away the gas tank entirely seems to stall things out further still, with the 23 percent more likely to consider them overpowered by the 38 percent less likely to do so.

Challenges and opportunities for pure electrics

When asked to select their top concerns related to pure electric vehicles, price (65 percent) and range (63 percent) were the top issues, followed by repair/maintenance costs (55 percent), reliability (53 percent), performance/power (48 percent) and the fact that it is still new technology (44 percent).

But the electric vehicles industry still has some juice left; in addition to being in a state of constant advancement, the study indicates that several incentives – including some already being tried out by current manufacturers – show the potential to impact Americans' likelihood to consider such vehicles:

• The majority of Americans (56 percent) would be more likely to consider such a vehicle if it were incentivized with a free fast-charge station installed in their home.
• Nearly half (47 percent) would be more likely to consider one if it cost the same as a similar gas-powered vehicle.
• Over four in ten (42 percent) indicated that having charging stations at or near their workplace would provide such an incentive.
• Smaller, but still notable, percentages indicate that a free gas-powered loaner for a set number of days per year (20 percent), reduced costs on toll roads (17 percent), collision insurance provided with their lease (15 percent) and HOV or "carpool" lane access (14 percent) would make them more likely to consider an electric car.

Source: Harris Interactive

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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