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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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Young Americans Display Interest in Buying a Home This Year

June 2, 2013 6:12 am

Among Americans ages 18 to 34, a total of 41 percent (46 percent men and 36 percent women in that age group) display an interest in buying a home this year. Of those in this age group who display an interest, 17 percent of men and about 6 percent of women see their finances as shaky but still think they can swing buying a home this year.

Among all Americans displaying an interest in buying a home this year, 10 percent of men and 4 percent of women said their finances were shaky but still think they can swing buying a home.

Leading market research firm Harris Interactive conducted a survey online among 2,064 U.S. adults ages 18 and older from April 18-22, 2013. The survey was conducted after the federal tax filing deadline, when Americans generally have a clearer picture of their financial health. Overall, across age groups, 30 percent of Americans display an interest in buying a home during the next year.

Other interesting findings of the survey are:

• Only 20 percent of those tax filers who are separated, divorced or widowed have or had an interest in buying a home this year, which is significantly less than those who are married (31 percent) or single and never married (38 percent).

• Of those displaying an interest in buying a home this year, those in households with children under 18 years old are significantly more likely than households without to indicate they can't afford a home this year (24 percent versus 14 percent, respectively). However, they are also twice as likely as those without to indicate that, after seeing their taxes, they know their finances are stressed but still believe they can manage buying a home this year (11 percent and 5 percent, respectively).

Source: www.dhltd.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Netwatch Offers Six Tips for Vacant Home Protection

June 2, 2013 6:12 am

Metal theft continues to attract thieves across the country. Among the targets most often hit are recently foreclosed and vacated homes. These sites pose challenges to owners and banks who attempt to ward off would-be copper thieves, squatters and intruders. While unsalable homes are still a relatively small part of the national inventory of foreclosed properties, the Department of Housing and Urban Development reports that the worse the economy is in a particular region, the more damaged and vandalized foreclosed homes are likely to be.

Netwatch USA offers six tips to prevent vacant or foreclosed homes from falling victim to copper theft or potential occupation by trespassers or squatters:

• Keep up with lawn care and exterior maintenance. This will not only increase curb appeal once it’s ready to sell, it will also let would-be trespassers know that the house is regularly visited and may, in fact, be inhabited. Be sure to keep gutters clean, snow shoveled, and the lawn mowed. Be sure to remove all ladders and tools after maintenance to prevent them from being used for break-ins.

• Park a car in the driveway. If you have an extra car, keeping it in the driveway can be enough to make the house look inhabited. You may also want to ask a trusted neighbor to park in the driveway.

• Invest in automatic interior and exterior lights. Keeping pathways, doorways, and interiors well-lit may scare off potential burglars. Consider automatic lights for the exterior and lights on timers for the interior.

• Lock up your circuit breaker. Effective lighting and certain surveillance equipment requires electricity, so lock the door to your circuit breaker. If kept unlocked, thieves can easily access the breaker and cut off the electricity, therefore, disabling lighting and some traditional burglar alarms. To minimize electrical fire risk, turn off all unnecessary electrical circuits.

• Manage where the vacant property’s address is published. Until the property is ready to sell, keep the address as private as possible. Thieves will access lists of vacant homes, which will make it easier and more efficient for them to find and break in to homes.

• Check that you have the correct type of insurance. Confirm with your insurance company to see if your policy needs to change now that the property is vacant. More often than not, carrying construction companies’ risk policy will adequately cover you from copper theft and vandals.

“Abandoned homes are, by their nature, a challenge to protect and are especially vulnerable to copper thieves,” said Netwatch CEO David Walsh. “Simply nailing plywood to windows and doors is not enough to scare off intruders and can easily be removed by saws and pry bars. Protecting your property with an effective surveillance system along with proper security measures will discourage potential copper thieves."

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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How to Recover Storm Damaged Cars

June 2, 2013 6:12 am

The process of recovering and rebuilding from severe weather can be daunting, but when it comes to damaged or destroyed cars, it’s best to begin as soon as possible.

You can get an idea of whether you have coverage for storm-related damages by getting out your policy and seeing if comprehensive (also sometimes referred to as "other than collision") coverage is included.

This coverage type is not required by law and is the only one that will compensate drivers for vehicle damages caused by weather-related events like tornadoes and hail.

Drivers without this type of protection can prepare for the next storm by checking to see how much it would cost to add it to their policy by using an online quote-comparison tool.

Know your deductible
If you do have this coverage type, one thing you should be aware of is your deductible.

When you bought your policy, you and your agent or insurer agreed on a set dollar amount that you would have to pay before your comprehensive coverage actually kicks in. So if you have a $500 deductible and the damage to your car will cost $1,500 to repair, you'll likely have to pay your insurer $500 before they cover the remaining $1,000.

Filing your claim
To start your claim, call your agent or your insurance company's claims hotline with your policy information in hand. The number for the claims hotline may be on the proof of insurance card you keep in your glove box. If not, you can likely find it on the company website.

If you feel that temporary vehicle repairs are necessary to prevent further damage, ask the contact at your insurance company about the best way to go about doing that. The best route may end up being paying for the temporary repairs, saving the receipt and then seeking reimbursement from your insurer.

Also, make sure to take photos of the damage.

Source: www.onlineautoinsurance.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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How to Give a Home Curb Appeal for a Faster Sale

June 2, 2013 6:12 am

One of the first things a potential buyer sees is your front yard. A well maintained yard instantly increases your home’s value by as much as 10 percent. Here are some top tips for lawn care and landscaping:

Mulch: Adding a layer of mulch to gardens and other non-grassy areas is an inexpensive way to make your yard look nicer. It also helps prevent weeds, so your yard will look better, longer.

Refresh Planters: Think about planting brightly colored plants and flowers. They don’t cost that much and instantly make your home look better. If you don’t have planters, consider investing in some. Not only can they help improve the curb appeal at your current home, you can take them with you when you move.

Prune: Trim trees and shrubs. You don’t want a potential buyer’s first impression of your home to be that you neglect maintenance issues. It’s also a good idea to take a look at your perennial plants. If a plant doesn’t look healthy, remove it. If you don’t want to invest in replacing the plant, put a decorative planter in its place.

Remove plants you want to keep: It’s misleading to show a potential buyer plants you don’t intend to include with the sale. Many states even have restrictions preventing you from doing so.

Clear Clutter: Remove anything that is making the yard look cluttered, such as toys, lawn ornaments and large furniture. They can make your yard look smaller and less attractive to potential buyers.

Mow Regularly: This may seem obvious, but an unruly lawn may have potential buyers wondering what else you have let go in and around your home.

Source: Pillar To Pos
t

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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A Group Vibe Can Help You Get Fit, Give Back

May 29, 2013 11:36 pm

It may come as no surprise that sharing a diet plan or an exercise routine with a friend can help you stay on track.

“Adding public commitment to personal dedication is often what keeps you from falling off the wagon,” said Crunch fitness instructor Amy Flores.

One overweight mom in Missouri lost 70 pounds in seven months by taking the strategy one step further, Flores said – posting her commitment on a Facebook Page and inviting several dozen friends to not just join her in losing weight, but to donate cash to a favorite cause for every pound they lost.

“Once she took her goal public,” Flores said, “she didn’t dare fall off the wagon until she reached goal – and the same strategy could work whether you want to shed pounds, stop smoking, or accomplish any other health and fitness goal.”

Flores offers three tips for those who want to put the strategy in place:

• Give people plenty of notice – Whether you want your friends to donate money for each pound you lose, or donate to a charity of their choice as they work to hit their own goals, determine a start date and post your notice publicly several weeks before you plan to begin.

• Make tracking easy – Create a donation page on a site like GoFundMe or Causes, which provide easy templates to help you set a goal, track your progress, and share it via email and/or Facebook.

• Offer alternatives – Some of your friends may be glad to participate with the cause you have suggested. But give these willing pledgers an option for choosing a charity they care about, which may inspire them to donate more generously.

However you choose to proceed, Flores said, getting others involved will strengthen your commitment to achieving your goal and inspire others to do the same in a fun and positive way.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Home Prices See Strong Gains in the First Quarter of 2013

May 29, 2013 11:36 pm

Data through March 2013, released by S&P Dow Jones Indices for its S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, the leading measure of U.S. home prices, showed that all three composites posted double-digit annual increases. The 10-City and 20-City Composites increased by 10.3 percent and 10.9 percent up until March, with the national composite rising by 10.2 percent in the last four quarters. All 20 cities posted positive year-over-year growth.

In the first quarter of 2013, the national composite rose by 1.2 pecent. On a monthly basis, the 10- and 20-City Composites both posted increases of 1.4 percent. Charlotte, Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle and Tampa were the five MSAs to record their largest month-over-month gains in over seven years.

The S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index, which covers all nine U.S. census divisions, recorded a 10.2 percent gain in the first quarter of 2013 over the first quarter of 2012. In March 2013, the 10- and 20-City Composites posted annual increases of 10.3 percent and 10.9 percent, respectively.

"Home prices continued to climb," says David M. Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices. "Home prices in all 20 cities posted annual gains for the third month in a row. Twelve of the 20 saw prices rise at double-digit annual growth. The National Index and the 10- and 20-City Composites posted their highest annual returns since 2006.

"Phoenix again had the largest annual increase at 22.5 percent followed by San Francisco with 22.2 percent and Las Vegas with 20.6 percent. Miami and Tampa, the eastern end of the Sunbelt, were softer with annual gains of 10.7 percent and 11.8 percent.

"Other housing market data reported in recent weeks confirm these strong trends: housing starts and permits, sales of new home and existing homes continue to trend higher.”

As of the first quarter of 2013, average home prices across the United States are back at their mid-2003 levels. At the end of the first quarter of 2013, the National Index was up 1.2 percent over the fourth quarter of 2012 and 10.2 percent above the first quarter of 2012.

Source: S&P Dow Jones Indices

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Save Energy with a Tankless Water Heater

May 29, 2013 11:36 pm

Other than space heating, most homeowners use more energy to heat water than for almost any other household activity. Finding ways to reduce hot water energy use can therefore, be an important part of an overall plan to reduce household energy costs.

In many homes, water is heated in storage tanks. When there is no hot water being used, the tanks still consume energy just to maintain the water in the tank at a ready-to-use temperature. Tankless water heaters (also known as "on-demand" or "instantaneous" water heaters) use high inputs of gas or electricity to instantaneously heat water, rather than storing hot water for long periods in traditional hot water tanks.

Because they don't need to keep the water warm even when it's not in use, high-efficiency tankless water heaters can reduce the amount of energy you use to heat your water by as much as 40 percent or more, helping you cut down on your monthly utility bills. In addition to saving energy, tankless water heaters can also lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and reduce the consumption of non-renewable resources.
If you're thinking of going tankless, the following information can help you make an informed decision:

• Tankless water heaters can be hung on a wall and are usually more compact than traditional hot water storage tanks. This allows them to take up considerably less floor space in your home. However, you still need to make sure you have enough space available to safely hang your tank and service and maintain it. If you're buying a fuel-fired model, you'll also need to make sureyou have the space available to safely run the venting system outdoors to an acceptable location.

• Proper sizing is another important consideration when it comes to choosing a tankless heater. To make sure your heater can supply all the hot water your family needs, purchase a unit that has a heating capacity enough for your entire household. If you purchase an undersized unit or if your hot water needs increase, try using timers or set the delay function on your appliances to avoid overlapping demands.

• If your home uses natural gas or propane, you may need larger gas pipes to accommodate the higher gas flows needed by the heater.

• In addition, when using a tankless water heater, you may need to let the water flow longer in your taps or shower before it becomes hot. To help cut down on your waiting time, make sure you purchase the right size heater for your home, and try to locate your new tankless heater as close as possible to the bathroom, kitchen or other areas where you expect to use the most hot water.

• Be sure to consult with a qualified professional contractor to assess your hot water needs and to provide guidance on what type of water heater would be most appropriate for your particular circumstances.

Source: CMHC

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Study Reveals Americans' Rising Faith in Housing Market

May 28, 2013 3:36 am

Nearly half of Americans (47 percent) say they feel more comfortable purchasing a home today than at any other time in the past five years, according to results of a recent survey by Mayflower. And nearly a third say they are now ready to make a move.

Compared to 2012, residential moves were up 18.9 percent in the historically slowest moving months – January through April.

The survey data is also consistent with other national data showing continued rises in existing home prices and sales. Growth appears to be the strongest in the West, where data showed 54 percent of survey respondents are now comfortable purchasing a house.

The data reflect an easing of the wariness Americans have felt in recent years in the aftermath of the bursting of the housing bubble in 2008. Although the average American reports moving six times throughout their adult life, nearly half of Americans (49 percent) say they have put off moving since the bubble burst nearly five years ago.

Among those now interested in searching for a new home within the next year, the survey showed the desire for a new or better home is the leading motive. Other important motives include a desire for a more attractive neighborhood and the desire to become a homeowner.

Most mobile are the young, with half of Millennials (18-34 years old) more receptive to buying a home than renting and looking to move within the next year. While younger consumers would be more likely to move due to a change in employment or a growing family, half of adults over the age of 65 would consider moving in the next year because of retirement.

The peak moving season begins in May and will continue until September. Here are some tips to help consumers save time and money throughout their move:

• Move on a weekday. Weekends are the time when most people want to move, but on weekdays, moving trucks often go unused. Book a truck on a Monday or Tuesday and use the weekend to prep for the movers' arrival.
• Move in the early part or middle of the month. A lot of household moves happen at the end of the month, which means prices will be higher.
• If given a choice, avoid moving in the summer, especially June and July. You can save big on your moving costs.
• Book in advance. Once you know the date of your move, book your mover right away.
• Do some of your own packing. You can easily pack clothes, blankets, pillows and other non-fragile items yourself. For the breakable items, consider letting professionals pack them to avoid having to replace broken items.
• Consider a do-it-yourself option like a container. Portable moving and storage containers allow you to pack and load your things at your own pace. A professional will pick up your loaded container and deliver it to your new home, so you don't ever have to drive a truck.
• Bundle other services into the price of your move. Look for a carrier that can arrange for services like cleaning, PC and network assembly and disassembly, and ID theft protection. Bundling these services with the cost of your move can help you save hundreds of dollars compared to hiring separate companies for each service.

Source: Mayflower

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Missed Must-Sees: U.S. Landmarks that Most Americans Have Never Visited

May 28, 2013 3:36 am

Hotwire.com® announced results from its second annual American Travel Behavior Survey, conducted online on its behalf by Harris Interactive among over 2,000 U.S. adults. Expanding on last year's list, the survey revealed even more well-known landmarks that a majority of Americans have never visited, including The Space Needle, Yellowstone National Park, the Gateway Arch, Hollywood Sign and Las Vegas Strip. And with the weather warming up by the minute, there's no better time for Americans to take advantage of discounts to start crossing these sights off their wish lists at a fraction of the cost.

The Space Needle, Seattle, Wash. (78 percent of U.S. adults have never visited)

If there's one thing more famous than Seattle's coffee, it's the city's iconic Space Needle – a 605-foot tall tower that defines the skyline of Downtown Seattle. Constructed in 1962 to commemorate the Seattle World's Fair, the tower was once the largest structure west of the Mississippi River. And while it may have been knocked off the top spot by newer U.S. buildings, it's still a remarkable sight. Visitors to the Space Needle can take an elevator ride to the top, where there's a restaurant and an observation deck, both with beautiful views of Downtown Seattle and Mount Rainier.

Average hotel price: $99
Average air price: $410
Average daily car rental rate: $29

Yellowstone National Park (73 percent of U.S. adults have never visited)

Even with its status as one of the U.S.' most famous landmarks and the first national park, almost three-quarters of all Americans have yet to visit Yellowstone National Park. Spanning three states, the park takes up almost 3,500 square miles and is home to mountains, canyons, lakes, rivers and hundreds of species of animals. Visitors to Yellowstone have many options when it comes to outdoor activities in this colossal destination. After a trip to the world-famous Old Faithful Geyser, which erupts about once every hour and a half, folks can kayak through the West Thumb area, or even hike through any number of the park's 1,100 miles of trails.

Average hotel price: $136
Average air price: $613
Average daily car rental rate: $21

*Prices based on travel and stays in Jackson, Wyoming

Gateway Arch, St. Louis, Missouri (70 percent of U.S. adults have never visited)

Standing tall at 630 feet, St. Louis' Gateway Arch is truly a modern marvel, and the tallest man-made monument in the United States. Coming up on the 50th anniversary of its completion in 1965, the arch is more than just a jaw-dropping site. As part of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, this towering spectacle commemorates the westward growth of the United States, and is sure to please history buffs and everyday travelers just the same.

Average hotel price: $63
Average air price: $361
Average daily car rental rate: $25

The Hollywood Sign, Los Angeles, California (69 percent of U.S. adults have never visited)

If Los Angeles has any one iconic landmark, it's the world-famous Hollywood Sign. Featured in countless films and TV shows, the 45-foot tall letters should look and feel familiar to visitors from all over the world. But folks don't have to look at the sign from afar; with just a 40-minute hike up the Hollyridge Trail, visitors can get up close and personal with the landmark and enjoy a breathtaking view of metro Los Angeles at the same time.

Average hotel price: $98
Average air price: $383
Average daily car rental rate from San Antonio: $28

Las Vegas Strip, Las Vegas, Nevada (45 percent of U.S. adults have never visited)

With a nickname like "Sin City," it might be a little surprising that Las Vegas is the survey's least-ignored landmark to date. But it's even more surprising to think that this larger-than-life Nevada mecca still has yet to be experienced by 45 percent of Americans. A constant influx of new hotels like the luxurious Cosmopolitan and vivacious nightclubs like the Hakkasan are making this desert getaway even more attractive to visitors beyond just the usual crowd from nearby southern California.

Average hotel price: $91
Average air price: $378
Average daily car rental rate: $28

Source: Hotwire

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Clean-Up Tips Following Tornadoes

May 28, 2013 3:36 am

In the wake of the tornadoes that swept through Oklahoma this week, the Restoration Industry Association (RIA) has these tips for individuals struck by tragedy in the wake of these or future tornados. To begin the clean-up and damage assessment process:

-Notify your insurance company of the loss.
-Keep a notebook to track dates and times of conversations with individuals pertaining to your claim.
-Save receipts for meals, hotels, toiletries, replacement clothing, prescriptions, etc.
-Take photos for future reference and insurance claims. This provides a digital inventory of some contents and damage.
-Homeowners with appropriate insurance coverage may hire any restoration company they choose and are not limited to those suggested by an insurer.
-If electrical appliances such as televisions and computers were damaged by water, do not turn them back on when power is restored. This can result in electric shock and further damage to the appliance. Electronics can often be cleaned & restored by knowledgeable contractors.
-Drywall, insulation and carpeting/padding impacted by rain will probably need to be removed and replaced.
-Wear heavy rubber gloves or work gloves and thick-soled shoes, preferably not tennis shoes, since there can be exposed nails, glass and other sharp objects.
-Wash your hands frequently -- especially before touching your face or eating.
-Avoid cross contamination -- don't wear dirty clothes or shoes to a clean or undamaged part of a structure.
-Drink lots of water to stay hydrated.
-Don't use bleach to disinfect since it is corrosive and can react with other substances. Use household disinfectants.
-Open drawers and cabinets for interior drying, but don't force them open.
-Remove standing water from flat surfaces by sponging and blotting.
-Hard surfaces can be disinfected as well as some soft goods, depending on washability.

Beware of scammers offering restoration services. Check references and visit the Restoration Industry Association website -- www.restorationindustry.org -- to find a contractor.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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