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

My Blog

10 Ways to Better Your Bones

July 24, 2013 6:04 am

There are few things scarier than a broken bone—especially as we age. But, while it isn’t possible to break-proof your bones, there are some pretty reliable ways to strengthen and protect them.

From Prevention Magazine, here are 10 good tips for keeping your skeleton healthy:

● Get enough D – More than half of adults don’t get enough of this vitamin, essential for calcium absorption and bone health. Cod liver oil is a great source, so are salmon, tuna, whole eggs, and D-fortified milk and yogurt.

● Cut back on caffeine – Too much caffeine has been linked to hip fracture. Limit your intake to 2-3 small cups per day, and watch what you’re getting from sports drinks and supplements.

● Say ‘ohm’ – Studies show that doing yoga exercises regularly helps increase bone density. Start with a gentle yin or relaxation yoga class.

● Restrict the vino – Alcohol is known to have a negative effect on bone health. Keep intake to no more than two drinks in an evening.

● Prevent falls – We all lose bone density as we age. Clear away clutter, take your time, and be aware of your surroundings to guard against falls and broken bones.

● Skip the skinny look – Eat sensibly. Being overly thin may put you in more danger of broken bones because you may be depriving them of protein.

● Eat like a Greek – Increase Omega-3s and monounsaturated fats with olive oil, lots of fish, and minimal red meat.

● Don’t smoke – As if you needed another reason! Nicotine and free radicals may harm our body’s bone making cells.

● Exercise – Moderate exercise, including brisk walking, is known to help build bone density.

● Mind your meds – Some commonly prescribed drugs, such as steroids or protein pump inhibitors, can cause bone-thinning. Check with your doctor to develop a plan to counter this unwanted result.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Health Risks of Noise Pollution

July 24, 2013 6:04 am

Noise pollution is a significant cause of sleep deprivation, stress, hypertension, and heart risk. The problem is, it invades our work places and homes constantly.

Recent studies published in “Environmental Health Perspectives” indicate that noise levels at night may also increase the risk of heart attack by chronically elevating stress-related hormone levels. It's clear that noise adversely reduces people's health and quality of life.

Environmental noise is one of the major causes of disturbed sleep. Uninterrupted sleep is critical for proper physical and mental functioning in healthy individuals.

Apart from various effects on sleep itself, noise during sleep causes increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, narrowing of the blood vessels, changes in respiration, cardiac arrhythmias, and increased body movement.

Secondary effects measured the following day include fatigue, depressed mood and well-being, and decreased performance. People who sleep in a noisy environment have a shallower and less restful depth of sleep. This creates more health stresses on the body.

Most homes are built to protect against heat and cold. Often, they are not effective in blocking out noise. Studies of hundreds of offices and homes show that the most significant amount of noise comes through windows, not walls. While many people spend thousands of dollars on "sound proofing" the walls of their buildings, laboratory studies show that more than 90 percent of all the exterior noise comes in through doors and windows. Walls are almost never the problem.

Dual pane windows have been shown to be ineffective at handling noise issues. They are designed to handle heat and cold. The engineering needed for sound is quite different than for handling temperature. That's why people looking for noise relief who simply replace their dual pane windows are often disappointed.

A solution that has shown to reduce noise levels by 75-95 percent is adding soundproof windows. These are add-on windows which install quickly on the interior of a room. They blend with the window frame and dramatically reduce the level of outside noise that comes into the room. The technology behind these specifically engineered windows is grounded in engineering sound-eliminating window systems for recording studios.

Independent laboratory tests confirm noise reductions of 92-99 percent, as verified by audio instrumentation. While the human ear cannot detect that level of precision, the difference in noise levels in a room is significant.

If you live in a major city or on an otherwise noisy block, soundproofing your windows may just be the solution you need for uninterrupted sleep.

Source: Soundproof Windows, Inc.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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How to Make DIY Home Repairs Safely

July 24, 2013 6:04 am

When it comes to home maintenance and repairs, many homeowners opt for the DIY approach. Not only is it a fun way to get your hands dirty, but it can save money on the expenses of hiring a professional. However, many DIYers neglect to fully prepare themselves for accomplishing the task at hand. This results in surprisingly common mistakes that could easily be avoided. So before you choose to DIY something in your own home, take a look at our list of common mistakes homeowners make and learn what you can do to prevent them from happening to you!

Electrical Repair

When it comes to DIY around the house, there's one area that should more often than not be left to the professionals—electrical repairs. According to Root Electric, anywhere from 4,000-6,000 people are injured each year from electric accidents, with a high percentage coming from those performing DIY electric repair attempts.

Neglecting Safety Tips

A great deal of at home DIYers neglect useful and common safety tips during projects. For instance, wearing protective eye wear and dust masks are crucial to a person's safety while doing household repairs. Additionally, it's important to be extra careful and watchful no matter the size of the project you are doing.

Not Taking Out Required Permits

Another common mistake homeowners make when completing home improvement projects themselves is neglecting to take out the required permits. Not only is this not meeting legal standards, but not following certain procedures can be unsafe.

Starting a Job Unprepared

It's great to want to tackle a household task without calling in the professionals, but make sure you are fully prepared. A common mistake most homeowners make is not checking to ensure they have the necessary materials. Before you get in over your head on a project, double check your supply list.

Source: Homesessive.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Make Sure Your Home is Air-Tight

July 20, 2013 7:44 pm

Space heating can account for up to 60 percent of most homeowners' energy bills. This is especially true with older homes, which can often be drafty, lightly insulated and may still have older, less energy efficient windows, doors and heating systems. This can add up to substantially higher home heating costs.

One of the best ways to cut down on your bills and keep your house warm in the winter and cool in the summer is by making sure your home is well sealed. CMHC offers the following tips on how to improve the airtightness of your home, to help you save money, reduce your environmental footprint and make your house more comfortable to live in:

• Air sealing not only cuts heat losses and gains, it also improves comfort by reducing drafts, helps improve the performance of the insulation in your walls and attic by stopping cold winter wind from washing through it, and, it can help prevent moisture build-up in your walls and attic.

• Finding air leaks can often be a challenge. Sometimes they are detectable by feeling for cold drafts in suspect locations. Other times, you may be able to see daylight shining in through unwanted openings. Blackened insulation is often another sign. For a more thorough assessment, consider hiring a qualified residential energy service provider to perform a "blower door" test of your house. During this test, your house is forced to leak, making it easier to find air leakage locations with smoke emitting devices or a special thermographic scanner.

• A blower door test can also tell you the size of the hole all the leakage areas would add up to if they were all located on one location. This is helpful when you want to know how leaky your house is relative to other houses. If a blower door test is done before and after air sealing, you can also find out how much you have reduced the air leakage of your home.

• Some of the more common air leakage points can include ceiling pot light fixtures installed through ceilings into attic spaces, electrical boxes in ceiling and exterior walls; inside to outside wiring, plumbing and duct penetrations; bathroom exhaust fans installed in attic ceilings; older windows and doors; the joint between windows and the surrounding walls; and floor-wall joints.

• Once you have located the leaks, you can use a variety of different approaches to seal them. For instance, leaky windows and doors can be sealed with gaskets or new weatherstripping. Gaps around wiring, pipes and ducts can be sealed with caulking or spray foam. Electrical boxes can be sealed with special gaskets that fit behind the box plate covers. Joints between walls and floors and around the top of your foundation may be sealed with caulking or spray foam depending on the size of the gap. To find out the right options for your home, be sure to consult a contractor with expertise in air leakage control.

• If you are replacing your exterior siding, it's a good time to add an exterior air barrier (and more insulation) that wraps your house in a draft proof cover from the basement to attic.

• While air sealing is always a good idea, you might have to add mechanical ventilation in the form of a bathroom fan, a range hood, or better yet, a heat recovery ventilation system, to help maintain healthy indoor conditions. Air sealing can also adversely affect the ability of some fuel-fired furnaces, boilers and hot water tanks to safely vent combustion products so an additional source of outdoor air may be needed. Consult a qualified mechanical contractor for guidance on ventilation system options and combustion air needs for your home before you start.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Beyond Finances: Tips for First-Time Homebuyers

July 20, 2013 7:44 pm

According to a recent PulteGroup Home Index Survey, more than half of renters aged 18-34 say their intention to buy a home has increased in the last year.

While their intentions are in many ways driven by personal, aspirational reasons – more space, family stability and the pride of homeownership – the low mortgage rate environment, increasing rental costs and scarcity of desirable rental options makes homeownership an even more attractive proposition for many.

"The propensity for young adults to test the waters of homeownership continues to increase and has become more evident as renters are seeing the overall value of owning a home," says Deborah Wahl, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at PulteGroup, Inc., noting that more than 50 percent of Millennials reported that the desire to own/build equity was the primary reason for purchasing a new home. "However, beyond finances, it is important for potential buyers to take several other factors into consideration."

Below are tips for first-time homebuyers looking for the right housing match:

Know Your Financial Situation
– Start saving for a down payment and talk with mortgage lenders about available loans well in advance of your purchase. Understand that there are special federal, state and locally administered financial programs for new homebuyers, such as FHA and HUD loan programs. Additionally, it's important to take into account other factors beyond your mortgage, including homeowners insurance and property taxes. By doing your homework, you will know what you can afford and comfortably make a decision about this important investment.

Compare Owning vs. Renting – Buying can be smarter than renting from a financial standpoint, but it has other advantages, as well. Owning a home provides you with a great deal of freedom and decision-making autonomy. No more will you have to worry about the noisy neighbor upstairs or accidental scratches on the wall from decorations. You'll have the power to select paint colors and plant flowers throughout the yard. Also, houses tend to offer more storage space.

Weigh New vs. Used – If you want to choose the floor plan and customize a home to fit your needs and lifestyle, building a new home may be the right choice for you. Popular options new homes offer today include more open, larger spaces, master bedroom suites, island-centric kitchens and bigger outdoor living space. Customizing a new home also provides the opportunity to design your home and include amenities that meet the needs of your growing family – if that's in your future. Additionally, new homes can be up to 30 percent more energy efficient and often come with a builder warranty. If you're handy and don't mind a fixer upper, resale can be an attractive route as well.

Examine the Location – Consider your surroundings when deciding upon where you want to live next. If you plan to start a family, research the local school district and other family offerings such as nearby parks and community centers. For fun, test out the local retail scene and entertainment options to see if it caters to your lifestyle. If you're a commuter, determine if the area is supported by adequate public transportation or provides easy access to major highways. Many in the housing market also care about ensuring they still live within close proximity to family and friends, as only 21 percent of homeowners are willing to move away from their families.

Select the Right Builder – If you decide on a new home, select a builder who has experience in the type of home and in the location you want. Make sure they have a history of building quality homes and are financially stable. Moreover, how easy are they to work with? Some builders today have gone digital to enhance customer service and help buyers stay on top of the latest with their new home. Look for online design centers that can help you make important design decisions, for example, or portals in which you can stay up-to-date on how your new home is progressing. Lastly, take time to check their references and talk to past customers.

Confide in Trusted Sources – More than 90 percent of home shoppers today are plugged-in to the Internet and use it as their main source of information. While this is particularly true with Millennials, don't forget to seek advice from two trusted groups: real estate agents and your personal network, including your parents. Approximately 60 percent of Millennials say they would rely on both sources, as each has extensive experience in purchasing homes and can provide personal guidance toward the successful purchase of their home.

"With third party data showing that 90 percent of Millennials plan to purchase a home at some point in their lives, it's important for first-time homebuyers to have access to the right tools and information to ensure their first home purchase is one they are proud of for years to come," adds Wahl. "With many options to choose from, starting from a point of knowledge will go a long way towards achieving their dream of homeownership."

Source: Centex

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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When the Doorbell Rings, Americans Want X-ray Vision

July 20, 2013 7:44 pm

Since the invention of the electric bell ringer in 1831, Americans have relished the benefits of the ever-present doorbell to let them know someone's calling. A new nationwide survey shows that no matter how long we have doorbells as fixtures on front doors, we still have very strong and personal reactions to hearing them ring.

The 2,000-person survey was conducted by an independent market research firm and sponsored by VTech® Communications, Inc. Beyond turning into a superhero to see who's there (30 percent want X-ray vision), survey respondents said that an intercom to engage with the visitor (22 percent), followed by the immediate desire to continue activities unnoticed (16 percent), were their top spontaneous reactions to hearing the bell.

A Relentless Need-to-Know
No doubt, maintaining a sense of security is a top reason nearly all consumers (95 percent) say they won't open the door before checking to see who’s there. The majority (89 percent) said they sometimes hesitate to open the door when the bell rings, especially late at night (57 percent), when there's an unfamiliar face (42 percent) or when home alone (31 percent).

Other fun facts from the survey show:

• Mars and Venus reactions to a ringing doorbell. Women are more concerned about security than men – 60 percent of women check who is at the door due to safety worries compared to 45 percent of men. Men, instead, were more apt than women to peek out of curiosity or to screen visitors.

• Curiosity sparks the home dwellers. Emotions vary for an unexpected doorbell ring, with curiosity topping the list (43 percent), followed by annoyance (21 percent), surprise (12 percent) and anxiousness (12 percent).

• A ringing doorbell is worst during a snooze. Sometimes the doorbell rings at the most inconvenient times. The greatest bother to Americans is a doorbell ringing when they are asleep (40 percent), followed by when they are eating a meal (23 percent) and when they are in the shower (21 percent).

• Pets are the secret weapon for home security. The majority of consumers (69 percent) take some measure to protect their homes with 43 percent hoping the family dog will warn them of any trouble. Nearly one third (31 percent) use alarm systems and almost a quarter use motion-detecting lights (23 percent).

"We wanted to find out what Americans think about their doorbells and if this fixture on the front porch is still something people feel attached to," said Matt Ramage, senior vice president, product management, VTech Communications, Inc. "We saw that knowing who's at the door still provides a sense of comfort and security – while satisfying an equal desire for curiosity and convenience. As Americans embrace more digital solutions in the home, we can now take the doorbell concept a step further to accommodate all of those needs."

Source: VTech

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Summer Travel Safety Tips for your Hot Vacation Plans

July 20, 2013 7:44 pm

As the economy continues to rebound, Americans are preparing for summer vacation trips around the country. According to PhoCusWright's U.S. Consumer Travel Report, six in ten U.S. adults traveled for leisure in 2012, the same number as in 2011. However, vacationing away from home can present safety risks as well as pleasures.

"You can help make family trips more enjoyable by taking a few simple steps to reduce the possibility you will become an easy target for thieves who prey on tourists, or that your home will be robbed in your absence," says Allstate Claims Director of Property Innovation Bryan Corder. "Following some simple precautions can make your family vacation a memorable one for all the right reasons."

To help you enjoy a safe family vacation:

Make sure your home is protected while you're away:
• Stop mail and newspapers, or ask a neighbor to pick them up every day.
• Put several household lights on timers so they turn on and off at appropriate times.
• Arrange to have grass mowed while you're gone.
• Ask a neighbor to park in your driveway overnight, or anything else that might suggest someone is home.

Make sure you don't pack unnecessary items and that your valuables are protected:
• Clean out your wallet or purse before you go; take only essential credit cards.
• Carry your purse close to your body, or wallet in an inside front pocket.
• Pack as lightly as possible. Lots of heavy, cumbersome bags will slow you down and make you more vulnerable to getting robbed.
• Keep a separate record of the contents of checked luggage. Keep anything of value such as medicine and jewelry in a carry-on that stays with you.

In unfamiliar locations, you and your family should try to blend in with the crowd and not look too much like tourists:
• Don't display expensive jewelry, cameras, bags and other items that might draw attention.
• Check maps before you go out so you can tour confidently.
• Stick to well-lit, well-traveled streets at all times.
• Leave an itinerary of your trip with someone at home in case you need to be contacted. Carry an extra passport photo with you just in case you need to replace a stolen passport.
• Don't use your home address on your luggage tags. You don't need to let anyone know where your empty house is located. Consider using your business card instead.

Source: Allstate

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Real Estate Appraisers Optimistic About Future

July 20, 2013 7:44 pm

More than three-fourths of U.S. real estate appraisers are very or somewhat positive about the demand for their services over the next one to two years, according to an Appraisal Institute survey recently released.

Eighty percent of residential appraisers and 78 percent of commercial appraisers said they are upbeat about their future, according to the survey conducted in May-June by the nation's largest professional association of real estate appraisers.

"Appraisers have faced a challenging real estate market in recent years, and it's great to see that so many valuation professionals are feeling optimistic about the future," said Appraisal Institute President Richard L. Borges II, MAI, SRA.

According to the survey, 95 percent of residential appraisers and 49 percent of commercial appraisers said there is currently more demand for their services than a year ago.

Additional survey results include:
-Eighty-four percent of residential appraisers said their local residential real estate market is strong, and 46 percent of commercial appraisers had the same opinion about their local commercial markets.
-Eighty-six percent of residential appraisers and 55 percent of commercial appraisers said demand for their services is strong.
-Thirty-two percent of residential appraisers and 45 percent of commercial appraisers anticipate more demand for their services during the ensuing one to two years.

"Real estate trends are typically local in nature, and it's a positive sign for the nation's economy that appraisers around the country reported increased demand for their services," Borges said.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Six Apps for Scoring Extra Savings at the Supermarket

July 20, 2013 7:44 pm

Bad shopping habits can be tough to break – just ask the 63 percent of Americans in ShopSmart's new national grocery shopping survey who admitted to buying things they don't need because of a coupon or a sale. The September 2013 issue of ShopSmart magazine highlights new mobile tools that can get supermarket shoppers organized while saving them time and money at the store.

"A trip to the grocery store can be overwhelming if you go in unprepared," said Lisa Lee Freeman, editor-in-chief of ShopSmart. "Make the most out of your supermarket's website for coupons and download a few convenient apps that can help you save big on the things you need the most."

More than one in 10 respondents said they either never make a list or they make one but never stick to it. However, many are sticking to their lists more often than they did a couple of years ago. ShopSmart recommends the following free apps to help shoppers prepare for their next trip to the supermarket:

1. ZipList allows users to create a master checklist for things they buy frequently; the app also finds coupons and sorts participating stores by aisle. Works on: Android, Apple.

2. Weekly Ads & Sales
gives users access to weekly circulars without having to deal with the paper clutter. An added feature is its ability to track sales for the largest grocers, such as Kroger and Safeway, plus specialty retailers including Best Buy and Old Navy. Works on: Apple.

3. Grocery iQ matches items on users' grocery lists with applicable coupons and works best for people who tend to stick to the same list week after week. Works on: Android, Apple.

Coupon apps with extra features such as automated deals, rewards for frequent use, and instant savings can be a great way to score extra savings at the grocery store.

4. SavingStar registers users' loyalty cards and allows them to browse a list of exclusive offers. The "One or Many" deals feature lets users buy items over multiple trips to hit the required quantities. The deals usually have a big payout, such as $5 off $30 spent on Charmin, Gillette, and Ivory products. Works on: Android, Apple.

5. Cellfire sends coupons directly to users' loyalty cards and features an optional store alert, reminding them about coupons when they walk into a store. Works on: Android, Apple, BlackBerry.

6. Ibotta pays users back, usually 25 to 50 cents, when they take a poll or watch a short video, then buy the item, take a picture of the receipt, scan the bar code and submit it. It might not seem worth the effort at first, but those quarters can add up – especially when bonuses start to kick in after frequent use. Works on: Android, Apple.

Source: ShopSmart

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Extreme Heat Means Danger for Pets

July 20, 2013 7:44 pm

This week, temperatures in much of the United States are expected to climb beyond the 90 degree mark, with heat indices above 100 degrees. This can mean extreme danger for pets.

To keep pets safe, the veterinarians at Chicago Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Center remind pet owners of the following:

Never leave your pet unattended in a car. Even with the windows open, the interior temperature of a car can exceed 100 degrees in a matter of minutes on a warm day. This can cause heatstroke, a life threatening condition for pets. Heatstroke can lead to kidney failure, brain damage, and in severe cases, death.

Asphalt, concrete and sand can become extremely hot. Use caution when allowing a pet to walk on these surfaces as they can quickly burn a pet's paw pads.

Keep pets indoors. It's best to keep pets indoors in an air-conditioned environment as much as possible on extremely hot days. When outdoors, pets should have access to shade and plenty of cool, clean drinking water.

Don't over-exercise your pets. Exercise is great for pets, but it's important to use caution. Avoid excessive exercise on hot days. Any exercise should take part during the coolest part of the day.

Never leave your pet unattended in a pool or lake
. Not all dogs are good swimmers. Some may get tired or have difficulty getting out of the water, leading to problems or even drowning.

Prevent sunburn. Light-colored dogs, hairless dogs and dogs that have been shaved can get sunburned. Use a pet-specific sunscreen to keep your pet safe from sunburn when it is outdoors.

Use only pet-safe products. Never use sunscreen or insect repellant on animals unless it is specifically approved for use on that species. Some products made for human use are toxic to pets.

Pet owners who think their pet may be suffering from heatstroke should immediately move the animal to a cool place and begin cooling the pet. Pets can be cooled with damp towels or by immersing the animal in cool (not cold) water or rinsing it off with a hose. Pet owners should also seek immediate care from their veterinarian or from an emergency veterinary center. Veterinarians can help cool pets with intravenous fluids and other medical resources.

Source: Chicago Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Center

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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