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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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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

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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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Guide to Effortless Summer House Painting

July 20, 2013 7:44 pm

You can boldly embrace summer this year with a new coat of paint on your home's exterior. While exterior painting may seem a daunting task, College Pro Painters has tips to help you achieve an effortless and elegant exterior painting experience with some before, during and after painting tips.

Before you go searching for paint swatches, take these points into consideration:

-What is your house's style? Pay heed to the style of your house - its age and architectural background - with a little research. Choosing colors that adhere to its style, whether it's southwestern, colonial revival, Tudor, or ranch style will help your house to truly own its new color.

-What are the styles and colors of your neighbors' houses? Neighborhoods often feature a particular set of house shades, and selecting colors that are compatible with these (but not necessarily the same) will keep your home from sticking out like a sore thumb.

-Are there decorative features you want to play up as you paint? In your exterior painting plans, do you also plan to paint the shutters? Front door? Columns? Trim? Choosing accent colors to play up these features will give your home more visual interest and depth.

-How do color tones affect the appearance of your home? A general rule of thumb in house painting is that lighter colors will make a house appear bigger, while darker or more intense colors make a house seem smaller. Color tones will affect the longevity of the paint and your home's ambiance.

-What colors are already present in your home? If your home has decorative stone or brick elements, your house's exterior should complement those colors - especially their tone. You can also create a vibrant continuity between your home's exterior and interior by choosing exterior colors that pair with your interior design.

During your research of house painting trends and possible painting companies keep in mind:

-Grays of all shades from slate to feathered gray have been extremely popular recently. Because they're so neutral they can be paired with less standard colors to add a pop of excitement.

-Primary colors - Variations of primary colors, especially more subdued blues are paired with bold primary accent colors on the doors or shutters to enhance the visual interest.

-Color families - If you're looking for cohesion, consider choosing different shades from the same family. The variety will give your home dimension while still keeping it consistent and classy.

-College Pro's Rule of three - An exterior color scheme should, in most cases be composed of three colors, allowing for a base color and contrasting accent colors to highlight your home without overwhelming the exterior.

-A comprehensive house painting company - Choosing an exterior painting company to work at your home may seem a little unsettling. After all, the company's employees will be entering your family's personal space. That's why it pays for you to select a company with many years of experience and high customer satisfaction standards to meet all your needs.

After your newly painted house is the envy of the neighborhood, here are easy updates to spruce up the rest of your home's exterior too:

-Replace Old Hardware - Replacing old door knobs or latches will complete the new, sparkling appearance of your home.

-Paint/Stain and Repair your Deck-- A dingy deck can drag down the appearance of your house's exterior. Paint or stain your deck to compliment the new shade of your home. (Mid-range stains are particularly popular now.)

-Put Your Personal Stamp on Your Mailbox - Show off your new exterior painting job and invest in a new mailbox or redecorate the one to compliment your house.

-Gear up your garden - Adding potted plants or flower boxes near your front door and in your windows can make your home appear much more inviting for visitors!

Source: College Pro

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Insulate Now for a Comfortable Summer

July 20, 2013 7:44 pm

Hot summer days are here, and in many regions, hot days mean hot, restless nights, even when the air conditioning is running. With temperatures on the rise outside, it's time to think about how to keep cool indoors without breaking the bank. To keep the heat out and the cool air in, now is the ideal time to insulate.

Many homeowners consider adding thermal insulation to their home in the fall, in preparation for a cold winter. But insulating in the summer can help provide immediate relief from rising temperatures and elevated electric bills that result from running an air conditioner. Just as heat escapes through improperly-insulated walls during cold winter months, it can creep back in through these walls during the summer.

Homeowners are encouraged to insulate now for a cool, comfortable summer and thermal protection all year long.

-During summer months, air in an attic can reach up to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Without proper attic insulation, that hot air can make its way down into the home, sabotaging an air conditioner's hard work. If the second story is hotter than the first floor, add extra insulation or replace failing insulation in the attic.

-Crawlspaces built into and under homes should also be properly insulated. Consider adding insulation to the underside of the home's floor and around the crawl space walls.

-Basements are often overlooked as a key place to insulate, but in the summer, a basement is typically the coolest place in the house. To keep that cold air in, adding a layer of insulation to exterior-facing walls and in the basement ceiling will help prevent drafts and escaping cool air.

Source: Roxul, Inc

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Supporting Healthy Aging: Finding Solutions for Social Isolation

July 20, 2013 7:44 pm

After Marilyn, 83, lost her husband and companion of 63 years last spring, she dropped many of her activities and grew apart from her friends. Her daughter Mary, 61, wondered if the changes she saw in her normally active mother were due to aging or because she was depressed. Mary began helping with shopping, cleaning and coordinating doctors' appointments. She began losing sleep and worrying about her mother when she wasn't there while also juggling the responsibilities of a full-time job and a first grandchild on the way.

Much like Mary, today's adult children increasingly find themselves balancing a variety of responsibilities. Known as the "sandwich generation", many adult children are struggling to care for their aging parents while supporting their own children. Added to this delicate balancing act is the issue of social isolation among seniors, a problem that impacts both aging parents and their caregiving children.

The effects of social isolation

The social isolation and loneliness experienced by Marilyn reflect an issue of growing concern in Canada. According to Statistics Canada, about 37 percent of seniors 75 and older live alone. According to the World Health Organization, social isolation is associated with higher rates of premature death, a lower sense of well-being, more depression and a higher level of disability from chronic diseases.

Research also shows that social isolation increases "caregiver burden," with potentially negative effects on health and quality of life. This currently impacts approximately one-third of baby boomers who provide assistance to an aging family member, with about 70 percent of caregivers aged 45 to 64 actively working, according to Statistics Canada and BMO Retirement Institute.

Finding the right solution


The good news is there are solutions to reduce the risks of social isolation for seniors and their family caregivers, including maintaining or restoring an active social life. "Staying socially active, in a variety of physical, social and emotional activities can truly enrich life for seniors and help them build new social connections," says Laura Forsyth, director of Life Enrichment at Chartwell Retirement Residences.

The right support services can often help prolong independence and help manage care needs for an aging parent while reducing the stress on adult children. If the time has come to consider your options, a retirement residence may be the solution.

Source: Chartwell.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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3 Pitfalls to Avoid When Paying Your Kitchen & Bath Contractor

July 12, 2013 6:52 am

With the market gradually recovering, more homeowners are spending money on remodeling projects. If they are not careful, homeowners can end up paying more than they ever expected. Here are some valuable tips on how to avoid three of the most common pitfalls.

Pitfall #1: A homeowner makes a large deposit, then gets no work done.

This is one of the most common scams among unscrupulous contractors. They ask for a big deposit or to pay for all of the materials upfront, then the homeowner never hears from them again. To avoid this pitfall, homeowners should not pay for work or materials upfront and should avoid any large deposits.

In some states, it is against the law for contractors to ask for more than 10 percent or $1,000 (whichever is less) for a downpayment. They cannot legally ask for upfront payment for materials or work. The one exception is if the contractor is ordering customer-requested custom materials.

Pitfall #2: Suppliers or subcontractors come after the homeowner for payment.

Homeowners are responsible for suppliers and subcontractors who do not get paid on their job. They can even put a lien against the home where they did the work. To avoid this pitfall, there are several strategies a homeowner can use:

• Pay the supplier or subcontractor directly.
• Issue joint checks to the contractor and supplier/subcontractor.
• Get an unconditional lien release from suppliers/subcontractors.

Pitfall #3: Homeowner is liable for an injury on the job, including lost wages.

If the general contractor does not have valid insurance, the homeowner is liable for any injuries on the job. This includes paying lost wages, if someone gets hurt and cannot work for a period of time. To avoid this pitfall, check that the general contractor has valid liability and workman’s comp insurance.

Of course, the easiest way to avoid these and other potential pitfalls is to work with a reputable contractor who has a history of paying suppliers and subcontractors on time.

Source: Cornerstone Design & Remodel

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Questions to Ask When Buying a House

July 12, 2013 6:52 am

Americans continue to have home-buying fever thanks to continued low mortgage interest rates. However, in order to help eager homebuyers avoid costly surprises down the road, GoBankingRates has put together a list of the most important – but often overlooked – questions home shoppers need to ask before committing to a home purchase and long-term mortgage debt.

1. Is renting vs. buying a better option?

Before you spend too much time looking for your dream home, you need to weigh all your options. David Bakke from the website Moneycrashers.com suggests you ask yourself the question, “Is renting vs. home buying a better option?” Depending on your situation, you may not be ready to buy, may need some time to save for a down payment, or may live in a more expensive housing market.

“If you have a lot of debt, a low credit score, or don’t have much money saved up, renting may be a better option,” advises Bakke. Someone with these factors may have to wait a few more years to be in a better financial situation before they are able to obtain a mortgage loan.

2. What is the neighborhood’s crime rate?

The second thing regarding what questions to ask when buying a house is the safety of your neighborhood and town. David Bakke sums it up great, “What is the crime rate in the area?”

3. What are my home ‘needs’ and ‘wants’?

According to Steve Aaron, a Beverly Hills REALTOR® featured on HGTV’s “Selling LA,” “No property is perfect. What are your ‘deal breakers’ vs. your wants. Where are you willing and able to compromise?” The point here is to have a shorter check-list of “must-haves” when looking at potential homes.

4. Where is the seller’s disclosure?

Even if you fall head-over-heels for a house, don’t be punch-drunk in love with it. Unlike a person, a home is just four walls — and there are plenty out there with many more being built. Aaron recommends to, “Ask the listing agent if there are any seller disclosures (known defects of material facts that can affect desirability or value) before you write an offer.” Just like a relationship, you need to take time to know your future partner, or in this case, your future home.

5. Can I make the needed home renovations or additions?

If you are looking to add on to your home or do renovations, it is wise to check the house’s zoning or area disclosure. Steven Aaron told me, “Know if the property is located in any type of historic or preservation area or area disclosure. There may be limits on adding on, aesthetics etc.”

Based on my personal experience from litigation and headaches caused by neighbors, homeowners’ associations and local, state and federal government regulations, a little homework goes a long way.”

Source: www.gobankingrates.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Your Guide to Coping on a Long Haul Flight

July 12, 2013 6:52 am

With cheaper and more regular flights around, an increasing amount of people are jet setting to the other side of the world, however, for people who are not used to flying or flying long haul then it can be quite daunting as well as tiresome. Here is a short guide on how to cope with the going long distance.

Firstly, if you're flying to somewhere like Sydney or Beijing, rather than opting for a straight flight thinking that you will get there quicker, it may be a good idea to search for flights with transfers or layovers so that you can get off the plane, stand up, have a walk around to get some fresh air.

Keep yourself entertained. Most airlines that operate long distance flights do have in-flight entertainment such as a TV at the back of the seat behind you. However, if you are on a seven- or 14-hour flight then you may want something more than a film to prevent you from getting bored. Most people pack away their books or magazines in their suitcase. Make sure that you pack these in your carry-on - you never know when you might fancy a read!

Throughout the flight, be sure to drink plenty of water. The temptation during long haul flights, when drinks are free, is to opt for hot, fizzy or alcoholic beverages, but you need to make sure that you keep hydrated, as dehydration is one of the worst aspects of flying.

Although most major airlines do offer a blanket or an eye mask, always be prepared. If you find it difficult to sleep on planes then ear plugs and eye masks may be something that you want to pack with you. It is also a good idea to ensure that you are wearing layers so you can adjust accordingly to the air conditioning and have a comfortable flight.

Finally, if you can, try and find a flight that sets off at night, that way you may find that for half of the journey you are sleeping and by the time you wake up you will nearly have reached your destination.

Source: SportsDirect.com

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Tips to Keep Young Children Safe and Sunburn Free All Summer Long

July 12, 2013 6:52 am

With summer fully here, the Window Covering Safety Council (WCSC) is reminding parents to think about summer safety during these hot, humid and sunny months. To beat the heat, parents can create fun indoor activities for their children to avoid heat exhaustion and limit UV exposure. Parents should pull down their window coverings to both help keep the sun out and to keep kids cool. The WCSC reminds parents and caregivers to only use cordless window coverings in homes with young children. To ensure window coverings are safe for your children, free window covering retrofit kits can be ordered through the WCSC website.

Safety should also be top of mind when play moves outdoors. The American Academy of Ophthalmology has declared July 2013 UV Safety Month, to educate Americans about the dangers of too much sun exposure. One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime and young children's skin is particularly sensitive to the sun. When enjoying outdoor activities this summer, the Skin Cancer Foundation offers this advice to parents to help keep their children burn free:

• Infants under six months of age should be kept out of the sun. Their skin is too sensitive for sunscreen.
• Babies six to twelve months of age should dress in lightweight clothing that covers the arms and legs. Sunscreen must be applied 30 minutes before going outside, and reapplied every two hours or after swimming or excessive sweating.
• Toddlers should be in the shade between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., as much as possible. Parents should check the outdoor area where their child plays to make sure there is adequate shade. Also, provide them with sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat to protect their face, neck and ears.

Source: Window Covering Safety Council

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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