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
Search for Properties
Peter Cerruti

My Blog

Netwatch Offers Six Tips for Vacant Home Protection

April 8, 2013 9:42 pm

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.


Tags:

Freddie Mac Streamlined Modification for Delinquent Borrowers to Start July 1, 2013

April 8, 2013 9:42 pm

The following statement was released by Tracy Mooney, senior vice president, Servicing and REO, Freddie Mac:

"The Streamlined Modification will open a new gateway to mortgage relief for many of America's struggling borrowers. Starting July 1, 2013 servicers will proactively offer eligible borrowers a Streamlined Modification, which can cut monthly mortgage payments by as much as a standard modification but with less documentation. We look forward to working with our servicers to implement the Streamlined Modification initiative, which underscores our commitment to keep more financially troubled borrowers in their homes. Freddie Mac has helped an estimated 2.6 million families avoid foreclosure through mortgage modifications or refinancing since the housing crisis began."
News Facts:

• The Streamlined Modification will target borrowers who are at least 90 days delinquent on mortgages that are at least 12 months old, and meet other eligibility criteria.

• Eligible borrowers are not required to submit documentation, but can accept a Streamlined Modification offer simply by making the trial period payments. The modification becomes permanent once the borrower demonstrates their ability to pay by completing the trial period.

• The Streamlined Modification offers the same mortgage terms as the Standard Modification Freddie Mac announced in September 2011, which enables servicers to reduce a borrower's monthly mortgage payment by adjusting interest rates, extending payment terms to 40 years, and providing principal forbearance for certain underwater borrowers.

• Detailed guidance implementing the Streamlined Modification can be found at FreddieMac.com.

• Freddie Mac and its servicers have helped more than 785,000 distressed borrowers avoid foreclosure through mortgage modifications, forbearance, repayment plans, short sales and deeds-in-lieu since 2009. Freddie Mac has also helped more than 1.8 million families make homeownership more affordable through the Freddie Mac Relief Refinance program, which includes the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP).

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

Year's Worth of Money & Energy-Saving Tips

April 5, 2013 9:42 pm

By John Voket

In the continuing pursuit to help homeowners save money while helping to make the world a little greener, I tapped The Alliance to Save Energy, which recently posted a dozen ways you can make your home more energy efficient in 2013 (ase.org).

Among those ASE saving ideas are:

New Year, New Light Bulbs - Replace old, inefficient incandescent light bulbs in your home with energy-efficient lighting like new CFLs, halogen incandescents or LEDs – to save between $50 and $100 a year in energy costs.

Spring is Here - Get ready to open up your home to new, efficient windows. Replacing single-pane windows with ENERGY STAR-qualified windows can save you up to $1,000 annually.

Don't be a Fool for Energy Vampires - Outsmart the energy vampires in your home by unplugging what you're not using. Use a smart power strip for automatic savings.

Think Global - In honor of EE Global 2013, share one of the other tips with an international friend, family member, or associate to help save energy worldwide.

Cool Off - Make sure your AC equipment is in top running order, since cooling puts the greatest stress on your summer energy bills.

Keep the Heat Out - Plug energy leaks with weather stripping and caulking, and be sure your house is properly insulated to save up to 20 percent on energy bills.

Back to School Savings - If you and your kids are out at school and work, install a programmable thermostat – or even a smart thermostat – to raise your home's temperature while it's empty. This can reduce energy bills by up to 10 percent.

Temperatures Drop, and so do Bills - Keep the temperature of your water heater at 120 degrees, and insulate the hot water storage tank to save money on heating costs.

End the Year on a LOW Note - You made so many energy-saving changes this year, give yourself the gift of a home energy assessment to see how much more energy you can save next year!

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

Spring Brings New Life to the World and a New Look to Your Home

April 5, 2013 9:42 pm

As animals slowly begin to wake from hibernation and the cold weather recedes with spring's first flowers, homeowners start to think of ways to improve and beautify their home in concert with the awakening of the natural environment around them. Spring and summer are often the best times to update your home's exterior painting because the most severe weather of the year has passed and it may be time to repair damage that was caused by this weather.

There are many reasons to consider home painting, but four of the main motivations that drive homeowners are:

1. The increase in real estate value
One of the best ways to increase your home's market value is with exterior painting. Compared to renovations and remodeling, house painting is a much cheaper alternative. According to Remodeling Magazine, the average cost of a complete kitchen remodel in 2012 was $57,000, compared to an average of $3,000-$5,000 for exterior home painting (CostHelper.com). Although pricing may vary, you can see that the potential return on your investment is much greater with exterior home painting.

2. Enhancing your home's curb appeal
Like the feeling of wearing a new favorite outfit, your home will be dressed up and ready to shine with a new coat of exterior paint. It can help your home stand out in the neighborhood and have people slow down to look at your beautiful new exterior! If you're looking to sell your home, boosting curb appeal is a great way to attract the interest of potential home buyers.

3. Protection of your home's exterior
Many people forget the protective qualities that paint provides. It adds a layer of protection against harsh weather, especially ice and snow, and acts as a seal to keep out moisture from the rain.

4. Supplying new life to an old home
Exterior house painting could be the perfect option for you if you have been looking for a way to reinvigorate your home with the splendor that was felt when you first moved in. Changing your home's exterior coloring could even provide you and your family with a more positive outlook on life in general; your bright and beautiful newly painted home will be ready and waiting for you after a long day.

Painting the exterior of your house on your own may not seem like a difficult task to undertake at first, but hiring a professional painting company is also one of your many options.

Source: College Pro Painters

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

Spring Can Bring Increased Risk of Flooding

April 5, 2013 9:42 pm

This spring, the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH®) encourages families to prepare for flood dangers prevalent from now through hurricane season. Spring is a timely reminder of the dangers associated with flooding and the steps residents and community leaders can take to protect against flood damage.

Floods are the most common and costly weather disaster in the United States. While we enjoy spring’s warmer weather, the season also brings conditions that can increase flooding, especially in many areas of the Midwest. An early spring thaw can produce large quantities of runoff in a short period. Frozen land prevents melting snow or rainfall from seeping into the ground, causing water to run off the surface and flow into lakes, streams and rivers, causing excess water to spill over their banks. Add seasonal storms to the mix, and severe spring flooding can result.

”While residents in the Midwest are at particular risk for flooding during the spring months, flooding can occur in all regions of the country at any time of the year,” said Leslie Chapman-Henderson, FLASH President and CEO. “For that reason, FLASH also encourages residents to look ahead and prepare for hurricane season, which officially beings June 1 and is quickly approaching.”

Fortunately, there are some easy steps families can take to protect themselves against flood risks. First, they should visit www.flash.org to find ways to strengthen their homes and safeguard them from flood damage. Families also should put together an emergency supply kit, keep important papers and valuables in a safe and flood-proof place, and create a family emergency plan that considers insurance coverage, especially flood insurance. Everyone should visit Floodsmart.gov to learn about their flood risk and how to financially protect themselves by purchasing flood insurance.

Many people incorrectly think that their homeowners insurance covers flood damage. Typically, only flood insurance covers flood damage, which is why it is essential. It only takes a few inches of water to cause tens of thousands of dollars of damage. Between 2008 and 2012, the average flood claim was more than $34,000. Because there typically is a 30-day wait before a policy takes effect, waiting until flooding is forecast is too late. The time to act is now.

Source: Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH®)

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

Energy Tax Credits Provide Homeowners Relief as April 15 Tax Deadline Nears

April 4, 2013 9:42 pm

While the 2012 tax season deadline may be looming large for consumers, there is a way for homeowners to save on their 2012 or 2013 federal taxes by making energy efficient upgrades to their homes. Windows and doors meeting ENERGY STAR® requirements, qualify for federal tax credits for homeowners in 2012 and 2013.

With the approval on January 1, 2013 of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, homeowners who made energy efficient upgrades to their homes in 2012 or plan to make such changes in 2013 may receive a federal tax credit of 10 percent of the cost of the installed product, up to $500 for doors and $200 for windows.

"The tax credits now in play for energy efficient window and door purchases are an attractive incentive for consumers to purchase replacement windows and doors," says Gary Pember, vice president of marketing at Simonton Windows. "The new tax credit stipulates that the entire home does not have to have all of its windows and/or doors replaced. The tax credit can apply to having just a few products replaced in the home to make it more energy efficient.

"In addition, the tax credit can be issued for both replacement windows and doors; and for installation of a 'new location' energy efficient window or door in an area of the home where there previously wasn't an opening (such as in a home addition or renovation of existing home space). Homeowners should always consult their tax advisor to determine if they qualify for any tax credit."

The tax credit is retroactive to purchases made starting January 1, 2012 and expires on December 31, 2013. Installation of the product(s) must take place in the homeowner's principle residence and the credit does not include installation costs. Products must be ENERGY STAR qualified for the region they are installed.

"Fiberglass doors are some of the most energy-efficient doors available in the marketplace today," says Derek Fielding, senior product manager for Therma-Tru Corp. "Compared to a solid wood door, a fiberglass door has four times more energy efficient value. Homeowners nationwide find that the benefits of fiberglass doors are plentiful. Along with their energy efficiency, they add tremendously to the curb appeal and aesthetics of a home. Installation of a new entry door also helps enhance the overall value of the home."

Full details on the federal tax credits can be found at the ENERGY STAR web site at http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=tax_credits.tx_index.

Source: Therma-Tru, Simonton

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

Tips for National Window Safety Week

April 4, 2013 9:42 pm

April 7-13 is National Window Safety Week and Andersen Corporation is encouraging homeowners to familiarize themselves with ways to help prevent window-related accidents. As part of its LookOut For Kids® window safety program, Andersen is providing materials and tips to help educate consumers and caregivers.

“Windows and doors do more than provide views, sunlight and breezes. They can provide an important path to escaping a fire or emergency, yet left open, they can be a potential fall hazard,” said Andersen Corporation Director Mark Mikkelson. As we open our windows to the fresh air, here are some safety tips.

DO:
-Close and lock windows and doors.
-Position beds and other furniture away from windows.
-Consider installing window opening control devices or window guards.

DON’T:
-Leave young children unsupervised.
-Depend on insect screens to keep children from falling out of windows.
-Paint, nail or seal windows shut.
-Forget about window and door safety when making repairs to your home.

Source: Andersen Corporation

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

Making Your Neighborhood Safer

April 4, 2013 9:42 pm

(Family Features) How safe do you feel in your neighborhood? Unfortunately, residential crime happens more often than you might think, which leaves many homeowners feeling uneasy. But there are steps you can take to protect your home and your neighborhood. One of the best preventive measures you can take is to simply get to know your neighbors.

A national poll by Nextdoor.com, a free and private social network for neighborhoods, found that 67 percent of homeowners feel safer in their home and neighborhood because they know their neighbors. In addition, 76 percent said they thought their neighborhood would be safer if they communicated more with neighbors.

“The single most important thing you can do to create a safe neighborhood is to get to know your neighbors,” said Matt Peskin, director of the National Association of Town Watch (NATW), a nonprofit dedicated to community crime and drug prevention. “People who know each other look out for one another. And now with online tools making it easier, there’s no excuse not to connect and communicate with those who live around you.”

Nextdoor has partnered with NATW to expand its efforts around community-based crime prevention. Here are their tips for creating a safer neighborhood:

Create a neighborhood watch online and off. Host an in-person meeting to discuss how to communicate with neighbors in emergency situations or organize foot patrols.

Keep the neighborhood clean. A clean neighborhood is a deterrent for criminal activity. Organize volunteers to pick up litter, cut grass and hedges, and make property repairs. Make efforts to beautify vacant lots with a community garden or flowers.

Turn the lights on. Keep a dim porch light on all night to discourage crime. Encourage others to do the same. Consider also leaving an interior light on when gone for the evening or longer.

Update your home security. Ensure all exterior doors have deadbolt locks. Lock all windows and connect them to your home alarm system. Shut and lock gates and garages to reduce hiding places. And keep ladders in a locked garage or shed.

Get to know the police. Make an effort to meet your neighborhood officers. Report questionable behavior or activity in your area. Attend or help organize an event, like National Night Out, that strengthens ties between police and residents.

Source: Nextdoor.com

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

Association of REALTORS Offers Homeowners Tips

April 3, 2013 9:42 pm

Attention to detail and proper preparation can alleviate much of the stress and save time for first-time home buyers.

Coby Crump, president of the Lubbock Association of REALTORS® said to keep personal finances, the bigger picture, and professional assistance in mind to make for a smooth sale.

Before even beginning to look at the first house, Crump said, it would behoove buyers to sit down and consider their financial situation.

"You can waste a lot of time if you view homes without knowing what you can really afford," Crump said.
In addition to monthly payments and a down payment, it is important to consider property taxes and insurance. A REALTOR® can be beneficial in assessing one's finances.

"When considering finances, be sure to get pre-approved for any loans," he said. "This allows the comfort to search for homes in a buyer's price range. It can also show a seller that he or she is interested and serious, and can allow for an offer to be made quickly."

Crump added to keep the bigger picture and ultimate goal in mind when faced with annoyances or hiccups in the process. Be realistic and be prepared to make minor concessions.

"You don't have to set low expectations about your home purchase," he said. "Just know that you may need to give a little on one of your search criteria."

With all hiccups or potential problems, it is helpful to have professional assistance; and this includes a professional inspector and a REALTOR®.

A professional inspector can determine what needs to be repaired or replaced. A REALTOR® will prove to be an invaluable partner for the duration of your buying experience. A REALTOR® belonging to the National Association of REALTORS® is held to a high standard of ethics.

"Your REALTOR® will look out for your best interests and help you find your ideal home while helping you to avoid making mistakes you could regret," Crump said.

Source: Lubbock Association of REALTORS®

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags:

Spring Cleaning and Curb Appeal

April 3, 2013 9:42 pm

Spring is here and many homeowners are looking to revamp their curb appeal. What simple steps can be taken to improve your home’s value besides reviving your gardens? By updating or repairing your roof you can upgrade your curb appeal by 40 percent. Here are a few tips on how to protect your roof this spring as well as new trends and styles that will make your roof stand out and increase the value of your home.

1. Start off by checking the roof framing structure to make sure it is not compromised. Visually scan the roof for any sagging or uneven areas.

2. Inspect the gutter systems to make sure they are not clogged with branches, leaves, or other debris.

3. Make sure that gutters are fastened properly and are tight and secure so that they don’t cause overflow and build-up or fall off the fascia board.

4. Check the valleys of the roof to ensure that they are also free and clear of debris that can add weight to the roof and also act as a barrier to rain.

5. Metal flashing should also be used around roof vents, pipes, skylights, and chimneys. One of the most common causes for roofing leaks is due to problems with flashing.

6. Walk around to carefully inspect the shingles on the roof – look for curling edges, missing granules, etc.

Source: Alyssa Hall, GAF

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Tags: