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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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How to Keep Those Healthy New Year's Resolutions

December 28, 2016 12:24 am

Whether it's going to the gym, eating more veggies or quitting smoking, many of us make health resolutions at the beginning of the year. But as the year rolls forward, those well-intended resolutions can fall by the wayside. Below are a few tips from USA Medical for keeping up with your health goals, in the new year and beyond. 

Define clear goals. Author and behavioral psychologist, Dr. Paul Marciano specializes in behavior modification and motivation.  In an interview for Forbes, he suggests setting "SMART" goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.  If you're trying to lose weight, for instance, specify the number of pounds you would like to lose, and by when.

Be realistic. How many changes can you actually make?  On WebMD, psychologist at the University of Guelph in Canada, Dr. Ian Newby-Clark explains that multiple resolutions often fail because we have limited amounts of willpower.  Most resolutions require more than one simple behavior change.

Use calendars and reminders. Set alarms to remind yourself to work towards your goals.  Keep progress reports and set check points to see if you're on pace.  Think in increments.  Instead of trying to cut all sugar intake immediately, consider drinking one less can of soda a week.  Smaller tasks seem more manageable.  

SOURCE: USA Medical

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What to Do With Your Holiday Tree

December 28, 2016 12:24 am

After Christmas has passed and the presents have been opened, many wonder what to do with their holiday tree. Luckily, many counties have services to dispose of or recycle your old tree. Below is a breakdown.

Curbside pick-up. Many cities and counties schedule a curb-side tree pickup around two weeks after christmas. Typically these trees are then turned into mulch, but feel free to call your city planning office and inquire. Before you drag your tree to the curb, be sure to remove any and all decorations.  

Non-profits. There may be non-profits in your area that will pick up your old tree for a small fee. Call around to find the best option.  

Drop off. Many stores and centers take old trees at no charge. Many Home Depot locations take drop offs. Call around to find the best fit.    

Whether you're dropping off or having your tree scooped up, there are some thing you must do to prep.

1. Remove all decorations. This means ornaments, tinsel, lights, and tree stands.

2. Trim it down. Many pick-up services require trees cut into four feet lengths. Call your service in advance to find out.

3. Make sure it's out of the way. If you're having a curb-side pickup, make sure your tree is out of the way of the road and sidewalk.

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Design Trends to Ditch in 2017

December 20, 2016 1:03 am

Trend-conscious homeowners, take heed. The new year brings a new crop of home design trends, as well as trends to toss from 2016. Below are several dusty home design trends you should leave behind in the new year, courtesy of the Zillow Digs® Home Trend Forecast.

1. Industrial Furniture

While aspects of the industrial design trend like exposed brick will still be present in 2017, homeowners will start to shy away from its sometimes uncomfortable or impractical furniture. Instead, the 2017 design aesthetic will shift towards "steampunk," a unique hybrid of Victorian-inspired elegance boasting rich leather and plush fabrics, combined with machine-like accents for a modern twist.

2. Cool Grays

From wall colors to couches, shades of gray have been a safe, go-to choice for homeowners and interior designers alike. In the coming year experts predict homeowners to be more experimental and welcoming of brighter pops of colors on everything from walls to rugs in an effort to make their space feel more individualized.

3.  Quote Art

The quote art trend is overdone, and a fad that will be forgotten quickly in 2017. Rather than decorating with words or cliché sayings, homeowners will start to incorporate artwork reminiscent of the colors and textures found in nature.

Source: Zillow Digs® Home Trend Forecast.

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Family Time: Think Quality, Not Quantity

December 20, 2016 1:03 am

Between busy working parents and overscheduled kids, the concept of family time seems to be barreling toward extinction. But just because everyone’s time crunched doesn’t mean that family bonding has to suffer—it’s a simple matter of quality versus quantity.

According to a study in the Journal of Marriage and Family, the actual amount of time parents spend with children aged 3 – 11 does not impact what kind of adults they become, and has only a minimal effect on adolescents.  However, quality time—time spent where parents are engaged, positive and relaxed—goes a long way in influencing our children. So don’t obsess over how little time you have, but rather focus on what you’re doing – and how you’re behaving - with the time you do have.

Here are some ways to create quality moments with your family with a limited amount of time:

- Today’s kids are constantly on the go, moving from one activity to the next. As the saying goes, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, so volunteer to drive whenever you can. Those short trips around town provide  a private moment with your child to check in, catch up and see what might be on their minds.


- While we know the big-picture goal is to reduce the amount of screens in our lives, a little couch potato time with your kids can actually be a great bonding experience. Sit down and cuddle with the little ones while they’re watching cartoons, adding your insights along the way. With adolescents and teens, pick a series to binge-watch together and discuss your favorite characters and plot twists. The key here is to engage with your children, not glaze over and doze off.


- If there’s one thing that unites families, it’s food. Involve your kids in meal prep – give them a chore they’ll find fun, like cracking eggs or mixing batter for younger kids, or chopping veggies and grilling burgers for older children. Cooking together creates a non-threatening environment for conversation – but only if you avoid micromanaging your child’s cooking skills. Critiquing is not conducive to bonding.


- Get out of the house together. When you’re a busy working parent, it’s easy for your weekends to be consumed with chores and appointments, but it’s critical to carve out time for a brief family outing, even if it’s a quick trip to the dog park. Getting out from under the crushing to-do list at home frees your mind to truly be present with your kids, so make this time sacred.


- Nothing says quality family time like getting the extended family together. Kids love seeing grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, so invite them over or make a road trip to visit.

- While cuddling up with your young children to read them a bed-time story is a favorite early childhood bonding moment, there’s no reason you can’t maintain a nighttime ritual as your kids get older. Knock on their door, ask for a hug and tell them you love them. Ask them what they have on their plate for the next day and see if they need a ride or your help with anything. If you have older teens and you’re going to bed before they’re even home, ask them to text you when they get in and send them a good night text in return. These simple rituals keep the connection in place for years to come.

Stay tuned for more tips on life at home, as well as trends in real estate.

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How to Save Electricity When You're Away

December 20, 2016 1:03 am

When planning to leave your home for vacation, there's a lot to think about: finding someone to feed the cats, holding your mail at the post office, packing your bags, and more. But how about lowering your electric bills when you're out of town?  The following 5 tips courtesy of Duke Energy can help shave dollars off your bill. Keep in mind that savings will vary depending on the length of your trip, your home size, your home's insulation and your  heating system.

1. If you have a programmable thermostat, use the "vacation" mode. If you have a manual unit, adjusting your thermostat just a few degrees cooler will have a significant impact. A change of just three degrees for 24 hours a day can save 30 percent on your heating costs. Also, set the fan to "auto," not "on." Leaving the fan on all the time costs up to $25 a month. If the forecast is for mild weather, consider turning the system off completely.

2. Turn off your electric water heater at your breaker if you plan to leave home for a few days. Most models will reheat the water to the set temperature in about an hour. A large amount of the cost of running a water heater is due to the "standby" losses. Water heaters are among the top three energy using appliances in your home.

3. Most of us empty our refrigerators before heading out of town, but did you know a fully stocked refrigerator keeps cold better than an empty one? Keep the fridge and freezer full and tightly packed, and the cold items will keep one another cold. It doesn't even have to be food; you can use water containers or ice trays. Conserve even more energy by adjusting the thermostats on your refrigerator and freezer to higher settings; 38°F for the refrigerator and 5°F for the freezer. For trips lasting four weeks or more, consider emptying your refrigerator completely and unplugging it.

4. Unplug small electrical equipment such as radios, DVD players or TVs when not in use. Electronic appliances can act like energy vampires, sucking power even when they are not in use. This is called phantom loads. Your coffee maker, cable box, game console, laptop computer and even your rechargeable toothbrushes are a few examples of these phantom power users.  

5. Make sure fans and lights are turned off. For security lights, consider using a timer. And, switch bulbs to LEDs or CFLs to save even more.Source: duke-energy.com/save

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An Easy Guide for Year-End Financial Planning

December 20, 2016 1:03 am

With your eyes on the new year, it can be easy to make fresh resolutions and forget to pay mind to your spending habits from the year past. Considering that an estimated one in three Americans will make a New Year’s resolution related to their finances, it's important to do a little end-of-year financial planning. Below are 5 tips offered by Fifth Third Bancorp.

1. Reduce taxable income 

In order to offset taxable income, the most important strategy for investors to consider is tax-loss selling and taking advantage of underwater securities.

“Selling stocks, bonds or mutual funds that have lost value should be a priority this time of year,” says Jeff Korzenik, chief investment strategist for Fifth Third. “When done in conjunction with rebalancing a portfolio, investors can minimize the tax consequences and impact.”

Additionally, Korzenik suggests taking interest rates into account throughout the planning process. Gradual interest rate increases are being monitored for next year, which are typically associated with the latter half of an economic expansion. With this in mind, investors should expect lower returns from the bonds portion of a portfolio and be more selective in their equity investments as they plan for next year.

2. Maximize investment opportunities

To wrap up 2016, Melissa Register, senior wealth planner for Fifth Third Private Bank, recommends being selective in investment decisions. By working with a wealth management advisor, you can ensure that your allocation aligns with your goals and time horizon for both your taxable and tax-deferred accounts. From this checkpoint, you can identify necessary adjustments.

“Investors can plan ahead by rebalancing portfolios and diversifying their investments before the close of the year,” said Register. “There are significant growth opportunities for 2017 in alternative investments and selective international exposure.”

3. Plan for charitable giving during the holidays 

When it comes to charitable giving, Glen Johnson, managing director of Mirador Family Wealth Advisors, suggests engaging family members in the decision-making process.

“More than half of charitable giving is done in one month of the entire year: December,” said Johnson. “Holiday gatherings are an opportune time for families to set joint year-end goals and develop a strategy for allocating philanthropic donations in 2017.”

Johnson also suggests using assets that have appreciated in value as gifts for charitable donations to avoid capital gains. “People often don’t think about real estate, collectibles or art as potential gifts, which could ultimately fund a new program or service for a charity,” said Johnson.

Source: www.53.com

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How to Save Money on That New Vehicle

December 20, 2016 1:03 am

On the wishlist for many of us is a shiny new car. However, three out of four U.S. consumers believe that new vehicles are unaffordable. This is not necessarily true. Below are four money-saving tips that can help you snag that new vehicle, courtesy of Requisite Press.

Obtain preapproved financing. Financing costs can add thousands of dollars to a vehicle purchase. Car buyers can ensure a competitive financing environment and avoid unnecessary costs by obtaining a preapproved loan from their bank or credit union.

Sell a trade-in separately. When a purchase is combined with a trade-in, a seemingly great price quote may be offset by a mediocre trade-in offer. Separating the transactions ensures that the price quote can be easily compared to quotes from competing dealers.

Avoid add-ons. Add-ons, such as a vehicle service contract, are costly and rarely make financial sense. Consumers are better served by using savings to pay for both planned and unplanned maintenance.

Obtain a market price. There are internet prices, "fair" prices, and better than the neighbor's price prices—all higher than the market price. The best price—a market price—is obtained through robust competition. This can be efficiently achieved with negotiation-free car buying.

Source: http://www.requisitepress.com/ABAI

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Do You Know Where Your Most Important Records Are?

December 17, 2016 1:03 am

It's one thing to have the luxury of time when you need to search for important personal records you socked away in a closet, box or drawer. However, it's important for homeowners to be able to access their most important records immediately in an emergency.

Paul Improta, CPIA, AAI, LUTCF, President & CEO of Underwriters, Inc. believes there's no time like the present to get organized, particularly with a new year fast approaching. To avoid messy, time-consuming searches Improta says the first thing to do is gather what matters.

Ask yourself what documentation you or a family member might need in a dire situation and put it all in a safe place, whether that's on a USB flash drive, in a fireproof box or both. Include emergency contact numbers, medical records, financial information, vital passwords, legal paperwork and other relevant documents.
Improta says you should also streamline insurance paperwork.

If you recently bought a new car or added a driver to your policy, make sure to create a digital paper trail. Then, take photos of insurance cards for each driver and scan the policy information for your vehicles.

Did you purchase a home, remodel your house or take out a renter's insurance policy? Keep a copy of your home inventory on hand. Apps such as Insurance Information Institute's "Know Your Stuff" help by exporting an organized list of your belongings should you ever need to file a claim.

You can also download free mobile apps that help you prepare for and respond to the unexpected. Wonderoftech.com blogger Carolyn Nicander Mohr recently unveiled "10 Disaster Apps That Could Save Your Life."

Among those is the free SirenGPS Mobile app that connects you to emergency services at the tap of the screen. Your location will be sent automatically so you can be found.

The app works over Wi-Fi as well as cell networks, so can be used if cell networks are down after an emergency. Users can also use the app to create a personal health profile which can be shared with emergency services to give better information and save time.

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Top Design Trends for 2017 Unveiled

December 17, 2016 1:03 am

Do you like to stay abreast of the latest interior design trends? A recent report from Zillow shows that velvet, jewel tones, white marble and built-in bars are forecasted to be the biggest interior trends for 2017.

"Interior design in 2017 will be about bringing warmth and comfort into the home," says Kerrie Kelly, Zillow Digs home design expert. "Homeowners will start to shy away from overly industrial designs that feel stiff or cold. Instead, they will incorporate plush fabrics like velvet and rich jewel tones into their home to make it feel more approachable and welcoming."

Below are the top hot trends from the Zillow Digs® Home Trend Forecast.

1. Velvet

A hot fashion trend right now, velvet is expected to make a big splash in interior design next year. Look for velvet fabrics and textures to weave their way into anything from throw pillows to upholstered couches and curtains.

2. Jewel Colors

Saturated colors like emerald green or sapphire blue will take center stage in 2017. From artwork to furniture, these vibrate hues will be popping up everywhere, bringing life and richness to homes.

3. Marble Surfaces

Marble, especially in shades of white and light gray, will be one of 2017's biggest design trends. Experts predict marble to become an increasingly popular material for countertops, flooring and tabletops, as well as in everyday household items like serving platters or vases.

4. Built-in Bars

Stemming from 2016's popular bar cart trend, homeowners next year will look for a more permanent solution for entertaining within their home. From built-in shelving for craft cocktail fixings, to a small bar seating area, homeowners are enjoying decorating and hosting more classic parties and will seek ways to make these spaces more of a focal point within the home.

Source: Zillow Digs

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Leaving Your Home Alone? Make Sure it Stays Safe

December 17, 2016 1:03 am

There’s nothing like leaving it all behind and getting out of Dodge for a few well-deserved days of R and R. But that vacation high will quickly disappear if you return to trouble on the home front. So while you’re packing for your getaway, make sure you’re also prepping the empty home you’re leaving behind. Take the following steps prior to leaving your home unattended for a few days to ensure you won’t return to an upsetting or costly scenario:

Turn off the main water valve that leads into the house and check for leaks. If a pipe bursts while you’re away, water could ruin your floors, furniture, walls and possessions.

Put your water heater on vacation mode. The pilot light will remain on, but you'll save the cost of unnecessary heating. If you have an electric water heater, turn the temperature dial down or turn it off at the circuit breaker panel.

Adjust the thermostat. Set the thermostat to 55 degrees in the colder winter months if there’s a chance pipes could freeze. Or consider a smart thermostat that will let you control the temperature remotely from your mobile device.

Put the lights on a timer. Total darkness or lights blazing round the clock are both good ways to let burglars know you’re out of town. Invest in a timer or smart home app that lets you turn the lights on and off remotely.

Notify your security company. If you have a security alarm system, notify the monitoring company that you plan to be away. Consider an outside motion sensor that will alert your neighbors and the police if anyone attempts a break-in.

Be smart on social media. We all love to share a vacation picture or two, but hold back on the details. Don’t share your departure date or check-in to out of town locations. This lets thieves know precisely where you are – which is not home.  

For more information on protecting your real estate investment, contact me.

Source: 128 Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Electric

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