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
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Peter Cerruti

My Blog

For Your To-Do List: Buy a Home

May 13, 2017 12:30 am

If you’re not planning on buying a home any time soon, perhaps you should be. Just over half (54 percent) of Americans say they are likely to buy a home in the next five years – up 12 percent from last year – according to the 2017 BMO Harris Bank Homebuyers Report. In addition, Americans surveyed will average a 32 percent down payment.

The report, conducted by Pollara, also found that:

- Among likely first-time buyers, 80 percent plan to get preapproved for a mortgage before making an offer and 10 percent are already preapproved.

- Around four-in-five will set a budget before looking for a home.

- The majority (65 percent) of those looking to buy a new home will consult a real estate agent, while 61 percent said they will visit online real estate websites and 38 percent will seek recommendations from friends and family.

The benefits of homeownership are many, but among the most significant are:

- Owning a home is a secure long-term investment.

- Tax deductions make homeownership a much smarter financial path than renting.

- When you own a home, you are free to do with it as you see fit - paint, remodel, add-on and personalize to your heart’s content.

According to the report, 70 percent of American homeowners spent six months or less looking for a new home before they made a purchase. In addition, 10 percent bought their home without participating in an active real estate search – or even any plan to buy at all – because a specific property caught their attention.  

The report also found that Millennials (the generation born between 1982 and 2004) are more likely to use a mobile device as a resource to help in their home search (37 percent). In addition, Millennials are more likely than older age groups to rely on recommendations from friends and family (45 percent) when conducting a home search.

Source: BMO Harris Bank

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Solar Updates: Energy Generating Windows

May 13, 2017 12:30 am

When it comes to solar energy, big news is zipping across the country.

SolarWindow Technologies, Inc. has reported the successful completion of important freeze/thaw performance testing, necessary for the commercialization of technology that could turn ordinary passive glass into electricity-generating windows.

This means your old windows could one day create electricity. The company’s transparent, electricity-generating coatings have the potential of turning new and existing tall buildings into ‘clean power generators.’ And depending on a number of factors, the process could have significant energy-saving potential in the residential market as well.

Company staffers along with scientists and engineers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), subjected these SolarWindow modules to cycles of high temperatures followed by extremely low temperatures to simulate natural environmental conditions.

During this test, SolarWindow modules were subjected to more than 200 freeze/thaw cycles, which yielded favorable performance results of the edge sealing processes and minimal impact on the device electrical performance.

In other solar news, recently published a blog helping consumers understand the real cost of solar.

According to the site, today, most homeowners are paying between $2.87 and $3.85 per watt to install solar, and the average gross cost of solar panels before tax credits is $16,800.

Using the U.S, average for system size at 5 kilowatts - or 5000 watts - your solar panel cost will range from $10,045 to $13,475 (after tax credits). That’s nine percent lower than it was a year ago.

Since the average system size is about 5 kW, based on the average price of $3.36/watt, a 5kW system would cost $11,760 after tax credits. And this only factors federal solar tax credit. Some states, local governments, or utilities offer rebates and other tax incentives that can further reduce the solar system costs.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


How to Save More This Summer

May 13, 2017 12:30 am

We all know packing our lunches and skipping that pricey latte can save bundles over the long run. But when it comes to saving, you’re missing out if you don’t look to your home. Akin to finding a forgotten twenty-dollar bill in those old jeans once a week, your home can be hiding savings that add up--if you know where to look. The first pricey culprit, especially in the summer and winter, is your heating and cooling system.

The following tips, offered by T. Webber, can help keep you cool this summer, and save major change on your utility bills.  

Replace your air filters. Clogged air filters decrease performance and make AC systems work harder. Inspect and replace dirty air filters to optimize air flow and to keep an older unit in good running order throughout the summer.

Tune up your AC. An annual maintenance check includes cleaning filters, coils and unit, and checking for foreseeable future problems. This can help the AC run more efficiently keeping utility costs down.

Check your insulation. Look for cracks and leaks in your walls, attic, crawl spaces, basement, garage and ceiling. Make sure insulation is intact to keep in cool air throughout the home.

Close those blinds. Eliminate the sun's direct path by keeping blinds closed. This can make a difference of as much as 10 degrees.

The doors, too. Try to minimize cool air loss through outside door openings, especially during the hottest time of the day.

Only produce heat in the coolest hours.  Run the dishwasher, washing machine and clothes dryer during early morning hours or late evening. This will keep the AC unit from having to work hard during the hottest hours of the day to cool the home.

Nix the oven. Give the oven and stove a break and grill at every opportunity. This keeps the kitchen heat outside and reduces the need to cool it.

Source: T. Webber

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Look Up: Your Roof May Need You

May 12, 2017 12:30 am

When it comes to our homes, it’s only natural to focus on what’s in our sight line - the yard, the front door, the windows. However, the biggest need may come from above: your roof.

According to roofing manufacturer GAF, updating or repairing your roof can increase your home’s curb appeal by 40 percent. Whether you’re putting your home on the market or not, addressing any issues with your roof is an important step in protecting your home’s value. GAF offers this list of what you should look for:

- Scan the roof for any sagging or uneven areas. These could be signs that your roof’s framing structure is compromised.

- Next, survey the gutters to ensure they’re not clogged with debris such as leaves, branches, dirt, etc.

- Once you’ve cleaned out the gutters, make sure they’re still securely fastened so that they don’t cause overflow and build-up, or fall off the fascia board.

- Debris can also build up in the valleys of your roof, adding weight and unnecessary stress to the structure. Make sure to clear these areas as well.

- One of the most common causes of a leaky roof is damage to the flashing. Make sure metal flashing is securely and sufficiently in place around roof vents, pipes, skylights, and chimneys.

- Finally, take a close look at your shingles. Carefully inspect the entire roof and look for curling edges, missing granules, missing shingles, etc.

The sooner you address any problems with your roof, the less expensive the repairs will be. Then you can rest assured that both your family and your investment is well protected.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


Care for Your Yard While Saving the Planet

May 12, 2017 12:30 am

As spring continues to green around us, I reminisced about the first correspondence from Dan Delventhal, who introduced America to MowGreen, a movement we have kept tabs on over the years.

This pollution reducing lawn care practice grew by 45 percent last year, according to Delventhal. With this in mind, he reached out to pass on a few pointers about avoiding harmful chemicals and applying your corn gluten pre-emergent weed control over the next couple weeks.

Aerate when wet. When it has rained and the soil is wet, Delventhal says that's the best time to do core aeration. Proper timing is essential for weed control to be effective.

Quality matters. For his clients' pre-emergent weed control, Delventhal gets the only certified non-GMO, organic corn gluten available. He says it suppresses new weed growth in spring and fall by desiccation, shunting new seed germination, as well as a protein type reaction that suppresses broadleaf weeds especially.

Once is NOT enough. When done in spring, fall and spring again, Delventhal says his product is reputed to be 90 percent effective for weed control. (A 50 lb bag covers 2500 square feet.)

Double duty. When it comes to fertilizing Delventhal says corn gluten is not only a weed suppressor, but a nitrogen fertilizer, too. When combined for weed control and including some grass and leaf mulch mowing — leaving clippings on the lawn — he says you may not need much fertilizing.

Boost overseeding. Additional fertilizer is often recommended to help boost overseeding success. Some fertilizing is often suggested after reviewing soil sample reports.

Go vegan. If fertilizer is needed, Delventhal recommends organic fertilizers that are all vegetable based - no animal products whatsoever.

Delventhal remains passionate about his MowGreen mission, reminding environmentally conscious consumers that cutting an average-sized lawn with a gas mower emits over four metric tons of carbon and other air pollution every year - the emissions equivalent of driving 10,000 more miles in a (non-hybrid / electric) car.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


What You Should Know Abou the Legalization of Marijuana

May 12, 2017 12:30 am

Regardless of your stance on medicinal or recreational marijuana use, the recent changes in the plant’s legal stance are unignorable. As more and more of the country legalizes marijuana in some form, it’s important to stay up-to-date on shifting laws and how they are impacting the country.

The following information is courtesy of Zane’s Law:

Money matters. As states look for creative ways to increase revenues, the legalization of marijuana has become one solution.  Through October of 2016 Colorado reported roughly $1.1 billion in legal sales of medical/recreational marijuana and related products and collected more than $150 million in taxes from these sales.

Patient support. The legalization of medical marijuana has been a positive for patients.  It is believed that marijuana is effective in treating a number of medical conditions and to be beneficial for cancer patients in relation to chemotherapy related nausea, vomiting, and overall pain.

Job creation. An analysis from the Marijuana Policy Group shows that in 2015 the legal marijuana industry created 18,005 jobs.  That makes the marijuana industry a stronger economic driver than 90 percent of the industries in Colorado.  

Easing strain on law enforcement. It's argued that the legalization of marijuana provides law enforcement with more time and money to focus on violent offenders because they no longer need to deal with minor possession offenses.

Violations still exist. Legalized marijuana does not mean marijuana can be used in public.  State laws typically limit where marijuana can be consumed, and a violation typically leads to a civil citation being issued.

Transportation woes. Colorado's neighboring states, Oklahoma and Nebraska, sued Colorado in December 2014 hoping to get the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene with Colorado's marijuana industry.  Their complaint was that marijuana purchased legally in Colorado is being transported illegally into or through their states, overwhelming police and courts with the increased drug arrests in their states.

FDA is not on board. Although many states have legalized marijuana for medical use, the marijuana plant is not an FDA approved medicine.  However, its chemicals known as cannabinoids has led to two FDA-approved medications that contain cannabinoid chemicals in pill form.   


Published with permission from RISMedia.


How to Avoid Employee Burnout

May 11, 2017 12:30 am

If you’re a business owner or manage a group of employees, you know keeping them engaged and happy is vital to the well-being of your company. However, you should also pay mind to signs of employee burnout, which can lead to a drop in productivity, a negative attitude, and the loss of employees. A Workforce Trends study put out by Kronos Inc. and Future Workplace found that burnout plays a key role in 20 to 50 percent of their annual workforce turnover.

Here are four tips, courtesy of management consulting firm Peter Stark, to create an environment where employees love coming to work so that customers love doing business with you.

Meaningful work. Employees want more than a job. They want to work on something that has a purpose, is meaningful and makes a difference. The work you do is the biggest driver on whether you are engaged or disengaged.

Continuous learning. Learning and development consistently rates as one of the most important drivers of engagement.  On every assignment or project, set goals with your team members on what they will learn and how it will benefit both customers and your company, especially if your team is made up of millennials. Studies have shown that millennials and other highly engaged employees do not do well with busy work. It is estimated that by 2020, millennials will comprise 50 percent of the workplace and by 2025, they will make up 75 percent of the workforce.

Stay connected. In today's workplace, it is incredibly easy to get disconnected and disengaged. As organizations continue to grow their workforces and change how people do their work, it will be critical to create smaller networks who frequently connect, communicate, collaborate, and even have fun working together as a team.

Provide feedback. While some managers hate the annual review process, continuous feedback is important in helping team members know what they are doing well, as well as providing them with opportunities for improvement.  


Published with permission from RISMedia.


Practice Sun Safety All Summer Long

May 11, 2017 12:30 am

Nothing feels as glorious as a splash of summer sun, especially after a long, cold winter. But staying safe in the sun is important for your short and long term health. Below are tips from for better sun safety, all season.

Use sunscreen. Startwith a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) SPF 15 or higher and increase to at least an SPF 30 for prolonged exposure. Look for natural sunscreens without harsh ingredients that can be toxic to your body and damage the environment, especially the ocean’s marine life.

Limit exposure during peak hours. The sun is the strongest during the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Apply and reapply. Sunscreen should be applied 15-30 minutes prior to exposure and reapplied every two hours or after prolonged physical activity.

Wear protective gear. This includes wide-brimmed hats, sun protective fabrics, sunglasses and lip balms with an SPF greater than 15.

Be vigilant about your skin. Perform monthly head-to-toe self-exams, and see a dermatologist annually for a full-body skin cancer screening.


Published with permission from RISMedia.


Car-Buying Tips for College Grads

May 11, 2017 12:30 am

If you or a loved one recently graduated college, you may be thinking about your first major car purchase. Buying the first shiny car you see on the lot can be tempting, but it’s important to make a smart decision in order to protect yourself, and your finances.

Autotrader offers the following expert tips to make sure the car buying is experience is as satisfying and hassle-free as possible.

Consider new and used vehicles. New cars are almost guaranteed to have the latest technological upgrades, as well as extensive warranties and incentives that you generally can't get on the pre-owned market. However, used cars typically cost less and therefore depreciate less over time.  

Know your options when it comes to leasing and buying a vehicle. When you graduate from college, it's hard to say where you're going to be a few years down the road. But if you can count on staying put for at least two years, leasing could be a convenient option. The car is typically new or nearly-new, and if anything goes wrong unexpectedly, the dealership covers the cost.

Figure out what you can afford. Once you've decided on a few cars worth considering, it's time to find out what will work within your budget. If you're interested in financing or leasing your next car, determine your maximum monthly payment before you get your heart set on anything.


Published with permission from RISMedia.


Energy Efficient Tips for Thrifty Homeowners

May 10, 2017 12:30 am

Many savvy homeowners like to save money, but the savviest know you can save money while also being energy efficient. According to the experts at Petri Plumbing & Heating, these five home upgrades can make your home green, without breaking the bank.

On-demand hot water heater. On-demand or "tankless" hot water systems heat water as needed, which saves energy and money. New ENERGY STAR® tankless water heaters can reduce your annual water costs by up to 30 percent and last nearly 20 years, double the lifespan of an average, traditional hot water heater.

Low flow toilets. An excellent way to save money and water is to install new toilets. Many toilets use up to 5 gallons of water per flush. A low flow toilet is required to flush at 1.28 gallons per flush.

Smart thermostat. An easy and inexpensive way to instantly make your heating and cooling system more efficient is with a programmable thermostat. New programmable thermostats allow you to set your home at different temperatures for different times of day, so you aren't paying to heat or cool your home when no one is there. An added benefit of smart thermostats is you can control them remotely using a simple application on your smartphone.

LED lights. Swap out your old incandescent lights for ENERGY STAR qualified LED lighting and you'll consume 75 percent less energy. In addition to being more energy efficient, LED lights last up to 50 times longer than incandescent lights and up to five times longer than fluorescent ones, saving you time replacing burnt out bulbs.

Ceiling fans. Adding ceiling fans to your home is a low-cost way to reduce energy consumption. During hot summer days, ceiling fans can reduce cooling costs by up to 40 percent. Even in the winter, a ceiling fan helps circulate air and can save you up to ten percent on your heating bill.

Source: Petri Plumbing & Heating

Published with permission from RISMedia.