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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

My Blog

Greet Guests from Work—or Paris—with Your Front Door!

June 7, 2016 12:43 am

It’s hard to believe our front doors could hold so much potential for technology—but automated door locks, cameras, facial recognition, intercom stations, lighting, motorized shades, peepholes and smart doorbells are all making the front door a new entry point in the smart home.

CEPro.com, a leading trade source for the custom electronics industry, recently unveiled their annual list of High Tech trends for the home—front door technology included.

According to CEPro.com, one innovation set to hit the big time is the smart doorbell—a fixture that’s barely seen a makeover since it was invented over 100 years ago!

The residential “access control” system didn’t enter the mainstream until recently, when SkyBell and Ring (originally Doorbot) launched smart doorbells with video cameras, two-way voice and apps, installed without the need for a professional. Since then, many other companies have entered the DIY doorbell fray, including August (of door lock fame), Yale (e.g., the Digital Door Viewer peephole cam with ZigBee and Z-Wave), Chui, DoorBird and Chamberlain.

Professionally-installed products are next to make waves. Case in point: the recently-rolled out Vivint Doorbell Camera has sold over 100,000 units in its first five months on market, according to CEPro.com, making it the company’s best-selling product ever.

This front door technology goes hand-in-hand with automated door locks—another category of growing popularity, CEPro.com reports. Airbnb recently launched Host Assist, a cloud service for managing digital key exchange and keyless entry through the company’s booking platform. Host Assist works cloud-to-cloud with network-connected door locks from August, Danalock, Igloohome, Kevo, Keycafe, Lockstate, Miwa, Nest, and Yale Locks.

Check out more of CEPro’s trend list at www.cepro.com/article/top_5_home_technology_trends_to_watch_closely_in_2016.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Home Security Sales Scams on the Rise

June 7, 2016 12:43 am

Scammers have found yet another area in which to con homeowners: home security.

Home security sales shams are on the rise, according to Better Business Bureau (BBB), with the majority of recent incidents concentrated in Utah.

The scam involves a “salesperson” knocking on doors, informing homeowners that their security system is being “upgraded” or that the security company is “going out of business,” and then threatening homeowners with discontinued service if they do not comply with their demands.

Many of these salespeople, BBB reports, claim to be from ADT, one of the nation’s widely used home security companies.

“[Last year], about 600,000 consumers nationwide turned to BBB to look up information about home security companies,” said Jane Driggs, president and CEO of BBB Utah, in a statement. “While we love it when they come to us for the research, they also come to us to complain—and what they complain about, far too often, is that the salesperson who knocked on their door was not honest about what they were selling. Consumers feel pressured into signing before they understand that they are switching companies and increasing their costs.”

Knowledge is your best defense. To learn how to spot a home security scam, as well as best buying practices, visit BBB.org/HomeSecurity.

Source: BBB

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Don't Blow Your Wedding Budget! 3 Tips to Save

June 4, 2016 12:43 am

$27,000.

That’s the cost of the average wedding—and for many couples, that’s over budget. The overspending, however, isn’t due to a lack of restraint. Some wedding expenses may be unfairly inflated, according to a recent investigation by Consumer Reports.

Using secret shoppers, the consumer watchdog discovered vendors in a sampling of states, such as caterers, florists, limousine services and photographers, quoted higher prices for a wedding than for an anniversary party in over 25 percent of cases. One instance uncovered a $7-per-person cake-cutting fee!

“If you’re planning a wedding, you need to be aware that you may be paying a premium for products and services in some cases,” says Tobie Stanger, senior editor at Consumer Reports. “You may not think to bargain, but you should. While our findings aren’t enough to indict an entire industry, they’re a warning to wedding shoppers to read fine print, ask smart questions and negotiate before signing anything."

Stanger and Consumer Reports advise couples:

Get Married in the Off-Season – Weddings held in January and February tend to be the least costly. The same goes for off-days and off-times: weddings on Fridays and Sundays, and those scheduled prior to dinnertime, will likely be less expensive.

Compare Meal Prices – Thirty-five percent of those surveyed recently by Consumer Reports opted for a cheaper menu at their event. Bear in mind a buffet, while seemingly a bargain, may be more expensive than a sit-down dinner.

Reduce Booze Costs – Forgo premium alcoholic beverages in favor of house drinks, or, if possible, supply your own alcohol and hire a licensed bartender to serve it. You’ll be able to recoup what you don’t use!

Cutting back in these areas can help you keep your budget on track —and avoid incurring debt on your big day.

For more money-saving tips, visit ConsumerReports.org.

Source: Consumer Reports

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Expo: Hot Products for Outdoor Living

June 4, 2016 12:43 am

Kitchens outdoors, fires indoors.

That’s the takeaway from the HPBExpo, the largest outdoor living showcase in North America, hosted by the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA) earlier this year.

For many household manufacturers, the Expo is an opportunity to unveil some of the industry’s latest innovations in heat-producing appliances for indoor and outdoor kitchens and on patios and decks.

The talk of the Expo this year? Hestan Outdoor grills and Dimplex electric products, both of which received numerous accolades at the event.

Anaheim, Calif.-based Hestan Outdoor captured two Vesta awards, given in the Gas Barbecue category and in the Outdoor Room Products category. The company’s high-performance grill features an easy-open hood, interior hood lighting, built-in rotisserie with spit storage and lasered, stainless steel grates.

Three-time winner Dimplex took home a Vesta, as well, for Best Electric Product. The company’s Opti-myst® Pro 1000, a cassette-style, linear electric fireplace with 360-degree viewing capabilities, can serve as a dividing wall between a bedroom and bathroom.

Expect these two innovations to crop up in new builds in the year to come, as well as in a home improvement store near you in the future.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Mortgage Rates Still Below 4 Percent

June 4, 2016 12:43 am

The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has ticked upward to 3.66 percent, according to Freddie Mac’s recently released Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®)—a sub-4-percent rate close to a three-year low point.

“Since jumping 11 basis points on May 18, the 10-year Treasury yield has leveled off around 1.85 percent,” explained Sean Becketti, Freddie Mac’s chief economist, in a statement. “Mortgage rates continue to adjust to this new level with the 30-year fixed-rate inching up another 2 basis points this week to 3.66 percent.”

The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has an average 0.5 point, survey findings show. The 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 2.92 percent (with an average 0.5 point), and the 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage averaged 2.88 percent (with an average 0.5 point).

“Recent statements by the Fed appear to have persuaded the market that a rate hike may come sooner than later,” continued Becketti. “However, the market is fickle, and [last] Friday’s employment report has the potential to swing opinion 180 degrees in the other direction.”

Source: Freddie Mac

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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The New Nutrition Facts Label, Explained

June 2, 2016 12:43 am

The nutritional value chart labeled on most food and drink items will change to reflect shifting health ideals—the first alteration to the label in over 20 years.

Recently announced by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the new Nutrition Facts Panel will offer more up-to-date information for consumers.

“Our understanding of a ‘serving size’ has changed over the years,” explains Lori Zanini, registered dietitian nutritionist and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “The new Panel now lists serving size as what is typically eaten in one sitting. This new format will help by easing or even eliminating the need to multiply several servings and daily value percentages to know how much has been consumed.”

The serving size on a 12-ounce beverage, for instance, will now be listed as one serving, since a person typically drinks the whole amount at one time.

“People should also know that the serving size does not necessarily reflect the recommended portion size,” Zanini cautions. “The MyPlate guidelines are a great resource for understanding proper portion sizes.”

The change will also do away with the Vitamin A and Vitamin C quantities currently listed on the label, and instead include the amounts of Vitamin D and potassium.

“Many people do not consume these nutrients in sufficient amounts,” says Zanini.

The new label will identify added sugars, as well.

“To provide a better understanding of naturally-occurring versus sugars that are added to a product, added sugars will now be listed as an indented sub-item under total sugars,” Zanini explains.

Daily Values (DV) will also become easier to calculate under the new label. DVs are the average levels of nutrients for a person eating 2,000 calories a day—a food item with a 5 percent DV of sodium provides 5 percent of the total sodium that the person should eat each day. Consumers should aim for high DVs in vitamins and minerals, Zanini advises.

“While fully understanding the Nutrition Fact Panel can be confusing, many grocery stores now have registered dietitian nutritionists on staff to help their customers understand how to read labels and select the right foods for their customers' healthy eating plans,” adds Zanini.

Visit EatRight.org to learn more about the new label, or to locate a registered dietitian nutritionist in your area.

Source: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

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How Small Is Too Small When Considering Collectors Insurance?

June 2, 2016 12:43 am

Did you know over 90 million Americans collect?

Collectibles, or collectors, insurance, can be a worthwhile expense for homeowners possessing extensive, years-in-the-making collections.

Collections valued below $1 million may be covered by a standard homeowners insurance policy, says collectors insurance expert Keith McConnell, according to PropertyCasualty360.com, but these policies lack sufficient coverage in the event of financial loss. This is because claims are paid at actual cash value, rather than the value of the collectible. What’s more, homeowners may have to pay a higher premium for replacement cost coverage.

With collectors insurance, the policyholder sets the value of the collection—no appraisal is required, unless the collection is specialized or worth more than a few thousand dollars.

Some of the most commonly collected—and uninsured—items are fine art, sports memorabilia, wine, rare books, stamps and coins, antique rugs and tapestries, musical instruments, action figures, dolls, toys, auto and movie memorabilia, and guns. If you’re a collector in one of these categories, collectors insurance may be a wise investment.

Before committing to an insurance provider, draw up a list of items in the collection, including date purchased and amount paid, advises McConnell. Take a photograph of every piece, and store them—and all documentation and receipts—in a secure location.

If you’re having an appraiser assess your collection to determine insurance coverage, be wary of professionals who make offers on the spot— legitimate appraisers are independent and will not engage in this type of conflict of interest. Consult with an antique or vintage item dealer for a referral, McConnell adds.

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Minor Aging-in-Place Improvements with Major Impact

June 2, 2016 12:43 am

Remaining in the home you currently own when retiring has its advantages, but only if it’s outfitted to accommodate your needs as you age. One aging-in-place feature crucial to longevity in the home is adequate lighting.

Vision issues brought on by age, like cataracts or macular degeneration, can make living in a poorly-lit home challenging. Because artificial light may exacerbate these conditions, increasing the home’s level of natural light is the best course of action. In fact, according to the Center for Health Design, natural light can help regulate your sleep cycle, boost your mood and facilitate bodily processes.

To increase the natural light your home receives, consider:

Ditching Drapes – Replace thick, heavy drapes with cordless or remote-operated blinds—ideal for those with limited dexterity. Use them to maximize the amount of natural light entering the home during the day.

Installing Skylights – ENERGY STAR-qualified skylights not only provide natural light, but also increase passive ventilation. A skylight can be especially beneficial in the kitchen, where visual acuity is critical. Most skylights are eligible for the 30 percent federal tax credit.

Repainting – Repaint the rooms you use most often with lighter, vision-friendly colors. Look for paint products that minimize glare, with a Light Reflectance Value (LVR) in the 40-60 range.

These minor improvements can have major impact on your enjoyment of the home in the years to come.

If aging-in-place isn’t part of your plans, reach out to your local real estate professional. He or she can help you downsize (or move-up!) come retirement.

Source: Brandpoint

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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7 Freelance Jobs That Pay Well

June 2, 2016 12:43 am

Freelancing has become a viable option in today’s high-cost business world, as more working people and stay-at-home parents supplement income with contract jobs. While many freelancers don’t make large sums of money – the average for professionals is between $25,000 and $75,000 – it can be enough to support a family on the high end, and allow for extras even on the low end. 
 
However, there are freelance positions that pay well - especially if you capitalize on your previous experience and training, say the editors at Kiplinger Magazine. It will take some salesmanship, and it may not be easy to find your first few gigs. The best paying freelance jobs are available in these fields, according to Kiplinger: 
 
Legal Work – If you are trained as a lawyer or paralegal, look into freelancing. Patent lawyers can demand $112 per hour, intellectual property lawyers up to $120 an hour, and even run-of-the-mill legal consulting pays about $70 an hour.
 
Marketing – If you have a marketing background, you can earn an average of $50 an hour creating brand strategies, utilizing social media and bolstering customer relationships. Find a company or career professional who likes what you do, and you could have a long-term, flexible job.
 
Photography – The competition is stiff, but if you have talent and build a portfolio that showcases your work, you can earn $2,000 or more to photograph a wedding or special event, and $100 an hour (or more) for portrait photography.
 
Programming – Computer programming can be done from anywhere. If you know how to program, and have experience and a portfolio, you can make about $60 an hour freelancing.
 
Recruiting – Use your human resources know-how to find strategic employees for big companies, many of which prefer to outsource the search. A good recruiter working part-time can earn as much as $46 an hour.
 
Translation – If you know two or more languages, there are translation gigs for you! Translating to and from Korean pays well, as does Spanish-English translation, but there are opportunities for almost every language combination. You can make between $25 to $40 an hour, depending on the task.
 
Writing – Good professional writers are in demand by many companies and publications. Find a specialty in a field you know and you can earn an average of $55 an hour.

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Paint and Progress: House Painting Projects Up with Economy

June 2, 2016 12:43 am

Painting is one of the few projects homeowners with any budget can do.

An uptick in paint projects, in fact, is a sign of economic progress overall. Homeowners of varied income levels tend to spend more money when the “good times are rollin’,” and with paint projects, they’re putting that expense back into their largest asset - for a low upfront cost.

“I’ve worked on many projects and above all, I’ve learned that there are endless ways to make a sophisticated, bold impression in your home and that small changes can make a big impact,” says John Gidding, architect and interior designer.

More than half (56 percent) of homeowners surveyed in a recent Sherwin-Williams poll plan to repaint part or all of their home in the year to come, with 59 percent willing to spend more than $100 on the project. An identical percentage reported feeling confident in their ability (or a professional’s ability) to carry out the project.

Who wouldn’t? Painting is a simple project for even inexperienced DIY-er's, and it generally doesn’t take longer than a weekend or two to complete.

Close to half of the homeowners surveyed in the poll believe painting an accent wall is one of the best ways to make a room “stand out.”

Accent walls have gradually become a fixture in homes today, with many homeowners adopting the trend as standard.

Whether it’s an accent wall or an entire room, paint can change the look and feel of a home for the better.

“With only 1 gallon of paint and a little time, people can achieve a positive, lasting outcome they’ll appreciate and enjoy for some time,” adds Gidding.

Source: Sherwin-Williams

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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