Gunning Daily News

Word of the Day

September 4, 2013 2:03 am

Appraisal. A formal estimate of property value conducted by a professional qualified to make such an opinion.

 


Q: There Seem to Be No Shortage of Contractors; How Do You Identify One Who Is Less Than Reputable?

September 4, 2013 2:03 am

A:  They often give themselves away.  The telltale signs:

  • Pressure is used to get you to sign a contract;
  • Verifying the contractor’s name, address, phone number and credentials is impossible;
  • Cash payments are only accepted, not checks made out to a company;
  • Payment for the entire job is demanded up-front, whereas most remodelers typically require a down payment of 25-50% of the contract price for small jobs and 10-33% for large jobs.
  • The contractor suggests that you borrow money from a lender the contractor knows, which could make you the target of a home improvement loan scam – a sure way to lose your home;
  • The contractor offers information that is out-of-date or no longer valid;
  • No references are available;
  • An inability by the contractor to communicate the project well;
  • Exceptionally long guarantees are offered;
  • The contractor fails to listens and talks over you; and
  • The contractor fails to notify you of your right to cancel the contract within three days; this “right of recision” is required by law and allows you to change your mind without penalty if the contract was provided at a place other than the contractor’s place of business or an appropriate trade premise.

Get Kids Active with Fun Adventures

August 30, 2013 4:27 pm

Family Features—The great outdoors are full of wonderful adventures for kids. If you want to encourage your children to get active, try to make sure they have positive experiences. It's always easier to get them engaged when past adventures are full of wonderful memories.

Great experiences are safe ones. Here are a few tips to keep your kids healthy and happy during their adventure:

Bring a friend: Whether they are playing at the park or just exploring the neighborhood, kids should always bring along a friend. Remind them that even their favorite television characters often travel in pairs, such as Dora the Explorer and her best friend, Boots. It's not only safer playing together outside, it's much more fun. Learn more at www.fisher-price.com.

Be careful where you explore: Make sure your children familiarize themselves with their surroundings so they are comfortable biking, skating or exploring. Never let them play in the street -- even if a pet or toy goes into the road.

Wear protective gear: Some adventures require special gear, like biking, skateboarding and roller skating, in order to enjoy it safely. Make sure your child wears a helmet, kneepads, elbow pads and wrist guards when skating and biking.

Be prepared: Bring a backpack with essentials, such as water, healthy snacks and sunscreen.

Warm up: Before your children leave for a long bike ride or skate in the park, have them take the time for a few simple stretches. Athletes know this is the best way to avoid an injury or future aches and pains.

Keep it clean: After a fun time discovering new adventures, make sure children wash their hands to get rid of any germs. Parents, be on the lookout for any bumps, bruises, mosquito bites, ticks or sunburns, as kids tend to get wrapped up in the fun.


Shopping on a Dime? How to Maximize Savings at Discount Stores

August 30, 2013 4:27 pm

Bargain hunting for some new fall favorites? Follow the below tips, provided by PaydayLoan-Lender.com, to get the most out of your bargain shopping.

Write a list and avoid "browsing": Be aware of marketing tactics - A crucial way to not overspend is to learn how to spot a store's marketing gimmicks. Items are placed in certain locations deliberately and there is a proven science to shopping. Learn the layout of your store and stick to a pre-written shopping list.

Never shop tired or hungry: Shopping on an empty stomach or when tired is the number one way for consumers to buy more than they need. The discipline required to successfully bargain hunt requires a clear head.

Make sure that you definitely want to shop there before paying for membership: Check it out a few times before you sign on the dotted line. Visit the store to see if it is suitable.

Share a membership with a friend or family member: Cut costs even more by having a communal membership, thereby splitting the membership fee.

Use a smaller cart: If you choose a bigger cart, you will fill it up and buy more. A smaller cart means that you are limited to buying less, therefore saving more. This is a psychological trick that can save precious dollars and avoid over-shopping.

Pay in cash: Estimate the cost of what items need to be bought and bring the exact amount in cash. PaydayLoan-Lender.com can connect consumers to emergency lenders that can pay out cash directly into bank checking accounts within 1 working day or faster.

Source: http://www.PaydayLoan-Lender.com.


Shopping on a Dime? How to Maximize Savings at Discount Stores

August 30, 2013 4:27 pm

Bargain hunting for some new fall favorites? Follow the below tips, provided by PaydayLoan-Lender.com, to get the most out of your bargain shopping.

Write a list and avoid "browsing": Be aware of marketing tactics - A crucial way to not overspend is to learn how to spot a store's marketing gimmicks. Items are placed in certain locations deliberately and there is a proven science to shopping. Learn the layout of your store and stick to a pre-written shopping list.

Never shop tired or hungry: Shopping on an empty stomach or when tired is the number one way for consumers to buy more than they need. The discipline required to successfully bargain hunt requires a clear head.

Make sure that you definitely want to shop there before paying for membership: Check it out a few times before you sign on the dotted line. Visit the store to see if it is suitable.

Share a membership with a friend or family member: Cut costs even more by having a communal membership, thereby splitting the membership fee.

Use a smaller cart: If you choose a bigger cart, you will fill it up and buy more. A smaller cart means that you are limited to buying less, therefore saving more. This is a psychological trick that can save precious dollars and avoid over-shopping.

Pay in cash: Estimate the cost of what items need to be bought and bring the exact amount in cash. PaydayLoan-Lender.com can connect consumers to emergency lenders that can pay out cash directly into bank checking accounts within 1 working day or faster.

Source: http://www.PaydayLoan-Lender.com.


Word of the Day

August 30, 2013 4:27 pm

Agent. Person authorized to act by and on behalf of another.


Q: What Does a Mortgage Broker Do?

August 30, 2013 4:27 pm

A: Much like a stockbroker helps you buy stocks, a mortgage broker can help you purchase a home loan.  Because the broker has access to many lenders, you will be able to select from a wide variety of loan types and terms that fit your specific needs.  

Note, however, that brokers are not obligated to find the best deal for you.  Of course, if you agree in writing to have one act as your agent, that is an entirely different story. This is why it is important when looking for a broker to contact more than one, just as you would any other lender.

Compare their fees and ask questions, particularly about how they will be paid.  Sometimes their fees appear as points paid at closing or the compensation is factored into the interest rate, or both.  In any event, haggle with the broker and the lender for the best deal.

Real estate agents normally maintain contact with several brokers.  Ask your agent for recommendations.


10 Ways to Freshen Up Household Odors

August 30, 2013 4:27 pm

Little is more annoying than waking up to a house that smells like kitty litter or the remains of last night’s dinner. But there’s no need to run right out and load up on expensive deodorizers.

Home improvement guru Bob Vila suggests ten common household items that can help freshen and deodorize your home in record time:

  • Green tea in the litter box – A box or two of dry green tea leaves sprinkled into the  litter box will keep the cat john area smelling fresh.
  • Dryer sheets in the trash bin – Stomp out persistently foul-smelling garbage bins with the same disposable dryer sheets you use in the laundry. Toss one or two in the bottom of the bin and the fresh scent will take over.
  • Apple cider vinegar in the drains – Pour half a cupful into offending drains to get rid of yucky smells.
  • Vanilla extract in the freezer – Freshen up the freezer by soaking a cotton ball in vanilla extract and wiping it around the inside.
  • Lemon juice in the sink – Douse the odor in your sink or garbage disposal with a cup or two of lemon juice poured in. The disposal can take the lemon rinds, too.
  • Onions in the basement – Musty smell in the basement after the rain? Believe it or not, a raw onion halved and left there overnight will banish any mold or mildew odor.
  • Coffee grounds in the fridge – If your refrigerator tends to smell like spoiled food, fill a nylon stocking with fresh ground coffee and toss it in the back of the fridge,
  • Baking soda for sneakers – sprinkle baking soda into foul-smelling sneakers to make them smell fresh and new again. Tap the powder out in the morning, and you and your shoes are ready to go.
  • Salt and cinnamon for stovetop spills – If the soup’s boiled over, spatter a mixture of salt and cinnamon over the spill while it is still warm. Sponge off the residue after it’s cool, and no burnt smell will survive.
  • House plants all around – To keep your home smelling fresh, let a few houseplants do the work. Scented geraniums and Arabian jasmines, in particular, can help banish household odors.

Fire Prevention Starts with a Plan

August 30, 2013 4:27 pm

The cooler temperatures of fall may be on their way, but cooler weather also brings an increase in home fires. According to the National Fire Protection Association, more than half (54 percent) of home structure fire deaths occur in the cooler months of November through March.

The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) recommends that every household have an escape plan in place, yet, in a recent survey by Omnibus, 44 percent of people reported that they did not have an escape plan for their home.

On average, families have less than three minutes from the time the first smoke alarm sounds to escape a fire.

"Every second counts when it comes to escaping a home fire," says Chief Metcalf, president and chairman of the IAFC. "That's why families need to have an escape plan in place, and ensure they have working smoke alarms to provide those critical early warning signals in the event of a home fire.

The "Change Your Clock Change Your Battery" program aims to help keep families safe by sharing the reminder to replace the batteries in your home's smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors each year when you change your clocks for daylight saving time. It's part of the Energizer philosophy -- that's positivenergy -- which represents the company's commitment to making a positive impact on the world. Here are some additional tips from the IAFC and Energizer to help protect your family room by room.

Make a Plan
Draw a floor plan of your home and find two ways out of every room. Sketch the exit routes clearly on the floor plan. A downloadable escape plan grid can be found on the Energizer Bunny Facebook page. If an upstairs window is one of the escape options, make sure you have a fire escape ladder long enough to reach the ground. Make sure every adult knows how to use it. Adults should be responsible for helping younger children. Assign an outside meeting place so if the family escapes from different routes, you can quickly locate each other.

Use the following checklist to eliminate as many fire hazards in your home as possible:

Bedrooms
In a recent study, almost half (44 percent) of families did not know the peak time for home fire fatalities is when most people are asleep (between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m.). So, in addition to making sure you have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors within hearing distance of your bedrooms, take the below steps to fire-proof the bedrooms themselves:

--Do not trap electrical cords against walls. Heat can build up, posing a fire hazard.
--Use only lab-approved electric blankets and warmers. Make sure cords are not worn or coming apart. Do not leave electric blankets switched on all night unless they are marked "suitable for all night use."
--Keep bedding, curtains and other combustible items at least three feet away from space heaters.
--Never smoke in bed.
--Replace mattresses made before the 2007 Federal Mattress Flammability Standard. By law, mattresses made since then are required to be safer.
--Have a working smoke alarm in every bedroom and outside each sleeping area.

Living Room
--Do not overload electrical outlets.
--Never run electrical cords under carpets.
--Check all electrical cords for fraying or other signs of damage.
--Only light decorative candles when adults are in the room. Use stable candle holders that will not catch fire. Blow candles out when you leave.
--During a power failure, do not use candles or oil lamps for light. Keep battery-operated flashlights and lanterns in easily accessible places. Candles used for light in the absence of electrical power cause one-third of fatal home candle fires. 
--Make sure you have a working smoke alarm in each room, including the living room.

Kitchen
Cooking is the leading cause of reported home fires and home fire injuries in the United States, according to research by the National Fire Protection Agency.

--Never use extension cords to plug in cooking appliances. They can overload the circuit and start a fire.
--Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.
--Keep anything that can catch fire away from the cooktop. This includes potholders, oven mitts, wooden utensils, paper or plastic bags, food packaging, towels and curtains.
--Keep the cooktop, burners and oven clean.
--Loose clothing can dangle onto stove burners and catch fire. Wear short, close-fitting clothing or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking.
--Have a fire extinguisher installed in or near your kitchen, and be sure every adult family member knows how to use it.

Garage
--Store all combustible materials away from regular sources of heat, such as water heaters, space heaters, boilers and furnaces.
--Keep wood finishes, spray paint, paint thinners and other flammable products in a dedicated storage container with a closed door.
--Store all combustible materials in their proper containers and be sure they are clearly marked.
--Keeping the garage tidy can also help keep it safe. Get rid of stacked boxes, newspapers, recycling and trash. They can be instant fuel for a fire.


Making Your Job Transfer Move Stress-Free

August 30, 2013 4:27 pm

(BPT) - A job transfer usually is a good thing. Hopefully the transfer signals a promotion as you take your career a step further up the ladder, bringing about new and fun challenges in the workplace. But the transition itself is often not easy, especially if it involves moving your home and family to a new location.

Businesses often give transferred employees less than two weeks (11 days) to accept a transfer offer and once accepted, an average of 33 days to move and report to the new job, according to Worldwide ERC, a professional association for workforce mobility. That isn't much time to find a new home, put the old home up for sale or subleasing and plan a move that could be across town, across state lines or across the country.

Resources are available to help ease the stress of your job transfer. They include:

Your company - Before you accept the job transfer offer, check with your human resources department on what services or financial compensation your company offers. Many companies outsource relocation services or cover selected services like providing rental moving trucks for employees. Be aware that the average cost of shipping household goods for a domestic transfer was around $12,459 in 2012, according to Worldwide ERC.

Truck rental - Much of the moving process involves the transfer of your household goods. Truck rental companies help to make this process much easier. For example, Penske, which is a member of Worldwide ERC, has a dedicated customer service and sales team within its existing call center to serve the specialized needs of employee relocations.  

"Time, cost and ease of use are of the essence with an employee relocation move," says Don Mikes, senior vice president of rental for Penske. "We have a solid solution to make the process easy ranging from rental trucks, towing equipment and moving supplies to services beyond the truck such as self-storage and moving labor."

House hunting - Searching for a new home could be the most stressful part of relocating. Many employees will opt for temporary housing like apartments or extended-stay hotels for the first couple months of the transfer. This allows them to get a feel for the community and take the time to review homes for sale. However, if you prefer to purchase a home right way, contact the human resources department at your new location to ask for real estate agents referrals. Also take your search online. Between MLS listings with photos and online mapping tools, you can narrow your search quickly to preferred homes, allowing you to make an appointment once with your real estate agent to tour the homes and hopefully make an offer.

House selling - On the other end of the spectrum, you also have a home to sell. Many homeowners are opting to hire a management company and rent out the home, with the intent to sell in the future once they have their life organized in the new location and have the time to list the home with a real estate agent. Management companies handle the review of rental applicants, the background checks, collect the rent and take care of any emergency maintenance concerns that might occur, allowing the homeowner to concentrate his energies on the new job.

The job transfer process may feel overwhelming, but with these resources available to assist you with the transfer, you'll find yourself quickly settling into the new office and digging into the challenges of the new job.