Gunning Daily News

Q: How Long Do Bankruptcies and Foreclosure Stay on a Credit Report?

June 6, 2013 6:36 pm

A: They can remain on your credit record for seven to 10 years.

However, a borrower who has worked hard to reestablish good credit may be shown some leniency by the lender. And the circumstances surrounding the bankruptcy may also influence a lender's decision. For example, if you went bankrupt because you were laid off from your job, the lender may be more sympathetic. If, however, you went through bankruptcy because you overextended personal credit lines and lived beyond your means, it is unlikely the lender will readily give you a break.

 


5 Frugal Habits of the Rich

June 6, 2013 4:58 am

It stands to reason that people who live modestly and invest wisely are on the surest pathway

to wealth and financial freedom. Frugal shopper Kyle James, who operates a website called

RatherBeShopping.com, makes a habit of tracking the ways wealthy people spend their

money.
 

From his observations, here are five widespread frugal habits endorsed by many of the rich

and/or famous:

1.Drive a modest car – Some people allow the car they drive to define their character or

image. But Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg drives a $30,000 Acura sedan, the kind

of decision seconded by many wealthy people who know the purpose of a car is simply

to get us from place to place.

2.Buy a modest house – As many people know, Warren Buffett still lives in the Omaha,

Neb., home he bought in 1958 for $31,500. Taking his cue, and not undertaking a large

monthly mortgage payment, will allow you to use the money you save to build up a

savings and retirement fund.

3.Don’t carry a full wallet – Walking around with a wallet full of cash, or a credit card or

two, can make it tempting to buy more than we need.  Texas oil executive T. Boone

Pickens still shops with a grocery list and carries only enough cash to buy what he

plans to buy.

4.Don’t pay full price – Actress Hilary Swank, who has a net worth of more than $40

million, is frequently seen using coupons at the grocery store – and First Lady Michelle

Obama often opts to shop at Target. Looking for bargains leaves you with more money

to save or invest.

5.Have an action mentality – Almost all self-made millionaires are people of action.

They do not have a “lottery mentality,” waiting for something good to come their way.

Rather, they take appropriate risks, are always looking to improve themselves, and

seek knowledge as the best way to gain a competitive financial advantage.


Think Outside the Fuse Box: Unique Energy-Saving Home Improvements

June 6, 2013 4:58 am

(BPT)—You've replaced your home's 20-year-old windows with new, Energy Star-rated models, upgraded to electricity-sipping appliances and there's not a single incandescent light bulb to be found anywhere in your house. You may be wondering what more you can do to further reduce your home energy bills.

When you've covered the basic and obvious ways to trim energy use at home, it's time to start thinking outside the fuse box. Here are three unique home improvements that can help make your house even more energy-efficient.

1. Put a stake through the heart of vampire power - Even when they're turned off, electrical devices draw power as long as they're plugged in. "Vampire power" or "standby power" refers to the electricity wasted in this manner. In developed countries, standby power probably accounts for 5 to 10 percent of residential energy use, according to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

Fortunately, vampire power is a relatively easy problem to solve. In many cases, simply unplug the power cord - a great solution for your cellphone charger or the coffee pot. When an appliance gets frequent use, however, constantly unplugging and replugging it may not be convenient. In those situations, a simple home improvement may be in order.

Connect outlets to wall switches that make it easy to turn the device off or on at the outlet. Or, you can plug appliances into a device that, in turn, plugs into the outlet and stops electricity leakage.

2. Add motorized shutters to windows - People add motorized rolling shutters to their homes for a variety of reasons, from enhancing privacy and security by making it harder for burglars to break in through windows, to protection against intense sunshine and hurricane winds. But did you know shutters can also boost your home's energy efficiency?

In winter, motorized shades or rolling shutters maximize insulation of windows - a significant point of heat loss in many homes. In summer, they can reduce heat gain, help maintain a more comfortable indoor temperature and protect furnishings from damaging UV rays. Automating motorized shutters with a sun sensor allow you to further improve energy efficiency by raising or lowering shutters throughout the day to fine-tune heat retention.

3. Open the door to energy savings - Your home's front door is the first impression visitors get when they arrive on your doorstep, but it's also a potential source of heat and energy loss. Replacing an old, inefficient or poorly insulated door with an Energy Star-qualified door can pay off with significant heat retention and energy savings.

When looking for a replacement door, insulated doors made of fiberglass or steel, filled with an insulating core such as polyurethane foam, are more energy-efficient than traditional wooden doors. Doors should also fit well into the doorframe, and use weather stripping to block drafts.

Doors wear out, lose efficiency and need to be replaced, according to the Residential Energy Services Network. Replace your old front door with an Energy Star-qualified one, and you may qualify for a federal tax credit of up to 30 percent of the cost of the door, according to EnergyStar.gov.

Improving your home's energy efficiency is the right thing to do - for both the environment and your wallet. With a bit of creativity and the right home improvements, it's possible to maximize your home's energy efficiency.


5 Things to Do with Your Family This Summer

June 6, 2013 4:58 am

Summer is a great time to enjoy the outdoors, whether you stay close to home or take a quick trip nearby. Here are some ideas to help you stay active and healthy and spend some time with your family.

Visit a national park. There are more than 400 national parks to choose from, and each one has something special to offer. You can enjoy some time with Mother Nature or sign up for organized hikes, go fishing, horseback riding, or rock climbing. End the day camping and resting next to a campfire.

Cool off at the beach or community pools. If your family likes to spend time in the water, you can always plan a trip to the beach. Make sure to plan ahead and take what you need to build sand castles or play games on the beach. If you live far from the ocean and prefer to stay close to home, you can go to a public pool. Make sure to visit Poolsafely.gov to learn about how to keep your family safe while enjoying the water.

Take a bicycle ride. There are lots of options when it comes to riding your bicycle. You can go around your neighborhood or explore your local parks or beaches. Make it a family routine and teach your children the importance of exercising and staying active. Don't forget to put on your helmet and follow the basic safety rules of riding a bicycle.

Attend local events. Many federal properties host community events where you can enjoy different activities with your family, including farmers' markets, art galleries, concerts and other live shows. Check your local community calendar to see what's coming up.

Organize activities in your home. You don't need to spend money or get out of town to stay active. There are lots of things you can find in your own home to keep your family entertained. You don't need much space to plant a garden.

Source: GobiernoUSA.gov/USA.gov

 


Word of the Day

June 6, 2013 4:58 am

Maintenance fees.  Paid by a condominium unit owner to the owners’ association for upkeep of the common areas.


Q: When Is the Best Time to Refinance?

June 6, 2013 4:58 am

A: Many people flock to refinance while mortgage interest rates are low, particularly when rates are about two percentage points below their existing home loans.

Other factors, like when to finance, will depend on how long you plan to hold on to your home and whether you have to pay considerable fees to refinance. It also will depend on how far along you are in paying off your current mortgage.   

If you expect to sell your home relatively soon, you are not likely to recoup the costs you incurred to refinance.  And if you are more than halfway through paying your current mortgage, you probably will gain little by refinancing. However, if you are going to own your home for at least another five years, that is probably long enough to recoup any refinancing costs and realize real savings as a result of lowering your monthly payment.

In fact, if it costs you nothing to refinance, you can gain even more.  Many lenders will let you roll the costs of the refinancing into the new note and still reduce the amount of the monthly payment. Plus, there are no-cost refinancing deals available.

Contact your lender, and its competitors, before you refinance.

 


Find the Perfect Retirement Destination

June 3, 2013 6:02 pm

Searching for the perfect active adult community to enjoy during retirement creates all sorts of questions. Do you want to live somewhere else? If so, where? Do you want warmth and sunshine? Do you want to stay close to family? Do you want a condo or single family home? With questions like these, doing your homework is important, and so it's best to start early.

According to research conducted by ProMatura, a global market research and advisory firm specializing in 50+ consumers, active adult home buyers visit an average of 4.6 active adult communities before making a final purchase decision, and they visit the community that they ultimately choose an average of 3.8 times before making that final decision. Unless you’re Lori Rust and her husband Kevin Jordan.

Lori and Kevin began their search for the best retirement location at age 50. Six years, six states and thirty-five communities later, they believe they have found “home.” The two, living in Denver, Colo. at the time their search began, thought about the longevity of their careers  and what they wanted to do with the rest of their lives.

“We’re both analytical people,” says Jordan, who is now working in real estate sales. “We needed to take the emotion out of the process and focus on things that would enhance our lives, and so we created a list of important characteristics and applied a weighted score.”

It wasn’t an easy process. Kevin, a New York native, wanted to be close to the action with cultural and retail offerings, while Lori, who grew up in Montana, wanted open spaces, beautiful views and clean air. “We started with a blank canvas,” says Kevin. We were willing to consider most everywhere in the country. We looked at the Carolinas, Florida, Texas, California and Arizona. We had to decide what areas would we enjoy, and then drill down to what state, what area, what community, and then the home. It ultimately has less to do with the house and more to do with everything else,” he notes.

Also among their many considerations were a warm climate, access to quality golf and the ability to get on the course during peak season. Plus, they wanted a good value that allowed them to live within their means and still enjoy the extras. And, they wanted to be in an area attractive to fellow baby boomers.

For this couple, as they looked ahead to the next phase of their life, being in an area appealing to aging baby boomers was important. They knew they wanted to be working and interfacing with this huge demographic, the first of the 78-million boomers began turning 65 last year. Baby boomers were born between 1946 and 1964 and 10,000 a day are now turning 65.

“When researching communities, one of the most illuminating things you can do is talk to the people who live there. You’ll learn more than you can imagine,” says Lori.

Below are some more important things to go over when searching for the perfect retirement destination:

  • What are your weather and climate preferences?
  • If interested, is there quality golf and the ability to get tee times in peak season?
  • What is the average age of the residents?
  • What is the proximity to commercial services, culture and restaurants?
  • Is the cost of living reasonable?
  • How well-built is the home?
  • Do the onsite amenities, if any, match your lifestyle needs?

Secrets to a Foolproof Vacation

June 3, 2013 6:02 pm

(Family Features)--Vacations should be filled with worry-free days and endless fun, whether you're zip-lining through the jungle or sunbathing on the beach. Navigating unknown territories, however, can cause unwarranted stress if you're not prepared. As you embark on your perfect getaway, consider these quick tips to ensure that it's a trip to remember, for the right reasons.

Stay Energized. Don't let the journey to your destination dampen the experience and start your dream trip on the wrong foot. Avoid fatigue caused by early flights and long drives by getting at least eight hours of sleep the night before your departure and don't succumb to stress-ridden packing procrastination. While traveling, easy access to sensible snacks, such as string cheese and nuts can keep your energy levels up. For long flights and hotel stays, consider sticking ear plugs and a sleep mask in your bag to help combat distracting noises and bright lights that may detract from a restful sleep.

Stay Connected. Your smartphone, tablet and other portable devices keep you connected and make it easier to engage with the culture and exciting attractions that come with a new destination. Whether you're scouting the hottest restaurants, sourcing directions back to your hotel or keeping up with loved ones at home, being able to access your trusted devices is a must. Don't waste precious sightseeing time searching for outlets. Instead, recharge your devices on-the-go with the Motorola P4000 Universal Portable Power Pack. The lightweight and super slim device fits easily into a pocket or purse. It provides up to two full phone charges, plus it's compatible with phones by all manufacturers.

Stay Organized. Avoid spending aimless time digging through your belongings looking for your favorite bathing suit, when you could be enjoying the waves and a beautiful sunset. To stay organized while living out of your luggage, consider investing in a suitcase or duffel bag with multiple zipped compartments designed to house small, hard-to-locate items. Clear toiletry bags are also convenient, and allow you to quickly find your everyday necessities while on the road.

Stay Focused on Fun. It's easy to run out of time when you're exploring a new place. Carve out time for your top priorities by making a pre-trip list of must-do activities. Utilize your hotel concierge, resort guide books and online trip planning websites to help create your perfect itinerary and ensure you get the chance to enjoy it all.

Regardless of your destination, with some planning and essential tools, your vacation will be everything you dreamed of and leave you yearning for your next journey.

Source: www.motorola.com.

 


Word of the Day

June 3, 2013 6:02 pm

Loan servicing.  Task of collecting monthly payments, handling insurance and tax impounds, delinquencies, early payoffs, and mortgage releases.


Q: Does the Government Offer Assistance with Home Improvements?

June 3, 2013 6:02 pm

A: Yes.  Two very popular programs offered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) include the Title 1 Home Improvement Loan and the Section 203(k) Program.  

In the first program, HUD insures the loan up to $25,000 for a single-family house to cover alterations, repairs, and site improvements.  The latter program, which also insures mortgage loans, is HUD’s primary program for the rehabilitation and repair of single-family homes.  

Loans are also available from the Department of Veteran Affairs to buy, build, or improve a home, as well as refinance an existing loan at interest rates that are usually lower than that on conventional loans.  The Rural Housing Repair and Rehabilitation Loan program, funded by the Agriculture Department, offers low-rate loans to low-income rural residents who own and occupy a home in need of repairs.    

Funds are also available to improve or modernize a home or to remove health and safety hazards.  The federal government isn’t alone in its efforts to provide assistance.  Local and state governments offer special home improvement programs.  Contact your governor or mayor’s office for more details.