Gunning Daily News

Q: Is It True You Never Really Stop Fixing Up a Home?

June 28, 2013 10:28 pm

A: From the day you move in to the day you sell your home, there will always be something that will need to be repaired or remodeled. You may want to undertake some changes simply to elevate your comfort level – like installing central air conditioning – or spruce up the home’s aesthetics, such as adding a few stained-glass windows.

But other work will need to be done to maintain the property and minimize problems later on.  For example, replacing a hazardous roof, fixing broken windows, and repairing leaky pipes.  These are all necessities. Left undone, they can lead to major problems and damages within the home.  

If you decide one day to sell, other improvements will likely be made to increase the home’s value and appeal to potential buyers.  


Paint Your Home Pretty: Tackle your Home To-Do List

June 28, 2013 10:28 pm

(BPT) - We all have home improvement projects on our to-do lists. However, often the hustle

and bustle of life keeps us from getting them done. Following are a few projects you can

quickly tackle to help cross off some of your to-do list DIY projects featuring Krylon paints.

DIY Mason jar herb garden

We all have mismatched jars cluttering our cupboards or attics. Fortunately, Mason jars are

the ideal size to create anything from a flower vase, an herb garden or desktop organizer, and

the raised outer design adds a touch of whimsy and nostalgia. With just a bit of spray paint,

your clutter can be transformed into a clever creation.
 

After thoroughly cleaning the jars, simply spray several light coats onto the jars using your

favorite shades of Krylon ColorMaster spray paint. The unique formula dries in just 10 minutes

and is available in nearly 100 brilliant colors and finishes to meet all your color and durability

needs. Once dry, you now have a beautiful new vessel to hold anything from plants to pencils.

 

Terracotta potted plant house numbers

Why settle for "ho hum" house numbers? Instead convert ceramic or terra cotta pots into an

eye-catching address marker with creative curb appeal.
 

To start, be sure that each pot has a clean and smooth surface. Next, apply primer to the

surface and allow to dry, using a white primer for light colors and a gray primer for dark colors.

Next, paint each pot in a different color of spray paint and let dry. Finally, place a stencil for

each house number on the center of each pot and spray with a light coat of paint. Arrange your

pots in the proper order, fill with flowers and voila ... you now have an original and welcoming

way to announce your address.
 

Colorful hand-built and stenciled headboard

Does your headboard need help? Paint can take any piece of furniture from blah to beautiful.

So instead of replacing your hated headboard, rejuvenate it.
 

Start by sanding and cleaning your current headboard to ensure you have a smooth surface.

Next apply primer. Once dry, spray the headboard in your favorite color of spray paint. And

don't limit yourself to just one color. You can use painter's tape to cover different areas to

create a multi-color surface - or add embellishments, such as stencils. The opportunities are

endless.

Source: krylon.com


Summer Travel Tips for Seniors

June 28, 2013 10:28 pm

(BPT) - Extra socks? Check. Toothbrush? Check. Photo ID? Check. What else could you be forgetting?

All travel requires some level of planning, but for seniors taking to the road or sky this summer, a little extra planning can go a long way toward ensuring an enjoyable vacation. Before embarking on your next adventure, consider these tips to make certain you have all your bases covered, from health to happenstance.

1. Keep your health in check: Make sure your doctor checks pre-existing medical conditions before you take extended travels and carefully manage conditions throughout your vacation. Also, pack enough of your medications to last the entire trip and keep them in the original prescription bottles labeled with your name.

Keep in mind that sitting for extended periods of time, whether you are driving or flying, puts you at risk for developing blood clots in the veins of your legs. Be sure to stand up and walk for a few minutes every hour to minimize your slight chance of getting a blood clot.

Make sure you stay well-hydrated throughout your trip by drinking at least two to three liters of water per day. Staying hydrated during long flights can also minimize chances of getting a blood clot.

2. Lighten your load: Pack light when possible to give your legs and back a break from hauling luggage around town or between flights. If you have to bring a second bag, make it a small one that can easily stack on top of your roller bag.

However, it's wise to pack a backup for some of your most important items. If you're traveling with a family member or friend, make sure you each have a cellphone. Pack a spare pair of glasses if you've been known to misplace them in the past. Bring spare batteries for hearing aids if you think they may be running low.

3. Keep in touch: Whether used to confirm reservations or contact authorities in case of an emergency, a cellphone can be the ultimate travel safety net. Consumer Cellular (www.consumercellular.com), the exclusive wireless provider for AARP members, provides cost-effective no-contract wireless service and cellphones to meet subscribers' unique needs.

Consumer Cellular's senior-friendly Doro PhoneEasy 618 is an easy-to-use phone with a one-touch emergency button and a camera for documenting your trip. Or for those who prefer the comfort and familiarity of their landline phone, the carrier's wireless home phone device allows for the use of your home phone in an RV, hotel room or anywhere with access to a cellular signal. Lastly, the carrier allows you to switch between plans without penalty at any time, so scale your service up or down for that month's bill to meet your travel needs, then resume your standard plan when you return.

4. Act your age: Seniors can often get discounts on attractions, events, meals and more by simply showing a photo ID or AARP membership card. Seek out discounts before you travel and make arrangements accordingly. Also, continue to ask about discounts throughout your vacation — you may save a few bucks here and there.

5. Leave time for recovery: A vacation should be fun and relaxing, but intensive driving or time zone changes can leave a traveler feeling exhausted. When outlining your trip itinerary, consider that you may need time initially to rest from your travels or recover from jet lag.

Whether you're embarking on a weekend getaway or taking the trip of a lifetime, spend a little extra time to consider the unique requirements you may have specific to your age, health and capabilities. Follow these five simple tips for a smooth, stress-free vacation experience and turn travel into a revitalizing fountain of youth.

 


What Does Child Support Cover?

June 28, 2013 10:28 pm

There is a growing misconception among some that child support should only cover a child's bare necessities, such as food and clothing. In truth, child support is meant to cover a broad range of expenses, which may include school fees, entertainment, medical, and extracurricular activities, among other things.

To help clarify this issue, all 50 states have established child support guidelines to determine the amount of child support a parent may be required to pay. As such, courts take into consideration a variety of factors, such as a parent's income and ability to pay, the financial needs of the child and the amount of support needed to maintain a child's existing standard of living, if at all possible.

Even so, courts do not require parents to prove the child support payments they receive go toward specific activities, except, for example, in cases where a child's basic needs are not being met. The assumption is that parents with physical custody of a child are paying for the necessary expenses to raise the child and, therefore, courts will not monitor the spending habits of a custodial parent.

Because child support laws vary greatly among the states, it is important to check the child support guidelines in your state to determine how support may be calculated in your particular case. http://family.findlaw.com/child-support/state-specific-child-support-information-and-guidelines.html

Below is a listing of what child support may be used for:

Basic Necessities -- Food, Clothing, Shelter

Obviously, children need food, proper clothing, and a safe and comfortable place to live. At a minimum, child support may be used to purchase groceries, snacks, beverages, and other food items. It may also be used to purchase shoes, jackets, and appropriate clothing. Also, child support may be used to pay for the child's related shelter costs, such as mortgage or rent, lighting, telephone, and utility bills.

Medical Care

Children need basic medical care. Most states require divorced or separated parents to carry some form of health insurance for their child. Typically, the parent with better employee-covered benefits will be required to carry the medical, dental and/or vision insurance plan.

Uninsured Medical Expenses

Child support may be used to pay for uninsured or "extraordinary" medical expenses. "Extraordinary" medical expenses may include any out-of-pocket medical costs that exceed the cost of a basic health care insurance plan, including co-pays, deductibles, and surgery costs. In many circumstances, child support may be used to cover these and other expenses, such as dental braces, casts, eyeglasses, and other special health care costs (especially if a child has pre-existing special medical needs). Most states require both parents to split the cost of additional medical care (depending on their state's guidelines).

Educational Fees (School Fees, Supplies, and Related Costs)

Education is not free, even if a child is attending a public school. There are several fees needed to support school-aged children. Therefore, child support may be used to pay for many school-related needs, such as school clothes/uniforms, tuition fees, textbooks, lunch money, and private tutors, if necessary.

Childcare

If one or both parents are unable to care for their child due to work-related issues, then child support may cover the costs of childcare expenses. This may include the cost of daycare services, babysitters, nannies, or other childcare expenses and fees. This may also include the cost of child care during summer months, spring break, and some holidays.

Transportation/Travel

Since children need to get from one place to another safely, child support may be used to pay for basic transportation and travel cost. This may include the cost to maintain a car, including gas fees, car payments, registration, and insurance, or the cost to ride a bus or other form transportation.

Child support may also be used for travel cost -- especially when a child is traveling to visit the noncustodial parent in another area, for instance.

Entertainment

Many courts hold that a child is entitled to basic entertainment, which may include access to computers, television programs, games, and the Internet, among other things. This may also include visits to a movie theatre, amusement parks, camping trips, and other outings. Therefore, child support may be used for a child's age-appropriate entertainment desires, as agreed upon between the parents.

Extracurricular Activities -- Summer Camps, Sports Activities and More

Child support may be used to pay for a child's extracurricular activities -- typically those that fall outside of regular school hours. This may include after-school programs/classes, summer camp, sports activities, clubs (for example, Girl Scouts), and other non-school related activities.

College Expenses

In some instances, child support may be used to pay for a child's college expenses. Many states reason that a child's education should not suffer because of their parents' divorce or separation. These states will typically require a noncustodial parent to contribute to the cost of college, even after the child has reached the age of majority, if the child is attending full-time and has not yet graduated.

Courts will factor the essential financial and support needs of a child, and reflect those needs in a child support order. If a child's needs change, or if there is a significant change in a parent's circumstances, however, it may be necessary for a parent to file for a modification of existing child support, or contact a child support lawyer in their area.

Source: www.findlaw.com

 


Word of the Day

June 28, 2013 10:28 pm

Prepayment penalty.  Fee charged by the lender when a borrower repays the loan early.


Prepping For A Summer Move? You Are Not Alone

June 23, 2013 7:48 pm

Every year, I try to things moving by checking in with the American Moving & Storage Association (moving.org), and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).

This year is no different, and since more Americans moves in June than any other month, now is a good time to get a few of the latest tips to ensure your move is safe, efficient and as economically planned as possible, no matter when you plan to relocate.

According to the DOT, the best defense against moving fraud is to be informed and aware of your options when choosing a reputable moving company. While most household moves go smoothly, there are dishonest or “rogue” movers you should be aware of.

The agency advises to make sure any mover you select has been assigned a USDOT number, is registered with FMCSA to engage in interstate transportation of household goods, and has the proper level of insurance.

Before moving your household goods, interstate movers are required to provide you with information regarding their dispute settlement program.

If your goods are damaged or missing at delivery,request a company claim form from the mover. Complete the claim form to the best of your ability. The mover will tell you where to mail the completed form. You must file a written claim with the mover within nine months of delivery.

Your claim must be in writing but does not have to be submitted on a mover’s claim form.

For more information on interstate moves, visit the FMCSA website at: protectyourmove.gov. Or, you can consider a mover who is part of the AMSA ProMover program, which promotes ethical principles in the moving and storage industry and works with federal and state governments to mitigate unethical moving practices.

The ProMover program aids consumers by providing an identifiable measure of quality while, at the same time, enhancing the moving industry by encouraging and recognizing high professional achievement.

Tapping both the AMSA and FMCSA resources will help ensure that you are up to speed on everything to consider as you plan your first, or next move!

 


7 Secrets to a Better Garage Sale

June 23, 2013 7:48 pm

It doesn’t get much better than clearing out the stuff you no longer want AND clearing some cold hard cash. That’s the advantage of a successful garage sale, says Aaron La Pedis, author of ‘The Garage Sale Millionaire’, who has learned a thing or two over the years about throwing the perfect sale.

La Pedis offers seven tips for making your garage sale a success:

The bigger, the better – The more stuff you have for sale, the more customers you will attract. Start scouring the house and garage several weeks in advance – and ask friends and neighbors to contribute and/or join in.

Promotion is key – Skip the store bought kind and prepare at least 20 large, hand printed signs to tack up around the neighborhood and access streets. Also, advertise your sale on Craigslist and in local papers. (Be a good neighbor and remove signs after the sale.)

Early bird helpers – Don’t shoo away the early birds. Let them help tote boxes and sale items out of the garage and even help lay them out. It gives them a chance to get first peek at what you are selling and helps you get ready on time.

Sale configuration – Place the largest items closest to the curb. Large pieces attract passersby, so when the first large pieces have been sold, bring the largest remaining pieces to the curb.

Leave room to negotiate – Price the most valuable sale items a few dollars higher than you expect to leave room for negotiation. But don’t settle for far less than something is worth. You may be able to sell it on eBay or Craigslist.

Don’t price the cheapest items - Try to get buyers to make you an offer. Ask them what sounds fair to them. The more you interact with buyers, the likelier you are to make a sale.

Offer food for sale – Let the kids man a table selling muffins, bagels, cookies and drinks. Customers who aren’t hungry will stay longer, buy more, and put a few more bucks in your pocket.


Greener Decorating for Your Patio

June 23, 2013 7:48 pm

(BPT)—Outdoor living spaces cry out for an eco-friendly touch. Whether you're adding a patio, updating a deck or livening up your landscaping, the last thing you want to do is harm the environment. Greener decorating and building practices can help you protect and pay homage to Mother Nature while creating a space where you'll enjoy the beauty of the outdoors.

If you're planning some outdoor decorating or renovating this summer, here are some tips to make your exterior living spaces green and inviting:

Eco-friendly construction materials

For many homeowners, decks and patios are key elements of outdoor living spaces. If you plan to add either this summer, be sure to look for environmentally friendly materials like natural stone or responsibly harvested wood. When choosing wood, look for products certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FCS) as having been harvested following sustainable principles that minimize the impact on the environment. If you're building a patio, choose reclaimed brick or stone pavers that have been recycled from other installations. If you can't find reclaimed pavers, look for natural stone that's been quarried locally or bricks that have been locally produced to minimize the energy spent on transporting the products.

The Sierra Club recommends you seek a deck builder that is LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified by the U.S. Green Building Council. These builders will have advanced knowledge of eco-friendly practices.

Icing the cake

The accessories - furniture and decor items - that you add to your outdoor environment should be as green as possible, too. Choose patio and deck furniture made from eco-friendly materials, such as recycled plastic (but avoid anything that contains PVC), reclaimed wood or FCS-certified wood. Rehabilitating older iron or wood furniture is also a great way to achieve a singular look while keeping those items out of landfills.

Opt for decor items that minimize their impact on the environment while providing maximum impact on how great your space looks. For example, a wallpaper mural can create an eye-catching focal point and set the tone for your outdoor room. Yet traditional mural painting can be expensive and traditional wallpaper can involve less-than-eco-friendly paste. A removable wallpaper mural creates a striking visual in outdoor spaces without the need for paste or glue. Murals Your Way offers a high-end product that can be moved and reused hundreds of times without losing adhering qualities. Plus, it clings to virtually any flat surface, including glass. You can choose from a myriad of graphic patterns, nature scenes and other images, or have the company produce a custom mural from your original photograph or artwork. Learn more at www.muralsyourway.com.

Continue the eco-friendly theme with lighting for your deck and patio. It's easy to find a variety of solar-powered accent lights online and in home improvement stores across the country. You can even find decorative post caps for your deck railing that are solar-powered. Solar lights create a soft glow at night and provide accent illumination without the expense - and carbon impact - of electric power.

Finally, as you're landscaping, keep sustainability in mind. By choosing plants native to your region, you not only minimize the transportation impact involved in getting the plant from the production point to point-of-sale, you can also ensure they'll require less watering and work to thrive.

Plants native to your environment are pre-disposed to do well in your backyard. Be sure to choose plants that will do well in your particular setting, too. For example, if your backyard is very shady, plant greenery that requires less sun. If your yard gets a lot of sun throughout the day, choose plants that can stand up to hours of sunlight without the need for extensive irrigation. Check with your local agricultural extension to find out what plants will do well in your environment. The U.S. Department of Agriculture provides a free online listing of extensions throughout the country.


Word of the Day

June 23, 2013 7:48 pm

Multiple listing.  Agreement that allows real estate brokers to distribute information on the properties they have listed for sale to other members of a local real estate organization.  Allows the widest possible marketing of those properties.  Commissions are split by mutual agreement between the listing broker and the selling broker.


Q: How Do Lenders Define Bad Credit?

June 23, 2013 7:48 pm

A: It is all those things that appear on your credit report that are unflattering. They include: missing a credit card payment, defaulting on a previous loan, filing for bankruptcy in the past seven years, or not paying your taxes.

Other black marks include a judgment filed against you – perhaps for non-payment of spousal or child support – or any collection activity.