Gunning Daily News

Word of the Day

July 20, 2013 3:48 am

Usury. Charging a higher rate of interest on a loan than is legally allowed.


Q: What Is the Best Way to Find a Real Estate Agent?

July 20, 2013 3:48 am

A: Begin by asking someone that you know.  Friends, relatives, co-workers, or neighbors who have recently purchased a home can give you a firsthand account and attest to the agent’s professional abilities.  Sometimes an agent you contact will refer you to another one who works more closely with buyers and sellers in your neighborhood. Once you have a list of names, interview at least three agents and ask questions about their community knowledge, professional experience, and commitment – some agents work full time; others only work at nights and on the weekends.


How to Make Working at Home Work

July 18, 2013 5:42 pm

(BPT) - Working at home is a growing popular trend. The 2010 U.S. Census reports 9.5 percent of the population spends at least one day a week working at home - an increase of more than 2 percent since 1997. Technology is making it easier for employees and self-employed workers to set up a home office and conduct business.

When deciding to set up an office at home, one challenge many workers face is determining what computer to use - or purchase. Apple and Windows-based PCs are the two staples, and everyone has a preference on which system they prefer. Sometimes it's the user interface of one over the other that's preferred, and in other cases, how chosen programs perform on each platform determines what type of computer workers purchase. And often, workers just want to seamlessly blend in with the office environment, and purchase the same system for home.

With Parallels Desktop for Mac, the difficulty of choosing between the two platforms is obsolete. This software enables users to run all operating systems like Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows XP, Mac OS X, Google Chrome OS and more on a Mac without rebooting. This allows an at-home employee to easily switch between the system provided on work computers and the home computer, even if they're running different operating systems.

This allows at-home workers several benefits:

  • If you have a Mac and a PC, then Parallels Desktop software can simply move your entire PC onto you Mac so you have everything on one computer. If you don't have a PC, its wizard lets you simply add Windows and other operating systems to your Mac so you can do everything on one computer.
  • Save money because there is no need to repurchase software you already own. All of the PC applications you invested in can simply be moved to your Mac and run in Windows via Parallels Desktop.
  • Run both Windows and Mac systems at the same time, allowing you to work in a Mac program while using a Windows platform.

Copy and paste between documents running in both operating systems easily - which is not possible if you must reboot your Mac to change between OS X and Windows applications.

Another challenge working-from home employees face is taking the business on the road. Those who are self-employed often don't have the luxury of bringing business into the home office, and have to make the office mobile. This requires updating technology so email, documents and files can all be accessed from either a smartphone or tablet.

Another option is to access your computer remotely, allowing you to do everything you'd be doing at home while away. Parallels Mobile for iPad and iPhone lets you remotely access and run all of your Mac and Windows files and applications when you're on the go.

One final challenge is being able to handle the business errands without having to leave the office - or home. Banking, setting up conference calls or ordering supplies can all be done electronically using websites and downloadable apps. This technology allows a home-worker to make business deposits, connect with clients and have supplies delivered to the door - without having to leave.

Seamless connection is key to working at home, because any interruption in getting technology to work is lost time, and potentially lost business. Apps, using the same computer programs you've always used through Parallels Desktop for Mac and mobile devices will help any at home worker to keep all connections with the office and clients going strong.


Source:  http://www.parallels.com/desktop


Driving with Dogs: Tips to Keep Everyone in the Car Safe

July 18, 2013 5:42 pm

(BPT) - It's only natural for man's best friend to stay close by his master's side, but for dog owners who drive frequently, bringing Fido along for the ride can be risky. The problem is particularly worrisome for older drivers; a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham showed that for people 70 years and older, crash rates were higher among those who frequently drove with pets in the car. But for many drivers, leaving precious pets behind isn't an option. The best compromise is to find solutions that will get you from point A to point B without compromising the safety of human or animal passengers.

Distracted driving is a growing concern and a loose pet in the car certainly numbers among the potential hazards that can take your eyes - and mind - off the road and lead to accidents. While older drivers might not be as likely to be distracted by texting or smartphone surfing, even those who have spent many years navigating the roads need to honestly assess how having a pet in the car can divert their attention away from the road.

To stay safe on the road when Fido is with you, remember these tips:

  • Don't allow pets in the front seats. Having a pet sit on your lap is obviously distracting, but if he's in the front passenger seat, the problem can be just as bad. In the front seats, your pet is more likely to be within your line of sight and obstruct your view of the road. An unrestrained dog in the front seats could also be easily injured if you have to slam on the brakes or swerve, or are hit from behind. The force with which airbags deploy also poses a safety hazard for dogs in the front seat - if you're in an accident and they inflate and hit your dog, he could easily sustain an injury.
  • Create separation. There are a variety of pet barriers on the market that can keep your pet from moving between the front and back seats of your car. Installing a barrier will help keep your pet out of your way and diminish concerns about him being propelled forward in case you have to make a sudden stop.
  • Restrain your pet. There are a number of options for pet restraints in your vehicle. Pet seatbelts and car seats will help keep a dog safely in place. Keeping a crate in the car is also a good option. Make sure it's secured and large enough so that he can stand up, turn around and comfortably sit or lay down. Add a soft pad in the bottom of the crate and it might just become your pet's favorite new way to travel.
  • Brush up on your driving skills. Today's driving environment is probably very different than it was when you first got your license. A refresher course, like those offered by AARP Driver Safety, is an ideal way to ensure that your skills are up to date. Brushing up on defensive driving techniques and the essential rules of the road will help keep everyone in your car safe - and you may even qualify for a multi-year automobile insurance discount from your insurance company (check with your agent for details). AARP Driver Safety courses are available in a classroom or online setting, in both English and Spanish.

Source: www.aarp.org/drive.

 


Word of the Day

July 18, 2013 5:42 pm

Useful life.  The period of time over which a commercial property can be depreciated for federal income-tax purposes.  Also known as economic life.


Q: Is It Best to Save for the Ultimate Dream Home or Begin with a Less Expensive Starter Home?

July 18, 2013 5:42 pm

A: It can take a long time to save for that perfect dream home.  Meanwhile, the market has been flooded with some of the most favorable mortgage interest rates in years.  Low rates make housing more affordable, which is why so many buyers have jumped on the home buying bandwagon.

Home-price appreciation has also been strong, making very solid gains in communities across the country.  In fact, home prices are expected to increase 2.5 percent to 3 percent annually over the next five years.

If you purchase a starter home today, you can potentially begin to build value that can lead to the purchase of a larger, or more desirable, trade-up home in the future.

 


Winterize Early to Avoid Repairs

July 17, 2013 11:26 pm

(BPT) - Autumn is on the way, so don't fall behind on your seasonal home repairs checklist. It pays to know which renovations to tackle now, which repairs can wait until next season, and what preventative measures can help you avoid large-scale, costly repairs.

"While staying warm is top of mind for many homeowners this upcoming winter, it is important to note that in order to stay warm and dry, homes must first be functioning properly," says Bill Jacques, American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) president. "A home inspection can help homeowners prioritize maintenance projects as the seasons change and weather becomes more severe."

ASHI recommends fall as the ideal time to begin home inspector consultations and any necessary home repairs. Maintenance costs are generally lower when homeowners proactively prepare their home for winter weather instead of waiting to fix issues that appear.

Homeowners may want to consult with a professional home inspector on winterizing projects, including:

  • Cleaning gutters and downspouts - When ice damming occurs, water cannot drain from gutters and can sometimes seep into the home and damage ceilings and walls.
  • Roof, siding and shutter repairs - Heavy rains and high winds can call for window protection from shutters and the necessity of a sturdy exterior and roof for protection. ASHI recommends inspecting your roof, siding and shutters at least once a year.
  • Caulking cracks to stop cold drafts - Worn-out weather stripping around doors and windows allows cold air to seep into the home, which increases heating costs.
  • Inspecting chimneys - Adding a cap or screen to the top of a chimney will prevent birds nesting or animals entering. ASHI also recommends inspecting the damper for proper operation and checking mortar between bricks.
  • Checking batteries in carbon monoxide and smoke detectors - Many fires or cases of carbon monoxide poisoning occur during cooler months due to an increase in furnace and other heat source usage. If you have gas appliances, you need a CO detector for increased safety.

"The time to get serious about necessary home repairs is before the temperature starts dropping," says Jacques. "Once winter weather begins and your home has problems, you will be wasting money each month, so think about getting your home professionally inspected so you can keep the home in good condition and reduce problems from lack of maintenance. ASHI-certified home inspectors can help identify problems so you can keep your home in good condition."


Get Out of Town: Essential Vacation Packing List

July 17, 2013 11:26 pm

(Family Features)--Even the most experienced travelers have arrived at their vacation destination only to realize the camera or sunglasses are still sitting on the kitchen counter at home. There is no worse feeling than leaving an essential item behind, causing you stress when you should be enjoying R&R.

Sure, there are those who subscribe to the theory anything can be bought at your destination. But who wants to waste valuable time at the local drug store when you could be on the slopes or at the beach? Start your trip by creating a packing list of essentials. Then you can fly off to paradise knowing everything you need is right in your suitcase where it belongs.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Toiletries

The two most important toiletry items are a toothbrush and toothpaste.

Caring for your hair may require shampoo, conditioner, a hairbrush, comb and styling supplies. If your trip includes an airplane flight, make sure bottled liquids are no bigger than 3 ounces and are sealed inside a zip top bag, for your carry-on items.

Other essentials include sunscreen, mosquito repellant, deodorant, soap, shaving supplies, moisturizer and lip balm.

Travel Essentials

Always travel with the essentials, such as your passport, driver’s license, itinerary, maps, membership cards, insurance information and travel confirmations.

A guidebook or two is also helpful. Purchase a pocket-sized edition with a good map to take on your trip. Look less like a tourist by flagging important pages in advance.

Everyone needs one good suitcase, but also bring along a backpack or crossbody bag for daytime touring and collapsible tote bag for souvenir shopping.

Today’s savvy traveler will need a laptop or tablet, camera, extra memory cards, music player, headphones and, of course, chargers for all your devices.

Snacks

No matter where you’re headed on vacation, snacks are always a great item to bring along. They cut down on food costs, keep kids happy and help everyone stay healthy. So, pack a small tote with trail mix, granola, energy bars, fresh fruit and crackers.

If you plan to indulge in ice cream or other frosty treats, pack toothpaste for sensitive teeth, and your mouth will feel cool and refreshed.

Bring an empty water bottle with you on every trip to stay hydrated. Other items to pack for the hotel room are juices, teabags, gourmet coffee, bottled coffee drinks and powdered drink mixes.

A great packing list will help you to stay organized while getting ready for your trip. It also ensures that everything you brought on vacation makes it back into your bag for the trip home.

Source: ARM & HAMMER

 


Urban renewal

July 17, 2013 11:26 pm

Urban renewal. The acquisition of run-down city areas for purposes of redevelopment.


Q: Can I Use an Agent to Purchase a Newly Built Home?

July 17, 2013 11:26 pm

A: Yes. In fact, some builders pay agents to find prospective buyers. But you also can use a buyer’s agent to help negotiate the price and upgrades on a new home. An agent can be particularly valuable directing you to newly built developments that match your needs, as well as helping you select reputable builders who are financially sound and respond promptly to buyers’ concerns.  

Builders normally require an agent to be present on your first visit to the site. This is a sensible procedure that allows the agent to be paid a commission should you decide to buy. Otherwise, if you find a development on your own, make a first visit without the agent, and later make a purchase, the builder may refuse to pay the commission – even if, at some point, the agent became involved in the process.