Gunning Real Estate Team
Gunning Real Estate Team
1110 North Broad Street  Lansdale, PA 19446
Phone: 267-236-5416| Office Phone: 215-362-2260
| Fax: 267-354-6837
Cell: 267-236-5416
RE/MAX 440

Gunning Daily News

Word of the Day

August 14, 2013 4:57 pm

Subletting. The leasing of premises by a lessee to a third party for part of the lessee’s remaining term.

Q: What are the advantages of owning a home?

August 14, 2013 4:57 pm

A: There are many. Among the most appealing: you own it, which gives you, instead of a landlord, control of your living space. Other benefits stem from potential tax savings and the build up of equity as your property likely appreciates in price over time. Equity can be used to help put children through college, purchase a second home, or make home improvements. The mortgage interest paid on a home loan is tax deductible, as is the local property tax.  If you get a fixed-rate home mortgage loan, you also can invest more wisely knowing your monthly mortgage payment, unlike rent, will not change substantially.

Pool Party Trends: Salt Water

August 13, 2013 8:42 pm

BPT—Pools are great fun for kids and adults and when it is hot in the summer time or you're on vacation, there is no better way to cool off. Most pools do require a lot of work to keep clean, however, and there is always that chlorine smell and the burning sensation that affects the eyes and skin. For many people it is the memory of the chlorine that is inescapably associated with all pools.

But for kids today this memory is quickly becoming a non-event thanks to the increasing popularity of saltwater pools.

Saltwater pools work by converting salt to chlorine using an electrolytic converter. This produces the same type of bacteria-killing chlorine found in a traditional pool, but in a radically different fashion. Since the salt generator is adding chlorine to the water at a constant rate, it is capable of displacing the bad smell and burning irritation we normally associate with chlorine and maintaining the right amount at all times.

As the water exits the converter and enters the pool, the sanitizing chlorine eventually reverts back to salt, and the process repeats itself, conserving salt and keeping sanitizer levels balanced. However, new salt does need to be added occasionally as salt levels can drop due to splash-out, rain and filter back-washing. Pool owners still should test weekly for pH and chlorine and monthly for other water balance factors.

Saltwater pools require far less maintenance than traditional pools and are much less expensive to maintain as pool salt is far cheaper than traditional chlorine. This is a big reason why so many hotels and water parks in the United State have already made the switch. Plus when it comes to initial construction and installation, the additional cost of an electrolytic converter is very small and easily made up in maintenance savings. Even converting an existing chlorine pool to saltwater can be paid off quickly.

Saltwater pools are certainly not new. The technology started in Australia in the 1960s and today over 80 percent of all pools there use this system. In the United States, saltwater pools first began to see use in the 1980s and today have grown exponentially in popularity. According to data published in Pool & Spa News, today there are more than 1.4 million saltwater pools in operation nationwide and an estimated 75 percent of all new in-ground pools are salt water, compared with only 15 percent in 2002.

Some may be concerned about the effect of salt on pool equipment, construction materials, decks and surrounding structures. However, the actual amount of salt used is very low, less than .01 as salty as sea water. You may be able to taste the salt in the pool, but much less so than you can taste and feel the chlorine in a standard pool. When pools are properly constructed and normal maintenance is followed, salt water has no effect on pool finishes, equipment and decks.

Since the Evergreen Commons senior center in Holland, Mich., converted its 65,000-gallon pool to salt water, members have been pleased with the results. "The minute you walk into the pool area you notice a big difference," says Jodi Owczarski, the center's community relations director. "There is no longer that chemical smell. People also tell us that the water is much softer. In the old pool, people said they sometimes had to wash twice to get all those chemicals off, but in this pool, they only have to wash once. All in all, people have been thrilled with this new system."



4 Simple Steps to a “Clean Enough” Home

August 13, 2013 8:42 pm

A thorough spring housecleaning, or any single day of dedicated mopping and scrubbing can leave your home sparkling and you with a well-deserved sense of accomplishment. But in between those cleaning marathons, four simple steps are enough to keep your living quarters clean enough for comfort and safety without devoting hours to the task.

So says decorator Melissa Michaels, whose blog, “The Inspired Room,” makes short work of household maintenance. Michaels offers four simple daily or weekly routines that can make your housekeeping a breeze:

  1. The morning hustle – In the midst of your daily morning routine – showering, dressing, packing lunches and the like, throw a single load of laundry into the washer and dryer. It will take only minutes, but can help you do away a cumbersome weekend wash day.
  2. Clean sinks – Once a day, in the morning or evening, do a quick a clean-up of the kitchen and bathroom sinks – or assign the task to another family member, perhaps as an after-school chore. Clean sinks can discourage a pile-up of dirty dishes and spare you the icky sight of hair or toothpaste blobs in the bathroom.
  3. Family frenzy – Once a week, perhaps on Saturday or Sunday, insist that all family members take part in a 15-minute cleaning frenzy. Dole out simple chores to the youngest while the rest of you whip through vacuuming, dusting, and cleaning the toilets and showers. With everyone working, and a time limit in place, the chores seem less onerous and everyone can go on with their day. (A pancake breakfast after the frenzy might make everyone work harder and faster.)
  4. Nightly kitchen mop-up – After dinner, be sure to load the dishwasher, wipe off the counters and thoroughly wash out the sink. Getting up in the morning to a clean-looking kitchen can get everyone off to a better start.

Word of the Day

August 13, 2013 8:42 pm

Maturity date. Date on which principal and interest on a mortgage or other loan must be paid in full.


Q: Can a home be sold for less than its mortgage?

August 13, 2013 8:42 pm

A: Sometimes. But it is a complicated process and a lot will depend on the lender.

This process is called a “short sale,” which occurs when a lender agrees to write off the portion of a mortgage that's higher than the value of a home. But, usually, a buyer must be willing to purchase the property first.

A short sale may be more complicated if the loan has been sold in the secondary market.  Then the lender will need permission from Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae, the two major secondary-market players.

If the loan was a low down payment mortgage with private mortgage insurance, the lender also will need to involve the mortgage insurance company that insured the low down payment loan.

The short sale can keep the homeowner from landing in bankruptcy or foreclosure. But it is not an easy procedure to approve, and it involves as much, if not more, paperwork than an original mortgage application.

Instead of proving your credit worthiness and financial stability, you must prove you are broke. And any remaining difference between your home's value and the balance on your mortgage is considered a forgiveness of debt, which usually means it is taxable income.

Splash Your Autumn World With The Latest Colors

August 13, 2013 7:40 pm

Did you ever wonder where they come up with the colors that will lead predominant interior design trends for the next year? I recently came across a great piece from Gudy Herder of Eclectic Trends, who appears on

Herder recently attended a trend conference forum from Mix Global Color Research in London, where Sallie Davies from Global Color Research gave her a sneak peak at the newest color and pattern trends for Fall/Winter 2013-14.

If you’ve ever wanted to know how trends are established, Herder explains that Global Color Research holds biennial sessions bringing together top experts from all over the globe from different industries. Trends that are being observed and shared at these events are done two years in advance.

It’s all about future thinking, discussing certain influences, bringing in their own insights, collaborating, and at the end, defining the trends, Herder says. And she is interested to see how every kind of environmental, economic or psychological issues might influence a new trend.

The major trends that are influencing the color and pattern landscape for the upcoming season Fall/Winter 2013/14 are: Flint, Storm, Clash, Alpine.

Herder says there is a certain Neolithic style going back to our roots reflected by rich earth soil colors, warm neutrals, rust. Primitive aesthetics, organic and handmade themes, found objects meant to express our own personality.

She says sophisticated and soft, rough and ready are the opposites that play nicely together. Thick leathers, hemp yarns and rustic and fossil textures are key for Flint category colors like taupey Lascaux, rich rusty Mammoth, and the classic Bone.

We'll come back in the next report and examine the balance of the 2013/14 fall/winter color trends. And take a look at all the color palettes here.


Taming the 'First Day of Kindergarten' Jitters

August 13, 2013 7:40 pm

For many children, going to kindergarten is just a continuation of preschool. For others, it is truly a milestone – perhaps the first time they will be leaving Mom and Dad behind to go off on their own. Whichever it is for your child, the American School Counselor Association suggests 10 things you can do to ensure a smooth transition:

  • Review the route – If your child will be walking to school, take a few practice walks, pointing out landmarks and where the crossing guards will be. Whether walking or busing, be sure he knows where you will drop him off and pick him up.
  • Visit the teacher and the classroom – Most schools are happy to have your child visit a few days before classes begin. Call to make an appointment.
  • Buy supplies together – Take your child to pick out a backpack, a lunch box, and basic school supplies.
  • Make sure clothes are kid-friendly – Choose easy zippers, Velcro shoe closures, and clothing that is easy for kids to maneuver through bathroom trips, recess, etc.
  • Adjust his or her body clock – If summer has meant later bedtimes and wake-ups, start at least a week before school starts to adjust your child’s body clock in preparation for school.
  • Set the scene – Designate where your child will store his backpack, where after school snacks may be found, and where homework will be done. Helping him settle into a routine will make life easier for all.
  • Have a rehearsal lunch – Together, establish a list of nutritious and well-liked foods she can expect to find in her lunchbox. Pack a lunch one day and be sure she can easily open the thermos or juice carton, plastic containers, etc.
  • Get a library card – If you have not already done so, sign your child up for a library card and begin a nighttime ritual that includes at least 15 minutes of reading.
  • Check in with yourself – Parents have every reason to feel apprehensive when they send a child off to school. Take time to calm your concerns and present an enthusiastic face – and don’t hesitate to put a photo or little love notes in his or her lunchbox.
  • Celebrate the occasion – Make dinner the night before school starts a celebration; favorite foods, a cake for dessert, even party hats and blowers. This is a big day in your child’s life. Make it special for all.

What Gen Z Should Know About Saving for College

August 13, 2013 7:40 pm

(BPT) - Is it ever too early to start saving for college? Is it ever too late? Finance experts say the answer to both questions is a resounding "no," and an annual Gen Z & Money survey released by TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation (NYSE: AMTD) indicates that members of Generation Z are hearing the message loud and clear.

Many members of Gen Z (people born during the 1990s) are either already facing, or are on the verge of facing, their own college funding challenges. Head Research, on behalf of TD Ameritrade, Inc., surveyed 1,000 people, ages 14 to 23, regarding saving for college. Survey results and methodology are available online here.

"Many parents of Gen Z kids are still paying back loans for their own college education," says Carrie Braxdale, managing director of investor services for TD Ameritrade, Inc. (TD Ameritrade), a broker dealer subsidiary of TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation. "Aware of their parents' struggles, this young generation is concerned about the cost of college. Forty-six percent of those surveyed say their biggest post-graduation worry is having a large student loan balance, and 36 percent worry about being able to afford college at all."

College costs continue to rise - more than 1,120 percent in the past 35 years, according to a Bloomberg report. The average student loan debt owed was $26,600 in 2011, according to the Institute for College Access & Success.

Still, Gen Z has no doubt the investment is worth the money. More than half (54 percent) say obtaining a higher education is critical to achieving success, and 64 percent agree college is worth the cost because it will help them secure employment, according to the TD Ameritrade survey.

"Parents who work with their children early to develop a financial plan and clearly set financial expectations can help better prepare them for financial success later in life," Braxdale says. "And even if they start saving when their child is already in high school, they should remember that every dollar they save toward college now is a dollar less they will owe in student loans."

Fortunately, a variety of college savings plans can help better prepare parents and their kids for the future, including:

  • A 529 College Savings Plan - Usually administered through or sponsored by a state government, 529s offer several tax advantages. Earnings in the account are not subject to federal tax and withdrawals for qualified higher education expenses are generally free of state and federal taxes. Contributions are generally not tax deductible, but parents may be able to exclude 529 money from their taxable estate, making them a possible way to reduce one's estate taxes while helping a child pay for college.
  • Before investing in a 529 Plan, carefully consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses involved. This and other important information regarding the plan is included in the Program Disclosure Statement and Participation Agreement and each prospectus on the underlying investments, which may be obtained by contacting the issuer. Please read each prospectus, the Program Disclosure Statement, and Participation Agreement carefully prior to investing. Investment return and principal value of an investment will fluctuate so that an investor's units, when withdrawn, may be worth more or less than their original cost.

You should be aware that other states may sponsor their own qualified tuition plans and may offer a state tax deduction or other benefits that are limited to residents who invest in that plan. You should consult with your financial, tax or other advisor about state and local tax benefits or limitations based on your specific situation. Favorable tax treatment by your state of residence should be one of many appropriately weighted factors you should consider in making an investment decision.

  • Coverdell Education Savings Accounts - In general, earnings and qualified withdrawals in an education savings account are federal tax free. While 529s are exclusively for college, you can use an ESA to help pay for elementary school, high school or college expenses. There are no minimum contribution requirements, and you can put up to $2,000 per child, per year into the account. Contributions are generally not tax deductible.
  • Custodial accounts - A great way to build assets for children or loved ones, custodial accounts allow you to manage a minor's assets and investments. The account will be in the child's name and Social Security number, but it cannot be accessed until he or she reaches legal age. You act as guardian until the child is old enough and can assume control of the assets.

Braxdale offers some tips for creating a college investing strategy:

  • Start early. Even a small amount set aside each month allows your money to start working for you long before the first tuition bill arrives.
  • Set goals, including the total you want to have saved and how much you will save each year to reach that goal. TD Ameritrade's College Planner can help with goal setting by helping project how much you'll need to save to cover expected tuition costs.
  • Choose an investing vehicle. Decide which type of college investing plan will best help you pursue your goal.
  • Track your progress. Check regularly on your college investing accounts to see if you're on track toward meeting your goals.
  • Consult a qualified tax advisor. Every individual's tax situation is different, so it is important to consider talking with a qualified tax advisor regarding the particular investment vehicle you choose. TD Ameritrade does not provide tax advice.
  • Keep in mind that there is no guarantee that the investment vehicle you choose will achieve its investment goals. The value of an account will go up or down based on the performance of the underlying investments. When funds are withdrawn, they may have more or less value than the total contributions made to the account.

Source: TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation


Word of the Day

August 13, 2013 7:40 pm

Sales contract.  Contract that contains the terms of the agreement between the buyer and seller for the sale of a particular parcel or parcels of real estate.