Gunning Daily News

Word of the Day

June 23, 2013 6:18 pm

Mortgage company or mortgage banker.  Financial intermediary that offers mortgages to borrowers, and then resells them to various lending institutions, government agencies, or private investors.


Q: Can I Deduct a Loss on the Sale of My Home?

June 23, 2013 6:18 pm

A: No. A loss from the sale of personal–use property, such as a home or car, is not deductible. They are considered nondeductible personal losses, and you cannot reduce your tax bill by deducting them the way you would deduct stock and investment losses on your tax returns.


Make Over Your Bathroom for Under $150

June 20, 2013 4:41 am

No, that won’t cover the new spa tub you may yearn for, admits Miami decorator Laura Drucker. But the small investment of $150 or less can spruce up a tired bathroom enough to lift your spirits.

Dale suggests six inexpensive bathroom makeover tips that can make a big difference:

Clear the counters – Nothing makes a bathroom more uninviting than a clutter of brushes, make-up, and accessories. Prowl the nearest drugstore, home or department store for a few inexpensive cosmetic storage containers. Get rid of the almost-emptys and the stuff you rarely use and organize the rest in your new mini-bins. Put a hook or two in a cabinet or behind the door to hold shavers, hair dryers, and the like.

Paint a wall or two – Fresh paint wakes up any room. Go for a forest green or burgundy-colored wall for a touch of elegance, or paint all the walls aqua or a pastel shade you like for a calmer, more spa-like atmosphere.

Make it rain – Invest $40 or $50 in a new shower head to turn your shower into a rain forest. It’s a cheap massage, and one you will treasure morning after morning.

Buy a great shower curtain – There are hundreds of patterns available out there. Toss out that boring, old solid-colored curtain and choose one that adds a bit of glamour or, at the very least, makes you smile.

Get a seriously comfy bathmat – The new memory foam mats are pretty to look at and they absorb water and dry quickly. Or choose a seriously plush one you can sink your feet into to feel like you are walking on cloud nine.

Breathe it in – Candles are a great way to add a touch of luxury and ambiance to any little bathroom and, if you choose the right candle, make it smell delicious. Clear off part of a shelf or windowsill, or hang a small shelf on one wall and pick out you favorite scent. If you’re not a candle person, or fear the possibility of fire, find a pretty diffuser to place in the bathroom instead.


Planning to Get Away from Home - On the Cheap!

June 20, 2013 4:41 am

One of the best things about having a welcoming home, is to experience that welcoming feeling as you return from a vacation.  In these tight economic times - especially if you are socking away every penny to improve your home - figuring out how to afford even a day trip can be a vexing exercise

So the University of Florida's Madison Extension has a few practical ideas about how to start making an affordable plan to get away - even if it's just for the day.

First, if there are children of any age involved, UF recommends you include them in the discussion and use the experience as an opportunity to learn money management. Kids

can help plan and set up a spending budget for the outing or trip.

As a result, they become more appreciative of the experience and will be less likely to ask for nonessentials as they become aware of the cost involved in taking a vacation.

One technique the UF report says you can use to identify possible mini-vacations is to sit down with a map, pencil and paper and mark your home on the map. Then draw a circle around your home to represent the distance you can travel on the amount of money available for transportation or the distance you can go and return in one day.

  • Within this circle of about 50 to 150 miles, make a list of all the vacation, recreation, or historical spots that you have not visited, or would like to visit again.
  • Identify cities within the radius
  • Check maps for areas of special interest
  • Contact Chambers of Commerce and automobile clubs for more information on these scenic or recreational spots.
  • Visit your local library. Libraries also receive and lend passes or other deeply discounted admission access to many areas sites - just inquire at the front desk
  • Then rank these in priority order according to places you want most to visit.

You will probably be surprised at the number of vacation ideas in your own backyard!


Create an Outdoor Space that 'Wows'

June 20, 2013 4:41 am

(BPT) - Whether you own a cozy cottage or mega mansion, as a homeowner, you likely embrace the outdoor living trend. But when you look at your deck or patio, does it leave something to be desired? By taking a do-it-yourself (DIY) approach, you can affordably create outdoor spaces that enhance the style and functionality of your home, plus add to the overall value of the property.

Here are a few of the leading trends that the DIY homeowner can use to cost-effectively create an outdoor space that "wows:"

Rent rather than buy

Upgrading or adding a deck or patio can feel overwhelming unless you have the right equipment to do the job. Renting what you need saves money, plus helps you maximize your time so you can enjoy your new outdoor space sooner. From power washers and saws for cleaning and cutting, to utility loaders and tampers for digging and compacting base materials, you'll find everything you need at your local American Rental Association member rental store. Visit www.RentalHQ.com for locations near you. Not sure what you need? The pros at the shop are specially trained and can help you choose the best time-saving tools for your project.

Use pavers for patios

Whether you're looking to refresh your current patio space or are starting from scratch, patios are great ground-level entertainment spaces. More homeowners are opting for pavers to level and define the space, which adds elegant detail, rather than a bland concrete slab. Find pavers in varying shapes, sizes and colors at your local home improvement store. Remember, by digging and installing a base layer, your pavers are less likely to shift over time. Dig down and compact base material with a rented plate compactor or a tamper before laying the pavers in the desired pattern.

Define your deck

If you're adding a new deck, composite decking material is the way to go. While it costs a bit more than lumber, it lasts longer and is virtually maintenance-free, which will save you time and money in the long run. It's just as easy to work with as wood and can be cut and assembled in a similar manner. If you simply want to refresh an existing wood deck, rent a power washer to quickly clean off dirt, grime and paint chips. Replace gray and tan paint with deep brown hues, which adds a subtle upscale appearance. Modern exterior paint lasts years and some options even fill cracks in wood, so look for a brand that best suits your needs.

Go native with greenery

Adding plants to your outdoor space helps the area feel cohesive with nature. Not sure what to add? Whether for pots, containers or the surrounding landscaping, consider native lawn and plant materials. Not only will they look great and add color and depth to your outdoor space, but they are typically lower maintenance and many require less water. Explore options at your local garden center or state extension service's website.

Create an outdoor kitchen

Homeowners want to enjoy more time outside and that means cooking and dining al fresco. While a basic barbecue grill will do, outdoor kitchens are in high demand. Building your own outdoor kitchen space is simple. Install countertops surrounding your grill and consider incorporating features like a small fridge, gas burners for side items, smokers or built-in storage spaces for spices and cooking tools. Stainless steel continues to be the go-to material for outdoor kitchen features, blending modern style with the organic look of Mother Nature.

Light the night

The right lighting can take a good outdoor space and make it great. Solar lighting is trending for outdoor spaces, and this eco-friendly option is also affordable. Light pathways with solar landscape lighting - eliminating the need for electrical cords. Jazz up deck posts with post caps that provide a gentle glow. Finally, a string or two of white garden lights adds a twinkle to the beautiful ambiance of a summer evening.


Word of the Day

June 20, 2013 4:41 am

Mortgagor.  Party or person that borrows money, giving a lien on the property as security for the loan; the borrower.

 


Q: Do Builders Provide Financing?

June 20, 2013 4:41 am

A: Many builders offer financing incentives to help move more buyers into a project. In fact, major building companies often have their own mortgage brokerage subsidiaries, while many other builders routinely refer buyers to "preferred" local lenders. If it is a buyer's market in your area, you can be sure developers will offer incentives such as low-down-payment financing or interest rate subsidies.

 

It's Cool to Have a Safe Pool - Tips on Barriers, Alarms & Covers

June 20, 2013 4:41 am

It's June and that means tops are coming off - residential pools. But it's serious business when outdoor pools pose a hazard to your loved ones or others who live close by.

I want to bring pool owners up to speed on the latest advice from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which has devoted an entire website to the subject - poolsafely.gov.

CPSC’s Pool Safely campaign recommend pool owners employ not one, but multiple safety systems to safeguard children in and around the water.

Since no safety system is foolproof, the Pool Safely campaign suggests that each protective measure be used in conjunction with adult supervision and other types of safety systems, according to the CPSC.

No matter how safe a pool owner may feel, adding additional protective measures contribute to the overall safety of a pool or spa. Added safety systems to consider include:

  • An outdoor swimming pool barrier - a physical obstacle that surrounds a pool or spa so that access to the water is limited to adults. Barriers give parents additional time to locate a child before the unexpected becomes a reality.
  • Alarms for doors, gates, windows and pools or spas - these safety features designed to alert adults when unsupervised children enter the area of the pool or spa. There are a number of different types of alarms that can be used, which emit an audible sound when triggered by opening, moving, or by motion in the water.
  • A pool or spa safety cover - is a manual or motorized barrier that can be placed over the water’s surface, and is easily opened or closed. When a safety cover is properly in place over the pool or spa, it provides a high level of safety for children less than 5 years of age by inhibiting their access to the water.
  • The CPSC also advises to maintain a higher level of security, remove ladders and slides when using covers on pools.

For specifics about these pool safety measures, click here.

 


Four Simple Steps to Help DIYers Get Pro-level Painting Results

June 20, 2013 4:41 am

(BPT)—When it comes to simple, low-cost home improvements that can add value and completely change the look of a room, you just can't beat painting. From giving a room a whole new look to protecting the walls and boosting the value of your home, painting delivers many benefits - all at a fraction of the cost of other improvements.

Tackle the job yourself, rather than hiring a professional painter, and you can save even more money.

"Any do-it-yourselfer can achieve professional-looking painting results when they follow the right steps and use the right painting tools," says Arti Lyde, a product director with Wagner, manufacturer of painting products. "Painting can dramatically improve the look and style of your home."

Follow these four guidelines and you can achieve professional-looking results with your own hands:

Prepping is paramount

Professionals know that properly preparing their work space is a key factor in achieving a good end result. Before you crack open that paint can, take these preparatory steps:

* Gather all the tools you will need in one place.

* Protect surfaces such as baseboards, woodwork and windows by taping off with a good quality painter's tape.

* Completely cover carpets with a good quality drop cloth that will resist punctures and rips.

* Some jobs require a primer before putting the final color on the wall. Primer preps the surface and helps the final coat adhere better.

Pick the right paint

The quality of the paint you choose will directly affect how good the job looks when you're done. For a good quality finish it is important to select quality paint, which adheres better, gives a uniform finish and will last longer. Also, look at the latest color trends and select a color that will meet your style.

Before you buy, research the brands available at your local home improvement store. Check out consumer review websites, giving particular attention to those that feature reviews from homeowners who've actually used the products. These independent, real-life reviewers can offer valuable insight into how well a paint might work.

Use the right tools

Many professionals use paint sprayers to achieve smooth, fast results. Now homeowners can achieve professional results. The sprayers allow you to cover an 8-by-10-foot surface in just two to six minutes, and they can be used inside the house or outside on decks, fences, sheds or any other surface you need to paint quickly and easily.

Pay attention to the details

Details such as painting baseboards, woodwork and ceilings are the crowning touch on any paint job. Professionals know it's these finishing touches that pull together the look of a room.

With the right tools and professional approach, you can save money by doing your own painting - and enjoy the pride and satisfaction of a job well done.

Source: Wagner

 


DIY Magic to Transform Your Kids' Rooms

June 20, 2013 4:41 am

(Family Features)—It's no surprise that kids want unique, colorful bedrooms that reflect their personalities and give them a space to call their own. Parents, though, may find that overwhelming and worry about having to sacrifice cleanliness and organization.  

The ideas below will help you create fun, innovative rooms and make everyone in the family happy.  Plus, they are easy to create.

Go Team!

One of the most enduring bedroom themes for boys and girls revolves around sports. Whether your little athlete plays or just watches soccer, football or basketball, this is an easy look to achieve. Select two shades that match their favorite team's colors. Paint the bottom half of each wall in the darkest color then coat the top half with the other. Create a polished look by dividing the two colors with a wide, horizontal strip of paint. Posters, pennants and memorabilia complete the look.  

Fit for Royalty

Give your little prince or princess a dreamy bedroom inspired by Disney's most cherished icons. Select the perfect color from the new line of Disney Paint by the makers Glidden Paint (r).  It comes in 112 exclusive colors designed to give kids inspiration at every stage - from infant to tween.  Add matching bedding and other accessories to complete the look. For a truly show-stopping finish, put a splash of glitter on the walls. Disney Paint, "All That Glitters," is a new clear topcoat that creates a shimmering glitter finish over any painted surface.

Just Beachy

All it takes is the perfect color of blue paint to transform any bedroom into a tropical oasis. Carry the theme throughout the room with white curtains, bedding and furniture. Then trim the windows by draping lengths of grass skirting along the top and placing several clear jars of sea glass along one ledge. Prop a surfboard or two in the corner or hang them from the ceiling to complete the look.

Space Out

Glow-in-the-dark paint makes it easy to create an out-of-this-world bedroom. After all, every budding young scientist should have lots of encouragement to reach for the stars. Paint the walls a deep space blue. Then create celestial bodies around the room using planetary stencils that you can see even when the lights go out. Disney Paint has five new specialty finishes, including "Ready, Set, Glow!" This translucent, ready-to use yellow paint allows any surface to glow in the dark. Use it also to stencil stars on the ceiling, turn off the lights and let your child dream up a bright future.

Tips to Help Complete the Transformation

* Use a room's fifth wall - the ceiling - to help spice up a room

* Stencil fun shapes, like tiaras, jewels, cars, boats, etc., to help complement your kids' personalities

* Add an extra punch to small spaces, like bathrooms or window seats, with a fun and dynamic finish

* Jazz up one piece of furniture, like a nightstand, chest of drawers or wooden chair, to bring extra personality to a room

Source: www.DisneyPaint.com.