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

Q: What is the first step to buying a home?

July 14, 2013 3:08 am

A: Make sure you are ready – psychologically and financially. Ask yourself the following questions: Do I have steady income?  Is my debt lower than my total income?  Do I have enough money to pay for the down payment and closing costs? Am I working hard enough to improve bad credit?

A house needs constant care and attention. Also ask yourself if your budget will allow for unexpected repairs and upkeep.  Once you can honestly answer “yes” to these questions, you are several steps ahead of the game and that much closer to becoming a homeowner.  

Know The Facts, Don't Get Trapped In A 'Pocket' Listing

July 12, 2013 6:52 am

With the tight availability of homes for sale, and the recent uptick in home values, those searching for a first or new place to live are facing a lot of challenges. One of the ways savvy prospects may try to tap into available home inventory is through so-called "pocket listings" - basically off-MLS listings.

Recently, both a California and a Florida REALTORS® association has distributed warnings or advisories about these marketing tactics.

While they are not illegal if the listing agent fully discloses the pros and cons to the home seller and follows the rules, CAR says pocket listings “may not be in the best interest of the property owner — particularly if a client does not know about the benefits of marketing his or her property through the MLS.”

Since an MLS exposes a home to areas far and wide, it creates competition and can maximize profit for the seller. However, some sellers don’t want that kind of exposure, and they see a bigger advantage in keeping their home out of the MLS.

The Florida REALTORS® memo states that a broker could face allegations that their failure to put the property in the MLS deprived the seller the ability to attract the highest and best price for their property.

Florida REALTORS®’ Vice President and General Counsel Margy Grant says, “In some cases, a non-MLS listing could lead to allegations of discrimination. REALTORS® would turn down a seller who wants to withhold a listing from MLS in order to keep a specific race or other protected class out of his neighborhood. However, the fair housing laws go a step further, and these listings could break the law even if discrimination isn’t intended.”

Since a non-MLS listing is marketed to a private and usually small group, the makeup of that group becomes important. If the makeup of the listing group tends to mirror the makeup of the neighborhood, it could appear to perpetuate discrimination without meaning to do so.

So if you are utilizing pocket listings as a seller, the Florida association warns you to be careful because multiple pocket listings in a single neighborhood could be seen as a way to discriminate without being obvious.

5 Reasons to Get Flight Insurance

July 12, 2013 6:52 am

In an age where checked bags are rarely free, flight insurance seems like one of those superfluous added costs that airlines try to shoehorn onto tickets. But despite a completely valid suspicion about added costs, flight insurance can be a really smart investment, and it can pay off for passengers.

Consider these five scenarios in which flight insurance can come in handy:

1. Trip Cancellation.

Airlines understand that travelers often have to cancel their flights for unexpected reasons, but they tend to be somewhat mercenary in charging cancellation fees. A discount-rate ticket or one purchased through a discount travel site generally has an inflexible cancellation policy, one that can be mitigated by purchasing travel insurance. Most basic flight insurance plans will cover last-minute cancellations due to family member illness, injuries, or even political unrest.

2. Flight Life Insurance.

As relatives of victims from any tragic plane crash know, there are potential dangers to health and life when stepping on a plane. In the event of a flight passenger's death, she may already have life insurance through her employer or individual policy. But flight life insurance can often pay up to $1 million to a passenger's beneficiaries, at a cost of less than $100 per passenger.

3. Lost Baggage.

If your baggage is lost during a trip, flight insurance can often pay for you to buy necessary replacement items like clothing or even prescription medications.

4. Trip Interruption.

Vacations can often be cut short due to inclement weather, unexpected injuries and illnesses, or even a cruise liner losing power. Many flight insurance plans will cover the costs for returning early due to an unexpected event, and may even supplement existing health insurance in the event of an injury.

5. Stolen Passports.

Having a passport stolen is a nightmare for any international traveler, but some flight insurance policies will cover a replacement. Ultimately, passengers should base their insurance needs around their expectations for travel, making flight insurance a better buy for international or cross-country flights and not for commuter flights.

For more information, visit


Get your Manners Fit for Summer

July 12, 2013 6:52 am

BPT—Summer is the season for reconnecting with friends, spending time with loved ones and maybe even igniting a summer romance. From shared vacation houses and dining out to concerts and ball games, one or more people usually feel they paid more than their fair share for group outings. Don't let sticky financial situations put a chill in your relationships. With some easy-to-remember tips, you can breeze through summer and focus on what's really important: time with those you care about.

Lizzie Post, etiquette expert, author and great-great-granddaughter of etiquette pioneer Emily Post, has some tips on how to get your manners in shape for the summer, along with ways to get cash back:

Be a gracious house guest

If you're a guest in someone's home this summer, don't forget to bring something for the host. You can purchase a gift, or take them out to dinner during your visit.

Wedding season in moderation

Sharing the cost of a wedding gift with friends is a great way to give the couple a memorable gift without draining your bank account.

Wedding parties (showers, luncheons, etc.) don't always require a gift. Local custom often dictates what's expected. If you're invited to more than one event, you can give a gift at one party and bring small token gifts to the others. Ideas include: a favorite photo in a nice frame or a homemade collection of recipes.- If you're not sure whether to bring a gift, ask the host.

No more I.O.U.s

If you owe someone money, it's rude to make them ask for it. So when the ballgame tickets are purchased or the house rental contract comes through, be the first friend to pay.

Settle up by transferring money to friends and family via your bank's mobile app. All you need is their email or mobile phone number to securely send money - no need to find an ATM or mail a check.

Avoid family flare-ups

Identify your role in any summer social situation. When it comes to family, make sure you know: are you the host, guest or is this a joint venture? If you're unsure, you may unintentionally make a faux pas by not paying your share for an outing.

If you follow these tips this summer, you'll be sure to stay on the right side of etiquette expectations, earning appreciation from friends, family and as an added bonus, your wallet.



Word of the Day

July 12, 2013 6:52 am

PITI.  Acronym for “principal, interest, taxes, and insurance.”  Frequently used to describe a loan payment that combines all four items.

Q: What types of foreclosures are there?

July 12, 2013 6:52 am

A: There are two types – judicial and non-judicial. A foreclosure that results from a court action is a judicial foreclosure.  The mortgage deed or trust does not have a power of sale clause, therefore the lender, trustee or another lienholder must take the borrower to court to recover the unpaid balance of a delinquent debt.  By contrast, a non-judicial foreclosure is one in which a foreclosure can be completed outside the court system.  Real property can be sold under a power of sale in a mortgage deed or trust that is in default, but the lender is unable to obtain a deficiency judgment.  

Q: How can I protect my home from creditors?

July 12, 2013 6:52 am

A: Check with your state. It may provide special protection through the filing of a homestead exemption, which exempts some or all of the value of your equity in the homestead – the home that you live in and the land on which it sits – from claims of unsecured creditors. Whether to file a homestead exemption will depend on your situation. Contact your county recorder's office for details.  

Illegal Downloads: What Are the Penalties?

July 12, 2013 6:52 am

Are there penalties for illegal downloads? Chances are, you or someone you know downloads music or movies online. But just because "everybody does it" doesn't mean that it's legal.

Sometimes, of course, artists or promotional sites will offer free downloads. And if you purchase a song or movie before downloading it, then there's generally no problem.

Still, the Internet is running rampant with users who illegally download -- commonly via peer-to-peer networks like Limewire or BitTorrent, and also from friends who will pass on the goods. So how illegal is this, and what are the potential penalties?

Copyright Infringement

The act of illegally downloading something falls under the Copyright Act of 1976, a federal statute that governs copyright law in the United States.

Types of works protected by copyrights include "works of authorship" such as literary works, musical works, and motion pictures, among others. Songs and movies, therefore, definitely fall within the category of works protected by copyright.

Copyright infringement occurs when the works are reproduced, republished, or used without permission from the copyright holder. This is where illegal downloading kicks in. The violation is typically enforced as a civil matter, although specific penalties vary by jurisdictions and some may apply criminal punishments.

Generally speaking, however, the most likely penalty is going to be a monetary fine for copyright infringement -- if you're caught downloading illegally, that is.

Penalties Can Add Up

Don't let out a sigh of relief just yet, though. Just because time in the slammer can usually be avoided for illegally downloading doesn't mean that you won't be paying a pretty penny for your illegal acts.

Under federal copyright law, the damages that you may owe can range from $750 to $30,000 ... per work. So if you illegally download, say, 10 songs -- doesn't seem that offensive, right? Think again, because the penalty for that can be as much as $300,000.

Furthermore, this is only according to statute. Courts may find that, depending on the specific facts of your case, you should be penalized even more harshly and be fined more. For example, a 32-year-old woman from Minnesota was found guilty of downloading 24 songs and fined $80,000 per song, for a total of $1.9 million, according to CNN.

Doesn't seem so worth it anymore, does it?



Easier Mortgage Processes, Positive Attitudes Inspire Renters to Buy

July 12, 2013 6:52 am

(BPT) - Owning a home has been an integral element of the American Dream for generations. But is ownership right for you? And if it is, how do you know if it's the right time in your life to purchase a home?

Thirty-two percent of American households are renters, according to the National Multi Housing Council. Generally, more people younger than 30 occupy rentals, while the percentage of people who own their home increases with age, NMHC statistics indicate. People decide to buy a home for many reasons, but the recent real estate market downturn caused many Americans to rethink their assumptions about renting and owning.

Even with many real estate experts predicting the market will continue to improve, it pays to carefully evaluate how homeownership does - or doesn't - figure into your long-term financial goals. If you've been renting and wondering if it's time to apply for a mortgage and buy your own home, consider these points:

1. Renting isn't always the cheaper option, and comparing your monthly rent payment directly to a mortgage payment won't give you a clear picture of the financial impact of either option. Online calculators, like Guaranteed Rate's rent vs. buy online calculator, can give you a better understanding of the comparison. With mortgage rates consistently low and rental markets competitive across the country, real estate experts agree that in most major metropolitan areas it will still be cheaper in the long run to buy than continue to rent.

2. While the days of zero-money-down mortgages are essentially over, it's a misconception that you need a huge amount of money to buy a house. Yes, you'll almost certainly need a down payment, but different lenders will require different percentages. Research your mortgage options before you begin house hunting so you'll know how much you'll need to save in order to secure a mortgage - and the home of your dreams.

3. Although the mortgage application process is detailed, it doesn't have to be drawn out and tedious. Many lenders now allow you to initiate the process online, and Guaranteed Rate has recently overhauled its website to allow borrowers to apply for a loan, track the approval process and receive their home loans all online. The eighth-largest retail mortgage company in the U.S. allows customers to choose and customize their loans, submit an application and receive an official approval letter all at Automating the application process compresses the traditional time frame from days - sometimes, even weeks - into minutes. As part of the process, applicants also receive the credit reports from all three major credit bureaus.

4. Buying a home affords you the opportunity to really grow your roots, but the flipside is that in order to get the most out of your investment, you need to stay put for a while. If you anticipate being in your current job and living in your current town for at least five years, the long-term investment of buying a house will make more sense for you. If you anticipate a job change or a move within a few years, you may want to hold off on buying a house. The good news is, doing so gives you more time to save toward a down payment so you'll look even more appealing to lenders when you are ready to buy.

Yard Safety 101: The Mower

July 12, 2013 6:52 am

Even the most careful of parents may not realize that there is danger lurking inside of the garage. Surprisingly, the lawn mower is one of the most dangerous household tools. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, each year 68,000 people are treated in the emergency department for lawn mower related injuries, and 9,400 of them are children under the age of 18. Most childhood injuries due to lawn mowers are related to riding mowers, and most are injured in their own yard.

Most common injuries associated with mowers can include lacerations, amputations, fractures, infections and skin defects.

Read on for tips on staying safe around lawn mowers.


  • Children younger than 15 should not be in the yard when someone else is mowing
  • Children younger than 12 should not use walk-behind mowers
  • Children younger than 16 should not be allowed to use ride-on mowers
  • Children or adults should never be allowed as passengers on ride-on mowers

The Safe Lawn Mower

  • Allows automatic blade disengagement when the mower is placed in reverse
  • Has a control that stops the mower from moving forward if the handle is released
  • Has a blade safety device for ride-on mowers that disconnects the blade from the power source when the operator leaves the operating position
  • Operating the Mower
  • Do not pull the mower backward or mow in reverse unless absolutely necessary, and carefully look for children behind you when you mow in reverse.
  • Always turn off the mower and wait for the blades to stop completely before removing the grass catcher, unclogging the discharge chute, or crossing gravel paths, roads, or other areas.

Protecting Yourself and Others

  • Wear hard-soled, sturdy shoes around mowers (no sandals or sneakers)
  • Wear hearing and eye protection when operating a mower
  • Prevent injuries from flying objects, such as stones or toys, by picking up objects from the lawn before mowing begins.