Gunning Daily News

Word of the Day

May 22, 2013 2:00 am

Restrictive covenants.  Clauses placed in a deed to restrict the full use of the property by controlling how future landowners may or may not use the property; also used in leases.

Q: What Are Subprime Loans?

May 22, 2013 2:00 am

A: Subprime mortgages are made to borrowers, usually at a higher interest rate, who do not meet traditional credit criteria or who have unconventional borrowing needs.

Factors that can prevent someone from meeting the traditional criteria could be a high debt-to-income ratio, low reserves at settlement, as well as past credit woes – bankruptcies, defaults, foreclosures, or chronic late payments on debt obligations.

Aging in Place Primer: In Home Safety

May 22, 2013 2:00 am

I recently referenced reporting by Nell Bernstein at, who pointed out two important factors about planning for aging in place. Bernstein says the steps to successful aging in place include learning how to "future-proof" a home -- before a health crisis or other emergency strikes.

The first is in-home safety. Bernstein references a a worry-by-worry guide to several innovations -- some tested and recommended by Susan Ayers Walker of SmartSilvers Alliance.

Solution No. 1: Big-button cell phone. According to the Pew Research Center, many seniors won't use a cell phone even in an emergency. They find them too complex, can't manage the tiny buttons, or read the screens. So choose a phone with features like extra-loud speakers, big backlit buttons, a bright screen with easy-to-read numbers.

Solution No. 2: Automatic pill reminders. A 70 year old, says Walker, could be taking about 12 medications, and taking them unsupervised accounts for up to 40 percent of nursing home admissions. So consider pillboxes with alarms tied to services that will send medication reminders by phone, e-mail, or pager. MD.2 is a monitored dispenser can dispense all your pills right on time, with one touch of a button. Rescue Alert will monitor a pillbox electronically and alert a dispatcher if the lid isn't opened when it's supposed to be.

Solution No. 3: Temperature-activated flow reducer. It's relatively low-tech and can cost less than $40, but this gadget sure does work (search for it online using the key words temperature-activated flow reducer). A screw-on faucet attachment prevents burns by shutting off the water from a sink or shower if it gets too hot.

Solution No. 4: The Safe-T-element Cooking System. This device consists of cover plates you can install over existing stove top burners that limit how hot they can get and automatically shut off the stove if they reach a certain temperature. Prices vary.

The 10 Best Things to Buy in June

May 22, 2013 2:00 am

With Dads, grads and bridal couples being celebrated in June, it should come as no surprise that household goods and personal electronics head the list of things that go on sale now.

Specifically, said Lifehacker’s consumer editor, Whitson Gordon, look for good buys on these 10 top most-wanted items:

  • TVs and consumer electronics - The Japanese fiscal year ends in March, so most electronics manufacturers are trying to get rid of their old stock, making this a great time to grab the ones you want.
  • Boots and ski wear – June offers the biggest discounts on leftover winter wear for skiers and the entire family.
  • Cookwear,  china, and kitchen gadgets – Haunt the malls for the year’s lowest prices on the most popular cooking and dining merchandise, from pots and pans and food processors to china, silver and glassware.
  • Vacuum cleaners – New models hit the stores in late June, so you should be able to find a good price on leftover last-year models.
  • Champagne – Next to New Year’s, June weddings and other celebrations put champagne in top demand. Shop now for good prices on bubbly you can use all year long.
  • House paint – For some reason, June is the top month for re-painting home interiors and exteriors. Most paint brands, therefore, are now on sale.
  • Tools – If your tool box is not fully stocked, the Father’s Day period is a good time to pick up good buys on hand and electric tools.
  • Men’s suits – Mothers of the bride are on their own, but men’s suits and tuxedos are on sale now as Dads prepare for seasonal weddings.
  • Houses – Spring weather always sees for-sale signs go up in front yards. Newlyweds and others will have a great selection of homes to choose from now, while interest rates are still low.
  • Gym memberships –Most people have long since forgotten their New Year’s resolution, making this a good time to haggle yourself a good price on a gym membership.

Moving? Make the Most of Your DIY Move

May 22, 2013 2:00 am

(BPT)—New jobs, first jobs, relationships and looking for a change in weather - these are just a few reasons people have for moving. Most families move during the warmer months, and many choose to move to warmer locations.

"Atlanta is still the top location to move to, and six other warm weather destinations help round out the top 10 moving destination list," says Don Mikes, senior vice president of truck rental for Penske. "We're seeing patterns in our 2012 consumer truck rentals of people moving south for more warmth and sunshine."

Penske's top 10 moving destinations for 2012 were:

1. Atlanta

2. Dallas/Fort Worth

3. Phoenix

4. Orlando, Fla.

5. Chicago

6. Houston

7. Denver

8. Seattle

9. Charlotte, N.C.

10. Sarasota, Fla.

If you're planning a move to any state this year, Penske, which has been renting out moving trucks to do-it-yourselfers for more than 40 years, offers some advice:

  • For long-distance moves, a moving truck is a must. But even if you're just moving across town, renting a moving truck makes sense. Making multiple trips can be exhausting - not to mention the gas you'll use and the greenhouse gases your vehicle will emit on multiple trips. Reserve your truck at least two weeks in advance of moving day-- Penske guarantees a truck for every reservation. A 12- or 16-foot truck works for moving a few large items or the contents of a small condo or apartment.
  • Pack in increments. Start early to avoid the stress of last-minute rushing. It's OK to leave a box open in case you need something you've packed inside it; it's much easier to tape a box shut on moving day than it is to pack at the last moment.
  • Buy sturdy boxes in a variety of sizes, along with foam and bubble wrap to protect fragile items. You'll also need a good supply of packing tape and markers for sealing and labeling boxes.
  • Make sure you have moving blankets and hand trucks on moving day to make the process easier.
  • Purge before packing. It's much easier to throw away, donate, sell or give away items that you don't need than it is to pack them and move them. As a rule of thumb, if you haven't used something in the past 12 months-- or it's still packed in a box from the last time you moved-- you can probably get rid of it.
  • Label boxes as you pack. First, list the room that the contents belong in, and, if necessary, a few details such as "glass," "fragile" or "dishes." As you load the truck, try to keep boxes from each room grouped together.
  • Load the heaviest items onto the truck first to create a sturdy base, then start stacking on top.
  • Moving trucks are taller, wider and heavier than the passenger vehicles you are used to driving. They require more distance to stop. Be extra careful driving your moving truck, especially after it's loaded. Be aware of low-hanging tree branches and building overhangs, and use caution when cornering. Park only in well-lit areas and keep the rear door padlocked and the passenger compartment doors locked.
  • Finally, create a travel bag for moving day and keep important paperwork, credit cards, identification, a change of clothes, beverages and snacks close at hand.


Q: What Is a Second Mortgage?

May 22, 2013 2:00 am

A: It is a loan against the equity in your home.  Financial institutions will generally let you borrow up to 80 percent of the appraised value of your home, minus the balance of your original mortgage.

You may incur all the fees normally associated with a mortgage, including closing costs, title insurance, and processing fees.

Home improvement loans are often written as second mortgages.  And sometimes you can get a college tuition loan by using a second mortgage.

In case of default, the loan is paid off from the proceeds of the sale of the property, after the first mortgage has been paid off first.

Word of the Day

May 22, 2013 2:00 am

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.

Q: What Should I Know about Mechanics’ Liens?

May 17, 2013 4:02 pm

A:  A mechanic’s lien is a “hold” against your property that provides contractors and suppliers legal recourse to assure payment for services.  The liens vary from state to state and allow for a cloud on the title of your property and foreclosure action.  Also, if you paid the contractor, but he failed to pay the subcontractors and laborers – who do not have a contract with you – then the workers may file a mechanic's lien on your home.  This could result in a double payment by you for the same job.  You can protect yourself from unwarranted liens by selecting your contractor carefully and managing your construction project responsibly.  Also, most construction lenders will specify a payment distribution process that involves the securing of lien waivers.  The remodeling contract should address this as well, assuring that the general contractor is responsible for all payments as well as any costs required to remedy lien disputes that may arise. 

Word of the Day

May 17, 2013 4:02 pm

Right of survivorship. A feature of joint tenancy giving the surviving joint tenants the rights, title and interests of the deceased joint tenant.  Right of survivorship is the basic difference between buying property as joint tenants and as tenants in common.

10 Travel Tips to Get Your Family "Road Ready"

May 17, 2013 4:02 pm

Headed on the road with your family this summer? Car trips can be extremely fun, a great bonding experience, and a terrific way to make memories. However, they can also be frustrating.  Rand McNally 's editors have compiled a list of Top 10 travel tips to keep the "Are We There Yets” at bay. These easy-to-implement suggestions will help keep families and friends road-ready instead of road-weary.

At Home

  1. Engage everyone in the planning. If you already have an endpoint in mind, have the family fill in the blanks. Ensure something from each person's list makes it onto the itinerary – from a particular food stop to a funky festival, or an unusual place to take a break.
  2. Scope out something new along the way. Tap into websites as well as magazines, guide books, friends and family to find interesting places to visit. Even the non-readers of the group can get involved with helping you select – simply cite the kid-friendly amenities at each of the possibilities, and note what excites them the most.
  3. Map out the trip. Use a GPS, or pull up a mapping site on the computer, and begin plotting your journey. Encourage youngsters to hone their map-reading skills by finding places and attractions and highlighting routes between locations. Bonus for those math and map inclined in the family: Ask the kids to figure out the distance and direction between various points using the map keys.
  4. Gear up the car. Take your vehicle in for a once-over, ensuring that all necessary repairs and maintenance are done – and maybe a fresh wash and vacuum for good measure. Gather the essentials you need for both your car and the people in it, including a first-aid kit; a tool kit and work gloves; jumper cables; tire jack; rain ponchos; road-side emergency gear; and extra blankets, food (energy bars are great for this), and water.
  5. Shore up things at home. Set timers for lighting, and arrange for mail pickup, lawn mowing and pet care. Clear the refrigerator of all perishable foods and take out the garbage. Do not leave a house key hidden outside your home. Adjust the thermostat, unplug small appliances so they don't drain energy unnecessarily while you're away, and turn off computers and other electronics susceptible to power surges. Share your itinerary with family or a trusted neighbor – but never post these details on a social networking site!

En Route

  1. Delegate road-trip tasks. Give everyone a job while on the road: navigator, treasurer, keeper of the spare keys, fun-and-games maestro, photographer, historian/documentarian, snack server. Alternate roles throughout the trip.
  2. Keep everyone engaged. Digital devices are great for keeping kids distracted, but, every so often, have everyone look up and around – connecting with each other and the journey is a benefit of being together in a vehicle for hours. See how many different state license plates each person can spot. Play 20 Questions with answers related to the trip. Watch road signs looking for towns beginning with a specific letter. Name the state capitals, or mottos as you are passing through them.
  3. Keep things interesting. Surprises – a new toy, game, or app to share or special snacks – help with those "can't-keep-it-together" moments. Be sure to allow time for unplanned stops at festivals, historical markers, produce stands, quirky attractions, or other interesting road-side finds.
  4. Stay happy and healthy. This means eating healthfully, stopping when you first feel hungry rather than waiting till everyone's ravenous and cranky. It also means hydrating – preferably with water as well as juice and other nutritious beverages. And, finally, it means resisting the urge to simply press on. Don't hesitate to stop whenever you need to reorganize, regroup, rest or relax.
  5. Share the journey. At day's end, have everybody share their favorite sights and experiences. Vote on the best photos taken that day. At the end of the trip, select the best overall picture and sight or experience.