Gunning Daily News

Q: Where Can I Find Foreclosure Properties?

April 17, 2013 7:08 pm

A: Look in the legal notices section of your local newspaper. A notice is also usually posted on the property itself and somewhere in the city where the sale will take place.

However, real estate agents are the best source for information about foreclosures before they begin. Often a property will be listed and the agent will know if it is approaching foreclosure. Perhaps the best way to get the information is to have your agent put the word out that you are looking for properties with pending foreclosures.

Another source can be the bank or financial institution that holds the mortgage. Of course, they generally will not give you the names of those who are facing foreclosure, but they may give the property owner your card or phone number.

Buying foreclosures is not easy. Savvy investors are highly skilled at nabbing these properties.  Inexperienced buyers may find themselves surrounded by pretty stiff competition. They will need to get as much information as possible, including a "foreclosure inspection report" and an appraisal from the lender.

You and Your Kids: Keep Moving Day Safe

April 16, 2013 5:56 pm

As April progresses, more and more families throughout the country will continue to move in higher numbers from now through the summer, according to the American Moving & Storage Association. During this often hectic time, it is important for families to not forget about safety in all the hustle and bustle of a move.

Children are especially vulnerable during a move, and preoccupied parents need to be especially vigilant with small children. For example, be wary of:

  • Loose bottle caps of medications and household chemicals.
  • Furniture and boxes stacked high around the home.
  • Windows without screen guards.
  • Window coverings and drapes with hanging cords.

Window covering cords can pose a strangulation hazard to infants and toddlers. Check your window coverings to make sure there are no dangling cords, and if there are to replace them with today's safer products or order retrofits kits.

To protect children from the potential hazards that often arise during a move and the few days following, parents are reminded to:

  • Keep children offsite and with family or a babysitter during the actual move day.
  • Do not leave furniture, boxes, beds and climbable surfaces by windows and stairs, or left perilously stacked.
  • Check all window coverings to see if they have dangerous cords.
  • Make sure tasseled pull cords are as short as possible. Continuous-loop pull cords on draperies and vertical blinds should be pulled tight and anchored to the floor or wall.
  • Be sure cord stops are properly installed and adjusted to limit inner-cord movement.
  • Install window guards to prevent children from falling and accidents.

This Spring, Make Your Home Improvements Colorful

April 16, 2013 5:56 pm

Spring is finally here, and people are looking to update their homes and turn their design dreams into reality. In fact, two-in-three (62 percent) homeowners are planning a painting project, according to the National Home Color Survey from Sherwin-Williams.

From simply updating a room to a complete home transformation, homeowners are looking for ways to add color to their space. The home's most colorful features, paintings/wall hangings (39 percent), walls (23 percent) and furniture (15 percent), are often used to express people's creativity and interests.

"I love to see people get out of their neutral groove and add a splash of color to rejuvenate a room, whether it's with eye-catching accessories or a fresh coat of paint," says David Bromstad , HGTV® star and celebrity interior designer. "Color can really set the mood for a room and bring personality to your home."

Bringing More Color into the Home
The National Home Color Survey indicates three-in-four homeowners (74 percent) would like to incorporate more color in their homes, especially the living room (29 percent), bedroom (19 percent) and kitchen (10 percent).

That said, the most commonly used living spaces are in need of the most paint this year, with 32 percent of homeowners focusing on their bedrooms, 29 percent tackling the living/family room and 28 percent updating their bathroom. In addition, 15 percent of people believe their home's exterior could use a refresh.

National Painting week kicked off on April 15. To inspire homeowners. will feature color inspiration, painting ideas, expert tips, product information and one-of-a-kind projects from 14 top design bloggers.

Tips to Rejuvenate Your Home with Color

  • Identify a colorful object as the focal point of the room. Select a few colorful pieces to build your room around, such as artwork or a lively piece of furniture. Throw in some fun accessories like geometric patterned pillows, bright lacquered picture frames or unusual light fixtures.
  • Explore color. Use a range of color selection tools to help select colors for your space.
  • Highlight unexpected areas. Colorful paint can turn ordinary areas like ceilings, banisters or doorframes into extraordinary spaces. If you want to keep walls neutral, paint a piece of furniture, such as a chair, headboard or the back of a bookshelf. Or balance neutral walls with bright trim on doors, windows and ceilings.
  • Use colorful patterns for the illusion of space. When working with a small or challenging space, use paint to create optical illusions. Horizontal stripes can help small rooms feel more spacious, while vertical stripes can add the illusion of height to low ceilings.

10 Tips for a Successful Garage Sale

April 16, 2013 5:56 pm

As the weather warms up and spring cleaning begins, a garage sale may seem just the ticket. What a great way to bring in some cash while de-cluttering your living space!

From the editors of Family Circle, come 10 tips for making sure your garage sale is fun, efficient, and successful:

  • Make it a group sale – Choose the date and ask your neighbors to join in. A larger sale brings more shoppers.
  • Permit needed? Check with City Hall to determine if you need a permit and/or any ground rules or restrictions you should know about.
  • Advertise – In the week before the sale, arrange for a free ad in neighborhood papers and/or post announcements in local stores.
  • Arrange for pickup of leftovers – Make arrangements at least a week before your sale date to have a local charity stop by afterward to pick up unwanted leftover items.
  • Sort and price items – Be realistic about what things are worth. Garage sale shoppers are looking for bargains.
  • Have change and wrapping goods on hand – The day before the sale, stock up on ones, fives, tens and lots of loose change. Be sure to have plastic bags, a few small boxes, and newspapers and/or bubble wrap if you will be selling fragile items.
  • Post signs and sort display goods early – Garage sale shoppers get an early start. Be sure items are clearly marked and sorted by type (kitchen goods, books, clothing, tools, toys. etc,)
  • Consider a ‘freebies’ area – Freebies always attract a crowd. You may want to add to the contents as you move toward the end of the sale/
  • Keep an eye on the cashbox – If you have a cash box, never leave it unguarded. Better yet, keep your money on your person in a fanny pack or similar item.
  • Add treats for sale – Consider adding to the day’s income by having the kids sell coffee or cold drinks and/or snacks such as brownies or cookies.

Word of the Day

April 16, 2013 5:56 pm

Open listing. Listing that gives a broker a nonexclusive right to find a buyer; the owner can still find a buyer himself and avoid a commission.

Q: What Does Homeowners’ Insurance Cover?

April 16, 2013 5:56 pm

A: It protects against disasters – whether natural, manmade or mechanical. A standard policy insures the home, as well as your possessions. Because this insurance is packaged, it covers liability for any harm, loss, and property damage that you or your family members cause others. And it includes additional living expenses in case you are temporarily displaced because of damage from a fire or other insured disaster.

While you are not legally required to have homeowners’ insurance, mortgage lenders stipulate that you do. It protects their investment in the home in case of a natural disaster or catastrophic event.

If your mortgage is paid up – or you never had one – it is still a good idea to have homeowners’ insurance to protect your home and your belongings.

5 Ways to Keep Your Social Security Number Safe and Guard against Identity Theft

April 15, 2013 5:12 pm

As hackers devise more innovative ways to steal information from cyberspace, most consumers know that keeping your Social Security number (SSN) from strangers is one of the surest ways to guard against identity theft.

“The fact is, the fewer places your information resides online, the less chance it will be stolen,” says’s Adam Levin. “Yet some of us are inclined to give our numbers out any time somebody asks for it.”

For example, he added, the forms you fill out at a doctor’s office routinely ask for your SSN – primarily to help in tracing you down if you default on your bill. But, in most cases, the office will be satisfied with the name and phone number of a relative who can provide the number if needed.

Levin points out five instances when you should never provide your SSN:

Companies or organizations who ask by mail or email – No matter how ‘official-looking’ a letter or email appears, credit card companies and retailers have no reason to ‘confirm’ your personal information. Call the customer service number listed on the back of the suspect credit card to reaffirm that your information is secure.

Anyone who telephones or stops you on the street – Don’t divulge your number to anyone on the phone, especially of you have not initiated contact – and don’t give it to anyone in any public place no matter what allegedly ‘free’ product or service they promise to give you.

Public schools - Your utility bill confirms your address, and your email and phone number give them channels to contact you in an emergency. Asking for your SSN is simply not necessary.

Little League, summer camp et al – For the same reasons, your SSN should never be required by sports organizations or other children’s groups. If you use credit to pay for the activity, it may be needed. If you pay upfront or with a direct debit to your bank account or credit card, they don’t.

Supermarkets – A frequent shopper card is neither a loan, nor a bank account. It’s a tool grocery stores use to track your purchases, primarily for marketing purposes. Yet many supermarket chains request customers’ Social Security numbers on their application forms. Refuse to provide it.

Move Your Workout and Your Family Outdoors

April 15, 2013 5:12 pm

(Family Features) Playing together outdoors is the perfect way for families to bond while staying active and fit, but when seasonal allergies come into play they can keep many families on the sidelines. Allegra is setting out this season to show people there's no reason to suffer if you have the right relief, and has teamed up with basketball star Lisa Leslie to share fun, affordable workout tips that help families enjoy the outdoors even during allergy season.

"As an athlete and a mom, there's nothing I enjoy more than getting outside to shoot hoops or run around with my kids, but when our allergy symptoms act up it can keep my whole family indoors," says Leslie. "I am thrilled to show families that with the help of Allegra their seasonal allergies don't have to stop them from being outdoors and having fun."

Lisa shares how to utilize simple household items and a little imagination to transform any backyard or outdoor space in to a family fitness center:

Scavenger Hike: Turn a family hike into a scavenger hunt; come up with a fun list of challenges like climbing over a log, finding a pinecone, skipping down an entire trail or racing to the birch tree and back.

Driveway Drills: Using chalk and cardboard boxes you can create your own basketball court on the driveway. Have the kids draw free throw lines and see who can bounce or throw the ball into the cardboard box "hoop."

Time for Fun: Use your kitchen timer or a stopwatch to time kids in sprints, relays and jumping jack sessions; record times on a dry erase board to help kids track their personal best times.


Heavy Metal in Your Water, Part II

April 15, 2013 5:12 pm

In our last segment, I noted that Connecticut just issued a statewide advisory for all homes on well systems to begin supplemental testing for arsenic and uranium. So we'll wrap up our crash course on wells and contaminants by scoping in on two main culprits.

We will begin with arsenic - a classified human cancer-causing agent - which has been associated with increased risk of lung, bladder and skin cancers.

The type of uranium found in groundwater is not considered a radioactive risk and is therefore not a major cancer concern. However, the toxicity of the uranium metal has been associated with adverse effects on kidney function.

You should test for arsenic and uranium when you buy a house with a well or at the time a new well is drilled. Since it is possible for both contaminant levels in well water to fluctuate, it is a good idea to test for arsenic every 5 years.

If you have a treatment system to remove arsenic or uranium from your water, you should test every year to be sure your treatment system is working properly.

Because uranium gets into your body only through ingestion (and not through the skin or through inhalation), it is not necessary to treat all the water in your home, only the water you drink. Reverse osmosis (RO) and ion exchange are the most common types of treatment systems used for uranium removal and are both very effective.

You should also think about whether the uranium treatment system you are considering will also remove radium. If you need to treat your water because of high uranium and the system you select will also remove radium, then you do not need to test your water for radium.

However, if a uranium treatment system is not effective for radium, Connecticut health officials recommend that testing your water for radium. If you have elevated radium in addition to uranium, you will need to select a system that will effectively remove both contaminants.

To learn more, or get more localized information on water issues where you live, go to:

Word of the Day

April 15, 2013 5:12 pm

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