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

May 17, 2013 4:02 pm

Right of first refusal.  A person’s right to have the first opportunity to either lease or purchase real property.

Summer Safety: Lawn Mower Edition

May 17, 2013 3:00 pm

In just a few weeks the school year will come to a close and thousands of children across the country will take on a familiar chore:  Mowing the lawn.  Safety is always a priority, and three national medical organizations are warning families that the routine task of lawn mowing can be extremely dangerous to children, the operator, and those nearby if proper safety precautions aren't taken.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in 2012 more than 234,000 people were treated for lawn mower-related injuries in a clinic or emergency department, or were admitted to the hospital. More than 17,900 of them are children under age 18, and approximately one-third of lawn mower-related injuries are serious enough to be treated in an emergency department.    

"Every year at this time, children can be seen operating or playing around lawn mowers in unsafe ways. In thousands of yards, injuries will occur, and a beautiful summer day will become a painful occasion," says American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) President Thomas K. McInerny , MD, FAAP. "We want parents and kids to be more aware of precautions to take so that injuries can be prevented."

Lawn mower injury prevention tips include:

  • Only use a mower with a control that stops the mower blade from moving if the handle is let go.
  • Children should be at least 12 years of age before operating a push lawn mower, and age 16 to operate a driving lawn mower.
  • Make sure that sturdy shoes (not sandals or sneakers) are worn while mowing.
  • Prevent injuries from flying objects, such as stones or toys, by picking up objects from the lawn before mowing begins. Have anyone who uses a mower or is in the vicinity to wear polycarbonate protective eyewear at all times.  
  • 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, inspecting or repairing lawn mower equipment or crossing gravel paths, roads, or other areas.
  • Use a stick or broom handle (not your hands or feet) to remove debris in lawn mowers.
  • Do not allow children to ride as passengers on ride-on mowers and keep children out of the yard while mowing.
  • Drive up and down slopes, not across to prevent mower rollover.
  • Keep lawn mowers in good working order. When using a lawn mower for the first time in a season, have it serviced to ensure that it is working correctly.


Hurricane Season Is Nearly Here; Are You Prepared?

May 17, 2013 3:00 pm

June 1 is the start of hurricane season. Major storms can cause major damages to your home and accompanying property. If a storm is brewing, it’s important to prepare for ultimate safety.

Here are some important tips for when a storm approaches:

  • Treat all downed lines and anything touching them as energized and dangerous.  Be sure your children know the danger.
  • If you experience an outage, report it and then turn off major appliances such as heat pumps, water heaters and stoves. Unplug other appliances such as TVs, stereos, microwaves and computers. This may extend the life of appliances and reduce possible overloads to the company's system when power is restored. Leave one lamp or light on so you will be able to recognize when power is restored.
  • Follow safe operating procedures for generators. Never operate one inside your home or in an enclosed space, such as a garage. Do not hook them directly to the electrical system of your home. Electricity could flow backwards onto our power lines and endanger repair crews. The correct, safe technique is to follow the instructions provided with the generator and always use proper-sized extension cords.


Clutter Free: Outdoor Home Storage Solutions

May 17, 2013 3:00 pm

Family Features—In the warmer months, we find ourselves outside more often, enjoying nature while playing with the kids and maintaining our lawns. But this additional time spent outside means more home & garden tools and more opportunity for a mess.

Here are some simple tips to keep your outdoor spaces cleaner and more organized:

  • Storage Bench - Use a storage bench to keep your gardening gloves, tools and children's outdoor toys. Available in a wide variety of sizes and styles, you can find the bench that fits your décor. Plus, they offer an extra seating area when you have company.
  • Bundle Cords - No one likes the unsightly appearance or hazard of cords. Before your gatherings, bundle together stereo and electronic chords that are exposed, as well as any cords that run across the lawn.
  • Paver Pots - Use old pavers to create plant containers. Simply stack the pavers together making a square shape. The heavy weight of the pavers keeps the dirt and plant contained together.
  • Deck Space - Use the space under your deck for additional, out-of-sight storage. Tuck plastic lidded storage containers underneath for easy access to children's sporting goods and toys.
  • Mesh Bags - Pool toys, rafts and inner tubes need a space to dry off. Use mesh bags so these summer toys properly are properly dried, preventing mildew or molding.
  • Proper Plant Care - Stock up on essentials for a healthy garden, including the tools to make plant seedlings thrive, such as Velcro Peel Away seed pots. These pots make it easy to remove the pots without disturbing the roots, making transitions from pot to flower bed flawless.
  • Repurpose Furniture - Turn old furniture pieces, such as old filing cabinets, into instant garage storage solutions. Take out the drawers of the cabinet and turn it on its side. Each empty drawer area provides a spot for large items like brooms, shovels and rakes.
  • Fence Storage - Turn old coffee or paint cans into storage bins for smaller gardening tools like hand shovels and pruning shears. For easy access while in the garden, cut holes and use rope to hang around a close-by fence post.
  • Tires - Stack old tires on top of each other for an outdoor toy container that kids can easily access. Paint the outside to match the color of your house or whatever color you fancy.
  • End of Season Storage - Keep your garage area tidy by organizing similar tools together. Use One-Wrap ties to keep gardening tools grouped together, or to keep hoses tightly coiled and out of the way. This product also comes in a variety of colors and sizes so that you can keep everything neat and organized.


How to Make Your House Marketable

May 16, 2013 3:28 pm

Small improvements can make a huge difference in how much your home sells for. Pillar To Post is the leading home inspection company in North America, according to Entrepreneur Magazine. Here are five tips from Pillar To Post for making your home more marketable:

First impressions: The first thing a potential buyer is going to see is the outside of your home. Make it count. Make sure the outside of your home is freshly painted, that the landscaping and the lawn are well manicured and that toys and other clutter are removed. Putting a layer of mulch on gardens and other non-grassy areas is an easy improvement that doesn’t cost that much. It not only makes your yard look nicer, but it also helps prevent weeds

Paint: A fresh coat of interior paint is one of the easiest ways to increase your property value. A light, neutral color makes your home look larger and prevents potential buyers from worrying about their belongings not “going” with your home.

Staging is everything: You’ll want to remove larger pieces of furniture and other clutter to make your home look as big as possible. You should also make sure dishes are clean and put away, clothes are neatly hung in the closets and towels in the bathroom and kitchen are clean and nicely folded. You should also remove personal items, such as photos and knick-knacks, so it’s easier for potential buyers to imagine what their stuff will look like in the home. Replacing stained carpeting and outdated tile floors is another easy fix that instantly adds to your home’s value. You’ll also want to make sure all light bulbs work, particularly in closets and other dark spaces.

Update the kitchen and bathroom: Update older appliances and fixtures. If this isn’t in your budget, updating the hardware on the cabinets and sinks is an inexpensive way to give them a more modern look.

Hire an inspector: It’s a good idea to hire an inspector to come out before listing your home. You don’t have to fix everything, but it allows you to be up-front with potential buyers, so there aren’t surprises later on.  


Take the Household Budgeting Quiz & Start Saving

May 16, 2013 3:28 pm

I know you don't have to be a CPA or a rocket scientist to figure out how to keep a household budget. In fact, this little quiz to help consumers learn about household budgets is available through the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture.

To take the quiz, first consider the following words: Business, Income, Debt, Values, Expenses, Written, Goals

Now plug them into the following questions - and you can only use each word once:

1. Running a household is like running a small _____________. In order to stay out of the red, it is necessary to keep accurate records of income and expenses.

2. A spending plan is a tool for achieving long-range _____________. Immediate goals can be covered from paycheck to paycheck; however, in order to achieve future goals, you must have a plan to save a certain percentage of their monthly income.

3. A spending plan helps couples to live within their _____________. It's not about how much money you have, but the fact that better money managers use simple planning and recordkeeping, and follow spending plans.

4. One of the best ways to stay on track with a spending plan is to stay out of _____________.

5. There are two major parts of a spending plan – Income and _____________.

6. Before developing a spending plan, it is a good idea to keep a _____________ record of your income and expenses for two or three months.

7. The way you decide to spend your money depends upon your _____________. Talk with household members about mutual needs -- if everyone takes part in making a spending plan, they will all work harder making it successful.

According to the site, the first step is figuring your income and estimating expenses. By recording what you spend, your estimated expenses will be more realistic.

Learn about household budgeting with this report:

By the way, the correct quiz answers are: 1. Business; 2. Goals; 3. Income; 4. Debt; 5. Expenses; 6. Written; 7. Values

10 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Financial Planner

May 16, 2013 3:28 pm

Having your finances in order is important for the sustainability of your future, regardless to where you currently are in life. However, organizing yourself to prevent or get rid of debt can be confusing. Many of us need a little help.

According to John Vento, author of Financial Independence (Getting to Point X): An Advisor’s Guide to Comprehensive Wealth Management, one of the most important decisions you’ll make in your pursuit of financial independence is selecting a qualified advisor whom you like and trust, and who can meet your needs.

When you’re in the process of choosing a financial planner, here are ten important questions to consider:

1. If this advisor was recommended by a friend or family member, do you have confidence in the person who referred you?

2. What education and credentials does this advisor hold to make him or her qualified to advise you? (The advisor’s website is a good place to find this information. You can also check with the licensing board for whatever credentials the advisor holds.)

3. What is the compensation model for the advice and service: fee-based, hourly, or commission? (Fee-based is a percentage of your money under management; hourly is based on time charges; and commission is transaction-based.)

4. What are the financial advisor’s areas of expertise and does this line up well with your needs? (The wealth management issues you’re facing should go hand in hand with the advisor’s areas of expertise.)

5. What standard of care will this advisor be held to: fiduciary or suitability? (The fiduciary standard, which is more rigorous and requires financial professionals to act in the best interests of their clients, is recommended.)

6. What is the extent of services that will be provided: Is it transactional or is it truly a trusted advisor relationship? (Transactional means compensation is based on commissions.)

7. Is the financial decision making customized to you or does the advisor take a one-size-fits-all approach? One-size-fits-all is not appropriate. An 18-year-old person’s goals and risk tolerance are much different from an 80-year-old retiree’s.

8. Does the financial advisor provide tax advisory services such as tax planning and preparation that are integrated into your overall financial planning?

9. What is the organizational structure of the advisor’s firm: Will you be dealing directly with the same advisor or a junior member of the team?

10. What is the financial advisor’s philosophy and approach to handling risk: Does this advisor make you comfortable?


Word of the Day

May 16, 2013 3:28 pm

Reserve account.  An account for money collected each month by a lender to pay for property taxes and property insurance as they come due.

Q: What Should Elderly Homeowners Consider When Deciding to Remodel?

May 16, 2013 3:28 pm

A: According to the AARP, older homeowners prefer to age in place, meaning they want to live in their homes safely, independently and comfortably, despite age or ability level.  To do so, many require a few modifications in the home to enhance maneuverability, including the installation of a private elevator and the addition of a bathroom and bedroom to the main level.  A Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS) may prove helpful.  CAPS professionals are remodelers, general contractors, designers, architects, and health care consultants who are trained in the unique needs of the elderly, Aging-in-place home modifications, common remodeling projects, and solutions to common barriers.  The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), together with the NAHB Research Center, NAHB Seniors Housing Council, and AARP, developed the CAPS program to address the growing number of consumers who will soon require modifications to their homes.

Transitioning from CEO to Retiree: Why You Need a 5-Year Plan

May 15, 2013 5:26 pm

Today’s 50-something CEOs tend to have vague dreams of more fishing, traveling or sailing  when they retire, but they don’t know when that might be so they haven’t begun planning for it.

That’s a mistake, say a trio of specialists: wealth management advisor Haitham “Hutch” Ashoo, CPA Jim Kohles, and estate planning attorney John Hartog.

“Whether you’re selling your company, passing it along to a successor or simply retiring, that’s a potentially irreversible life event – you’ve got just one chance to get it right,” says Ashoo, CEO of Pillar Wealth Management.

A 2012 survey of CEOs by executive search firm Witt/Kieffer found 71 percent of those aged 55 to 59 have no retirement plan, although 73 percent look forward to more recreational and leisure activities when they let go of the reins.

“A lot of baby boomers have the idea that they’re just going to work till they stop working,” says Kohles, chairman of RINA accountancy corporation. “If they hope to do certain things in retirement and maintain a certain lifestyle, they’re likely to end up disappointed.”

Planning for the transition from CEO to retiree should incorporate everything – including what happens to your assets after you’re gone, adds John Hartog of Hartog & Baer Trust and Estate Law.

“Many of my clients worry about what effects a large inheritance will have on their children – they want to continue parenting from the grave. You can, but should think hard about doing that,” he says.

The three say smart planning requires coordinating among all of your advisors; that’s the best way to avoid an irrevocable mistake. With that in mind, Ashoo, Kohles and Hartog offer these suggestions and considerations from their respective areas of expertise:

1. Ashoo: Identify your specific lifestyle goals for retirement, so you can plan for funding them. To determine how much money you’ll need, you have to have a clear picture of what you want, Ashoo says. Do you see yourself on your own yacht? Providing seed capital for your children to buy a business? Pursuing charitable endeavors?

Each goal will have a dollar amount attached, and you (or your advisor) can then determine whether it’s feasible and, if so, put together a financial plan.

“But you can’t just create a plan and forget it. You need to monitor its progress regularly and make adjustments to make sure you’re staying on course, just like you would if you were sailing or flying,” Ashoo says. “We run our clients’ plans quarterly.“

It’s also imperative that you don’t take any undue risks – that is, risks beyond what’s necessary to meet your goals, he says. “You may hear about a great investment opportunity and want in on it, but if you lose that money, you may not have a chance to make it up.”

2.Kohles: Don’t sell yourself short when selling your business. “If you’re banking on money from the sale of your business, know that it’s unlikely you’ll have investors just waiting with the cash for the chance to buy it when you’re ready to sell,” Kohles says.

Buyers are more likely to offer to pay over time from the company’s future earnings -- which leaves the retired CEO with no control over the business and utterly reliant on the new owners to maintain its profitability.

A good alternative is to establish an S corporation combined with an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP), Kohles says.

“You’re selling the company to the employees while retaining control until you phase yourself completely out,” he says. “The ESOP doesn’t pay income taxes – the employees do when they retire. And you don’t pay taxes on the money or the stock that you contribute.”

3. Hartog: What do you want your kids’ inheritance to say? If you have children, this decision can change their lives for the better – or the worse.

“How your assets are disposed of should reflect your values,” Hartog says. “A lot of people prefer to think in terms of taxes at the expense of values. I advise against that.”

For children, incentive trusts can encourage, or discourage, certain behaviors.

“If you’re concerned your adult child won’t be productive if he has a lot of money, set up a trust that will make distributions equal to what the child earns himself,” Hartog says.

“Or, if you want to be supportive of a child who’s doing something socially responsible, like teaching in an impoverished area, you can set it up to pay twice his salary.”

There are many creative ways to establish trusts, Hartog says. Plan about five years out and change the trust as life events dictate.