Gunning Daily News

Word of the Day

December 10, 2012 5:36 pm

Common elements. Parts of a condominium, cooperative, or private home association shared by all residents, so that each unit owner holds an undivided interest in, for example, the hallways, parking facilities, or swimming pool.

Q: Are Special Tax Breaks Available for Historic Rehabilitation?

December 10, 2012 5:36 pm

A: Certified historic structures now enjoy a 20 percent investment tax credit for qualified rehabilitation expenses, if they are income-producing properties. A historic structure is one listed in the National Register of Historic Places or so designated by an appropriate state or local historic district that is certified by the government. The tax code does not allow deductions for the demolition or significant alteration of a historic structure.

For more information, contact the National Trust for Historic Preservation at (202) 588-6000, or visit its website at www.nationaltrust.org.

Many states offer tax incentives, reductions and abatement programs for owners of residential historic homes. These programs are described on the National Trust’s website.

Your Guide to Choosing the Right Smartphone to Give

December 7, 2012 5:02 pm

(Family Features) If you've noticed more smartphones and tablets on your holiday wish lists, you're not alone. A recent survey by Kelton Research found that 69 percent of people would like to receive something wireless as a holiday gift.

The report also found it's not always easy to shop for these kinds of gifts. In fact, 43 percent of people surveyed said they find shopping for technology items more confusing than assembling a child's toy with multiple parts.

To minimize the confusion around shopping for a wireless device, Ami Silverman, senior vice president of sales operations, T-Mobile USA, has a few tips for selecting the right smartphone and getting the most value for everyone on your holiday shopping list.

Smart Tips for Choosing a Smartphone

There are many options to choose from, and at first glance they might all seem the same. The key to picking the right one is to start by matching the phone's featured functions to what you know about the user. For example, here are some typical mobile users and the features which would be ideal for their devices:
Heavy texter/social networker - Consider phones with a physical QWERTY keyboard to enable quick connections with inner circles.
Gamer - Look for devices that have preloaded or easy access to premium games as well as large, high-definition screens, powerful processors (preferably a quad-core processor) and long lasting batteries.
Entertainment junkie - Keep an eye out for fast 4G smartphones with touch screens featuring large high-definition display for watching videos and enjoying online entertainment.
Worker bee - Seek phones that offer business-ready capabilities and the ability to accurately and quickly view and edit documents and share files fast.
Style maven - Choose touch screen phones that are thin, look sleek, and can be customized with a range of accessories, including stylish protective cases.
Photographer - Prioritize phones with high-resolution cameras and high storage capacity.

While these tips can point you in the right direction, it's best to talk to experts in the store. Explain the type of person you are buying for and how they'll be using the device. Knowledgeable sales associates have tools and resources so they can help you find exactly what you need

Reviews can also be helpful in finding the right phone. Check out independent reviews at www.consumerreports.org or www.cnet.com, and get user reviews at www.consumersearch.com.

Source: T-Mobile

Word of the Day

December 7, 2012 5:02 pm

Commission. Payment, or brokerage fees, given by the seller of a property to a real estate agent for services rendered. Usually paid at the closing.

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

December 7, 2012 5:02 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.

Deck the Halls, Holiday Party Decor Tips

December 7, 2012 3:32 pm

(Family Features) When it comes to decking the halls in advance of a holiday party, there's nothing quite as festive as creating homemade decorations with the family. From handmade ornaments to shimmering trees, your party guests will catch that holiday spirit when they see the special décor created just for the event.

To help get you started, the inspiration experts at the Jo-Ann Stores have shared the following holiday craft ideas. These simple step-by-step projects are great for crafters at every level, and the best part is you can get the whole family involved.

Décor Ideas
Small touches can make a big impact on your guests. Use these ideas to add small details to your party decorations:
Create a winter wonderland - Teach the kids how to create paper snowflakes, then string them up throughout the house using fishing wire. From the dining room chandelier, to the windows, fireplace and staircase, you can create a flurry of snowflakes around the house in minutes.
Design a sparkling centerpiece - To get started, gather pinecones on a walk around the neighborhood. In a well-ventilated area, use glitter or metallic spray paint to completely coat the pine cones in silver and gold. Then simply stack in a glass bowl and place at the center of the table surrounded by sprigs of fresh greenery and holly branches.

For more holiday décor inspiration and craft projects, visit www.JoAnn.com.

Stress-Free Ways to Find Great Deals on Holiday Gifts

December 7, 2012 3:32 pm

Even though Black Friday and Cyber Monday are over, there are still plenty of savings and discounts to be found on holiday gifts this year. By following these stress-free shopping tips, consumers can stick to their budget and find great deals for everyone on their gift list.

"Retailers will be dropping prices during December on popular products and consumers can continue to find great deals online now until Christmas," says Steve Schaffer, CEO of Offers.com. "Shoppers can take advantage of all the best online deals and coupon codes on Offers.com, saving them big bucks on gifts for themselves and their family and friends."

Stress-Free Ways to Find Deals on Holiday Gifts

1. Create a budget – This year the average American will spend over $800 on gifts. With so many sales and deals this time of year, it can be easy to overspend and buy items on impulse. It's essential for consumers to list out how much they plan to spend for each person. Once the budget is established, shoppers can look for gifts in their price range and stick to their budget.
2. Shop online – Online shopping provides a much better value, selection, and convenience than shopping in stores.
3. Use coupons and coupon codes - Online coupons offer extra discounts that often can't be found in stores.
4. Look for free shipping – Many online retailers offer free shipping as an extra incentive to purchase from them, so consumers should always check for free shipping offers before purchasing items online to save even more.

Source: http://www.offers.com/

Couple Chaos: Holiday Time Means Family Time

December 7, 2012 3:32 pm

With holiday time often comes time with your loved one—and their immediate and extended family. Whether you love their family, or can barely tolerate them, the following expert tips can help you get along with ease.

  • Don't say "It's your family, not mine." If you care about your partner, his or her family should be just as important to you. If they are just plain out there or tough to handle, suggest going to your family's house for Christmas.
  • Don't say "here we go again!" when an argument begins, especially if you're mid-slice of the gorgeous holiday turkey or ham. Don't risk a holiday fiasco with an audience to boo or cheer you on.
  • Don't cop out by saying you need "space." If you really have something specific to say, explain it in as considerate a way as possible. Besides, if you are away from home for the holidays, where would you go? Try to be as open and honest as you can.

"Despite the pressures of the holidays, it's important to remember the season should be a time of giving and joy," says Relationship Ambassador, Dr. Yvonne K. Fulbright. "Individuals that can properly navigate the holidays will encourage more fulfilling relationships with both their partner and their family." Dr. Fulbright provides her keen insight with several tips to help couples and family members work together to reduce holidays stress:

  • Avoid negative communication such as complaining, whining, or bullying which will only build resentment. Couples that are meeting their partner's family for the first time need to give each other open feedback in a supportive environment. Many people are irrationally protective of their families, so it's important to be careful when raising concerns or criticisms.
  • Explain family dynamics to your partner before holiday gatherings. Giving them some context into your passive-aggressive cousin or co-dependent niece will help you both handle any get-together.
  • Communicating positively means owning personal feelings, asking for details, and being comfortable opening up (whether it's a social concern or a sexual fantasy). Solid couples that are built for the long term are able to work together to confront and move on from any issues.
  • Avoid saying phrases such as "they're your family," especially if you're in a long-term relationship. Such language can wedge a gap between the two sides which can be hard to dislodge.
  • Be flexible in planning and accept your partner's family and their possibly odd holiday traditions.

Source: Dr. Yvonne K. Fulbright

Word of the Day

December 7, 2012 3:32 pm

Commingle funds. Mixing of a clients’ funds, or escrow, with an agent’s personal funds in an account; considered to be grounds for the suspension or revocation of the broker’s real estate license.

Q: What Is Universal Design and How Does It Relate to Remodeling?

December 7, 2012 3:32 pm

A: Universal design is an approach to design that focuses on making all products and environments as usable as possible by as many people as possible regardless of age, physical ability, or situation. In recent years, the housing industry has recognized the importance of a "universal" approach to residential design that modifies standard building elements to improve a home's accessibility and usability. This allows for more equitable, flexible and simple use. Many books exist on the subject, including Residential Remodeling and Universal Design: Making Homes More Comfortable and Accessible, a resource guide offered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD’s guide provides technical guidance on selecting and installing universal features during home remodeling or renovation. The modifications can range from expanding doorway dimensions to replacing kitchen appliances. The guide emphasizes eliminating unintentional barriers and using designs and features that could benefit people with a broad range of needs.