Gunning Daily News

Word of the Day

July 9, 2012 5:30 pm

Marketable title.  Good and clear title that is free from reasonable doubt as to who the owner is.


Why Is Location So Important When Buying a Home?

July 9, 2012 5:30 pm

A: Location remains the single most important factor when choosing a home. It can make or break the value and desirability of a home.

Because everyone’s preferences vary, your lifestyle will determine the best place for you to live. Some people prefer the suburbs while others thrive on downtown living. If you favor city living, find out what part of the city suits you best – a fast-paced neighborhood or one slightly more subdued. Talk with the neighbors and keenly observe such things as traffic patterns, lifestyles, and even sounds and smells.

When choosing a town, take property taxes, schools, accessibility to work, services, recreation, and the character of the community into consideration.

Energy Vampires? Here’s How to Slay Them

July 6, 2012 4:38 pm

I am always writing about the little things you can do to save a lot of energy in the long run. And yet it seems with all the advancements in technology and hardware, we should be conserving a lot more power.

Suspicions were vindicated recently when information from a poll, paid for by a grant to the AP-NORC Center from the Joyce Foundation, shows that just 4 in 10 questioned think their own actions can significantly affect the country's energy problems.

While 15 percent of those polled say individual actions make "a very large difference," only 7 percent say individual action makes no difference at all. And, despite our almost monthly reminders, only 1 in 3 reports knowing a lot or a great deal about the government's Energy Star product labels.

And not even 20 percent know a lot or a great deal about rebates for energy-saving products, home renovation tax credits or home energy audits.

About 6 in 10 people cite lack of knowledge about energy-saving products as a major reason they don't do more to conserve.

So what can you do to push the efficiency of those already energy-saving appliances further?

Eliminate sources of "standby power." While standby power sometimes provides useful functions such as remote control, clock displays, and timers, the average U.S. household spends $100 per year to power devices while they are off (or in standby mode).

To slay these energy vampires in your house:
• Enable the ENERGY STAR power management settings on your computer and monitor, so they go into power save mode when not in use.
• Use a power strip as a central "turn off" point when you are done using equipment, which completely disconnects the power supply. You can use one for your computer and all peripheral equipment, and another for your home electronics (TV, VCR, DVD, stereo, gaming).
• Keep in mind though that if you've set a timer to wake up a product, such as programming a Digital Video Recorder (DVR) to record a program, then the product must remain plugged in (and able to draw standby power) to function as intended.
• Unplug your chargers: cell phone chargers, camera chargers, battery chargers or power adapters, etc. These are drawing some amount of energy even when not in use (and even when not connected to an end-use product).
• Look for ENERGY STAR when shopping. All ENERGY STAR qualified products are among the lowest power consuming in their category in standby mode.

What’s On Your Cone? American Ice Cream Facts

July 6, 2012 4:38 pm

Summer is in full gear and temperatures are on the rise. What better way to cool off than with ice cream? In honor of July Ice Cream Month, the California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB), representing California's more than 1600 dairy families, surveyed consumers to find out just where they find themselves enjoying some good-old fashion ice cream, frozen yogurt and gelato.

The survey showed that over two-thirds of consumers nationwide say they find themselves eating ice cream, frozen yogurt or gelato most frequently in front of the TV or on the couch (64 percent).

Women are more likely than men to eat ice cream, frozen yogurt or gelato in bed.

Young adults, ages 18-34, say they find themselves eating ice cream, frozen yogurt or gelato on the couch more frequently than others (20 percent).

Maybe it's the drip factor but parents are more likely than non-parents to eat ice cream, frozen yogurt or gelato outside (19 percent versus 11 percent, respectively).

"Consumers definitely enjoy a good scoop of ice cream on a regular basis. So much so that former California governor, President Ronald Reagan, recognized America's love for ice cream and declared July National Ice Cream Month back in 1984," says Jennifer Giambroni, director of communications for the CMAB.

Whether on the couch or outdoors, the results are conclusive that most consumers enjoy a good scoop of ice cream every now and again, so here are a few tricks and tips of the ice cream trade:
• To prevent an ice cream cone from becoming soggy while you eat, drop a mini marshmallow in the bottom of the cone before scooping.
• To soften ice cream, transfer it to the refrigerator for 10-20 minutes before serving. A faster option is to use a microwave but be careful of ice cream soup! Place the ice cream in its cardboard container into a microwave set to High: microwave one pint for 10-15 seconds; one quart for 15-25 seconds; and a half-gallon for 30-40 seconds. (Don't use microwave if ice cream is in a plastic container.)
• After serving ice cream, return carton to the freezer immediately to help prevent the formation of ice crystals that can occur when ice cream is partially thawed and then re-frozen. This will keep the texture smooth for your next bowl (if it lasts that long).

Source: RealCaliforniaMilk.com

Word of the Day

July 6, 2012 4:38 pm

Market price. Actual selling price of a property.

Q: What are some of the guidelines for purchasing HUD foreclosures?

July 6, 2012 4:38 pm

A: If you have the cash or can qualify for a mortgage, you can buy a HUD home. Down payments vary depending on whether the property is eligible for FHA insurance. If so, the down payment can be lower than the 5 to 20 percent required on conventional loans.

HUD requires that all accepted offers be accompanied by an earnest money deposit equal to 5 percent of the bid price, not to exceed $2,000, but not less than $500.

Foreclosure properties are sold "as is," meaning limited repairs have been made but no structural or mechanical warranties are implied. If a HUD home needs to be fixed - and not all of them do - it can still be a bargain. HUD adjusts the asking price to reflect the fact that the buyer will have to invest money to make improvements. The agency also might offer special incentives such as an allowance to upgrade the property or a bonus for closing the sale early. And buyers can request that HUD pay all or a portion of the financing and closing costs. Contact your real estate agent for more details.

To learn more about HUD foreclosures, visit their web site at www.hud.gov.

Tips for a More Sustainable, Worry-free Outdoor Celebration - With Plastics

July 6, 2012 4:38 pm

Independence day may be over, but Americans are still celebrating summer in backyards across the country, entertaining family and friends, grilling out, eating, drinking ... all of which can result in more than a bit of rubbish. But not all your waste needs to go to the trash can. To help make outdoor celebrations more sustainable—without sacrificing safety, style, or convenience—Plastics Make it Possible® offers the following tips:

• When entertaining outdoors, many people choose shatter-resistant plastic tableware to avoid the worry and the waste from breaking a fragile wine glass or ceramic plate. Today there are lots of innovative and stylish plastic plates, cups, serving dishes—even cooking tools—for outdoor entertaining.
• Since recycling programs vary across the country, determine in advance what plastics and other materials can be recycled in your community. More than 90 percent of Americans have access to plastic bottle recycling, and it's more than 40 percent for non-bottle rigid plastic containers like yogurt cups and deli takeout containers.
• Here's the key: place a clearly labeled recycling bin next to the trashcan to make recycling easy for you and your guests—you won't have to fish the recyclables out of the trash at the end of your party.
• Return plastic bags and product wraps to participating grocery and retail stores (such as Wal-Mart, Target, and Lowe's) for recycling. This includes the plastics that wrap water bottles, paper towels, diapers, etc.
• Close the recycling loop: look for tableware made with recycled plastics, which helps create new uses for this material.

Source: www.plasticsmakeitpossible.com

Top Summer Safety Tips for Kids

July 6, 2012 4:38 pm

It’s summertime, and kids will be playing longer hours outdoors. Regardless of how much adult supervision is expected, says the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, be sure your children know their home address and phone numbers – and drill into your children these very important summer safety rules:

1. Always check first with parents or another trusted adult before you go anywhere or do anything – and check in regularly when you are away from home.
2. Take a friend with you when you go to a public restroom, a nearby park or mall, or anywhere else away from your home.
3. Be wary of people you do not know who offer you a treat or ask you to help find a pet or run an errand. Say no and go the other way.
4. Say no to a stranger who offers you a ride or to anyone who makes you feel scared, uncomfortable or confused. Trust your feelings, get away, and tell a parent or trusted adult what happened and where it was.
5. Don’t take shortcuts through areas you do not know – and stay away from pools, canals or lakes unless a parent or trusted adult is with you.
6. If you are lost, look for a uniformed officer, security guard, store salesperson, or a mother with children to help you reunite with your parents.
7. Be careful playing outdoors as it gets dark. If you have permission to stay outdoors, wear reflectors or light colored clothing to be sure people who are driving can see you.
8. If you are home alone, keep the doors locked and do not open them for anyone except trusted family relatives or friends unless you have been instructed to do so by your parents. Keep handy the number of a neighbor you can call if something happens you are not sure about.

Affordable Outdoor Entertaining

July 6, 2012 4:38 pm

Summer is prime time for many people to use their outdoor spaces - deck, patio or balcony - to provide extended living spaces for their home.

Homeowners will be happy to note that a big impact can come with a small price tag. Bloggers from Sears Outdoor Style and Grilling Is Happiness provide the following tips to live it up in the great outdoors without breaking the bank:

• Bring the outdoors in: All-weather wicker is great for both outdoor and indoor entertaining. It's not only durable, but is more cost effective than indoor pieces and has the added benefit of greater functionality. Many consumers use all-weather wicker as accent pieces in bedrooms, hallways and more.
• Give a little cushion: To stretch your dollar, simply update current outdoor furniture with replacement cushions versus buying a whole new set.
• Made in the shade: Gazebos, pergolas and umbrellas not only look beautiful, but offer a great respite from the sun's rays. Think they cost a fortune? Think again. Sears sells a simple gazebo at $179 and pergolas starting at $270.
• Found beauty: Accent your areas by grouping found objects from outings. Fill multiple jars with sand and shells from beach days to create instant chic and great conversation pieces.
• Light the way: Great lighting sets the mood for any space. Inexpensive votive candles can really make an impact when grouped together. White string lights create a cafe feel and are now available as solar-powered versions in fun shapes like butterflies and ladybugs.
• Chip away at the ordinary: Get beyond chips and salsa. Popcorn is a fun, healthy snack that creates great aroma when cooked on the grill. Mixed with spicy grilled jalapeno, it gives an outdoor gathering a festive kick that is budget friendly.
• Deliver a world of flavor: Think tapas or kebabs for your next backyard bash. Tapas are small plates that focus on quality rather than quantity to offer a variety of unique dishes. Kebabs allow for a colorful mix of veggies with steak, chicken, pork or seafood served. Consider serving the kebabs with seasoned couscous for an impressive all-in-one dish.

Source: http://www.sears.com

Word of the Day

July 6, 2012 4:38 pm

Market value. Generally accepted as the highest price that a ready, willing, and able buyer will pay and the lowest price a ready, willing, and able seller will accept for a property.