Gunning Daily News
October 9, 2012 5:38 pm
A: There are two types – judicial and non-judicial. A foreclosure that results from a court action is a judicial foreclosure. The mortgage deed or trust does not have a power of sale clause, therefore the lender, trustee or another lienholder must take the borrower to court to recover the unpaid balance of a delinquent debt. By contrast, a non-judicial foreclosure is one in which a foreclosure can be completed outside the court system. Real property can be sold under a power of sale in a mortgage deed or trust that is in default, but the lender is unable to obtain a deficiency judgment.
October 9, 2012 4:36 pm
With the newfound chill in the air, families all over the country are firing up their fireplaces and gathering around. However, it’s important to keep your family safe when there’s a fire burning, especially if you have a gas fireplace with a glass front, as nearly 11 million households do, according to the 2012 Hearth Consumer Survey. And more than half of those households currently are unaware of the risk of burns from touching the glass fronts.
"While gas fireplaces, stoves and inserts are a great asset to any home, the glass can become extremely hot during operation and stay hot long afterwards, creating a potential burn hazard," says Jack Goldman, president & CEO of HPBA. "In the past several years, there have been reports of burns involving young children and others who may not been aware of the potential risk of burns by touching the hot glass and surrounding panels on gas fireplaces, inserts and stoves. And, though we believe these incidents are few and rare, even one is too many."
Below are some general tips to keep safe around gas fireplaces, stoves and inserts that have glass fronts.
- Always supervise children, the aged, infirm or pets near an operating gas fireplace, stove or insert – or one that has recently been turned off.
- Keep the remote control out of the reach of children (if your appliance has one).
- Install a switch lock to prevent children from turning on the appliance.
- Make sure family members and guests are aware that the glass on a gas fireplace, stove or insert can be very hot.
- Wait for the appliance and glass to cool down before allowing anyone to get near it, noting that the cool down can take a long time – an hour or more.
- Be aware that metal surfaces, such as door frames and grilles, may also get hot.
- Always read the owner's manual and follow instructions.
For more information, visit www.SafeFireplaceTips.com.
October 8, 2012 5:50 pm
There are no more secrets about how we shop – not with a growing number of retail researchers documenting every aspect of how we choose to buy and why – and retailers are responding with merchandising strategies designed to encourage more spending.
“There is nothing random about how a store is arranged,” noted retail researcher Paco Underhill” speaking to Bankrate.com. “The design is calculated to appeal to you in every possible way.”
But shoppers can resist the urge to spend too much by being more aware of how they are being tempted. The consumer website’s Naomi Mannino provides seven retail strategies shoppers need to stop and consider:
Display magic – A pile of the cheapest import T-shirts can be made to look more appealing when arranged tastefully under glamorous display graphics. Examine items you like for workmanship quality before you hand over your cash.
BOGO deals – Buy-one-get-one free deals and other bundled item promotions are not always what they seem. Don’t spend more to get more unless you know the retailer and the regular price of such items.
Don’t turn right – Because most people are right-handed, they tend to turn right when entering a store – so that is where the most expensive items are displayed. Staying focused on why you entered the store should help you stay on track.
Clearance placement – Ever notice that most clearance racks are in the back of the store? That’s so you will have to bypass more expensive displays before you find them.
Messy clearance tables – Also no surprise. Who wants to paw through a messy clearance display when more appealing displays are beckoning? Be patient.
Register appeal – Impulse items displayed at or near registers are there for a proven reason; temptation. Beware of jewelry, fragrances, magazines and other items you did not plan to buy – and think twice before you pull out your wallet.
Shopping with friends – Try to shop with your most conservative friends – and don’t be too quick to purchase an item just because your companion assures you it is “you.”
October 8, 2012 5:50 pm
It used to be that a passport, credit card, travel insurance, and a relaxed attitude were the only true holiday essentials.
But now, electronics and other valuables are traveling staples, from iPads to professional-quality digital camera. Not to mention the scores of honeymooners heading abroad with a small fortune on their fingers.
With the value of our personal belongings heading upwards, it’s even more important to ensure your travel insurance coverage is sufficient for the value of the items you plan to travel with.
Tough economic times meant theft was an unfortunate fact of life. Southern Cross Travel Insurance CEO Craig Morrison says his best advice for travelers is to simply leave valuables at home. However, if that’s not an option, he has the following tips:
Before you go:
Check your policy
to ensure coverage is adequate for the value of the item you plan to take away. Coverage for specified high-value items can be included under policies for an extra premium payment.
Ensure you have adequate proof
of ownership in the event you need to claim. If not an original receipt, this could be something like a listing under a home and contents policy. Check with your insurer to see what they will accept.
Make use of your hotel safe,
and only carry essential items and a small amount of cash when out sightseeing.
When flying, place valuables in carry-on luggage (not check-in).
Closely guard or secure your items
at all times. Some policies don't provide coverage for items left unattended in a public place, in a vehicle overnight, in unlocked premises or an unlocked vehicle.
Notify the authorities. I
f theft of an item does occur, many policies request that authorities are notified within 24 hours of the discovery of the theft and an official report obtained. The original of this report must be kept for the insurance claim.
October 8, 2012 5:50 pm
With more than a third of Americans classified as obese, everyone from first lady Michelle Obama to TV news anchor Katie Couric is advocating exercise to maintain a healthy weight.
That’s great, says Dr. Eudene Harry, author of “Live Younger in 8 Simple Steps,” but the benefits of exercise go far beyond fitting into those skinny jeans.
For one, it will give you younger looking, more blemish-free skin.
“The increase in circulation and perspiration that occurs with exercise delivers more nutrients to your skin while allowing impurities and waste to be removed,” says Harry, who combines years of emergency-room experience with holistic medicine in her private practice. “The result? A healthier complexion!”
She adds four more hidden benefits of a good workout:
• Natural “feel-good” chemicals: Exercise releases endorphins, the brain chemicals that boost your mood and make you feel happy, as well as relieve stress, and enhance your self-esteem and self-confidence. Exercise has also been shown to increase neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine, which gives us a natural high and allows us to sleep better.
• Constipation prevention: Exercise increases the contractions of the wall of the intestine, helping to move things along through the intestinal tract more easily, and decreasing the time it takes to pass through the large intestine. But wait an hour or two after eating before exerting yourself: Exercising too soon after a meal can divert blood flow away from the gut and toward the muscles, weakening peristaltic contractions (and slowing down the digestion process).
• Prevents brittle bones: Walking, jogging, dancing, weight training and yoga are all weight-bearing exercises that help strengthen bones. Swimming and bicycling are exercises that are considered non-weight bearing. During weight-bearing exercises, bones adapt to the impact of the weight and the pull of muscles by building more bone cells, increasing strength and density and decreasing the risk of fractures, osteopenia and osteoporosis.
• Enhanced immunity: Physical exertion increases the rate at which antibodies flow through the blood stream, resulting in better immunity against sickness. The increased temperature generated during moderate exercise makes it difficult for certain infectious organisms to survive.
Don’t overdo your exercise, or you won’t see all of these benefits, Harry says.
“Check with a physician who can advise you on the right activities and intensity level for your individual needs,” she says.
“For all the benefits of exercise, there are down sides if you go at it too vigorously for your physical condition. For instance, you can actually increase stress hormones, which can make you more vulnerable to illness, rather than building your immunity.”
Dr. Eudene Harry holds a bachelor’s in biology from New York University and completed both her medical degree and residency training at Thomas Jefferson University.
October 8, 2012 5:50 pm
Valuation. Estimated or determined value; synonymous with appraising.
October 8, 2012 5:50 pm
A: Buying directly at a legal foreclosure sale is risky. Among the disadvantages:
There is no financing. You need cash and lots of it.
The title needs to be checked before the purchase. If not, you risk assuming a seriously deficient title.
It may not be possible to inspect the property’s interior before the sale. So you have no idea of the property’s condition.
Foreclosures are routinely purchased “as is,” which means you cannot go back to the seller for repairs.
Also, estate and foreclosure sales are the only property sales that are exempt from some state disclosure laws. In both instances, the law protects the seller – usually the heir or financial institution – who has recently acquired the property through adverse circumstances and may have little or no direct information about it.
October 4, 2012 5:24 pm
I recently had a crash course in replacement windows courtesy of the Better Business Bureau and the folks from Connecticut-based Windowland, which was voted two years running to the Qualified Remodeler Top 500 program.
The BBB advises consumers to balance cost effectiveness with energy efficiency, inasmuch as more efficient windows, doors and skylights can result in significant long-term energy savings.
Start by looking for products that carry the Energy Performance Ratings label from the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC). The label can help determine how well a product will perform its key functions - keeping your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, while keeping out wind and resisting condensation.
If you are looking for a well-insulated room, look for the following information about the windows you are considering:
Check the window’s “U-Factor.” During the cold winter months, you’ll want to make sure your windows are trapping heat. U-Factor ratings generally fall between 0.20 and 1.20. The lower the U-value, the greater a window's resistance to heat flow and the better its insulating value.
Another rating to study is the Solar Heat Gain Coefficient (SHGC) - how much solar radiation is admitted through the window. SHGC is expressed as a number between 0 and 1, and the lower a window's solar heat gain coefficient, the less solar heat it transmits in the house.
Consider the Visible Transmittance (VT) is an optical property that indicates the amount of visible light transmitted through the window. VT is expressed as a number between 0 and 1. The higher the VT, the more that light gets transmitted.
And since heat loss and gain occur by Air Leakage (AL) through cracks in the window assembly. The lowest AL rating, means the least air will pass through cracks in the window assembly.
The higher the Condensation Resistance (CR) rating, the better a product is at resisting formation of condensation. CR is expressed as a number between 1 and 100.
For more information on the Energy Performance Ratings label, visit ï»¿http://www.nfrc.org.
October 4, 2012 5:24 pm
Kids have always worked. They’ve raked leaves, washed cars, and supervised children while Mom and Dad go out on dates. There’s only one problem, says Gregory Downing: While these typical kid jobs do result in a bit of pocket cash, they do very little to teach kids the all-important principles of entrepreneurial wealth building.
Directly trading your time for money is very limiting,” says Downing, author of Entrepreneur Unleashed: Wealth to Stand the Test of Time as well as an upcoming book on providing a financial legacy for kids. “This is especially true in a global economy characterized by skyrocketing prices and a shortage of ‘good’ jobs.”
The good news, says Downing, is that your kids can put an entrepreneurial twist on these classic childhood jobs—or at least take their earning potential to a higher level. Here are ten ideas to help you get started:
The Tutoring Source (and Babysitting Broker). School is back in session and, as always, there will be plenty of students who need a little extra help to thrive academically. Perhaps your child can provide that help. But rather than being just another service provider in a crowded market, why not suggest she be the front person? She might create a database of qualified locals and book appointments for her subcontractors. She can charge $10/hour for the services, and pay each of her contractors $8/hour. The same principle can work for babysitting.
This is great management experience and really illustrates the magic of passive income. On any given afternoon, she might be earning money from four or five or even more tutoring jobs. Meanwhile, she can be enjoying a fun extracurricular activity or perhaps earning even more money by holding a tutoring session of her own.
The Thriving Cider Stand. The lemonade stand is a classic childhood business. And just because summer is over doesn’t mean your kids have to close up shop. As the weekends get cooler and the leaves begin to change, they can simply switch over to, say, hot apple cider. No matter what they’re selling, the refreshment stand can teach many valuable lessons.
Kids can learn about profit by buying their own ingredients and doing their own marketing. They can shop around for better pricing, learn the benefits of buying in bulk, or negotiate with a local grocer for a better deal on repeat business. They can differentiate themselves by holding “buy two cups get one free” sales or throwing in a free cinnamon sugar cookie with each purchase.
The Dog Days of Entrepreneurship (Dog Walking). Taking Fido for a walk every day is a good way for kids to make a little extra money. (This is especially true in the cooler months as the days get shorter and the temperatures get cooler and people are unable—or just unwilling—to venture out in the evenings.) Add two or three more canine clients to the mix and it becomes a great learning experience in multitasking and client management.
Help your child set up a client database to keep track of client contact information, schedules, payments due and received, and any special requests or needs. Help her learn to gauge her own limits. Once she feels she’s at the outer edge of her ability to serve clients well, it’s time to stop accepting new clients or to bring on a partner or employee.
Taking this business to the next level can be easy and fun. Your child might offer every tenth walk free. Or, she might throw in a free dog washing with every new contract. Likewise, there are good opportunities to “spoke off” a whole new service: If she does a great job as a dog walker, she might offer her clients pet sitting services.
The Savvy House Sitter. Being given the keys to someone’s house, and perhaps the temporary custody of a beloved pet, is an honor. Explain to kids just how much trust clients are placing in them—and explain that if they go “above and beyond” they can shore up the relationship in a big way (not to mention generate enthusiastic referrals).
For sure, kids need to clean up any pet messes or spills, water the plants, check the mail, and take out the trash on trash day. That’s just basic good service. But they might also offer to tackle other projects for a small extra fee: scrubbing bathrooms, washing cars, mowing the yard, or organizing photos.
The Music Moneymaker. If you have a child who is musical, perhaps a skilled pianist or budding violinist, he might offer his talents at weddings, birthday parties, anniversary celebrations, and the like. Help him get his business off the ground by developing business cards and fliers or perhaps a simple website that includes a video or audio sample of his work. Above all, tell him to make sure he is never, ever less than 100 percent professional and accommodating—people’s special events are precious to them and most will not hire anyone without a glowing referral. Be referable!
Once your child has a handful of successful weddings and parties under his belt, he might move on to offering his talents at corporate functions. While this may seem a daunting prospect, it will give him a valuable look at how the business world operates. (Many business professionals will appreciate the courage and initiative he shows by asking and may very well give him a chance!)
The Birthday Party Business. Putting together a great party is a lot of work for busy parents, between buying supplies, sending out invites, and managing activities during the party itself. By offering to help execute all the exhausting details (from following up with non-RSVPers to dishing out the ice cream), your child can free up frenzied parents to just enjoy the big day with their child and 20 of his or her closest friends.
To get the business rolling, she might call neighbors and family friends who have small children and explain her services to them. (Yes, it’s daunting, but it will be a great lesson for your child in the value of picking up the phone.) She can offer a discount or free trial for the first customer or two and let referrals and word of mouth take it from there.
When your child is ready to take the business to the next level, she can offer to paint faces, make balloon animals, or do the pedicures and manicures at the sleepover. And as the business grows in popularity (or the parties grow in size), she can start putting together her own power team and learn to manage others.
The Gumball Machine Maestro. This is a great way to teach kids about passive income as well as help them polish other critical business skills. Setting up a gumball machine requires developing a nose for a great location and knowing the demands of a particular demographic. (Obviously, a gumball machine at a high-end restaurant won’t do as well as one placed in the lobby of a kid-friendly diner!) It also will require diligent maintenance: refilling the machine, keeping it clean, making sure the mechanism works, and best of all, collecting the money.
The hardest part may be convincing the owner of the property to let him put his gumball machine there. (It would be a tough task for most adults!) He may need to experiment with different tactics: Offer the store owner a flat fee? Offer her a percentage of the profits? Promise a cut to the owner’s favorite charity? He’ll quickly find his stride and start to develop serious negotiation skills that will serve him well in the future.
The Bead Business Wizard. Designing and creating bracelets and necklaces to sell teaches kids to manage inventory and pay attention to the trends so that their product can stay new and interesting. Are more bracelets selling than necklaces? Are bright colors selling better than pastels? Is there an unmet market niche selling jewelry to boys, and might your child be able to come up with some cool designs that appeal to them?
This might also be a chance to learn about business philanthropy. Help kids devise a campaign for selling the jewelry so that part of the proceeds goes to a charity of their choice. Perhaps the bracelet designs could coordinate with the colors of a particular charity. If the business really takes off, your kids might hire others to make the bracelets and expand their operation.
The Brainy Bake Sale or Smart Car Wash. These events are classic fundraisers but they tend to be indistinguishable from one another. Encourage your child to think differently about the one he oversees. Teach him about the value of pricing goods and services competitively: Just because he’s charging more doesn’t mean he’ll make good money—especially when a less expensive car wash event is happening in another part of town.
You might help your child conduct market research by visiting other area sales. See what others are doing in the way of advertising. Help him devise a marketing strategy (using social media where age-appropriate), draw up a flier, visit local businesses and ask to advertise, and so forth.
The Next-Level Landscaper. Your child might offer “free samples” of his work around the neighborhood in an effort to expand his business. He might work up a flier that offers a free service—for one leaf raking, weed pulling, or yard trimming (even better if you make the bonus something you’ve noticed a particular yard really needs).
Does he own a lot of equipment? He might rent it out when he’s on vacation or away at camp. He can arrange for a friend to keep up with yards while he’s away: This will keep customers happy and give the friend an opportunity to earn a little extra money on the side.
For more information, visit www.GregoryDowning.com.
October 4, 2012 5:24 pm
According to the according the National Association of REALTORS®, who notes that the sale of existing homes rose in August, it looks like fall may be a prime time for those looking to sell their houses before the end of 2012.
And as lovely as your home may be, there are always things you can do to take it to the next level, especially when it comes to curb appeal. Fitting in a few simple exterior home improvements can add value to your home before the weather turns cold, helping to snag those end-of-season real estate browsers. So what upgrades can you make that are easy, cost-effective and will make potential buyers “fall” in love with your home this season? Here are a few tips:
Front door décor – The front door leaves a lasting first impression of your house. While completely replacing the front door is an option, simply sanding and repainting your existing door can make a big difference and save on costs. For a little extra: Add a nice fall foliage wreath, or a doorknocker to accentuate your home’s entrance.
Sync hardware – Mismatched exterior hardware can make your home appear disheveled and create a non-cohesive aesthetic. By streamlining your house numbers, lock, door handle and exterior light fixtures with matching finishes, you can give your home a consistent, put-together look in less than a day without a large investment. For a little extra: Upgrade your lock with a high-end deadbolt with cover plate for added curb appeal and security.
Make-over your mailbox – Sitting at the end of the driveway, the mailbox is often forgotten about when it comes to your outdoor décor. Making sure your mailbox complements your look and feel is yet another way to catch the eye of a potential buyer. If you don’t live in an area with strict rules, spruce up your standard letter holder with trim, new paint or fancy finish (and steer clear of novelty sport or hobby mailboxes). For a little extra: Add a trellis behind the mailbox for extra landscaping and a pop of color.
Great greenery – A well maintained lawn can tie together the overall look of the outside of your house, presenting a clean and sleek front to accompany your home’s entrance. With fall being a transition time for many plants, adding mums or ornamental grasses in hearty autumn colors to complement changing leaves can bring depth to your yard. For a little extra: Add reusable window boxes and porch containers filled with gourds, cornstalks and leaves to create an autumn feel.
Light the way – A well-designed walkway leading to your front door can make your home seem even more warm and inviting. Make sure the path is well lit by installing outdoor lighting that not only provides illumination and value, but also security. For those without a walkway, installing a lamppost or lantern at the end of our driveway is a good option. For a little extra: Incorporate solar lights along your front door walkway for an easy and cost-effective makeover that is also energy efficient.
Preparing your home for sale, especially as the busy summer season is ending, can seem stressful, but with a few quick, easy and cost-effective improvements you can increase your home’s curb appeal no matter the season.