July 11, 2012 5:26 pm
Gunning Real Estate Team
1110 North Broad Street Lansdale, PA 19446
Gunning Daily News
July 11, 2012 5:26 pm
Master plan. Long-range, comprehensive guide for the physical growth or development of a community.
July 11, 2012 5:26 pm
A: This is a tough decision, but the answer will depend on your personal situation, as well as the condition of the local housing market.
If you put your home on the market first, you may have to scramble to find another one before settlement, which could cause you to buy a home that does not meet all your requirements. If you cannot find another home, you may need to move twice, temporarily staying with relatives or in a hotel.
On the other hand, if you make an offer to buy first, you may be tempted to sell your existing home quickly, even at a lower price.
The advantage of buying first is you can shop carefully for the right home and feel comfortable with your decision before putting the existing home on the market.
On the flip side, the advantage of selling your existing home first is that it maximizes your negotiating position because you are under no pressure to sell quickly. It also eliminates the need to carry two mortgages at once.
Talk with your agent for advice. Discuss the pros and of each and whether certain contingencies written into the contract can ease some of the pressures.
Dreaming of a Career in the Movies? Hollywood Director Offers Tips for Hopeful Writers, Actors, Cameramen
July 10, 2012 5:44 pm
From the box-office smash “The Avengers” to the summer hit “Madagascar 3” reigniting the 3-D craze, movie lovers are more enthralled than ever with film magic, and many fantasize about becoming a part of it. Their annual Westward migration from every film and acting and writing school in the country is as active as ever as they seek their chance to wield the Hollywood wand.
In such a competitive and crowded circus tent, how can a person ensure they catch that elusive trapeze?
Here are five tips from film director Guy Magar, picked up over 30 years making movies and TV shows and teaching through Action/Cut Filmmaking Seminars, the educational course he founded. Magar is also the author of the new Hollywood memoir and love story, Kiss Me Quick Before I Shoot, about his years in Hollywood which is a must-read for all who love movies.
• Find out if you really love it. “The movie business demands passion and dedication; the work is difficult and exhausting, the journey fraught with disappointments and financial stress,” he says. “So you better find out if this is truly something you want and you’re ready to sacrifice whatever it takes.” The best place to do that is at a film school or a university filmmaking program. “This is where I fell in love with the cinema and forged my commitment to the craft,” he says.
• Find out if you’re any good at it. When you discover that less than 5 percent of the 125,000 actors in the Screen Actors Guild ever make a livable wage in any one year, the reality check about how competitive this business is can be quite intimidating, Magar says. So it’s not enough to love it – you have to have an aptitude for the craft if you want a chance at bat. “You better be one of the very best directors or writers or cameramen or actors wherever you’re studying and developing your work, so you can gain the self-confidence to throw your talent in a very crowded ring,” he says.
• Get your showreel ready! No one is going to hire you unless they can see what you can do. For a director, you better have an award-winning “wow” short. If you’re a writer, have some dazzling, unique screenplays. Actors need a great reel with diverse scenes showing range from comedy to drama. Cameraman? You need a reel that sizzles with cinematic visuals. Don’t come to Los Angeles without a reel. It shows who you are, what you can do — and why you’re worth paying to do it.
• Networking! Networking! Networking! “The movie business is first and foremost a people business,” Magar says. “Regardless of your talent, you better be good at schmoozing and an extrovert at heart.” It’s all about who you know, who can introduce you to whom, who likes you, who is willing to help you move forward, he says. If you’re a great networker, you have a better chance at a career than if you’re talented with no social skills. Introverts do not apply!
• Enjoy your journey or the dream will be a nightmare. Don’t put off having a life until you “get there,” he says. The big secret is to enjoy the journey and to have a life in the industry, regardless of the amount of work and accolades that may or may not come your way. You must commit to making a fulfilling life for yourself if you’re to find happiness in Tinseltown. Family, friends and a soulmate are as important and fulfilling as career gains. “They will sustain you in much deeper emotional ways than winning a spot on a softer toilet paper commercial,” he says.
Magar says his career in Hollywood was an exciting, gratifying one. “Between the words ‘action’ and ‘cut’, I get to make my magic … my visual storytelling,” he says. “I fell in love with making movies and have continued loving it for more than 100 production credits in my career.”
“If you share that passion to make film, have a terrific sense of humor to balance the obstacles, and can manage the five tips above, then welcome to Hollywood. Break a leg!”
Film and TV director/writer/producer Guy Magar has worked for more than 30 years in the motion picture industry. He recently published his Hollywood memoir, “Kiss Me Quick Before I Shoot: A Filmmaker’s Journey into the Lights of Hollywood and True Love.”
July 10, 2012 5:44 pm
Was your home damaged by a recent storm? Are you unsure of what steps to take next? Before you start stomping those puddles in your basement, review the following steps to help ease the process of dealing with your damages, and insurance.
Document Damage. The first step should be to carefully document all damage with photographs. These will be necessary to prove the extent of the damage, both to home insurance adjustors and the IRS if the homeowner is eligible for tax deductions as a result of uninsured losses.
Contact Insurance. At the same time, homeowners should contact their homeowners insurance company to make sure they understand what is covered and what is not. For example damage caused to your home by a falling tree is usually covered. However many policies do not cover the removal of a tree that fell into your yard but didn’t damage your home.
Are You Covered? Flood coverage is another area that is often misunderstood. Most standard flood insurance only covers damage caused by rising waters from a river, creek, lake or pond. It doesn’t cover such things as water backups caused by overflowing drain pipes, or when the drain in a basement stairwell gets clogged with debris, causing water to fill the stairwell and come in under the basement door.
“That once happened to me during a big storm,” says AHF President Bruce Hahn. “After I learned that the extensive damage to our finished basement was not covered by our insurance policy, I reconsidered how much I could afford to spend out of my own pocket to repair the damage.” Homeowners shouldn’t commit to expensive repairs until they learn what is covered and what isn’t, and the terms of the coverage of things that are.
Bring in a Professional. Finding a qualified contractor after a major event is another challenge. In the real world of supply and demand, reliable contractors often quickly get booked well into the future, and their rates often go up as well. At the same time, con men and amateurs start coming out of the woodwork. An amateur may be a decent carpenter, but that doesn’t mean he’s a good electrician, plumber, or roofer. The risk to homeowners of being ripped off by a dishonest contractor or receiving shoddy work that might not pass muster with the building inspector increases dramatically.
Homeowners should take the same steps to protect themselves that they would if they were planning a major home remodeling project. Check the contractor’s credentials carefully. Are they licensed and insured for workers compensation, property and personal liability? If in doubt, ask to see their insurance certificate. Do they belong to the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, the National Association of Home Builders Remodelers Council, and/or any of the more specific trade associations in the remodeling sector? That's not a guarantee, but it is a sign of commitment to their trade and to professionalism. Ask for recent references on similar jobs (employee and subcontractor turnover is often fairly high, so recent jobs is the indicator of their current capability). Check their record with the Better Business Bureau while you're at it.
Make sure you get a comprehensive bid. It should detail as many of the specifications as possible. Try to get bids from three or more contractors, which is sometimes difficult to do when demand is high. If one of the bids is unusually low, make sure that they have included everything.
If the bids are higher than expected and too much for you to afford, you might be surprised how much money you can save if you’re at least semi-handy and can do some of the work yourself. Things that come up near the end of the job, such as painting, trim carpentry, etc. are good bets since the other parts aren't dependent on their completion. Some finish work can even be done after the home inspector’s final approval of the work. But make sure you're not getting into something you don't have time to do.
One of the most important suggestions is to use a comprehensive written contract. It will greatly reduce the likelihood of disputes with your contractor. Make sure the contract covers the description of the project, timetable, payment schedule, etc., and has general provisions defining the responsibility of the contractor and the subcontractors, defects and correction, change order procedures, warranties, right to termination, and alternative dispute settlement mechanisms (since many of the costs of lawsuits are for legal fees, homeowners and contractors will almost always be better off with mediation, conciliation, and/or binding arbitration clauses should a disagreement arise). Some contractors use their own standard contract forms, but read the provisions carefully before signing them. If you feel some of the provisions in their contract are unreasonable, ask them to make reasonable modifications.
Never hire a contractor by signing a brief proposal or worse yet, on a handshake. You can also hire an attorney to draw up a contract that includes the aforementioned provisions to protect you. Another alternative is to use the American Homeowners Foundation’s standard six page remodeling and repair contract, which is available on the AHF website. It contains these protections and fill in the blank areas for the specifics of your job.
If you take all the right steps, you can make the best of a bad situation. If you don’t, you’ll be asking for headaches and trouble.
July 10, 2012 5:44 pm
Buying a car is complicated, and figuring out your loan—and what you can afford—is a crucial step. Below is some advice on calculating potential auto loan payments that will keep consumers on budget by identifying the car, and monthly loan payment, they can actually afford.
It's a whole new post-recession lending era for the hundred million+ Americans that now fall into the below-prime credit category; especially for those that want to jump into the summer new-car buying season, when automakers offer incentives to clear 2012 models off the lot. Credit lines are opening up, interest rates for less-than-prime buyers are lowering and loan terms are getting longer, making monthly payments more manageable.
"Buying a new vehicle, and sticking to on-time monthly payments, is one of the top weapons in building back a credit score, but correctly figuring out that payment can be challenging," says CarFinance.com president and CEO Jim Landy.
Top Tips for Calculating Loan Payments
July 10, 2012 5:44 pm
Summer vacations may be fun, but they can be costly if you fail to prepare your home and property adequately. Burglars see vacations as an opportunity to target empty homes, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.).
There are more than 2.15 million burglaries each year, over 65 percent of which are residential break-ins. The FBI notes that the summer months of July and August have the highest rates of burglaries, usually about a 10 percent increase over other times of the year.
"Once in your home, a burglar can easily steal computer equipment, televisions, CD and DVD players, as well as jewelry and other valuable items," says Jeanne M. Salvatore, senior vice president and consumer spokesperson, I.I.I. "In fact, the average dollar loss per burglary is over $1,700."
However, criminals tend to be opportunists, notes Salvatore. If you make your home more difficult to break into, the crook will likely target another home. Research shows that if it takes more than four or five minutes to break into a home, the burglar will go elsewhere.
In addition to having the right insurance coverage, the I.I.I. offers these five preventive measures to keep your home safe:
As you prepare to leave on vacation follow these additional steps:
Standard homeowners insurance policies provide coverage for theft of personal possessions and damage to the home caused by the break-in. With replacement cost coverage, which is only about 10 percent more than actual cash value coverage, damaged property is replaced without deducting for depreciation.
July 10, 2012 5:44 pm
Master Deed. Document that converts a parcel of land into a condominium subdivision.
July 10, 2012 5:44 pm
A: According to the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, sometimes it’s not the responses you get that are important, but what you don’t get. So you should trust your instincts and pay attention to the information that is obviously missing. Nevertheless, here are some questions NARI suggest you ask before signing that remodeling contract:
• How long have you been in business?
• What is your approach to a project such as this?
• Who will be working on the project? Are they employees or subcontractors?
• Who will be assigned as project supervisor for the job?
• Does your company carry workers’ compensation and liability insurance?
• How many projects like mine have you completed in the past year?
• May I have a list of references from those projects?
• Are you a member of a national trade association?
• Have you or your employees been certified in remodeling or had any special training or education?
It also wouldn’t hurt to inquire about how trash removal and clean up will be handled and the times workers will begin and end work – this is not only for your convenience but also for your neighbors, who have to endure the noise and fewer parking spaces that may result from your project.
July 9, 2012 5:30 pm
(ARA) - The weather's warming up, and people everywhere are gearing up for the summer season. For many, with it comes the opportunity to enjoy outdoor parties and share great meals with friends and family.
Preparing your home for summer entertaining doesn't need to be a lot of work; in fact, with a few quick tips, it can be downright easy. To make your summer soirees a breeze, read on and get ready to greet your guests.
Start prepping for summer fun with these simple tips:
Light it Right. The sun keeps the sky lit up fairly late throughout the summer, but it's important to provide lighting once dark sets in. Make sure that entry lights are working and your driveway is well lit. Try adding small, solar-powered lights along the footpaths. For additional lighting, colored lanterns or Tiki torches add decorative flair to decks and patios, perfect for setting the mood.
Clean Inside, Too. Even though summer festivities may be on the patio, it's important to keep your home's interior guest-ready too. Encourage everyone in the family to keep clutter confined, and take a few minutes each week to tidy up. Lightly scented candles, potpourri and even an open window can make a world of difference in keeping things fresh and summery. Most importantly, make sure any bathrooms guests might use are tidy and stocked with hand soap and paper products.
Accessorize! Both indoors and out, touches of cheerful summer decor are easy to achieve with accessories. Colorful glass hurricane lamps and boldly printed outdoor furniture cushions feel fun and summery, while the simple addition of bright pillows, light cotton throws and linen drapes bring a beachy feel to your home's interior. Keep them in place throughout the season and you'll have the perfect backdrop for hosting a summer party.
Freshen the Menu. Summer's bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables makes picking a menu easy. Choose your in-season favorites at the local farmers market - from tomatoes to corn on the cob - which makes a simple and delicious evening meal. Sweet nectarines and blueberries are always a guaranteed hit, so make sure they're easily for family and guests to grab on the go. And, whether it's the festive party cocktail, more of that delicious spread, or even a touch more dessert, an excellent hostess always offers seconds.
Keep your house ready to welcome guests at all times and you'll be making the most of the season. Not sure what to serve? Fun, tropical drinks - that can be modified for the kids to enjoy, too - are always popular. When the temperature heats up, light bites - like summer salads - are refreshing.
July 9, 2012 5:30 pm
Marketable title. Good and clear title that is free from reasonable doubt as to who the owner is.