(BPT) - Sprucing up your home’s curb appeal brings new energy and life, not only to your property, but also to the entire neighborhood. It creates a welcoming and appealing environment, while also making it a better candidate for resale, if that’s in your near future.
(BPT) - Everyone knows spring and summer are the best months in which to sell a home. If your house has lingered on the market, you may be eager to find ways to freshen its appeal for potential buyers. Perhaps you’re even ready to go big and invest in upgrades that will improve the home’s value, curb appeal and interior allure so much that potential buyers just won’t be able to walk away from it.
(BPT) - Your home is a place to kick off your shoes, relax and enjoy precious time with friends and family. Nothing quite tops the feeling you get when you walk through your foyer, close the door behind you and forget the day’s troubles. But as families expand, promotions require unexpected relocations or a coveted residence down the street goes up for sale, you might find yourself looking for a new oasis to call home.
(BPT) - Let’s face it – moving is hard. Along with the stress of leaving a familiar place and adapting to new surroundings, moving means packing, loading, transporting, unloading and unpacking everything you own – as well as everything you forgot you owned.
(BPT) - Builders are back in business, and new-home construction is up in areas across the country. So is remodeling, as plenty of Americans choose to stay put and upgrade their current homes rather than tackle the challenge of buying and moving into something new.
(BPT) - For years, the real estate market has been a buyer’s world, with ample inventory, fewer qualified buyers, and highly motivated (read: desperate) sellers. This spring, some signs are pointing to a shift back toward a seller’s market. If you’re shopping for a home this spring and summer, chances are you’ll face increased competition from other buyers.
(BPT) - One in five Americans suffer from allergies, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). As the 2013 allergy season begins, experts warn that it may be one of the worst in recent years, with people experiencing an unusually strong reaction due to increased tree pollen.
(BPT) - For most Americans your home is the biggest ticket item you will ever purchase. It’s no wonder that people can take months, and sometimes even years, to find the perfect home. When you walk into a house that’s on the market, many times the homeowner or real estate agent has “staged” it to ensure that you focus on the home’s greatest assets and overlook its flaws. Your job is to look past all that to see if this house is right for you.
(BPT) - Want to sell your property quickly? Looking for your dream house? Are you hoping to get the best deal possible during the complex process of buying or selling a home? With so much money – and often, emotion – at stake, going it alone is generally not the best way to reach your goals. The secret for getting exactly what you want: Work with a savvy real estate agent.
(BPT) - Appearances count, especially when you’re trying to sell a home. Even though the housing industry experts predict this spring will be a seller’s market, it’s important to grab every advantage when you’re trying to sell your home. Staging – decorating a house to appeal to the broadest possible range of buyers – can make the difference between a quick sale or a long, painful linger on the market.
(BPT) - Thanks to foreclosures and short sales, home buyers are snatching up great houses at reduced prices and remodeling to create stylish modern homes. Lucky for those buyers, many of today’s top trends are relatively easy to recreate, and will add re-sale value to their homes.
(BPT) - As existing home sales continue to climb and housing prices increase, remodeling is also on the rise, according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. Owners of older homes are investing more in home improvement projects that add beauty and value, especially with environmentally friendly products.
(BPT) - A fresh coat of paint can give any room an instant lift, making it a great solution for converting a space from drab to fab.
(BPT) - You’ve made the decision to sell your home – now you want to position yourself for a quick and successful sale. What’s the most important thing you can do to entice buyers?
(BPT) - Forget wondering who’s the fairest; when it comes to choosing home improvements that make your home look good – from the curb and to potential buyers – it may make more sense to ask “Who’s the greenest of them all.” Sustainable home improvements not only help reduce utility costs and boost owner satisfaction with their homes, they also make a house more appealing to potential buyers.
(BPT) - When considering exterior home improvements during spring and summer, many homeowners go for updates such as the replacement of siding or windows. These projects can make the home look great while boosting energy efficiency, but no matter how much homeowners invest in siding or windows, it will only look as good as the trim used to complete the job.
(BPT) - A new report reveals houses are selling faster and for more money, yet another indicator of a rebounding housing market. According to the National Association of Realtors, full-year sales of previously owned homes increased by 9 percent in 2012 over the previous year. Plus, home prices jumped up 12.3 percent, the biggest percentage gain since January 2005.
(BPT) - Stairs are no longer just a way to get from one floor to another. Realizing that staircases are quite often major focal points in their homes, homeowners are showing love to this once underappreciated space with a wide variety of creative and easy updates.
(BPT) - Milder temperatures and longer days mean winter is fast becoming a distant memory. However, environmentally conscious homeowners know that the arrival of warmer weather also means the likelihood of increased air-conditioner use and higher energy bills.
(BPT) - If you’ve been thinking about selling your home, there’s no time like the present. House hunters come out of the woodwork in warm weather months and “for sale” signs pop up everywhere. Your job is to set your home apart from all the others. In most areas around the country, it’s a buyers’ market. So how do you get a leg-up on the competition?
(BPT) - The real estate market is starting to show signs of improvement, which is welcome news for people wanting to sell their homes. This positive momentum alone isn’t enough to close a deal, though – a homeowner must make their properties appealing to potential buyers so they stand out from the competition. The good news is it’s easy to create an appealing atmosphere with a few staging tips and tricks from the experts.
Texture is quickly becoming the new “color” in home decorating, and nothing shows off this trend better than hand-scraped hardwood floors. This floor style has a timeless appeal that speaks to the revered tradition of early American craftsmen who used hand tools to smooth rough-hewn planks into the rustic floors we still admire today.
(BPT) - The busy home remodeling season is a great time for homeowners to focus on increasing curb appeal. The percentage of homeowners who feel now is a good time to spend money on home improvement has doubled since 2009, according to a recent survey among Better Homes and Gardens readers. Considering two of the top four features consumers have on their wish lists for their next home are low maintenance exteriors and a private backyard, high-performance products that come in a variety of colors, textures and designs are expected to be in high demand this year.
(BPT) - As the weather gets warmer, everything outside becomes fresh and new – so why not make your home as nice inside as the weather is outside? In just a weekend, you can complete a few quick, easy projects that will make a big difference in your space. Get inspired to give your home a spring spruce-up with these handy tips.
(BPT) - Wedding day traditions vary ever so slightly from decade to decade based on music, fashion and cultural change. However, today’s newlyweds have a distinct issue that their parents probably didn’t face a quarter century ago – which sectional couch stays, and which one goes?
(BPT) - Key indicators point to conditions for a seller’s real estate market this spring. With fewer homes on the market, low interest rates, rising home prices and lower unemployment rates, there will be increased competition for buyers and faster sales for homeowners looking to move. With some planning and understanding of the market, it’s possible for both groups to make the most of this evolving marketplace.
(BPT) - Who doesn’t like to make a good impression? Whether it’s a first date, meeting the future in-laws for the first time or interviewing for a job, making a good first impression can pave the way for some of life’s happiest experiences. That’s especially true for home-buyers, whose ability to secure their dream home depends on first impressing a mortgage lender.
(BPT) - When it comes to fashion faux pas, the only thing worse than clashing patterns is overly matching every item. Mixing and matching creates exciting contrast – and not just when you dress yourself, but also when you “dress up” your home. The trend toward mixing colors and materials has made its way outdoors, with enterprising homeowners getting creative with their decks.
(BPT) - No matter how value conscious a homeowner may be, few people ever make a home improvement simply to increase their house’s resale value. People also undertake home improvements to enhance their enjoyment of their home – or to fix a problem, which, in its own way, is good for the soul, too.
(BPT) - Ready to buy your first home, or move up to a larger home for your expanding family?
(BPT) - Homeowners only get one chance to make a first impression. That’s one chance to impress potential buyers, family, friends and neighbors with the first thing they see: your home’s exterior.
(BPT) - When a home smells good, it makes a favorable impression on visitors. This is exactly what home sellers want when they put their house on the market.
(BPT) - Improved value, curb appeal and livability are the benchmarks for any smart home improvement. But some upgrades you do for the sheer joy of it. The best home improvements deliver all those smart qualities and speak to your heart at the same time.
(StatePoint) If you’re considering buying a home, some experts think you should get a move on it. Interest rates are at 65-year record lows and national home prices have finally hit bottom and are on the rise. Despite what you may be hearing, loans are available for those with good credit histories, stable income and sufficient savings.
(BPT) - Consumer complaints and lawsuits regarding home improvements are on the rise according to Ripoff Reports; a homeowner that does not do their homework before embarking on a project could find themselves with poor workmanship, inferior products, health and safety issues or even legal problems.
(BPT) - Did you know spring is the best time to sell your home? And now that the housing market is bouncing back, there’s never been a better time to do it. But even if you’re planning to stay put for the long haul, chances are there are some much-needed touch-ups you could be doing to keep your home in tip-top shape. And you don’t have to break your back, or the bank, to do it. In fact, adding a new coat of paint is a quick, affordable, and possibly the most impactful, way to get your project done.
(BPT) - The past few years have not been kind to lawns and gardens across the country. The summer of 2012 brought severe drought to much of the Midwest and a good portion of the country continues to experience drought conditions. Homeowners have two choices in dealing with drought: try to water enough to keep grass and plants alive and looking good, or implement long-term changes to make yards more resistant to extremely dry and hot spells.
(BPT) - Even during a challenging economy, the outdoor living trend remains popular as homeowners seek to add lasting value and functional living space under the sky and stars. Whether it’s a do-it-yourself patio or a professionally installed outdoor kitchen, the beauty, usefulness, value and ease of maintenance in outdoor living space is limitless.
(NewsUSA) - America's elderly are one of the fastest-growing segments of the population. As a group, senior citizens over age 85 are expected to double between now and 2030. While people are wondering what Social Security will look like in the coming years, senior housing is another rising concern.
(BPT) - Bundling insurance products with one company – and scoring cheaper premiums as a reward – isn’t a new concept. But, according to a recent study by J.D. Power and Associates, not only is bundling still popular among consumers, it also results in higher customer satisfaction.
(BPT) - What your home is worth to you is one thing; what it’s worth to someone else may be totally different. If you want to boost the value of your home for yourself and in the eyes of others, one of the best ways to do that in today’s real estate market is to make green home improvements.
(StatePoint) You probably already know how important homeowners or renters insurance is to protecting yourself financially from natural disaster. But did you know that most standard insurance doesn’t cover flood damage -- the most common and costliest natural disaster?
And all it takes is a few inches of water to cause major damage to your home and its contents.
“Even if you haven’t experienced flooding before, your home can be very vulnerable to flooding,” warns Jeanne Salvatore, consumer spokesperson for the Insurance Information Institute. “Floods can happen almost anywhere at any time, not just coastal areas in hurricane season.”
In fact, from November to April every year, the western states are particularly susceptible to flooding, as wildfires can cause fire-scorched land to become mudflows under heavy rain. So if you think you don’t need to worry about flooding, think again. According to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), a federal program that provides property owners protection against flooding, over 20 percent of NFIP claims are filed by people outside of mapped high-risk areas.
“The risk of flooding is real for nearly everyone and it can happen in a flash. Not insuring yourself is basically placing a bad high-stakes bet,” Salvatore says.
By protecting yourself now, you can avoid heartache down the line. Here are some tips to help you navigate the potentially confusing waters of flood insurance:
• Don’t wait for catastrophe to strike so you can receive federal disaster assistance, which is usually a loan that must be paid back with interest. Insurance is more cost-effective and can help you get back on your feet more quickly.
• There’s usually a 30-day waiting period before flood policies take effect. So don’t wait until the next foreboding weather report to get insured.
• Flood insurance, which is recommended to almost everyone, is available through the NFIP to homeowners, renters, condo owners and renters, and commercial owners and renters. While rates are set and do not differ from company to company or agent to agent, opting for an experienced agent means you will get your questions answered properly. Visit www.floodsmart.gov or call 888-223-9499 to assess your current risk for flooding and to locate an agent serving your area.
• Insurance is just the first step toward protecting yourself. There are several other things you can do to minimize losses in your home and ensure your family's safety, such as planning and practicing a flood evacuation route with your family and creating a safety kit with drinking water, canned food, first aid, blankets a radio and a flashlight. Ask your insurance agent for more preparation tips or visit www.Ready.gov.
Remember, even though there is a heightened risk of flooding in western states between November and April, flooding can happen anytime, anywhere. Protect yourself and your finances by preparing now.
(BPT) - Sure, kitchen and bath renovations get all the glamour and credit for offering high returns on your investment when it’s time to sell your home. But a host of other, often-overlooked improvements can also offer great ROI – while completely changing the look of your home at a fraction of the cost of bigger projects.
(BPT) - If April showers bring May flowers, what do winter’s snowflakes bring? Perhaps it’s an excuse to curl up with your favorite magazines and imagine the kitchen makeover of your dreams. When the cold winter months keep you indoors, use the time to take care of things that will make your remodeling plans much easier to tackle in the spring.
(BPT) - If there’s one room in the house that cries out for fresh air, it’s the kitchen. And if there’s a second room that can benefit from Mother Nature’s sweet breath, it’s the bathroom. When humidity and odors build up in a room, a host of disagreeable results arises, from mold and mildew to dank, unpleasant air.
(BPT) - Across the country, cypress siding is becoming increasingly popular among homeowners who are looking to add value, durability, and a lifetime of good looks to their homes.
(BPT) - Do you know what’s on your credit report? Do you know your credit scores? If you don’t, you’re not alone, but now is a good time to better understand how they work before you go apply for that loan. By waiting to check your report and scores until you want to buy a car or house, you may discover too late your financial history forces you into strict loan terms with high interest rates, or, worse, disqualify you from getting any loan at all. How can you avoid this situation?
(BPT) - When you are out shoveling snow and scraping ice off the car’s windshield, winter can seem like an eternity. Yet when it comes to your credit profile, house-hunting and the spring real estate season is just around the corner.
(BPT) - You might not be aware that your home may pose some hidden risks for you and your family. But you don't need a fat budget to give your home a safer and healthier boost. After all, there is nothing more important than keeping your family safe.
(BPT) - If you’re like many homeowners, you consider the patio an extension of your home. So it’s fair to ask: Would you be just as comfortable nestled in with your favorite book or preparing a meal in your outdoor space as you would in your living room or your kitchen? As you contemplate ways to improve your outdoor area, think about projects that can both extend the hours you spend outside and make the time you spend there more relaxing.