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You don’t want to go too cheap. But affordable options are out there.

About to remodel that old kitchen? Unless you’re cool with treating the hardest working room in your house like a museum exhibit, resist the temptation to buy the cheapest or shiniest materials available and go for durable options that can stand up to regular abuse.

Trust us: Although it may be tough to leave that raised, tempered glass bar top (ooo!) in the showroom, repairing its first (and second, and third) chip will get old. Very fast.

Picking the right materials is easy if you do your homework. “There are amazing products out there,” says Jeffrey Holloway, a certified kitchen designer and owner of Holloway Home Improvement Center in Marmora, N.J.

“You’re looking at

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Save your cash for more important things, like, you know, your mortgage.

You can’t swing a tool belt without hitting a website or TV network offering tips on taking care of your digs. Save money by watering your lawn at night! No, water it in the morning! No, dig it up and replace it with a drought-hardy meadow!

Throw in the info you pick up from well-meaning friends and there’s a sea of home care truisms out there, some of which can sink your budget.

Myth 1: Stone Countertops Are Indestructible

Fact: Even rock can be damaged.

Marble, quartz, travertine, soapstone, and limestone can all be stained. Regular household cleaners can dull their surfaces over time. And marble is maddeningly fragile — it’s the prima donna of stone.

It’s easy to

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A shortage of homes for sale and rising home prices are making it challenging for first-time buyers, in particular, this spring. For those who want to land a home, real estate professionals are urging them to move fast.  

The price of an existing home in March was about $250,000, up nearly 6 percent from a year ago, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. Homes are selling faster too, often under contract in about a month. 

“The starter house is nearly missing in some markets,” says Jessica Lautz, NAR’s director of survey research and communication. 

In Colorado Springs, Colo., real estate pro Jay Gupta says the imbalance between the supply of homes and demand is “unprecedented” and many buyers are being priced out of some areas.

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Avoid these rookie mistakes to keep everything beautiful.

You’ve done it. You own a house with a yard. The great outdoors. Amber waves of grain. OK, maybe not grain, and ideally you want it green, not amber.

But now that you have it, how do you keep from screwing it up? By avoiding a few common gaffes that landscaping experts say new homeowners make waaay too often.

“They end up buying the wrong fertilizer, they have no clue what weed killer is, they kill their entire lawn, they kill their bushes — and then they call me,” says Dean Granat, who runs D&D Landscape & Sprinkler Services Inc. in Buffalo Grove, Ill. 

Here’s what the pros say newbie homeowners often do wrong with their lawns and yards:

#1 Not Following Product Instructions

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Your guide to hiring the listing agent who can set you up for success.

Your home is where you’ve lived and loved, where you’ve laughed and cried, where you’ve huddled and snuggled. You’re the pea, your home is the pod. And you’ve been through a lot together.

Now that it’s time to put it on the market, you’re likely experiencing some sadness, plus plenty of anxiety. Because really: How often does your future depend on selling your past? If you’re a little overwhelmed, we don’t blame you.

But there’s also good news: You don’t have to go it alone. 

A listing agent has your back when it comes to the financials, like setting a listing price and marketing, staging, and making repairs to your house. He or she can also help you navigate more personal

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Battle bugs before they bite (or sting!) you — and check the attic for problems.

#1 Tell Insects to Bug Off

Early spring warmth awakens insects, so start to protect your home now. Seal openings in eaves, decks, and other structures to keep out carpenter bees.

Nix mosquitoes by eliminating standing water or treating it with larvicide. Call a pro to destroy wasp and yellow jacket nests, unless you’re experienced enough to engage in a bee battle.

#2 Prep Tools for Lawn Care

Ladies and gentlemen, start your mowers. April’s the month to get this vital piece of equipment ready to roll. An unmaintained machine can cost money, slow you down, and leave your lawn vulnerable to disease. So, before you pull the starter rope:  

Replace spark plugs

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Admit it: It’s easy to get a little “Judge Judy” inside someone else’s home. We notice gunk on the floor, cobwebs in the corners, and dust on the overhead fan. But guess what? Unless you’re Adrian Monk, you’ve probably got some gunky places that your friends notice, but you don’t. (Sad trombone.)

This is why we tracked down a domestic guru to help us with this article. No matter how hard it is to find dirt hideaways on your own, a little expert advice can make it alllll OK. Jan M. Dougherty, author of “The Lost Art of House Cleaning: A Clean House Is a Happy Home,” revealed the seven spots you’re likely to miss — and the best ways to make them presentable, stat:

#1 Light Fixtures

Look up. Your light fixtures are loaded with dust and dead

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