Advice

Found 136 blog entries about Advice.

Sometimes trying to save will actually cost you more. Here’s when that happens.

You've got all the loyalty apps (free burrito after you buy 10!), you shopped around for the lowest rate on your mortgage, and you never go to the grocery store when you're hungry. You're frugal, and the rising amount in your savings account is a testament to that.

Since saving cash is never a bad thing, you've got nothing to worry about, right?

Unless, of course, you venture so far past frugality you enter the world of cheap. And cheap homeowners always end up paying more in the end when quick fixes and half-solved issues become big, pricey problems. 

Here are six things homeowners do when they're trying to be frugal, but instead they're really being cheap

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If your contractor has fouled up your home improvement job, delivered poor work or disappeared altogether, you have recourse.

We all know that remodeling can be a hassle. But occasionally a construction project turns into a total disaster and you end up at odds with your contractor -- even though you thoroughly vetted the contractor and the remodeling contract before signing. Shoddy workmanship, unexplained delays, and amenities that never get installed can lead to frustration and anger.

Don’t get mad; get motivated to defend yourself. Here’s how.

Fire the Contractor

Firing your contractor may seem obvious, but it's not an easy step when things go seriously wrong. Your contractor could challenge the firing in court as a breach of contract: You

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Like buying a fridge or mattress when the savings are the biggest.

The lazy days of summer officially kick off Memorial Day weekend.

Giving your home a little extra love this month can save you time and money.

#1 Chill With a New Fridge

Is yours leaking water, cooling less efficiently, or just too limited on storage space? May is the best month to buy a new refrigerator.

New models hit the sales floor in the summer, and stores need to clear out the old ones to make room. Need a stove instead? Best to wait until fall for other kitchen appliances. That's when they go on sale.

#2 Punch Up Exterior Paint

Winter's freezing temps and wet weather can be tough on your home's exterior, making it look a little drab come May. But that's more of

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Painting your home is a wise investment in time (if you DIY) and money. Here’s how much it’ll cost you.

There's nothing like a fresh coat of paint to boost curb appeal and make an entire home feel fresh. But exactly how much does it cost to paint a house? 

Here's everything you need to know about the costs of painting your home’s exterior and interior.

Average Cost to Paint a House

House-painting costs can vary significantly depending on your home's square footage, where you live, and who is crunching the numbers.

But the pros at the trade organization Painting and Decorating Contractors of America (PDCA) can make a pretty good estimate. These are their ballpark figures for the average cost to paint a house, including labor and materials.

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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

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And how I survived when my loan fell through before closing

Name: Andrea Lawson, 36

City: Madison, Wis.

Year of Home Purchase: 2014

Sale Price: $222,500

Home style: 2006 condo

Profession: Social worker

When Andrea Lawson got a dream job in a new city, she knew exactly where she wanted to live: an urban, walkable neighborhood near her new job in downtown Madison. Though she was hesitant to commit to buying a home before knowing for sure the job and city were the right fit for her, rental prices made buying the smarter financial move.

In just a two-day trip to Madison, she found a place she liked, made an offer, and had it accepted by the seller. All was great until her loan fell through prior to closing.

Before

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A messy environment is actually good for your psyche.

Breaking news: Humans like stuff. Stuff they have. Stuff they like. Stuff they need.

But stuff just gets everywhere. Hence the trendiness of uber-organized spaces, hyper-cleanliness, and Marie Kondo-like thank-your-stuff-for-its-service-then-toss-it attitudes. But living in that state of constant tidying is exhausting.

Enough.

It is not a moral failing to have a slightly cluttered home.

And you know what? Life can be better with slightly more stuff. Here are seven reasons why:

#1 A Messy Environment Is a More Creative One

Being too tidy will stifle your imagination. Science says so.

There’s a lot of research showing messy surroundings encourage you to break the rules of

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Refacing kitchen cabinets might be “superficial,” but the results and savings are dramatic.

Refacing your kitchen cabinets includes covering the exposed frames with a thin veneer of real wood or plastic laminate.

Doors and drawer fronts are replaced to match or complement the new veneer. New hinges, knobs, pulls, and molding complete the transformation.

What are the Pros and Cons?

Kitchen cabinet refacing pros:

  • Costs about half as much as replacing cabinets.
  • Takes less time (a week or less!) and money.
  • It’s less hassle than tearing out cabinets.
  • You can still use your kitchen while refacing.
  • It’s a green kitchen remodeling solution because you’re not adding to the landfill.

Kitchen cabinet refacing cons (there aren’t

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Private mortgage insurance is unavoidable for some homeowners, but don’t pay PMI premiums a day longer than required by your lender.

#1 Home Inspection

A home inspection helps protect you from purchasing a home that could be a lemon. So you don’t want to forgo it. 

REALTOR® Tip: Your inspector isn’t required to be an expert in everything. If you suspect termites, asbestos, and foundational issues, for instance, you’ll need to hire a specialist.

 Inspectors will look for signs of structural issues, mold, and leaks; assess the condition of the roof, gutters, water heater, heating and cooling system; and more. Inspections cost between $300 and $500, and whether or not you end up purchasing the property, you still need to pay this fee. 

#2

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Tax changes for 2019 change the landscape for homeowners.

Tax season is upon us once again, and to make it even more interesting this year, the tax code has changed — along with the rules about tax deductions for homeowners. The biggest change? Many homeowners who used to write off their property taxes and the interest they pay their mortgage will no longer be able to.

Stay calm. This doesn’t automatically mean your taxes are going up. Here’s a roundup of the rules that will affect homeowners — and how big of a change to expect.

Related: Are Closing Costs Tax Deductible?

Standard Deduction: Big Change

The standard deduction, that amount everyone gets, whether they have actual deductions or not, nearly doubled under the new law. It’s now

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