Homeownership

Found 81 blog entries about Homeownership.

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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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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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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Never underestimate the power of an extra iPhone charger.

You’re expecting houseguests. Fun! You want them to feel welcome, comfortable, and — dare we say it? — maybe even a tad envious of your hosting prowess.

No need to moonlight at hospitality school. We asked Airbnb hosts with tons of great reviews on their cozy bungalows and light-filled island condos for some quick, easy (and cheap!) ideas to turn your guest quarters into a vacation haven. Be careful, though – your guests may not want to leave!

#1 Stock Up on Extra Chargers and Cords

A dead phone equals getaway misery. Airbnb host Valarie D’Elia sets out a bowl with power strips and cords, outlet converters, and even an iHome speaker. Nothing sets the stage for feeling at home IRL like

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Ugh. Mold. It’s ugly. It’s tenacious. It’s the uninvited guest that keeps visiting — no matter how rude you are to it. But, unwittingly, you may be setting up the perfect conditions for mold’s return: a food source, lots of moisture, and a pleasant temperature.

“You’ve got to eliminate one of those three legs of the stool so mold won’t grow,” says Pete Duncanson, director of system development for ServiceMaster Restore. “And it’s always easier to prevent than to remediate.”

Assuming you like warm showers and a comfy thermostat setting, there’s not much you can do about the temperature mold loves. But you can get rid of mold — and permanently prevent it — by controlling the other two factors: food and moisture. Here’s how.

Starve It Out

Mold is

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The day will come — and it will be a wonderful, joyous, do-a-happy-dance day — when you receive an offer, or multiple offers, for your home.

And on that day, you’re going to face a question you may not have previously considered: How do you know if an offer is the best one for you?

Your listing agent will be a big help here. They will understand and help you suss out the merits and faults  of an offer because — believe it or not — it’s not always about price.

One buyer’s beautifully high offer might not look so good anymore, for example, if you discover that it’s contingent upon you moving out a month earlier than planned. Or, conversely, you may prefer speed over price, particularly if you’re moving to a new city. 

Your listing agent will

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What you need to know to get the best deal for you.

When it comes to evaluating offers, what’s good for the goose may not necessarily be good for the gander. One seller may be overjoyed with their offer, while another may be disappointed.

That means, in order to figure out whether an offer you receive is “good” —and whether you should negotiate — you’ll need to do two things:

  • Think back to your original goals, and ask yourself whether this offer helps you meet them.
  • Get advice from your agent, who can help get the best deal for your specific situation, wants, and needs.

So what do you, the seller, need to know before negotiating with a home buyer? We’ve got answers to some commonly asked questions.

What’s a Counteroffer?

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Like what to do when a tree falls.

You know what to do if someone is having a heart attack, or you hear an intruder — call 911!

But what about those other *emergencies* — the ones where you’re not sure who to call?

Here are five home- (and sometimes life-) threatening emergencies that often baffle new homeowners. (Plus, if you fill out this worksheet and post it somewhere visible — as well in your phone contacts — you’ll be super prepared).

#1 Skillet Grease Catches Fire

DON’T. THROW. WATER.

It’ll only feed the fire. Instead, the National Fire Protection Association recommends smothering skillet flames by carefully sliding a lid over the pan and turning off the burner. Leave it covered until everything’s cool; removing the lid too

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Non-toxic. Low-cost. Hydrogen peroxide is your cleaning arsenal’s secret weapon.

When it’s time to clean, have your trusty green cleaners at the ready — baking soda, vinegar — plus another ultra-cheap gem: hydrogen peroxide. You can use it anywhere, and can’t beat the price: A 16-oz. bottle only costs a buck or so.

Here are 10 ways you can use that ubiquitous brown bottle of 3% hydrogen peroxide to your home’s advantage:

In Your Kitchen

1. Clean your cutting board and countertop. Hydrogen peroxide bubbles away any nasties left after preparing meat or fish for dinner. Add hydrogen peroxide to an opaque spray bottle — exposure to light kills its effectiveness — and spray on your surfaces. Let everything bubble for a few minutes, then scrub and

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