A Case for Getting Rid of Lawns? (Or Not)

By Lisa Kaplan Gordon When I grew up, a lush, green lawn was every suburbanite's dream, a sign they'd achieved the American dream of homeownership and a weed-free front yard. Today, I still love a lawn. I love the look, feel and smell of grass. And I'm willing to pay almost $700 a year to the people -- mowers,... Continue Reading »

For Foreign Buyers, Tips to Purchase Your First U.S. Home

By Dona DeZube Nothing says you're truly an American like owning a home. And just over half of all foreign-born households living in the U.S. own their own home. If you're ready to join them, try these seven tips for American-style home buying success -- the process here may be quite different from what you're used... Continue Reading »

Want a Patio? Try Stamped Concrete as a Low-Cost Alternative

By John Riha A stamped concrete patio gives you the look and texture of a stone patio for a lot less than the real thing -- up to 50 percent less than the cost of natural slate or limestone. That's not all. Stamped concrete can mimic brick, cobblestones, cracked earth, and weathered wood. Add a bit of fun with leaf... Continue Reading »

Using New Consumer Protection Rules to Keep Your Lender Honest

By Dona DeZube Tired of getting the runaround from your mortgage lender or servicer? Starting Jan. 10, 2014, you'll get consumer protections aimed at taming the worst habits mortgage lenders picked up during the mortgage foreclosure crisis. But realize that you need to follow specific procedures to make the... Continue Reading »

Renting a Room in Your House: Why It Might Not Be the Best Idea

By Donna DeZube Find a great housemate and you can end up with a new best friend. Make a bad choice, and you can end up with a fiend. I had the fiend experience back in the '80s when I agreed to split a two-bedroom house with a college student whom I'd just met. It took me a few months to realize that the textbooks... Continue Reading »

Make Your Home Romantic for Valentine's Day

By Cara Greenberg The stuff of family life -- from excessive clutter to funky odors -- can be domestic downers, whether you're planning a sexy evening or simply want your home to be a peaceful retreat. Here's how to put the spice back in your home life. Clutter Begone Clutter is a national epidemic, and... Continue Reading »

Northeast Winter Storm Nemo: Tips to Keep Your Home Safe in 'Historic' Blizzard

With a "potentially historic winter storm" ready to slam the Northeast, people's homes are in for it. Winter storm Nemo threatens to dump more than two feet of snow across New England, with major metros like New York City possibly getting a foot of the white stuff, the National Weather Service said. So what should... Continue Reading »

Kitchen Remodeling Trends That Will Make Your Home Fabulous

By John Riha If you're looking to remodel your kitchen, we've got good news and bad news. First, the good stuff. According to trend experts Lita Dirks and Dominick Tringali, you don't have to shell out major cash to add space. Instead, look to expand what you already have. Vault your ceiling, add windows, squeeze in... Continue Reading »

Avoid These Home Tax Deduction and Credit Mistakes

By G. M. Filisko As you calculate your tax returns, consider each home tax deduction and credit you are - and are not - entitled to. Running afoul of any of these 9 home-related tax mistakes - which tax pros say are especially common - can cost you money or draw the IRS to your doorstep. Sin #1: Deducting the... Continue Reading »

Home Remodeling Value Gaining Strength With Housing Recovery

By Christina Hoffmann 2013 is shaping up pretty sweetly for homeowners. First, there were the home owner-centric tax benefits (energy tax credits, PMI deduction, mortgage debt forgiveness) that Congress and the president extended through 2013; and now, we're seeing that our home improvement dollars are working... Continue Reading »

Flu Prevention at Home: Tips to Keep Your House Free of the Bug

By Lisa Kaplan Gordon Like everyone else in America, I've been trying to stay healthy during the current flu epidemic. So, when I heard that Heloise, of "Hints from Heloise," was speaking at the Home and Remodeling Show in Chantilly, Va., near my home, I grabbed the chance to contact her and ask how to make my home... Continue Reading »

Quick and Easy Home Makeovers for the New Year

By Lisa Kaplan Gordon It's a new year, and an ambitious resolution that always falls on our list (of resolutions that inevitably get broken) is a home makeover. What a daunting task, it seems! But there are easy home fixes that won't take you more than 15 minutes to do, and they'll have your place looking fresh... Continue Reading »

Tiny Homes That Feel Bigger Than They Really Are

By Deirdre Sullivan Small is the new big. But if you think a tiny home would crimp your way of life, check out these videos. We found three weensy abodes that feel like much larger homes. The trick is that each micro-living place maximizes space to compliment the resident's lifestyle. 1. A home that doesn't skimp... Continue Reading »

Painting Your House: Which Colors Work the Best

By Jan Soults Walker Every home suffers a few negatives, but not every solution requires pricey structural changes. Paint is an often-overlooked, low-cost remodeler's remedy for common complaints with interiors, offering the chameleon-like ability to lighten, warm, enlarge, erase, or attract attention. "Paint is... Continue Reading »

A Green Christmas: 3 Ways to Help the Environment This Holiday Season

By Deirdre Sullivan The holiday season has a naughty impact on the environment: We accumulate 25 percent more waste this time of year, and much of that can't be recycled. Fortunately, our nice ideas make sure that Christmas is more eco-friendly. 1. Christmas tree alternatives Although cut trees are more... Continue Reading »

Christmas Storage Tips to Keep Your Holiday Stuff Organized

By Lisa Kaplan Gordon Take the hassle out of putting away Christmas lights and decorations with these easy storage tips. Bonus: unpacking next year will be a snap! Tangle-Free Lights Cardboard organizer: Cut 1-inch slits in the sides of a rectangular piece of cardboard, and wind string Christmas lights around,... Continue Reading »

Best Places to Hide Christmas Presents in Your Home

By Courtney Craig Whether you've got a nosy spouse or a curious kid, you need a good hiding place to squirrel away those gifts until you find time to get them wrapped and under the tree. Here are some ideas we came up with: Borrow a Friend's House Swap storage spaces with a trusted friend or neighbor, and you... Continue Reading »

Thanksgiving Energy-Saving Tips: How to Use Less When You're Doing a Lot

By Courtney Craig Wasting energy on Thanksgiving? Don't be a turkey. Follow these tips to make sure you're not using more energy than you need. A Couple of Days Before Thanksgiving 1. Install a dimmer switch for the dining room chandelier. Every time you dim a bulb's brightness by 10 percent, you'll double the... Continue Reading »

Political Yard Signs: When Your HOA Can Tell You to Take Them Down

By Dona DeZube Ah, November! The month when Americans put up political yard signs hoping to sway their neighbors' votes -- until the community association tells them to get those signs out of the yards. If you're one of the more than 60 million Americans -- about 1 in 5 U.S. residents -- who live in a... Continue Reading »

'Superstorm' Hurricane Sandy Power Outages: Should You Buy a Standby Generator for Your Home?

As Hurricane Sandy brings its howling winds and pelting rain ashore on the East Coast, estimates show that as many as 10 million people could lose power -- and remain in the dark for a week or more. It's the second time in as many years that a hurricane has targeted the heavily populated Northeast corridor of the U.S. --... Continue Reading »

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