5 ways to host a no-hassle holiday celebration this season

(BPT) – The holidays are supposed to be a joyous occasion, filled with warm memories of family and friends. When it’s your turn to host, however, the holidays can quickly turn into a stressful blur that involves cleaning, decorating and cooking all before the guests even arrive! Hosting loved ones doesn’t have to be this way. Try these five tips for a no-hassle holiday celebration and enjoy being fully present for the fun this season. 1. Cater in or stock up on pre-cooked holiday favorites Kick back and relax with the rest of your guests while you enjoy a hot

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4 insurance myths and misconceptions dispelled

(BPT) – There are several myths and misconceptions that exist when it comes to insurance. For example, true or false? It costs more to insure red cars. The answer is false. Car color has no impact on insurance premiums; however, factors like your driving history, annual mileage driven, the cost of your vehicle and other things will affect how much you’ll pay for insurance. Insurance is one of the most useful investments you can make to help safeguard your belongings and financial assets, but it’s important to know what you’re purchasing. Here are four things you should know about auto,

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A guide to getting your home and yard winter-ready

(BPT) – As the winter months approach, there’s much to anticipate: hot drinks, football games and getting cozy on those long, chilly nights. While homeowners can enjoy the comfort of the indoors, it’s still important to ensure their property is well prepared — inside and out — for chillier temperatures, ice or snow during the fall and winter seasons. Use this checklist to ensure your house is ready for cold weather. Fix the cracks Before temperatures really dip, check for and seal off cracks and gaps in the home to help keep heating bills down. Walk the perimeter of the

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Balancing 2 (or more) generations under one roof

Tips for seniors who opt to live with family (BPT) – If one family trend is an indicator, aging in America is in for a transformation. As people plan their retirement years, more and more are preferring to make the right adjustments at home to age in place, rather than exploring alternatives such as assisted living facilities and nursing homes. For many, that can mean opting to live under the same roof as their grown children and perhaps even their grandchildren. The advantages of living together The post-war shift away from communal living is in reverse. A recent report from Pew

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3 elements to create a dream bathroom sanctuary

(BPT) – Bathrooms reign supreme, overtaking kitchens as the most popular remodeling project, according to a new survey by the National Association of Home Builders. In the study, remodelers reported on the most common projects in 2017 and 81 percent performed bathroom remodeling. Whether you’re hiring the project out or taking the DIY route, fashioning the bathroom of your dreams can enhance your home’s value and add enjoyment to your daily routine. A leading trend in bathroom design is to create a space that is not only functional but is a true sanctuary. To craft a spa-like bath setting that you’ll love

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DIY deck re-do: Resurface in a weekend

(BPT) – Outdoor living season means backyard BBQs, yard games and relaxing with a good book or good friends. If you own a wood deck, however, it also means considerable time and money spent on seasonal maintenance and deck repairs. While wood decks are aesthetically pleasing, properly maintaining them requires regular stripping, sanding and staining. The process is labor-intensive, time-consuming, messy and costly – averaging between $540 and $1,050 each time, according to HomeAdvisor.com. Consider this: For the same time and energy you would spend maintaining and repairing those old wood boards, you could replace them with a deck made

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5 home-buying tips for first-timers and old-timers

(BPT) – Whether you are buying a home for the first time or you are just looking for an upgrade, it is never a bad idea to arm yourself with tips that can make your search go from overwhelming to enjoyable. Rather than learning the hard way about hidden expenses and difficult neighbors, there are things you can do to feel more confident as you begin your search. With a seller’s market in many parts of the country, these tips are even more important as you battle other buyers for the home of your dreams. The more efficient and straightforward

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What you need to know before you buy a home

Okay, first-time buyers… it’s time to turn the dream into the dirt you can stand on. Your very own home. I’m sure you have questions. In fact, I’m sure your questions are like most first-time buyers. Which is why I’ve put together this down-and-dirty answer guide for the most common questions home buyers have. What kind of credit score do I need to have? Generally, 630 or above is what you’ll want to have. The better your score, the better the terms will be on your loan. Some lenders may give you wiggle room on this, but it all depends

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Yes, You Can Get a Mortgage if You’re Self-Employed

The so-called “gig” economy means more people than ever are self-employed, receiving 1099 tax forms as independent contractors. In the world of the self-employed, the idea of securing a mortgage can seem like a fantasy. Unlike the traditionally employed, the self-employed entrepreneur is seen as a greater risk. Despite making a good living, some self-employed workers never even apply for a mortgage, believing the dream of home ownership is cut off by slim chances for approval. This isn’t necessarily true! Don’t give up on home ownership just because you’re self-employed. Instead, take the steps to boost your status in the

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