Forward-thinking yard projects to tackle as the weather cools off this fall

(BPT) – The temperature may not have dropped just yet, but make no mistake, fall is coming. Soon enough, baseball will give way to football, green leaves will turn yellow and red and your lawn care routine will take on a whole new set of tasks. Fall lawn care isn’t the long marathon of the summer yard season, but it packs plenty of work into a few short months before the winter. You can make this lawn care blitz a little bit easier by applying the following tips. * Stimulate your lawn. While your grass may no longer need its weekly

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Making Your Home “Age-in-Place” Friendly

If you love your home and plan to live it in through your retirement years, you’ll want to be sure it’s safe for you as you face some of those little challenges aging presents. Assess your home and see if there are any changes you may need to make. Doing so will not only reduce the risk of injury, but it will also give your loved one’s peace-of-mind, especially if you live alone. Here’s what you’ll want to inspect as you consider aging in place: Bathroom handrails. Next to the toilet and tub are top choices. Not only are they

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One financial calculator to rule them all!

Financial health and stability depends upon making informed decisions about loans, debt, taxes, savings, and more. Unfortunately, most people (including first-time homebuyers!) lack a true understanding of how to apply math to help them clearly understand these essential areas. While there are many specialized calculators out there for a particular area (say debt, or mortgage payments), there are few which consolidate all of the most popular financial calculators in one place. Not to mention, you can chalk up quite a bill paying $2 – $5 for each independent calculator you may need. Recently I discovered CalcMoolator, a handy online collection

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Buyer Beware: 3 Home Buying Misconceptions

I’m here to save you pain, buyers. There are myths about the home shopping experience that must be addressed. I like to make the home buying experience as stress-free as possible, so please hear me out on these three big myths about home buying: Myth #1: “That house has been on the market so long I bet we can work the seller down easily.” Not necessarily. Exceptionally high days on market could mean almost anything. The seller could be bullheaded about their price. The seller may not be particularly motivated to sell for emotional or other personal reasons. Don’t forget:

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Be a smarter buyer with this bonus information checklist

  When you’re home hunting, information is power. The more you know before you make an offer, the better. Usually when two homes are equally appealing, digging into the details can make a difference. Here’s a list of “bonus information” that most buyers overlook or forget to ask about while they’re shopping for a house: Homeowner’s association rules: Certain neighborhood covenants may be a deal maker or breaker for you, so if there’s a set of guidelines you’ll be required to adhere to, get them up front. They can cover everything from paint schemes to lawn design and beyond. Utility

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Protect Yourself: Use an Agent When Buying from a Builder

  Q: Do I need to hire a real estate agent to represent me when I buy a new home from a builder?  A: Legally, no. But if you don’t, you might be missing out on some tangible benefits that impact your wallet and how much you get for your money. There are many reasons why an agent is a sound investment during the purchase process with a builder. While some of them can be quite complex (and go beyond the scope of this blog post), here are a few highlights: Market Value Compared to Purchase Price: How much money

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The Truth Behind Renting vs. Buying a Home

  Are you doing the math these days around renting versus buying a home? Trying to decide if you can afford to buy? If so, you’ve probably Googled one of the many “rent versus buy” calculators out there to help you get a handle on your budget. True, they’re helpful, and they can also help clue you in to things like insurance expenses and property taxes, but they overlook a number of key factors in the decision. A mortgage is a surefire way to build wealth. Provided you don’t buy more home than you can truly afford, your mortgage is

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6 Tough Home Pricing Truths

  The pricing conversation is always a challenge. You want top dollar for your home, and your real estate agent will, too. After all, a better commission comes from a better price. But a lot of psychology and strategy goes into home pricing, and if you don’t go in with your eyes wide open, you could end up heartily disappointed. Here are some tough truths about home pricing. While they can vary a little depending on unique market conditions, they should all be in the back of your mind as you prepare to list. Some agents will try and “buy

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What to look for in a home warranty

The idea of a home warranty can sound great. According to the National Association of Realtors, a home warranty is defined as, “a service contract, normally for one year, which helps protect home owners against the cost of unexpected covered repairs or replacement on their major systems and appliances that break down due to normal wear and tear. Coverage is for systems and appliances in good working order at the start of the contract.” It sounds simple: You insure critical systems in the home, and should something go wrong with those systems, the cost of repairs is largely covered by

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What to Look for When Evaluating School Districts

  Given the way most communities work, the location of a home dictates the local school district. The quality of the school district can have a direct impact on the value of your home. Even if you don’t have kids or don’t have to plan kids, the quality of the local schools can positively or negatively effect your home’s value. Buyers tend to prefer homes in good school districts, either because they have school-aged children, or they are thinking of resale value down the line. So how do you know if your local schools make the grade? What signs point

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