Real Estate Focus
Written by Nicole Suderman Tuesday, 22 March 2011 14:32Ample inventory, low mortgage rates and motivated sellers—all these key elements are present in real estate markets across the country, indicating it’s still a great time to buy a house.
If you’re thinking of buying a house—whether it’s new or existing, your first home or your fifth—you can help ensure you get the best possible deal by doing a few things before you get down to serious shopping.
1. Check your credit. You might think that getting pre-approved for a mortgage is your first step in home-shopping, and it is an important one. But before you talk to a potential lender, you should check your credit report and score—because the mortgage company certainly will.
Your credit score is a reflection of your credit...
Written by Nicole Suderman Tuesday, 22 February 2011 17:06Maybe you’ve watched one too many home improvement shows. Perhaps you’re still stinging from that holiday guest’s comment about how your kitchen countertop has seen better days. Or maybe you’re just really tired of the same old, same old every day.
Whatever the reason, the remodeling itch has settled into your brain. But before you bring in a contractor—or pick up a hammer—you should consider two important questions: How will you fund your project? And will it be worth it in the end?
A little research and credit self-assessment can answer both questions. In addition to pulling your credit report to see how likely you are to qualify for good loan terms, you should consider the potential resale value of the improvement, how...
Written by Nicole Suderman Tuesday, 18 January 2011 16:19Major home renovations can be overwhelming, but there are a few fundamental repairs that can update your home’s appearance and increase its value.
If you’re planning to sell your home in 2011, take advantage of the colder winter months to prepare your home for a spring sale by focusing on a few key projects:
• Make a first impression. The entryway is the first up-close encounter a potential homebuyer will have with your home.
Manicure your front yard and update or even replace your front door to complement your home's exterior. Select a rich, dark stained wood or bold white door to draw attention to the main entry and add personality to your home.
If your door is already in great shape, consider a simple replacement of weak...
Written by Nicole Suderman Tuesday, 18 January 2011 16:17For many, the new year means a fresh start and there is no better place to begin than inside the home. Your home is meant to last, but over time, simple wear and tear can result in inefficient systems and less-than-perfect conditions.
To keep your home looking and operating like the day you purchased it, home expert Lou Manfredini suggests a few easy maintenance projects that will make a big impact in the end.
• Give your baseboards the protection they need.
While adding a new coat of paint to your walls is always a good idea when maintaining your home, Manfredini also recommends you freshen up your baseboards, which often see the most wear and tear.
Wash them down using a pine-based cleaner, a little bit of warm water and a...
Written by Nicole Suderman Tuesday, 18 January 2011 16:16
The combination of initial snow melt, a roof drainage pipe and a dried weed below the pipe spout created this unique ice sculpture along first Street in Hillsboro just east of Main Street. Melting continued Monday but a cold spell was expected to arrive Tuesday, which may keep the sculpture around awhile.
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