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Archive By Section - HOME SCENE


2013's hottest improvement trends

The busy home remodeling season is a great time for homeowners to focus on increasing curb appeal. The percentage of homeowners who feel now is a good time to spend money on home improvement has doubled since 2009, according to a recent survey among Better Homes and Gardens readers. Considering two of the top four features consumers have on their wish lists for their next home are low maintenance exteriors and a private backyard, high-performance products that come in a variety of colors, textures and designs are expected to be in high demand this year.

March 14, 2013 | | HOME SCENE


Staging on a shoestring: Tips from pros for quick home sales

The real estate market is starting to show signs of improvement, which is welcome news for people wanting to sell their homes. This positive momentum alone isn't enough to close a deal, though - a homeowner must make their properties appealing to potential buyers so they stand out from the competition. The good news is it's easy to create an appealing atmosphere with a few staging tips and tricks from the experts.

March 14, 2013 | | HOME SCENE


HOME IMRPOVEMENT Four steps to a more beautiful bathroom

The bathroom is one of the most frequented areas in your home, making your choice of bathroom decor pretty important. Don't forget about this key area when considering your next home improvement project. With a few tips, you can take your bathroom from so-so to spectacular in no time at all.

February 28, 2013 | | HOME SCENE


Soul-lifting home improvements that are good for your wallet, too

No matter how value conscious a homeowner may be, few people ever make a home improvement simply to increase their house's resale value. People also undertake home improvements to enhance their enjoyment of their home - or to fix a problem, which, in its own way, is good for the soul, too.

February 28, 2013 | | HOME SCENE


Be proactive when canceling PMI

DEAR BENNY: We purchased our home a year ago for $153,000 and put $16,000 cash down. PMI was required. I want to end the PMI as soon as possible and understand that the home equity must reach a certain point (the agent said after two years we could try to get it canceled). Isn't there a law that if we are current with our payments we can opt out of PMI? We purchased a short-sale home and the value has been appraised higher now. Will that work against us? --Phyllis

February 28, 2013 | | HOME SCENE


The higher they went, the harder a home price fell

The highest sale price ever recorded in Manteca for a production home was $720,000.

February 22, 2013 | Dennis Wyatt | HOME SCENE


California gets larger share of mortgage deal

SACRAMENTO (AP) - California should receive at least $20.6 billion from a settlement with the nation's major mortgage lenders, the largest share of any state and about $2 billion more than expected when the agreement to assist homeowners was announced last year, according to a report released Thursday.

February 21, 2013 | | HOME SCENE


Rate on 30-year mortgage loans rises to 3.56 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) - The average U.S. rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage rose this week but remained near historic lows. Low mortgage rates have helped support the slowly recovering housing market.

February 21, 2013 | | HOME SCENE


High-tech homes make everyday living simpler, even more secure

If you find yourself wondering how you ever got along before your smartphone, laptop and GPS, you're not alone. Technology is so much a part of how we go about our days that we often take it for granted. However, in many cases, houses haven't caught up to the same technological standards as the gadgets people carry with them 24/7. But that's all about to change, as new ideas begin to revolutionize the way we view our homes.

February 21, 2013 | | HOME SCENE


‘Gifted’ loan down payments come back to haunt FHA

Uncle Sam's failure to practice tough love is creating more foreclosures.

February 15, 2013 | Dennis Wyatt | HOME SCENE


Remodeling: How to go from a far-off dream to 'DIY'

Year after year, no matter the state of the housing market, kitchen remodeling remains a good idea. The project perennially tops lists of value-for-your-money home improvements and almost every buyer will be attracted to a kitchen that's updated and move-in ready. Even if you're planning on staying in your home for a while, few things can reinvigorate your home like a brand new kitchen.

February 14, 2013 | | HOME SCENE


California home prices and sales up in January

SAN DIEGO (AP) - The number of homes sold in California rose 2.7 percent last month from a year earlier and the median price soared as the housing market showed continuing signs of recovery, the reporting firm DataQuick said Thursday.

February 14, 2013 | | HOME SCENE


Late-payment rate on US mortgages hits four-year low

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Homeowners who took on mortgages well after the housing bubble burst are doing a better job in keeping up with payments, a trend that has helped push the national rate of late payments on home loans to the lowest level in four years.

February 14, 2013 | | HOME SCENE


4 must-knows about mortgage payoff

DEAR BENNY: I will be soon paying off (in its entirety) the mortgage on my home. For your information, I have been current on my payments throughout the 10-year term. The mortgage company is a credit union, and I intend to continue residing in my home.

February 14, 2013 | | HOME SCENE


Expanding outdoor living spacecan increase value of your home

Even during a challenging economy, the outdoor living trend remains popular as homeowners seek to add lasting value and functional living space under the sky and stars. Whether it's a do-it-yourself patio or a professionally installed outdoor kitchen, the beauty, usefulness, value and ease of maintenance in outdoor living space is limitless.

February 07, 2013 | | HOME SCENE


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Articles by Section - HOME SCENE


AIM FOR THE SKY

The average American spends an hour a day in the kitchen preparing food and cleaning up afterward, according to the American Time Use Survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Add in the time it takes to put groceries away, load and unload dishwashers, organize cabinets and pantries or just hang out, and you spend a whole lot of time in your kitchen.

January 30, 2015 | | HOME SCENE


America’s doing it all wrong when it comes to dishwashing

Nearly everyone (96 percent) wastes up to an hour each week pre-washing their dishes, according to a recent survey. But the reality is that the outdated ritual of pre-washing can actually result in dirtier dishes and waste a valuable resource - water!

January 30, 2015 | | HOME SCENE


What’s your kitchen style?

Everyone has a preferred style of kitchen, no matter if you're a chef at heart or just prefer to heat something frozen using the microwave. You may be surprised to discover your personality influences the style of kitchen you prefer. So, do you know what style matches your personality?

January 30, 2015 | | HOME SCENE


Home price gains increase modestly

WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. home prices rose at a modest pace in November, held back by weaker sales and a limited number of houses for sale.

January 30, 2015 | | HOME SCENE


30-year mortgage rises to 3.66 pct.

WASHINGTON (AP) - Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates rose slightly this week after four straight weeks of declines, while remaining near historically low levels.

January 30, 2015 | | HOME SCENE


MILLENNIALS

Owning a home is part of the American Dream, yet standards on income, credit and debt are making it tougher to buy a home than it was 10 years ago. Even though requirements are relaxing, only three out of five borrowers get approved.

January 23, 2015 | | HOME SCENE


Answers for your top 5 plumbing questions

Installing or fixing a faucet can seem like a daunting task. But, in many cases homeowners can update the kitchen and bath themselves - all you need are the right tools, good judgment and a little time to devote to the project.

January 23, 2015 | | HOME SCENE


Five ways to revamp your outdoor living space this year

Do long, winter days holed up indoors have you dreaming of a new deck to relax on come springtime? Whether you envision transforming a deck into a personal sanctuary or building a new outdoor living space for backyard entertaining, now is the perfect time to start turning those dreams into reality.

January 23, 2015 | | HOME SCENE


US home construction up 4.4 percent in December

WASHINGTON (AP) - Construction of new homes rebounded in December, helping to push activity for the entire year to the highest level since the peak of the housing boom nine years ago.

January 23, 2015 | | HOME SCENE


Homebuilder confidence, sales outlook slip slightly in January

NEW YORK (AP) - U.S. homebuilders are feeling slightly less confident in their sales prospects ahead of the spring homebuying season, traditionally the peak period for home sales.

January 23, 2015 | | HOME SCENE


Seasonal guide for you to maintain your home

Homeowners can avoid emergency repairs by completing a few home projects each season. A simple project such as inspecting the plumbing annually can prevent the unexpected cost of repairing water damage from a pipe that burst.

January 23, 2015 | | HOME SCENE


Rents keep climbing, especially in San Francisco

WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. home rental prices continued to climb at a modest pace in December, but rapidly escalating costs in cities such as San Francisco and Denver suggest that apartment dwellers are facing more financial pressure.

January 23, 2015 | | HOME SCENE


Six ways to make your bathroom more luxurious

The bathroom doesn't have to be basic. Thanks to a wide array of new products on the market - and plenty of ways to customize - even the most outdated bathrooms can become an oasis of tranquility and a lavish retreat away from the stresses of everyday life. Here are six ideas for transforming your bathroom into a luxurious spa-like space.

January 23, 2015 | | HOME SCENE


Rate on 30-year mortgage falls to 3.63%

WASHINGTON (AP) - Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates fell for the fourth straight week, with the benchmark 30-year rate again marking its lowest level since May 2013. The average for a 15-year mortgage, a popular choice for people who are refinancing, slipped further below 3 percent.

January 23, 2015 | | HOME SCENE


Banks settle mortgage kickbacks probe

WASHINGTON (AP) - Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase have agreed to pay more than $35 million combined to resolve claims that loan officers at the two banks received kickbacks in exchange for steering mortgage borrowers to a Maryland title company.

January 23, 2015 | | HOME SCENE


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