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US pending home sales jump to nearly a 6-year high

WASHINGTON (AP) - An index measuring the number of Americans who signed contracts to buy homes in October jumped to nearly its highest level in almost six years. Steady job gains and record-low mortgage rates have made home buying more attractive.

November 29, 2012 | | HOME SCENE


Make your home smarter, more efficient this winter

The coldest time of the year can also be the busiest. With holiday entertaining, overnight guests and winter getaways, it can be hard to ensure your home heating and other systems are performing for optimal comfort and efficiency. In addition, the Department of Energy reports that no matter what-energy-source you use, heating this winter will cost more, an important consideration since heating and cooling typically makes up about 54 percent of your utility bill.

November 21, 2012 | | HOME SCENE


Tips on home care for holiday pleasure

Whether it's guests arriving for a holiday party, visiting relatives or holiday revelers, your home can feel like a revolving door during the holiday season. Unfortunately, all of this added traffic can also bring unwanted dirt and germs that can outweigh holiday cheer. Keep your home looking clean, germ-free and ready to welcome guests throughout the holiday season by establishing a cold-weather cleaning routine.

November 21, 2012 | | HOME SCENE


Home tech: affordable, uncomplicated ideas to add enjoyment to your home

Did you know it's almost the year that Michael J. Fox went "back to the future?" While we don't have hover boards or flying cars, our innovations have changed drastically since 1985, especially when it comes to technology in the home. Now there are many affordable innovations that are simple to use and can add unique benefits and enjoyment to routine activities.

November 21, 2012 | | HOME SCENE


Steady housing recovery is boosting national economy

WASHINGTON (AP) - From purchases and prices to builder sentiment and construction, the U.S. housing market is making consistent gains.

November 21, 2012 | | HOME SCENE


New home starts jump to fastest pace in four years

WASHINGTON (AP) - U.S. builders started construction last month on the most homes and apartments since July 2008, more evidence that the housing recovery is gaining momentum.

November 21, 2012 | | HOME SCENE


How low will they go? Mortgage rates at record 3.31 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) - Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages fell to fresh record lows this week, a trend that is boosting home sales and aiding the housing recovery.

November 21, 2012 | | HOME SCENE


Opening door to more do-it-yourself home improvement projects is possible

On any given weekend, homeowners can be found climbing around in attics to add insulation, repairing shingles on the roof, installing new floors in kitchens and bathrooms, and handling many other home improvement projects that, with a little elbow grease, they are able to do themselves.

November 21, 2012 | | HOME SCENE


Don’t buy home until you sell the current one

Q: I have a fixed-rate mortgage at 5.99 percent that doesn't have to be refinanced until 2016. I know I will want to move to a more suitable place before then, but if I sell now at current low prices, I will have very little equity left to put down on a new condo.

November 21, 2012 | By TERRY SAVAGE Financial Advisor | HOME SCENE


Avoid FHA financing restriction on intrafamily purchase

DEAR BENNY: I am currently trying to purchase a home from my daughter. The loan was approved, but the lender told me there is a law that if you purchase a home from a family member, they can finance only 85 percent of the sales price. Is this true? --Roger

November 21, 2012 | By BENNY L. KASS Inman News | HOME SCENE


Need more space? Some put up a cottage out back

Something small is afoot. Backyard cottages - from 800-square-foot bungalows to Lilliputian studio cabins - are springing up behind houses in many cities, some of which have changed zoning laws to accommodate them.

November 15, 2012 | The Associated Press | HOME SCENE


Three ways save energy in your home

'Red means stop, green means go' - we learn that axiom as children. When it comes to home energy costs, however, going green can help homeowners put a stop to runaway utility bills. And maximizing your home's use of natural light - call it 'green lighting' - is a great way to boost your home's energy efficiency.

November 15, 2012 | | HOME SCENE


Some facts about composite decking

Have you ever considered composite decking but disregarded the idea because you felt like you didn't know enough about it? Maybe you've wondered how composite decking is made? Or what kinds of materials make up composite decking?

November 15, 2012 | | HOME SCENE


San Francisco Bay area home prices gain in October; up 19 percent over last year

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - A research firm says home prices in the San Francisco Bay area registered a sixth straight annual increase last month.

November 15, 2012 | | HOME SCENE


Rate on 30-year fixed mortgage hits record low of 3.34 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) - Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages fell to fresh record lows this week, a trend that has helped the housing market start to recover this year.

November 15, 2012 | | HOME SCENE


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