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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
'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.
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?
Whether you've heard it in the office, a classroom or a soccer field, that old saying about mistakes being valuable learning tools really rings true, doesn't it? If those mistakes occur during the course of a kitchen renovation, however, it may be difficult to be philosophical about them. Bungle a kitchen redesign, and you'll either have to live with the consequences for a long time or invest even more money to correct them.
Now that warmer weather is here, you want to spend as much time outdoors as possible - and that includes mealtime. But what if your outdoor kitchen space is lacking? Worry not! There are several easy, affordable projects that can help you transform the area into the perfect cooking and entertaining area. Give these projects a try to recreate your space.