A house is a major financial investment and a place where you will likely live for several years. If you are shopping for a new home, you need to do your homework and choose carefully. You should gather as much information as possible so you can make an educated decision.
A home inspection is a critical step that you should never skip if you are thinking about purchasing a home. Even if a house looks perfect, it could have hidden damages that are not visible and could require costly repairs or even put your family’s health at risk.
Areas That Should Be Inspected
A certified home inspector is someone who is trained to identify problems with a house. A general inspection will look at visible aspects of a house, including the structure, plumbing, electrical wiring, insulation, and...
Small bathrooms with limited storage space make it tough to stow all the stuff you use daily and still keep the space looking tidy. Check these smart solutions discovered by Good Housekeeping Magazine:
Expand cabinet space. If your under-sink cabinet is stuffed to the gills, spend $13 for an over-the-door storage basket that can hold your hair dryer, curling iron and more.
Use the corners. Suction cups keep a tower of small storage spaces—as many as you’d like—firmly tucked into a corner of the shower. Cost is under $10.
Narrow organizers fit anywhere. Three-tiered organizers less than 5 inches deep fit into any space, even between the wall and...
You’ve found the perfect first home, and you’re anxious to close the deal, grab the keys and move in right away. However, be aware that there are a host of extra costs beyond a down payment and mortgage bills that often take first-time homebuyers by surprise. To avoid shock and prepare your budget, consider the following costs before signing on the dotted line:
To approve a purchase, a mortgage lender might require an assessment by a professional home inspector. Regardless, you should consider one to ensure you’re buying a house that’s in good shape and to avoid any expensive surprises. A general inspection typically costs a few hundred dollars and checks for electrical issues, fire and water damage, and faulty foundations. Consider paying...
Whether you’re replacing a kitchen floor, painting the siding or adding a deck, a home improvement project can be a huge undertaking that requires experience and skill. That’s why homeowners will often skip the DIY approach and opt to hire a professional contractor to get the job done right.
However, not all contractors are created equal, and many homeowners worry about finding a competent, trustworthy pro to handle the task and their money. Before shaking hands—and certainly before paying anything—ask a contractor these 10 questions:
1. How long have you been working in the industry? Look for a credible track record and successful work experience.
2. Are you licensed, insured and bonded? Ensure your...
Water conservation isn’t only good for the environment; it’s also good for your bank account. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), easy-to-fix leaks in homes across the country waste a total of almost 1 trillion gallons of water every year. Furthermore, because the average leaky home wastes about 10,000 gallons annually, leaks could be costing you at least 10 percent more on your water bills—without you even knowing it.
Are pesky water leaks hiding in your home? To find out quickly, take the EPA’s 10-minute challenge to search for common leaks using the agency’s room-by-room checklist below:
Toilets: Conduct a leak test by putting a few drops of food coloring in...
Every year in the U.S., fire kills over 3,000 people, injures thousands more and causes billions of dollars of damage. House fires are a major contributor to those horrific statistics, which is why it’s important to make fire safety a priority in your home. Here are some tips from the U.S. Fire Administration to help keep you and your family safe:
You may have less than three minutes to escape a home fire, so every second counts. For early fire detection, install smoke alarms on every level of your home and inside and outside all sleeping areas. Test your alarms monthly to ensure they work and don’t need new batteries, and replace alarms that are at least 10 years old.
According to the U.S....