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    Landscaping can add up to 15% toward the value of your home.

    Step 1 to buying your first home is to get your credit report and finances in order.

    Place laundry bags or hampers in or near a bathroom so family members will put away dirty clothes instead of leaving them on the floor.

    Did you know that the closet is rated the top source of frustration when it comes to getting organized?

    Carpet can attract unfriendly odors due to high traffic and pets. To get rid of the smells, sprinkle liberally, some baking soda on the area wait a few hours and vacuum.

    Stinky sink? Run some hot water and throw a few orange peels down the disposal and turn it on. Lemon, limes and grapefruit rinds also do the trick of removing odors.

    Don’t defer retirement savings in favor of rapid mortgage payments. Do both!

    If you want your lawn to look like a golf course, Turf professional suggest watering less often and deeply. Deep watering helps roots grow deeper while shallow watering keeps roots near the surface resulting in a straw look when hot weather strikes.

    Most buyers decide if they want to purchase your home within the first
    8 seconds. So think about what a buyer will see first when they walk in your door and invest in that.

    If you’re planning a move and interviewing moving companies, collect the estimates you get in brightly colored folders. Keep those folders open in plain sight as later
    estimators come in. This shows them you’re doing your homework, which
    encourages them to be honest and perhaps give you a more competitive quote.

    One of the best ways to get your home ready to sell is by accentuating the floorplan.  You can do this simply by removing some furniture items to open up the room a bit. This will also allow more light and exposure from the outside giving rooms a bright and open feeling. 

    When traveling, instead of buying handfuls of plastic containers for your bathroom products, simply use zipper sealed baggies. They work for overnight portions of shampoo and conditioner, keeping moisture away from cotton balls and q-tips, and prevents any make-up spills from getting on other items.

    If you’re planning a move and if you’re planning to load the truck yourself, pack
    heavier boxes first, toward the front of the truck, for balance.

    If you’re getting ready to list your house for sale remember, buyers want to picture themselves in your house and not the homeowner, so replace pictures of you and your family with decorative artwork.
    Target is a great place to go for affordable artwork.

    When planning a move, don’t forget the
    packing supplies. You can expect to spend around $250 or more on what’s needed
    to move the belongings of a couple or a small family. Double that amount for a family of four. And keep in mind, it’s
    always better to get too many materials than too few.

    "I love what you were articulating…but unfortunately its not translating to what we visually see…"
    -Vern Yip from Design Star. [source]

    Make your own compost by collecting fallen leaves in a large plastic bag. Poke holes in the bag to allow air flow and store the bag where it won’t freeze over the winter. By spring you’ll have a bag full of rich soil conditioner.

    When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it.  If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. [source]

    The best way to garden is to put on a wide brimmed straw hat and some old clothes. And with a hoe in one hand and a cold drink in the other, tell somebody else where to dig.  [source] 

    If you’re a conscientious user of home electronics, you always turn them off when you’re not using them. But they don’t actually go all the way off—they continue using energy to power features like clock displays, remote controls, and battery rechargers. Depending on the efficiency of your unit’s design, the standby power use can be minimal or substantial.

    Median hourly earnings of electronic home entertainment equipment installers and repairers were $13.44 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $10.39 and $17.10. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $8.17, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $21.36. In May 2004, median hourly earnings of electronic home entertainment equipment installers and repairers were $12.86 in electronics and appliance stores and $12.28 in electronic and precision equipment repair and maintenance. [source]

    By 2005 over 50% of professionals will be independent consultants contracting for specific services and projects and that most will be working from a home office. -U.S. Labor Department prediction in 1999

    The work-at-home market is affluent and educated. According to IDC, home business owners are more likely to have college and postgraduate degrees. The average income for home office households is $59,000, versus $45,000 for total households. [source]

    As early as 1999, IDC reported  40.2 million home working households in the U.S.  Approximately 24 million people ran home-based businesses.  Over 26 million performed work at home after hours.  Nearly 29 million had corporate home offices. [source]

    If you’re working from home, deducting the costs associated with your home office can be a big tax saver, but the rules are tricky. To get the deduction, the law requires you to use your home office "exclusively and regularly" for your business. It must be an area in your home where you don’t mix business with other activities. [source]

    A recent study found that more than one in five second-home buyers were using equity from the sale of a primary residence to finance their purchase. [source]

    Buyers in the nation’s capital get extra frosting on the homebuyer’s incentive cake. First-time buyers (liberally defined) get a federal tax credit of up to $5,000. That’s the same as having Uncle Sam kick $5,000 into your down payment. Even if you own a home somewhere else (including the D.C. suburbs), you can qualify for this sweet tax break if the house you buy is the first one you own in D.C [source]

    The basic elements of good home design can be learned and achieved by all. [source]

    In 2006, 596,000 homes were owned by single males 25-29 years old .  717,000 homes were owned by single females in that bracket. -US Census

    In 2006, the average rent asked in the Northeast US went from $600 to $700.  In the Midwest, the average rent asked went from $554 to $574. – US Census

    A nationwide poll conducted by the Pew Research Center between October and November 2006 showed that more than 8 in 10 homeowners expect the value of their homes to go up either "a little" (55 percent) or "a lot" (26 percent) in the future.

    From 2001 to 2005, the average homeowner saw the value of his or her house jump by more than 50 percent. Many homeowners doubled, tripled, and in some cases even quadrupled their wealth in just five years because of exploding real estate values. [source]

    The homeownership rate in the United States in 2005 remained among the highest in the world with 68.9% of all occupied housing units being occupied by the unit’s owner. [source]

    Everyone should own a paper shredder. Studies show that 80 percent of what gets filed never gets looked at again.  Before you file a piece of paper, ask yourself, "do you need it for tax purposes or legal reasons?" If not, shred it.

    Do you need a simple, really cheap way to unclog sluggish drains? You only need three things, and you probably have them in your kitchen. To free up sluggish drains, simply mix one-half cup each of salt, baking soda and vinegar, and pour it down the drain. Follow this with two quarts of boiling water, and you will not only save money – and your plumbing – by using a natural solution instead of harsh chemicals

    Air pollution levels inside your home can be two to five times higher than outdoors. This is especially true during the colder months when doors and windows are closed. Tip: leave doors between rooms open whenever possible for better air circulation.

    Most homes humidity levels are lower than that of the Sahara Desert at 25%! Keep your home’s humidity level at the recommended 35 – 40%. Medical experts say that many viruses thrive in dry air, so by increasing the humidity, you’re making your home’s air cleaner and more energy-efficient.

    Remodeling can have a big price tag, but can increase your home’s current value.  Moving takes you somewhere new, but can cost 10 to 15 percent over the value of your present home.  Do the math, and make sure you’re making the right move.

    Don’t toss out those old socks! Those unmatched socks in your drawers can help you stroll through dusting. Just slip one over your hand and spray it with your favorite cleaner. Socks are soft and won’t scratch your furniture, plus they really hold the dust.

    Buyers love built-in bookshelves. But there’s a fine line between filling them with clutter and staging them to sell. The trick is to arrange neutral items in clusters. Make sure that no single accessory stands out too much. That way, you’ll show off your attractive built-ins, and not your personal belongings.

    Removing old kitchen hardware can leave your cabinets with stripped out holes. Here is a trick to reusing the existing ones. First, dip a toothpick in glue and place it in the stripped hole. Cut off the excess piece. Once the glue dries, you’ll be ready to put in the new hardware that buyers love.

    A fireplace adds approximately 12% value to a home.

    Pedestal sinks are a big hit with buyers. They show off square footage in small bathrooms beautifully. First, your old vanity has to go. Next, just hook up your new sink, and your bathroom will have dramatic appeal that brings in big bucks. Plus, buyers will see how much floor space your bathroom has.

    Need to give a room a face lift fast? Chair and sofa slipcovers fit over the top of existing upholstery give a room a new look with no sewing or rearranging required.  Today’s covers come in a variety of colors and fabrics, and many can be machine washable so there’s no need to worry about cleaning. They are also great for protecting good quality upholstery fabric from wear and tear. A tip worth remembering if you have children or pets!

    Pets and children can become stressed during moving. If moving locally, you may want to leave these special family members with a friend during moving day.

    Automatic garage doors periodically need to be tested for balance. Start with your door closed. Disconnect the garage door opener release mechanism so you can operate the door by hand. You should be able to lift the door smoothly and with little resistance. It should stay open around three to four feet above the floor. Not working as it should? Have it adjusted by a professional. [source]

    As a rule of thumb, it’s a good idea to have chimneys cleaned at least
    once a year, usually before cold weather sets in. Some people prefer to
    do it in the spring, and some chimney sweeps offer special promotions
    at this time of year to keep business going. [source]

    Did you know that certain types of home additions do much better in specific locations? Building a deck in San Diego or Hawaii is a solid bet. Adding a family room in San Francisco or Garden City will typically return upwards of 140 percent of the cost. Then again, almost any major improvement in Garden City returns more than 125 percent of the cost. [source]

    Looking to remodel soon? Identify which walls in your home are load bearing walls. They should not be removed without a properly engineered method of support–typically a system of beams–to replace them during and after removal.

    Did you know that making an energy-conscious purchase for your home this year can save you money on your taxes next year? A recent tax law change provides a tax credit to improve the energy
    efficiency of existing homes. The law provides a 10 percent credit for
    buying qualified energy efficiency improvements. Visit the IRS web site for details. [source]

    For you gardeners out there. Did you know that earthworms have no lungs? Instead, they breathe through
    their skin. Their whole skin absorbs oxygen and releases carbon
    dioxide. [source]

    Of the top 10 home improvement projects, seven — including the top three — are replacement projects such as siding. An upscale fiber cement siding replacement returned 88 percent of the investment. Midrange vinyl siding replacement was second at 87.2 percent, and midrange wood window replacement edged out minor kitchen remodeling for third at 85.2 percent. [source]

    When you consider its value at resale, a home improvement project costs only 20 cents to 25 cents on the dollar. The other 75 cents to 80 cents spent on a project goes directly back into the home through increased value — not to mention increased owner enjoyment. [source]

    Did you know that most homes that are for sale by owner end up listing their home with a Broker within 3 weeks? The reason is because 3 weeks usually gives the owner enough time to experience the home selling woes and enough disappointment to turn to the professionals.

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