Real Estate and Home Improvement

Doing it yourself? There’s an app for that

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Written by Emily Lingo Tuesday, October 21, 2014 04:08 am

For a weekend project or spur-of-the-moment do-it-yourself idea, grab your hammer, nails and your cellphone. Whether it’s choosing a paint color or rearranging the furniture, cellphone apps can help make the process easier.

Here are a few apps to download to help with your DIY project.

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Beware of contractor scams

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Written by Staff Reports Monday, October 20, 2014 11:00 pm

At this time of year, many people hire home improvement services for everything from heating to roofing work, but with any home improvement job, it is important to do some research on a business to avoid falling victim to a scam, according to the Better Business Bureau.

Many scammers claim to be legitimate, but aren’t the roofing or heating contractor they claim to be. And although the scammers are out there, there are still many reputable home improvement contractors who will get the job done on time and within budget, the BBB said.

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Start saving energy today with Energy Star-qualified products

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Written by Staff Reports Monday, October 20, 2014 09:24 pm

Energy Star is a voluntary program established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that helps businesses and individuals save money and protect the climate through increased energy efficiency. The program was created in 1992 under the Clean Air Act to develop, evaluate, and demonstrate nonregulatory strategies and technologies for reducing air pollution.

In 2005, Congress enacted the Energy Policy Act, which established a voluntary program for labeling products and buildings that meet energy efficiency standards. As a result, the Energy Star label was established to make it easy for consumers to identify and purchase energy-efficient products.

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Keeping hardwood floors beautiful is easier than you think

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Written by Staff Reports Monday, October 20, 2014 02:00 pm

Keeping hardwood floors beautiful is easier than you think Keeping hardwood floors beautiful is easier than you think No matter what the setting, the good looks and durability of hardwood floors can be maintained with minimal effort, according to the American Hardwood Information Center. It’s simply a matter of proper care and maintenance.

The center, in conjunction with the National Wood Flooring Association, suggests the following care and maintenance guidelines to keep hardwood floors looking beautiful for years to come.

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Make sure contractor has registered before proceeding with any work

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Written by Staff Reports Monday, October 20, 2014 12:35 pm

The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs requires any contractor who does home improvement work to register with the state. No home improvement contractor may offer to perform, engage or attempt to engage in the business of making or selling residential home improvements unless registered with the state.

Contractors who are doing work valued in excess of $500 are required to provide potential customers with a contract specifying the price and nature of the work to be performed, start and finish times, and other details.

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Inspect, repair window cords to avoid child safety hazard

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Written by Staff Reports Monday, October 20, 2014 12:17 pm

Inspect, repair window cords to avoid child safety hazard Inspect, repair window cords to avoid child safety hazard

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is urging parents and caregivers to check all window coverings for exposed or dangling cords, which pose a strangulation hazard to infants and young children.

CPSC is in agreement with the Window Covering Safety Council and safety advocates that only cordless window coverings, or those with inaccessible cords, should be used in homes, childcare centers and other places where young children are present. To heighten public awareness of window cord dangers, the council has declared October National Window Covering Safety Month.

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Prevent overwintering pests from making your home theirs

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Written by Staff Reports Monday, October 20, 2014 12:06 pm

Prevent overwintering pests from making your home theirs Prevent overwintering pests from making your home theirs

In the fall, pests searching for shelter from the harsh winter elements often end up in homes and other structures. The National Pest Management Association offers a few fall pest-proofing techniques that can help homeowners avoid infestations, prevent structural damage and protect the health of their family.

"When pests enter homes to overwinter during the fall, they can often go unnoticed," said Missy Henriksen, vice president of public affairs for NPMA. "However, when the weather warms, they re-emerge and become active, often revealing larger problems."

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SandCastles, August 2014

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Written by Staff Reports Thursday, August 07, 2014 11:50 am

SandCastles

   

Existing-home sales remain flat in March

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Written by Staff Reports Friday, May 02, 2014 11:00 pm

Existing-home sales were essentially flat in March, while the growth in home prices moderated, according to the National Association of Realtors. Sales gains in the Northeast and Midwest were offset by declines in the West and South.

Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, slipped 0.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.59 million in March from 4.60 million in February, and are 7.5 percent below the 4.96 million-unit pace in March 2013.

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Fewer new homes for sale

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Written by Staff Reports Friday, May 02, 2014 11:00 pm

Sales of new single-family houses in March 2014 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 384,000, according to estimates released jointly April 23 by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The number is 14.5 percent below the revised February rate of 449,000 and 13.3 percent below the March 2013 estimate of 443,000.

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Steps to take before erecting a fence

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Written by Staff Reports Saturday, April 12, 2014 04:13 pm

 As a courtesy, speak with your neighbors about your fencing plans. The fence will separate your properties from one another, and your neighbors may have certain feelings about what they want to look at. As a courtesy, speak with your neighbors about your fencing plans. The fence will separate your properties from one another, and your neighbors may have certain feelings about what they want to look at.  Fences serve many purposes on a property and can even add visual appeal and value to a home. A fence can effectively delineate property borders, serve as a safety barrier and keep pets and children from wandering into the street.

According to Zillow, an online real estate database, erecting a fence on a property in an area where fences are common usually increases the value of the home, putting it in line with similar properties nearby. However, this may only be the case if the fence is installed professionally and matches other fences throughout the neighborhood.

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Fresh paint can work wonders in the bathroom

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Written by Staff Reports Saturday, April 12, 2014 11:18 am

 Applying a light-colored paint scheme can Applying a light-colored paint scheme can Recent surveys show that the bathroom has overtaken the kitchen as the most frequently remodeled part of the home. But unless your plumbing is wanting or your tile is intolerable, you can often beautify the bath simply by painting it.

"In a lot a cases, people remodel the bath not for functional reasons, but just to change and enhance the appearance. If that's the goal, it can almost always be achieved with an attractive paint treatment," said Debbie Zimmer, paint and color expert for the Paint Quality Institute.

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Debunking common myths about carpeting

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Written by Staff Reports Saturday, April 12, 2014 07:15 am

  Carpeting is actually better at trapping allergens and dust in its fibers than smooth-surface floors. Carpeting is actually better at trapping allergens and dust in its fibers than smooth-surface floors.

Carpeting has long been a reliable flooring option to keep rooms looking good and feeling comfortable underfoot. There's something to be said about having a plush, warm cushion on the floors of a home. Carpeting can help buffer sounds and minimize injuries from falls. Walking around on a padded surface may minimize back and joint pain as well as feel more comfortable when going barefoot.

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Nine ways to improve curb appeal

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Written by Staff Reports Saturday, April 12, 2014 06:15 am

 Nine ways to improve curb appeal  Nine ways to improve curb appeal

Homeowners who want their homes to make strong first impressions must prioritize curb appeal. Homes with strong curb appeal sell well and can impart a welcoming feel to all visitors. Improving curb appeal need not be expensive, and the following are a handful of ways to improve the appearance of your home.

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The dos and don'ts of basement finishing

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Written by Staff Reports Saturday, April 12, 2014 04:20 am

 An unfinished basement allows homeowners to transform the room into anything they desire. But there are some dos and don'ts to finishing a basement, including ensuring the project adheres to local building codes. An unfinished basement allows homeowners to transform the room into anything they desire. But there are some dos and don'ts to finishing a basement, including ensuring the project adheres to local building codes.  Remodeling a basement is a popular home improvement project. A finished basement makes the space more functional and, when done correctly, can add a considerable amount of living space to a home.

Finishing a basement pays dividends in additional space in a home that doesn't require the same level of investment as putting an addition on the house. Also, the groundwork for a finished room is already there, as most basements are already set up with a poured concrete floor and some walls, usually cinder blocks. Some electrical components, plumbing and the creature comforts of drywall and a more inviting floor might be all that's necessary to finish a basement.

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Walk-in closets are in demand among home buyers this year.

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Written by Staff Reports Friday, April 11, 2014 11:00 pm

 Walk-in closets are in demand among home buyers this year. Walk-in closets are in demand among home buyers this year.   During New Homes Month in April, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) is sharing with home buyers the most popular features in new single-family homes in 2014.

Builders from across the country were surveyed on what features they were most likely to include in a typical single-family home this year, revealing that convenience, livability and energy efficiency are top priorities.

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Leave cutting damaged trees to the professionals

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Written by Staff Reports Thursday, April 10, 2014 11:00 pm

When yet another storm brings distress into your yard in the form of large branches and even entire trees that have broken and fallen into your world view, it’s best to think before your dig out your brother's old chain saw.

The first question should be, "Am I capable of removing this large tree/limb myself or should I seek professional help?"

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Home improvement tips learned the hard way

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Written by Staff Reports Thursday, April 10, 2014 11:00 pm

 HI-tips-664-0410 HI-tips-664-0410 'Tis the season for home improvement projects, and weekend warriors will soon be visiting home supply retailers to buy everything from paint to plywood. There are many advantages to making home improvements on your own, including the opportunity to test your mettle at projects big and small.

Many a novice DIYer has learned the ups and downs of home improvement through trial and error. But the following are a handful of lessons first-timers can heed before beginning their maiden voyages into the world of DIY home improvements.

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How to inspect for roof damage

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Written by Staff Reports Thursday, April 10, 2014 11:00 pm

  Spring is a good time to inspect roofs, which are often at the mercy of harsh conditions throughout the winter. Spring is a good time to inspect roofs, which are often at the mercy of harsh conditions throughout the winter.

Many homeowners do not think twice about their roofs. But when leaks develop, roof repairs and the subsequent costs of such work shed light on how important it is for homeowners to pay closer attention to the roofs over their heads.

Though certain roof issues, like shingles lost to inclement weather, are unforeseeable, many problems can be avoided with routine roof inspection. Checking roof conditions twice a year can help homeowners avoid potentially costly repair work or even more expensive roof replacement projects.

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EPA offers cooling tips for every budget this summer

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Written by Staff Reports Thursday, April 10, 2014 11:00 pm

 Add insulation to your attic to keep cool air in. If every American household did so, Americans would collectively save more than $1.8 billion in yearly energy costs.

Add insulation to your attic to keep cool air in. If every American household did so, Americans would collectively save more than $1.8 billion in yearly energy costs.

Read more: EPA offers cooling tips for every budget this summer

   

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