5 Awesomely Easy Landscaping Projects

By: Dave Toht Ramp up your curb appeal with cool landscaping projects you can easily pull off in a weekend. Project #1: Use a charged garden hose to lay out a smooth curve. Tip: A “charged” garden hose full of water makes for a smoother, kink-free curve; charge up by turning on the spigot but leaving the sprayer off. With the hose as your guide, use a lawn edger or spade to cut away excess sod and make an incision for the edging. Tap in the edging with a rubber mallet and add the … [Read more...]

10 Easy Mistakes Home Owners Make on Their Taxes

By: G. M. Filisko Don’t rouse the IRS or pay more taxes than necessary — know the score on each home tax deduction and credit. Sin #1: Deducting the wrong year for property taxes You take a tax deduction for property taxes in the year you (or the holder of your escrow account) actually paid them. Some taxing authorities work a year behind — that is, you’re not billed for 2011 property taxes until 2012. But that’s irrelevant to the feds. Enter on your federal forms whatever amount you … [Read more...]

Spring Cleaning Guide

By: Alyson McNutt English Make spring cleaning less of a chore by following these smarter--and mostly greener--tips for this annual rite of homeownership. Bathrooms When it's time to get down and dirty, many people start with the bathroom. Allen Rathey, founder of The Housekeeping Channel, says removing mineral deposits, rust, and such from toilets doesn't have to mean chemical warfare. Don rubber gloves and use a pumice stone to erase stubborn stains. If you want more scouring power, … [Read more...]

3 Hot Trends for Kitchen Remodeling in 2012

By: Jamie Goldberg Mulling a kitchen remodel but want to keep costs low? You’re au courant with today’s trends that emphasize options and high-tech wizardry at affordable prices. Trend #1: Remodeling scales back A new focus on moderation and value has entered the remodeling mind-set. Trends that are likely to show up in your kitchen next year include: You’ll repair your existing appliances instead of replacing them, extending their life with good maintenance and care. If you’re replacing … [Read more...]

Fireplaces Provide a Warm Glow to a Home on the Market

With winter weather gripping most of the country the fireplace takes on greater importance in the sale of a home. The National Association of REALTORS® recently conducted a survey that found nearly two-thirds of homebuyers had a fireplace on their wish list. The fireplace has become a coveted amenity and homes boasting this feature see its benefits during resale. “The fireplace is a focal point when people come to see your home,” said Hillary Staats, an interior designer for Sanctuary on … [Read more...]

Tips on How To Prepare Your Home for Holiday Guests

By: Lisa Kaplan Gordon Is your home ready for holiday visits from friends and family? Here’s how to prepare for the invasion. I'm lucky and have a guest suite always ready for holiday guests. But even with a dedicated space, preparing my home for the annual onslaught of friends and family takes time and forethought. Some preparations for holiday guests take only a few minutes; some take a lot longer. My advice: Start preparing your home for the holidays now. Prioritize The day before … [Read more...]

Smart Ways to Make Windows More Energy-Savvy

By: Lisa Kaplan Gordon Technology eventually will give birth to smart windows that adjust to the weather. But until that blessed event, here are tips on how to make your windows more clever and energy-efficient. We thought double-paned windows with low-emissive coating were pretty intelligent ways of letting in light and keeping out heat in summer. But it appears that window IQ will jump in a few years with the help of nanocrystal technology, which lets panes adjust to the weather. A … [Read more...]

Tree Falls Over Property Line: Who Pays? Who Picks Up the Pieces?

By: Ann Cochran If a neighbor’s tree falls over your property line, file an insurance claim for repairs and cleanup. No house damage? Check if chopping and hauling debris is covered. When a tree falls Your neighbor is responsible when a tree falls over your shared property line only if you can prove he was aware that his tree was a hazard and refused to remedy the problem. Regardless, your insurance company restores your property first, and later decides whether or not to pursue … [Read more...]

Fall Lawn Care: 4 Ways to Say G’Night For The Winter

By: Lisa Kaplan Gordon Labor Day through Halloween is your window for preparing lawns for a lush spring. Although spring lawn care gets all the attention, fall lawn care is the make-it or break-it season for grass. “I’m already thinking about next year,” says John Dillon, who takes care of New York City’s Central Park, which features 200 acres of lawn in the middle of Manhattan. “The grass I grow this fall is what will be there next spring.” Fall lawn care is no walk in the park. … [Read more...]

Seal Air Leaks Around Windows and Doors

By: Jeanne Huber Seal air leaks around your windows and doors to prevent wasting precious home heating and cooling energy that costs you money. Check for air leaks With windows and doors closed, hold a lit stick of incense near window and door frames where drafts might sneak in. Watch for smoke movement. Note what sources need caulk, sealant, and weather-stripping. Seal air leaks around windows If you have old windows, caulking and adding new weatherstripping goes a long way toward … [Read more...]