Monday, January 18, 2021 / by Amy McLeod
The long, dark days of winter are upon us, and with COVID-19 still keeping us closer to home, we're keenly aware of all the maintenance tasks we've put off or let slip through the cracks.
And we hate to break it to you, but it's time to get to work.
We know you're wondering if you can get out of this. Must you really hit pause on your "Bridgerton" binge session and do, ugh, chores?
Well, no. You don't have to do anything. But if you do, we guarantee you'll save some money—and maybe even your sanity—down the line. A modicum of maintenance now will prevent astronomical repair costs in the future.
So we asked a few experts for a list of things we should do while we hole up at home. Some of the tasks are things you can tackle yourself, and some might be better suited for a professional—following COVID-19 safety precautions, of course. But don't worry: We've outlined how you can get them all done—as quickly as possible, of course, so that you can ...
Wednesday, January 13, 2021 / by Amy McLeod
Making the leap from being a renter to becoming a homeowner is a process that includes taking stock of your financial situation and determining whether you're ready for such a massive responsibility. For most people, the primary question is affordability. Do you have enough cash in the bank to fund a down payment, or do you have a credit score high enough to qualify you for a home loan? But there are other considerations, too—and plenty of misconceptions and myths that could keep you from making that first step.
Below, our experts weigh in on why some situations that may seem like roadblocks are actually not as daunting as they appear.
1. Buying a home means heavy debt
Some may argue that continuing to rent can spare you from taking on heavy debt. But owning a house offers advantages.
“Buying a home and using a typical loan would be spread out over 20 to 30 years. But if you can make one extra payment a year or make bimonthly payments instead, you can shed up to ; ...
Monday, December 28, 2020 / by Amy McLeod
Ever resolve to organize your closet or junk drawer, only to see your efforts devolve into a (slightly different) cluttered mess? Maybe it's because you tried a method that doesn't fit your personality.
It turns out, people have different approaches to organizing—how to do it, and what they want to get out of it. A new organization strategy, Pixie, caters to these different types. It's the brainchild of Kelly McMenamin, author of "Organize Your Way: Simple Strategies for Every Personality."
"How you organize is hardwired into your brain," she explains. "It’s why some keep tons and rarely declutter, and others squirrel everything away in filing cabinets and declutter regularly. The trick to getting and staying organized is to figure out your organizing style, and then build systems that work with your natural tendencies rather than fighting them."
Rather than dole out one-size-fits-all advice, McMenamin has her clients first take a Myers-Briggs-type questionnaire tn ...
Monday, October 5, 2020 / by Amy McLeod
Ah, fall: The nip of the first chill in the air. The colorful foliage. The pumpkin spice lattes. The pumpkin spice everything.
Oh yeah, and the long list of home maintenance tasks awaiting you at the start of the season.
We hate to intrude on your fall bliss, but the postsummer months are a critical time for knocking out routine home maintenance to keep your household running smoothly into winter. Luckily, many of these tasks are easy DIY projects, with options to call in the pros if you prefer.
We asked home experts which items should be at the top of your to-do list this fall. Here are the musts to tackle before the falling leaves turn to ice and snow.
1. Check windows and doors for air leaks
Lower temperatures mean higher thermostat settings, and anyone in a cold climate knows the pain of opening a gas bill in the dead of winter.
To keep cold air out and utility bills in check, Mike Bidwell, president and CEO of Neighborly, suggests checking all of your windown ...
Wednesday, August 26, 2020 / by Amy McLeod
DIY home improvements can be great feel-good projects. You get to learn a new skill, use your hands, and take pride in something you create yourself.
But let’s face it: Your DIY project doesn’t make sense if it won’t make cents. In other words, it needs to pay off when it comes time to sell your home.
“The key to winning the ROI game with home improvement is to take a less-is-more approach,” says Dan DiClerico, home expert at HomeAdvisor.
If your goal is to earn a return on your DIY investment, DiClerico suggests taking on smaller improvements that will have a big impact on buyers.
“Bells and whistles tend not to rank high on ROI,” DiClerico says. “The high-tech home theater might mean hours of fun for you and the family, but it’s probably not going to pay for itself when the time comes to sell.”
Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t outfit your house with the latest technology—if you&r; ...