Selling Your Home

Which Type of Siding Is Right for Your House?

Siding is a critical component of a home that protects it from extreme temperatures, rain, snow and wind. Although siding is designed to last many years, it can become damaged over time by repeated exposure to the elements and lack of maintenance. If your home’s siding needs to be replaced, you have many options.

Most Popular Siding Materials
The most commonly chosen type of siding is vinyl. Homeowners prefer vinyl siding because it is inexpensive and durable and requires little maintenance. Vinyl siding comes in an array of colors and styles and can even be made to resemble other siding materials.

Although wood siding has declined in popularity, many homeowners still choose it because of its strength and classic appearance. Several types of wood can be used for siding, and pieces...

The Difference Between a Home Equity Loan and Home Equity Line of Credit

If you need money for an important project, you might be able to finance it by accessing the equity you’ve built up by paying your mortgage. A home equity loan and a home equity line of credit (HELOC) are two options. Before you decide to use either, make sure you understand the key differences between the two—and when it makes sense to utilize one over the other.

What Equity Is and When to Use It
Your home’s equity is the current value of your house minus the balance owed on the mortgage. The amount you can borrow through a home equity loan or HELOC will depend on the lender and the amount of equity you have.

Before you decide to access your home equity, make sure you want to use the money for a legitimate purpose. Repairs or renovations that will increase your home’s value can...

What to Do About a Pothole in Your Driveway

Hitting a pothole can result in vehicle damage and expensive repair bills. If a road you commonly drive has a pothole, you might be able to take a different route, but a pothole in your driveway may be impossible to avoid. You should fix it to protect your car, as well as vehicles owned by anyone who may visit you.

What Causes Potholes
Potholes form in asphalt driveways when ice and water from melting snow displace the soil beneath the surface. In dirt and gravel driveways, water can get trapped under the surface and cause potholes. When cars repeatedly drive over weakened areas, the surface becomes damaged and the holes gradually grow wider and deeper.

How Potholes Can Affect Cars
Hitting a pothole can damage the sidewalls and treads of tires or cause them to go flat. A pothole...

10 Laundry Tips to Cut Your Energy Bill

Did you know that laundry machines are among the costliest appliances in your home to operate because of their high energy usage? Given that many families clean multiple loads of clothes every week, taking steps to be more efficient in the laundry room might help lower your overall power bill.

The U.S. Department of Energy offers the following tips:

1. Use cold water. Using warm water instead of hot can cut a load’s energy use in half, and using cold water will save even more. Cold-water detergents can be helpful to ensure items get clean, and high-efficiency detergents (indicated by the “HE” symbol) should be used when required by the manufacturer.

2. Wash full loads. Your...

Would Improving the Yard Help Your House Sell Faster?

When prospective buyers come to look at a house, the first thing they notice is its curb appeal. A house with a well-maintained yard makes a positive initial impression, but one that’s been neglected can make people instantly decide to pass. Buyers will think that if the owners didn’t take care of the landscaping, they probably also neglected important maintenance inside the house. Before you put your home on the market, take some time to clean up the yard so that you can quickly attract a buyer.

Spruce Up the Landscaping
Pruning trees and shrubs can easily take a backseat to more pressing concerns, but overgrown bushes and trees with dead limbs will immediately give buyers a negative impression. If you don’t know how to prune trees and bushes, or don’t have the time, hire a landscaper.


How to Pay Off Your Mortgage Faster

A mortgage is likely the largest debt you will ever have to repay. The idea of having a mortgage hanging over your head for up to 30 years can feel daunting. With some sacrifices and discipline, you might be able to pay off your loan years ahead of schedule.

Make Extra Payments
Some mortgage lenders allow borrowers to make extra payments to repay their loans earlier. Some financial institutions accept additional payments at any time, while some don’t accept extra payments at all, only accept them at specific times or charge penalties. Check with your lender.

If your financial institution will allow you to make extra payments, you could erase years from your repayment period. You can make an extra payment if you have additional funds from a bonus or the sale of property. If you mail an extra...

Interior Paint Finishes: Choosing the Right Options for Your Home

You’ve agonized over color choices and made your final decision. Now comes the question of which finishes are the best for every area you plan to paint. With six different finishes to choose from, the decision may not be as simple as you think. The house painting experts at Home Depot offer a primer (no pun intended) on paint finishes and where to use them:

Flat Finish
This paint has a matte finish that reflects no light, making it great for most interior walls. It is especially good if you need to camouflage small wall imperfections. While flat paint is more or less washable, you may want to keep some extra around for touch-ups if and when needed.

Flat Enamel
This paint has a durable, flat, matte finish. It’s a good choice for...

Flooded Basement? What to Do

As a homeowner, one of the last things you want to discover is water in your basement. Whether it comes from a rainstorm or a burst pipe, even a small amount of water can have devastating results.

Take action immediately. If you find water in your basement, shut off the electricity before you enter the area. Water conducts electricity, which means that entering a flooded basement with the power still on could put you at risk of serious injury.

If it’s coming from a burst pipe, shut off the water immediately. If you don’t know how to do this, either ask someone to help you or call a plumber.

Dry out the basement. Depending on the amount of water in the basement, you might be able to remove it yourself. If...

6 Kitchen Upgrades Worth Their Weight in Resale Value

If a kitchen renovation is on your radar, and you plan to stay in your home long-term, you can figure on spending $20,000 or more—especially if you plan to rip out counters and re-configure your space.

But if you’re thinking of upgrades that increase your home’s resale value, as well as your own enjoyment, there’s a lot you can do at minimal cost to bring your kitchen up to date.

Designers advise putting your money into six specific areas to get the most bang for your update buck:

  1. Appliances – Replace basic white or black appliances with stainless steel, which will not only update the look of your kitchen, but will likely be more energy efficient.
  2. Cabinets – It’s amazing what...

Using Tech to Boost Your Home's Appeal

We are living in a technology-driven world, and your home’s connection with the digital world can be an important part of its appeal when it comes time to sell.

It wasn’t all that long ago that technology wasn’t a big factor in selling a house. It didn’t matter what cable company or internet provider you had; buyers weren’t going to make their final decision on that sort of thing. But these days, good internet and Wi-Fi service can be key for many buyers. As we rely on our devices and laptops more and more—for work, school and staying in touch with friends and relatives—connectivity is about a lot more than watching TV and playing video games.

Let house hunters know which service providers are in the area, and even keep the brochures handy during open houses. Most companies offer discounts to new customers;...