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A smarter way to buy a home

(BPT) - Are you considering buying a home? With mortgage rates on the slow and steady incline, there may be no better time for a home purchase than now. Mortgage interest rates will likely continue to go up for the foreseeable future, according to recent data from the housing finance company Freddie Mac. Many housing experts and industry observers agree.

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Recent Headlines

Monday 05/22/2017
10 tips to save money, cut stress when buying or selling a home
Updated: May 23, 2017 - 3:33 am

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Thursday 05/18/2017
Want to catch homebuyers' eyes? Follow 5 easy steps to a lush lawn
Updated: May 24, 2017 - 3:35 am

(BPT) - When it comes to selling a home there are many different strategies and most of them focus on the home's interior. However, what many sellers fail to realize is that it's the exterior of the home that often makes or breaks a sale.

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Wednesday 05/17/2017
How to use color psychology to influence the mood of your home
Updated: May 24, 2017 - 3:35 am

(BPT) - Looking to make a few changes around the house? A fresh coat of paint can make a big difference on the look of your home and how you feel living in it. But unless you’re a color expert, it’s hard to know what colors are best among the endless array of options. A great place to start is by understanding the psychology behind various colors, so that you can achieve the look and create the effect you want in each room.

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Wednesday 05/10/2017
Easy DIY projects to prepare your home for sale
Updated: May 18, 2017 - 3:32 am

(BPT) - If you're looking to sell your home quickly and for more money, CBS News recommends listing when the market begins to heat up in May. To accomplish these goals, it's essential to make popular areas of the house look appealing to potential buyers. Fortunately, with a little DIY effort, you don't have to spend money on expensive home repairs or real estate-staging services.

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Monday 05/08/2017
Black is the new black: Black makes a comeback as a major home improvement trend
Updated: May 16, 2017 - 3:31 am

(BPT) - Grays, browns, taupes — after decades of neutral-colored shingles dominating entire neighborhoods, homeowners are turning to the dark side. Home improvement experts agree black roofs are making a comeback, offering a sleek alternative that boosts curb appeal and enhances design elements.

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Tuesday 05/02/2017
2017 Homebuyer Insights Report [Infographic]
Posted: May 02, 2017

(BPT) - Younger buyers understand the long-term benefits of homeownership. In fact, millennials who have become homeowners are buying what they can afford now, and are planning to purchase their dream home in the future. Learn more about current trends among modern homebuyers in this infographic.

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Wednesday 04/26/2017
Add living space to your home with an easy patio makeover
Updated: May 04, 2017 - 3:31 am

(BPT) - Everyone looks forward to a shift into summer mode, with its sun-soaked days, flower-scented breezes and velvety nights under the stars.

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Tuesday 04/25/2017
Changing weather patterns leave homeowners underinsured
Updated: May 03, 2017 - 3:31 am

(BPT) - The U.S. has experienced significant shifts in the frequency, severity and locations of natural disasters — including floods, hurricanes, tornadoes and wildfires — during the past decade.

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Monday 04/24/2017
Survey: African-Americans passionate about homeownership, but fewer own homes
Updated: May 02, 2017 - 3:31 am

(BPT) - More than any other demographic group, African-Americans perceive homeownership as an integral component of the American Dream, and a way to build security and wealth for their families, according to a recent survey.

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Thursday 04/20/2017
Big-impact ideas for small patio spaces
Updated: April 28, 2017 - 3:31 am

(BPT) - Do you have a small patio? Do you think you can't do much with the space due to its size? There's probably a lot more potential than you think.

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Wednesday 04/19/2017
5 green home improvements that can help sell your home for more
Updated: April 27, 2017 - 3:31 am

(BPT) - Demand remains high for energy-efficient, eco-friendly home features, according to a survey by the National Association of Home Builders. In fact, the majority of builders now put energy-efficient windows, heating and cooling systems, thermostats and appliances in their construction, the survey says. If you’re selling your home and hope to compete with new construction — as well as set your house apart from other resales — making green improvements could significantly pay off.

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Tuesday 04/18/2017
Hardworking kitchens can still have style
Updated: April 26, 2017 - 3:31 am

(BPT) - Years ago, the kitchen served a very utilitarian function — a place to prepare food and clean the dishes. Today, it's truly the nerve center of the house where people eat meals, discuss the day's events, plan calendars, do homework, check e-mail and entertain guests.

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3 ways to personalize your home's curb appeal with an eye-catching front door
Updated: April 26, 2017 - 3:31 am

(BPT) - At its core, the desire to create a home with curb appeal is a desire to make a home uniquely one’s own. After all, no matter how beautiful they are, rows of homes that look the same inherently fail to capture attention. Using personal touches, people want friends and family to know which home is theirs.

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Don't suffer the pain of high energy bills in your next home
Updated: April 26, 2017 - 3:31 am

(BPT) - Do you cringe each month when your utility bill arrives in the mail? If high energy costs are getting you down, don’t blame your electronic devices. Heating and cooling are the largest energy expense for most homes, reports the U.S. Department of Energy.

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3 ways to quickly and economically save big bucks on home heating and cooling costs
Updated: April 26, 2017 - 3:31 am

(BPT) - What would you rather do: Pay your utility bill or take a much-deserved vacation? With an endless stream of bills each month, you might wonder where you can find the money to jet off to the beach or mountain resort of your dreams. Read on for the solution.

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Friday 04/14/2017
Before Buying a Home, Learn the Lingo!
Updated: April 14, 2017 - 3:31 am

(StatePoint) Buying a home for the first time? You may discover that one of the biggest obstacles is learning the lingo. Homebuying can be overwhelming and perhaps a bit intimidating if you aren’t familiar with the terminology.

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Wednesday 04/12/2017
Plumbing the possibilities: Kitchens, showers and baths highlight outdoor living spaces
Updated: April 20, 2017 - 3:31 am

(BPT) - The trend toward outdoor living spaces that mimic the look, comfort, convenience and functionality of indoor spaces doesn’t have to stop at the backyard grilling station. A growing number of homeowners are exploring new additions to their outdoor spaces, including outdoor showers and powder rooms, and even garage entertaining areas anchored by sinks and wetbars!

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Friday 04/07/2017
Instilling garage logic in your kids
Updated: April 15, 2017 - 3:31 am

(BPT) - It’s a long-standing tradition performed at the workbench of American garages — passing garage logic to the next generation. From hammering that first nail to changing a car’s oil, the garage is a living laboratory where parents teach their kids life lessons, self-reliance and problem-solving skills. It can even be an incubator where the seeds of a future profession grow.

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Thursday 04/06/2017
Top 6 home decorating trends
Updated: April 14, 2017 - 3:31 am

(BPT) - If you’re planning to tackle a home decorating project this year, here are the top trends you should consider:

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Wednesday 04/05/2017
How PMI can make your dream of home sweet home a reality
Updated: April 13, 2017 - 3:31 am

(BPT) - In the 2017 housing market, those who choose to pursue the dream of owning a home face several important decisions, such as how much to put toward a down payment. Twenty percent down is typically recommended by most lenders.

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Monday 04/03/2017
5 mistakes to avoid when buying your first home
Updated: April 11, 2017 - 3:31 am

(BPT) - Buying a home for the first time is comparable to the first time you ride a bike. You can learn about how it works from your parents and observe it from a distance, but you really won’t know the ins and outs until you actually sit down on the bicycle and start riding.

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Wednesday 03/22/2017
Tips for choosing an energy-efficient, eco-friendly HVAC system
Updated: March 30, 2017 - 3:32 am

(BPT) - The majority of Americans (74 percent) care about the environment, according to Pew Research. If you recycle regularly and have a programmable thermostat, you’re already doing something positive for the environment. But when it comes time to replace your heating, ventilation and cooling system, will you know how to make choices that protect your wallet and the environment?

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Monday 03/20/2017
Spring home improvements you can do in 24 hours or less
Updated: March 28, 2017 - 3:31 am

(BPT) - For most of us, the idea of spring cleaning probably sounds refreshing after a winter of bundling up against the cold. Now that spring has arrived, it’s finally time to get started! Sprucing up your home doesn’t have to take lots of time, and is a great way to leave you feeling reinvigorated after a long winter.

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Tuesday 03/14/2017
The lowdown on low down payment mortgage
Updated: March 22, 2017 - 3:31 am

(BPT) - You would like to buy, but you can’t manage that 20 percent down payment. Does this sound familiar?

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7 home improvements to tackle before you move in
Updated: March 22, 2017 - 3:31 am

(BPT) - You found the perfect home, so it’s not surprising that you want to move in as quickly as possible. However, there are some projects that are best done when the house is still empty.

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Tuesday 03/07/2017
4 hot, high-tech upgrades to give your bathroom over-the-top luxury
Updated: March 15, 2017 - 3:31 am

(BPT) - Americans love luxury and technology, so it’s no surprise that the two are meeting and thriving in one of our favorite places — the bathroom. Just as technology is transforming every other area of the house, inside and out, it's recreating our concept of what constitutes a luxurious bathroom.

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Tuesday 02/28/2017
Home sellers: 6 last-minute cleaning tasks to do before every showing
Updated: March 01, 2017 - 3:31 am

(BPT) - Real estate experts agree: dirt and clutter are the anti-staging elements that can send buyers running for the door before they ever think of making an offer. Prior to staging your home, invest some time in deep cleaning it, paying attention to everything from the front walk to the garbage disposal to the air inside your home.

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Thursday 02/23/2017
Buying or Refinancing Your Home this Spring? Tips for Success
Updated: February 23, 2017 - 3:32 am

(StatePoint) Many Americans start to think about their housing needs this time of year. For some people spring aligns with the school calendar, given the time it takes to find the right home, arrange financing and move in time for the next academic year. For others, an income tax refund, coupled with refinancing a mortgage, is the way to fund a home improvement project.

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Wednesday 02/22/2017
Thoughtful home design: 4 tips to transform any small space
Updated: March 02, 2017 - 3:32 am

(BPT) - During the 1950s, the average-sized American home was just around 1,700 square feet. Fast forward to today, and the average size has increased to about 2,600 square feet, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. While many Americans think the bigger the better, there is a growing trend of homeowners around the country opting to downsize to tiny homes, condominiums, apartments or just smaller single-family homes.

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Tuesday 02/21/2017
How trending home colors achieve their 'hot' status each year
Updated: March 01, 2017 - 3:31 am

(BPT) - You see it every year — a “hot” new color begins appearing on phone cases, walls, ceilings, furnishings and accessories. Soon, virtually everyone who’s doing any kind of renovation or design work is incorporating that color into their project. Have you ever wondered how home color trends happen?

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Self-employed? Tips to help you navigate the mortgage process
Updated: March 01, 2017 - 3:31 am

(BPT) - Sponsored ad content by Vanderbilt Mortgage and Finance, Inc.

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Make a striking focal point the foundation of your spa-like bathroom
Updated: March 01, 2017 - 3:31 am

(BPT) - American homeowners’ desire for spa-like bathrooms shows no signs of waning, says the latest Design Trends report by the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA). From freestanding bath tubs and floating vanities to LED lighting and soothing color schemes, some of the most-requested bathroom renovations focus on creating the atmosphere of luxury and calm found in world-class spas.

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Monday 02/20/2017
Flood insurance: Does your excuse hold water?
Updated: February 28, 2017 - 3:31 am

(BPT) - We know the old saying: when it rains, it pours… and when it pours, it floods. With winter snow storms coming to an end, the threat of flooding increases as the snow begins to melt and the rivers and creeks begin to swell. It’s easy to forget about how powerfully destructive water can be. In fact, nine out of 10 natural disasters include flood, making it the number one disaster in the United States according to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). However, only 15 percent of homeowners have flood insurance. From 2006 to 2015, total flood claims cost more than $1.9 billion per year and the average claim was more than $46,000 during that time.

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Thursday 02/16/2017
Buying a Home? What to Know about Down Payments
Updated: May 06, 2017 - 3:31 am

(StatePoint) If you're in the market to buy a home, your down payment is probably top of mind. However, it’s important to understand all your options, particularly if you’ve heard the rule of thumb that you shouldn't pursue homeownership unless you can put 20 percent down.

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Wednesday 02/08/2017
Exterior home improvements yield higher ROI for less money, report shows
Updated: February 16, 2017 - 3:32 am

(BPT) - Renovation season is approaching. Do you know what home improvements will give you the best return for your money? Here’s a hint: step outside.

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Tuesday 02/07/2017
Light solutions: What to do when your house feels like a cave
Updated: February 15, 2017 - 3:31 am

(BPT) - A house with ample windows can win your heart with silent promises of sun-drenched rooms and warm breezes wafting through open windows. The truth, however, is that even a home with windows galore can have rooms that feel dark and cave like.

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Monday 02/06/2017
4 bathroom design trends that marry luxury, beauty and sensibility
Updated: February 14, 2017 - 3:31 am

(BPT) - When you’re ready to create the bathroom of your dreams, it’s no time to chase fads. You want design trends with enduring appeal, concepts that blend luxury, beauty, sensibility and eco-friendliness. Striking the perfect balance between indulgence and practicality can result in a bathroom where you’ll happily spend time getting ready to face the world or decompressing after a busy day.

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Monday 01/30/2017
What you should know about rising interest rates
Updated: February 07, 2017 - 3:32 am

(BPT) - Homeowners planning to refinance and buyers searching for a home may have an idea of what’s in store for them with regards to interest rates, but they never really know until they lock in a rate. This is in part because rates can change direction fast, and when they rise—as they have been recently—it can cost borrowers a great deal of money and time.

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Wednesday 01/25/2017
Six factors driving the cost of your new HVAC system
Updated: February 02, 2017 - 3:32 am

(BPT) - More than half of homes in the U.S were built before 1980, according to U.S. Census figures. With most home heating and ventilation systems lasting around 20 years, millions of American homeowners will be looking at replacing their HVAC systems this year. If you’ll be among them, understanding the factors that influence the cost of a system could help save you money in the long run.

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Tuesday 01/24/2017
Where to find rebates, tax credits and rewards for energy-efficient home improvements
Updated: February 01, 2017 - 3:33 am

(BPT) - If you’re planning to make some home improvements this year, you’re probably thinking about energy-efficient options, knowing they can save you money in the long run. However, many eco-friendly home improvements that help lower your energy bills can also pay off right away in the form of rebates and tax credits.

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Tuesday 01/17/2017
4 hot bathroom design trends that don't have to cost a bundle
Updated: January 25, 2017 - 3:33 am

(BPT) - Coffee bars, TVs in mirrors, smart toilets and pet-friendly amenities — a growing number of homeowners are requesting such upscale features in their bathroom design, according to the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA). Is it any wonder that association members report the average cost of remodeling a bath is between $10,000 and $30,000? However, you don’t have to spend that much to update your bathroom stylishly and easily.

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Monday 01/16/2017
Plumbing the power of a powder room addition
Updated: January 24, 2017 - 3:32 am

(BPT) - Never underestimate the power of a powder room to make your home more livable and increase its resale value. Having more and nicer bathrooms consistently scores high in surveys on homeowners’ wish lists. What’s more, extra baths deliver more than just convenience; a National Association of Realtors study found each extra bathroom boosts home sale prices approximately 24 percent.

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Wednesday 12/21/2016
Where there is a will - and more - there's peace of mind
Updated: December 29, 2016 - 3:32 am

(BPT) - What’s the state of your estate? Robert Fishbein, a vice president and corporate counsel in Prudential Financial's Tax Department, says now's a good time to find out.

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Tuesday 12/20/2016
4 statement pieces to elevate your bathroom to a work of art
Updated: December 28, 2016 - 3:32 am

(BPT) - Investing in a bathroom upgrade is in the cards for nearly a quarter of homeowners planning to renovate within the next 12 months, according to a new survey by Improving a bathroom is rewarding on multiple levels; if you’re selling, buyers love great bathrooms. If you’re staying, a luxurious bathroom can be a relaxing oasis where you’ll be happy to begin or end a busy day.

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Thursday 12/15/2016
Beyond the front door: The benefits of working with a mortgage banker
Posted: December 15, 2016

(BPT) - So you’ve found your dream home. Before you start packing up, you’ll need to make some big decisions first, like finding the right mortgage. Mortgage decisions can be overwhelming, especially if you try to do it on your own. Your neighborhood mortgage banker can help you navigate this process, answering questions in real-time and offering personalized advice.

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Monday 12/05/2016
New neutrals dominate the color trends of 2017
Updated: December 13, 2016 - 3:32 am

(BPT) - From furniture to walls, new homes to remodels, cool grays have dominated home design palettes for the last five years. Look to 2017 to gently shake things up with a focus on fresh neutrals that bring warm and cool tones together to create versatile color with timeless appeal.

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Thursday 12/01/2016
Bathroom renovations even the pickiest in-laws will love
Updated: December 09, 2016 - 3:33 am

(BPT) - While the approach of the holidays has many people focused on gift lists and celebrations, you’re thinking about the guest bathroom. More specifically, you’re thinking about your mother-in-law’s commentary on the dripping showerhead, your brother-in-law’s judgment of the archaic toilet that uses gallons of water per flush, and your sister-in-law’s reaction to the total lack of natural light.

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Wednesday 11/30/2016
4 tips to help keep your home warm, comfortable and energy efficient this winter
Updated: December 08, 2016 - 3:33 am

(BPT) - With winter comes the holiday season, a time that’s supposed to be associated with “comfort and joy.” But how joyful will it be if pests invade your house, or if your home is cold and drafty? Help stay warm all winter long by addressing factors like air leaks from gaps and cracks that can make your home feel uncomfortable.

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Thursday 11/17/2016
DIY projects to increase the resale value of your home.
Updated: November 25, 2016 - 3:31 am

(BPT) - Whatever you’re passionate about, you know hobbies cost money. People who haven’t shaken the travel bug need to negotiate time off work, pay for lodging, airfare and more. If you’re a big football fan, the amount you spend on food, snacks, game tickets and clothing adds up during the course of a season. Even simple hobbies like fishing can require a seemingly endless number of gadgets and electronics.

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