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Tips for choosing an energy-efficient, eco-friendly HVAC system

(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?

Pet Central


Having a pet is a lot of responsibility, and we’ll help by giving you lots of tips and tricks! More >>



Our fitness articles will help teach you how to work out with gym- and home-based exercises. More >>



Enjoy the crosswords challenge in our free daily puzzles, from the harder Sunday crossword to the quicker daily. More >>



Every Sudoku has a unique solution that can be reached logically. Enter numbers into the blank spaces so that each row, column and 3x3 box contains the numbers 1 to 9. More >>

Recent Headlines

Monday 03/20/2017
Spring home improvements you can do in 24 hours or less
Updated: March 24, 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: February 16, 2017 - 3:32 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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Tuesday 11/15/2016
How to get the most out of your lawn and snow tools
Updated: November 23, 2016 - 3:33 am

(BPT) - Remember when you actually had to leave the house to do things?

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Thursday 11/10/2016
3 reasons why winter is a smart time to buy a home
Updated: November 18, 2016 - 3:32 am

(BPT) - Don’t give up on buying a home as winter nears. In fact, December through February may be better for buyers than the busy season in spring and summer.

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Wednesday 11/09/2016
6 holiday-friendly home design features
Updated: November 17, 2016 - 3:31 am

(BPT) - Sponsored Ad Content by Clayton

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Friday 11/04/2016
An affordable way to qualify for a home loan without that big down payment
Updated: November 12, 2016 - 3:32 am

(BPT) - For many Americans, the biggest hurdle in buying a home is the 20 percent down payment they think is required for mortgage approval. According to a recent survey by the National Association of Realtors, 34 percent of respondents believe they need more than 20 percent. Meanwhile, low down payment mortgages account for a significant amount of home buying annually.

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Tuesday 11/01/2016
Autumn and early winter: The best times to be a homebuyer?
Updated: November 09, 2016 - 3:34 am

(BPT) - The long-held belief that summer is the only time to buy a home is fading fast. Savvy home-buyers are learning that when temperatures drop, numerous benefits emerge that simply aren't available other times of the year.

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Wednesday 10/26/2016
5 ways to reinvent your garage
Updated: October 27, 2016 - 3:33 am

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Site-built, manufactured or modular: What's the difference and what does it mean?
Updated: October 27, 2016 - 3:33 am

(BPT) - Sponsored Ad Content by Clayton

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Smart tips for buying a first-home that will be easy and affordable to personalize
Updated: October 27, 2016 - 3:33 am

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Friday 10/21/2016
How New Buildings are Going Green
Updated: October 21, 2016 - 3:31 am

(StatePoint) One of the elements that can greatly enhance the value and enjoyment of a home is beautiful landscaping. But with certain parts of the country facing water restrictions, and many others simply wanting to go green, both residential and commercial property owners are finding it increasingly difficult to keep lawns and hedges thick, green and free of dead zones.

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Wednesday 10/19/2016
The rise of the basement: Top tips for a better space
Updated: October 27, 2016 - 3:33 am

(BPT) - With fewer homes for sale and good returns on the remodeling investment, more homeowners are reclaiming their lower levels and remodeling their basements.

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Wednesday 10/12/2016
5 residential design trends in hardwood
Updated: October 20, 2016 - 3:31 am

(BPT) - Hardwood may be one of the oldest building materials known to man, yet architects, designers and homeowners are always finding fresh ways to use it in the modern home. What’s the appeal? Flexibility and variety, for starters.

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Thursday 10/06/2016
4 DIY projects for your first home
Updated: October 14, 2016 - 3:31 am

(BPT) - “Where should I start?” It's a question many homeowners ask themselves.

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Wednesday 10/05/2016
Tips for creating a virtually self-cleaning bathroom
Updated: October 13, 2016 - 3:31 am

(BPT) - Americans may be spending less time on housework, but that’s probably not much consolation when you’re scrubbing the toilet for the third time in a week. Meanwhile, hours spent working are taking more of our time, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ American Time Use Survey. Factor in other time demands like taking care of the kids, your in-laws, your spouse and yourself, and it’s easy to see why products that improve cleanability are gaining ground in bathroom design. 

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Saturday 10/01/2016
Fall: Best season for planting trees that boost home and community value
Updated: October 09, 2016 - 3:31 am

(BPT) - Planting a tree is an investment in the future, according to a Greek proverb: “A society grows great when old men plant trees under whose shade they never expect to sit.” But did you know planting trees around your home is also an investment in your real estate value and the value of your neighborhood? Or, that it’s one best made not in the season of new life, spring, but in the fall as winter approaches?

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Tuesday 09/27/2016
How to Make a Successful Offer in Today’s Housing Market
Updated: September 27, 2016 - 3:32 am

(StatePoint) Prospective homebuyers can get encouraged by the current market. Nearly 68 percent of homes sales today are to individual buyers compared to 53 percent in 2011 when investor and cash deals were at their peak. Still, competition for housing is hot.

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Friday 09/09/2016
Buying a Home? Don’t Underestimate ‘Location, Location, Location’
Updated: September 09, 2016 - 3:31 am

(StatePoint) If you are in the market for a home, you are probably weighing a range of factors, including size, amenities and architectural style. But experts say that the old adage “location, location, location” should never stray from one’s thoughts.   

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Thursday 07/28/2016
Make Homeownership Affordable for Your Family
Updated: July 28, 2016 - 3:31 am

(StatePoint) If homeownership feels like it’s beyond your reach, don’t throw in the towel just yet on the American dream. In the face of an ever-widening housing affordability gap, there are options you may not have considered, say experts.

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Monday 06/27/2016
3 Home Upgrades that Offer Bang for Your Buck
Updated: June 27, 2016 - 3:31 am

(StatePoint) Putting dollars into a home remodeling project should be done with care. After all, your decisions could affect your home’s value if you sell it in the future.

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Thursday 06/02/2016
5 Tips to Get More Cash Out of Your Rental Property
Updated: June 02, 2016 - 3:31 am

(StatePoint) If you own a small rental property -- now, more than ever -- it’s good to be you. For the better part of a decade, a robust multifamily market has delivered low vacancies and higher rents.

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Wednesday 04/27/2016
How to Make Your Dream Home a Reality
Updated: April 27, 2016 - 3:31 am

(StatePoint) Spring is peak home-buying season, but for some, a low credit score may make it difficult for their dream home to become a reality.

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Monday 04/18/2016
More Home Buyers are Taking Advantage of Today's Low Mortgage Rates
Updated: April 18, 2016 - 3:31 am

(StatePoint) If you're in the market to buy a home, today’s historically low average mortgage rates are something to celebrate. Mortgage rates play a significant role in how much home you can afford -- and when rates are low, a home that was once unaffordable may now be within reach.

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