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Get the Low Down on Low Down Payments

(StatePoint) You may have heard the rule of thumb that you shouldn't buy a home unless you can put down 20 percent of the purchase price. However, today’s home buyers have many choices when it comes to the size of the down payment.

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Recent Headlines

Friday 11/21/2014
New homebuyers checklist to ID costly repairs
Updated: November 28, 2014 - 3:31 am

(BPT) - When you’re about to buy a house, it’s easy to get excited about its great location, spacious floor plan or beautifully decorated interior. Yet the old saying, “beauty’s only skin deep” can apply to any home, especially if you’re considering an older, previously owned property. Before signing on the dotted line, use this checklist to help avoid some potentially costly surprises and anticipate repairs or upgrades that may be needed.      

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Thursday 11/20/2014
Add a signature style to your home
Updated: November 27, 2014 - 3:31 am

(BPT) - To satisfy homeowners seeking to add a signature style to their indoor living spaces, more and more design professionals and builders are going back to basics and rediscovering the versatility, durability and good looks of cypress.

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Wednesday 11/19/2014
Expert tips to make your new house feel like home
Updated: November 26, 2014 - 3:32 am

(BPT) - You know that moving into a new home can be one of life's biggest stressors - the packing, the paperwork, the unpacking and of course finding the nearest coffee shop. Making your new house feel like your home can help alleviate some of this stress and provide a safe-haven for some much needed relaxation.

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Wednesday 11/12/2014
Factors that Impact a Home's Value
Updated: November 12, 2014 - 3:32 am

(StatePoint) It may seem like the size of your home is the be-all and end-all of your home’s value. But there are many other factors that come into play when determining the listing price of a particular home.

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Monday 11/10/2014
6 steps for choosing the best remodeling contractor
Updated: November 17, 2014 - 3:33 am

(BPT) - A remodeling project is one of the most invigorating lifestyle changes a homeowner can make. However, trusting a contractor with both your home and your money can feel overwhelming. Spare your time, money and sanity by following these steps for choosing the best remodeling contractor:

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Monday 11/03/2014
Millennials: How to make your home ownership dreams a reality
Updated: November 10, 2014 - 11:15 am

(BPT) - Owning a home is part of the American Dream, yet standards on income, credit and debt are making it tougher to buy a home than it was 10 years ago. Even though requirements are relaxing, only three out of five borrowers get approved.

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Wednesday 10/29/2014
Energy-efficient home trends for 2015 and beyond
Updated: November 05, 2014 - 3:32 am

(BPT) - One of the top trends driving today’s housing market is the demand for energy-efficient homes that don’t sacrifice comfort for quality. If you’re looking to purchase a new home, green features can save money both now and in the future, with numerous earth-friendly benefits. Here’s what is trending for 2015 and beyond.

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Tuesday 10/28/2014
Putting Your Vacation Home to Work for You
Updated: October 29, 2014 - 3:31 am

(NewsUSA) - If your vacation home has started to become more of a financial headache than a refuge, it might be time to consider renting out your property.

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Monday 10/27/2014
Timeless interior design - perfect for protecting your kitchen investment
Updated: November 03, 2014 - 3:33 am

(BPT) - Kitchens are the heart of the home. It’s where you prepare meals, help your kids with homework and entertain guests. It’s the room in the house where everyone gathers, where memories are made, and, with solid investment, can single-handedly increase the value of your home and help you build more of a nest egg. Even if you’re considering selling your home, all eyes of prospective buyers will inevitably be on the kitchen.

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Wednesday 09/10/2014
Are you spending home improvement dollars on the wrong door?
Updated: October 08, 2014 - 3:31 am

(BPT) - How often do you use the front door? Not often, right? When Americans come home from work or school, the front door now takes a back seat to the garage door.

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Monday 09/08/2014
Sarasota real estate market continues to outperform last year
Posted: September 08, 2014

This summer has seen an uptick in sales, which has local real estate professionals excited for the winter buying season ahead.

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4 questions to ask before purchasing a new home
Updated: September 15, 2014 - 3:32 am

(BPT) - Buying a new house is an exciting time in your life. Because it is one of the most important investments you’ll make for yourself and your family, there are many important factors to consider. Before making a purchase, take these four questions into account. Having the answers will allow you to enjoy your new home now and in the years ahead.

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Wednesday 08/20/2014
Singles finding their way to homeownership without making lifestyle compromises [Infographic]
Posted: August 20, 2014

(BPT) - With the average American getting married later than they have in a century, according to the National Center for Family and Marriage Research, more and more singles aren't waiting for wedding bells before they take the plunge into homeownership. A new CENTURY 21 Real Estate survey shows that while singles are less willing to make lifestyle sacrifices in order to purchase a home, they still value homeownership. Find out how these determined buyers pull it off with the help of agents who understand their unique needs.

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Tuesday 08/12/2014
One simple home improvement cuts noise pollution while boosting energy savings
Updated: August 19, 2014 - 3:32 am

(BPT) - Whether it’s the neighbor’s lawnmower, low-flying aircraft, heavy traffic or loud music, noise pollution can hinder you from truly enjoying your home. Nowadays, a quiet place to relax and chill out can be increasingly difficult to find. Yet, a smart investment in the right materials can let you achieve both solace and silence in your home.

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Thursday 08/07/2014
Add curb appeal to your home inspired by architecture
Updated: August 14, 2014 - 3:33 am

(BPT) - When you drive through your neighborhood, you may notice a variety of architectural styles. There might be a traditional colonial with evenly spaced windows. Down the road may be an ornate Victorian. On the corner there may be a craftsman home with an inviting front porch. Others may include a mixture of different styles combined to create a unique home.

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Wednesday 07/02/2014
The homebuilding method you've never heard of that cuts energy bills up to 60 percent
Updated: July 09, 2014 - 3:32 am

(BPT) - For people building new homes in the coming months, the ever-increasing pain of monthly utility bills for cooling and heating their homes has them looking for more energy-efficient construction methods. In 2014, homeowners have been burdened with electricity costs that rose 5 percent, heating oil 7 percent and natural gas 10 percent, as reported in USA Today.  At the same time, homebuilders are challenged to meet increasingly stringent energy codes imposed by cities and counties.

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The tools you need to increase your home's curb appeal this year
Updated: September 10, 2014 - 3:32 am

(BPT) - Can the look and condition of your roof affect the resale value and curb appeal of your home? What about your window frames, entry door or shutters? The answer is absolutely.

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Tuesday 07/01/2014
Three success tips for converting an attic into living space
Updated: July 08, 2014 - 3:32 am

(BPT) - Moving up – vacating your current, smallish home for a larger, roomier abode – was the American way before the Great Recession. Now that the economy is humming again, at least some of the people who stayed put during those lean years will be looking to move into larger, nicer homes this summer. High demand and low inventory, however, may leave many with nowhere to go. Some will rediscover a time-honored space-gaining technique: attic conversion.

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Tuesday 06/03/2014
Bathroom remodeling should start at the studs
Updated: October 04, 2014 - 3:31 am

(BPT) - Remodeling a bathroom can increase the value of your home but short-sighted planning can wash projects down the drain.

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Thursday 05/29/2014
Debunking the Myths about Homeownership
Updated: May 29, 2014 - 3:36 am

(StatePoint) As a result of the recent housing crisis, many potential homebuyers, especially first-timers, are hesitant to enter the market. But if you’re holding back, evaluate why. Experts say your reasons may be based on myth.

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Take the hassle out of moving your boxes to a new home
Updated: July 31, 2014 - 3:33 am

(BPT) - Americans are on the move. More than 35 million Americans moved last year, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. While relocating to a new place is exciting, it also brings its own set of worries, with packing and unpacking topping the list of stressors. With careful planning and organizing, your move can be more celebratory than stressful – just follow these tips.

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Friday 05/23/2014
Most often-overlooked truth of curb appeal: Little things mean a lot
Updated: July 30, 2014 - 3:34 am

(BPT) - Curb appeal relies not just on the color of a home’s siding or the beauty of its landscaping, but on often-overlooked, underplayed details. Whether it’s charming intricate gingerbread scrolls on the porch, or fluted door casing that imparts an elegant, upscale look, trim can have a strong impact on a home’s curb appeal.

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Monday 05/19/2014
Home design: the value of the ideal exterior color
Updated: October 02, 2014 - 4:32 pm

(BPT) - When it comes to designing a home – whether it’s new construction or a renovation – choosing beautiful exterior colors and complementary accent hues is critical to creating an appealing household.

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Thursday 05/15/2014
Top 10 Tips Every Renter Should Know
Updated: May 15, 2014 - 3:41 am

(StatePoint) The number of U.S. renters has expanded significantly since the burst of the housing bubble, and renters now represent 34 percent of all households, according to government statistics. Meanwhile, rents climbed 3.2 percent last year.

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Wednesday 05/14/2014
Selling this summer? 6 upgrades to secure a speedy sale
Updated: October 02, 2014 - 4:32 pm

(BPT) - When the weather warms up, so does the real estate market. Spring and summer are traditionally the seasons when both home buyers and sellers are most active across the country. If you’ll be putting your home on the market this year, simple, cost-effective upgrades can help ensure a speedy sale at a good price.

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Tuesday 05/13/2014
Driveways to mailboxes: Oft-overlooked items that drive curb appeal
Updated: October 02, 2014 - 4:32 pm

(BPT) - Selling or staying, it makes no difference – everyone wants a home that looks great from the curb. Curb appeal comes together when all the elements of a home’s facade are in good shape and working together. Driveways that are cracked or pitted with potholes, dingy front doors and other seemingly minor complaints like a shabby, scuffed mailbox, can all significantly detract from a home’s overall curb appeal.

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Trim applications give the world a creative preview of your home
Updated: October 02, 2014 - 4:32 pm

(BPT) - Beauty is in the details when it comes to home exteriors. That’s why choosing the right exterior trim products and decorative elements is essential, whether you have a modest home or coastal mansion. In fact, exterior trim is one of the most important architectural accessories you can use to dress up your home.

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Thursday 05/08/2014
Modern home-design trends are set to revolutionize the housing market
Updated: October 02, 2014 - 4:32 pm

(BPT) - The housing market is thriving in many parts of the country, and the driving force is an estimated 92 million Gen Now consumers between the ages of 19 and 37 (aka Gen Y or Millennials) that will enter the market to become new homebuyers by the year 2020. These consumers have grown up during the introduction of the Internet, social networking, mobile devices and a huge recession. Not surprising, this massive group is demanding far different features in their homes from what their parents and grandparents have desired in the past, and it may forever change the way homes are designed and built in the future.

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Wednesday 05/07/2014
Home improvements that make your home more valuable
Updated: October 02, 2014 - 4:32 pm

(BPT) - More and more homeowners are embarking upon home improvement projects, spending nearly $200 billion a year on home renovations, according to the National Association of Home Builders. If you’re looking to make some home improvements without breaking the bank, spend smartly and invest time and money now into the projects that will pay back later.

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Tuesday 05/06/2014
Save money, time and energy when you tackle these home improvements in tandem
Updated: October 02, 2014 - 4:32 pm

(BPT) - Most of us spend our day multi-tasking. At work or home, we want to maximize our time and resources in order to accomplish the most work while expending the minimum required effort. Home improvement should be no different. In order to make the most of your home improvement resources, it makes sense to undertake certain projects in tandem.

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Monday 05/05/2014
5 essential tips to turn your new house into a home
Updated: October 02, 2014 - 4:32 pm

(BPT) - Moving brings great opportunities in the form of careers, social connections and new beginnings. However, the act of moving can create unnecessary stress and tension, which makes the process less than desirable. About 35 percent of Americans move every five years, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, which results in many people who are looking to simplify the process and turn their new house into a home.

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Thursday 04/17/2014
5 simple tips to prepare your home for flood season
Updated: July 01, 2014 - 3:32 am

(BPT) - After a winter of frigid temperatures and record snowfalls, the nation now faces the spring thaw and long, rainy months. Flood season is officially here – is your home ready for it?

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Monday 04/14/2014
Outdoor kitchen? Second-floor laundry? How to easily achieve summer's hottest home improvements
Updated: July 17, 2014 - 3:33 am

(BPT) - Whether you’re staying in place or planning to take advantage of an improving real estate market to sell your home, spring and summer are upgrade seasons. From adding a bathroom to creating an outdoor kitchen, certain improvements pay off for both homeowners who are selling and those who are staying. And while plumbing challenges, such as breaking through concrete or opening walls, may discourage some people, savvy homeowners know a tried-and-true option solves such problems.

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Thursday 04/10/2014
Master suite upgrades: the secret to a speedier home sale
Updated: June 25, 2014 - 3:32 am

(BPT) - All signs point to a hearty real estate market this summer. Experts say more inventory will be available and buyers will have an easier time getting mortgages, all of which means more competition among sellers.

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Wednesday 04/09/2014
How freeze-thaw cycles, water, impact, sun and pests can damage siding
Updated: July 08, 2014 - 3:32 am

(BPT) - Spring is a great time to re-side your house, whether to increase your home’s value or to replace damaged siding but be sure to evaluate all your siding options. Not all residential siding exteriors perform the same.

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Monday 03/24/2014
Ten Things to Consider When Deciding Whether to Sell Your Home
Updated: March 25, 2014 - 3:32 am

(StatePoint) As the economy continues to strengthen, you may wonder whether to stay in your current home or sell while the timing seems perfect.

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Friday 09/14/2012
Making a change - exterior renovations to boost curb appeal
Posted: September 14, 2012

(ARA) - If you were to take a look at a typical neighborhood today, you would see patterns of familiar home designs such as split-level, ranch or colonial. Most of these American styles were built between 1955 and 1985, when there was a need for mass-produced housing. Due to this suburban sprawl, many homes lost the originality and architectural appeal of classic styles built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

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Thursday 09/13/2012
Beautiful rooms are meant to be lived in
Posted: September 13, 2012

(ARA) – Fall is the time of year when thoughts turn back toward the home. With kids back in school and the holidays approaching, many homeowners look for ways to make their rooms more stylish, but struggle to find the balance between beautiful and livable.

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Tuesday 09/11/2012
Turn great art into great home decor
Posted: September 11, 2012

(ARA) – From the moment the first cave dweller marked the wall of his home with a bit of charcoal, art has been a home decor must that has stood the test of time. Whether it’s the vibrant colors of a van Gogh, the almost-mystical perfection of a da Vinci or the dreamily diffused light of a Monet, great art speaks to the soul.

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Friday 09/07/2012
Concrete challenges of converting basements or garages to living space
Posted: September 07, 2012

(ARA) – For homeowners looking to improve the value of their homes – and cope with the needs of multiple generations living under one roof – basement and garage renovations make sense. Both can enhance home value and add much-needed living space for less than one might spend on building an addition.

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Wednesday 09/05/2012
Bathroom remodels that look like a million bucks - for $1,000 or less
Posted: September 05, 2012

(ARA) – The average cost of a bathroom remodel tops $16,500, according to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value report. But you don’t have to spend the average to achieve above-average results when it comes to updating a bathroom.

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Friday 08/31/2012
Keeping hardwood floors looking beautiful is easier than you think
Posted: August 31, 2012

(ARA) - No matter what the setting, the good looks and durability of hardwood floors can be maintained with minimal effort. It’s simply a matter of proper care and maintenance.

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Thursday 08/30/2012
Clearing the air: What an HVAC cleaner should really do in your home
Posted: August 30, 2012

(ARA) – Those statistics about indoor air pollution and it’s relation to respiratory problems convinced you it was time to get your heating, ventilation and air conditioning system (HVAC) cleaned. You were even looking forward to the increased energy efficiency that a clean system can provide. But $49 and one very noisy service call later, you’re still sneezing and you haven’t seen any dip in your energy bill.

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Tuesday 08/28/2012
Quick fixes for a swift home sale
Posted: August 28, 2012

(ARA) - First impressions are everything when it comes to selling a home, and peeling paint, stained carpets and unpleasant odors can be an instant turn-off for buyers. Fortunately, you can take simple and inexpensive steps to prep your home for a quick, top-dollar sale.

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Thursday 08/16/2012
Plumbing primer: The most important system behind your home's drywall
Posted: August 16, 2012

(ARA) - Do you know what's behind the drywall in your home? Unless you've ever had a home custom-built or have personally worked in construction, you might be unaware of the vital systems hidden within the walls of your home. But knowing how those systems work can help you make smart, money-saving decisions when building or renovating.

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Wednesday 08/15/2012
Growing families looking for larger homes
Posted: August 15, 2012

(ARA) - More and more households have extended family living together under one roof, and the tight fit has some families in the market for a larger home.

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Beat the heat with water conservation and home safety advice
Posted: August 15, 2012

(ARA) - The peak water usage season, which usually begins in late July or early August, arrived early this year with record high temperatures and widespread drought. During the warmer months, the average American uses about four times as much water as they do the rest of the year. More time outdoors translates into more sweat and dirt, which leads to taking more frequent showers and washing additional loads of laundry. Meanwhile, outside, fighting heat and lack of rain requires heavy lawn and garden watering.

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Tuesday 08/14/2012
Tips for incorporating your old garage door into your home's interior design
Posted: August 14, 2012

(ARA) - Garage door replacement has become one of the most popular home improvement projects because of its high return on investment (ROI). In fact, Remodeling Magazine's recent annual Cost vs. Value Report ranks garage door replacement as the No. 2 project (out of a list of 35) to offer a good ROI.

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Prevent a foreclosure from becoming the neighborhood eyesore
Posted: August 14, 2012

(ARA) - For many Americans, as they look out the window of their homes, they see what is becoming a nightmare for many people- a foreclosed house on the block. Its yard is overgrown and littered with branches and trash. It has become a lifeless shell, a magnet for trouble and a source of worry as neighbors wonder how the property will affect the value of their homes.

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