Overwatering and cutting grass too short are common mistakes that only add to your burden.

By Mai Ling at MSN Real Estate May 7, 2010 11:25AM

A lush, green lawn will boost your curb appeal when you're trying to sell your home. (© Phillip Spears/Getty Images)Ah, spring bliss. The snow has melted, flowers are blooming, lawns are effortlessly green -- it never lasts quite long enough, does it?


But a lush green lawn is attainable year-round, according to these lawn-care secrets from Right at Home.


I won't say it'll be effortless, but adding a few more steps to your repertoire just might decrease your seemingly hopeless attempts to keep your lawn healthy year-round.


Keep snakes, rats, squirrels and other critters out of your home's walls and crevices with these techniques.

By MSN Real Estate partner 14 hours ago

© Mike Kemp/Getty ImagesBy Geoff Williams, U.S. News & World Report


Frustrated by the occasional mouse in your house? You're not alone.


When Pablo Solomon, an artist and sculptor in Austin, Texas, and his wife moved into their home, which was built in 1856, they knew they would need to fix it up. However, they didn’t realize how much of their home improvements would be dedicated to keeping animals from coming inside. In 1988, shortly after moving in, they found a den of copperhead snakes living under the house. The copperheads never came indoors, but over the years, rat snakes, ribbon snakes, sand snakes and ringneck snakes – none of them poisonous – all managed to work their way inside the house.


One study says staging doesn't affect value. Here's why real estate agents disagree.

By MSN Real Estate partner 14 hours ago

© BilderLounge/SuperStock;By Michael Estrin, Bankrate.com 


Nearly all real estate agents give sellers this advice: Stage your property before showing it to buyers. While that advice is a truism in the real estate business, an academic study says that staging:


• Might not be as important as many real estate agents think.
• Likely doesn't raise the home's sale price.


Study used virtual tours on computers

The study surveyed 820 homebuyers, walking them through a series of six virtual tours of a single home. Each tour focused on either wall color or furnishings, which are two of the most popular staging elements, according to study co-author Michael Seiler, professor of real estate and finance at the College of William & Mary.


March's existing-home sales are down 0.2 percent from February and fell 7.5 percent from March 2013.

By MSN Real Estate partner 16 hours ago

By Ben Leubsdorf, The Wall Street Journal


Post begins below video 


Here's a look at the 'greenest' areas in the country, according to Redfin.

By MSN Real Estate partner Mon 6:24 PM

By Christin Camacho, Redfin


With Earth Day upon us, Redfin has released a list of 10 neighborhoods across the U.S. with the largest number of "green" homes and a list of the top green neighborhoods within 20 major metropolitan markets. To compile the list, Redfin data scientists searched through homes for sale on Redfin.com to find those with green features mentioned in the listing.


Green features include solar panels, low-flow faucets, dual-pane windows, energy-efficient appliances, environmental ratings and certification from programs such as Energy Star, "Built Green" and Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. The ranking is based on the proportion of green listings out of total listings in the neighborhood over the past two years.


These areas' increasing home values make them attractive for investment properties.

By MSN Real Estate partner Mon 12:35 PM

© Getty ImagesBy Juliette Fairley, MainStreet


The international market that is most prime for investment now is Panama, according to a new report.


"U.S. markets are heady and uncertain," said Lief Simon, an international investor and author of Live and Invest Overseas. "Therefore, the most important agenda for any U.S. investor as we head into 2014 is diversification and real estate overseas is the best possible strategy."


A Live and Invest ranking placed Panama at the top of a list of five due to its property values that have appreciated in key waterfront areas. These districts include Balboa Avenue, Punta Pacifica and Costa del Este.


In these cities, homeowners devote well more of their income on their mortgage than average.

By MSN Real Estate partner Mon 10:45 AM

 © Mark Lewis/Getty ImagesBy Emily Heffter, Zillow


Boulder real estate agent Tim Goodacre said he sees it on the faces of his clients all the time: sticker shock.


It's going to cost more than they thought to live the idyllic, walkable life they envisioned when they moved to the Colorado city.


"If they're coming from the Midwest or other lower-income places, frankly they can get a little mad and irritated," Goodacre said. "And I say, 'Well, you have to make your sacrifice.'"


Goodacre's clients aren't alone. While median-income buyers are paying a higher percentage of their paychecks than the national average of 15.1 percent for median-price homes in New York, San Francisco and other historically expensive cities, they also have to put a larger portion of their income toward their house payments in college towns and vacation spots.


Tax Day has come and gone, but these tips can help homeowners save money the next time they file.

By MSN Real Estate partner Fri 11:07 AM

© Digital Vision, Getty ImagesBy Anya Martin, The Wall Street Journal


One rueful lesson of tax season: Some deductions require lots of advance planning. Homeowners willing to do the legwork now can find some creative ways to lessen their tax bills next year.


Jumbo-mortgage holders can only deduct annual interest payments on up to $1 million of debt that they take to buy, build or improve a home. They can also deduct interest on up to $100,000 of equity-line or equity-loan debt.


But federal and state income taxes, as well as property taxes, offer a variety of exemptions, deductions and credits that can save money for luxury homeowners, according to certified financial planners.


Deliquencies increased at the end of 2013, and they may grow more this year.

By MSN Real Estate partner Fri 10:13 AM

© Hemera Technologies, JupiterimagesBy Christine DiGangi, Credit.com


For several quarters, lenders have been reporting low and falling delinquency rates for credit card, mortgage and auto-loan borrowers, and that positive trend has opened credit products to consumers with lower credit scores.


That may be starting to shift.


A greater share of mortgages were 30 to 59 days past due in the fourth quarter of 2013 than at the same time in 2012, and bank risk professionals expect credit card and auto loan delinquencies to follow suit.

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