Follow these 5 tips to get the most out of your remodeling project.

By MSN Real Estate partner 12 hours ago

© Paul Burns/Photodisc/Getty ImagesBy Josh Gorskoff, Money magazine

 

When the real estate market was in the dumps, snagging a great contractor was a simple task. With few people remodeling, no project was too small for hungry pros, many of whom were bidding at 10 percent to 40 percent below their boom-time rates.

 

Those days are gone. Remodeling spending is now up 30 percent from its low point, and single-family construction spending has doubled. Depending on where you live, a project that cost $50,000 in 2010 might now come in at $60,000 to $70,000.

 

You can keep your grass healthy without breaking your budget by following these tips.

By MSN Real Estate partner 13 hours ago

© Tetra images /Tetra images/Getty ImagesBy Susan Johnston, U.S. News & World Report

 

As the weather warms up and flowers begin to blossom, Americans with grassy yards will soon be thinking about mowing and lawn care. The National Gardening Association estimates that U.S. households spent roughly $29.5 billion on their lawns and gardens in 2013, an average of about $347 per household.

 

Lawn and garden costs can vary depending on factors such as the size of your yard and how much rain it receives. But as Mark Clement, host of the MyFixitUpLife radio show and blog of the same name, points out, "The easiest and [least expensive] lawn to take care of is a healthy one. It may take some work to get there, but healthy lawns – those that are fed regularly, watered properly and seeded at the best times of the year – fight off weeds better and look great doing it."

 

Report on April sentiment was 'weaker than expected again — and fairly disappointing.'

By MSN Real Estate partner 14 hours ago

Copper Beach Farm in Greenwich, Conn., sold for $120 million. It originally was listed for $190 million.

By MSN Real Estate partner 15 hours ago

realtor.comBy Neal J. Leitereg, realtor.com 

 

April is apparently the month for $100 million deals.

 

On the heels of the $102 million sale of the Fleur de Lys in Los Angeles comes word that Copper Beech Farm, the most expensive single-family home in the United States to ever list publicly, has sold for a staggering nine-figure sum. 

 

Like the Fleur de Lys, the prized Greenwich, Conn., property was similarly thought of as unsellable — at least at its $100 million-plus price. After debuting on the market for a then-record $190 million in May 2013, Copper Beech Farm saw its price drop considerably in the months that followed — first a $50 million price cut in July and then a $10 million adjustment this past January.

 
Tags: celebrity

If one of these scenarios sounds familiar, buying a home may not be in the cards right now.

By MSN Real Estate partner Mon 12:14 PM

© PhotoAlto/Eric Audras/Getty ImagesBy AJ Smith, Credit.com

 

One question I heard frequently throughout my 20s was, "When are you going to buy a house?"

 

Some believed I was already missing out on the benefits of homeownership, while others thought that with my career constantly taking me to new cities, I was better off renting forever. Many people grapple with the decision of whether to buy or rent a home.

 

Although there are pros and cons to each and the decision is ultimately personal, here are some signs you should keep renting.

 

The average homeowner pays $2,800 in property taxes annually. In some states, residents pay five times as much.

By MSN Real Estate partner Mon 11:06 AM

Westchester County, N.Y., is home to the state's most expensive suburb, Scarsdale, N.Y. (© Alan Schein/Corbis)By Camille Salama, Zillow

 

The second biggest cost of homeownership — following the mortgage — is usually property taxes. In 2012, U.S. homeowners paid an average of about $2,800 in property taxes, according to a recent Zillow study. And if you live in New York, New Jersey or Colorado, your taxes were in some cases five times more than the national average. The numbers are based on an average of real estate taxes paid on single family housing in 2012.

 

The residents of Westchester County in New York pay more in property taxes than the typical resident of any other major American county. The average property-tax bill for a single-family home in Westchester County comes to $14,829 a year.

 

Chinese buyers are laying the groundwork for their kids, some still in diapers, to study abroad by snapping up high-end real estate in college towns.

By MSN Real Estate partner Mon 10:29 AM

© Radius Images, Radius Images, Getty ImagesBy Alyssa Abkowitz, The Wall Street Journal

 

Chinese businessman Li Sheng is looking for a $900,000, four-bedroom home in Australia, where he hopes his two children will someday attend college. At this point, neither child has finished grade school — one is still in diapers — but Li hopes to buy a family home in Melbourne in the next year.

 

Li, who lives in Harbin, an industrial city in northern China, sees the purchase as a good investment in both his real estate portfolio and his children's future. While China has plenty of universities, he and other affluent parents say they want their children to experience life abroad, where the educational system is less rigid.

 
Tags: buying

You never get a second chance to make a first impression, which is why sprucing up your home is crucial.

By MSN Real Estate partner Mon 8:20 AM

Patio furniture on modern deck © Martin Barraud, OJO Images, Getty ImagesBy Teresa Mears, U.S. News & World Report

 

U.S. News & World ReportYou’ve decided to sell your home, and you want to get top dollar for it. And you’ve seen TV shows where homeowners spend thousands of dollars staging their homes for sale, but there’s an important detail to consider: You don’t have thousands and thousands to spend.

 

The good news is there are many things you can do to spruce up the look of your home without shelling out a lot of money.

 
 

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