You can give a room an entirely new look with this easy weekend project.
The next time you're considering brightening up a room, don't leave out the floors. Sure, you could pay the high cost to refinish and stain hardwood floors, or buy new area rugs to add some color.
Or you could kill two birds with one stone and simply paint the floor to match the decor.
MyHomeIdeas offers even more good excuses to pick up a paintbrush dipped in porch paint in its article "10 Reasons to Paint Your Floor."
The application boasts the most accurate and freshest collection of homes for sale nationwide.
For people who own an iPhone, the search for a new home just keeps getting easier. Earlier this week, The New York Times ran a piece outlining a number of iPhone applications it had found useful, and today Realtor.com launched its own home search app.
Using the iPhone's global positioning system, the app finds homes for sale as well as upcoming open houses within 20 miles of where you are when you start the search. If you change locations and want to see an updated list of that area, all you have to do is shake the phone and the new search will pop up.
And with more than 4 million homes featured on the site being updated every 15 minutes, Realtor.com says it has the most accurate and freshest collection of homes for sale.
Each home features much of the information that is available on the Realtor.com Web site, including photos, a map and property details. But the iPhone app also allows you to rate the home, and take photos and notes that will stay with the listing and be viewable through your account on your home computer. No more getting home after a day of searching and struggling to remember which homes you liked.
You'll have the best seat in the house for worldwide events as a buyer or renter on the Utopia.
Does anybody out there actually like moving? The packing, the hauling, the unpacking, the reorganizing ... ugh. But sometimes, don't you just get sick of your current digs and want a quick -- and permanent -- escape?
Consider Utopia Residences, which offers you the stability of a home plus plenty of mobility. It's a cruise ship, after all, and half the cabins are available to buyers when it sets sail in 2013. So you'd better start saving now if you want to snag one of the cheaper $3.7 million two-bedroom, two-bathroom cabins, at a whopping 1,400 square feet. From there, the prices gradually go up to $26 million for a 6,600-square-foot cabin with four bedrooms and three bathrooms, according to the Los Angeles Times.
But it's really not about cabin size, as the Times notes, but about location.
Are you scared to tackle that home-improvement project or are you overeager to get started?
But there's always a silver lining -- at least in this blog -- and what's bad for the housing industry just might end up being good for it in the long run.
As people are forced to stay longer in their homes, they're also more likely to make improvements that are going to help increase home values, as well as improve their standard of living.
Remodels were on the rise last year, according to ServiceMagic.com's home remodeling and repair index. And that trend is expected to continue, especially if the 37% of homeowners who named starting a home-improvement project as a New Year's resolution in Move.com's 2010 survey follow through with that goal.
But before you pull out the paint cans or make that call to a contractor, Move.com suggests that you first consider your "remodeling personality" to help make the project a smooth one.
The revised good faith estimate introduced Jan. 1 is still an estimate, but the Obama administration hopes its cap on fee hikes will put an end to dramatic price increases.
Just in time for the spring rush of homebuyers hoping to take advantage of the recently extended $8,000 tax credit, the Obama administration has implemented a new good faith estimate that aims to take some of the guesswork out of your initial closing costs.
The original one-page document was replaced starting Jan. 1 with three pages that attempt to better explain the fees buyers can expect to pay at closing, including questions such as "Can your interest rate rise?" and "Does your loan have a balloon payment?" -- questions that might have helped keep us out of this housing crisis had they been on the original good faith estimate.
The new rules also limit any increases on the fees disclosed in your estimate, making it harder for any dramatic price jumps to surprise you at the closing table.
A recall of nine different titles amounts to nearly 1 million books published since 1975.
I was going to dole out some home-improvement advice today when I came across some home-improvement news that took the advice-giving right outta me.
Nearly 1 million books sold between January 1975 and December 2009 by Oxmoor House that were supposed to help people do their own wiring could actually hurt them. The publishing company, in cooperation with the Consumer Product Safety Commission, is recalling the nine titles, which were sold for between $13 and $35.
The commission, which asks people to "stop using recalled products immediately," warns that:
The books contain errors in the technical diagrams and wiring instructions that could lead consumers to incorrectly install or repair electrical wiring, posing an electrical shock or fire hazard to consumers.
In other words, you could potentially kill yourself or burn down your house.
More men seem to be embracing the idea that buying a home isn't the investment it used to be.
It's hard to say, at this stage in the housing bubble, that there's any one group of people that is more discontent with the idea of homeownership.
Earlier this week, The Wall Street Journal reported that even Federal Reserve economist Karen Pence says buying a house is actually a lousy investment (you can read the bullet points at the Business Insider).
Now The New York Times says that there also appears to be a gender gap in the disenchantment:
For reasons practical, financial and definitely emotional, there seems to be a growing cohort of men ... who are falling out of love with the holy institution of homeownership.
Rents fell 3% in 2009 as vacancies continued to climb to 8% by the end of the year.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: It's a good time to be a renter.
Rental vacancies already were at a 23-year high, giving renters plenty of choices and opportunities to negotiate for free rent and other perks. But the latest report from real-estate research company Reis Inc. finds that rate reached a nearly 30-year high of 8% in the fourth quarter, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The company, which tracks rents and vacancies in 79 metropolitan areas across the nation, found that rents fell 3% in 2009, but that perks were on the rise.
About Teresa Mears
Teresa Mears is a veteran journalist who has been interested in houses since her father took her to tax auctions to carry the cash at age 10. A former editor of The Miami Herald's Home & Design section, she lives in South Florida where, in addition to writing about real estate, she publishes Miami on the Cheap to help her neighbors adjust to the loss of 60% of their property value.