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March 14, 2017

Eight Tips on How to Lower Your Property Taxes

The property tax is the oldest tax levied in the United States and is the only major tax common to all fifty states. It is the main source of municipal and county revenues and primary source of support for local schools. Property taxes vary widely by state and local jurisdiction. The National Association of Home Builders calculates the effective property tax rate as measured by taxes paid per $1,000 of home value by dividing aggregate real estate taxes paid by the aggregate value of owner-occupied housing units within a state. New Jersey has the dubious distinction of imposing the highest effective property tax rate—2.13% or $21.25 per $1,000 of home value. Hawaii levies the lowest [...]

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March 13, 2017

Tips for Preventing Circuit Overload in a Home

Spring is almost here! The days are staying lighter longer. The birds are chirping in the morning. Have you seen your first robin yet? Depending on where you live, these are signs of spring. Naturally, we begin to think about spring cleaning and projects we have been putting off.

What you probably aren’t thinking about is your electrical wiring and the demands you and your appliances put on it. Overloading your electrical circuits can damage your appliances, cause power outages or even a fire. Here are a few things to consider to prevent overloading your circuits.

What Is an Overload?

An overload is when you have too many things running on one circuit. More [...]

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March 9, 2017

City Spotlight: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania’s largest city has been one of America’s most iconic locations since colonial times, from playing an important role in the development of our country to serving as a center for growth and innovation in modern times. Philadelphia offers a wonderful mix of the past and future, serving as the cultural and economic center of the Delaware Valley region, an area in the Northwestern US of over 7.2 million people. Like many cities in America in the 20th century, Philadelphia had to adjust to a loss of manufacturing companies and jobs, but in the 1990s experienced a surge of revitalization and now serves as a regional hub for education, arts, culture, and [...]

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March 8, 2017

Costs to Consider When Renovating Your Home

Are you thinking about taking on a renovation project? Renovating a space in your home, or perhaps a whole house can be an exciting but challenging task. There are many factors to consider when deciding how to proceed: the scope of the project, timelines, and of course – the budget. An important aspect of approaching any project is to be flexible. With any renovation or home improvement, there’s a chance something could go wrong, cost more, or take longer than expected. Leave some wiggle room in your initial budget projections to account for situations that may come up!

You should also take into account which projects will yield the greatest return on your [...]

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March 7, 2017

Spring Cleaning Tips for Preppers

When an emergency spillway at the Oroville Dam in California threatened to give way and flood the town of Oroville right before Valentine’s Day, people panicked. More than 100,000 residents were given less than an hour’s notice to evacuate their homes. Most threw what they could grab into their cars and hit the road with the clothes on their backs and the family pets, few had what they really needed.

It’s the kind of nightmare scenario an unprepared family dreads, but the kind of thing those who prepare for natural disasters face with calm — unless of course their bug-out bags, or what FEMA calls a “grab-and-go” or “survival” bag, have [...]

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March 7, 2017

What’s Hot and What’s Not in Luxury Home Trends

While cheaper homes are hot, it’s still a buyers’ market for luxury properties, according to the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing’s survey of the most expensive zip codes in each region. It takes an average of 185 days for a luxury home to sell, three times longer than the 50 days it took for all other homes in January. “Luxury buyers should find reasonable levels of selection,” reports ILHM.

With a lot more negotiating room than buyers of less pricey homes, luxury buyers can look for properties that feature some of the leading edge trends in luxury home design.

In January, the National Association of Home Builders awarded 127 [...]

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March 6, 2017

Things Your Parents Didn’t Tell You About Taking Care of Your Home: Pest Control

A routine for pest control is one of those things that you don’t think about until you find yourself really needing it. Particularly in warmer climates or areas with a mild winter, unwelcome visitors to your home can not only be annoying or distasteful, they can also do permanent damage to your home, furnishings, and belongings over the long-run or even the health of you and your family. A persistent pest problem can even impact the value of your home and can increase the risk of pests for neighbors, making this an issue you’ll want to get a handle on well before it develops into a full-blown problem. Keep in mind that chemical pesticides can be dangerous or lethal if [...]

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March 2, 2017

Blinds or Shades: Which Is the Best Choice for You?

We all love light — welcoming the sun into our homes is good for the soul and the energy bill. But of course, we often have to block it out, whether it’s to sleep, get a better view of the big game on TV, or because we’d rather not give the entire neighborhood a front-row view into our living room. When it comes to buying the perfect window coverings, however, the sheer number of choices can be overwhelming. Whether you just want some privacy or are looking to transform the decor of your home, the number of options is seemingly limitless. Here, we’ll look at the two most practical—blinds and shades—and help you decide on the best window covering for your [...]

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