• How to Protect Your Credit From Unscrupulous Landlords

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    AOLWhat can tenants do to protect their security deposit and credit?

    By Gerri Detweiler

    Lori seems to have had bad luck with landlords. When she left her first apartment, she says she cleaned it thoroughly but her landlord charged her $1,200 for a cleaning fee. They kept her $500 security deposit toward that cost, then charged her another $675, which they turned over to a collection agency. In the second case, she had to break the lease, but she says the management of the apartment complex gave her the go-ahead due to the circumstances. Instead of the final bill she said they agreed upon, she received a letter from a collection agency demanding much more.

    She’s far from alone. A steady stream of questions and complaints have been posted on the Credit.com blog from renters whose security deposits were held due to what they felt were unfair or

    Just like you should inspect a rental car for damage before you drive it off the lot, inspect the property you are renting before you move …read more  

  • 'American Dream Builders,' Episode 7: Before & After

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    By Erika Riggs

    Each week, there’s an additional little twist to “American Dream Builders.” This episode featured not two, but one home, a Colonial-style duplex. The columned home was elegant, but outdated and in need of classic styling and rebuilding. The remaining team members divided into two new teams.

    Colonial homes feature columns, shutters and gables on the exterior. Interior details include wainscoting, chair railings and wall and ceiling molding. While craftsman homes often include these same features, Colonials are a lighter version. “They have a sense of glamour,” explained designer Elaine. “[The details are] light and gracious — like icing on a cake.”

    Here are few tips to add a similar “icing” to a home.

    Look No. 1

    Although the colonial architectural style dates back to the 1600s, designer Lukas wanted to create an enduring aesthetic. He transformed the small kitchen into a bright and inviting space. As judge Monica Pederson remarked, a tiny kitchen can still be gorgeous.

    “In general, for kitchens — whether you’re talking about a Colonial or Tudor or any other style of home — you really want to keep …read more  

  • 14 Clever Ways to Reclaim Lost Counter Space

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    Source: Zillow Digs

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    Zillow DigsHanging utensils from hooks and using open shelving can greatly increase your kitchen’s storage capacity.

    By Tracy Anderson for BobVila.com

    Counter space. No matter how big the kitchen, you hardly ever hear anyone complaining that there’s too much of it. Especially in a compact kitchen, clear counters are a precious commodity worth fighting for. Luckily, there are lots of smart storage ideas that can help you reclaim lost counter space. Here are 14 great solutions that are just begging to be a part of your kitchen expansion.

    Roll me away

    If you’re striving to save space, a rolling cart with a butcher-block top does double duty. Use the top for prep when you need it, and give dishes or other supplies a good home on the shelves underneath.

    Get some hang time

    Most kitchen utensils have a notch on the handle, perfect for perching up high. This way, you can save your limited drawer space for something else.

    Source: Zillow Digs

    Climbing the ceiling

    Similar to the elevated utensil concept, hanging …read more