• 7 Home Maintenance Problems That Could Cost You Big Bucks


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    By Lars Peterson

    Owning a home sometimes feels like owning a never-ending to-do list: Fix this, replace that. When does it end? For responsible homeowners, it never does. But overlooking the small stuff can add up to big repair bills later.

    With winter finally subsiding, spend some time and a little money giving your home a checkup. It could save you from spending much more down the road.

    1. Inspect kitchen and bathroom caulk.

    The caulking in kitchens and bathrooms keeps water from seeping into the crevices and crannies around sinks and tubs. Once the water gets in, mold proliferates (especially in damp areas around showers and tubs). Worse, infiltrating water could lead to wood rot in the structural framing beneath. Recaulking old or mildewed caulking is a basic home repair, requiring only a few tools and inexpensive materials. Replacing rotten flooring, joists and wall studs is a much, much bigger job.

    2. Fix plumbing leaks.

    Fixing leaky faucets and other common household plumbing leaks can …read more  

  • How to Lay Sod Yourself and Save Money

    Laying sod for new lawn

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    I’m not a fan of doing backbreaking work, so I usually hire a professional to do yard work and any other dirty work outside. After researching the prices of laying sod so I can have a lawn worth mowing, I may change my mind on outdoor work because of the opportunity to save money.

    Laying sod yourself can save 50-75 percent of the cost of a professional doing it. A 2-foot-by-5-foot piece of sod might cost $2-$3, while a landscaping company will charge $8 or more just for the sod plus add in service charges and labor, says Luke Belding, web manager for Arlington Power Equipment in Palatine, Illinois.

    For that amount of savings, it might be worth it to plant your own lawn. After all, laying sod should be a technically easy thing to do without a specialized base of knowledge — it’s just rolling out patches of sod, for crying out loud. But one mistake can compromise an entire lawn, according to SodGod.com, which details how to lay sod and how much it should cost.

    The potential heartache …read more  

  • 15 Words That Help Homes Sell for Higher Prices

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    By Catherine Sherman

    Why do some homes sell for a premium? Timing, for starters. But an analysis in the book “Zillow Talk: The New Rules of Real Estatealso reveals listings with certain keywords tend to sell for more than expected.

    “Bottom-tier homes described as luxurious tend to beat their expected sale price by a whopping 8.2 percent,” write co-authors Spencer Rascoff and Stan Humphries. “Top-tier homes described as captivating tend to beat theirs by 6.5 percent.”

    If one of the following words accurately describes your home, you might want to consider adding it to your listing. (Curious about words to avoid? Skip terms like cosmetic, investment and nice.)

    1. Luxurious

    As mentioned above, lower-priced listings with the word “luxurious” sold for 8.2 percent more on average than expected. “Luxurious” signals that a home’s finishes and amenities are high-end. This is a huge selling point, particularly in this price range.

    2. Captivating

    Top-tier listings described as “captivating” sold for …read more