• How to Handle Living in a Community With a HOA

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    apostol_8/GettyCondos and many newer communities require paying dues and following the Homeowners Association’s rules.

    By Teresa Mears

    If you buy a condominium, townhouse or single-family home in a newer development, you’re likely to become a member of a community association.

    About 20 percent of Americans live in a community governed by a condo association, homeowners association or co-op board, according to the Community Associations Institute, which educates volunteer board members and association management professionals. The number of communities covered by associations has grown from about 10,000 in 1970 to more than 333,000 today.

    Community associations come with rules that determine everything from the number of pets you can own to what color you can paint your front door. Some include amenities such as pools, clubhouses and golf courses, while others provide services such as road maintenance and streetlights.

    The associations are set up by developers and then turned over to a volunteer board of homeowners once all the units in the development are sold. Those volunteers are responsible for making …read more  

  • How to Get Rid of Unhealthy Black Mold

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    fungus on corner of the wall XXXL

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    Greg801/GettyThe disgusting stuff on your wall could be mold, black mold or mildew. Figuring that out is the first step in getting rid of it.

    Removing black mold from your home can sound like a daunting task. Just the term “black mold” sounds scary enough. If you’re willing to buy the proper safety equipment and can stomach scrubbing and removing mold damage for up to a few weeks, you can save hundreds and possibly thousands of dollars.

    Deciding when to call in a professional is a personal decision, but there are two signs that black mold has progressed too far to easily remove it yourself, says David Olson of PuroClean, a property damage restoration company.

    “When the odor is becoming so bad that it’s giving them a headache,” or a finger can be pushed through drywall damaged by black mold, Olson says.

    Removal is charged by the square foot and varies by where you live, he says. Removing mold from and repairing a standard shower can cost from $1,600 to $4,500, Olson says.

    To avoid such costs, here are some ways to remove black mold in …read more  

  • For Earth Day: 22 Shades of Green

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    For Earth Day story by Sheri Koones. THIS USE ONLY

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    Courtesy of MandibuleThe Positive Energy ECOXIA House in Yerres, France, is a certified Passivhaus, built for sustainability and efficiency.

    There are many options available for those who want to build a “green” house. The number of sustainable and energy-efficient options used in the construction is dependent on budget, taste and the level of desire to be independent of the grid and utilize sustainable practices.

    Here is a checklist of things to consider when building or remodeling a home to be sustainable and energy efficient:

    1. Insulation
    First and foremost, use excellent insulation. Be sure there is adequate insulation, whether it is spray foam, cellulose, fiberglass, etc. The foundation, attic and exterior walls must all be properly insulated.

    2. Air Sealing
    Be sure to check for air infiltration. This can be done with a blower door test that will show where outside air is coming into the house. A tightly sealed home requires less heating and cooling.

    3. Windows
    Buy the best windows you can with your budget. Today there are many options in design, …read more