• October 17, 2018

The Trail Blazer: Real Estate

Facebook Twitter

Real Estate

Top Story

How to create the perfect, four-season outdoor living space

(BPT) - Creating an outdoor living space will give you an extra "room" to enjoy in all types of weather, even as the temperatures drop. You can start small with an inexpensive patio set and charcoal grill on a new deck, go all out with a fully installed kitchen, fireplace and living room, or something in between. It depends on your budget and how you plan to use the space.

  • icon Updated: 3:18 am

Pet Central

pets

Having a pet is a lot of responsibility, and we’ll help by giving you lots of tips and tricks! More >>

Fitness

Fitness

Our fitness articles will help teach you how to work out with gym- and home-based exercises. More >>

Crosswords

Crosswords

Enjoy the crosswords challenge in our free daily puzzles, from the harder Sunday crossword to the quicker daily. More >>

Sudoku

Sudoku

Every Sudoku has a unique solution that can be reached logically. Enter numbers into the blank spaces so that each row, column and 3x3 box contains the numbers 1 to 9. More >>




Recent Headlines

Wednesday 10/03/2018
Smart Millennial Uses Down Payment Assistance for New Home
Updated: October 17, 2018 - 3:09 am

(NewsUSA) - Until this summer, Matt Berna had an unusual tradition: Every year, he moved to a new apartment. After doing this for 9 years, the 27-year-old inside sales professional decided enough was enough.

Thursday 09/13/2018
Concerned About Rising Mortgage Rates? Borrowers Have Options
Updated: October 17, 2018 - 3:18 am

(StatePoint) While mortgage interest rates remain near historic lows, they have been slowly rising over the last year, increasing the cost of 30-year loans for borrowers.

Friday 08/31/2018
Going green a smart real estate strategy that adds value
Updated: October 17, 2018 - 3:18 am

(BPT) - Are you thinking of selling your house and want to know some of the best ways to boost your home's value, demand top dollar and potentially inspire a bidding war? Whether you're selling in a few months or a few years, there is one strategy that gets noticed in real estate markets across the United States: green home improvements.

Thursday 08/30/2018
5 tips for buying a home in a competitive market
Updated: October 17, 2018 - 3:18 am

(BPT) - Buying a house in a hot market is always a challenge, and if you’re jumping into the fray at the end of the home buying season you might be tempted to think the situation is hopeless. But all is not lost.

Monday 08/27/2018
Fall maintenance tips for a lush green lawn next spring
Updated: October 17, 2018 - 3:18 am

(BPT) - The days are getting shorter and the nights are cooling off. The kids are back in school. Yes, fall is in the air, and that means it’s time to start thinking about prepping your lawn for winter.

Friday 08/24/2018
Discovering Southern Cypress: The Natural Choice [Video]
Updated: October 17, 2018 - 3:18 am

Tuesday 08/21/2018
An easy way to boost your curb appeal? Container plants!
Updated: October 17, 2018 - 3:18 am

(BPT) - Whether you're buying, selling or currently living in and enjoying your home, you know it's all about curb appeal. Your home's first impression is how your slice of the American dream looks from the street, which is a reflection of your style, taste and pride in homeownership. Think of your home not only as a place to create lasting memories with your family, but as a blank canvas that you can customize to reflect who you are. If you feel a little lackluster about your home's outdoor space — overgrown bushes here, unkempt garden there — you can give your front yard a simple makeover, and it doesn't have to strain your pocketbook.

Monday 08/20/2018
Home sweet home? 6 safety tips when moving with kids
Updated: October 17, 2018 - 3:18 am

(BPT) - Moving to a new home can be an exciting undertaking, a fresh start that brings with it the potential for new friends, opportunities and experiences.

Friday 08/10/2018
DIY outdoor bar serves up entertainment
Updated: October 17, 2018 - 3:18 am

(BPT) - As outdoor living space continues to be an extension of the home for entertaining, it’s no surprise that nearly 60 percent of homeowners believe outdoor kitchens will be popular this year, according to the latest Landscape Architecture Trends Survey by the American Society of Landscape Architects. While an outdoor kitchen can be a significant project, an attractive, functional and durable alternative at a fraction of the cost is building an outdoor bar yourself.

Thursday 08/02/2018
How to Afford a Pricier House in the Neighborhood You Love
Updated: October 17, 2018 - 3:10 am

(NewsUSA) - When Danielle and Jimmy returned to their home state after three years in Germany, they spent the next six months looking for their first home.

Thursday 07/26/2018
Bitcoin Gains Can Become "Tax-Free"
Updated: October 17, 2018 - 3:09 am

(NewsUSA) - The 2017 Reform Act of 2017 is starting to gain traction as former United States Congressman Mark Schauer (MI-07) suggest that the "Opportunity Zones created under the tax bill incentivize capital flow to businesses in low-income neighborhoods all over the nation. Investment of even a portion of unrealized capital gains will have an historic, transformative effect in distressed communities."

5 tips to amp up the natural benefits of your yard
Updated: October 17, 2018 - 3:18 am

(BPT) - It’s easy to appreciate the sights and smells afforded by lawns and landscapes, but when it comes to your yard there is much more to consider besides pleasing aesthetics and aromas. Many would even be surprised to learn that the benefits of a lush lawn and stunning landscape design extend well beyond a yard’s perimeter.

Friday 07/20/2018
How Many Americans are Finding Affordable Housing
Updated: October 17, 2018 - 3:18 am

(StatePoint) With the cost of housing continuing to rise faster than wages, it’s no wonder that many Americans nationwide are struggling to make ends meet. Luckily, solutions already exist to address the affordable housing shortage, say experts.

Thursday 06/28/2018
You're covered: 4 unusual homeowners claims you didn't think would ever happen
Updated: October 17, 2018 - 3:18 am

(BPT) - Homeowners insurance is a practical investment to help protect you, your family and your property in the event of unforeseen and unexpected losses. Traditionally, it’s associated with fire damage, burst or leaking pipes, or stolen property, but occasionally it covers unusual events that make for sensational news stories and viral videos.

Here are four claims homeowners never thought would happen to them.

1. Bear B&B

Bears are notoriously curious and intelligent creatures that also have an acute sense of smell.

People who live in areas with bears for neighbors must not entice them with the aromas of food. Keep doors and windows on ground floors closed and locked while cooking or if you leave the house. A bear can easily get through the screen of an open window or manipulate a lever-like door handle to enter your home and cause significant damage.

“Encountering a bear inside your home would be a very frightening experience,” says Christopher O’Rourke, Vice President of Property Claims at Mercury Insurance. “Safety should be your first priority, so call your local police or animal control station to have them help you with the situation. You can worry about any potential damages after the animal leaves the residence, because your homeowners policy will most likely cover any damage to your home (though not your personal property), unless of course the bear is a family pet.”

2. The sky is falling

China’s Tiangong-1 space station plummeted back to Earth and made its re-entry into the atmosphere earlier this year, breaking apart over the southern Pacific Ocean. The odds of debris from the space station hitting you were less than one in 1 trillion, according to the Aerospace Corporation. If it had hit your home, though, homeowners insurance would’ve covered it.

3. Your house is stolen

Yes, you read that correctly. Your homeowners insurance will cover the entire house, not just the contents inside, if it is stolen.

O’Rourke explains, “We had an insured who was away on vacation and when he returned the foundation of his home was all that remained.

“A house moving company had mixed up the address with another house down the street that was scheduled to be moved. The movers came in, transported the house to another location and thought their job was done — wrong!

“You can only imagine his surprise at the mistake. While homeowners insurance covered the cost of getting things restored back to normal, I would suspect this was one of the strangest situations any insurer has ever encountered,” says O’Rourke.

4. Fore!

Golf is a leisurely pastime enjoyed by millions in the U.S. It involves strolling across greens and riding in golf carts, so its slow pace may seem low-risk, but it can actually be quite dangerous. According to an article in Golf Digest magazine, nearly 40,000 golfers are admitted to emergency rooms annually after being injured while playing, most by errant golf balls and flying club heads.

Recreational golfers can also cause a lot of damage to personal property. If you live on a golf course, your house has probably been hit many times by errant shots — breaking windows, damaging roofs and leaving divots in exterior walls.

So, who’s responsible for these injuries and damage?

“Simply put, the golfer who hit the shot is responsible,” says O’Rourke. “There is good news, however, because recreational golfers would be covered by a homeowners, condo owners or renters insurance policy for damage or injuries that result from the wayward shot.”

Mercury recommends reviewing your homeowners insurance policy annually with your local insurance agent to ensure that you’re adequately covered for any unforeseen losses, both unusual and ordinary.


Thursday 06/21/2018
Build boldly with these 4 features of advanced decking
Updated: October 17, 2018 - 3:18 am

(BPT) - If you’re planning to create an outdoor living space, advanced decking enables you to show off your creativity. For years, complex deck designs have been difficult to achieve with traditional lumber. But, with advances in today’s decking materials, you have the flexibility to create virtually any design to reflect your style. The possibilities of creating a bold deck design are only limited by your imagination. For example, did you love hopscotch while growing up? Build a hopscotch board into your deck. Maybe you are an avid musician; why not design your deck in a giant guitar shape?

Tuesday 06/19/2018
Paint like a pro in 5 easy steps
Updated: October 17, 2018 - 3:18 am

(BPT) - Nothing transforms a home quite like a fresh coat of paint. In fact, painting your own house is one of the smartest and easiest DIY upgrades a homeowner can accomplish on their own.

Monday 06/18/2018
Top Tips and Decluttering Insights for Your Next Move
Updated: October 17, 2018 - 3:18 am

(StatePoint) Moving can be emotional and the ways you manage it – including the downsizing of your possessions – may be influenced by your age, suggests a new study.

Friday 06/15/2018
3 secrets to hosting a great party on your deck or patio
Updated: October 17, 2018 - 3:18 am

(BPT) - Cookouts, barbecues, family reunions and more are upon us, and as the coolest neighbor on the cul-de-sac, hosting is a no-brainer. We’ve compiled three simple ways to get your deck and yard ready to go, so you can play host to the cookout of the year.

Tuesday 06/12/2018
How to prep your home for a new addition to the family
Updated: October 17, 2018 - 3:18 am

(BPT) - Whether it’s a baby or pet, a new addition to the family calls for new, unexpected responsibilities, and is bound to come with adjustments for every member of the family. While it would be silly to guarantee zero stress for the new family environment, below are tips for a transition with more playtime and fewer headaches to help you get started.

Friday 05/25/2018
4 decorating tips for the perfect outdoor entertaining space
Updated: October 17, 2018 - 3:18 am

(BPT) - When it comes to outdoor entertaining, making sure your space is ready is critical for enjoying summer — from its "unofficial" start over Memorial Day weekend all the way through Labor Day.

Monday 05/21/2018
Feed your dog from a DIY concrete bowl
Updated: October 17, 2018 - 3:18 am

(BPT) - With dogs living in more than 60 million U.S. households, pooches are by far the most popular pet in America according to the America Pet Products Association’s 2017-2018 National Owners Survey. The same research also indicates that dog food accounts for a large proportion of the expenses to own a dog at around $300 a year, depending on the type of dog and their choice of chow. Regardless of expense, no owner wants to see good food go to waste because their clumsy dog accidentally knocks over the bowl or an unexpected storm blows the dish across the back patio. Dog owners can avoid the repeated exercise and cost of replacing wasted food by using a sturdy and durable concrete dog bowl.

Thursday 05/10/2018
Make the most of your landscaping projects this year with these tips
Updated: October 17, 2018 - 3:18 am

(BPT) - Home improvement projects aren't constrained to a single season, but during these warmer months, your focus is no longer simply on your home's indoors. Now there’s outdoor yard work to do as well, and if you're looking to recreate your outdoor space, your outside projects may include some landscaping. If you have landscaping as part of your to-do list this season, the right strategy can ensure that you get the most benefit from your landscaping goals with the least amount of headache.

Wednesday 05/09/2018
The benefits of child's play extend beyond exercise
Updated: October 17, 2018 - 3:18 am

(BPT) - When you think about the most important part of a child’s school day, what comes to mind? Is it reading? Science? Math or history? What about recess?

Thursday 05/03/2018
6 Money Tips for Buying a Home
Updated: October 17, 2018 - 3:18 am

(StatePoint) When searching for a new home, you may come across some conflicting information, especially about home financing or mortgage loans. Consider these six money tips to help you navigate the process.

Tuesday 05/01/2018
Wildfire protection starts in these 5 places
Updated: October 17, 2018 - 3:18 am

(BPT) - It’s National Wildfire Awareness Week. So, if you live in a wildfire-prone area, make sure you’re taking the right steps to stave off potential damage long before flames rage toward your doorstep.

Tuesday 04/24/2018
A Primer for First-Time Homebuyers
Updated: October 17, 2018 - 3:10 am

(NewsUSA) - Sponsored by GAF - Finally ready to take the plunge? Join the club.

Friday 04/20/2018
With More Buyers Out There, These Home Upgrades Can Really Pay Off
Updated: October 17, 2018 - 3:09 am

(NewsUSA) - Sponsored by GAF - It's time to stop thinking of Millennials as totally uninterested in owning anything just because they were early adopters of Uber.

Wednesday 04/11/2018
90 percent of homes have hard water: What are the effects?
Updated: October 17, 2018 - 3:18 am

(BPT) - Hard water, which contains high levels of calcium and magnesium, can be found in nearly 90 percent of American homes. These minerals cause scaling, a buildup that clogs waterlines and plumbing forcing appliances to work harder and operate less efficiently. The scale may also harbor bacteria. The only way to truly remove the hard and soft scale from household water systems is with salt-based water softeners.

Monday 03/26/2018
Credit tips for buying an investment property
Updated: October 17, 2018 - 3:18 am

(BPT) - If you love the idea of being a landlord, and don’t mind being on duty around the clock, buying an investment property may be the wealth-building option for you.

Wednesday 03/21/2018
4 home remedies that will put more money in your pocket
Updated: October 17, 2018 - 3:18 am

(BPT) - What do you like to do for fun when you have some free time on your hands? Whether it’s seeing the latest blockbuster, sampling a delicious entree or taking a road trip, chances are your passions cost money. If you’re like many Americans, you may find you don’t have quite as many loose dollars, especially when you have to be a responsible adult and take care of all those monthly expenses.

8 simple things you can do at home to improve indoor air quality
Updated: October 17, 2018 - 3:18 am

(BPT) - A clean house always looks and feels good. But did you know a clean environment goes a long way toward keeping you and your family healthy?

Thursday 03/08/2018
Are Common Myths Holding You Back from Buying a Home?
Updated: March 09, 2018 - 3:34 am

(StatePoint) Aspirations of home ownership is strong for America’s families, yet findings from the fifth annual America at Home survey from NeighborWorks America indicate several perceived barriers to homeownership among the majority of consumers.

Monday 03/05/2018
How Much Home Can You Afford this Spring? Factors to Consider
Updated: March 05, 2018 - 3:36 am

(StatePoint) The chicken or the egg? Which came first continues to fuel philosophical debates. But when it comes to buying a home, experts are pretty clear about the proper order of things -- agreeing you should fit your mortgage to your finances, not to a house.

Wednesday 02/21/2018
House hunting? Use this handy checklist before you make the offer
Updated: October 17, 2018 - 3:21 am

(BPT) - House hunting can feel like an adventurous new chapter in your life. If you're lucky enough to find the property that checks off all the "must have" boxes — appearance, size, price, location — it’s easy to fall in love.

Wednesday 01/24/2018
Deciphering the legalese in your furnace warranty
Updated: October 17, 2018 - 3:20 am

(BPT) - From smartphones to mattresses, almost everything you buy comes with a warranty. How can you ensure you get the most benefit from a warranty, especially for a major investment that’s critical to the comfort of your home, like a new furnace?

Tuesday 12/12/2017
How to Find an Affordable Home in Today’s Market
Updated: December 12, 2017 - 3:34 am

(StatePoint) Affordable housing is in high demand in cities and counties nationwide. Experts say that areas grappling with affordable housing issues may find factory-built homes to be a powerful tool in addressing this need.

Tuesday 11/14/2017
How to Find the Right Home Mortgage So You Don’t Overpay
Updated: November 14, 2017 - 3:36 am

(StatePoint) Ample bedrooms and bathrooms? Check. A roomy kitchen? Check. A nice-sized backyard, storage space in the attic and just the right amount of curb appeal? Check, check and check.