Buying an Old House: Is It Really as Easy as it Looks?

From "This Old House" to "Flip This House," television has long romanticized the process of turning an old, rundown home into a beautifully renovated palace of construction wonders. Some potential buyers think, "Hey, just a little work, a lot of TLC, and I can make twice as much off this home as what I paid for it!" While it's possible, it is often a a much more laborious process than those highly edited TV shows would indicate. Without an entire crew of construction specialists and a producer's budget, fixing up an old home can require a lot of time and money. There is a way to do it carefully, however, and it starts with proper planning.
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What Is a Salvage Title Car? Experts Explain.

If you're in the market for a great deal on a used car, you might come across an ad with the words "salvage title" in fine print at the bottom. What is a salvage title? What does it mean to purchase a vehicle under a salvage title? Is a car with a salvage title insurable? We've done some of the research for you so you can decide if a car with a salvage title is worth the risk. What Is a Salvage Title Vehicle? According to Keith Griffin, an automotive journalist and president of the New England Motor Press Association, "A salvage title is given to any vehicle that has sustained damage worth 75% or more of its value. For example, if you drive a 2002 Honda Civic worth $9415 and it suffers $7061 in damage in a collision, it’s going to be branded with a title stamped 'Salvage.'" Some states call this a junk title rather than a salvage title.
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10 of the Best Cars Under $20,000

There are literally hundreds of different cars currently available for purchase. When you are shopping for a new car, it can be difficult to narrow your choices down. One of the best ways to start is by determining the best cars that fit within your budget.
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6 Best SUVs Under $20,000

SUVs come in four types: compact, midsize, large and luxury. If you are looking for a new sport utility vehicle for under $20,000, your choices will be mostly limited to the compact SUVs. If what you have in mind is a larger SUV, you will need to consider used vehicles in order to stay within this price range. Many of the compact SUVs and crossovers being produced today offer consumers everything they are looking for, so if you have your heart set on a new vehicle, you may want to look into a few of these SUVs on our list. Below, listed from most to least expensive, are our picks for the six best new SUVs you can purchase for under $20,000.
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6 Best SUVs Under $20,000

SUVs come in four types: compact, midsize, large and luxury. If you are looking for a new sport utility vehicle for under $20,000, your choices will be mostly limited to the compact SUVs. If what you have in mind is a larger SUV, you will need to consider used vehicles in order to stay within this price range. Many of the compact SUVs and crossovers being produced today offer consumers everything they are looking for, so if you have your heart set on a new vehicle, you may want to look into a few of these SUVs on our list. Below, listed from most to least expensive, are our picks for the six best new SUVs you can purchase for under $20,000.
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The 5 Hardest Things About Working from Home in My Slippers

What could possibly be difficult about working in the comfort of my own home each day? My commute is approximately five seconds down a hallway. I get to pick the radio station. And, snacks? They're available anytime I want, and may even include a glass of wine! Hey, it's 5 o'clock somewhere! Before you decide to ditch the 9-to-5 cubicle and find a work-at-home position, I envy you. I really do. Why? Your only distraction is likely social media notifications beeping on your cellphone. I might be typing in my slippers right now, but making my home double as an office is no easy job.
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Is That Covered by Home Insurance? 5 Surprising Facts

Home insurance policies are designed to protect your personal property and provide reimbursement in the event of damage or loss. Yet, when a claim is filed, many people are surprised to find certain items are excluded from coverage. Likewise, some individuals miss the opportunity to file a claim, not realizing they have experienced a covered loss. Below are five areas that tend to cause confusion in the world of home insurance. Do you know which ones are covered by your current policy? (Hint: Ask your insurance agent if you aren't sure.)
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What You Need to Know About Buying a House with Defects

Some folks look at a run-down home in need of major TLC as a fun project to occupy weekends. Others are attracted to the low asking prices many sellers want for a home with significant defects. Many buyers fall in love with a specific home or neighborhood, only to discover the property has substantial problems just prior to signing that purchase agreement. Whichever camp you fall into, there are several factors to keep in mind when you buy a house that requires vital repairs.
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California Fires Call for Multiple Evacuations

Blazing California fires near San Diego and the surrounding communities threatened the homes of scores of locals last week. One of the largest fires, near California State University, San Marcos is suspected to have been started by arson. High winds and low humidity along with blistering temperatures helped fuel these fires. On Friday, May 16, CNN reported that six major fires were threatening the San Diego area, including the cities of San Marcos and Escondido along with the military base at Camp Pendleton.
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Posted in News and Catastrophe

Should I Buy or Build a New Home?

New homes offer many attractive features to potential buyers. They often require fewer repairs, offer new appliances and are more energy efficient. New homes can cause just as many headaches and hassles as older homes, however. Before you build or buy new, consider the following factors. Investigate the Builder's Reputation Just because the home is brand new doesn't mean it was constructed with quality and care. Whether your next home is in a development or you are considering construction from scratch, always research the builder's past history.
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Posted in Buying a House

What You Didn't Know About Buying a House 'As Is'

As bank-owned properties and foreclosed homes continue to make up a significant portion of the housing market, "as is" sales are becoming more and more common. In some cases, an "as is" clause in the purchase agreement doesn't automatically sour the deal. In others, it can be a sign for potential buyers to run as far from the offer as they can. How can you identify which case it will be?
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Are You Ready to Buy a Beach House?

The beach home bug can bite when you least expect it. Many people show up for a vacation on the coast with no notion of buying oceanfront property. But a few days on your favorite stretch of sand can make you start to look around and wonder, Should I buy a beach house? Buying beach property can be a great way to secure a peaceful getaway or retirement home for yourself and your loved ones. It can also provide a little extra rental income in the off season. But buying a beach house can prove much more complicated than it might seem at first glance. So here is a list of preconditions to consider before you take the plunge.
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What You Should Know About Buying a Lake House

Buying a lake home can be an exciting process. Whether you're looking for a weekend getaway, a retirement home, or a primary residence, lakefront properties offer many attractive features. Homes near and on lakes also have their own set of hassles and aspects to carefully consider, however. Before you sign that purchase agreement, be sure you have all the facts. Choose the Right Agent As a real estate agent in Minnesota, Daryl Bronniche is what you may consider an expert on waterfront properties. "You can't throw a rock around here without hitting a lake," he joked. "And lake homes are a different beast."
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It's Wildfire Season: Are You at Risk?

Imagine losing everything you own, including all of the contents of your home, to a fire. In addition to the tens of thousands of dollars in damage (or more), survivors of catastrophic fires lose more than just property; they lose difficult-to-replace keepsakes such as family heirlooms or photo albums. For many states, especially in the southwestern and western United States, the chances of catastrophic loss by fire are increased due to wildfires. In fact, a wildfire broke out on May 5th in Oklahoma near the town of Guthrie and evacuations were ordered for 1,000 locals. Other areas of Oklahoma have suffered wildfires in the past week with one fire raging across Harper and Woodward counties.
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Posted in News and Catastrophe

How to Go on a Road Trip with an Autistic Child: 5 Tips

Traveling is a luxury we should not take for granted. Sometimes, our circumstances might make it a little more difficult to freely hit the open road when there are children involved. When it comes to children with autism, it can be even harder. Each time we leave our home on a road trip with our children, we must first create a contingency plan for any unforeseen difficulties that may arise. We are not your average family.
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Don't Give a Burglar Easy Access to Your Home

Despite new advances in home security, such as cameras, viewable smart devices and self-installed motion detectors, burglars are still finding easy ways to break in. Recent reports of burglars stealing garage door openers from unlocked cars and returning later to gain keyless entry into a home has individuals becoming more vigilant about concealing or locking up the small devices. Other tactics used by burglars include using a coat hanger to jimmy a garage door's release string and breaking into back doors hidden from neighbors.
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Posted in News and Safety

How to Have the Coolest Backyard on the Block this Summer

Backyard equipment has evolved from simple swings and a slide to palatial play structures complete with tube slides, zip lines and rock walls. Everyone wants to have the coolest backyard, but safety should never take a back seat to fun. According to a recent article in USA Today, trampoline accidents alone caused over a million emergency room visits between the years 2002 and 2011. Below are some of summer's hottest backyard play items along with ideas on how to keep kids safe as they play.
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When Joyous Occasions Turn Sour: How I Coped

What was supposed to be a joyous occasion became anything but that. A performance of Hercules was kicking off our four day Disney cruise to the Bahamas when all of a sudden our hearts sank. A family getaway years in the making, and our trip was being cut short only two hours out to sea.
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Posted in Parents and Health

Small Business Nightmare: My Career Almost Went Up in Smoke!

Every small business person dreams of the project that catapults them to the next level in their career. For me, it was an assignment for Time magazine. Yes, that Time magazine. What I never anticipated was nearly burning down the set and making a claim on my small business insurance.
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Posted in Business Owners

A Simple Guide to Buying the House You Rent

When Lisa Sanford accepted a job in post-Katrina New Orleans, she was not entirely sure how long she would be staying. She and her husband sold their Birmingham, AL home and began renting a house in Grenta, LA. After a few years, the couple was certain that they wanted to live there long-term and they ended up buying the house they’d been living in. If you are currently renting a house and want to stay in it long-term, you may want to do something similar to what Lisa Sanford did. Home ownership will enable you to start building equity while also permitting you to make and enjoy improvements to the property. Furthermore, although your property taxes may fluctuate a bit, you will no longer need to be concerned about annual rent increases.
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Severe Weather Alert: Are You Ready for Tornadoes, Floods?

From the recent tornadoes in Arkansas and Oklahoma, to the flood warnings issued for the New England states to Florida this weekend, Severe Weather Awareness Week kickstarted some of Mother Nature's most damaging acts. This week's storm system left the South ravaged, citizens killed and several others injured on Monday. Tornadoes and high winds leveled homes and damaged everything vehicles to schools. The system moved to the East coast on Wednesday saturating the area with 11-inches of rain near Pensacola, Florida and Mobile, Alabama causing flash floods.
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6 Tips on Baby Safety Gates and Tales from Moms Who Could Have Used Them

Quite possibly one of the worst sounds on the planet is the sound of a small child falling down the steps. There's a series of horrible bumps and thuds before one loud crash that culminates in a blood curdling scream. What's even worse? Watching it happen. It's a scene that never leaves your mind. It's happened to both of my boys at the age of one and thankfully, they made it through their tumultuous tumbles unscathed.
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What Will Happen To My Child When I Am Gone?

It might be one of the most dreaded topics of all. What will happen to my child when I die? It hurts me to even type that sentence. I prefer to live in denial about such things. I think we all do to some extent. The sad truth is that it is a topic we cannot afford to avoid. It is a topic that permeates my subconscious each time I am reminded of my daughter's future. Will she be independent? Will she live on her own? Will she be married? These are all things parents of children with autism cannot take for granted. We can hope and wish for bright and independent futures for our children but we must be prepared should this not be the case. We must do the unpleasant task of preparing for a future when we are gone and our children still need support.
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Posted in Parents