Real Estate

Buying a home by age 35 is worth it

By Beth Buczynski NerdWallet Nicole Christianson, a 26-year-old sales rep, was tired of writing big checks for tiny apartments. And she wanted to do more with her cash than stash it in a savings account. One night, she and her husband Thure, 28, took a look at their newly combined finances ...

Right at home: Kitchen islands evolve to meet today’s needs

By Kim Cook Associated Press Prep surface. Gathering spot. Storage solution. The kitchen island is one of those home elements that seems to have known its purpose from its inception: a utilitarian divider between kitchen and family zones, the heart of the home. Over the years, the kitchen ...

US home price gains slowed in November

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home prices rose at a slower pace in November, as sales have tumbled and affordability has deteriorated for many would-be buyers. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index grew 4.7 percent from a year earlier, dropping off from a 5 percent annual ...

Getting creative: Homes with rooms that inspire

By Katherine Roth Associated Press Spaces where creativity happens are utterly unlike other rooms, artists and designers say. Whether at home or elsewhere, these deeply personal spaces often feel like they’re in flux, with interiors more curated than decorated. They often feature natural ...

Home sales drop 6.4 percent in December

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home sales cratered in December, causing price growth to slip to the lowest level in more than six years as the housing sector ended 2018 on a decidedly weak note. The National Association of Realtors said sales of existing homes plunged 6.4 percent to a seasonally ...

Three ways parents can help their grown children own a home

By Marilyn Lewis NerdWallet When responsible first-time homebuyers need help buying a home, the family bank sometimes can lend a hand. Younger homebuyers face a mountain of obstacles, including rising home prices and interest rates, too few homes for sale and unpaid college debt. Student ...

Serious decor with a fun, playful edge

By Kim Cook Associated Press Dorothy Draper once said of her decorating projects, “I always put in one controversial item. It makes people talk.” The influential Manhattan interior decorator was known for her exuberant use of color and pattern, such as bold, black-and-white ...

What the government shutdown means for your mortgage

By Holden Lewis NerdWallet The partial federal government shutdown is complicating the already complicated process of getting and managing a mortgage. For one thing, the political storm is like severe weather at a major airport: You can expect minor delays or worse. Also, it could mean ...

Home items are getting smarter, like it or not

NEW YORK (AP) — One day, finding an oven that just cooks food may be as tough as buying a TV that merely lets you change channels. Internet-connected “smarts” are creeping into cars, refrigerators, thermostats, toys and just about everything else in your home. CES 2019, the gadget show ...

Espalier pruning has artistic and practical benefits

By Dean Fosdick Associated Press Espalier design is an ancient pruning practice that fashions fruit trees, vines or flowering shrubs into artistic, two-dimensional forms. This lateral shaping makes it easier to harvest and mow, maximizes sunlight, and helps trees fit into tight ...

Now’s a good time to savor the subtle beauty of trees’ barks

By Lee Reich Associated Press Autumn’s fiery-colored leaves have fallen, so now let’s look for more subtle beauty in trees and shrubs. Like a developing photographic image, the textures and colors of bark come into view in the increasingly stark winter landscape. Paper birch isn’t ...

Small touches create a great master bathroom

By Melissa Rayworth Associated Press It’s easy to design a gorgeous master bathroom if you have a huge budget. But with the right choices, says interior designer Gabriel Anderson, you can have an exceptional master bath without overspending. “Having huge expanses of marble is amazing ...

Right at home: Black walls make a quiet comeback

By Kim Cook Associated Press There was a time when black walls were mostly the purview of goth teens and indie movie theaters. But the color has been quietly cultivating a broader following among designers and homeowners who want a cozy, enveloping ambiance that’s still got theatrical ...

US home price growth slowed in October

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home price growth slowed in October, a likely consequence of higher mortgage rates having worsened affordability and causing sales to fall. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 5 percent from a year earlier, down from an annual gain of 5.2 ...

Rethinking the basement for living space

By Melissa Rayworth Associated Press Basements can be cold and dark, and often get much less decorating attention than the rest of the house. But you can gain new, useful and stylish living space by upgrading that subterranean space. Step one is addressing any risk of flooding or water ...

Don’t forget sconces in your lighting plan

By Kim Cook Associated Press Lighting a room seems simple: Plug in a lamp or flip a switch. Not so fast. “Nothing enhances a space more than a thoughtful lighting plan,” says interior designer Michael Wood of New York City. Many buildings in the city don’t allow channeling into ...

Resolutions for new homeowners

By Beth Buczynski NerdWallet We all make New Year’s resolutions, but let’s be honest: Most are wishful thinking. By February, that “lose 20 pounds” or “learn Spanish” resolution has gone right out the window. But not for you, new homeowner. This year is different. Your first ...

Right at Home: Sellers, give every room a role

By Kim Cook Associated Press Many of us have one room in the house that doesn’t really have a job. Maybe we set it up with an air bed once in a while for guests, or shove out-of-season clothing boxes in there, or use it as a holding zone for stuff we’re not sure what to do with. But ...

Remember the ceiling when decorating a room

By Sarah Wolfe For The Associated Press Ceilings are the Rodney Dangerfield of homes. They get no respect. But there are plenty of easy ways to make over this oft-overlooked area, from the quirky charm of Victorian-era, pressed-tin tiles and beadboard to a simple splash of ...

How to plan a smart home – and weigh privacy risks

NEW YORK (AP) — You might have heard of lights that turn off with an app or voice command. Or window shades that magically rise every morning. Technology companies are pushing the “smart home” hard, selling appliances and gadgets that offer internet-connected conveniences you didn’t ...