Real Estate

Tips to save energy and manage heating bills this winter

DETROIT — DTE Energy suggests customers prepare their homes and their budgets for winter. Steps taken now can pay big dividends. DTE Energy offers the following tips to help manage winter energy costs and save money on energy bills: Dial down You can manage your energy costs by using ...

After the holidays: A great time to rethink decor

By Melissa Rayworth Associated Press The days after the holiday guests have gone home and the decorations have been put away can be clarifying. Suddenly, rooms that have been crowded with people and gifts have empty space and breathing room. There’s something about the quiet weeks ...

US pending home sales fall in November

WASHINGTON (AP) — Fewer Americans signed contracts to buy homes in November. The decrease likely reflects the drag caused by rising mortgage rates and the shallow inventory of properties on the market. The National Association of Realtors said its seasonally adjusted pending home sales ...

Midwest buying spree lifts home sales

WASHINGTON (AP) — A buying spree in the Midwest spurred new U.S. home sales last month to the fastest pace since July. The Commerce Department said that new-home sales in November rose 5.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate 592,000. It was the fastest pace since July’s 622,000. ...

US home prices rise 5.1 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home prices rose again in October as buyers bidding for scarce properties drove prices higher. The Standard & Poor’s CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index, rose 5.1 percent in October from a year earlier after climbing 5 percent in September. ...

Existing home sales highest since 2007

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans bought homes in November in the fastest pace in nearly a decade, despite a deepening shortage of houses for sale. The National Association of Realtors said that sales of existing homes rose 0.7 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.61 ...

Today’s wood walls make a modern statement

By Kim Cook Associated Press The phrase “wood walls” should no longer conjure up images of gloomy paneled basements or cabins sheathed in dated, knotty pine. Today’s wood walls are riding high on the decor trend curve. Some pay homage to wood walls’ early or midcentury roots. ...

Downsizing tips from the pros

By Katherine Roth Associated Press For empty nesters, seniors and others who find themselves moving into a smaller space, downsizing can feel emotionally and physically overwhelming. But careful planning and perspective can make it easier. It helps to keep your eyes on the prize, ...

Home construction falls after surge

WASHINGTON (AP) — Builders pulled back on constructing homes in November, after ground breakings surged in October to the strongest pace in more than nine years. Housing starts fell 18.7 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted 1.09 million, the Commerce Department said Friday. The ...

Pros, cons of radiant infloor heating

Dear Jim: We are adding a family room and a bedroom to our house. We are considering electric radiant infloor heating. Is it costly to operate and does it work well with carpeting? - Anne V. Dear Anne: Electric infloor heating is one type of electrical resistance heating. Resistance heating ...

Raising the ceiling can change a room

By Melissa Rayworth Associated Press Architects tend to look skyward: The ancient Greeks built coffered ceilings in their temples. Romans introduced the barrel vault. Medieval builders constructed Gothic arches and Renaissance domes to inspire the masses. Centuries later, the impact is ...

Kitchen trends and innovations for 2017

By Melissa Rayworth Associated Press Americans briefly scaled back the scope of home renovation projects after the recession began nearly a decade ago, says interior designer and “HGTV Design Star” judge Vern Yip. But even during the peak of that focus on smaller, more sustainable ...

Harnessing the riches of online design sites

By Sarah Wolfe Associated Press There’s Houzz. Remodelista. Home design Twitter feeds. Tumblr accounts. And of course, the granddaddy of all online decor depositories — Pinterest. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by online resources when remodeling or redecorating. Where should you ...

Versatility’s the key in the modern rec room

By Melissa Kossler Dutton Associated Press When asked to build a luxury home for a house tour this year, designer Kenyon Woods opted to include a rec room — but not the rec room of his childhood. Unlike old-time rec rooms with their wood paneling, ceiling tiles, box TVs and cast-off ...

Nature’s noise blocker? Trees

By Dean Fosdick Associated Press Landscape designers in cities are creating quieter living spaces by using trees to mute loud noises like sirens and air brakes. It’s called “soundscaping,” and it aims to restore peaceful, natural sounds like wind whispering through leaves, birds ...

Home prices surpass pre-recession peak

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home prices have fully recovered from their steep plunge during the housing bust and Great Recession, according to a private measure. The Standard & Poor’s CoreLogic Case-Shiller national home price index is slightly above the peak it set in July 2006, after ...

How to get the most from your fireplace

Dear Jim: I added a blower and will use my fireplace often this year. I have had a problem getting fires started. What is the best way to lay a fire and get it started without filling the room with smoke? - Yvonne B. Dear Yvonne: There are some fire-building basics, but if you ask ten ...

Construction spending increases 0.5 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. builders boosted spending on construction projects by a modest amount in October, helped by big gains in spending on home construction and the biggest increase in government projects in 10 months. Construction spending rose 0.5 percent in October following no change ...

Decorators’ tips for a cozy winter bedroom

By Melissa RayworthAssociated PressDecorating a bedroom is about creating a peaceful retreat, and in winter that means making it as cozy and welcoming as possible.For some people, "cozy" requires the physical warmth of thick flannel sheets and soft quilts, says California-based designer Kathryn ...

Smart locks let you in without keys

By Diana MarszalekAssociated PressWhen Christy and Joe Affrunti bought their Long Island, New York, house last year, one of their first projects was replacing the traditional front-door lock with one that opens using a pass code. They were tired of the hassle of "jiggling with a key."Now, when ...