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 By Sally Forster Jones, Contributor |Jan. 23, 2019

5 Health-Boosting Enhancements for Your Home

If home is where the heart is, imagine how much better you could feel by ensuring your home is as healthy as possible. Just like with maintaining our bodies’ well-being, we can control what comes into and what is used within our homes to help our families achieve a healthy lifestyle. In the spirit of new beginnings, follow these five achievable resolutions that can make your home healthier this year.

1. Cleanse Your Kitchen

Considered the soul of the home, the kitchen is the room where families often come together. As such, it is important to make it as healthy as possible. Beyond purchasing a juice cleanser and stocking your pantry with healthy snacks, there are many other ways to create a more nourishing kitchen.

Start by targeting your tap water. Nearly 77 million people in the U.S. were served by community water systems with violations as recently as 2015, according to a study by the Natural Resources Defense Council published in 2017. By filtering your tap water, you can better prevent your body from disease, improve your skin and boost circulation. Review and compare faucet water filters that reduce pollutants like lead and toxic chemicals and moved toward a healthier hydration.

By Kayleigh Roberts | Mar 13, 2019

5 Unwritten Etiquette Rules Home Buyers Might Not Even Realize Are a Big Deal

If you're looking to buy a house, you're probably eager and excited. That's fine, but just keep in mind that in this heightened emotional state, it's easy to get swept up in the moment and behave, well, not perfectly.

This can lead to trouble since, just like anything else, buying a home comes with its own set of rules. Some may be fairly obvious, since they're outlined in all that real estate paperwork you'll soon be signing. But some of these rules are the unwritten, etiquette-based kind. And if you break 'em, it could still stop a real estate deal in its tracks.

Worried you might not be aware of all the things you might do that could inadvertently rub home sellers or real estate agents the wrong way? Then heed these five etiquette rules that many home buyers might all too easily overlook.

Rule 1: See a house online you love? Don't call the listing agent

When you're looking for a house and find a place that looks like it could be The One, it can be tempting to jump the gun and call the listing agent immediately. But stop right there.

The reason? The proper channels of communication dictate that you should ask your own buyer's agent to reach out to the listing agent, who will, in turn, let the home sellers know of your interest. We know it sounds like a long game of telephone, but it's necessary for a number of reasons. Namely, it means both buyer and seller have an agent looking out for their distinct interests, facilitating the deal.
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“You're not going to get a better deal by going directly to the listing agent," explains Matt Van Winkle, owner of Re/Max Northwest Realtors, in Seattle. "They represent the seller and are just trying to get the seller the best price.”

There is a caveat to this rule, says Kerron Stokes, a real estate agent with Re/Max Leaders, in Colorado: “If you are not represented and if you do not have an agent, then feel free to call the seller's agent," Stokes says. "But if you are a buyer, you should get an agent, as they can best represent your interests.”

By Allison Underhill | Jan 23, 2019

Ready to Remodel? These Home Renovations Will Pay Off the Most (and the Least) in 2019

New year, new home renovations? Whether you're getting ready to transform your entire kitchen into a farmhouse-chic dream (hello, shiplap and apron sink!) or maybe just to add some new wood floor for the foyer, it pays to know what kind of return on investment your home renovation might deliver. According to Remodeling magazine's annual Cost vs. Value report, not all home remodeling projects deliver the same bang for the buck. Far from it, in fact.

So which projects give you the biggest return on investment these days? This year (like last), the No. 1 finisher was garage-door replacement. While not as fabulous as a full-kitchen remodel, this project essentially pays for itself, earning you a whopping 97.5% of your money back.

For this report, now in its 32nd year, researchers analyzed 22 popular home improvements in 136 markets nationwide. The magazine polled contractors on how much they charge for these jobs, as well as real estate agents on how much they think these features would boost a home's market price. They then used those figures to calculate what percentage of its cost each project might recoup—or not.

As it turns out, the price of a few key projects skyrocketed from the last year, while their value dropped, says Clayton DeKorne, chief editor of the JLC Group (which includes Remodeling magazine) and manager of the report. In other words, Americans might spend more on certain renovations and get back a lot less of the money they spent.

So what's going on?

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