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Paul Benezra's Blog


Dress up your fireplace mantel
Updated Oct. 9, 2013
The season has fully shifted into autumn, and accents of harvest and Thanksgiving are adorning the patios, doors, and windows of homes. Don't wait for December to dress up your fireplace mantel. Better Homes and Gardens showcases 21 different themes.. The silhouette motif, pictured here, is definitely out...
The sunny side of the job market
Updated Oct. 9, 2013
Solar energy jobs have grown across the nation over the last year, showing off a positive side to the challenging labor market some Americans face. The LA Times reports that 100,237 solar-related jobs are held in the U.S., according to the National Solar Jobs Census 2011 conducted by the Solar Foundation, a...
Rental income can supplement retirement
Updated Oct. 9, 2013
Retirees or soon-to-be retirees who were counting on skimming the fat off of investments and savings realize the importance of diversifying. As interest rates have declined, those of the baby boomer generation (born 1946 - 1964), are looking for multiple ways to boost retirement income.. According to The...
The super micro house
Updated Oct. 9, 2013
For some Japanese homeowners, compact quarters do not necessarily translate into cramped living. It's not just Tokyo that is overcrowded. Urban centers around the world face housing challenges. The cutting edge architecture showcased in this video hinges on the ability of the designer to create a...
Home refinancing to get easier
Updated Oct. 9, 2013
The U.S. government's home-refinancing program is being overhauled, announced officials of the independent Federal Housing Finance Agency. Changes include an easing of the rules for qualifying and reduction of some fees. The goal is to make the Home Affordable Refinance Program more broadly available...
Prep your spring garden in the fall
Updated Oct. 9, 2013
<p>Although spring marks the start of peak gardening season, now is the time to prep your flowering beds and plants..
Tax Deductions for Refinancing or New Home Purchase
Updated Oct. 9, 2013
With the real estate market†slow and interest rates falling, many people are refinancing their homes or buying new ones at bargain prices. If you have taken out a new home loan recently, you can deduct points that you pay on your new loan, and possibly points that you paid in the past on your old home loan.. Closing...
Less is More
Updated Oct. 9, 2013
With 2012 around the corner, resolutions may be creeping up on you. Rather than think up what you can acquire, why not consider what you can unload? Wisebread recently featured Kentin Wait's post, "Clutter-Free: The Zero-Accumulation Household," where the less is more mantra reigns. Waits writes about...
Remodel with new technologies
Updated Oct. 9, 2013
In a recent interview with HomeSavvi, Scott LaBenz, principal with Group Architect, a Seattle architectural firm, and Todd Powell with Powell Custom Homes and Renovations suggest five prime features to include in an upcoming house remodel.. o Dual-flush toilet -- The user can opt for a light or heavy flush,...
Holiday entertaining with Colin Cowie
Updated Oct. 9, 2013
With the arrival of the holidays, entertaining is in full gear. The philosophy, mi casa es tu casa, still holds true -- nothing makes guests feel more special than being wined and dined in a fabulous home setting. According to Colin Cowie, entertaining maven to stars like Oprah Winfrey, the home dinner party...
Women pay higher mortgage rates
Updated Oct. 9, 2013
Do women and men secure comparable mortgage rates? According to a 2006 study by Ping Chen, Professor of Florida Atlantic University, Department of Industry Studies, women on average pay more for mortgages because they have a tendency to rely on the recommendations of friends, while men appear to lean heavily...
Light up your holidays
Updated Oct. 9, 2013
It's time to light up the holidays. Real Simple showcases over 30 ideas to make your house glow from December to the New Year and all throughout 2012.. Traditionally, candles adorn the centerpiece of a table. But consider using them on the fireplace mantle, the stairs, and other oft-forgotten areas. The...
Time to replace the old thermostat
Updated Oct. 9, 2013
Many of us neglect the programmable thermostat in our houses. When former Apple senior VP Tony Fadell was designing his own green home, he decided it was time to update the antiquated thermostat. He created a new device that he hoped would function better and look sleeker than the old one.. Fadell's Nest is a...
Helping the kids buy a house
Updated Oct. 9, 2013
Post-college young adults who are earning a steady income are finding that buying a home can be challenging if they don't have the sufficient cash for down payment. Mitchell Barton found himself in this very scenario. He could financially support monthly mortgage payments but hadn't had enough time...
Remember these tax tips
Updated Oct. 9, 2013
There are valuable tax deductions and credits available to homeowners. Consider the following tips when filing taxes for 2011.. Property tax payments can be deducted. Claim the amount that you actually paid in the calendar year.Did you pay points to refinance? Then deduct the points over the life of the loan. If you...
More home searches are happening online
Updated Oct. 9, 2013
If much of the real estate traffic is happening off-road and online, where are consumers shopping? Inman News reports that the top 10 websites for the housing industry is led by Yahoo Real Estate, followed by Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, MSN Real Estate, Homes.com, AOL Real Estate, Rent.com, Zip Realty, and My...
Now may be a good time to buy
Updated Oct. 9, 2013
Owning a home is more affordable today than it has been at any point in the past 15 years, according to a Wall Street Journal report. In a number of cities, the monthly cost of owning a home falls below renting due to low interest rates. And while rates continue to hover around 4%, rent levels are expected to rise by...
5 reasons refinancing may be right for you
Updated Oct. 9, 2013
1. Reduce your interest rate & payment. Paying a lower interest rate may save you money every month and may help you build equity in your home more quickly. When refinancing your home to a lower rate, if you can save $100 per month on your monthly payments this can add up to $12,000 in 10 years. A mortgage refinance...
Reinvent the kitchen
Updated Oct. 9, 2013
The kitchen of every house is the hub where family members, friends, and guests come together. This Traditional Home video features a variety of ideas to inspire and inform a kitchen reinvention for homeowners who want to add functionality and their own personal style. Whether the house is for keeps or on the...
Stellar renters may be rewarded
Updated Oct. 9, 2013
Rental payments matter to credit bureaus, and households with stellar histories will be rewarded, according to The New York Times. Experian, one of the three major credit-reporting firms, included on-time rent payments to millions of last year's credit reports. In 2012, the company plans to track late...

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