• This post is for all the gardeners out there! This time of year, we’re excited about combining our love of gardens with our love of prize giveaways. Whether you’re new to the gardening game or have years of experience in the backyard, this contest is for you.

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  • Summer has arrived! Keeping your kids occupied and off the couch can be a difficult task. Here are five lifesaving backyard activities that are easy and fun for everyone!

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  • In recent months, my wife and I have been on the hunt for a house. Fortunately the search is over, but in the course of looking for our dream home, we were treated to a few – shall we say – interesting approaches to decorating. These screaming, shrieking examples of what NOT to do,...

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3 Great Spring Cleaning Tips for Your Home

3 Great Spring Cleaning Tips for Your Home

Follow These 3 Spring Cleaning Tips to Battle Bugs, Germs and Mold in Your Home The sun starts peeking though the dreary gray sky.  The ice FINALLY starts to melt.  You start to remember what your grass looks like.  If you live in Michigan, I’m describing the month of May.  But for the rest of the country, spring is ALMOST here and I wanted to share 3 great spring cleaning tips!  However, there are areas of your home that have taken a beating while keeping you warm and safe through the course of the winter.  It’s time to give your home a little love as we approach the big thaw and protect your family from harmful germs as the season changes. Bug and Pest Removal Battle the Bugs: It’s time to put away the heavy quilts, blankets and bear-skin rugs for the spring.  Be sure to wash and thoroughly dry all bedding before storing.  Dirty bedding is a great way to attract moths and insects (appealing thought!).  Utilize zippered or vacuum-seal storage bags, it’ll save space and also protect you from the aforementioned bug friends. Protect Against Germs Germ Warfare: Replace your air filter!  Lovingly taking in all your exhaled germs, pet-hair, and anything else floating around your home in microscopic particles, with nary a gripe or grumble, your furnace has been diligently keeping you and your family from turning into popsicles all winter long.  Treat it (and yourself) to a new filter.  Check out the size you need and…

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Bank of Japan Adds Record Amount of Cash to Financial System; HARP Program Extended Through June 2012 – Market Update

Bank of Japan Adds Record Amount of Cash to Financial System; HARP Program Extended Through June 2012 – Market Update

Mortgage backed securities are up this morning on concern about the unfolding nuclear crisis in Japan. The bank of Japan added a record amount of cash into the financial system, $183 billion, in an attempt to stabilize their financial markets. In mortgage news, it was announced last Friday that the HARP program, which allows LTVs up to 125%, would be extended another year through June 2012.

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U.S. Home Sales Jump Due to Home Prices Declining and Mortgage Rates Dropping

U.S. Home Sales Jump Due to Home Prices Declining and Mortgage Rates Dropping

GREAT article on Bloomberg today that we absolutely have to share with our readers. The third straight year of average declining U.S. home prices is creating a boost in home sales. Plus, mortgage rates are currently back down near historic low levels and home buyers are rushing to take advantage of this double whammy (lowest mortgage rates in a generation + lowest home prices in years). This is all happening despite home prices that continue to decline. I know this discouraging fact all too well. The home I bought in May 2009 has supposedly already lost (on least on paper) more than 10% of its value since I purchased it. And I paid 30% less than the previous owners paid just three years earlier (despite them doing several very nice updates during that time). Regardless, new (and used) home buyers are taking advantage of great prices and great mortgage rates. Very smart of them, if you ask me. Here’s a quick summary of the main points of the article on Bloomberg: Lower home prices driving sales Fear that mortgage rates will rise helping to motivate folks Median prices at the lowest level since 2002 Prices are 31% lower than the 2006 peak Job market gaining “some” traction Home price bottom…is near Here’s a little bit directly from the article: “The third decline in U.S. home prices in three years is driving a pickup in sales as bargain hunters rush to buy before mortgage rates rise, even as values may slump…

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