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Credit Score: What does it mean and How to Improve it.

Credit Score: What does it mean and How to Improve it.

Are you considering making a major purchase, like buying a home, this year? If so, your credit score will likely come into play. An understanding of the basics can help you effectively monitor and manage it. Credit Score 101 Your credit score will usually range from 300 to 850. It's derived from an algorithm that takes into account several factors, including payment history, the total debt owed and length of credit history. Lenders use this three-digit number to predict risk and the likelihood that you'll repay your debt on time. The higher your credit score, the less risk you are LEARN MORE
How to be Prepared for an Emergency

How to be Prepared for an Emergency

Do you know what vital information to have on hand in the event of a natural disaster or family emergency? When an unexpected situation arises, there's no time to sort through paperwork, no matter how essential it may be. Having everything you need in an organized emergency binder can streamline the process and give you peace of mind. What to Include in an Emergency Binder While there's no shortage of important family documents and household records, a true emergency calls for a few must-haves: Vital records like birth certificates, driver's licenses, Social Security cards, naturalization documents, passports and child custody LEARN MORE
3 Methods for Clearing Clutter

3 Methods for Clearing Clutter

The new year represents a clean slate and the chance to begin again. It's also the ideal time to clear out unwanted items and organize your home for the year ahead. Let these decluttering approaches inspire you. Organizational Apps Decluttering apps are plentiful, and they provide an effective way to complete the purging process. Some, like Snupps, let you digitize your belongings and organize them into simple categories or "shelves." From there, you decide what to keep, sell or give away. You can also reach out to other users for organizational inspiration, discover items you may be interested in acquiring LEARN MORE
Cleaning Tips for Your Hard Working Appliances

Cleaning Tips for Your Hard Working Appliances

Occasionally cleaning household appliances like stoves and refrigerators may seem obvious, but what about equipment that does the cleaning, like the dishwasher and washing machine? Give these often overlooked appliances a deep clean with the following tips before the holidays have them working overtime. Unclog the dishwasher. The cleaner the dishwasher, the cleaner your dishes will turn out after going through a wash cycle. Take a moment to clean the dishwasher's filter, usually located on the inside bottom of the machine. This detachable filter becomes clogged with food and debris over time, so empty it out regularly to keep it LEARN MORE
3 Key Tips for a Stress-Free Dinner Party

3 Key Tips for a Stress-Free Dinner Party

Think being a good host means stressing in the kitchen while your guests enjoy the party? Think again. With a little advanced preparation, you can unlock the secrets of a stress-free holiday get-together. Plan and Practice the Menu Choose dishes that don't have to be served piping hot, like lasagna, quiches and braised stews. Test out new recipes in advance so you can make necessary adjustments to the ingredients and perfect your prep time. Once you've got the menu figured out, prepare what you can ahead of time. Ready entire courses that will keep for a day; then heat them LEARN MORE
Latest Bathroom Trends and Features

Latest Bathroom Trends and Features

According to a recent Houzz & Home survey, homeowners are investing more on bathroom renovations than in previous years, largely due to outdated designs and finishes. What types of upgrades are they spending money on? Here are some of the latest trends and tech updates being used in bathroom design. Aesthetic Additions You don't have to tackle a full overhaul to make a big impact in the bathroom. Smaller changes can often bring big rewards, both from a resale perspective and by adding value to your daily experience. Cosmetic favorites, according to the National Kitchen & Bath Association's 2016 bathroom LEARN MORE
6 Tips for Preventing a House Fire

6 Tips for Preventing a House Fire

Devastating house fires can happen in an instant, and many begin due to human error. The U.S. Fire Administration reports that cooking tops the list of residential building fire causes (50 percent), followed by heating equipment (12.5 percent) and electrical malfunction (6.3 percent). Make your fall and winter seasons merry, bright and fire-free with these essential fire safety tips. Schedule a chimney inspection at least once a year. Creosote, or condensed smoke, builds up on the flue and can catch fire. An annual cleaning and inspection can help prevent chimney fires. Keep flammable items at least three feet from heat LEARN MORE
Ideas for Increasing Your Outdoor Privacy

Ideas for Increasing Your Outdoor Privacy

A yard or patio is the perfect spot for enjoying the outdoors, whether that means playtime with your kids or quiet relaxation after a long day. And while you may like your neighbors, you may not want to see and hear them every time you venture into your backyard. If more privacy interests you, consider these options below: Fencing -- Probably the most straightforward solution, fences have long been the go-to for homeowners seeking seclusion. Be sure to check city ordinances and HOA policies before installing one. Hedges -- Shrubs like boxwood and privet are commonly planted along property lines. LEARN MORE
Make an Annual Home Maintenance Checklist

Make an Annual Home Maintenance Checklist

Your vehicle requires routine maintenance to run smoothly, and the same goes for your house. Without service reminders, however, it can be easy to forget to tend to all the systems that keep your house fully functioning. Fortunately, you can create a simple annual maintenance checklist to properly care for your home and prevent potential issues from becoming major problems. Start by making a list of each task you'll need to complete over the coming year. Make sure your yearly home inspection includes all major systems (HVAC, electrical and plumbing), the interior and exterior of your home, water and septic LEARN MORE
Make a Statement with Your Front Door

Make a Statement with Your Front Door

Your front door is one of the first things guests notice when visiting your home. In addition to providing security and protection, your front door can make a bold statement and reflect your personal style. But whether or not your current front door matches your home's interior and your taste, if you feel a draft, see any cracks or hear squeaky joints or scraping sounds, it may be time to replace it. Consider your options with some of the most common front door materials and features. Materials Wood: Though beautiful, solid wood doors are expensive and sensitive to the elements. LEARN MORE
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