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Mortgage rates continue to fall

Northern Virginia Home Guide - Fri, 03/04/2011 - 16:32
The average rate on 30-year fixed mortgages slipped to 4.87 percent from 4.95 percent this week, according to Freddie Mac.

Green Scene: Good books for the gardener

Northern Virginia Home Guide - Fri, 03/04/2011 - 16:31
Since spring is right around the corner, I felt it appropriate to share some titles that will fit well into your gardening library. Books are still one of the best ways to keep up with the latest in landscape design and the needs of plants. These new favorites of mine cover a wide range of garden...

A common-sense way to mend the draconian appraisal process

Northern Virginia Home Guide - Fri, 03/04/2011 - 16:30
If federal regulators are truly concerned about the quality and independence of home appraisals - a cornerstone of sound mortgage lending - why don't they simply prohibit appraisers from learning the contract price before they perform their assessment of a home's value?

Picky first-time buyers losing out on great housing deals

Northern Virginia Home Guide - Fri, 03/04/2011 - 16:25
Picky, picky, picky! Are today's first-time home buyers passing up great deals because they insist on flawless "move-in ready" houses requiring little or no changes - even at the starter-home price levels at which shoppers traditionally have been willing to factor fix-ups and renovations into the...

D.C. newcomers searching for their dream home might get a few wake-up calls

Northern Virginia Home Guide - Fri, 03/04/2011 - 16:04
Anyone who has searched for a home in the District, for convenient parking - or even for a bar stool during happy hour - may have sensed what census statistics confirm: There are a lot of newcomers around town. And these newcomers - and their housing wish lists - are helping reshape the city's ne...

Thorny foreclosure questions

Northern Virginia Home Guide - Fri, 03/04/2011 - 02:46
I never bought a foreclosure. I pay my mortgage faithfully. Now, is someone going to tell me a back-office clerk mishandled my title and their actions threaten my legitimate ownership? Will this mess hurt me when I try to sell my home?

House may kill Obama's foreclosure-prevention programs

Northern Virginia Home Guide - Thu, 03/03/2011 - 02:52
The Obama administration's main initiative to help struggling borrowers avoid foreclosure could soon be killed in the House, where many Republican lawmakers have complained about the program's lackluster results.

Federal support for home loans essential, Geithner warns

Northern Virginia Home Guide - Wed, 03/02/2011 - 03:39
The Treasury secretary said that government should continue to back low-down-payment loans for first-time home buyers.

In the housing crisis, we all live under one roof

Northern Virginia Home Guide - Sat, 02/26/2011 - 22:14
For the past few years, I've been working with a single mother who has had to move four times, renting rooms in other people's homes so she wouldn't have to spend more than 50 percent of her monthly income on housing.

Green Scene: Some ideas for an environmentally friendly landscape

Northern Virginia Home Guide - Fri, 02/25/2011 - 23:56
Now is the time to formulate your spring garden plans. Before you choose the plants you will install this year- or design the entire landscape-consider the ways you could make your gardens more productive and environmentally friendly. Here are some suggestions:

Do-it-yourselfer Q&A

Northern Virginia Home Guide - Fri, 02/25/2011 - 19:37
Q. I started trying to remove the cracked, discolored tile grout in my shower using a hand tool and think it will take at least 20 years to get it all out. Is there a better way? -E. Bartlett

30-year mortgage rates again below 5 percent

Northern Virginia Home Guide - Fri, 02/25/2011 - 15:36
Freddie Mac reported that the average rate on the 30-year loan slipped to 4.95 percent from 5 percent. It hit a 40-year low of 4.17 percent in November.

It could be the time to buy that bigger house

Northern Virginia Home Guide - Fri, 02/25/2011 - 15:34
Q. I own a home and owe $388,000 on the mortgage. I think the home is probably worth $370,000. I bought the home for $417,000 in 2006, so I've taken a big hit on equity like everyone else. I have no issue making the payments but feel as though I am trying to dig myself out of a hole. I make an e...

For professional results, use the right tools

Northern Virginia Home Guide - Fri, 02/25/2011 - 15:33
To get professional results, you have to have great drywall taping tools. I love using my stainless-steel mud pan. I use a flexible taping knife that's just under six inches wide. Before I used it the first time, I used a metal file to slightly round the corners of the tool. Straight from the fac...

Taping drywall is not as easy as it looks on do-it-yourself shows

Northern Virginia Home Guide - Fri, 02/25/2011 - 15:29
Q. Is taping drywall that hard to do? I watched it done on a television show, and it seems like it's not too tough. What tools should I be looking for? What are some secrets of finishing drywall, and what are the biggest mistakes rookies make when mudding and taping drywall? I want my job to look...

Some in military, Foreign Service can still claim homebuyer credit

Northern Virginia Home Guide - Fri, 02/25/2011 - 15:25
If you have been on active military duty outside of the United States for at least 90 days between Jan. 1, 2009, and April 30, 2010, or if you were on qualified official extended duty or a member of the Foreign Service during that time span, you may still be eligible to claim the first time homeb...

How to make rentals more attractive as the American dream evolves, adapts

Northern Virginia Home Guide - Fri, 02/25/2011 - 15:25
Years ago at the University of Maryland, I taught "Economic Determinants in Architecture," an elective course introducing architecture students to the real world of capitalism and showing how that world influences design and development. Students learned that market and financial conditions, alon...

Details on the Potomac Crest neighborhood

Northern Virginia Home Guide - Fri, 02/25/2011 - 15:21
20854 BOUNDARIES: Cedar Ridge Drive to the north, Foxcrest Court and Potomac Crest Drive to the east, Turncrest Drive and Potomac Crest Drive to the south, and Cobble Creek Circle to the west. SCHOOLS: Beverly Farms Elementary School, Herbert Hoover Middle School, Winston Churchill High School. ...

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