14 Products Made for an Outdoor Summer Soiree

With COVID-19 cases dialing down and vaccination rates up, entertaining and hosting at home is back on the agenda, just in time for summer. The time has finally come once again for backyard barbecues, pool parties, and nights chilling under the stars with friends and family.

One of the best ways to make your home ready for a summer soirée is with a few new products that were made for entertaining. Whether you’re looking to splurge or save, the following items are sure to elevate your outdoor decor.

Post-Pandemic Housewarming Gift Ideas

whole lot of people have moved in the past year—you probably know a few who have recently purchased a new home or are settling in to a new apartment. And if they plan on hosting a housewarming party to celebrate their new pad, it’s only natural for guests to want to bring a gift.

But before you bust out that baking sheet to make a batch of your famous welcome-to-the-neighborhood cookies, think twice. In this not-quite-post-pandemic period, housewarming gifts that were once considered appropriate may no longer be a good idea. Instead, think of gifts that pose no risk of spreading germs or promote sanitary practices in the home.

Read more HERE.

Are You Truly Ready To Downsize?

There’s a host of reasons for downsizing to a smaller home. You might want to pocket the savings and build upon your nest egg. Maybe you’re ready for a new adventure and eager to move to a high-rise condo in the city. Or finally—the kids have flown the coop, and you don’t need the extra bed

Whatever your motive is for downsizing, an honest evaluation of your expectations is essential to make an informed decision. That’s why real estate agents say it’s wise to ask yourself these questions before you even start looking for smaller homes.

Paint Prep, Explained

Deciding to have our house painted was a big decision, but once we made it, we couldn’t wait to see the final results. But wait we did.

What we hadn’t anticipated was all the prep work that went into getting our house ready for painting. There was power washing to be done, windows to be caulked, vines to be removed, and a host of other tasks that took weeks to complete before we finally saw that oh-so-carefully chosen shade of white paint start to cover up the mustard yellow we’d lived with for far too long.

While each paint job is different and requires varying preparations (we had roof repairs and other bigger issues), there are some basic things that must be done before any home painting begins.

Pool Upgrades To Tackle Right Now

If you’re lucky enough to have a pool in your backyard, you don’t need us to tell you how great it is for summer—especially during this not-quite-postpandemic period. It can be the center of all your backyard gatherings, a never-ending source of entertainment for kids, a place to relax and unwind, and a tool for low-impact, cardio-boosting exercise.

But let’s get real: Can your pool setup be improved? It might be worth it. Research shows that a well-maintained pool can boost your home’s resale value. And even if you plan on living in your home forever, keeping the pool in top shape is important for safety reasons.

Read more HERE.

Millennial Military Veterans Fuel Demand for VA Loans

Millennials—people between the ages of 25 and 40—are a force in the overall housing market, but may be even more so among veterans. Millennials accounted for 50% of all Veterans Affairs–backed purchase loans in 2020, according to data from Veterans United.

VA loans require no down payment. As home prices rise, that frees up buyers to save enough to cover 1% to 5% in closing costs.

Also, millennial vets may be purchasing in higher-priced areas as they take advantage of historically low interest rates.

Read more HERE.

Most Common Complaints About Neighbors

SafeHome.org, a resource and research firm on safety and security, surveyed more than 1,000 Americans about their relationships with their neighbors and to find out.

Nearly one in five respondents admitted to illegal activity of some kind within their residence or surrounding area. Twenty-two percent of respondents reported being caught by their neighbors. Some neighbors say they were reported to police, while others say their neighbors looked the other way at their offense.

Here are the most common offenses.

6 Tips To Get Your Collection of Cleaning Supplies Under Control

One thing we all have too much of are cleaning supplies. Whether you store yours under a kitchen sink, in the bathroom, in a closet—or all of the above—we’re here to help you get those unruly cleaning supplies in order.

In this installment of “Decluttering for Dummies,” we’ve got all the details from the organizing experts on how to get your collection of cleaning supplies under control.

Here are six top tips to help you clean up your act when it comes to cleaning supplies.

Home Trends That Just Don’t Make Sense

Once a home trend gets started, it’s hard to leave it behind. As certain looks start popping up on your social feed and solidifying their place on the hot list, it’s tempting to hop on the bandwagon and buy into them, too.

Yet design pros urge folks to think carefully about how they really live, day to day, before pulling the trigger on a look that seems cool. Dogs, kids, and even the weather in your region can rule out particular design elements and render them simply unworkable.

So which popular trends are overhyped and annoying once they’re inside your home? To help, here are 10 fads you may want to take a pass on, since they may just turn out to be more trouble than they’re worth.

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