Keep that spring fever momentum all year long with these gardening tips.

Spring fever got you dreaming of lush gardens and sunshine? Despite what you might see on TV, beautiful landscapes don’t happen overnight. Weeds will invade your beds and need to be pulled. The mulch will break down and require replacing. And your attention span will no doubt move on to shinier things long enough for your garden to fall into disrepair.

Your spring fever may be temporary, but if you get to know your garden’s unique conditions and choose the right plants, you’ll ensure that both the garden — and your enthusiasm for it — will last for a lifetime.

Invest in your soil

To get the dirt on your dirt, perform a soil test with your local agricultural extension…

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Article Courtesy of Dave Ramsey

Are you Ready to Sell your Home?  It’s an important question to answer since selling at the wrong time can cause trouble for years to come.

Effects of Equity

For most homeowners, being financially ready to sell comes down to one factor: equity. During the housing meltdown of 2008–09, millions of homeowners found themselves with negative equity, which meant they owed more on their homes than they were worth.

Clearly, selling your home when you have negative equity is a bad deal. That’s called a short sale, and it impacts your credit score almost as much as a foreclosure. Breaking even on your home sale is better, but it’s still not ideal. If you’re in either situation, don’t sell unless you have to in order to…

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mortgage application disclosures

The 500 Page Mortgage Application Myth

A few years ago, the Mortgage Bankers Association released a statement claiming the average mortgage application file contains over 500 pages!

However, this includes a standard application form, disclosures, and all the supporting documents. An appraisal, purchase contract, credit report, title search and tax returns could potentially make up hundreds of pages right there.

But what you actually have to read and deal with is not that much.

Here are the most important disclosures to consider when you complete a mortgage application.

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Shopping For A Mortgage? Compare Loan Estimates

When you choose a mortgage and a lender, the Loan Estimate, or LE, is…

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homebuying mistakes

First-time Foibles: Don't Make These Homebuying Mistakes

Real estate transactions are a big deal, and most of us don't complete that many over our lifetimes. It's easy to make a mistake, and mistakes can be very expensive. Here are five big bullets to dodge.

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Mistake #1: Buying Because You "Should"

Buying a home because you've hit some magic age in which you're supposed to be grown up and responsible, or because it's the "American Dream," is just a bad idea.

You should buy a home when you're ready, and not before. If your career requires frequent moves, for instance, homeownership may be a poor investment. It just costs too much to sell a home and buy a new one, over and over.

If you're not…

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First-Time Home Buyers Guide to buying a home with student loans on your credit report

Buying Your First Home: Dealing With Student Loans

It's different to be a first-time home buyer as compared to an experienced one.

First-time home buyers often skew younger then the general home-buying population which means less work experience, lower income levels, and usually, less money saved for down payment.

It also can mean higher levels of federal student loans and debt.

Concerns about student loan obligations are among the reasons why first-time home buyers account for a smaller percentage of the housing market as compared to recent years.

According to a study by American Student Assistance, 55% of student loan holders said their debt is causing them to put off homeownership.

And, despite the historically low levels…

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Mortgage Interest Deduction: How Your House Pays You Back

Buying a home delivers emotional satisfaction as well as a proven method of wealth-building. The mortgage interest deduction is another appealing benefit for prospective buyers.

Real estate agents and home builders tout this tax deduction as an incentive to buy a home. They like to claim that it increases the homeownership rate and helps people transform from renters to homeowners.

The mortgage interest tax deduction was introduced in 1913. It has survived numerous tax reforms because of the incentive the tax provides for renters to buy homes.

Housing industry advocates have consistently lobbied to protect the deduction because it helps make buying a home easier. That increases the…

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Selling your home? Here are five tips you should know, including knowing comps and your home's market value.

Nobody decides to sell a home overnight. Getting the best price for your home, with the least amount of stress, takes time and planning. Here are the five steps you should follow as you prepare to put your home on the market.

1. Learn your home’s market value

Most homeowners have a relatively good idea of their home’s value. They get fliers in the mail, look at nearby homes for sale online, or even go to open houses. Maybe they recently refinanced and saw an appraisal.

But when it comes time to think about selling, you need a firm idea of your home’s “market” value. Market value is what a buyer is willing to pay on the open market.

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buy a house

When You Buy A House With A Mortgage

Most people really like shopping when they buy a house. In fact, the average home search in the US takes about four months. During the shopping period, you'll learn what is and is not important to you for a home in your price range, which neighborhoods you prefer, and what your deal-breakers are.

However, not nearly as many consumers enjoy the mortgage process as much as the house shopping. The majority surveyed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) only considered a single lender when financing their property. In addition, a significant percentage put off contacting a lender at all until after they had found a house to buy.

Fortunately, the vast majority of surveyed homebuyers were "very"…

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home flipping

Home Flipping Is Growing In Popularity

It’s easy to flip over an investment that seems like a sure thing. And few things are as sure as an asset that can be flipped -- home flipping involves buying at a low price and selling quickly for a profit.

It’s a big reason why many homebuyers in 2016 became real estate flippers. In fact, home flipping was hotter last year than it’s been in 10 years.

However, flipping is not without its risks. Whether you aim to upgrade and list a fixer-upper for sale, or scout a bargain in a quickly rising market, it’s smart to do your homework, and know what you’re getting into before investing directly in real estate as a flipper.

Highest Levels In A Decade

A fresh report by ATTOM Data Solutions found that…

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It's The Perfect Time To Find An Affordable Home

Homes Are Very, Very Affordable Right Now

Affordability is at one of its highest points in a generation.

It just doesn't seem like it.

Home prices are up nearly 6% since last year, and analysts predict another 5% jump in 2017. Plus, mortgage rates are at levels not seen since 2014.

Surely this can't be an affordable housing market.

Except that it is.

That's the conclusion from First American, a real estate title insurance provider and creator of the First American Real House Price Index (RHPI). The index -- one of the few of its kind -- considers not only nominal home prices, but also income levels and mortgage rates, too.

The result: home prices are 33% more affordable today than they were at the height of the "bubble" in 2006.

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