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Featured Home Owner and DIY Blogs

Home owners share advice on remodeling, DIY projects...

Contact Stage of Life as a Featured BloggerBefore reading the below essays submitted by our featured bloggers...

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Home Ownership Blog Archive


Posted by: Karl on 05/09/2011 sponsor,, has some great tips and articles about personal finance. Here's one I found very helpful about advice for investing in real estate...

Start with your own home.
For some people, stocks and bonds don’t feel as tangible as land, houses or apartments. But before you decide to become a landlord or a house flipper (both of which are riskier than you’d think, especially in this market), your first step shoul... Read More

The season of the time.

Posted by: DarkStar49 on 02/20/2011

There is something about this time of year. I can't put a finger on it exactly, but it is a feeling of bittersweet deep rooted emotion. Let me explain myself a little more clearly in hopes of knowing someone out there can relate the same.

I love the winter time! I love the cold, the snow, the peaceful feeling of winter, long nights in front of a warm fire. Life slows down significantly, and this is very visible all around me. To the absence of birds and water fowl who have migra... Read More

Buy or Rent?

Posted by: Bob on 02/10/2011

I came across this article the other day and after reading David's post (below in the Questions and Stories category for the home ownership stage), I went looking for it again.

I think you'll benefit from this information:

To buy or rent? What is the best choice for you?

You may lean one way or the other, but when you look at the economics of it, among the main factors to consider are how fast home prices and rent rises and how long you will stay in the home.... Read More

Goal Setting Worksheet for your Home

Posted by: Bob on 12/29/2010

I wanted to share Stage of Life's free, universal goal setting worksheet for Home Owners.

Whether you use it as your "New Year's Resolution To-Do" list or as a tool to kick off fresh start with your life, this 10-step worksheet will help get you proactively thinking about the goals, possibilities and opportunities ahead.

View and print the Goal Setting Works... Read More

It's a dogs world!

Posted by: DarkStar49 on 12/03/2010

I can remember the many Christmas mornings as the family began to rise, with peaked curiosities of whether or not Santa had come. As we all started to slowly flow into the main room, the most excited members of the Christmas morning celebration were the dogs! Well, I am sure that could be debated. However, wagging tails, excited smiles with dancing tongues, and the tapping of excited paws certainly could tell a story of Christmas cheer! As selfish as it may seem, the dogs were not doing show... Read More

When trust and Disclosure collide.

Posted by: DarkStar49 on 09/27/2010

I recently discovered the latest in many issues we have had with our home since we purchased it a little over 3 years ago. I say ‘the latest in many’, because throughout the past 3 years we have stumbled upon or found small repair and mechanical issues. Take for instance a leak somewhere in the roof that caused moisture damage in a wall, and not anything recent but rather ongoing since before we closed the deal. Or, rot that was overlooked in the home inspection and as well as a myriad of ot... Read More

House daydreams

Posted by: shamaker on 09/02/2010

We're at the tail end of a lovely, two-week vacation in Downeast Maine, a spot we visited three years ago. Because we love it here (at least in August:), we enjoy looking online at the houses for sale. The real estate market here is dismal. Almost every where you turn, for sale signs greet you. This means there are lots of great properties to be had for a lot less money than you would expect.

That's part of the fun on vacation, playing the what-if game. What if we moved to Maine? Wha... Read More

How Do I Find a Trustworthy Contractor?

Posted by: Bob on 08/31/2010

I worked with Stage of Life to answer this question.

We polled local contractors and homeowners, asking them this simple question, "How does a homeowner find a trustworthy contractor for a home remodeling project?"

As you can imagine, we received a lot of different responses. But after all of the feedback was collected, I found 10 common themes that came up among both sides.

This is the collective checklist, complied from conversations with both contrac... Read More

What does Fall mean; a personal perspective.

Posted by: DarkStar49 on 08/22/2010

One of my favorite seasons has always been Fall. Something about the world around you winding down and the onset of a seasonal hibernation. We have been blessed to live in areas that are very defined and present when it comes to seasonal changes. Fall has always been a very visual and tangible experience for me.

I noticed yesterday that there is a slight change in the colors in the trees and fauna around me. The wildflowers are losing their petals which bear the life sewing seeds... Read More

A dog and her human.

Posted by: DarkStar49 on 08/17/2010

I have often found it hilarious to sometimes try to see life through a dogs eyes. In fact, we usually see them as, "our dogs". The reality of it is that we are "their humans"! This is a very present philosophy here at our home. We have three dogs. All three are Alaskan Malamutes, with one being a female husky/malamute mix with a hint of lab in her, one being a male wolf /malamute mix, and the third being a female pure bread malamute. If you Google the word 'stubborn', surely 'malamute' wi... Read More

House Projects

Posted by: shamaker on 08/04/2010

If you're like my husband and me, you find house projects daunting. We can hang a picture straight--most of the time--and can jiggle a toilet handle enough to make it stop running--some of the time. But we're pretty intimidated with bigger projects. Not that we don't know what needs to be done to fix things. It's the execution of the project, not the problem itself. Our brains are not wired to improve our home, that's for sure.

So we muddle through on the small projects and call in t... Read More

See How They Glisten!

Posted by: MichaelNYC on 07/28/2010

Over the July 4th weekend, with temperatures in the high 90s, I found myself hankering for a refreshing ice-cold beverage. I made my way to the kitchen and the 20-year old Magic Chef refrigerator that came with my home when I purchased it. I poured myself a glass of iced tea and took that first exciting swig...but something was amiss. The tea wasn't so much "iced" as "colder than room temperature". I quickly did a spot check of other items in the old 'fridge and discovered this "lack of ful... Read More

It's Always Something

Posted by: kjb2052 on 07/13/2010

If there's one thing I've learned about owning a home, it's that there's always something to be done to it... in it... around it...for it...

Before my husband and I bought our house, we lived in a small apartment. Ahh, the carefree days of the landlord having your garbage disposal replaced when it starts making that strange gargling noise. Having the building manager send out a plumber to fix a clogged tub. Telling the management company you need your carpets steam cleaned, si... Read More

Sharing Poison Ivy

Posted by: shamaker on 07/06/2010

The other week, I contacted poison ivy from, I suspect, vines I was pulling along the fence that separates our backyard from two of our neighbors'. The poison ivy most likely was hiding among the other vines that grew alongside and under and over and, well, you get the picture. It was a mass of green weeds that had to go and my arms and legs paid the price of my weeding activity.

As I was pulling the vines, I was thinking of how long we had waited before addressing the rock garden al... Read More

What Make's A House A Home?

Posted by: nedacasta on 06/14/2010

I hate leaving unfinished business. When I do something I want to finish it so I can have closure, enjoy the fruits of my labor and check it off of my to do list. What a mess I was. Going, going, going from store to store and errand to errand like a woman possessed. I wore Mj out with my relentless planning and need to do so much so fast. He said, "Take a break, relax." I wanted everything to be perfectly organized and I wanted it NOW! I'd walk into Wal Mart knowing I needed so many thin... Read More


Posted by: etiquetteguy on 06/14/2010

Neighborly Neighbors

I have recently been approached by two different families concerning a real problem with neighbors. In searching my library of etiquette books, I found no reference to this and so am addressing it here. The matter at hand is unannounced visits by neighbors. In the ‘old days’ one did not call on anyone without phoning first to see if it would be convenient. Today, this consideration has seemingly flown out the window.

We visited close friends a couple... Read More

"The Money Pit"

Posted by: justcallmemom on 06/14/2010

If you own an older home and have never seen the movie, "The Money Pit," you need to put it on your "movies to see" list. Our house is almost 90 years old and we have lived in it for 27 years. Almost all the updates and repairs that have been done are virtually unseen by most people who visit - we have had a new septic system put in, a new roof, a new furnace, a couple new water heaters,a new well pump, several sump pumps, and lots and lots of plumbing and pipes replaced. Any time we hear some ... Read More

Under Contract Now Where's My Loan?

Posted by: nedacasta on 04/28/2010

It's funny how so many things in the home buying process are backwards. You can get pre approved to buy hundreds of thousands worth of real estate but nobody will promise to give you any money for it until you have already signed a contract saying that you will buy it. On a resale you fall in love with a house but it's only until after you have signed the contract that the home inspection is ordered that could ultimately break the deal if there are any problems. We've agreed to buy a new contru... Read More

A house vs. raw land: What's your take?

Posted by: DarkStar49 on 03/19/2010

Recently, our son came over for dinner with his girlfriend. After dinner, we found him in my wife's studio overlooking the back end of our 5 acres. The scene eventually turned into a conversation in which he mentioned to us that he has been casually looking at property, specifically raw land.

This actually surprised us, as he had never mentioned it before this night. Nonetheless, we listened to his desires of one day soon owning a parcel on which he could build a small cabin. The... Read More

Dealing with the High Cost of Home Energy

Posted by: DarkStar49 on 03/06/2010

Recently we took advantage of a program through our state, to essentially have an energy audit done on our home. After a short wait on a list, we finally came up for our audit. We were surprised to find that we already had a pretty decent rating! However, we were given the report with many suggestions to increase the energy value of our home. At our level, we will get all of our updates/repairs pretty much paid for through the state program as long as we accomplish the points required of us... Read More

Home Sweet Home?

Posted by: katecaffrey on 01/19/2010

Home Sweet Home?

My family lived in a nice-looking, larger-than-average-sized house happily for around 10 years. My parents were doing a good job financially-stewarding and decided it was time that they fulfilled one of their life-long goals of building a new home—a new, cozy home-base that would be open to my sisters, our friends, and even a home that could potentially act as a future haven for their up-coming grandchildren. Besides, there were better education and extra-curricula... Read More

A story of joy, being home owners.

Posted by: DarkStar49 on 01/03/2010

The new year came in like a wisp of breeze on my silent closed eyes. Yes, I slept through the whole event! Maybe it's age, who knows, but I just couldn't muster the effort to greet 2010 until I woke the following day. So there I was.... Sleeping in I was left to watch the re-run of the Rose Parade on the Travel Channel! I never in all my years have figured out (minus the time zone difference) why they always seem to show the parade at dawns crack, and hour when most civilized people are st... Read More

2010 Goal Setting for Home Owners

Posted by: bugcandy on 12/31/2009

As the Founder of, I wanted to wish our home owner readers a Happy New Year in 2010.

To help provide some ideas on new opportunities for your life this New Year, check out our...

"Goal Setting Worksheet." Print it here.

Feel free to complete this worksheet with a family member or friend. You'll be surprised at the answers you'll re... Read More

Molly -vs- The Christmas Tree

Posted by: kjb2052 on 12/11/2009

This is the first year we are celebrating Christmas with our one-year-old Labrador Retriever, Molly. Molly is very sweet, but also VERY energetic... and into everything... and constantly craves our attention, and will stop at nothing to get it.

Have I painted you a clear picture of our precarious little labbie?

Can you also see where this is going?

My husband and I had decided we would not get the 5'-6' Christmas tree we normally get, and would instead avoid the... Read More

When the heater doesn't cut it.

Posted by: DarkStar49 on 11/19/2009

With winter officially here and the temperatures dropping, much goes through my mind of late. First thing is, "it's cold!". Another is the warm and comfortable temperature inside the house. And still another is how hard a struggle it is at times to maintain that cozy and comfortable warmth within. We are in the midst of an early cold snap this past week. With the temps bottoming at -18F at night and just scraping a smooth 7F by day, the task is an around the clock effort. We primarily hea... Read More

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