The Shrinking of the American Lawn

As homes have grown larger, the lots they’re built on have actually gotten smaller—average area is down 13 percent since 1978, to 0.19 acres. That might not seem like a lot, but after adjusting for houses’ bigger footprints, it appears the median yard has shrunk by more than 26 percent, and now stands at just 0.14 acres. The actual value lies somewhere between those two numbers, since a house’s square footage could include a second (or third) floor. Either way, it’s a substantial reduction.

America’s great housing divide: Are you a winner or loser?

The overall U.S. housing market has recovered from the crisis that plunged the country into recession. But a new analysis by The Washington Post shows that the recovery has been deeply uneven, creating winners and losers along lines of race, income and geography.

Raise Your Home's Value Instantly

The top 10 home improvements are listed by the greatest return on investment (ROI):

  1. Cleaning and de-cluttering ($290 cost / $1,990 price increase / 586% ROI)

  2. Lightening and brightening ($375 cost / $1,550 price increase / 313% ROI)

  3. Home staging ($550 cost / $2,194 price increase / 299% ROI)

  4. Landscaping ($540 cost / $1,932 price increase / 258% ROI)

  5. Repairing electrical or plumbing ($535 cost / $1,505 price increase / 181% ROI)

  6. Kitchen and bathroom ($1,265 cost/$3,435 price increase/172% ROI)

  7. Replace or shampoo carpets ($647 cost/$1,730 price increase/169% ROI

  8. Paint interior ($1,012 cost/$2,112 price increase/109% ROI)

  9. Repair floors ($931 cost/$1,924 price increase/107% ROI)

  10. Paint exterior ($1,467 cost/$2,222 price increase/51% ROI)

Zillow Completes Acquisition of Trulia for $2.5 Billion in Stock

Zillow, Inc. today announced it has completed its previously announced acquisition of Trulia, Inc. for $2.5 billion in a stock-for-stock transaction, and formed Zillow Group, Inc., which houses a portfolio of the largest and most vibrant U.S. real estate and home-related brands on mobile and the Web. In addition to Zillow and Trulia, Zillow Group's consumer brand portfolio includes StreetEasy, New York City's leading real estate marketplace, and rental search brand HotPads.

The 10 Most Popular Personal Finance Books of All Time (According to Amazon)

Personal finance is one of the most important skills you can possibly learn, though it’s sadly not a natural-born trait for most.

Without somebody to guide us and teach us the value of holding on to our money and using it to make even more money, we’re likely to spend, spend, spend on any piece of useless junk that comes our way.

Luckily, there are plenty of guides out there, in the form of personal finance books.

Investigate Before Buying a Condo or Townhouse

Many people in all phases of life situations find the lifestyle of condo or townhouse living to be a great fit. The prices for first time home buyers are affordable and allow them to begin establishing credit for larger future purchases. Price and ease of social interaction appeal to those who are separated or divorced. Boomers wishing to downsize, but prefer living in a non-homogenized community, find them most desirable.

A wonderful lifestyle awaits those who buy into this type of development. The difference between a smooth successful transaction and a dreadful failure can be avoided by you and your Realtor doing some investigating before you fall in love with a particular unit.

How Much is a Homemaker Worth?

The life of a homemaker is one that includes an endless amount of demands and to-dos. Depending on the size of the home and family, the position of homemaker can go well beyond the usual nine to five.

We examined some of the tasks that a homemaker might do to find out how much his or her services would net as individual professional careers. We only took into consideration tasks which have monetary values and used the lowest value for each calculation.

6 Tax Breaks Every Homeowner Should Know

Regardless of the current state of our economy and the housing market, buying a home is still a great investment. However, the resulting taxes that accompany owning a home can lead to confusion and uncertainty.

In most cases, you need to itemize your taxes in order to take advantage of all the tax breaks that accompany home ownership. This might seem overwhelming, but the benefits of completing this process make up for the inconvenience.