Deciding Where to Move

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Homes

Nearly 70 percent of us own our homes. As adults, we'll change residences more than 10 times. Our homes define us, shelter us, and support us. Whether you want to find a new home, sell an old home, fix up your home, insure it, fireproof it, decorate it, or refinance it, the Web has all the information you need to accomplish these tasks, and much more. The findingDulcinea Homes Guide will lead you to the Where, the Which, and the How Much for your heart's desire.

Deciding Where to Move

If you are thinking of relocating but aren't quite sure where you'd like to live, there are plenty of online resources that can help you find cities or neighborhoods that suit your needs.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Most cities have their own Web sites that will give you basic statistics and news. A good indication that you are at a city's official site is if the Web address has a ".gov" at the end.
  • Read a local paper to see what is going on in the town where you are interested in moving.

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For city or state information ...
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Buy or Sell a Home

Buying or selling your home is unlike any other financial transaction you'll make in life. Your home will probably be one of the most expensive things you ever buy, unless you plan to invest in a private tropical island. Also, choosing the right home or finding the right buyer for your home can be a long and drawn out process if you don't know where to look.

Whatever your stage in the home buying or selling process, from browsing open houses and the Sunday paper to signing the papers and unlocking your new future, there are Web resources that can help make your home buying or selling experience as convenient as possible.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Some tips to aid you in the actual process of buying or selling:
    • You don't pay a realtor if you are looking to buy a home; they are paid by the seller's proceeds (so they do make money, but it's included in the sale price).
    • The abbreviation FSBO indicates "For Sale By Owner."
    • The abbreviation MLS indicates a "Multiple Listing Service."
  • You can search for and list properties on a number of different real estate sites and it never hurts to use more than one.
  • Most brokers have Web sites where you can check out their listings, most provide photographs of their listings, and some even provide virtual tours of properties.
  • Nationwide Web sites can be useful and often have a lot of fancy features, but if you know exactly where you want to live, consider searching for a local realtor site. They may be able to provide you with assistance or listings that you won't find at the larger sites.
  • There are some online-only brokers, for example: www.foxtons.com or www.ziprealty.com (ZipRealty will share 20% of their commission with you if you buy with them and if you sell with them, you'll pay less commission). These online-only Realtors can offer lower costs to you because they have lower operating costs.
  • If you type the phrase "real estate" and the city name you are looking for into Google's search box, your search results will be real estate listings.
  • For decor advice for a home you are trying to sell, consider consulting the "Decorate Your Home" section in this guide.

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For sites that do it all ...
For a general overview of the real estate buying or selling process ...
For specific home buying tips and tools ...
For finding and listing properties ...
For real estate reading ...
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Learn About Home Mortgages

A home mortgage is likely the largest single loan you'll ever carry. Knowing as much as possible about the different kinds of loans and home financing methods available will help you avoid the many pitfalls we read about in the papers: subprime mortgages, hidden penalties, balloon payments, defaulting, and repossession.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Loans from Internet-based providers can sometimes be offered at lower rates than those from bricks-and-mortar banks because the Internet-only providers often have lower overhead costs.
  • Check in your area for programs that offer classes for first-time home buyers, as well as lower interest rates on a loan. Many times, local government organizations and banks will offer such programs.

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To guide you through the home loan process ...
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Rent a Home

If you aren't quite ready to purchase a home but still want to find a new place to live, there are plenty of sites online that can help you find your dream rental property at a reasonable price.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Classified ads in your local newspaper are a great place to look for rooms for rent or people looking for roommates. To find the Web site of your local paper just type the paper's name into a search engine like yahoo.com or ask.com.

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To find a property to rent or to list a property ...
Tools for tenants ...
Tools for landlords . . .
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Plan a Move

Moving can be a very stressful event in anyone's life—physically, emotionally, and financially. But relocating doesn't need to cause so much anguish; there are plenty of online resources that can help your move be as easy as possible on your mind, your health, and your wallet.

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Decorate Your Home

Even if the only time you spend at home is during the few hours of sleep you allow yourself each night, it is important that you feel comfortable in your own space. Part of that comfort comes from how you decorate (and by "decorate" we do not mean the pile of cardboard boxes in the corner left over from your last move). There are plenty of Web sites with inspiration and instruction to help you complete all of those projects that will make your house a home.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Lots of television shows and magazines that cover home decorating have their own Web sites including: Oprah, Martha Stewart, HGTV, Real Simple, and House and Garden. If you have a favorite magazine or television show, try entering its name in a search engine to find the associated site.

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Home Repair

Not everyone is a home repair genius, even if we pretend to be from time to time. So whether you're a do-it-yourselfer or prefer to leave everything from changing a light bulb to rewiring your house to the professionals, there are Web sites to help you research and find whatever home improvement help you need.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Some home improvement projects are best left to professionals; you may end up better off in the long run if you realize your home improvement limitations before you get midway through a project.
  • If you are planning to remodel a room (or your entire home), you may be able to find a floor plan online that will work for your project. Many home improvement sites let you browse plans for free and pay if you find one you like.

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Landscaping and Gardening

Whether it's spring that's in the air or a blizzard, there are plenty of ways that you can tap the resources of the Internet to bring a little green into your home or garden.

Dulcinea's Insight

  • Don't want to bother going to the store to get gardening supplies? There are plenty of online nurseries that will sell you seeds and other garden products.
  • Many online garden resources can help you sort out which plants are native to your area and which plants are invasive. You will also find information about water conservation and attracting (or avoiding) certain types of wildlife using certain plants.

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