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Home is more than a place. Home is where cherished possessions and treasured memories reside. Home is the place where you unwind after a hard day of work. And home is where families feel safe and comfortable. A home can be a house, an apartment, a condominium, or any other kind of structure. In this way, home has less to do with the physical attributes and geographical location of a place and more to do with the way we feel about said spaces.

The trick to creating a space that you feels like is to fill it with the things that you enjoy. Small items such as travel souvenirs and personal books can help turn a space into a home. Various larger items such as a stove that you love to cook on or a couch that reflects your personal sense of style will help to make a home comfortable and enjoyable.

You can also spruce up any home by investing a bit of time and money into home renovations. Nearly any part of a home can be renovated according to your style and budget. Backyards can be turned into lush gardens while kitchens and bathrooms can be transformed into gourmet kitchens and home spas. By spending some time researching various contracting companies, home renovation tips, and information regarding wise renovations, you can turn the place where you live into a dream home.

Beyond crafting a beautiful, functional and personalized space, the pride of home ownership goes hand in hand with the responsibility of upkeep and maintenance. As many homeowners have discovered, homes require a lot of hard work. Gardens and yards must be tended to regularly, the inside of a home must be kept clean and safe for your family and pets to live in. Housekeeping and home maintenance and repair can sometimes feel like a fulltime job—but by learning a few tips, you can save hours of time and thousands of dollars over the long run.

If you want to keep your home in top shape, but you lack the time or expertise, consider hiring some outside help. Landscapers, contractors, interior designers, painters, exterminators, gardeners, pool cleaners, housecleaners, and cooks can help ease the burden of keeping your home clean and structurally sound while allowing you to spend time on more important tasks. By choosing home service providers wisely, the expenses you pay can actually become an investment.

While feathering the nest, so to speak, is one of the most enjoyable parts of homemaking and homeownership, your hard work often culminates in the sale of your home. With this in mind, it’s important to consider the resale value of your home and how your decisions and upkeep will affect your home equity. Money-saving features, such as energy efficient doors and windows can raise the value of the home and cut back on utility bills from month-to-month. Meanwhile, luxuries like in-ground pools may adversely affect the value of your home by requiring higher insurance rates or making it less desirable to homebuyers who do not want the added responsibility of maintaining a pool. Because your home may very well be put on the market someday, your home improvement decisions should always take in the near term benefits as well as the long term impacts into consideration.

There’s a lot to know about owning or renting a home—and much of it will be learned through experience. But you can save yourself a lot of time, effort and money by educating yourself before making any substantial decisions—whether you’re buying a home, improving a home or selling a home. The links in our home section will guide you as you make your way through the ups and downs of home ownership.

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