6 Ways to Be a Good Neighbor

ionl_122111_feature2_230x172American Home Shield offers home warranty services, but did you know they also publish a helpful blog? Recently they shared six tips on being a good neighbor. While being a good neighbor is almost a common sense idea along the lines of the “golden rule”, it’s a nice reminder to stop and think about the kind of neighborhood you want to live in and what you do or don’t do to foster that ideal. You can read the full article here. 

Developing relationships with your neighbors can make your life easier and your community safer—and maybe even result in lasting friendships. The good news is that it’s easy to extend acts of courtesy to those who live close by.

1. Welcome new people to the neighborhood by stopping by and introducing yourself. Baking cookies is a traditional way to extend a warm welcome, but you can also bring them recommendations for local services, such as babysitters or landscapers; a children’s activity kit filled with coloring books, crayons and games; or a list of important local phone numbers.

2. Little gestures can go a long way. Offer to collect your neighbor’s mail, water their plants or feed their pet while they’re on vacation. If that’s too much of a commitment, you might offer to keep an eye out on their house while they’re away.

3. Keep up your house and yard. This will help maintain property values while keeping the neighborhood as a whole looking its best. Mow your grass regularly, trim your shrubs as needed and make facade repairs in a timely manner.

4. If you live in a condo or townhouse, think twice before plugging in noisy appliances near your neighbor’s walls. A television, a hair dryer or even the beep of a microwave might be a little white noise for you but an annoyance for your neighbors.

5. Whether or not you’re head of your community watch program, there are always chances to help out. Keep your neighbors informed of relevant news, such as upcoming construction or recent crime. Extra eyes and ears are always welcomed.

6. If a neighbor lends you something, whether it’s a tool or their time, return the gesture quickly. It’s easy to move along with your project and forget they’ve done you a favor, so be sure to show your appreciation in a timely manner—your gratitude won’t be overlooked.

Area Easter Egg Hunt Schedule

photoSpring is almost here!

Easter is on Sunday, March 31st this year.

It’s time to grab your Easter Baskets and hop on out for a little egg gathering fun at one of these local egg hunts.

Be sure to verify costs, times, and locations using contact information provided below before heading out. Many events also request preregistration.

Vinings Historic Easter Egg Hunt Thursday, March 28 from 4-5PM. At the Historic Pace House and Old Pavilion, 3057 Paces Mill Road. Storytelling by Atlanta’s famous story teller Betty Ann Wylie a.k.a. Aunt Betty Bunny. Free admission to all VHPS members. $5 per child for non-members. Email Vhps1874@bellsouth.net or call (770) 432-3343 to register your child. Please park at the Vinings United Methodist Church two doors down.

Cobb County’s Largest Egg Hunt will take place on Saturday, March 23rd, at Jim Miller Park in Marietta. The event begins at 10am and ends at 2pm. The 2013 Hunt will feature children’s art activities, live entertainment, inflatables, and concessions. The Easter Bunny will be on hand to delight the children and there will be contests, including the Mad Hatter Contest and Decorated Basket Contest. Admission for The Hunt is free. For more information please call (770) 528-8875. There will be five egg hunts which will be broken down into age groups. In each hunt, there will be special prize eggs. The schedule of events is as follows: Park opens at 10am; 3 and under hunts at 10:3am; 4&5 at 11am; special populations at 11:30am; 6&7 at 12pm; 8-10 at 12:30pm; 1pm is the Mad Hatter’s Contest / Easter Basket Contest; and park closes at 2pm.

4th Annual Northeast Cobb Community Egg Drop March 30th from 10am-3pm. Fun, food, games, DJ, activities, and egg hunts for everyone. Kids will marvel as a helicopter drops thousands of eggs onto the Sprayberry High School football field to kick-off the hunt at 12:30pm. There will be more than 90,000 eggs and candy for the various hunts. The funds raised from the Egg Drop go to support both the Shop with a Yellow Jacket and the Shop with a Longhorn programs for Sprayberry and Kell High Schools.  Last year more than $4,000 went right back in to the community from the event. Ultimate Kid’s Zones – Pay-one-unbelievable-price of $5.00 per child for unlimited rides.  Free Photos with the Easter Bunny courtesy of LGE Community Credit Union. For more info, call (770) 423-1330 or email billwatson@jrmmanagement.com. 11:30am is 3 and under egg hunt, 4-7 is at 12:45pm, and 1:30 pm is 8-10 year olds.

Easter Egg Scramble March 22nd at 6:30pm at Laurel Park on 151 Manning Road in Marietta. The Easter Bunny will be available for photos after the Egg Scramble. Arrive early to find parking and your child’s correct age group. Admission is free. For more info, call the Cobb County Parks and Recreation department at 770-794-5601.

City of Kennesaw’s Easter Egg Scramble March 23rd from 10am to 12pm at the Adams Park Softball Complex located at 2753 Watts Drive, Kennesaw, GA 30144. Admission is free. Crafts, face painting, inflatables, and even a surprise visit from the Easter Bunny. Children will be separated by age groups onto different fields for the Egg Scramble. Each field will feature thousands of colorful wrapped candy treats and goody-filled eggs, along with a few “lucky” eggs that can be redeemed for larger prizes. Be sure to bring an Easter basket or bag for your child(ren). The Scramble itself is free, and open to all boys and girls ages 12 and under. Food and beverages will be available for purchase. In case of inclement weather, the Easter Egg Scramble will be held the following Saturday, March 30. For more info, call the Kennesaw Parks & Recreation at (770) 422-9714.

Acworth Easter Egg Hunt March 22nd at 8pm The City of Acworth Parks and Recreation Department is partnering with Freedom Church to bring the kids of our community a fresh spin on a time honored tradition, Acworth’s second after dark Easter Egg Hunt!!! The Easter Bunny will be dropping in on Friday, March 22 at the Acworth Sports Complex, located at 4000 South Main St. Acworth, GA 30101 and he is bringing 50,000 eggs filled with candy. The Easter Bunny will skydive in at 8:00 p.m. Admission is free. The hunt will be for all children through the 5th grade. The children will be divided into four age groups. The 0 – 3 year old group will begin at 8:00 p.m. The PreK – Kindergarten group will begin at 8:15 p.m. The 1st grade – 3rd grade group will begin at 8:30 p.m. The 4th grade – 5th grade group will also begin at 8:45 p.m. There will be a Special Needs Easter Egg Hunt on the Horizon Field at 7:30 p.m. and is for children through the 5th grade with Special Needs. The hunts will take place on the football fields (North side of the Complex); parking will be available on the South side of the Complex where the baseball fields are located. For more information on the Acworth Egg Hunt call the Acworth Parks and Recreation Office at 770-917-1234 or email jchase@acworth.org.

Fernbank Museum Dinosaur Egg Hunt March 30th at the Fernbank Museum of Natural History, 767 Clifton Road NE, Atlanta, GA 30307. Advance registration is required to participate in a timed egg hunt. Space is limited. This year’s event features even more eggs, prizes and family fun! Radio Disney AM 590 will join us and our very own Giggy A. Dinosaur will be on hand in his best bunny ears for special photo opportunities. All egg hunts will take place on the Front Lawn. Advance registration required.* 9:20am Ages 4 and under,  9:55am Ages 5-8, 10:30am Ages 4 and under, 11:15am All ages “Family Hunt”, 11:50am All ages “Family Hunt”. After the egg hunt, children may also participate in various games, unique giveaways, special exhibitions and photos with a Fernbank dinosaur. Admission costs range from $5 for museum members to $20.50 for non-members. Tickets are $5 per child for members. Get your tickets online at www.fernbankmuseum.org or call (404) 929-6400 for more info.


Governor’s Annual Easter Egg Hunt March 23rd from 10am to 12pm at the Governor’s Mansion at 391 West Paces Ferry Rd NW, Atlanta, Georgia 30305. The governor’s office says that only email reservations will be accepted, and they must include the names and number of children wanting to hunt eggs, the names and number of adults who would come with the children, and a contact telephone number. Families are asked to bring a stuffed animal or book for charity. Space is limited, and spots will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis. Activities will include a moonwalk provided by Jumpy Fun, Easter Bunny Photos, a Cupcake Decorating Station, Face Painting, a Storybook Station featuring Clifford the Big Red Dog, an Easter Egg Roll, an Easter Egg Decorating Station, and of course, an Easter Egg Hunt!  Children are asked to provide their own Easter baskets to collect souvenirs. Storybooks provided by Scholastic and the Pearson Foundation will be given to each family until supplies run out.  Easter gift baskets provided by GourmetGiftBaskets.com will also be given away to those lucky enough to find “Prize Eggs.” For more info, contact Jessica Sullivan at jsullivan@georgia.gov or call (404) 656-1776.

Callanwolde Giant Egg Hunt March 30th from 10am – 12pm. Callanwolde’s Easter egg hunt features thousands of candy-filled eggs to find, a live performance by Enzo Clown, Atlanta Braves games & prizes, and a chance to meet the Easter Bunny. There will be homemade baked goods for sale and spring-themed arts and crafts for kids. Bring your Easter basket and your camera for a fun, family day set in Callanwolde’s beautiful spring gardens and grounds. All proceeds benefit the Callanwolde Dance Program.  Save time and buy tickets online at TicketLeap.com. Adults free; Children 12 and under $10 advance purchase online; Children 12 and under $12 cash or check at the door. In case of rain the event will be cancelled. Arrive early for free parking and shuttle bus service beginning at 9:30 am at the Emory University Briarcliff Campus, 1256 Briarcliff Road, just one-half mile north of Callanwolde. For more info, call (404) 872-5338.


March Madness – Destination Atlanta Georgia!

-1March Madness for NCAA basketball is just around the corner. This year the Final Four Championship Tournament is located here in Atlanta at the Georgia Dome. The Division I tournament begins on March 19th and will end with the Final Four here in Atlanta on April 6th -8th. You can track all the teams at http://www.ncaa.com/march-madness . There will be tournament brackets and lots more available on this website. You can also download an app for your favorite mobile device from the iTunes store or the Google Play store.

Interested in tickets? Click this website to see your options: http://www.ncaa.com/final-four#!tickets_hospitality . Ticket prices range from $185 to $4500 and include a variety of hospitality packages. Locals may also be able to buy tickets from fans of teams that get eliminated during the tournament.

This is one of the major sporting events of the year and will bring a significant number of visitors to Metro Atlanta. We are proud to host the NCAA Finals and look forward to an exciting weekend. This is the 75th anniversary of the NCAA tournament. It brings back so many incredible memories. Click here to vote for your favorite player, favorite team or favorite moment: http://www.ncaa.com/75-players. You could win also win the grand prize of a trip to the 2014 NCAA Tournament in Dallas next year.

Greater Metro Atlanta offers several options for major sporting events this spring. The Masters PGA tournament is held just down the road in Augusta on April 11th – 14th. The Greater Gwinnett Championship event for the Champions Tour will be held at the TPC at Sugarloaf in Duluth on April 15th – 21st. And baseball season begins with the season opener for the Atlanta Braves on April 1st against the archrival Phillies. Look for more on the Braves in our next edition coming in April.

Top 3 Mistakes For Potential Sellers!

-1As real estate markets go through cycles over time, we look back to see the missed opportunities. Of course, hindsight is 20-20 so it is easy to see these when looking in the rear view mirror. Home affordability is a combination of home prices and mortgage rates. If you look historically at most market cycles, we have either seen high prices and low rates or low prices and high rates. The current market conditions are unprecedented. We have not seen the combination of both low prices and low rates since the 1930s. Most of us are unlikely to see this again in our lifetimes. So here are the top mistakes that experts tell us potential sellers are making right now!

Mistake #3 – Waiting For Home Values To Recover And Then Move. Studies show that the fear of loss is 2.5 times more powerful than the opportunity for a gain. Millions of home owners are waiting for values to recover to sell. BUT they are going to find that the next property they want to buy has also gone up in price. More importantly, the mortgage rates are likely to be significantly higher. In 3-5 years, we expect mortgage rates to be in the 6% to 8% range again. If you do the math, waiting can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars!

Mistake #2 – Let’s Float A Really High Price And See What Happens. This is another common mistake that backfires for the seller. Desirable properties with market values are selling rapidly. Buyers and agents can quickly see properties that are priced significantly above the market. Worse yet, the majority of buyers use a mortgage to finance the purchase. If the property does not appraise, the bank will not approve the loan. Many potential transactions end up being negotiated or fall apart based upon the appraisal values. But most properties never even get an offer if they are priced too far out of the market. Those properties will quickly get ignored by agents and buyers.

Mistake #1 – Let’s Put It On The Market But We Are Not Fixing Up Anything. Buyers usually make emotional decisions for homes. Their first impressions are critical in establishing a perception about the property. The condition of most properties can be improved by doing simple things that do not cost very much money or time. Even banks selling foreclosed properties are doing repairs and making properties look more presentable. Properties in poor condition sell for less than properties where small investments were made in condition, updates, staging and incentives. This is one of those times where spending a little money pays off in better returns. Click here for checklist on Preparing Your Property For Sale.

If you or someone you know are considering selling their property, our award-winning Advanced Property Marketing System is the most effective methodology to get the highest market value.

Petersen Partners Featured in Local Paper


Prudential Georgia Realty was recently featured in a Marietta Daily Journal article discussing how we use technology to help both our buyers and sellers have a quality real estate transaction. The article offers a great interview and discussion with our managing broker, Todd Tucker, about the Cobb county real estate market. It also features our very own Jill & Dan Petersen! We are so excited to share this fantastic article, we’ve reposted it here. You can also check out the full issue at http://issuu.com/mdjonline/docs/progress2013_pt2.

 http://issuu.com/mdjonline/docs/progress2013_pt2. http://issuu.com/mdjonline/docs/progress2013_pt2.









































8 Kitchen Trends to Watch in 2013

HomeThangs.com_Kitchens are a popular spot that home shoppers judge in a home. So what are the trends in the kitchen for 2013? HomeThangs.com, a home improvement superstore, offers up some of the following kitchen design predictions for the New Year:

1. Modern style: Kitchens are getting more modern in style, boasting simplified lines and offering up big, open spaces perfect for entertaining.

2. Tucked-away appliances: Appliances designed to blend in with the rest of the kitchen, like with the same wood of the cabinets, are becoming more popular. Also, some appliances, like undercounter or mini refrigerators or trash compactors, are being tucked away into a kitchen island.

3. Lots of lights: Great lighting in the kitchen is becoming more important, with lighting being layered with a mixture of task lighting and ambient lighting. Under-cabinet LED lights are becoming more commonplace.

4. Supersized kitchen islands: “2013 kitchen design trends are moving away from dining rooms and toward eating, drinking, and interacting in the kitchen itself, and a large kitchen island complete with bar stools is the perfect way to make this happen,” according to HomeThangs.com. this helps to create “a nice open-air feeling – especially if one can be used to bridge kitchen and living areas, another major 2013 kitchen design trend.”

5. Neutral color schemes: The use of neutral colors in the kitchen is on the rise, particularly in shades of grays and greens and a variety of wood tones. Bright colors are being reserved for only small accents in the kitchen.

6. Fancy appliances: Professional gas ranges and induction cooktops are popular kitchen appliances for making a more gourmet kitchen.

7. Decorative range hoods: Trends are moving away from a conventional stainless steel trapezoid-shaped hood to more decorative range hoods. These hoods may have built-in LED lights and are even serving almost like a decorative chandelier for a kitchen island.

8. Glass backsplashes: High gloss is “in” for cabinets, appliances, and backsplashes. A single-sheet, back-painted glass blacksplash is growing in popularity, which are also known for being easy to clean. These glass backsplashes are also reflective, adding a polished decorative touch to kitchens. Glass mosaic tile sheets are also increasing in popularity.


Source article URL: http://styledstagedsold.blogs.realtor.org/2013/01/07/8-kitchen-trends-to-watch-in-2013/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+StyledStagedSold+%28Styled%2C+Staged+%26+Sold%3A+Entries%29

Staging Your Pets to Sell Your Home?

You’re ready to sell your home. You’ve found an agent to assist you. You’ve cleaned, polished, washed, painted, planted, de-cluttered, and depersonalized. You’ve done everything to prepare your home for prospective buyers. But what about Fido and Fluffy?

Pets can be a real challenge when selling your home.  Many pet owners work during the day and can’t be home to take the dog for a walk or shoo the cat outside. Having strangers in their home—especially when their owners are away—can be stressful and frightening to a pet and their behavior can become unpredictable. Keeping the dog crated might seem like a good idea, but having a dog barking at buyers during a showing is distracting. You don’t want your home to be remembered as “the one with the dog in the crate.” While sending pets away to board or to live elsewhere temporarily is perhaps the ideal solution, it is rarely a feasible option.  So what is a pet loving seller to do?

There are certain concessions and changes in behavior a seller has to make when their home is on the market. As a pet owner, look at adding a few extra things to that daily checklist before you head out the door to work.

Smells  A huge turn off to prospective buyers is smell and, let’s be honest, pets sometimes smell like… pets. Treat your pet to some new bedding that is machine washable. If the bed can be disguised behind or beneath a piece of furniture, even better. A bed that is out of sight and washed frequently will also be out of a buyer’s mind. Keep pets bathed and groomed more often than usual, so as not to add to existing pet odor. In homes with cats, concealing the litter box is a great idea in addition to adopting a meticulous scooping routine. Also try letting some fresh air in. A closed in home will hold more odors so open the windows.

Stains  As soon as a prospective buyer realizes you have pets, they are likely going to start looking for stains. Stains suggest the home has not been well maintained overall and limit the possibility of a high offer. Stains don’t have to be permanent. Many companies offer products for heavy duty stain removal and odor control you can . Considering hiring a professional to clean your carpets or furniture to remove any stains and odors.

Vaccuming  When you have pets, it’s a good idea to vacuum daily while your home is on the market. Look for a non-perfumed deodorizer you can use when vacuuming and change the bag more frequently than usual. Even if the carpets have been professionally cleaned, frequent vacuuming will cut down on the amount of odors, pet hair, and pet dander floating around your home, potentially deterring buyers with allergies or just sensitive noses. Plus, a freshly vacuumed home suggests to buyers that the entire home is well maintained.

Another approach to consider is how you can actually incorporate your pets into the staging of your home. This doesn’t mean you should leave the rawhide bones and pouches of catnip lying around, but there are ways to embrace your pet as a part of what makes your home cozy and inviting for the right buyer’s family. “Styled, Staged, and Sold” blogger Melissa Dittman Tracey did just that when she sold her last home. In the post Can You Stage the Household Dog?, she discussed how she came up with a pet-friendly staging plan. Tracey included a pet specific talking point sign at the home’s entrance which included a welcome message, a photo of the dogs, what their names were and their secure location in the home. Tracey also made sure the dogs were in an out-of-the-way room, situated behind a pet gate, and included another talking point sign by the door of that room. She even dressed up her smaller breed dogs in matching sweaters in case viewers wanted to peek into the room– for some pooches this may be taking things a bit far, but it’s definitely a whimsical touch. The bottom line for this life situation is maintaining a warm, secure, safe environment for both pets and visiting buyers when the home is on the market.


Early Spring Real Estate Market Update

-1We hope that you and your loved ones are having a wonderful beginning to the new year! 2013 has brought some exciting new trends for real estate in the Greater Metro Atlanta area. If you are considering your options or know others who may benefit from this information, please contact us. We would be honored to help.

Real estate is heavily impacted by the laws of supply & demand plus a few other factors like mortgage rates and the economy. The “for sale” inventory across most markets remains very low. Desirable properties priced at market values are selling very quickly – often with multiple offers.

  • For the Greater Metro Atlanta area, inventory levels are down 37% from 2012 and 57% from 2011.
  • The available “months of supply” is around 4 months. Six months of supply is considered a normal market.
  • The pace of short sales and foreclosures coming on the market has slowed considerably. In 2010, over 60% of sales were distressed properties. That is now down to 37% of all sales. Resales are becoming the larger mix of sales.
  • New Homes are making a slow but sure comeback. There are some wonderful new home communities coming online with the latest innovations in smart buildings that may be great options for buyers. Click here to view new home communities.
  • Home values are expected to rise in 2013 – especially in the lower price points driven by the very low levels of inventory and strong buyer demand
  • Mortgage rates remain incredibly low – but this will change significantly in a few years. Last week, the Fed stated that they may move away from their program of buying mortgage-backed securities sooner than previously stated. That caused stocks to fall and mortgage rates to rise. FHA also announced higher fees for mortgage insurance to help that agency deal with mounting losses. The simple fact is that mortgage rates are being held down artificially and the mortgage system must be restructured to be able to operate normally. That means higher rates and higher costs for financing are coming in the future.

This is an unprecedented opportunity to buy the home of your dreams while prices and financing are historically low. But these conditions will not last as the real estate market continues to recover.

A Tale of Two Markets – Buyer’s Market + Seller’s Market!


The past 3-4 years have clearly been a “buyer’s market” in most areas and price ranges across Metro Atlanta. Buyers had the advantage of an over-supply of properties to select and their agents were able to negotiate favorable prices and terms. But that is changing for 2013. Many markets and price points are transitioning to a seller’s market. This is primarily due to very low inventory and robust demand. In general, homes under $500,000 are seeing more of a seller’s market and homes above $500,000 remain in more of a buyer’s market. See the chart above which shows the months of inventory based upon the current trends for demand in those price points. This chart reflects the 10-county area of Metro Atlanta. Six months of supply is considered a normal market. The “for sale” inventory of properties under $500,000 is below the normal levels of supply and properties in the higher price points remain plentiful relative to the buyer demand. Of course, local markets can differ from the general trends.

One of the main drivers in the lower price points has been investors. First time buyers and inventors have been very active in homes under $200,000. The inventory in this segment is very low for desirable properties. As you can see from the chart, the luxury market still has plenty of available inventory and buyers can still get more favorable pricing and terms. But this is beginning to change as well. History tells us that prices do not rise immediately as the supply becomes more scarce. Prices under $200,000 are moving faster because the inventory has been very low for an extended period and demand is very strong. Prices in the $300,000 to $500,000 segment have not risen as fast because the under-supply is a more recent trend. Some areas of the luxury market will take longer to adjust.

If you are a move-up buyer, you may be able to sell in a seller’s market and still buy in a buyer’s market. That is the best of both worlds! If you are a seller in the higher price points, you may not get the outcome you desire on the selling end. BUT remember, that you still have a great opportunity on the buying end to purchase a great property while prices are lower and financing remains incredibly low. If you wait too long, those prices and mortgage rates will be higher and may more than offset the higher selling price of your current home.

If you or someone you know would like to learn more about the trends in your local area, we would be happy to provide detailed statistics that can help make better decisions. We have access to many resources including proprietary sources of information that are not available to the public. Call us today at 678-439-6699 or visit us online at www.PetersenPartners.com


Handy Home Project Helpers You Really Need!

Home-project-helpers-L21T1HID-x-largeHere’s some great sites with helpful tips and tools for homeowners tackling a wide range of home improvement or maintenance projects from USAToday:

Owning a home is both a blessing and a curse. It’s nice to have a place to call your own and to fill it with things you love. On the other hand, there’s no denying that it requires you to give entire weekends over to do-it-yourself projects, cleaning and otherwise protecting your sizable investment.

I’m sure you can think of a dozen things that need to be done at your house right now. From cleaning out gutters to fixing drippy faucets, it never seems to end.

The good news is that, thanks to the Internet, you no longer need to be overwhelmed. I’ve selected some websites that will help you become smarter and more efficient about home maintenance. They may even help you reclaim a few of those lost weekends.

Personal Color Viewer: Inside or out, painting your home is a major burden. We’ve all seen houses painted colors that were poorly chosen … sometimes we wonder if an extended trip to the bar was involved before the paint-buying began. How many times have you gone to the paint store, returned home and taped a mishmash of color samples to the wall? Then, after a few days of painful indecision, you pick a color. You head back to the paint store to buy a quart, drive home and brush it on – and it doesn’t look anything like you expected!

This website brings paint selection into the 21st century. You can download stock photos of houses or, even better, actual photos of your own home. You’ll see the colors displayed on your home’s exterior or on the walls of the room you are painting. Once you make an informed choice, you’ll print out the color codes and head to the store, ready to buy and get started.

How to Clean Anything: Dust happens. The need to clean is never going away. Fortunately, cleaning is more time-consuming than difficult — most of the time. Once in a while, though, you run into a stain or an odor that mocks your most vigorous efforts. When that happens, visit this site (www.howtocleananything.com). As its name promises, it will tell you the best methods and tools to clean anything, from your makeup brushes to your barbecue grill.

HomeSpotHQ: When life becomes crazy, it’s easy for home maintenance to fall by the wayside. Or in a flurry of cleaning, you might have thrown out the manuals for your appliances. This site (www.homespothq.com) tackles both problems; it’s like a control center for your house. It stores important manuals, part numbers and paint colors. The site also helps you schedule important maintenance tasks and plan improvement projects. Need to hunt down a part or supplies for your project? HomeSpot can even point you to the best deals in your neighborhood.

Roomle: Rearranging furniture can make a room seem fresh again. However, it can take a toll on your back when you try several layouts and none of them work. This site (www.roomle.com) helps you create a floorplan and fill it up with virtual furniture. Move pieces around until you find just the right arrangement – all without breaking a sweat or scratching your grand piano. Click a button to see your design modeled in 3D. You can also post the image to Facebook and get feedback from your friends.

DIYorNot: Can you save money by doing that remodeling project yourself? Not always. This site (diyornot.com) gives you an estimated cost and timescale for any project. It also offers thousands of tutorials so you can see the effort that a potential project will require. You might decide that a professional will cost less, in both money and aggravation, in the long run. On the other hand, it might give you the confidence you need to tackle it all by yourself.

EnergySavers: Your home uses a lot of energy to keep you cool in summer, warm in winter, provide you with hot water and to power all your home electronics. Making your home more energy efficient can result in significant savings for the long term. This site (www.energysavers.gov/your_home), hosted by the Department of Energy, walks you through a do-it-yourself energy audit to help pinpoint where your home might be leaking dollars. Then you can read up on how to install insulation, apply sun shading film or tackle other easy-to-do energy-saving projects.