Finders, fixers.

electrician at work - how much do electricians charge

This Angie’s List electrician offer is a pretty good deal

A few years ago, the review site Angie’s List, which is famous for its user reviews of local businesses, contractors, and tradespeople, started offering online deals (a la Groupon).  I think Angie’s List is super valuable for homeowners, but I’m typically skeptical of their deal offers. For one thing, if it’s anything like Groupon, the tradespeople don’t…

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knob and tube wiring - old houses

9 things I hate about old houses

You know I love old houses. LOVE them. I honestly don’t think I’d buy a new-construction house even if I could afford one (which I can’t). Even new condos — I mean, those luxury towers in Boston’s Seaport district are spectacular, sure. But if I had $5 million to blow on housing? I’ll spend half…

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home for sale in boston

Would you be nuts to buy a home in Boston right now?

The housing market in Boston started heating up in 2013, with home prices shooting up 9.7%, according to the Case-Shiller Index. Then it caught fire in 2014. The fire kept burning last year. By now, prices in a lot of popular cities and towns, including Cambridge, Arlington, and Boston itself, have shot up 50% or more in just…

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lunenburg, nova scotia - real estate road trip how to buy a home in canada

Real Estate Road Trip: Nova Scotia

We went to Nova Scotia for a week this past June — partly to visit my family in Cape Breton (my uncle Chris is an artist up there, my cousin Shannon owns the wonderful Groovy Goat Farm & Soap Co., and my other cousin Mike is a musician) — but also to get a taste of Celtic countryside just…

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loft bedroom in attic

When your home improvement doesn’t: A lesson in risky design choices

There are two main goals of most home improvement projects: To make your home more livable now, bringing it closer to your ideal dream home; and/or to increase its value for the future. Most of the time, these two things go hand in hand. Spending $30,000 on your dream kitchen will in all likelihood increase your home’s…

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chopped mushrooms on cutting board - best housewarming gifts
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Gratitude and great housewarming gifts

Whenever I use our bamboo cutting board — which is nearly every single day, since we cook at home all the time – I can’t help but think about my friend Chrissy, who sent it to us as a wedding gift years ago. Now, I haven’t seen or spoken to Chrissy in like seven years….

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five-plug outlet

What the house is that? The five-plug outlet

Welcome to a new feature on House & Hammer, where we explore some of the quirky features found in old homes — what they are, the history and purpose behind them, and what, if anything, to do if you see them in your house. Quirks like this incredible five-plug outlet, for example. I found this in the…

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tulips in spring

The sweet spot: How long can you go between turning off the heat and turning on the A/C?

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Choose Energy, an online marketplace where consumers can compare rates from electricity and natural gas suppliers. I’m a member of their compensated blogger program; however, all opinions expressed here are my own. Here in New England, we spend a lot of time battling the elements. If Mother Nature isn’t blowing snow in…

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electric lawn mower vs. gas mower
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Electric lawn mower vs. gas mower: Don’t fear the cord

When we first bought our house, we had no idea what we were doing. We were overwhelmed — not just by the house, but by the yard as well. While I’d grown up mowing the lawn every weekend at my parents’ house, it had been decades since I’d had a yard to deal with. And this one…

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make way for ducklings statue on boston common - spring real estate guide home buying timeline

Countdown to closing: A first-time home buyer checklist and timeline

As in baseball, winter is the real estate off-season; if you’re a first-time home buyer who’s been scouting homes on RedFin or Trulia or Zillow, you probably noticed there wasn’t much coming up for sale the past few months, which can be really frustrating (or a great opportunity, since many other buyers put their search on hold for…

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before and during bathroom remodel

Bathroom remodel: Part 1

One of the things we really liked about our house when we first saw it was the dated but relatively big (for Boston, anyway) bathroom. It was never nice, and certainly not modern or trendy. In fact, it was kind of dingy in spots. But cheerfully so, if that makes any sense. The pink-and-white checkered…

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remodeled ikea kitchen - how much should your kitchen remodel cost
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How much should my kitchen remodel cost?

For my latest piece in the Boston Globe, I dug into one of the great mysteries of home ownership: How much should you expect to pay for some of the most common home improvement projects, in ballpark terms? How much should a kitchen remodel cost, in general? How about a bathroom remodel? Or a new roof? This…

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