DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!

homeowners

Sep 28 2009

Pitiful Lawn

by Ev S

My lawn is pitiful.  It’s got brown spots, bare spots, pretty purple weeds, and holes.  I’m not very picky about lawns.  I figure that some shade of green is good, even if it’s rye grass.  I’m also a lazy gardener.  There are several websites to go to, including Georgia’s own Walter Reeves.  Books are also in great plenitude.  I’ve not read them, yet.  We even have DVDs such as Lawns in the Landscape.  I hope between the website, the books below, and the DVD I’ll figure out how to make my lawn pretty instead of pitiful.

The Organic Lawn Care Manual by Paul Tukey

The Lawn Bible by David Mellor

Easy Lawns edited by Stevie Daniels (I think this is the book for me)

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Apr 6 2009

Avoiding Foreclosure

by Amanda L

making-home-affordable-logo

I blogged several months ago about the resources that the Library has and other sources available for those having trouble paying their mortgage. This blog entry is still helpful to those that have missed payments or have had their mortgage company begin the first step towards foreclosure.

There is now new help available through the Federal Government’s Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan that might be helpful to those folks who have mortgages ballooning or have lost all or part of their income. The first question to ask: do I qualify for this new help? To see if you might be eligible, check out the Making Home Affordable website created by the Federal Government.

The website lists two ways that the Plan might be able to help you. The first is refinancing your home. The second is what they call modification. This site helps with a Frequently Asked Questions page to determine which type of help might fit your situation.  It also has a couple of questionnaires that you can fill out to determine if you might qualify for help.

The Making Home Affordable website  lists additional resources that might be helpful if you are trying to keep your house and avoid foreclosure. In the future, the site will list the mortgage companies and banks that will be participating in this program.  It links currently to the Hope Now Alliance website.  This site  lists many of the mortgage providers’  mitigation websites.  Hopefully, this information can help, you or someone you know, have a place to start the process to keep their house.

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Feb 23 2009

In Tough Times…

by Amanda L

I volunteer with an organization that helps people over a tight spot with utilities and rent. Lately, we have seen many people who are having a hard time holding on to their mortgage or are just a few steps away from losing their house.

Here at DCPL, we try to anticipate the needs of our community. Last year, we began a section on our website called Subject Guides. This section contains lists of resources pertaining to subjects that many people in the community have asked about.

The most recent guide is on foreclosures. Under each listed resource–whether it be electronic, internet or print–there is a description of the type of information provided. Most of the weblinks provided on this list are to agencies that might help you or someone you know that is facing foreclosure.

Some of the books we have that you might find helpful are:

Fight Foreclosure:

This book explores options and alternatives available to you when you can’t make your monthly mortgage payment but want to avoid foreclosure. The author explains the pre-foreclosure process, using real life examples of families faced with foreclosure, their choices, and the steps/missteps taken.

Foreclosure Self-Defense for Dummies

This practical, no-nonsense guide helps you size up your options and increase your chances of saving your home. You’ll find out how to delay foreclosure, form a plan of attack, negotiate solutions with your lender, and restore your financial health.

Foreclosure Survival Guide

If you’re having trouble making your mortgage payments or are already in jeopardy of foreclosure, The Foreclosure Survival Guide gives you the practical information you need, step by step.

I hope that you find this list and many of the other subjects under the subject guides helpful. We are always looking for subjects that might be helpful to our community. If you have any suggestions please feel free to comment and we will see if we can create a list that would be helpful.

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Jan 12 2009

Help, I want to improve my house!

by Amanda L

Every New Year my husband and I look around the house deciding if we want to make any improvements or if we have maintenance issues that we need to tackle. We built our own house over twelve years ago and have performed much of the maintenance and improvements ourselves. I always use the Library’s resources to see what they can help us with. In fact, we have used many books at the Decatur Library to help us build our house. With the housing market in a down turn, many people are looking for ways to improve their house either to stay or to help sell it faster. The Library has a variety of home improvement books available. Here is a sampling of books that might be useful for those, like me, wanting to improve their house.

DIY guide to appliances

The essential guide for first-time homeowners: maximize your investment & enjoy your new home

Ultimate guide to wiring: complete home projects

Home makeovers that sell: quick and easy ways to get the highest possible price

The complete photo guide to home repair

House transformed: getting the home you want — with the house you have

Universal design for home

Stanley complete flooring

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Nov 24 2008

House Blogs: One More Way to Journal

by Nolan R

Maybe it began with This Old House.  I remember when I was a kid, watching the show with my dad.  Norm and crew would take you step by painfully slow step through a kitchen renovation of an old house in New England, with the process often running to several episodes.  Later, I discovered a love/hate relationship with HGTV, where entire homes are magically transformed in two days or less.

Last year, I discovered the website Houseblogs.  I was fascinated.  I wanted a house blog!  I didn’t even have a house yet, but I started a generic house blog on Blogger, ready to document each step of the progress on our hypothetical house.  (I know others who have also fallen prey to putting the blog before the house.)  My husband and I finally bought an old bungalow, and as we began work on it, I got to work on the blog, personalizing it and even registering our own domain name.  My husband was pretty good-natured about it, except when I would snap photos of him climbing a ladder and temporarily blind him with the flash.

Originally, I planned the blog as a way for friends and family to keep up with our progress, but what I gradually discovered is that a) your friends and family don’t always care that you’ve just spent four weeks painting the trim on your house in original Craftsman colors, and b) a lot of strangers do seem to care, interestingly enough.  Wondering how to strip paint from your dining room molding?  A Google search will turn up at least one houseblog where someone has already done the hard work and figured out the best way.  We’ve even gotten several emails and comments from readers all over the country, sharing their experiences with us.

Here are a few of my favorite houseblogs (including a local one):

De-Victorianization on Division
House in Progress
Our Little Bungalow
Tiny Old House
Westview Bungalow

If you like the idea of reading someone else’s experiences transforming a house into a home, but aren’t into blogs, here are a few great books:

All the Way Home: Building a Family in a Falling Down House by David Giffels
The Caliph’s House: A Year in Casablanca by Tahir Shah
Castles in the Air by Judy Corbett
Renovations : a Father and Son Rebuild a House and Rediscover Each Other by John Marchese
Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayer
A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle

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