Let’s Make Every Day ‘Give Your Stuff Away Day’

TV, computer monitor and other items available to new homes

On May 12, everyone is invited to give away unwanted stuff by putting it out on the curb. Image: Eric Bartholomew/Flickr

Friday Five: The Year of the Housing Bottom

More stable home prices point to housing market bottom, as REALTORS® ready to rally for home ownership and the economy in Washington.

The news that home prices are stabilizing across the country suggests that 2012 will be the year the housing market bottoms out. We also look to Washington, the site of next week’s rally for the American Dream. Plus, a group of REALTORS® is making waves with a $100M plan for the state’s national mortgage servicing settlement.

Water Slides Recalled After Death and Injuries

Banzai Splash water slides are being recalled after one death and two severe injuries occurred when the in-ground pool slide deflated.

After one death and two severe injuries, 21,000 Banzai Splash in-ground pool water slides are being recalled by Walmart, Toys”R”Us, and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. The 6-ft. slides can deflate, causing users to crash into the edge of in-ground pools.

It’s Gonna Cost You More to Recharge Your Air Conditioning

Recharging your air conditioning system can really empty your wallet this spring and summer if you have a unit that’s more than two years old. The refrigerant that older air conditioning units use, R-22, is being phased out, and with less R-22 to go around, prices have spiked.

If your AC unit was manufactured in 2011 or later, it uses a different refrigerant, R-410A. Lucky you.

Read This Before Landscaping This Spring; Your Pets Will Thank You

Dogs running next to weeds in a back yard

Fertilizers and herbicides can be poisonous to your pets.

Friday Five: Is it Time to Refinance?

Now might be the best time for home owners who have been putting off refinancing. After a slight increase, mortgage rates slipped back below 4% this week, but it’s unlikely that they will remain near historic lows. Home owners with FHA loans could also benefit from reduced mortgage insurance costs because of efforts to streamline the process. Read what else to expect during the spring housing season in this week’s Friday Five.

How to Get Rid of Ticks

Tick and tick tube

Tick tubes are filled with a pesticide that kills ticks, but not mice.

Need to Modify Your Home for Medical Reasons? 2012 is the Year to Do It

With tax deduction limits coming for 2013, medically related home upgrades are a smart project this year.

What a difference year makes.

For the 2012 tax year, you can take a tax deduction on medically necessary home improvements — like installing a wheelchair ramp and other projects that make life easier for an ill or injured family member — if you:

Friday Five: Indicators Look Up for Housing

Consumer confidence, bidding wars, and smaller home inventories signal a bullish outlook for the housing economy.

Friday Five: Short Sales Outpace Foreclosures. Is It a Trend?

In this week’s housing news roundup, short sales flex some muscle while regulators and legislators debate changes to mortgage loan rules.