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Homeowner

A year ago, we were in a very different place: The COVID-19 pandemic was just beginning, but the real estate market had been running hot. With interest rates and housing inventory near historic lows, most areas of the country were in a solid seller’s market, and most homeowners were enjoying watching their home values appreciate, with their home equity growing (in some locations) by leaps and bounds.

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Electrical repairs and installations are at best expensive. Taking a little time to research and understand your electrical system can give you the necessary skills to do some electrical projects yourself.

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Q: We remodeled our basement about 10 years ago and used a company that is still in business. It doesn’t seem like they obtained any permits for the work in our basement. We still own the home and plan to be here for some time to come. Do we have to report this to the local housing department and what should we do about our home improvements?

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Homeowners should have their garage door maintained at least once every 18 to 24 months, if not once a year, experts say. You can avoid a lot of problems with basic maintenance.

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Talk about an oldie but goodie. What makes HGTV's hit show, "Love It or List It," so popular is not the slightly wacky premise — homeowners renovate their homes to address major problem areas while also looking for a possible new home — but the relationship between Hilary Farr and David Visentin.

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Q: I wanted to comment on your recent column relating to the use of a homeowners association (HOA) pool during (the pandemic). Halfway through your answer you wrote, “You and your fellow residents voted in the board and they represent you.”

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Q: I live in a suburb of Chicago and have two neighbors across the street who I have met a couple of times at block parties. Both are a bit older than I am. My guess is that at some point in the next five to 10 years these neighbors will move out and sell their home. They have the kind of property that a developer would likely buy, tear down and build a large home there.

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Q: I’ve always been told that when buying a house, I should ask to see any building permits to make sure major changes made to the house were built to code. However, I am constantly being told by home sellers that they did work to the home themselves over time, so they didn’t need permits, even if I know this not to be true.

With coastal flooding a reality that will only increase in the coming decades, mitigation is key to enjoying the shore and your home. 

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Q: We live in Florida in a 55-plus condominium development. Do residents who visit out-of-state folks need to quarantine themselves upon return? And, what about residents who have out-of-state guests staying in their home? It is the community swimming pool (where everyone tends to congregate) that makes me nervous.

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