Pack and move like a pro with these 6 tips

(BPT) – Does the prospect of moving have you buzzing with excitement? Or are you left with worries about packing and clutter? This moving season, an estimated 40 million Americans will move or relocate, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.Moving is an …

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Selling your car: Get more money with these top tips

(BPT) – Selling a car for cash should be simple, safe and able to navigate without roadblocks; however, there is no shortage of sneaky techniques that are employed to scam car sellers. Through hiding supplementary fees in the fine print, car buying businesses can leave car sellers spending anywhere from $10 to $300 in unexpected fees — a disappointing loss in an anticipated profit. With the numerous car buying companies competing for business in a niche industry, it is difficult for a car seller to discern which company is the correct choice; however, there are many things that a seller can be aware of to ensure that they are making the best decision.


Fortunately for car sellers, the costliest hidden fee when selling a vehicle is also the easiest to avoid. While it is no longer common for car buying companies to expect a seller to facilitate towing arrangements, it does occur. Towing can add up to $100 or more in additional deductions depending on where the buying company is located. Additionally, many buying companies cannot accommodate vehicles outside of cars, SUVs, vans and trucks.


Many scrap and junk car buyers require a seller to empty a car’s gas tank before they will send a towing service for collection, and if a seller fails to do so, it can result in a charge upwards of $50. A $50 deduction can make a significant dent in your overall profit, and draining a gas tank can be timely and incredibly dangerous if a seller does not have previous experience or has not been given proper direction.

Car detailing

Car buying companies take into account the condition of a car’s interior when generating a buying price for a seller, but do not typically communicate that the state of the interior, down to cleanliness, could have an effect on the final offer to a seller. While a seller should ideally take care of a car’s exterior and interior on a routine basis, they should also be aware of hidden deductions that could arise from a lack in communication from a buyer.


While many car buying companies claim to manage paperwork for a car seller, it is not unlikely for a small “document transfer” fee to be removed from a seller’s original offer upon transaction for the car. Before accepting a quote from a car buyer, a seller must guarantee that they will do the heavy lifting regarding paperwork and ensure that no additional fees will be taken out of the original quote. Additionally, car buying companies have been known to buy cars without a title present, and while this is convenient for the seller, it can also lead to reputation management problems farther down the road.

Protecting yourself as a car seller

While selling a vehicle for cash can result in a headache, it doesn’t have to be a painful experience with the right information and research. If you are a car seller looking for a car buying company that is fast, easy and transparent, exceeds all demands. is a car acquisition division of Copart, Inc., a publicly traded and reputable company with a dependable local footprint. purchases vehicles directly from the public, offering free towing, clean paperwork transfer and exemplary customer service with no hidden fees, hidden charges on towing, or out-of-pocket expenses. The team answers the calls of vehicle sellers looking to sell their cars, truck, SUVs, boats or RVs, and guides them through the quick and painless process while diligently working to guarantee that an honest reputation is preserved as the main priority.

The business model is built around saving customers the hassle of selling a car in a traditional way, and has over 160 locations across the U.S. to ensure that a driver will be able to pick up your vehicle in as little as 24 hours — sometimes the same day! Backed by over 30 years in the car buying business, diligently works to stay up-to-date on vehicle pricing by incorporating market trends, damage levels and comparable model prices to ensure that each customer is presented with the best available offer.

Get unhinged: 3 ways to create visually striking doors in your home

(BPT) – Think of a door opening and closing.

Chances are you pictured it swinging on hinges, since that’s how most doors operate. But, more homeowners are choosing other door hanging hardware for a unique look with their interior and exterior doors.

If you’re looking for a way to make visitors to your home say ‘wow,’ consider alternatives to hinged doors for an unexpected twist.

‘Once you’ve chosen the door that’s perfect for you, it can be hung in a number of distinctive ways,’ says Brad Loveless, marketing and product development manager for Simpson Door Company. ‘A pocket door, sliding barn door or a pivot door can add some personality and pizzazz to your home.’

Pocket doors

Similar to closet doors hung on a track, pocket doors slide open and closed, but disappear into the wall when closed. Popular in home offices, bathrooms and utility rooms, pocket doors save space and can make a room feel more open. Using a pocket door in place of a hinged door saves about 10 square feet of floor space, notes home improvement expert Tim Carter.

Depending on the width of the opening, you can use either a single pocket door, or double pocket doors that slide into opposite walls and meet in the middle when closed. Because they don’t seal as tightly as hinged doors, pocket doors are largely limited to use inside the home, instead of as entry doors.

Sliding barn doors

Barn doors are a bit like pocket doors in that they slide open and closed, but they’re hung on tracks that are visible. When opened, the doors are located on one side of the wall, instead of disappearing into the wall. For large openings, such as between dining rooms and living rooms, you can even hang multiple barn doors on tracks in order to divide the spaces.

A number of companies offer high-end barn door track hardware, in a range of styles and colors. ‘People like the unexpected look of a barn door,’ says John Golesh, president of door hardware manufacturer Goldberg Brothers. ‘They’re a great way to add a rustic, yet elegant look to your home. And with the wide variety of door hangers and handles, a barn door can complement any interior décor.’

In addition to the chic look barn doors offer, homes for sale with ‘barn door’ in their listing sold for 13 percent more than expected and 57 days faster, according to research by Zillow Diggs.

Pivot doors

Common in ancient buildings, pivot mounted doors are virtually unseen in North American homes. For homeowners who want an element of surprise, a pivot door is a good choice. In place of hinges or overhead sliders and tracks, pivot doors rotate open and closed around pins installed in the top and bottom of the door frame. The pins are set several inches in from the door frame, depending on the door’s size.

‘For high-end homes with extra-wide doors, pivots are a great way to handle the additional weight, and will be unlike anything your visitors have seen before,’ Loveless says. ‘We are making many different super-sized doors for this exact application.’

Some of these doors are huge – measuring up to four feet wide or more. As ‘large, simple rectangles,’ pivot doors can be designed to look like the surrounding wall, so fit well in modern style homes, notes architect Bud Dietrich. Unlike pocket doors and barn doors, pivot doors can seal tightly to their frame when closed, so can be used as entry doors.

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Houses: Building them better than they used to

(BPT) – The phrase, ‘they don’t build them like they used to,’ has been applied to nearly everything from cars to footwear, but most often it seems people say it about houses. In fact, this sentiment has become so common, that many believe the homes to…

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See the light: Get the real facts about LED bulbs

(BPT) – Light-emitting diode (LED) light bulbs have transformed home lighting since coming on the market. Despite proven benefits that far outweigh older lighting options, like incandescent and compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs, many people remain …

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Simple summer home improvement: Upgrade your curb appeal

(BPT) – Summer is a great time to complete your home improvement projects, but deciding which ones to tackle can be overwhelming. Here are a few simple curb appeal projects you can tackle this summer to welcome your family and friends into your home wi…

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Go big for less: 4 simple ways to make a small kitchen feel bigger

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(BPT) – Kitchen renovation is a common theme of home improvement shows, and it’s typical for the host and designer to talk about removing interior walls and ‘bumping out’ exterior ones in order to gain more space. Everyone wants a big, beautiful kitchen, but changing the footprint of yours isn’t always practical, especially if you lack the budget of a home improvement show!

You can make your snug kitchen feel bigger and fresher with a few smart improvements that don’t involve wads of cash and tearing out walls. Here are four ways to create a brighter, more expansive feeling in any kitchen, no matter how small the square footage:

Increase natural light

Everything looks bigger and better in the daylight, but if your kitchen has just one small window over the sink or no windows at all, it can look dark and feel even smaller. Adding windows isn’t always possible in a kitchen where you need to reserve wall space for cabinets and appliances. Skylights can be a cost-effective and quick way to bring more natural light into a kitchen – even if it doesn’t have direct roof access.

By adding Energy Star-qualified, solar-powered, fresh-air skylights, like those from Velux America, you can greatly increase the amount of natural light while keeping functional wall space. For times when you want less light, the addition of solar-powered blinds, available in designer colors and patterns, allow you to attractively shade your skylights. Operated with a programmable touchpad remote control, today’s skylights also feature a sensor that will automatically close them in case of rain. And there’s a 30 percent federal tax credit available to the homeowner on solar powered skylights, blinds and installation costs.

As a cost-effective and easily installed alternative to traditional skylights, Sun Tunnel tubular skylights deliver natural light to spaces that don’t have direct roof access. Optional light kits make them functional both day and night. To learn more, visit

Take control of cabinets

Who doesn’t want more cabinet space? Storage is essential in a kitchen, but too many cabinets or too dark cabinetry can make an already small kitchen feel downright miniscule.

Take a long, hard look at your kitchen cabinets. Do you really need all of them? If you decide you can make more efficient use of fewer cabinets, consider removing some to make the kitchen feel larger.

If you just can’t give up any cabinet space, you can still make your kitchen feel brighter by painting or staining them a lighter hue and using bright, reflective hardware in modern styles. Glass cabinet doors can also visually open up a kitchen – and inspire you to greater organization so that the inside of your cabinets always look guest-ready.

Right-size appliances

You may fantasize about a six-burner professional range or a massive built-in refrigerator, but appliances that are too big for a room fail on multiple levels. They not only make the room look smaller by virtue of their dominating size, they can hinder usability by obstructing other work areas like cabinets, counters and other appliances when the doors are open.

Fortunately, appliance makers offer products in multiple sizes and finishes to fit any space and design preference. Before you appliance shop, be sure to measure the spaces where the new pieces will reside in your kitchen. Further, keep in mind the overall scale of the room, too. If your kitchen is small, a massive refrigerator will overwhelm the space, even if designated cutout for the fridge is big enough to accommodate a large one.

Brighten up

Choosing lighter colors and finishes is the easiest, most cost-effective way to make any space look bigger. If you’ve already addressed the cabinets, you can further expand the visual feel of the kitchen by painting walls a light color. Replace dark floors and counters with brighter colors and upgrade faucets, cabinet hardware and light fixtures to be brighter and more reflective.

Finally, try adding under-cabinet lighting above work spaces. Not only will task lighting put more illumination where you need it most when working in the kitchen, but when combined with abundant natural light from skylights it will enhance the overall effect of a lighter, brighter and bigger space.

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5 signs your leaky pipes may be a dripping time bomb

(BPT) – Winter isn’t just the holiday season; it’s also burst-pipe season. If your pipes are older or you’ve already had a few leaks to repair, you may worry about how well they’ll weather Old Man Winter’s temperature tantrums. Leaky pipes can indicate…

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