Home and Garden Category of the "Hoo-Hah!" Directory: Best tips and products for a happier home, garden and pets. Wizard "Merlin the Marvelous," at your service!
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Home and Garden
Best tips and products for a happier home, garden and pets.

Buy A Foreclosed Home... At Half Price!? :   Check out Foreclosure Magazine  for some outrageously low prices on houses and commercial properities. Some say that foreclosed properties often go for about 50 percent under market prices.
  Be sure to check out every offer carefully first. Then buy it, fix it up, and either live there or sell it for a big profit!

An iMarvel.com affiliate. Buy Art Online, And Get A Free Print :   At Art.com, you can send great-looking "art greeting cards" by email at no charge.  Perhaps even better, Art.Com is offering a free art print with your first framed purchase when you join their Art Clique  Saver's Club.  As a charter member, you'll instantly receive 20% off on all purchases of unframed and framed art.  You'll also receive a gift certificate with your first purchase good for $20 toward your second purchase of $100 or more.  Optionally, you'll also receive a $25 gift certificate for participation in a future online focus group or market research.  And their prices are already quite low, since they don't have to pay the expense of maintaining a gallery for art buyers to visit.  Joining Art Clique  is free.

Buy Comforting Gifts At ComfortHouse.com :   Comfort House describes itself as "the source for products that make your life easier." We'll buy that! They offer products for home, office and travel. There's a 100% money-back guarantee of your personal satisfaction.

An iMarvel.com affiliate. Buy From The "Best Online Store": A Pet Store! :   The SitStay GoOut  store was ranked number one among stores of all kinds by the BizRate.com directory, as compiled from customer polls.  If you order from them, you'll find that they're real pet fans, kind and generous to both people and animals.
  The SitStay store carries primarily dog supplies.  A more well-rounded site is PetsMart.com.  They have an Answers Page with lots of good pet information, Community pages with daily Vet Expert chats and message boards, and product comparisons.  There's also two nice new family activities: a "Pet Family Quilt" of pictures that you can add your pet to, and a "Smart Pet of the Day" contest that lets you send in your pet pictures and stories.
  If you're tired of having to lug heavy bags of Pet food home from the store, you might like PetsMart's new You Sit, We Fetch program for regular pet food deliveries.
  Click to: An iMarvel.com affiliate. PetSmart.com.

Buy Home Automation Products At SmartHome.com :   SmartHome is the largest seller of home automation products in America. You can wire your home for surveillance, security, audio/video control, pet control and computer networking. For example. They have a low price guarantee and offer a free color catalog.

An iMarvel.com affiliate. Create A Home-Based Business At (Almost) No Cost :   Bottom Line/Personal  interviewed Kelly Reno, author of 77 No Talent, No Experience, and (almost) No Cost Businesses ou Can Start Today!  (Prima Publishing).  It's easy to start a business today, using such ideas as:

  • Sell items on auction sites like eBay
  • Print your own greeting-card designs on your computer
  • Run errands and do mass-mailings for other companies
  You can read the article at Boardroom.com, the home site for Bottom Line/Personal.  The book is available at Amazon.com for about $10.36.
  Read the article at: Boardroom.com

Create The Perfect Lawn :   The Lawn Institute is a non-profit institution dedicated to the improvement of lawns and sports turf. It's 'one of the most respected authorities in North America among turf professionals and scientists for monitoring, reporting, and interpreting the latest advances in turfgrass research, landscape horticulture, and agronomic science.' Get all the advice you need here to make your lawn shine like an emerald!

Find A Local Shelter To Adopt A Pet From :   Robin's FYI is a site that describes many kinds of animals that are up for adoption, from hamsters to lions (but mostly cats and dogs, of course.)  The site also links to many animal shelters around the country, so you can pick up an animal locally.  Usually the shelter charges a fee of about $50 to $75 per adoption.

Find An Apartment To Live In :   SpringStreet (formerly Allapartments.com) lets you find an apartment in any location you specify.  You'll get descriptions, pictures and floor plans with your search results.  There are over 6,000,000 apartments to choose from, sort the results by price, and search for locations near a college or university.

Find And Buy A For-Sale House At Realtor.com :   At Realtor.com (the site of the National Association of Realtors) you can search listings of over 1.3 million homes, condos, farms and more in the USA and Canada.  You can find a real-estate agent, register for their Personal Planner that sends you new home listings by email, and use interactive calculators, worksheets and checklists to prepare you for the right move.  All the products and services you'll need to move, buy, sell or outfit your home are right here.

Find And Print Maps For Your Neighborhood :   MapQuest.com is a great site where you can create customized maps. It has an Interactive Atlas with 3 million locations worldwide, with lists of places like hotels, gas stations and ATM machines. You can personalize your maps with friends' houses, favorite shops and restaurants, and special icons. Then you can save them right at the site, for future reference. There's also a Travel Guide and other travel features. If you live or work in a place where people sometimes have trouble finding you (which is everywhere, really) then you can print out maps to give to people, to steer them in the right direction.
  To read more, click: Maps On Us

Find Any Home's True Worth :   Yahoo's free Home Price Check  service lets you search through over 20 million U.S. home purchase price records, accumulated over at least the past five years. You can search by single-home address, by street, or by price range. HomeGain.com also has home-valuation calculator that lets you find your home's approximate value in minutes!   Simply enter your street address and describe your home, and it will tell you what it's worth.  If you want, you can then compare proposals from real estate agents who know your neighborhood and can help sell your home.
  Try HomeGain's home-valuation calculator.

Find Home-Improvement Plans And Contractors Online :   ImproveNet is a comprehensive home-improvement site that covers all kinds of remodeling and other improvements.  It's a good way to find a high-quality contractor and negotiate the best possible price.  There's more:

  • Dream and design: View 1000's of products and design plans
  • Plan and budget: get expert advice, remodeling tips and read message boards
  • Hire and build: Find a good local contractor, architect or designer.
  • Fix and maintain: Find help for small jobs.
  The "Better Homes and Gardens Home Improvement Encyclopedia" is another great source of home repair and improvement advice.  Their site has other sections covering education, parenting, shopping, crafts, gardens, recipes, health, decorating and travel.
  To see the Home Improvement Encyclopedia, click to: Better Homes And Gardens

Find The Best Place To Live, Work Or Play :   "At MONEY's 'Your Best Places' search engine, you can 'tap an extensive database of America's 300 largest metro areas in order to find the best spot for you to live, work or play.' You can search based on nine general categories: Weather, Economy, Housing, Health, Education, Crime, Transportation, Leisure, Arts and Culture.

Find The Right Breed Of Dog For Your Personality :   The Purina site will find the best dog for your personality and living situation.

Get A Free Puppy Care Kit :   Fill in the simple online form at Purina's Puppy Care Site, and you'll get an instruction video and booklet aimed at keeping your puppy happy, and good advice on veterinary care, nutrition, and training.

An iMarvel.com affiliate. iconGet Free Home & Living Stuff At FreeShop :   At FreeShop's Home & Living freebies page, you can find free offers for your home and garden, and everything you love to do with them.

Get Free Homeowner's Pamphlets From Uncle Sam :   The Consumer Information Catalog has the full online text versions of federal consumer publications covering the subject of housing. Find out how to find and buy good housing, maintain your home, practice good home safety habits and conserve energy. You can view them for free online, or purchase printed copies that they will mail to you (some of which are free.)

An iMarvel.com affiliate. Get Free Pet Tags For All Your Pets :   PetsMart will send you a free pet tag by mail, just for signing up at their site.  You'll also get email reminders of pets' birthdays, and be able to keep your pets happy and healthy with their Pet News updates.  It's a nice site, with helpful sections such as "ask-the-vet" with 24-hour response, a "smart pet guide" and a "luv-a-pet" adoption center.  They have an Answers Page with lots of good pet information, Community pages with daily Vet Expert chats and message boards, and product comparisons.  There's also two nice new family activities: a "Pet Family Quilt" of pictures that you can add your pet to, and a "Smart Pet of the Day" contest that lets you send in your pet pictures and stories.
  If you're tired of having to lug heavy bags of Pet food home from the store, you might like PetsMart's new You Sit, We Fetch program for regular pet food deliveries.
  Petopia has a similar program, except you get free pet tags for ALL your pets, and you can choose from four different styles, four colors, and four sizes! You have 5 lines of text you can add to the tag to show all your relevant information (it's only 2 lines at Petsmart.)   Petopia also has a notable list of "Pet-Friendly Hotels".

Learn About Home/Job Relocation :   Thinking about moving?  Job-seeking behemoth Monster.com has teamed up with online real estate site HomeFair.com to create a new relocation area. There's some good interactive tools to help you with the process of relocating and/or buying a home, including:
  • The Salary Calculator: Find out how much you would need to make in your new city to keep your current lifestyle.
  • The Moving Calculator: Get a ballpark estimate of what it will cost to move your household goods.
  • Relocation Crime Lab: Compare crime statistics in different cities.
  • Free City Reports: See side-by-side comparisons of up-to-date information on demographics, cost of living and more.
  • Free School Reports: Obtain information on local school districts and childcare.

Learn Any Life Skill At Learn2.com Or EHow.com :     Today's tip can help you save money, but it's even more about saving time and effort.  EHow.com is a site where you can learn to do just about anything you can think of.
  EHow.com "was created to give people a fast and easy way to find out how to do a variety of real-world activities, provide ways to accomplish them, and join a community of like-minded people who share a passion for getting things done.   eHow.com is the most comprehensive source of information on how to do things, offering thousands of specific project instructions."  There are always easy step-by-step instructions, and a list of materials needed to complete the how-to.

  Another good place to get "Instructions on just about anything: Learn2.com.  Learn2.com's tutorials and capsule articles to answer many of the questions of everyday life. Learn how to fix a car, tie a necktie, how to be the Best Man at your friend's wedding, and handle hundreds of other situations.To check it out, click: Learn2.com

Learn How To Fix Almost Anything :   You can fix almost anything yourself (or at least give it a valiant effort), using Mr. Fixit! All kinds of home furnishings and appliances are covered.

Learn How To Remove Any Stain :   At ClothesLine.com, you just answer three questions (What kind of stain are you dealing with? What is the fabric you want to protect? Does the fabric have any color?) Then press the "Show Results" button, and wait while The Stain Detective searches its vast database. It will show you customized advice, created specifically for your personal situation!

Learn Smart Home-Finance Managing At Kiplinger.com :   The Kiplinger.com  personal finance site has some great articles about home finance: how to buy or sell, finding good mortgages, and reducing property taxes.  There's also a forecast of home prices for 100 cities, home-finance calculators, and links to some of the best home finance sites on the Internet.

Learn The Best Ways To Sell A Home :   Kiplinger.com has a Home Seller's Planning Center to give you the tips and strategies that will help you get the most from your home sale.  Today's hot housing market is a prime seller's opportunity.  However, it's expected to cool off by late 1999, and an upcoming interest rate hike will be likely to drive mortgage rates above 8%.

Learn To Make Your Home Improvement Pay For Itself :   An article at CBS Marketwatch explains how to add home improvements that pay off in increased home valuation.  Think of it as getting a free home improvement!  The goal is to add a popular home improvement in a non-extravagant way, to make your home a better resale value.  "An extravagant addition can make your home harder to sell," says author Marshall Loeb.  "Not every prospective buyer, for example, will love a $15,000 pleasure center with a custom-made whirlpool, steam bath and built-in stereo system.  It could even be a turnoff."  You could get a home-equity loan for the improvement, and wind up with a higher equity value... but then, there's always the property tax to think about.

Protect Your Home From Crime :   Did you know that nine out of ten household burglaries are preventable?   A crime prevention article at Yahoo.com will teach you how to protect your home from crime.  A burglar won't find your home an "easy mark" if he has to work in the light, take a lot of time to break in, and can't work quietly.

Save Thousands With Mortgage Refinancing :   With loan rates so low now, refinancing your mortgage could save you thousands of dollars. Online rates are often the lowest you can get, and BanxQuote will help you shop for the best rates online.

Sell Your Own Home Yourself :   If you'd like to try your hand at selling your own home, visit Owners.com.  There, you can post a a free real-estate listing and get plenty of advice on how to sell your own home.

Turn Off Your TV! :   TV-Free America is a nonprofit organization that encourages Americans to dramatically reduce the amount of television they watch, in order to promote richer, healthier and more connected lives, families and communities. If you ever want to drop-kick your TV set through the window, here's where to get encouragement and support.

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