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Bathroom Sinks That Rise Above the Rest

Bathroom Sinks - Kohler Botticelli Marble Vessel sink

Botticelli marble vessel sink from Kohler

Unlike standard bathroom sinks, vessel designs sit above the counter surface. Reminiscent of historical bedroom washstands that consisted of a wash basin and pitcher for freshening up, current vessel sinks utilize modern materials and designs to sculptural effect.

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5 Kid-Friendly DIY Home Projects

Having young children fills our house with a lot of noise, and a lot of laughter. They keep us so busy, it also makes me wonder when we will ever get to concentrate on some of the basic home projects on our ever-growing list. I’ve finally come to the conclusion that if we ever want to get anything done, we have to find a way to involve them.

Kid-Friendly DIY Projects

Photo: sheknows.com

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Zillow® Summer Home Improvement Sweepstakes Official Rules

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A PURCHASE OR PAYMENT WILL NOT INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF WINNING THE SWEEPSTAKES.

Please read these Official Rules before entering the Zillow Summer Home Improvement Sweepstakes (the “Promotion”). By participating in the Promotion, you agree to be bound by these Official Rules and represent that you satisfy all of the eligibility requirements below.

Eligibility: The Promotion is open only to legal residents of the 50 United States or District of Columbia, age 18 or older (or the age of majority in entrant’s state of residence). If you do not meet any of these requirements or any other eligibility requirements in these Official Rules, you are not eligible to win a prize, and Zillow, Inc. (“Sponsor”) reserves the right not to award prizes to you. Sponsor, Prize Logic, LLC (“Administrator”), BobVila.com, LLC, and their directors, officers, and employees along with each of their respective parent companies, affiliates, subsidiaries, advertising, promotion, and production agencies, contractors, suppliers, and consultants, (collectively, the “Promotion Entities”) as well as their immediate family (spouse, parents, siblings and children) and household members of each such individual are not eligible to win. The Promotion is subject to all applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations and is void where prohibited.

Promotion Period: The Promotion begins at 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time (“ET”) on August 1, 2012, and ends at 12:00 p.m. ET on August 31, 2012 (the “Promotion Period”). Administrator’s computer is the official time-keeping device for the Promotion.

How to Enter: Maximum of two (2) entries into the Promotion. You may start the entry process for the Promotion by opening the following websites:

(i) Facebook. You must logon to your account on www.facebook.com, open the Zillow Facebook page located at www.facebook.com/zillow (the “Page”), and, if you have not done so already, click “Like” on the Page. If you do not have a Facebook account, you may create one free of charge at www.facebook.com. Once you have “liked” Zillow, click the “Enter Now” box on the Page and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the entry form (“Entry Form”), which includes, but is not limited to, providing your valid email address. By completing and successfully submitting the Entry Form, you will receive one (1) entry into the Promotion.

(ii) bobvila.com. You must open the Bob Vila website located at www.bobvila.com (the “Website”); (hereinafter the Page and Website will be collectively referred to as the Website) and click on “Give Away” located in near the top of the screen in a drop down menu. Then you must follow the on-screen instructions to complete the Entry Form, which includes, but is not limited to, providing your valid email address. By completing and successfully submitting the Entry Form, you will receive one (1) entry into the Promotion.

By participating in the Promotion, the entrant understands that he or she is providing his or her information to the Sponsor and not Facebook. Further, the entrant specifically agrees to release Facebook from any and all liability associated with this Promotion. This Promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.

Entry Limits and Restrictions: You may enter the Promotion a maximum of one (1) time using each method of entry and are limited to a maximum of two (2) entries into the Promotion per entrant. In the event that you submit more than one (1) entry into the Promotion through either method of entry, all entries into the Promotion may be eliminated and you may be disqualified from winning the prize, in Sponsor’s sole discretion. Any attempted form of participation in this Promotion other than as described herein is void. If it is discovered that an entrant has registered or attempted to register more than once using multiple e-mail addresses, Facebook accounts, or multiple identities, that entrant’s entry will be declared null and void and any prize that entrant might have been entitled to will not be awarded to that entrant.

All entries and/or materials submitted become the property of Sponsor and will not be returned. The Promotion Entities are not responsible for any lost, late, undeliverable/undelivered, or postage due mail or entries. Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to disqualify any entries that are inappropriate for any reason. Use of any automated
system to participate is prohibited and will result in disqualification. In the event of a dispute as to the identity of the prize winner or registrant, the winning entry or registration will be declared made by the authorized account holder of the e-mail address submitted at time of entry in the Entry Form. “Authorized account holder” is defined as the natural person who is assigned to an e-mail address by an Internet access provider, online service provider, or other organization (e.g., business, educational institution) that is responsible for assigning e-mail addresses for the domain associated with the submitted e-mail address. The potential winner may be required to show proof of being the authorized account holder.

Random Drawing: On or about September 7, 2012, Administrator will randomly select one (1) potential Promotion winner from all eligible entries received during the Promotion Period. The selected potential winner will be deemed a potential winner pending verification of eligibility and compliance with these Official Rules.

Prize: One (1) winner will receive a prize that includes the following: (a) $10,000 (ten thousand dollars) to use toward your summer home improvement projects awarded in the form of a check made payable to the winner, with an Approximate Retail Value (“ARV”) of $10,000; and (b) a thirty (30) minute video session with Bob Vila via Google+ Hangout, with an ARV of $1 (one dollar).

ARV of Prize: The ARV of the prize is $10,001 (ten thousand and one dollars).

Odds of Winning: The odds of winning the prize depend on the number of eligible entries received during the Promotion Period.

Prize Restrictions and Information: The prize is nontransferable and no prize substitution, exchange, or cash equivalent will be allowed, except by the Sponsor who reserves the right to substitute a prize of equal or greater value in case of unavailability of a prize or force majeure. All other costs and expenses not expressly set forth herein shall be solely the winner’s responsibility, including any and all applicable federal, state, and local taxes. In the event that Bob Vila is prevented from participating in the video session, Sponsor reserves the right to replace him with another home improvement specialist.

TAXES AND OTHER EXPENSES: THE PRIZE WINNER WILL BE ISSUED A FORM 1099 FOR TAX PURPOSES IN THE AMOUNT OF THE ACTUAL RETAIL VALUE OF THE PRIZE AND MUST SUBMIT HIS OR HER SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER, AS REQUIRED BY LAW. ALL FEDERAL, STATE, AND LOCAL TAXES IMPOSED ON THE ACCEPTANCE OF THE PRIZE ARE SOLELY THE RESPONSIBILITY OF THE PRIZE WINNER.

How to Claim the Prize: The potential winner will be notified via the email address provided by the potential winner in their Entry Form. Unless prohibited by law, the potential winner will be required to sign and return an affidavit of eligibility, liability release, publicity release, tax forms (“Affidavit”), and other reasonable documentation provided by Administrator before being awarded a prize. The potential winner will also be required to sign and return a background check authorization. Sponsor reserves the right to disqualify the potential prize winner based on such background check if Sponsor determines in its sole discretion that awarding the prize to any such individual might reflect negatively on the Sponsor. In the event that a potential winner cannot be contacted, or fails to complete, sign and return the Affidavit and required documentation within seven (7) calendar days from the date such documentation is sent to the potential winner, then the potential winner may, in Sponsor’s sole discretion, forfeit the prize. In the event that the potential winner forfeits the prize, or is otherwise disqualified for any reason, Sponsor will award the prize to an alternate winner selected in a random drawing from among all remaining eligible entries. Only four (4) alternate drawings will be held, after which the prize may, in Sponsor’s sole discretion, remain un-awarded.

LIMITATION OF LIABILITY: By participating in this Promotion, you agree that neither the Promotion Entities nor Facebook, Inc. will be responsible for late, lost, illegible, incomplete, damaged or misdirected entries and accepts no responsibility for any injury, loss or damage of any kind resulting from an entrant’s participation in the Promotion. By entering the Promotion, you agree to these Official Rules and waive, and release the Promotion Entities and Facebook, Inc. from, all claims, costs, injuries, losses, or damages of any kind arising out of or in connection with the Promotion or delivery, misdelivery, acceptance, possession, use of or inability to use the prize (including, without limitation, claims, costs, injuries, losses and damages related to personal injuries, death, damage to or destruction of property, whether intentional or unintentional), whether under a theory of contract, tort (including negligence), warranty or other theory. Sponsor reserves the right to amend these Official Rules or to terminate this Promotion. The prize is awarded “AS IS” and WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, express or implied (including, without limitation, any implied warranty of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose), except as expressly provided in these Official Rules or where prohibited by law.

DISPUTES: THE PROMOTION IS GOVERNED BY, AND WILL BE CONSTRUED IN ACCORDANCE WITH, THE LAWS OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON, AND THE FORUM AND VENUE FOR ANY DISPUTE SHALL BE IN THE STATE OF WASHINGTON. IF THE CONTROVERSY OR CLAIM IS NOT OTHERWISE RESOLVED THROUGH DIRECT DISCUSSIONS OR MEDIATION, IT SHALL THEN BE RESOLVED BY FINAL AND BINDING ARBITRATION ADMINISTERED BY JUDICIAL ARBITRATION AND MEDIATION SERVICES, INC., IN ACCORDANCE WITH ITS STREAMLINED ARBITRATION RULES AND PROCEDURES OR SUBSEQUENT VERSIONS THEREOF (“JAMS RULES”). THE JAMS RULES FOR SELECTION OF AN ARBITRATOR SHALL BE FOLLOWED, EXCEPT THAT THE ARBITRATOR SHALL BE EXPERIENCED AND LICENSED TO PRACTICE LAW IN WASHINGTON. ALL PROCEEDINGS BROUGHT PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION WILL BE CONDUCTED IN THE STATE OF WASHINGTON. THE REMEDY FOR ANY CLAIM SHALL BE LIMITED TO ACTUAL DAMAGES, AND IN NO EVENT SHALL ANY PARTY BE ENTITLED TO RECOVER PUNITIVE, EXEMPLARY, CONSEQUENTIAL, OR INCIDENTAL DAMAGES, INCLUDING ATTORNEY’S FEES OR OTHER SUCH RELATED COSTS OF BRINGING A CLAIM, OR TO RESCIND THIS AGREEMENT OR SEEK INJUNCTIVE OR ANY OTHER EQUITABLE RELIEF. ANY DEMAND FOR ARBITRATION MUST BE FILED WITHIN ONE (1) YEAR OF THE TIME THE CAUSE OF ACTION ACCRUED, OR THE CAUSE OF ACTION SHALL BE FOREVER BARRED.

PUBLICITY RIGHTS: Entry and acceptance of any prize constitutes permission to use winner’s name, prize won, office affiliation, hometown and likeness for online posting and promotional purposes at any time or times, in all media now known or hereafter discovered, without notice, review or approval and without further compensation, except where prohibited by law.

General: Administrator is an independent judging organization whose decisions as to the administration and operation of the Promotion and the selection of the potential winner are final and binding in all matters related to the Promotion. The Promotion Entities are not responsible for any typographical or other error in the printing of any Promotion materials, administration of the Promotion or in the announcement of any prize. If, for any reason, an entry is confirmed to have been erroneously deleted, lost, or otherwise destroyed, corrupted or for any other reason not accepted as an entry into the Promotion, the entrant’s sole remedy is to submit another entry. If, for any reason, the Promotion is not capable of running as planned, the Sponsor reserves the right, at its sole discretion, to cancel, terminate, modify, or suspend the Promotion and/or proceed with the Promotion, including the selection of the prize winner in a manner it deems fair and reasonable, including the selection of the prize winner from among eligible entries received prior to such cancellation, termination, modification, or suspension. In no event will more than one (1) prize be awarded. In the event that, due to technical, typographical, mechanical, or other errors, there is more than one (1) prize winner selected, a random drawing among the claimants will be held to determine the prize winner. All federal, state, and local laws and regulations apply.

The Sponsor reserves the right to disqualify any individual found, in its sole opinion, to be tampering with the operation of the Promotion, to be acting in violation of these Official Rules, or to be acting in an unsportsmanlike manner or with the intent to disrupt the normal operation of a Promotion. Any use of robotic, automatic, macro, programmed, third party or like methods to participate in the Promotion will void any attempted participation effected by such methods and the disqualification of the individual utilizing the same. CAUTION AND WARNING: ANY ATTEMPT TO DELIBERATELY DAMAGE ANY WEBSITE OR UNDERMINE THE LEGITIMATE OPERATION OF THIS PROMOTION IS A VIOLATION OF CRIMINAL AND CIVIL LAWS. SHOULD SUCH AN ATTEMPT BE MADE, THE SPONSOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO SEEK DAMAGES OR OTHER REMEDIES FROM ANY SUCH PERSON(S) RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ATTEMPT TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW. In the event of any conflict with any Promotion details contained in these Official Rules and Promotion details contained in any Promotion materials (including, but not limited, to point of sale, television, and print advertising, promotional packaging, and other promotional media), the details of the Promotion as set forth in these Official Rules shall prevail. Any provision of these Official Rules deemed unenforceable will be enforced to the extent permissible, and the remainder of these Official Rules will remain in effect. Sponsor will not be obligated to make more than four (4) attempts to award a Prize.

By entering the Promotion, you agree to be bound by these Official Rules and by the decisions of Sponsor and/or Administrator, which are final and binding in all respects.

Future Offers/Confidentiality/Privacy Policy: By entering, you may be contacted by Sponsor with future promotional offers. Any personally identifiable information collected during your participation in the Promotion will be collected by the Sponsor or its designee and used by the Sponsor, its affiliates, designees, agents, and marketers for purposes of the proper administration and fulfillment of the Promotion as described in these Official Rules and in accordance with the Sponsor’s Privacy Policy as stated at http://www.zillow.com/corp/Privacy.htm and BobVila.com, LLC’s privacy policy at http://www.bobvila.com/pages/privacy-policy and any opt-ins you may have agreed to during the registration process.

Winner List; Rules Request: For a winner list, visit http://www.zillow.com/wikipages/SummerHomeImprovement -Sweepstakes/ or send a self-addressed, stamped, business-size envelope after September 28, 2012 and before September 28, 2013 to Sponsor at Sponsor’s address listed below, Attn: Summer Home Improvement Sweepstakes Winner List (Whitney Tyner). To obtain a copy of these Official Rules, visit http://www.zillow.com/wikipages/SummerHomeImprovement -Sweepstakes/ or send a stamped, self-addressed, business-size envelope to Sponsor at Sponsor’s address listed below, Attn: Summer Home Improvement Sweepstakes Rules Request (Whitney Tyner). Residents of WA and VT may omit return postage.

Customer Service inquiries can be sent via Twitter to @Zillow or emailed to social@zillow.com.

Sponsor: ZILLOW, INC., 1301 Second Ave, Floor 31, Seattle WA 98101
Administrator: PRIZE LOGIC, LLC, 25200 Telegraph Rd., Suite 405, Southfield, MI 48033

Zillow is a registered trademark of Zillow, Inc. All rights reserved. Facebook is a registered trademark of Facebook, Inc. All rights reserved.
BobVila.com is a registered trademark of B.V.T.V, Inc. All rights reserved.
Google+ is a trademark of Google, Inc. All rights reserved.
This Promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, or administrated by, or associated with, Facebook, Inc., or Google, Inc


Bob Vila Radio: Salvaged Treasure

Now that folks are more conscious about not sending everything to the landfill, and there are even tax incentives for recycling unwanted building materials, the pickings at architectural salvage yards are better than ever.

Architectural Salvage Yards

Photo: pdxpicnic.com

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Whether you have an antique house that needs matching replacement parts or a newer one that needs some character, you can find everything from stained glass, pedestal sinks and newel posts to more raw materials like bricks, roof tiles, and lumber.

Architectural salvage can provide the beginnings of great art objects and craft projects as well:  a window frame turned mirror, or kitchen cabinets with the patina of real antique beadboard.  Before you buy, measure very carefully, and check for damage. Calculate whether there’s enough of what you need available, or whether you’ll need fill in with newer materials.

It’s not always cheaper to use salvaged stuff, but it can be very satisfying to create something unique with a link to the past.

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 60 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day. 

For more on inspecting your salvaged lumber, consider:

The Beauty of Reclaimed Lumber
Great Places to Buy Architectural Salvage
Installing a Reclaimed Heart Pine Floor (video)


The Biltmore Estate: A Brief Architectural Tour

Biltmore Estate Tour

The Biltmore Estate, Ashville, NC. Photo: Jane Dagmi

I recently toured The Biltmore in Asheville, NC—a 250-room estate on 8,000 acres, the largest private home built in America. It is architecturally splendid, wildly romantic, and absurdly luxurious.

Inspired by chateaux in France, George Vanderbilt hired architect Richard Morris Hunt to interpret his vision and Frederick Law Olmsted to landscape it.

Over six years, 1,000 men worked six days a week to complete the estate, with George Vanderbilt and his guests christening Biltmore on Christmas Eve 1895.

Related: 10 National Trust Properties You Can Visit

This was my first visit to the estate, and from the moment I glimpsed it, my heartbeat seriously raced. I was in awe of the scale, the scenery, and the lifestyle that it must have supported.

Here are six of the Biltmore’s most memorable architectural features:

Biltmore Estate Architectural Tour

The Grand Staircase at Biltmore Estate. Photo: Biltmore Estate

The Cantilevered Staircase.
Inspired by the staircase at the Chateau de Blois in the Loire Valley, Biltmore’s grand staircase is a marvel of physics built using counterbalance. The weight of each of the solid limestone slab steps is offset by the weight of the wall bearing down.

Biltmore Estate

The chandelier in the Grand Staircase at Biltmore Estate. Photo: Biltmore Estate

The Massive Chandelier
There is a 1,700-pound electric light fixture suspended from the middle of the grand staircase. It hangs from a single bolt that runs through steel girders under the dome roof. The bolt has been replaced only once since the house was built. Wisely designed, the copper dome opens for easier access to the fixture.

Biltmore Tour

The Biltmore's slate roof tiles and copper flashing. Photo: Jane Dagmi

Roof Tiles and Copper Flashing
The slate roof tiles were affixed one by one. Each piece was drilled at the corners and subsequently wired onto the attic’s steel infrastructure. Copper flashing was then installed at the junctions to prevent water from penetrating. The fanciful flashing on the ridge of the roof was embossed with George Vanderbilt’s initials and other natural motifs from his family crest. The original gold leaf no longer survives.

Architecture Biltmore Estate

A gargoyle perched atop The Biltmore Estate. Photo: Jane Dagmi

Grotesques vs. Gargoyles
Originally found in 16th century Italian grottoes, grotesques are stone-carved fantasy figures that often appear intertwined with floral ornament, either on the capitals of pillars or at the base of a truss. At Biltmore, they appear in abundance.

Gargoyles are bigger and project outwards from a wall. Though the Biltmore’s gargoyles are purely decorative, the usual purpose is to direct water away from a building. Thought to ward off evil spirits, they are strategically placed at lookout points around the exterior

Biltmore Tour

Biltmore Estate's ornate limestone columns. Photo: Biltmore Estate

Patterned and Textured Limestone
Immense quantities of limestone were hauled in from The Hallowell Stone Company in Indiana, stored in sheds, and then cut into blocks. While some was left smooth, other surfaces were textured and carved. Vanderbilt wanted the sunlight to reflect off of his house in aesthetically pleasing and varied ways. Beyond striations, symbols from the family crests are also carved into the columns providing contrast, definition, and design value.

Biltmore Gustavino Tile Ceiling

Guastavino vaulted tile ceiling at Biltmore Estate. Photo courtesy: Biltmore Estate

Guastavino Tile
Spanish architect and engineer Rafael Guastavino patented a self-supporting ceramic tile vault and arch system in the late 19th century. The system—used extensively inside and outside at Biltmore—consists of layers of terracotta tiles set in a herringbone pattern into Portland cement. The tile master Gustavino personally supervised the work.

Biltmore Roof

Rooftop view of Biltmore Estate. Photo: Jane Dagmi

If I could go back in time to spend just a few late-summer weeks in the North Carolina mountains, partying in the banquet room and pouring through some of the 10,000 books in Vanderbilt’s library; or creating flower arrangements from the gardens; or maybe even painting landscapes from a perch in the observatory, I most certainly would. But if visiting the past isn’t possible, I can always make a return trip to Biltmore in the near future.

For more on historic architectural style, consider:

Tour of Olana (VIDEO)
10 Ways to Bring Historic Style Home
Bob Vila’s Guide to Historic House Styles


Buy for Your Buyer

The smart way to buy today is with resale in mind.

Here are four long-term trends that will likely shape the marketability of your house if you, like most homeowners, sell in seven to ten years.

Buy for Your Buyer

Photo: frontdoor.com

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Bob Vila Radio: Electrical Outlet Inspection

Now’s a great time to do a whole-house electrical inspection, and you can do this kind yourself.

Photo: thetachihousing.org

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Bob Vila Radio: Buying Short Sales

Lots of home-buyers look for “short sales”, because on the surface, they can seem like a bargain.

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DIY Deals: Bird Baths

If you’re looking to bring charm and variety to your outdoor space, a bird bath is the perfect choice. Not only will it add a decorative accent to your garden, it will provide a welcoming oasis for your yard’s feathered friends. We’ve done the bargain-hunting for you, and as the end of summer approaches, there are some great deals to be had.  Here’s just a sampling of what you are likely to find this weekend.

Hadley Birdbath at RH, from $315

A great source for substantial and classic outdoor pieces, Restoration Hardware is offering special pricing on an assortment of bird baths, including this Hadley design for $315 (reg. $350). From linear to romantic and available in a variety of washes and finishes, you are certain to find something to grace your garden for years to come.

You can find some great options at Plow & Hearth, too, including the Vineyard Solar Bird Bath with Planter.  Made of durable cast aluminum and iron, the all-in-one planter/bird bath comes with a solar-powered light for night bathers and is just $139.99 (reg $199.95).

For the smaller garden, consider something like the Campania International Songbird’s Rest Cast Stone bird bath from Hayneedle.  Combining a compact design with the authentic look of antique stone statuary, it is perfect for small spaces and—at $54.99 (reg. $82.99)—for all budgets.

Birdbaths.com, from $169.98

Naturally there’s a large selection of designs to be found at BirdBaths.com, like the Spanish Scallop Bird Bath for $169.98 (reg. $199.99).  Constructed in weather-resistant marble resin, it features a beautiful scalloped rim with detailed pedestal base and comes with an antiqued finish in choice of colors.

Wayfair is the destination for a full range of outdoor garden accents, including the Orlandi Statuary line of bird baths. Made of a fiber stone composition and finished to look antique, designs like the 17″H Meditating Birdbath with its angelic cherub perched on a sculpted shell basin, is now $63.99 (reg. $121).  A beautiful accent for the romantic garden.

Amazon, from $16.64

Amazon offers an array of affordable bird baths as well, including this Esschert Cast Iron Pedestal design measuring just 9″H and 6″ Diameter.  At just $16.64 (reg. $18.99) it proves how even diminutive bird baths can bring beauty to your yard and still provide some summer relief for the birds.

For more on outdoor decorating, see:
10 Fire Pits We Love 
DIY Deals: Container Gardening
Landscaping Ideas


Bob Vila Radio: Buying Foreclosures

In the current real estate market, it’s not hard to find foreclosed properties to buy. But a home that looks like a great bargain on the auction block may not always be one.

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Buying bank-owned homes, especially at auction, is not for first-time homebuyers or the risk-averse. Most foreclosed properties aren’t available for inspection, so it’s often hard to know how much money you’d have to invest in the property to make it saleable again. Many will not qualify for a mortgage and require cash to purchase. It may fall to you as the buyer to evict the building occupants if they’re still living there. And even if you think you know the average home value in the neighborhood, even one foreclosure in the area can bring that value down.

A good buyer’s agent with experience in foreclosure sales will help you find properties and guide you through the process. You also need a good real estate lawyer to interpret the contract, which will be very different from a conventional sale.

Short sales, while also unconventional, are a very different animal.

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 60 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day. 

For more on buying a house, consider:

10 Things to Consider Before Buying a Foreclosed Home
House-Choosing Checklist
Should Your First Home be a Fixer-Upper?