Big wedding or starter house? It’s a question some brides and grooms don’t even consider. But perhaps they should.

According to Canadian company RateSupermarket, young lovers spend more than $72,000 from the first date to “I do.” But most of that – around $46,400 – is eaten up by a wedding and honeymoon. That’s one heck of a down payment.

The company asked if respondents would rather spend that money on something other than their nuptials, and a surprising 45 percent said they’d use it to buy a house. Only 6 percent said they’d go ahead and have a wedding.

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Folks who have to place their belongings in storage between household moves have lots to take into account in choosing the right facility.

Security, of course, is paramount. But there are other considerations, says Rick Runnels, who owns the River Road Mini Storage in Paso Robles, California. Those include cost, location and the size of the space you are renting.

Cost depends on the size of the unit, so don’t rent more space than you need. Most facilities offer units from about the size of a walk-in closet to ones as large as a one-car garage. Some even have secure parking for vehicles and boats.

Look for specials such as “first month free,” and ask about discounts for members of the local chamber of commerce, or for seniors and veterans.

For long-term storage with infrequent visits, location may not be as critical. But consider if convenience is important.

When it comes to security, look for code-controlled gate access, fenced and well-lit yard areas, on-site security cameras and wide driveways between storage sheds.

Another thing to consider is insurance. Most places don’t insure personal property, according to Runnels, but you might be able to purchase coverage for stored items from your own carrier.

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Homeowners pay an average of nearly $3,400 in property taxes every year, according to new research. But if you live in the New York City area, you could be paying three times that.

The greater New York metropolitan area has the highest property taxes in the land, according to data collected from tax assessor offices by ATTOM Data Solutions, a real estate data firm.

Of the 1,414 counties in the United States with at least 10,000 single-family houses, residents of New York’s Westchester County pay the highest real estate tax, at an average of $17,179. Neighboring Rockland County residents pay an average of $12,924. In New Jersey, Essex County residents pay $11,878, while homeowners in Bergen County, pay $11,585.

Not every state has an income tax, but every one of the country’s 3,142 counties collects property taxes. So do some towns and municipalities. All told, these jurisdictions collected $293.4 billion from the owners of more than 88 million single-family houses last year.

Property taxes must be paid annually by anyone who owns a home or a commercial property. The money collected is used to cover the cost of schools, road construction/maintenance, salaries for police and firefighters, parks, recreation centers and programs, traffic and street lights, and public transportation.

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Traditional neighborhood play areas often are not much fun for physically challenged children. But at Woodforest, a master-planned Houston property, kids of every ability will be able to play together.

The community will be the first in the United States to feature a 13-foot-high Sona Play Arch, an interactive structure that uses smart cameras to lead kids in music and dance games. The arch can also accommodate children in wheelchairs and those with mental and physical disabilities.

While this will be the first of the arches in the US, they have been installed in more than 300 locations worldwide.

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Foreigners hold more land in Maine than in any other state, according to the latest government figures.

Noncitizens own 2.97 million acres of mostly forest in the Pine Tree State. That’s a tad more than 1/6th of the state’s total forest land.

Texas is a close second when it comes to land held by foreigners, at 2.93 million acres. Rounding out the top five are Alabama, Washington and Florida.

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According to new research from the UK, home is where the heart is – and our hearts belong to the houses in which we grew up, not where we currently live.

Four in 10 respondents said the place they grew up in was special because they were able to spend more time together with their family, and 56 percent said they felt safer there. One in 10 said they have taken steps to make their current dwellings more like their childhood homes, including replicating decor and furnishings.

The poll found that 38 percent think their current home lacks the “magic” of their childhood home.


Lew Sichelman has been covering real estate for more than 30 years. He is a regular contributor to numerous shelter magazines and housing and housing-finance industry publications. Readers can contact him at