Jon Gorey

I’m a past-life musician, part-time stay-at-home dad, and founder of House & Hammer, a blog about real estate and home improvement. I write about homes, travel, and other life essentials.
Why You Might Want to Take a Location-First Approach in Your Home Search
Prioritize place over property.
Feb 14, 2022
Can a Home Renovation Ever Truly Be Green?
It's a big question, but the answer will surprise you.
Apr 27, 2021
The Fascinating Reason Why Ceiling Medallions Exist
You'd never guess their original purpose.
Apr 26, 2021
8 Things in Your House You're Probably Calling by the Wrong Name
Can you properly define your floors and ceilings?
Dec 11, 2020
5 Unexpected Things I Never Thought to Consider When Buying My First House
Now I know about the importance of flat driveways and old windows.
Oct 6, 2020
Some Real Estate Companies Will Front $15K to Help You Renovate Your House
Care for an interest-free loan?
Sep 27, 2020
Poll Workers Share What Their Job Is Like—and Why You Should Volunteer
When counties or towns don’t have enough poll workers, they’re forced to shut down polling locations — making it harder for people to cast their ballot on election day.
Sep 23, 2020
This Special Account Lets You Save for Retirement, College, and a House At Once
Saving for any one of those goals is daunting enough, much less some combination of the three. So where do you even begin?
Sep 14, 2020
What Is a NIMBY?
And what's so bad about "Not In My Backyard?"
Sep 11, 2020
5 Things You Really Should Read About Before Leaving the City for the Suburbs
Did zoning and permitting ever cross your mind?
Aug 17, 2020
How “White Flight” Segregated American Cities and Suburbs
This racist housing pattern isn't a thing of the past.
Aug 15, 2020
Here’s Why You Should Support That New Building Going Up in Your Neighborhood
Diverse housing options = diverse residents.
Jul 22, 2020
The One Unexpected Thing That's Driving Buyers Out of Your House
Put the baking sheet down.
May 17, 2020
8 Old-School Gardening Tips from the Father of Landscape Architecture
Grow with FLO (Frederick Law Olmsted).
May 14, 2020
The Colors You Should Never Paint Your Kitchen Cabinets
According to real estate experts.
Apr 17, 2020
How Renting Crappy Apartments Prepared Me for Life in a Fixer-Upper
On living in homes with a medley of maladies.
Apr 16, 2020
5 Ways Real Estate Listings from the 1920s Are Wildly Different From Today’s
1920S WEEK
Plus, a few striking similarities.
Jan 27, 2020
These Are The Top 3 Reasons You Might Not Get a Mortgage
You thought doing your taxes was a nightmare? Wait until you apply for a mortgage.
Mar 21, 2019
The Super Important Home Factor You’re Probably Not Considering
Shopping for a home means weighing wants and needs, and making careful compromises to squeeze as many of those must-haves and wish-list items into your budget as possible. But many buyers focus on typical home features while overlooking one potentially important detail. Nine out of 10 home buyers would like a laundry room, for example, while 82 percent want hardwood floors. Most buyers are looking for a three-bedroom house with two bathrooms, a new kitchen, and an open floor plan.
Jan 6, 2019
The Unexpected Home Buying Lesson I Learned from “Home Alone”
We introduced our daughter to Home Alone this month, one of my all-time favorite Christmas movies. (Now we watch it almost every day, because that’s how things go with a five-year-old.
Dec 2, 2018
4 Big Things to Consider Before You Buy a Flipped House
Like it or not, house flipping is back: Americans flipped more than 200,000 homes in 2017, the most since 2006. But while there’s an understandable appeal to buying a freshly renovated, move-in ready home, there are some things to think about before you buy a flipped house. House flippers do it to make money—enough to make it worth the considerable risk, effort, and upfront investment. The average profit on a flipped house was $66,448 in the third quarter of 2017.
Aug 8, 2018
America, You’ve Lost Your Freaking Mind Over Remodeling
There’s something to be said for appreciating the home you have. In a way, I feel lucky to have lived in so many bad apartments in my 20s. It made all the fixer-uppers we looked at while house hunting—the only homes remotely near our price range—a little less off-putting. Is it structurally safe, with a working stove? Wow! There aren’t any rats or strange midwinter mosquito infestations? Super!
Jul 20, 2018
Four Reasons You Won’t Make Money Flipping Houses
Who among us hasn’t entertained visions of buying a distressed house, fixing it up, and selling it for a handsome profit? HGTV shows make it look downright easy—and fun, too. But even veterans of these shows and big-pocketed pros sometimes struggle to make money flipping houses—or, at least, enough to make it worth the stress and hassle. Not convinced?
Jun 18, 2018
Is It Better to Build a New House or Buy an Existing One?
Should you buy an existing home, or a brand new one? Depending on where you’re looking or what your budget is, you may not have much choice in the matter, as we’ll see below. But what are the pros and cons of each? New homes accounted for just 10% of home sales in 2017, but the majority of home buyers say they would prefer a new construction house to an existing one if given the choice, according to a survey by the (admittedly partial) National Association of Home Builders.
Jun 2, 2018
Why You Should Think Twice Before Taking Out a Mortgage With Your Normal Bank
When my wife and I were looking to get pre-approved for a mortgage, we started at the most obvious spot: Bank of America, the longtime home of our checking and savings accounts. Turns out, that may not have been a smart idea. For starters, we were surprised to discover that their rates and terms were pretty unattractive, especially for first-time buyers like us. We were already scrounging for cash, and the bank was pretty inflexible about the down payment amount.
May 25, 2018
Most New Homeowners Feel They Can Remodel On Their Own — But Here’s What They Should Consider First
More than half (57%) of new homeowners believe they could remodel an entire room without any help from a professional. Millennials are even more confident in their DIY abilities, with 64% ready to tackle a remodeling project on their own. That’s according to a Home Depot survey of 1,000 new homeowners, age 25 and up, who had purchased a home in the past year.
May 1, 2018
Are Millennials as Handy as They Think They Are?
Blame it on HGTV or Pinterest, but millennials seem to think they’re pretty handy — even when they’re not. Nearly seven in 10 millennials (69%) consider themselves handy around the house, according to a new survey by Porch — including 79% of millennial men. By comparison, only 61% of baby boomers and 62% of Gen Xers said the same. And to some extent, millennials are walking the walk: Home Depot said that DIY-minded young homeowners are helping to boost sales.
Apr 23, 2018
The 4 Big Reasons Renters Aren’t Buying Homes
More than a third of American households are renting their homes — thought not all of them want to be.
Apr 20, 2018
Moving in Together? Five Tips from an Advice Columnist Who’s Heard It All
It’s a big, exciting step in a relationship, but moving in with a partner can also be a minefield of new complications. Just ask Meredith Goldstein, the Boston Globe’s Love Letters columnist who’s been answering readers’ relationship questions with a familiar warmth and comedic candor since 2009.
Apr 18, 2018
Zillow Will Start Flipping Houses, and Investors Want No Part of It
Real estate website Zillow announced on Thursday plans to expand its Instant Offers service — which currently allows investors to bid on homes sight unseen in Las Vegas and Orlando, Fla. — into Phoenix. But the bigger revelation was that Zillow itself will be one of the investors buying homes in two test markets, Phoenix and Las Vegas, with plans to make necessary repairs and flip the homes as quickly as possible.
Apr 16, 2018
Why Are Convection Ovens So Often Overlooked?
Whether you’re remodeling your kitchen or just replacing a worn-out range, the next time you go stove shopping, you’ll probably notice there are a lot more convection ovens on the market—and not just in the Wolf and Viking price range. “It’s almost assumed you’re going to get convection in a higher-end appliance,” says Steve Sheinkopf, CEO of Yale Appliance and Lighting in Boston.
Apr 12, 2018