Updated: Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Open Shelving in the Kitchen—Yay or Nay?

Does it have staying power or will it wither away once people come to terms with its lack of function? Will you love it or regret it if you rip out all your upper cabinets? Those are the questions were posing today as we examine the pros and cons of open shelving.

Rise in popularity

If it seems like open shelving is everywhere, thats because it is. Open shelving is one the most popularand also thenbsp;most controversialkitchen trends of recent years, said Apartment Therapy.nbsp;

Some kitchens, in an effort to look updated and open, have eliminated upper cabinets enti>

Another way to get your feet wet is to simply remove the front of your cabinets instead of taking them down all together. This way, you can get the look without a major change, and you can always put the doors back on when the fad eventually passes.

Light, airy, and open

Thats what a lot of people are looking for when they make the decision to go with open shelving. And it workssometimes too well. Getting rid of all the typical upper cabinets can sometimes make a space look too minimalist. Open shelving can also look a bit unfinished, said Apartment Therapy.

Showcasing the goodsnbsp;

Then again, its a great way to highlight china, nice dishes, or dcor items.nbsp;

Highlighting a mess

Of course, that requires you to have china, nice dishes, or dcor items, and to be able to display them in some kind of orderly fashioninstead of like a typical home where bowls may be mismatched, or at least stacked unevenly.nbsp;

But, if youre seeking a way to get motivated to have a clean and orderly kitchen, this could help. If youre looking for a built-in, training-wheel kitchen setup to help ensure that you stay organized, then open shelving might be a good idea, said HGTV. The trick is: you have to commit to keeping things neat so you can avoid having your kitchen look like a hot-mess yard sale.

Its dusty in here

Regardless of what your dishes look like, theyre likely to get dusty without the benefit of being behind closed doors. While we love looking at neatly arranged dishware on an open shelf, the reality can be a bit frustrating. Namely, due to all the dust and grease that end up on the carefully-arranged plates, bowls, mugsnbsp;and glassware, said House Beautiful. In fact, the site is so adamant about its stance on open shelving that the trend made it list of 9 Trendy Home Features That Are Secretly a Pain.


Full Story >


Strategic Trigger Questions

My attention was drawn to three cleverly-insightful questions a designer used to qualify a prospective client and deliver a stunning, on-point life>

The Heart and Sole interview with celebrity red-sole-shoe designer Christian Louboutin shared a behind-the-scenes perspective on the renovation of his Paris rooftop apartment with its Eiffel Tower views. Louboutin gave credit for the amazing space to much-in-demand Jacques Grange who Louboutin described as at the pinnacle of French decorating.

That decorating skill appears to be matched by Granges communication prowess.

Jacques [Grange] said, Im going to ask you three questions, the shoemaker to the stars told [the ED writer]. If you answer them truthfully, Ill do your apartment.

First, Louboutin continues, Grange asks me: Are you messy? Second: Do you like to host? And third: Do you want an extra bedroom?

The article goes on to reveal how Louboutins short answers influenced the clever interior design. Based on Louboutins responses, the loft apartment was deliberately designed to make overnight guests uncomfortable enough not to stay for long.

That designed-in reaction may or may not make sense to you. Whats important is that this is exactly what Louboutin wantedhe just didnt realize it himself.

Do the qualifying and interview questionswhat I call strategic trigger questionsyou ask prospective buyers provide the degree of insight necessary for you to hit the life>

This knowledge gap is common with first-time and first-time-in-a-long-time buyers who may have little recent real estate buying experience to call on and little knowledge of interior design.

You are not a do you want fries with that order taker, peppering prospects with just-the-facts, closed questions. Your intent is not to me>

Time is money for you and your prospects, so showing the right enticing properties will generate offers more effectively than showing every listing thats in their price range.

Which questions do you ask prospective buyers to reveal the type of decision-maker youll be working with?

For example:

Are you good at compromising or do you definitely know what you want?nbsp;
A conversation starter like this will help you evaluate how clearly prospects know what they want and how well they know their own buying habits.

How do you feel most comfortable when making a significant decision?
The resulting discussion will reveal which information or decision-making techniques buyers may >

What do you feel you need to understand about prospects before you show them a house or even online listings?

Your key function is helping prospective buyers transform their thinking about a property that is someone elses house into an emotional connection with their future home, even if the decor does not match their taste. The challenge lies in nurturing this bond without pressure or trickery and without buyers spending time lounging around the house or trying it out in a sleepover.

How do you assist prospects in moving >

What questions do you ask to help prospects move through this visualization when they spent only a short time walking or video-traveling through a house or condominium unit. How do you help them put the process in perspective?
Real estate professionals must help already-stressed buyers quickly generate enough genuine emotional attachment to welcome creation of an offer to purchase and signing on the dotted line. Which questions help transform the desire to buy a house into the commitment to buy a home, kindling love in the process?
During the offer process, which questions do you use to help buyers strengthen their perspective during the shift from thinking about a strangers house to this is my next home? How do your questions help reduce stress-levels during offer preparation and signing?
You cant take buyer descriptors like I like character for granted. Make no assumptions. What do you ask about to clarify their preferences and how they want to feel about their new living spaces?
Are you more sure about what you dont like or want than what you do?

You know which features and levels of update most properties in a buyers price range and location will exhibit. How do you use strategic trigger questions to assess their potential reactions and prepare them for what lies ahead?

If you dont understand the value of answers to the questions above, youre wasting your time and probably that of prospects, too.

Depending on the market and price range you work in and how affordable that real estate is for the prospects you target, youll have honed a set of key strategic trigger questions that enables you to cut to the heart of the project on hand and help buyers feel comfortable and confident with their >

Real estate professionals have earned a reputation for selling real estate. The problem is that some prospects are nervous that professionals are so good at what they do that theyll sell a buyer a property the buyer wont like, cant afford, or that will cause them nothing but disappointmentjust to earn commission.

How can you dispel this lingering stereotype and build credibility?

The empathy and integrity you display as you ask conversation-triggering, open-ended questions and actively listen to buyers answers will build credibility and earn loyalty.

Demonstrate that the importance of their life> Explain why this is an important perspective for identifying the best property match for them.
Your questioning should revolve around the real estate benefits, not features, that prospects will value in the selected neighborhoods and the range of properties found there.

Louboutins designer wanted to understand how the celebrity shoemaker intended to live in the space with his possessions, including 50 pairs of shoes. His answers I can host. I dont want a guest room.to the designers initial questions, led the designer to create an open loft space for entertaining, a master bedroom that could hide mess, and a second bedroom without a door and no ensuite.

Louboutin reportedly warned a potential guest that she could visit but that she might be uncomfortable. When she asked why, he answered Well, thats the idea.


Resources:

1. Whats Your Point? Cut The Crap, Hit The Mark amp; Stick By PJ Wade - publication 2021
2. The whole ED story:nbsp; Heart and Sole Elle Decor May 2020, page 102-5
3. More at PJs Decisions amp; Communities: Earning Client Trust: The 3 Rs of Respect
Full Story >


Things You Can Do to Help Your Property Appraise

First, the property must be in good condition with no deferred maintenance. While the appraiser does not perform a full physical inspection, thats the job for a licensed property inspector, but can make note of any noticeable issues with the home. A sagging roof or foundation cracks come to mind. That said, the current property value must also be in line with the rest of the neighborhood. When a full appraisal is needed, the appraiser first does a little homework at the office before visiting the property. A bit of research is performed identifying homes in the area that have recently sold, primarily within the past six to twelve months. The appraisal is important to the lender because in essence the home is the lenders collateral.

Most conventional loan programs allow for the loan-to-value, or LTV, with a refinance be as high as 90 of the current market value of the property for an owner-occupied home. If the value exceeds this 90, the loan might not make it through the approval process. If for example the LTV is 92, the borrowers must decide whether or not to move forward. Moving forward means paying the current loan balance down to the 90 level or requesting a second opinion from another appraiser.

With a purchase transaction, the appraiser has a head-start. The value of the property is the lowest the sellers were willing to accept meeting the highest price the buyers were willing to pay. The appraiser then begins the process with this information. With a refinance however, there is no such sales price. The appraiser must begin with recent sales in the area. What is the value the appraiser must look for?

On a mortgage loan application there is a space where the owners opinion what the current value should be. This is based upon knowledge of similar homes that have recently sold in the neighborhood. Thats a starting point. But if value may be a concern, there are some things homeowners can do to boost the value.

The first is to pay attention to curb appeal. How does the property look from the street? This first impression can play a key role in helping the property appraise. Is the lawn trimmed? Trees cared for? Is the property clean? Maintaining the landscaping and physically cleaning the exterior will help the property shine.

Next, the interior needs some treatment. The floors should be scrubbed and polished. New paint will help. Do the appliances sparkle or do they need a little love? You can give the interior of your home a thorough cleansing, but many choose to hire a professional team to give the inside a fresh, new look.

Finally, let the appraiser know of any recent for sale by owner transactions. Such sales wont be listed in the local multiple listing service. Appraisers count on this sales data to help arrive at a final value. A private sale could help boost the value of your home, so if this is the case, its important to point out that property to the appraiser.


Full Story >


5 Ways a Home Garden Can Boost the Aesthetic Value of Your House

A well-spruced and aesthetically-pleasing garden enhances the value of your property, especially if you plan to sell it anytime soon. Here are some things you can do to boost the value of your property with a well-maintained home garden.

De-clutter and maintain

Just like the interiors of your house, your garden also has to be de-cluttered and maintained. Winters can be harsh on your gardens, especially if you live in a place that is cold and snowy. In particular, it can affect the fences and t>

Make it colorful

Humans are genetically predisposed to colors and this is why it plays a big role in triggering emotions in us. To make your garden attractive and also a great place to >

For example, a blooming purple flower not only adds elegance to your garden but also soothes and calms your mind, especially when youve had a bad day. Likewise, pink flowers are known to induce romance and kindness while red is sure to excite you. Depending on the kind of impact you need in your life, choose the right flowering plants. You can, in fact, combine many colors to add to the synergy of emotions and vibrations.

Add a focus area

When someone walks into your garden, what is the first thing they see? The answer to this question cannbsp; determine the chances of selling your house. For example, if a beautiful fountain is the focus area of your garden, it is sure to boost your property value and the chances for it to sell. Thats why its important to have a clear focus area that is stunning and attractive for even passers-by.

Paint the fences

When you paint the cabinets and walls of your home, they look bright and fresh, right? The same applies to your fences and garden walls too. It can, in fact, be a cheap way to spruce up your garden and make it more inviting for you and your guests. The best part is you can do it by yourself too, as a hobby

Consider some furniture

Imagine youre a buyer. Youre walking into a house full of furniture and another one that is completely empty. Which of the two would appeal to you?

Most people would like to see a house with the furniture as it can give them a perspective of the layout and different rooms. Similarly, when you add some garden furniture, it is sure to spruce up the entire place and make it more inviting to your guests. It can also double-up as a cozy place for you to >
Full Story >


Easy Home Office Design Ideas To Boost Your Productivity

As a Realtor, I spend a lot of my time working from home. Though I do take clients around, most of the "magic" happens over the internet. This is where I build >

Declutter Your Desk

Your work desk is where all the work happens and lets be honest, its always in a mess. With our busy schedules, we normally dont have time to declutter. We tend to pile more stuff onto it, that the moment we need something specific to get a task done... we can no longer recall where we placed it.

Now, the problem with decluttering is we dont even know where to start. Theres just too much on your work desk that you might as well throw the entire thing out. I know how tempting that is, but dont. Start by throwing pens that arent working anymore, files or papers that you no longer need, as well as any fixture or electronic device thats already broken. The trick here is to simply get the momentum going. Once youve already started, youd be surprised at how much trash youve already taken out.

Improve Your Lighting

Several studies have shown, time and again, that certain lighting conditions have a profound effect on our level of productivity. Apparently, its in our DNA to work better when under a cooler light. However, warmer lighting also has positive benefits on our physical and mental well-being, especially on workers who remain cooped inside an office the entire day. Heres another surprising fact too... natural light emitted both during the day and night can actually reduce depression, and improve mood, energy, alertness andnbsp;productivity.

Besides adjusting the temperature of your lighting fixture from a warmer to a cooler shade, move your desk near a window where you can enjoy some sunshine Dont be afraid to rearrange your furniture, but be careful. Some electronic devices may be sensitive to heat, so you may want to keep them away from sunlight.

Add A Natural Touch

This age old tip never fails. You see, in order to be productive, you mustnbsp; feel "free" and unconfined in your workspace... and since you cannot bring your home office outdoors, why not bring a little touch of nature into into your home? Well, the common way to go about this is to bring in a potted plant that you can easily place on your desk. But there are so many other natural elements that you can introduce into your workspace. Instead of using furniture made of artificial materials, why dont you use ones that are made of wood? Theyre easy on the eyes, and are much durable too.nbsp;You may also opt for netural tones when choosing various design elements, and then try to use the least amount of technology when working.

Get More Home Office Design Tips

nbsp;These are only a few of the home office design tips that Ive tested and proven throughout the years. As a retired military wife, weve moved a lot around the country and had different home office spaces to work with. That means, Ive so much to share... Luckily, you can find them all in the latest blog post I published on my site. I highly recommend that you go and have a look at it, especially when youre already feeling burnt out with working from home. Remember that sometimes, all it takes is just a simple fix to become more productive


Full Story >


HOA Ordinance or Law Insurance

One example is the current standard of six inch versus four inch exterior walls to improve insulation performance. There are many other examples. The older the structure is, the more out of code it becomes.

While the building code generally doesnt require older buildings to meet current code, if an out-of-code structure experiences fire, flood, wind or earthquake that does substantial damage, the code issue is likely to raise its ugly head. This means that even though the original structure wasnt required to comply, the rebuilt structure will be, or at least the part of it that requires reconstruction. While this is logical why rebuild to an outdated standard?, basic fire and hazard insurance only pays for rebuilding what is there, not what could be. So, if you insure four inch walls, the insurance will only pay the cost to rebuild four inch walls, not six inch walls. You pay the difference.

Fortunately, the insurance industry provides supplemental insurance coverage for older buildings called, "Ordinance or Law Coverage," which is specifically designed to pay the increased cost of reconstruction. However, this coverage must be requested. It doesnt automatically kick in simply because of building age.

If your HOA buildings are ten years old or older, contact your insurance agent to discuss the merits and costs of Building or Ordinance coverage. It is usually very reasonably priced.


Full Story >


Is It Time to Retire the Master Bedroom?

The Houston Association of REALTORS HAR has announced it will no longer sanction the use of master bedroom or master bathroom in its MLS descriptions.

The decision to remove the term comes after a group of real estate professionals said the term master on property description represents a potential stigma, said Realtor Magazine.nbsp;

The association sent out a statement to its members in which they spelled out the change but fell short of mandating a ban on the terminology. You may still use the term Master Bedroom or Master Bath as you feel appropriate in your marketing materials and in the Public Remarks, Agent Remarks, and photo descriptions, per the statement.

Term being dropped

In addition to the HAR, Chicago realtors including the brokerage firm, GetBurbed, and builders like David Weekly have announced they will also refrain from using terminology like master bedroom and master suite.nbsp;

The push to phase out this term is not new. Back in the mid-90s thenbsp;Department of Housing and Urban Developmentnbsp;issued proposed guidelines for bringing enforcement actions for violations of section 804c of the federalnbsp;Fair Housing Act, said YoChicago. The proposed guidelines, which were met with a firestorm of ridicule, suggested that the use of terms such as master bedroom, views, family room, walking distance and walk-in closet, among others, in advertising was evidence of discriminatory intent against various groups that might result in HUD taking action.

A 2013 report in the Baltimore Business Journal showed that, The master suite is being phased out not from our homes, but from our lexicon. A survey of 10 major Washington, D.C.-area homebuilders found that six no longer use the term master in their floor plans to describe the largest bedroom in the house. They have replaced it with owners suite or owners bedroom or, in one case, mastre bedroom.

History of master bedroom

According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the first mention of master bedroom came in 1925. The following year, the term was used in a description of a 1926 Sears Modern Home.

While many have argued that the term has no actual >
Full Story >


Do You Need Perfect Credit For A Refi?

Minimum credit score

A score above 700 is generally considered to be excellent and will open up your refinance options. But, contrary to what you may think, you can have a lower credit score and still qualify.

Credit requirements vary by lender and type of mortgage. In general, youll need a credit score of 620 or higher for a conventional mortgage refinance, said Experian. Certain government programs require a credit score of 580, however, or have no minimum at all. As is true for other types of loans, the higher your credit score, the more likely anbsp;mortgage refinancenbsp;lender will be to work with you. Not only are your chances of approval higher, but youll typically receive a lower interest rate and more favorable loan terms than qualifying borrowers with lower scores.

Going with a higher rate

Even if you dont qualify for the lowest available rate, any drop will save you money on a monthly basis, and also over time. This refinance calculator shows how a .25 reduction in rate can save you almost 100 a month on your mortgage. Of course, youll want to weigh those savings against the cost of that refi and also consider how long it will take you to recoup those costs.

Buying down your rate

If you dont qualify for the lowest rate and you want to go lower, you can buy down the rate. Mortgage points are one way for homeowners to lower their interest rate, said Bankrate. When you pay for points on a mortgage, you are actually paying interest right now for the loan. In return, the homeowner can lock in a lower and discounted rate. The rate depends on how many points are purchased. Your mortgage rate will drop more if you purchase more points.

Typically, one point means a .25 discount in the mortgage rate, and this will cost you 1 of the total mortgage loan amount. If you were looking at a 300,000 mortgage, it would cost you 3,000 to lower your rate by a quarter point. Homeowners can buy more than one point, depending on their financial situation.


Full Story >


Financing a Vacation Home vs. an Investment Property

There are distinctions and rates and terms can be different as it >

The primary requirement is the property needs to be occupied by the owners for 30 or more days out of the year. The home should also be a single family home and cannot be a duplex or 2-4 unit property and the property must be suitable in which to live year-round. Think for example a cabin in the mountains where it gets heavy snowfall in the winter making it difficult to access the cabin. How would a lender know if a prospective property will qualify as a vacation home instead of a rental? Simply put, the prospective buyers let the lender know of their intentions. They do so by checking a box on the loan application. On the application, there are three options in which to check: Primary Residence, Secondary Residence and Investment. Its the secondary residence that qualifies as a vacation home.nbsp;

On the other hand, an investment property will typically command a down payment of 20 or more. Interest rates for an investment property compared to a vacation home can be anywhere from 0.25 to 0.50 higher. That means higher rates and more cash needed at the settlement table. As it >

There are some tax implications as it >
Full Story >


Should You Refinance From An FHA Loan To A Conventional Loan?

However, the ongoing private mortgage insurance PMI you have to pay when you have an FHA loan makes your monthly payments more expensive. And, unlike a conventional loan, which allows you to remove your PMI at a certain point, you can never get rid of it with an FHA loaneven when you have tons of equity in your home. So, with rates at historic lows, should you refi out of your FHA loan to a conventional loan? Were looking at the pros and cons.

Pro: You can get rid of private mortgage insurance PMI

FHA loans require certain provisions which sometimes place a heavy burden on a homeowners budget, often in the form of premiums paid for mortgage insurance, said PennyMac.nbsp;

That mortgage insurance on an FHA loan ranges from .451.05 of your home loan amount every year. On a 285,000 home, families could be spending more like 3,420 per year on the insurance, said Investopedia. Thats as much as a small car payment

That money is literally insurance for the lender in case you default on your loan. And, unfortunately, they continue to collect that insurance regardless of how far you pay down your mortgage balance or how much your home appreciates.nbsp;

To stop paying PMI on annbsp;FHA loan younbsp;will need tonbsp;refinancenbsp;into a conventionalnbsp;mortgage, said The Lenders Network.nbsp;

The solution: refinance to a conventional loan. Assuming you have enough equity in your home, you wont have to pay mortgage insurance on the new loan. Combined with a lower rate, your monthly payment will drop. Ifnbsp;younbsp;have paid down thenbsp;loannbsp;to 78 of the value of the homenbsp;younbsp;cannbsp;refinancenbsp;into a conventionalnbsp;mortgagenbsp;without having to pay PMI.

Pro: Mortgage insurance for conventional loans may be less expensive

If you refi to a conventional loan and still have to pay mortgage insurance because you dont yet have enough equity in your home, you may be able to benefit from the lower payments.nbsp;

The mortgage insurance fee on a conventional loan is lower than it is with FHA. FHA MIP rates are 0.80 1.00, said The Lenders Network. Many conventional mortgages have an annual PMI fee of 0.50. On a 200,000 home that is savings of almost 80 per month. While it is not a huge savings, the PMI will drop off once the LTV reaches 78. After dropping PMI, the savings is almost 2,000 per year. You can generally refinance out of FHA into a conventional mortgagenbsp;after 6 months

Cons

With any refi, youre going to pay closing costs. When youre refinancing out of an FHA loan into a conventional loan, you can count on those costs ranging from about 1.5 to as much as 3. So, on a 300,000 mortgage, youre looking at about 9,000. There may be a few out-of-pocket costs involved in the process; Typically, youll be responsible for paying for an appraisal. The rest of the closing costs will come from your equity.nbsp;

When youre trying to decide whether or not to refinance, look at the cost to you, and determining how long it will take to recoup the money with your lower payment. If you wont break even for seven years and youre planning on moving in three, perhaps its time to reconsider whether you should refinance at all.nbsp;


Full Story >


Preparing Your Home for Sale During the Pandemic

By now, youre probably getting pretty good at making adjustments in your everyday life to protect the health and safety of yourself and those around you. Along the same lines, there are steps you can take to show your home to potential buyers without risking your health or hurting your chances of a sale. Here are some tips to prepare your home for sale in the coronavirus eranbsp;

Get Help with Staging

According to The Mortgage Reports, staged homes sell an average of 73 faster than non-staged homes. Staging involves eliminating clutter, incorporating decorative elements, and adjusting the layout of your furniture to improve the flow of your home. The overall goal is to make your home appear bigger, brighter, and more inviting to potential buyers. Fortunately, some staging steps are easy to tackle on your own, such as cleaning, decluttering, and depersonalizing. These steps will help buyers picture themselves living in your home instead of feeling like intruders in someone elses space.nbsp;

When it comes to dcor, however, its best to hire a professional. An interior designer can help you stage your home to effectively show off key aesthetic elements as well as the features that make your space functional. You can easily find freelance interior designers on job boards like Upwork. To keep yourself and your designer safe, make sure they have adopted special procedures to conform with CDC recommendations for COVID-19.

Dont Neglect Your Curb Appeal

Dont let your home preparations stop at your front door Even if buyers arent visiting your home in person, they will still want to see your home exterior. In fact, a picture of your home exterior will likely serve as the bait that draws potential buyers to your online listing. Dont neglect your curb appeal

Tool Review Lab recommends several ways to boost your curb appealeven if youre on a tight budget. For example, you could power wash your front porch and siding, install a new mailbox, hang modern house numbers, and do some basic lawn maintenance.nbsp;

When it comes to your front yard, make sure your lawn is lush, freshly mowed, and free of weeds and dead spots. Consider planting new flowers and remember to weed and mulch the beds to keep everything looking neat. You may even want to hire a professional to give the trees and shrubs around your yard a good trim.

Consider Safer Showing Alternatives

While its clear that hosting an open house is off the table, you may also want to limit in-person showings. Offer your buyers no-contact alternatives Shoot a video walkthrough of your home and upload it to your online listing so buyers can tour your home virtually. You could even schedule live video-chat showings with interested buyers so they can ask questions about your home or request specific shots of rooms or features.nbsp;

Since buyers will form a first impression of your home based on your listing, make sure it does your home justice. Write a strong listing title, include a detailed and exciting description, and post plenty of high-quality photos. A great real estate agent can help you craft your listing so that it properly showcases your homes best features. Your real estate agent can also help you navigate virtual showings Take the time to find a professional who is well-versed in using online tools to connect with buyers.

Selling a home in the age of the coronavirus is bound to be a bit of a challenge. Thankfully, the real estate industry has been quick to adopt virtual alternatives to open houses and buyers are happy to continue their housing hunt online. With some special attention to staging and a solid virtual presence, youll have no problem closing a sale during the pandemic


Full Story >


Thinking of a Remodel? Here Are Your Financing Options

The obvious way is to pay cash. Its quick, interest-free and you can tap into a checking or savings account pretty much anytime you need it. You get a bid, decide whether or not to move forward and write a check. On the flip-side however, pulling money out of an account can put a dent in the balance and in any interest-bearing account, money out no longer pays interest. The bigger the project, the more thats pulled out. And, once those funds are used to upgrade the kitchen, the asset is no longer liquid, its in the cabinets, appliances and flooring.

You can get a home improvement loan to pay for a remodel. With a home improvement loan, your loan goes directly toward the improvements. Depending upon the size of the home improvement loan, the funds might be delivered straight to your bank account at your settlement or if you have a larger project in mind, the bank might deliver the funds in stages as the work is completed.

Say for example youd like to add on a third bedroom instead of selling your home and buying an existing three bedroom house. This would be considered a major remodel while at the same time increasing the value of your home by adding a third bedroom. This entails hiring an architect and a builder and paying for inspections and final appraisal as part of the process. With such a loan, it is phased in like most any other construction loan. The bank reviews your plans and specs, comes to an appraised value based upon what the final three bedroom project would be worth once complete. When the third bedroom is added on and finished out, one final inspection is performed to confirm completion. At the end of the project, the construction loan becomes due and a permanent mortgage is needed to replace the temporary construction funds.

A home equitynbsp;loan can also be a solution. A home equity loan is a loan taken out with some of the equity in your home as collateral. There are two basic types of equity loans, a standard equity loan and a home equity line of credit, or HELOC. A standard equity loan is issued as a lump sum payment. a HELOC acts much like a credit card. Youre issued a line of credit based upon the as-completed value. If you want to pull out 10,000 for new appliances, you can do so but you also have the option of paying some or all of that 10,000 back based upon the terms of the loan, freeing up the equity to be used once again at some point in the future.

Another option is to utilize a cash-out refinance. During the process of refinancing an existing loan, homeowners may elect to pull out a little extra after paying off the outstanding principal balance and closing costs. If the loan balance is 200,000 and closing costs are 3,000, the new loan could also include some extra money in the bank account by tapping into the available equity in the home. However, exploring a cash-out refinance should only make sense if a non-cash out refinance lowers the interest rate on a low, changing loan terms, avoiding a balloon payment on its own, then pulling a little extra out in the form of cash might be an option for you.

All of these financing options have their advantages. Your loan officer can break down all the options, compare monthly payments, costs, etc. and help you choose the right financing tool for your individual project.


Full Story >


What Rooms to Focus on When Flipping a House For Cheap

Create a Multifunctional Spare Room

Many homes today have a spare room that tends to be slightly smaller than the others. In older homes, this room might have once been used as a sitting room to visit with guests. Newer homes often advertise this room as an office. Since the room is smaller, it is easy to do a fast renovation such as adding a fresh coat of paint. You can also upgrade the windows and add a decorative door that allows it to be used for anything from a home office to a kids playroom.

Cook Up a Sale with a Gorgeous Kitchen

Todays modern open floor plans make it impossible to hide a poorly designed kitchen. In most cases, you can expect that the kitchen will be one of the first things that buyers will ask to see. Even when a kitchen is hidden from public view, buyers want to know that theyll have a comfortable place to prepare meals and gather with their friends. Kitchen remodeling is a must for any time that you are flipping a house. Upgraded countertops, cabinets and floors go a long way toward getting people interested in your house.

Dazzle Buyers with a Stunning Master Bathroom

The master bathroom falls close to the kitchen when it comes to areas that people notice. Check out the hottest bathroom trends before you plan a remodel, and try to incorporate a few into your plans. Adding double sinks or a soaking tub will have buyers imagining themselves >

There is an art to making money as a house flipper. Learning where to save on costs and when to invest is as simple as understanding the preferences of the average buyer. When you think about it, it just makes sense to spruce up the areas of a house where people spend the most time. Choosing to upgrade a kitchen or bathroom may require a little extra work, but it can pay off by giving you a much higher profit margin in the end.


Full Story >


Your Ultimate Guide to Kitchen Backsplash Materials

Tilesnbsp;

You have a few options when it comes to the type of tile you choose, ceramic, glass, or natural stone. Tile is a popular choice because its impermeable and does a great job of protecting the wall. Its also easy to keep clean.

To know what type of tile you should use, you need to consider the >

White ceramic tile can look great in both modern and retro-inspired kitchens.nbsp;Natural stone in marble can give your kitchen a luxurious feel. Glass can add a bright and funky feel.nbsp;

Glass

Instead of using glass tile, you could use a large sheet of tempered glass. This works great for adding protected lighting above your stove. It also allows you to use any wallpaper or paint you wish behind the glass.nbsp;

Chalkboard Paintnbsp;

A low cost and creative option is to paint your backsplash area with chalkboard paint. You can do this yourself as an easy DIY project. You can write notes, menu ideas, or create a shopping list thats easily seen.nbsp;

When youre ready for a clean slate, all you have to do is wipe it clean. One downside, though, is that the black paint may close your kitchen in and make it feel smaller.nbsp;

Mirror

If your kitchen is on the smaller side, then using a mirror as a backsplash can open up the space. They will reflect the light and make it bounce around the room. The more light, the more inviting the space.nbsp;

The surface of the mirror will be easy to clean, though it will end up taking more effort to keep clean as any little bit of grease or dirt will show.nbsp;

Wallpapernbsp;

This material provides you with a fast any easy option but not the greatest amount of protection. You also need to think about how moisture will affect the wallpaper and cause it to peel.nbsp;

Stainless Steelnbsp;

Lining your backsplash with stainless steel will give it a modern feel and tie all of your stainless steel appliances together. Its ideal because its durable, easy to clean, and resistant to high temperatures.nbsp;

Just be careful with acidic foods. The acid will ruin the finish if not immediately cleaned.nbsp;

Choose From These Backsplash Materials

Consider one of thesenbsp;backsplash materials for your kitchen. Think about the amount of cooking you do and the level of durability and protection you need.nbsp;

Some materials such as chalkboard paint or wallpaper you can apply yourself. Others, such as tile, marble, and stainless steel are best left to the professionals.nbsp;


Full Story >


Don’t Want To Go To A Hotel: Bring The Hotel Bed Home With You

Westin

If youve slept in a Westin hotel room, you know how comfy their Heavenly Bed is. You can order the mattress and box spring, and all the accessories, to create this wonderland at home.nbsp;

Bed: 995 for a twin to 2,395 for California King

Details: 13-inch mattress with plush, pillow-top construction; choice of standard or low-profile box springnbsp;

Extras: Mattress pad, feather pillows, white stripe sheets sets, and a variety of other accoutrements also available.

Sheraton

Get thenbsp;Sheraton Sleep Experiencenbsp;for "a whole new level of comfort."nbsp;

Bed: 995 for a twin to 2,295 for California King

Details: The 13-inch plush mattress has pillow-top construction and is available in your choice of standard or low-profile box spring.nbsp;

Extras: Upgrade to the Signature Bed and Bedding Set to deck out the bed, priced from 2,826 to 3,8 or the Deluxe Bed and Bedding Set, which includes cotton sateen sheets and pillowcases and is curated with everything you need for luxurious sleeptop off your bed with four hotel pillows, a down alternative comforter and duvet cover, and our signature diamond down blanket, for 2,916 to 3,891.

Four Seasons

Everything about a stay at the Four Seasons is luxurious, and you can bring the experience home with you.nbsp;

Bed: Priced from 1,949 to 3,999.

Details: Available in three >

Extras: You can also purchase a replacement zippered firm mattress topper, priced from 549 to 649.

Hilton

Bring home the Serta bed that puts you right to sleep when you stay at Hilton hotels.nbsp;nbsp;

Bed: The Hilton Mattress and Box Spring is priced from 1,195 to 1,995.nbsp;

Details: Manufactured by Serta, this bed offers extra coil support and a plush top on both sides.

Extras: Upgrade to the Hotel Stripe Bed and Bedding Set for 2,698 to 3,446 or Cotton Bed and Bedding Set for 3,046 to 3,566.

Marriott

Marriots innerspring bed is a travelers favorite. And you can live it up every night.nbsp;

Bed: Mattress and box spring sets ranges from 1,3450 to 1,825.

Details: This 12-inch mattress comes with either a standard or low-profile box spring. Extras: Five different bedding sets are available, which can raise the price to as much as 2,937.

W Hotel

Bring the luxurious slumber of the W Hotel into your bedroom.

Bed: Choose the plush Pillowtop mattress or firmer Euro Top mattress for 1,299 to 2,120.

Details: Each mattress measures 13 with a standard of low-profile box spring.

Extras: Add a luxe bedding set, which brings the price to 3,066 to 3,797. The W Hotel bed collection also includes several platform beds to house your new mattress.


Full Story >




Copyright©2020 Realty Times®.All Rights Reserved

Broward County Schools, Palm Beach County Schools, Miami Dade County Schools
What's My Home Worth
The Mortgage Center
Receive New Listing Alert
Blair Damson Testimonials, Blair Damson Reviews
Blair Damson Awards, Coldwell Banker Recognitions
Additional Resources
Palm Beach Information, Broward Information, Miami-Dade Information
Client Login
Real Estate News
Bookmark this Site
Visit our Mobile Site