Saturday, December 15, 2018
Why Do Lenders Sell Loans?
When you first work with your loan officer very early on in the process, yoursquo;ll soon establish a trusting >
Soon thereafter, yoursquo;ll receive payment information indicating where you need to make your payments. And for most funded loans, yoursquo;ll also receive another letter informing you the lender you originally worked with has just sold your loan to someone else. Someone yoursquo;ve never worked with before and even to a company yoursquo;ve never heard of. What happened to that >
Among the many initial documents you signed when you first applied was a Mortgage Servicing Disclosure. This form tells you what percentage of the lenderrsquo;s loans are sold and more often than not the form indicates most if not all of the loans approved and funded by that particular mortgage company will be sold to someone else. But why? Why go through all the effort of originating, approving and funding a loan and forgo all the interest that new loan provides? Good question and an easy one to answer- if not for selling the loan, the lender would soon run out of money to lend.
Mortgage companies today work with a line of credit. Itrsquo;s not as if the mortgage company approves a loan and then opens up a vault full of money to fund your mortgage. Instead, when itrsquo;s time to fund your loan the lender taps into the line of credit for the needed amount to fund the new mortgage. In order to replenish this line of credit the lender then sells the loan to a third party. Once the loan is sold, the lender now has more funds to make still more loans. Who is the loan sold to? Many times, itrsquo;s to other mortgage companies but ultimately the loan is sold either to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.
The marketplace for all this buying and selling is called the secondary market for mortgages. This secondary market is robust and active and keeps the mortgage market liquid. Without a secondary market, there would be fewer loans issued and still fewer choice. When your loan is sold itrsquo;s not because your original lender isnrsquo;t loyal to you or doesnrsquo;t appreciate your businesshellip;itrsquo;s to stay in business so the lender can make even more loans.
Insufficient Living Space - A growing family, for example, would require more living space as the children grow and if one of your kids doesnrsquo;t have a room they can study in, perhaps it is time to upgrade. This would typically arise for a newly married couple around 10-12 years in the future, and this time is enough to ensure that their financial status supports the upgrade.If you are looking to upgrade, be sure to find a suitable contractor who will offer a fair rate.
Canrsquo;t Afford The Mortgage Repayments - If you made the mistake of buying a property out of your budget limit, the best thing might be to put it on the market. If the house is in a prime location and is in good order, you might be lucky and make a profit on the deal, although your objective should be to downsize to a comfortable level.
The Long Daily Commute - If you are spending more than one hour travelling to or from your place of work, this could be the time to look at >
Looking To Start Your Own Business - If you have a great business idea, yet do not have access to startup capital, selling your home will >
A Career Promotion - If you suddenly are offered a promotion that would mean >
Whatever the reason for selling, it is essential that you engage the services of an experienced conveyancing lawyer, who will facilitate the legalities and can help you to calculate your total costs.
These are interesting times for mortgage lenders. While there are large-scale economic and socioeconomic reasons for optimism going forward, there are also some complexities and cautionary notes that need to be taken seriously. Understanding these key trendsmdash;and appreciating the significant issues likely to impact the industry in 2019 and beyondmdash;is important for lenders, mortgage banking professionals and real estate professionals across the country.
Equilibrium on the horizon?
I expect to see the current imbalance between the number of homes available for sale and the number of buyers in the market to begin to come into greater equilibrium in 2019. That gradual balancing act is unlikely to depress housing prices, but it will slow the rate of increase somewhat. The slowing of home appreciation a product of simple supply and demand dynamics could actually be a positive development. Housing appreciation has been outstripping wage increases for some time now, and as these come into equilibrium, the result will likely be a healthier and more accessible home-buying marketplace.
Experienced lenders are well aware of the importance of staying in touch with the preferences and priorities of different demographic groups and generations. Two of the most influential demographics, the baby boomers and the millennials, are likely to play an especially important role in shaping the contours of the housing market throughout 2019 and beyond. More boomers will likely be staying put and holding off on downsizing, as we see a slightly weaker market for larger homes and, consequently, a financial equation that doesnrsquo;t look quite as favorable with regard to downsizing. While much has been made of millennial preferences for urban environments, a recentnbsp;Ernst amp; Young survey of 1,200 adults aged 20-36nbsp;actually reveals that greater numbers of millennials are purchasing homes in the suburbs than in cities. According to the study, 41 percent of millennial homeowners in 2018 are choosing suburban locations over cities, small towns or rural areasmdash;an increase from 36 percent in 2016. Today, 38 percent of millennials live in the suburbs versus 37 percent in urban settings. Whatrsquo;s clear, is that the iconic American dream of homeownership remains durable. As older Millennials begin to raise families and look for more space, they will become an increasingly influential home-buying demographic.
Peaking your interest
Regardless of demographics, low interest rates make home ownership accessible. The sticking point for many prospective homeowners is the ability or lack thereof to make a large down payment. Lenders will continue to offer more loan products to credit worthy borrowers that require reduced or minimal down payments, and financing options will continue to be available with less than the traditional 20 percent down payment.
Another important piece of the puzzle is the impact of what are expected to be rising interest rates in the months and years ahead. While rates currently remain at historically low levels, higher rates inevitably impact affordability. That said, given the low rates and current state of the marketplace, it seems unlikely that marginally higher interest rates would have anything more than a fairly modest-to-minimal impact on home sales.
The continued introduction of innovative technology in the months and years ahead will be an important storyline. Most of that new tech will be designed to facilitate the process on behalf of consumers. That means removing some of the friction from the loan process and ultimately compressing the amount of time it takes to get mortgage applications approved. New platforms will allow lenders to verify income at the time of application with consumer permission. This should alleviate some of the paper trail and the documentation burden, allowing electronic access essentially at the time of application. Consumer trust will be a big part of this. Itrsquo;s incumbent upon lendersmdash;and the tech providers they >
Wild card factors
There continue to be rumblings that Amazon is considering putting a toe in the water and getting into the mortgage business. Whether that would be as a facilitator, using their platform and unmatched market reach to connect consumers with mortgage professionals, or as a full-fledged provider offering something like ldquo;Amazon Mortgages,rdquo; is unclear. One thing that is clear, however, is that Amazon will have an impact one way or another. Even if the rumored market entry never materializes, younger homebuyers who grew up with Amazon and are used to the ease and speed with which customized service is delivered will continue to extend those expectations throughout other spheresmdash;including mortgage lending. Amazon has helped set a standard for speedy and efficient service that real estate providers in general, and mortgage lenders specifically, will need to be able to meet if they want to be competitive going forward.
The big picture
For all the ebbs and flows and outside factors, home sales increased from 2017 to 2018 while the overall mortgage market is slightly down in 2018, thatrsquo;s largely because of fewer instances of refinancing, not because of a decline in home sales. The consensus among organizations like the Mortgage Bankers Association of America is that they expect that trend to continue in 2019. While you can never discount the possibility of a ldquo;black swanrdquo; event that disrupts national or global markets, the future continues to look bright, with innovation and increasingly efficient service models allowing forward-thinking lenders to continue to evolve and thrive.
Put the space between studs to work by tucking open display shelves into walls. They donrsquo;t have to be outdated arched niches. Create clean rectangles or squares. To keep things looking tidy, add doors on the front. Or use piano hinges to mount artwork so it can swing open to reveal hidden storage space. You can even recess narrow drawers into the space.
Use space that otherwise would be wasted. Under the stairs is a perfect example. For smaller budgets, add a door to the side and use it like a crawl space, says interior designer Vanja Stepanek of Barbini Design Build in Toronto. Finish the space with shelves and hooks. For those who have more cash, each riser can house a drawer. It is a more expensive project because yoursquo;re working with the structure of the stairs, she says.
If you have a staircase thatrsquo;s open underneath, turn that unused space into a home office by tucking a desk and some cubbies, shelves or file cabinets underneath.
Put the space beside the fridge or between the washer and dryer to good use by building narrow shelves on wheels.
Build a headboard that includes storage space, add a long floating shelf above the headboard or use rows of floating shelves above bedside tables to create extra display space.
Install shelves above doorways to store stuff without using up floor space. Continue the shelving around the room, including above windows and doors to create a loft library.
Use over-the-door hooks for extra hanging space. Or add a shoe storage system behind the door. Build floor-to-ceiling shelves in unused spaces, such as behind the toilet or on a wall behind a door.
Stepanek says her friend lives in a typical small downtown condo. It has a long narrow hallway with a bathroom and bedroom doors on one side and the living/dining room at the end of the hall, with large windows beyond. The loft has high ceilings, so Stepanek installed two rows of floating shelves along the full length of the hallway the side without doors. Stepanekrsquo;s friend loves shoes and purses, so the shelves give her the perfect display space for her wearable treasures. It looks cool but provides practical storage space, she says. Art depicting different periods of shoes hang under the shelves to create an art wall. Antique lighting completes the stylish look.
A long basement hall, which had numerous doors along its sides and one at the end, had no focal point. The door at the end of the hall was replaced with a bookshelf on hinges. The bookshelf creates visual interest and storage/display space. Plus the kids love having a hidden room behind, Stepanek says.
Where ceiling height allows, put a bed on top of a custom platform. Or build a stage for children. Drawers within the platforms can house camping gear, seasonal items and other seldom-used items.
An office can do double duty as a guest room by adding a wall-to-wall unit that includes a Murphy bed. Add a desk on the opposite side of the room.
Like building niches between the studs, add storage space between the joists in the floor. Build a box or cabinet to stow stuff.
Use baskets or zippered plastic storage bags to use under the bed. Or buy a bed with drawers built in. Another option is a mattress that lifts up on hinges to make under-bed storage more accessible.
In the hallway, switch out a table for a dresser that will provide drawers to store everything from hats and mitts to keys and mail.
A chest that doubles as a coffee table, vintage suitcases stacked beside the couch or bed and ottomans all offer storage space within.
Toe-kick drawers in the kitchen are great for storing cookie sheets, cutting boards and wire cooling racks.
Floating shelves offer display space. Or hide away items in pretty boxes or baskets for a neater look. Think vertically to find more usable space.
Before you cram your new-found storage space, try decluttering. Keep only what you need and what you really enjoy. Pace yourself and tackle one job at a time. Donrsquo;t expect to do everything in one fell swoop. Mix smaller, easy decluttering projects, like cleaning out your medicine cabinet or makeup drawer, with bigger tasks such as tackling your clothes closet.
Figure out what you want to store, which room to store it in and what kind of storage you need before you knock holes in the walls.
Shelves that hang from the ceiling above the car are one solution. Garage systems, which include tool storage, a place for garbage and recycling and lots of space for plastic storage totes, can make the most of your garage space. Again, think vertical storage.
If yoursquo;re getting ready to sell your home, or if you simply love to be on the forefront of trends, using the Color of the Year is a great place to start. Of course, you may not want to splash it all over the walls. As ldquo;animating and life-affirmingrdquo; as this yearrsquo;s winning color may be, coral is still a bold choice for such a broad expanse.
Wallpaper that features the huemdash;especially in a temporary version like this WallPops NuWallpaper Coral Grove Peel amp; Stick Wallpaper if yoursquo;re selling your home soon, is a great option that can bring new life to a boring space. A few accessories can also make a big impact in a trendy color. Freshen up the living room couch with a few pillows, drape a throw at the foot of the bed in the master, and swap out a few tired tchotchkes for something more current.
The major downside to following trends: ldquo;You need to be prepared for the possible necessity of redesigning your rooms once tastes change, especially if yoursquo;re thinking of putting your home on the market,rdquo; said Freshome.
Neutral colors and >
Regardless of the trends, itrsquo;s your home. And unless yoursquo;re planning a home sale imminently, you get to take creative license. That could mean embracing every new trend, color->
Want bright red walls in the living room? A dining room with a poker table instead of a place to eat? When itrsquo;s your house, you get to make the rules. ldquo;Ditch lsquo;safersquo; designs in favor of creative accents and personal touches to make your abode feel one-of-a-kindmdash;just like you,rdquo; said Martha Stewart, for ldquo;home decorating tips to begin adding a healthy dose of personality into your home.rdquo;
The key to successful hosting is knowing when to say ldquo;when,rdquo; and accepting help when its offered. Remember this when you start to worry about delegating too much: just because yoursquo;re hosting doesnrsquo;t mean you shouldnrsquo;t get to have fun, too. Plus, if you spend the whole time in the kitchen, your guests wonrsquo;t get to see youmdash;and that defeats the purpose of them coming over in the first place.
If everything yoursquo;re serving needs to be made at the last minute, yoursquo;ll likely be a stress ball standing over the stove and cursing the sauce that wonrsquo;t thicken up while your guests are having fun in the other room. When yoursquo;re doing the menu planning, pay attention to items that allow you to do the cooking, or at least the prep, a day or two before. Itrsquo;ll save you timemdash;and save your sanitymdash;on the day of the shindig.
Nobody expects you to be the perfect hostess and chef and interior designer. Your friends and loved ones just want something to eat and drink among good company. If your lack of fancy dishesmdash;or even matching dishesmdash;is giving you a pre-party eye twitch, keep this in mind. ldquo;Use what you already have Say you have a mixture of odd platesmdash;scatter them and try to have a common thread,rdquo; said Domino. ldquo;For example, if the plates are all different, have the same matching napkins. If you have mismatched glassware, try alternating matching ones at each setting. Try to be mindful when yoursquo;re setting a table to find a balance visually for your guests, but things donrsquo;t have to be perfect.rdquo;
Itrsquo;s natural that yoursquo;d want to show off your cooking skills or try something new to impress your guests. But that might not be the best tactic for your first time hosting.
ldquo;When yoursquo;re hosting at your home, itrsquo;s smart to scale back and stick to what you know,rdquo; Kathleen Schaffer, creative director and culinary chef at Schaffer as well as a celebrity caterer to clients including Gwyneth Paltrow, Reese Witherspoon and George Clooney, told The Knot. ldquo;In other words, this isnrsquo;t the time to attempt the fancy sous-vide or souffleacute; recipe you saw on Facebook. Set yourself up for success by playing to your strengths, and most importantly, planning and preparing in advance.rdquo;
You never want your guests to start getting grumpy because they arrived hungry and dinner is delayed. Having a spread of appetizers everyone can nosh on buys you time to get the main dishes together and keeps them satiated. This ldquo;cream-cheesy salsa of fresh cranberries, cilantro and a little jalapeno kickrdquo; is one of our favorite holiday apps, and not just because itrsquo;s incredibly easy to make. You can find more ideas here.
This is the kind of thing you might overlook while yoursquo;re shopping, and you definitely donrsquo;t want to have to run out in the middle of your gatheringmdash;or, even worse, bring in the dreaded roll of paper towels. While yoursquo;re buying plenty of TP, do the same with napkins, plastic cups and silverware, and bottled water.
Someone is going to spill something. Or drop all the crackers on the floor. Or break a chair. Or all of the above. Keep your sense of humor closeby and yoursquo;ll get through it with stories to tell later on. If that fails, consider downing another glass of wine.
When planning your kitchen, you need to be aware of certain factors when it comes to the type of your countertop. To streamline the selection process, Fixr created the below two graphics using 6 key variables. The same 6 variables were considered in both graphics, however, the focus changes depending on the graphic which will be explained further in each section.
Installation is one of the first factors; can the contractor access your house with the delivery vehicle and is there space to work the material on site as necessary?
Cost refers to the cost implications >
Maintenance looks at the day to day care that is required to ensure the countertop does not wear excessively or get damaged.
Durability focuses on how well the countertop stands up to use, including nicks or dents and water or heat damage.
Options available refers to the range of options in terms of color or finish that are available for that material or counter type.
Stain resistance is the last variable and it considers the surface resistance of the countertop. A marble material or the grout in a tiled countertop may be more susceptible to staining than other options, especially in a kitchen where various acidic or alkali foodstuffs may spill onto the surface.
Working with the scores, based on their own countertop installation cost indicator, it is possible to simplify the selection process using a numeric score. The better the product performs with regard to cost, installation, maintenance, stain resistance, durability and options available, the higher the score it has.
Here, the focus is on the type of countertop only, without looking at how the material of the countertop affects the outcome.
Tiling wins with a score of 22, thanks to the range of options available, its durability and stain resistance and fair overall scores for the other variables.
As the next three options have a shared score of 18, they get second, third and fourth place equally:
Slab countertops offer a good variety of options, however, have low scores for cost and installation which bring the total score down.
Cast in place countertops have an even, mid-range score across all factors, so are a good option where all variables are equally important.
Precast countertops can be costly and tricky to install, however, the other variables, especially durability and the range of available options, help to increase the overall score.
Material options have improved in recent years and the list includes traditional options like marble, granite and wood as well as more contemporary options like solid surface, concrete, glass slab, stainless steel, recycled glass, ceramic and quartz.
Using the same numeric scoring system as the first graphic, the focus in the second graphic was on how the material scored without consideration of the countertop type. In this instance, quartz, ceramic and recycled glass come out as the best scoring options for material choice.
Quartz has most of the aesthetic attractions of natural stone, however, its stain resistance, durability and range of options beat almost all other finishes, leading to a total score of 23. Though cost and installation are >
Ceramic comes next with a score of 22, it offers the widest range of options of all and has good durability and stain resistance, but installation, cost and maintenance bring its average score down.
Recycled glass follows in third place matching ceramicrsquo;s 22, but its main strong points are durability, stain resistance and maintenance, so, once again the choice comes down to your priorities.
In order to make your final decision, it is best to identify your top three priorities in terms of the six variables used. Then, simply find the countertop type and material that have the highest scores for those three variables and compare them against each other to establish the best choice for your kitchen.
Of course, there are many other more subtle variables to consider. Environmental implications have become important and even legislated in some countries, so it may be worth considering each material in this light as well. You may find your chosen countertoprsquo;s green rating brings down or improves its final score.
At the end of the day, you want to feel satisfied with your choice and have a countertop that is both beautiful and durable. Hopefully, this scoring system will make that choice a little easier.
And remember, beautiful countertops wonrsquo;t necessarily add value but they will make your home more attractive to potential buyers should you want to sell.
In 1974 Congress enacted the Real Estate Settlement and Procedures Act, commonly known as RESPA. The provisions of RESPA were intended to protect consumers during the home purchase process. Its two main areas of emphasis were 1 the provision of disclosures regarding settlement closing costs, and 2 the prohibition of kickbacks or referral fees that unnecessarily increase closing costs. Section 8 of RESPA makes it illegal, except for limited specified exceptions, to give someone money or any other thing of value for the referral of a real estate settlement service. For example, if I received money, or anything of value, for referring someone to an escrow company, in most every case that would be a violation of section 8 of RESPA.
While the Department of Housing and Urban Development has for a long time been the chief enforcer of RESPA provisions, that has, since 2011, become the province of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau CFPB. It has become an active enforcer and agents should be aware.
Fortunately, the National Association of Realtors, keeps track of RESPA activity and of the ever-on-going issues of interpretation. In what follows, we will look at a sample of issues featured on NARrsquo;s web page regarding frequently-asked RESPA questions.
A real estate agent is sponsoring an open house for other agents. A local title agency reimburses the real estate agent for the cost of a luncheon and the title agency does not market its title services at the open house. Is this a violation of Section 8 of RESPA?
A: Yes, this is a violation of RESPA. By reimbursing the real estate agent for the cost of the luncheon, the title agency has given the real estate agent a thing of value in consideration for the referral of business. Both the title agency and the real estate agent could be held responsible for the RESPA violation. If, however, the title company attends the open house to make a presentation or to otherwise market its services, such payments may be lawful under RESPA.
A real estate broker and a mortgage lender agree to jointly place a full-page advertisement in a local newspaper. Each company gets exactly one-half of the page to advertise its services. Each company pays one-half of the cost of the advertisement. Is this a violation of Section 8 of RESPA?
A: No, this appears to comply with RESPA. As long as the advertising costs paid by each party are reasonably >
A real estate broker pays its real estate agents 20 for each referral the agents make to the real estate brokerrsquo;s affiliated mortgage company. Is this a violation of Section 8 of RESPA?
A: Yes, this is a violation of RESPA. Although RESPA provides an exception for payments made from an employer to its employees, payments between a real estate broker and its salespeople do not qualify for this exception. Real estate professionals are considered independent contractors, rather than employees of the real estate broker. As a result, the 20 payments described above constitute payments in return for the referral of business in violation of RESPA.
As previously mentioned, the NAR website contains a large amount of information, including regular columns, regarding RESPA Moreover, most of these pages are on the ldquo;publicrdquo; side. That is, you donrsquo;t have to log in with a user name and password. Readers are encouraged to take a look for themselves, and to become familiar ndash; if they arenrsquo;t already ndash; with the highly >
A few of the more accessible and >
Window to the Law: RESPA video
It was exciting to contemplate city life after living in smaller towns. Apparently, everyone else thought so too, because by the time I decided I liked a house, it was gone from the market.
Between struggling with a tight real estate market and shopping from across the country, it wasnt easy to find a house. While the city offers the charm of older neighborhoods and homes of by-gone eras, it also means that you can be pretty sure that youll be remodeling something.
Thats how my window struggle came into light.
Id snagged a home full of potential. Nestled in a full acre of green grass and big trees, the brick home offered the room I needed and the one-story I desired - plus it had the original hardwoods. Tangled up in an estate, it had sat empty for four years.
So here I stood trying to gaze out the spider web-coated windows of a 1950s-era ranch and see the beautiful maples and oaks. It was like an oasis tucked in the city. As I did, I began to list the key items on my to-do list, like a modern kitchen, repaired air ducts, pipe repairs and a new coating on the driveway.
As I began to focus on key items, like a modern kitchen, leaking air ducts, plumbing issues and an eroding driveway, so windows ba>
Funny now to think I thought that meant I was done with windows.
Two things came into play nearly simultaneously. Only a day or two after the moving van unloaded, I decided I couldnt take the dirty windows another day. So despite having mountains of boxes to maneuver around, cleaning years of grime got moved to the top of the list. Armed with rags, cleaning supplies and a step-ladder, I marched to dark, dirty glass in the dining room. Thats when I discovered the window would not budge. It had opened on the last walk-thru, but would not open today.
Humidity had played a part in the old wood swelling. Undaunted, I cleaned the inside and headed outside to clean it from that direction. Covering the window were storm windows that probably hadnt been removed in years, if not decades. They were supposed to slide up, but it wasnt happening. As I moved around the house, I noticed a great portion of the windows had issues, including cracks, I could not resolve.
Ultimately, it didnt take long to learn that I couldnt live with the old windows that didnt function. In fact, changing out the windows got bumped up to the top of the list.
My desire for the windows had to do with function. I wanted to see out them and open them. I hadnt really thought about the look. I guess I thought a white window replaced by a white window would be the same. Instead, it was a huge shock to learn what enormous difference new windows made in the appearance and feel of the home.
In one day, the house went from one that looked like it had black widow spiders in the lock box to one that looked loved and inviting. The old windows contained grilles, the pieces of wood which visually divides a pane of glass so it appears to be made of smaller panes. The new windows I chose did not have grilles. That move made every window seem bigger and every room seem brighter. Of course, the new windows, without years of wear and the layer of dirty storm windows, really were brighter.
While I was waiting on windows and other key repairs, like electrical panel upgrades, I was trying to plan that kitchen remodel as well as a bathroom re-do. In trying to save costs where I could, I was working around existing windows. Despite taking down a wall to get more space, no matter how I moved around cabinets and appliances in my kitchen drawing, I could not get good workflow. In the current design, a small table for two sat in front of the only window, a long one that went nearly to the floor.
One day, someone asked me why I was working around that long window. They suggested I put in a shorter window and place the sink under the window. It was a light bulb moment.
With a brick house, Id not even thought about changing a windows dimensions. It turns out it wasnt hard at all. Since the windows exterior is on my screen porch, I choose wood to fill in the space of the shortened window and painted it to match the window, rather than have a brick mason brick in the space.
The same width was kept, but the shortened window allowed for a changed countertop and sink placement and suddenly made the whole kitchen plan work. I also shortened a window in the remodeled bathroom, which meant the soaking tub could be placed under the window and Id still get plenty of natural light.
The new windows really changed the whole look and feel of the old house. When I get a chance to talk remodeling, I now tell people replacing old windows needs to be at the top of their list.
Lea Schneider is a professional organizer based in Nashville, Tennessee. She shares her experiences on remodeling her 1950s ranch fixer-upper, which included replacing her casement windows. If you are also looking to update your house, visit The Home Depot to see a large selection of casement windows.
The key to staying efficient and on-task is to set up your own dedicated workspace. If yoursquo;ll be working at home, building a home office helps create an environment of productivity and replicate a traditional office feeling within your own home. Of course, you should consider a few essentials when setting up an office of your own.
According to some sources, the fluorescent lights many traditional office buildings use can be damaging to your eyes. When designing your own office space, you have control over the types of lighting you choose, as well as how bright or dim they are while you work. Choosing options that fit the projects you work on will help you create the perfect lighting system. You should also consider factors like what can protect your eyes and adjust to outside conditions if your home office has a window.
Getting a desk and chair for your office may seem like a no-brainer, but therersquo;s more to it than picking out something to write on and something to sit on. Since yoursquo;ll be spending a lot of time in your office chair, you should make sure it provides adequate support and comfort for the long haul.
You should also make sure your desk is well-suited for long days of work. Set up a system of organization for paperwork and any knickknacks you have lying around. In addition, try to use your desk only for work as much as possible. Training your brain to have a dedicated space during work hours can help you stay on-task when yoursquo;re working at home.
Remote workers often lean on technology to connect to others they work with and complete tasks. Itrsquo;s important to invest in good equipment, from keyboards to storage. In addition, because yoursquo;ll most likely be working online, itrsquo;s important to have a strong internet connection. Keeping up-to-date on all the technology yoursquo;ll need will help prevent tech-based headaches, especially because you wonrsquo;t have an in-house IT department to fix any issues.
Since yoursquo;ll be spending a good chunk of each week in this one room, it needs to be a place you find aesthetically appealing. Adding a few decorations can personalize your office and make it a place where you feel comfortable and happy. A word of caution: it can be easy to go overboard on decorations and end up creating visual distractions for yourself. With this in mind, be thoughtful about the items you choose to put in your space. Plants and simple wall art can help your space feel inviting without catching your eye every time you sit down.
Once yoursquo;ve got your home office set up and ready to go, yoursquo;ll be able to promote a productive and enjoyable workday in the comfort of your own home. Fostering the perfect space to foster productivity and creativity is key to a successful remote working experience.
Is it a plastic bag? No, itrsquo;s a glass piece created to look like a plastic bag. This is just the type of unique, kitschy gift your friend, colleague, or loved one willhellip;well, love.
Letrsquo;s admit it. That constant stirring is the worst part about cooking, are we right? Anyone who loves spending time in the kitchen will appreciate this gift.
This just might make you wish you didnrsquo;t upgrade your phone to the X This cool case fits iPhones 6ndash;8 and reacts to touch, just like a mood ring.
Behold the perfect hostess gift Yoursquo;ll undoubtedly see this 14-piece stainless steel bartending set againhellip;the next time you come over
Who doesnrsquo;t want to make restaurant-quality quesadillas at home? Forget the microwave. This is the real deal.
This falls somewhere between a stand mixer and a hand mixer, and, at under 10 each, yoursquo;ll want to buy one for everyone
When you canrsquo;t afford the Instant Pot, you can at least go with the cookbook.
Your Type-A friends and anyone who needs to chill will love these natural hot baths, ldquo;with revitalizing ingredients like matcha, turmeric, and spearmintrdquo; that allow them to ldquo;easily be able to moisturize, soothe, and unwind,rdquo; said Womanrsquo;s Day.
Staying over with family or friends during the holidays? Come bearing this gourmet, artisanal brunch accoutrement. Yoursquo;ll be the hit of the party
This one is perfect for your favorite adventurer. ldquo;When theyre stranded out in the wilderness without anything to drink in a misguided attempt to become Bear Grylls, this handy little stick might literally save their life by turning the dirtiest sludge into drinkable water,rdquo; said Esquire.
Give a walk down memory lane this holiday season with this wonderfully nostalgic book thats sure to put a smile on the recipients face.
Getting color ideas
Model homes are ra>
1 The color is by and large not used large scale, meaning, all the walls of every room wont typically be painted in bold or bright colors;
2 The main color scheme generally flows from room to room. The shades and placement of color may be different, but there is a coherent look and feel throughout the home that makes it feel finished.
If you want to introduce color without covering every surface, consider these tips from Lennar: "You can add color to a space without painting walls. Pop color with pillows, rugs flowers and artwork. If you do add color to walls, use it sparingly. A painted feature wall can be a great backdrop for a bed or built-in cabinets."
General design inspiration
You may not have thought about putting certain colors together or layering a bunch of patterns in one room or choosing tile that looks like wood instead of real wood... but you will once you see what theyve done in model homes. If youre in a design rut or youre not sure how to take the first step toward modernizing your space, walk through the models. Consider not just what you see, but how you feel in the space. Starting to feel >
Incorporating the newest trends
Looking to redo your kitchen? Touring a model will give you some great ideas about how to handle the layout and materials. It may not have occurred to you to take down your double-height island and continue the counter height the full length, but this is a hot kitchen trend intended to capture the open space feel. Seeing all-white cabinets may inspire you to have your dark wood cabinetry painted, and the quartz counters are sure to inspire you to start researching new countertop options.
Treating small spaces
In general, the less crowded a room is, the more airy it will feel. But that doesnt mean leaving it empty. Furniture placement is key to creating a space with form and function. Notice how the office in the room above has just the right amount of furniture. And instead of placing the desk up against the wall, its been floated, which allows the eye to more easily move around and makes the space feel larger.
Getting space planning tips
Model home designers are great at disguising awkward spaces with creative solutions and showcasing spaces with furniture thats to the perfect scale and placed in such a way that it shows the room in its best light. If youve got a weird spot in your home that you dont know what to do with or are having trouble figuring out what furniture to buy or where to put it, studying what theyve done in a few models might help you figure it out.
Styling a guest room
Go stand in the guest room in the model down the street. Simple, clean, and elegant, right? Excited to go home and redo your guest room? Remember three key things: lighting, pared-down accessories, and crisp bedding.
Getting your kids rooms just right
Kids rooms are often some of the most challenging spaces to design, because its a slippery slope between a creative space and a circus room. Model home designers love to theme these spaces or give them some pizazz, and they often get the balance just right.
"Pollutants" is a broad term, and can include things like dust mites, pet dander, mold spores and viruses, as well as gaseous pollutants like tobacco smoke and the off-gassing from paints, cleaning products and some building products. They can lead to headaches, dizziness, irritation of eyes, nose and throat, fatigue and more serious illnesses. If you experience these symptoms while in your house, but not when you are away from home, indoor pollutants may be the cause.
The best solution is to remove the cause of the pollutants and ventilate the space with fresh outdoor air. Unfortunately, natural ventilation is not always practical. No one is going to throw open the windows on a cold winters day, nor are they likely to open the windows if the house is cooled by a central air conditioning systemmdash;as the purpose of a tightly sealed home is to conserve energy.
However, you can also help remove some of the pollutants by upgrading the filter used in your forced-air heating and cooling system. The basic furnace filter is designed to keep dust and large particles out of the machinery, but more advanced filters can effectively remove pollutants, including viruses and odors, using a variety of methods. Standard filters simply trap particles on a flat filtering medium, while others have deep pleats with added surface area. Electrostatic filters provide an electrical charge that helps trap some particles more effectively.
Pick a Filter
There are a number of rating systems to help sort out the types of filters available. The systems will help you compare filters from different companies. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers ASHRAE developed the minimum efficiency reporting value MERV for filters. MERV rates filters on a scale from 1 to 20, with 20 being the most efficient at removing pollutants. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, filters in the 7 to 13 range are likely to be nearly as efficient as high-efficiency particle arrestance HEPA filters at removing airborne particles. Filters with higher ratings are used in hospitals, laboratories and clean rooms.
Be sure to buy the size filter that fits your system. The information should be in the owners manual or on the furnace itself. If you dont have it, take the existing filter to the store with you. If you choose a high-efficiency filter, read the packaging carefully, as some need to be changed more frequently than others to function properly.
Inline purifiers are another option. These are installed inside the air ducts to remove pollutants. Some employ ultraviolet radiation to kill bacteria, allergens and mold. Others use a catalyst to oxidize pollutants including gaseous ones, a process that converts the pollutants into harmless hydrogen and oxygen. Inline purifiers are usually used in addition to - not instead of - furnace filters.
Other Steps to Take
Installing a high-efficiency furnace filter is a good first step for tackling indoor air pollution. Its something that you can do right away, for little moneymdash;a premium filter will cost less than 25. However, it wont solve every type of pollution problem. Here are some other steps to take:
Protect yourself from the pollutants in your air by replacing your furnace filter as needed, and making sure to ventilate your home with fresh air whenever possible.
About The Author
Home-improvement expert Fran Donegan nbsp;writes on heating systems, including furnaces, and home air quality issues, for Home Depot. Fran is the author of the home DIY books Pools and Spas and Paint Your Home. You can research Home Depots forced air furnace selection nbsp;online.
According to the United Nations, a whirlwind of issues, many of which are likely caused by man, threaten to harm our precious Earth in irreversible ways. From greenhouse gas emissions to air pollution, deforestation, and issues with water and waste, the human impact on our planet has become real. And if we donrsquo;t change, we face both unintended and potentially permanent consequences.
According to most experts, the biggest issue we face is climate change. Although the Earthrsquo;s temperature has ebbed and flowed throughout the course of history, some evidence suggests human activity is altering its natural path.
While some environmental changes can be easily explained, much of the evidence for climate change is compelling. According to NASA, global sea levels are rising faster than in recorded history and global temperatures are surging, with 15 of the 16 hottest years in history taking place since 2001. Ocean temperatures continue to rise while artic sea ice retreats. Decreased snow cover, ocean acidification, and global weather events provide even more proof our planet is changing.
Fortunately, there is plenty anyone can do to change the course of history. If yoursquo;re losing sleep over environmental issues, you can do more than worry ndash; you can act. With the introduction of new technologies and new, Earth-friendly products, itrsquo;s easier to ldquo;go greenrdquo; than ever before.
You canrsquo;t change the planet on your own, but you can take steps to reduce your environmental footprint, limit waste, and create a sustainable life>
When you think of ldquo;going greenrdquo; or adopting an Earth-friendly life>
Those ideas probably make you chuckle, and thatrsquo;s okay. The good news is, you donrsquo;t have to be a radical or drastically change your life to help the planet or reduce your impact. When it comes to ldquo;going greenrdquo; this is one of the biggest misconceptions we face. Many families assume they must uproot their lives or make huge changes to reduce their impact on the planet.
And even once you get past the stigma, yoursquo;ll also find that far too many people overestimate the costs of caring for the environment. Maybe they read how expensive going green can be in the past. Or, perhaps they just wrongly assume any potential changes they could make would be expensive.
Regardless of what yoursquo;ve read or heard, taking steps to help our planet doesnrsquo;t have to break the bank. For every costly change you make, there are several Earth-friendly alternatives that are 100 percent free
Wersquo;ll get to some of those steps in a minute. But first, letrsquo;s talk about why. Why should you care about the Earth? Why should you take steps to change? Further, why should you spend your own money ldquo;going green?rdquo;
Believe it or not, embracing a greener life>
Reason 1: This is the only planet wersquo;ll ever have.
The top reason to go green is an obvious one; planet Earth is our only home. If we spoil our planet, we canrsquo;t move to Jupiter or Mars and start over.
Reason 2: Real food is better for you.
The big benefit here is that most Earth-friendly foods are also foods that are good for you. Fresh vegetables and fruits farmed locally are some of the best foods you can find, for example.
Reason 3: Some ldquo;greenrdquo; technologies can help you save money.
While itrsquo;s commonly believed that going green is crazy-expensive, this is no longer the case. Even energy-efficient LED lightbulbs, which are somewhat expensive upfront, will help you save money on your home energy bills over time. Meanwhile, the price of newer technologies like solar panels continues to decrease every year.
Reason 4: Going green can increase your homersquo;s value.
Adding energy-efficient appliances or upgrades to your home will help you save money over the long run. And since buyers love the idea of saving on utilities and energy, you can increase your homersquo;s value and fetch a higher sales price, too.
Reason 5: We need water to live.
If you donrsquo;t care about the health of our water, yoursquo;re forgetting one crucial detail: We need water to live. As humans, we cannot afford to ignore the health of our water supply.
Reason 6: Green living is often more humane
As the scientific journal Nature noted earlier this year, human diets are directly linked to the health of our planet. More than anything else, a vegetarian or mostly-vegetarian diet is the best way for humans to reduce carbon emissions and stop global warming.
For more great tips on green living, check out "The Ultimate Guide to Cheap Green Living" on couponchief.com.
Michael Tamez is a certified eco-consultant who shares tips, tools and strategies for green living on his website, MichaelTamez.com.
Jeff Wilson has hosted over 200 television episodes on environmental topics for HGTV, The DIY Network, and public television. He currently writes over at The Greenhouse Effect and you can find him on Twitter tgheffect.
In many cases, this cross collateralization may not be something the borrower worries about, as the borrower intends to pay the lender in full. The general plan is for the borrower to refinance the target property at anbsp;point where a new lender does not require cross collateralization, pay off the existing lender, and the existing lender >
The danger here is that the lender may hold up the sale because it does not want to >
Now, letrsquo;s say that the borrower receives an unsolicited offer for the first rental of 525,000, and he wishes to accept it. If there was no cross collateral against this property, the borrower could accept the offer, pay off the existing first of 200,000, and pocket the remaining 325,000. However, because the rental has been crossed, the lender has 550,000 against the property in second position. That means that there is technically 750,000 of liens showing up against the property. The borrower cannot accept the 525,000 offer without having the second [the crossed loan] >
For this reason, it is imperative for there to be an agreed upon >
For example, if the crossed rental was sold at a 5 CAP rate, and the crossed lenderrsquo;s interest rate was 7, the borrower may choose to sell the rental and come up with money to satisfy the lender should the lender want more than the 325,000 net proceeds from the sale. In other words, there are times when it makes economic sense to come up with money in order to sell property. Another similar scenario like this occurs when there is a blanket loan covering multiple properties, as is the case when an apartment building has been converted to condos and the owner of the building desires to sell off one condo at a time. A typical lender on the building will usually have >
Borrowers who overlook >
Many lenders may be willing to work out a reasonable amount for >
This is the primary reason why typical banks do not usually cross collateralize their loans. Most banks do not like a lot of moving parts. They want to focus on one property and the risk associated with it.
Borrowers should make sure that the lender does not hold any of the borrowerrsquo;s properties hostage and that >
Edward Brown is an investment expert and host of the radio show, "The Best of Investing." He has multiple published words, including an interview with the Wall Street Journal, and has also served as a chairman of the Shareholder Equity Committee to protect 29,000 shareholders representing 500 million REIT. Edward is also a recipient of the prestigious MBA Tax Award.
Jeff LaGrange, Vice President of the RE/MAX Northern Illinois Region, explained that, ldquo;In the Midwest, homes that go under contract in November, December and January usually are offered by highly motivated sellers. In spring and summer, purchasers may pay a premium because they compete with many other buyers. Less competition in winter means prices typically donrsquo;t include that premium, and sellers frequently are more flexible about price and other terms.rdquo;
Itrsquo;s that flexibility that is often key to a successful closing. So how can you use the time of year to your advantage to buy a home? Here are a few tips.
ldquo;When you have fewer buyers in the market, supply exceeds demand,rdquo; said The Spruce. ldquo;This usually results in prices being lower than during the hot or peak season.rdquo;
In northern Illinois, ldquo;Chicago-area homes sold in February had a median sales price that averaged 17.8 less than homes sold in June of the same yearrdquo; over the past 14 years, said LaGrange. But, that doesnt mean you can lowball and come away with a new home. You never want to insult the seller, who can flat out reject your offer if they so choose. Allowing your real estate agent to guide the process to come away with a good deal for you that doesnrsquo;t turn off the seller is key.
Creative negotiating may also help you get the home. Be willing to look at scenarios involving closing costs, repairs to items uncovered during the inspection, and even renting back if needed to help get a deal done.
OK, maybe not on a momentrsquo;s notice. But being flexible with your home tours is important in a winter weather-prone area. ldquo;With fewer hours of daylight, it may be necessary to visit more homes after dark, a less than ideal situation,rdquo; said RE/MAX. ldquo;When that happens, it makes sense to arrange a daylight visit before making an offer, and that can involve taking time off work,rdquo; said Linda Dore, a broker with RE/MAX Synergy in Orland Park, Ill, ldquo;but itrsquo;s worth it.rdquo;
Vacant homes can throw a wrinkle into any buyerrsquo;s plans, especially if a storm has left the home in less than hospitable condition. You never know when yoursquo;re going to have to MacGyver a situation. ldquo;These days, more homes than ever are vacant when they go on the market, and you never know what to expect,rdquo; said Donna Smolak of RE/MAX Vision 212 in Chicago. ldquo;Some can be beautifully maintained, but in other cases there can be six-inches of snow in the driveway, the storm door many be frozen shut or the whole home may be winterized with the heat and plumbing out of service,rdquo;rsquo; she said. ldquo;I always bring a fold-up shovel with me in case a car gets stuck or we want to scrape snow off an outdoor area to check whatrsquo;s underneath.rdquo;
Vacant homes can also pose a challenge to buyers who lack the ability to envision what the home may look like with their furniture inside. But buyers are notoriously bad at seeing past paint colors or deacute;cor in any home. Especially when yoursquo;re dealing with a home that may not be everything you want, itrsquo;s important to try to look beyond any poor decorating choices or even some curious floorplan issues to see what the home can be.
Remember that if the house were perfect, it would either be more expensive, would have been sold quickly in the spring or summer, or both. Try to focus on things like overall space, ceiling height, and natural light. That will help you see the potential in the space and plan for changes once the home is yours.
When studying a room, the first point your eye catches should be a positive one. For example, a home with a massive fireplace commands the first attention spot. However, poor placement of furniture, too many "comfy" afghans and plenty of books and magazines will distort the simplicity of the rooms greatest asset. Add last nights empty pizza box and full ashtrays and any prospective buyer will less appreciate the fine points the home would have offered.
1. Start packing the belongings you absolutely do not need to "live." Extra books, magazines, kids artwork, afghans that dont match the decor should be boxed and labeled for your next home. Extra knick-knacks from Christmas, cluttered bulletin boards and several months bank statements can easily be stored away. Kitchens are the biggest culprits as they are such a busy meeting place in the home. Discount coupons, excessive decorative magnets, photos, etc. really catch the eye of the overwhelmed buyer. The top of the refrigerator is the largest collector of sometimes used gadgets. Unless you use your "wok" daily, it is better to clear the top and the front of your refrigerator to make the kitchen a little simpler. Convenient appliances also do better when tucked away so counters look cleaner and sharper. Please check switchplates for fingerprints and smudges, as those are the first places to get noticed. Doorbells are another place that fingerprints are evident. Be sure you are making the right first impression.
2. Family rooms are for >
3. Bedrooms are other places we enjoy our conveniences the most. Having our robes and slippers waiting for us does not offer top exposure to a viewing family. Get closets slimmed down for a generous look. Freshen with a soft potpourri to diminish the stale odors that come with humidity and small confined places. Although we like our shades and blinds pulled for sleeping hours generally all buyers are drawn to a light, airy and bright room, so open up all window treatments to maximize brightness. With windows being exposed, be sure they are really clean and sparkling. A house really shows its best when it looks like it has been cared for. Remove jewelry and other small personal items from dresser tops. Clean and simple sells the best.
4. The most inexpensive way to brighten a home besides a fresh coat of paint is to increase the wattage in light bulbs. That small guest room may be seldom used, but needs to look bigger and brighter to an interested buyer. Be sure the lamp can handle a stronger bulb and invest in a 3-way if possible. When you know that a showing is scheduled be sure to turn on every light bulb in the house for the best showing potential. Look around model homes, you will notice all the lights are always on, even on sunny days This is not the time to conserve electricity - its part of your marketing plan. If you have a room that shows particularly dark, put in an interesting lamp and leave it on most of the time. It will help the buyer leave with a brighter impression of the rest of the home.
5. Everybody has a "junk" room or closet. Its acceptable not to be perfect throughout, but minimize the clutter to one room, desk, or area and you are ensured of a better showing. If it is impossible to move around you could be adversely affecting that buyers perception of the size of the home, so give careful consideration to overstuffed rooms.
6. Everyones basement and garages are >
7. The worst offenders for dust and dirt are the cold air returns and heating vents. If they wont clean up with soap and water and painting doesnt improve them either, purchasing new ones is not that expensive and a great alternative. A house with cobwebs and loaded vents really gives the wrong impression about the cleaning standards of the present owner.
8. Pet dishes of water and food should be >
9. Juniors bedroom posters of rock groups to minimize the true picture of the room. Limit the "artwork" to 1 or 2 posters and promise him that he can resurrect the rest at his next destination.
10. Bathroom grouts must look like new. Bleaching can take care of some of the problems, but its worth the money to have a professional tile person patch and regrout problem areas. This is not a good time to try extensive grouting yourself. Often times amateur attempts convey the problem more than it is. Shower tracks from doors should glisten, along with the mirrors. Remove prescription bottles, pills, old toothbrushes, and worn towels. This room should get the most attention and look its best at all times. Dated colors in sinks can be replaced for generally a low investment and can render a much-updated feeling when a yesteryear color is no longer an objection. Remove old moldy shower curtains and limit shampoos to a few.
Kellie Bradt of RG Realty Group in Coon Rapids, MN has made a generous donation to Brothers Empowered on behalf of her clients, Krystyana and Jeremy Bolz.
Michelle Ratajczak of James amp; Less Realty in Virginia Beach, VA has generously donated to the Alzheimerrsquo;s Association of Southeastern Virginia on behalf of her clients Marcia McGrath and Edith Greene.
James Potenza of Texas Buyer Realty LLC in Pearland, TX donated to St. Helen Catholic School on behalf of his client, Shelly Potenza.
Quinlan Realty in Creve Coeur, MO has generously made 2 donations as a brokerage through the Broker with Hearttrade; program. Read more about their donations and generosity here.
ldquo;As we enter lsquo;the season of giving,rsquo; I want to thank our incredible Agents with Heart, Kellie, Michelle, James and Quinlan Realty for helping us to donate to nonprofit organizations across the country,rdquo; says Mr. John Giaimo, President of PinRaise. ldquo;It is because of real estate agents like them, who strive to give back within their own communities, that our program is able to assist as many nonprofits as we do.rdquo;
ldquo;November is traditionally a time of reflection and gratitude, and I am especially grateful for the kindness that Kellie, Michelle, James and everyone at Quinlan Realty show through their unique dedication to giving. We appreciate their generosity and for choosing to partner with our program. All of us at PinRaise thank our wonderful agents, and look forward to seeing the good their generosity will bring to their communities,rdquo; concludes Mr. Giaimo.
About the Agent with Heart Program: Through the Agent with Heart program, real estate agents agree to donate a percentage or fixed dollar amount of their commission from a home sale or purchase to the nonprofit of their clientrsquo;s choice after closing. This provides needed revenue for the nonprofit and makes a real difference in their community. For more information, please visit www.PinRaise.com.
To contact Kellie Bradt, please call 651-269-8435
or visit www.kelliebradt.realtygroupmn.com.
To contact Michelle Ratajczak, please call 757-472-0944
or visit www.ahomeforgood.com.
To contact James Potenza, please call 832-372-6388 or visit www.newhomejames.com.
To contact Quinlan Realty, please call 314-401-9286 or visit www.QuinlanRealty.com.
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