James A. Wood's Blog
Remodeling your home is something you’ve likely considered for a long time and have carefully planned. However, if you’re not an expert carpenter designer it can be easy to make novice mistakes. Learning by your mistakes is fine, but when those mistakes are an eyesore or cost hundreds of dollars, you’re better off doing your homework in advance.
Whether you’re doing a remodel yourself to save money, or just because you have a do-it-yourself spirit and like new challenges, these tips will spare you many headaches and save you a lot of money along the way.
1. Inaccurate measurements
Unless you’re a carpenter or engineer, odds are you don’t use measuring tools on a daily basis. To ensure that you get the most accurate measurements, draw plans for your remodeling project to ensure that everything will fit in the space that you have. This includes measuring for the spaces you’ll be putting appliances, cabinets, and other items. If you’re installing drawers or doors, ensure that they will be able to open fully.
2. Using the cheapest materials
Sometimes you can find high-quality materials in the bargain bin. But most of the time it’s there for a reason. Working with quality materials will not only usually give you the most aesthetically positive results, but will also likely outlast the cheaper alternatives.
3. Underestimating costs
If you’re planning a remodeling project always be prepared to spend a bit more than your original calculations. There are several unexpected expenses that could arise during the remodeling process, including damaging materials by mistake, buying the wrong materials, having to purchase specialized tools, or needing more than you initially thought.
4. Not taking appropriate safety measures
If you’re a novice remodeler, safety needs to be one of your top priorities. You may be unfamiliar with some of the tools you’re using and likely don’t know some of the common safety hazards on the job. When it comes to electrical work, there are many projects that required a licensed electrician to perform. If you’re up on a ladder, be sure the legs are fully opened and secure. And if you’re on the roof, make sure you’re wearing non-slip boots and not carrying heavy items up and down by yourself.
5. Ignoring design and style
In today’s world of quickly fading trends and online inspiration blogs it’s easy to want your home to be several things that it isn’t. When planning your interiors, try to take into account the architectural style of the house. Similarly, if you’re remodeling one room think about how it will look against the backdrop of the rest of your home. Consistency is a too-often undervalued characteristic of interior design.
Those are five of the most common home remodeling mistakes to avoid if you’re planning a renovation for your home. However, there are many more. So if you take away anything from this article, let it be this: you have to look at your home every day, so be sure to take the time to do your research and plan properly so that your home comes out just the way you want it.
Buying a home is one of the biggest purchases that you’ll ever make in your lifetime. You’ll spend decades of your life making mortgage payments to pay off your home loan. Buying a home is more than just simply finding a place to live. It’s also a financial decision. Your home helps you to build equity, gives you tax deductions, and helps you to have some security in your financial future.
One of the biggest questions that you’ll have when you buy a home is “How much can I spend?” To answer this question, you’ll need to dig a little deeper.
Do You Have Money For A Down Payment?
The standard amount of money that you’ll need for a down payment is 20 percent of the purchase price of a home. If you don’t have the money for a full down payment, you’ll need to pay for private mortgage insurance (PMI). This could add up to be an extra cost of hundreds of dollars per month in additional insurance payments on top of your mortgage and every other kind of expense that goes along with buying a home. You’ll need to take the time to save up for a down payment if you’re a first time homebuyer. If you already own a home, the equity that you have in that home can help you with the down payment.
What Are Your Other Financial Responsibilities?
There’s more to buying a home than just the monthly mortgage payment. You’ll need to get insurance, pay taxes, and have some money set aside for repair and decorating costs. You’ll need to look at your monthly income to find out just how much you can afford on a home. You should take an honest look at your lifestyle and existing expenses in order to determine a comfortable monthly mortgage payment for you.
Know Your Credit Score
Your credit score will be a major factor in how much house you’ll be able to afford. Your lender will use your credit score and credit history to help determine what type of interest rate you’ll get and how much they’re willing to lend you in order to buy a home.
Understanding what you can afford for a home purchase is crucial before you even start shopping. It’s a good idea to meet with a lender to get pre-qualified. This is different than getting pre-approved. Your lender will give you a general idea of how much you can spend on a home without digging too deep into your finances. Getting pre-qualified is a great place to start when you’re looking at the numbers of being a homeowner.
Your kitchen is an often used room and can become cluttered very quickly. There are plenty of strategies that you can use to keep the room in order. Below, you’ll find tips that will help you to keep your kitchen decluttered and your supplies organized once and for all!
Make Space For Storage
This sounds like an obvious need in any room of the house, but the kitchen is a place where you need ample storage. There are a few ways to do this. Outside of your cabinets, you can install freestanding storage units, like shelving or extra cabinets. Even an armoire can help you to have a space to beautifully display your dishes.
Under your sink, you can keep your most frequently used items like soap, sponges, and detergent in easy to access solutions. Either install a small turntable, or simple get bins that can be labeled and pulled out as needed. This will keep everything you need together neat and tidy. It will be difficult to actually disorganize this space once you have completed this small task.
What would a kitchen be without coffee? If you brew a cup of joe every morning, you’ll want easy access to coffee supplies. Dedicate a space next to the coffeemaker where you’ll keep the coffee, mugs, beans, and other supplies. You can even keep your travel mugs near this space within reach when you’re running out the door. If there’s little room on the counter, hang hooks on the wall to keep coffee mugs and travel mugs out of the way.
Tackle The Trash And Recycling
There’s nothing worse than having trash and recycling all over your kitchen. Keep these items concealed in dedicated cabinets. The perfect place for the trash and the recycling is next to the sink since that’s the most convenient location for the trash to be in.
The recycling will follow the same pattern as it needs to be rinsed out and ready to go outside in the bins.
Keep The Family Organized
A kitchen is a great place for you to have a center of communication for your family. This is where a bulletin board can be placed with important documents. A calendar listing all of the family’s activities and appointments can be hung for everyone’s reference. This area make use of a small space that would otherwise be wasted in your kitchen. It also serves a dual purpose in keeping the family organized.
Small changes can make a big difference in the kitchen when it comes to clutter, storage, and organization. Once you get started, keeping the clutter at bay can be very easy.
If you’re a first-time buyer, odds are you’ve never seen or heard much about mortgage applications. However, for something as important as buying a home, it pays off to go into the process knowing what to expect.
Mortgage applications aren’t all that complicated in and of themselves. Most of the time, your chosen lender will walk you through the process and answer any questions that arise. However, complications do arise when it comes time to provide documentation on things like your income.
To make things easier for your first application, I’ve put together this list of frequently asked questions that first-time buyers often have about their mortgage application process.
Will applying for a mortgage hurt my credit score?
Mortgage lenders will run a credit inquiry to help determine your lending eligibility. There are two types of credit inquiries: hard and soft. A soft inquiry is a quick credit check that doesn’t affect your credit score. A hard inquiry, on the other hand, does. This means your score will be lowered slightly for a few months and then will bounce back.
Mortgage lenders run both types of inquiries. For quick, pre-qualifications, lenders typically run a soft inquiry. Then, as you progress through the approval process, they’re run a detailed credit report (hard inquiry).
What information should I have available?
Lenders will ask you for various documents. The most common things they will ask for include proof of income in the form of W-2 forms from the previous year and your most recent pay stub. They will also require a record of your other debts, including student loans, auto loans, credit card debt, and any other outstanding debt that you owe. Finally, they will ask for an inventory of your assets. This could include investments, properties, auto titles, and more.
What if I don’t work a conventional job?
People who are self-employed or have unconventional income can still qualify for a loan and will still be required to show proof of income. Lenders may ask for Form 1099 records, tax returns, or any other record or proof of income you have available.
How long does it take to complete an application?
Mortgage applications can be completed as quickly as you gather the required documentation. However, there’s more to getting approved for a mortgage than filling out an application. There will be time needed to process the application, and underwrite your mortgage. This entire process typically takes between 30 and 45 days.
Is it safe to apply for a mortgage online?
Most lenders allow you to start the application process online and their online portals are typically secure. Make sure you check your browser window to ensure that the connection to the site is secured, and you should have nothing to worry about.
Keep in mind that most online applications are designed to get you prequalified and on your way to getting a mortgage. So, if you want to avoid getting calls from the lender, you might not want to enter any data until you know you’re interested in borrowing at this time.
While home ownership can be a very satisfying and rewarding experience, it does bring with it a new set of responsibilities and demands. Whether you're buying a brand new home or a fixer-upper, several things will have a major impact on your lifestyle.
One of them is the need is to personally handle or manage your own repairs, decorating, and home improvements. In many cases, you can (and should) hire a professional to do the actual work, but there are a lot of projects you can do more cost-effectively on your own.
The first one that comes to mind is interior painting. If you want to keep your home looking fresh, well maintained, and visually appealing, repainting your walls and ceilings every few years is a necessity. How often you need to break out the paint brushes, rollers, and drop cloths depends on several factors. For example, some rooms are subjected to more wear and tear than others. Bedroom walls, hallways, and bathrooms often seem to need the most attention, but kitchens, family rooms, and other areas of the home are usually not far behind.
If you've been noticing that one or more of your rooms are starting to look scuffed, faded, or dull, then it may be time to roll up your sleeves and give those walls a fresh coat of paint! It always makes a dramatic difference in the look and feel of that room, and it typically can be completed in less than a day -- especially if you team up with an energetic spouse, friend, or family member. If you're focused and organized, a room-painting project can often be completed by lunchtime. (Depending on who's providing the help, however, you might be expected to provide lunch!)
When procrastination is a problem, taking small steps will often help you gather momentum and keep moving forward on your painting project. An easy, but necessary first step is to pick out and bring home an assortment of color samples from your local hardware or paint store. Holding them up to your walls and seeing whether they complement existing furniture, flooring, and decorating schemes will help you choose a color you'll be satisfied with.
If you're not ready to tackle the project right away, you can still purchase the paint, rollers, and other supplies. Assuming you're not going to postpone the project indefinitely, you'll be a lot more likely to get started in the near future if the supplies are already in the house. You'll be streamlining the process and nudging yourself to get the job done soon by purchasing the painting supplies and having them close at hand.
While motivating yourself to do projects around the house may sometimes seem to be the biggest hurdle to clear, starting small and gaining momentum as you go is often an effective way to keep your home looking its best at all times!