Updated: Friday, April 03, 2020

Home Improvement Projects to Tackle During the Quarantine

Youre working from home, which means youre bored, and youre looking for stuff to do. If you own your home, that stuff probably means home improvement projects. Weve got tips on what to tackle during the quarantine.

Do an even deeper clean than usual

It is spring, after all. This year, in addition to annual spring cleaning list, add a few tasks that are specifically intended to kill germs and improve the air quality in your home.nbsp;

Its best to check if your cleaning materials are in the list of approved products >

Its also a good time to change your air filters and opt for a better quality than you typically get. They wont prevent coronavirus, according to experts. Your typical HEPA filter is not going to be able to remove coronavirus from the air, Dr. Erin Sor>

But, they can help keep dust and pollen away, which is important for household members who have allergies and breathing issuesif you buy the right ones.

Regular HVAC filters are intended to protect the equipment, not your lungs and sinuses, said Airista. While ordinary furnace and ac filters do help to remove some dust from the air when changed regularly, they do little to trap the microscopic particles that cause the sneezing and wheezing of allergy season. Thats why you need special air filters for allergies that are designed to stop those tiny particles. They are called high energy particulate air filters or more commonly, HEPA filters. Because HEPA filters are made from densely packed layers of glass fibers instead of paper, the best ones are able to trap more than 99 percent of pollen, dust and smoke particles and keep them out of the air you breathe every day.

After youve identified that your filter is HEPA, look for the MERV rating. HVAC HEPA air filters for allergies are rated on how well they block particles of different sizes. The rating system is called the minimum efficiency reporting system, or MERV. The ratings range from MERV 1 to MERV 12, with the higher number indicating filters that are capable of removing the smallest particles, including many species of pollen.

Paint

Have some leftover paint around the house? Touch up those walls and baseboards. If not, home improvement stores are still open if youre able to get out and, if you do, be sure to abide by the appropriate social distancing rules and take proper safety precautions. Walmart also has paint, so you can pick up a couple of cans when youre getting groceries or other necessities.nbsp;

A fresh coat of paint will refresh your space and also make it feel newwhich you probably need right about now.

Clean out your closets

Face it: Even the most organized among us can have a messy closet, and now is the time to make it right, said Curbed. Start by taking everything out of the closet, purging whats no longer used, and cleaning the interior. If its a clothes closet, sort your clothes by category and be sure to hang delicate items and stack thicker things like denim. Put your most-used items at the front, while seasonal or ra>

Build a garden

Not only will it give you something to do, but also something to eatwhich can come in handy if the quarantine period goes on for an extended period of time. Fast-growing vegetables likes arugula,nbsp;lettuce,nbsp;radishes,nbsp;spinach, andnbsp;turnips can go from seed or seedling to harvest size innbsp;40 days or less, said The Creative Vegetable Gardener.

Stick to projects that are not super labor intensive or that will take a long time

Getting projects taken care of in this interesting time is about making smart choices. Someone in the family could get sick, or you could be called back to work sooner than expected. You probably dont want an unfinished project when its time to get back to regular life.nbsp;

Limit the products you need

You could run into supply chain issues, backorders, or delivery issues with your renovation, which could delay or derail your project.nbsp;


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Ask the HOA Expert: What's The Difference Between The CC&Rs And The Rules And Regulations?

Answer: CCamp;Rs stands for "Covenants, Conditions amp; Restrictions". CCamp;Rs include the Declaration, Bylaws, Rules, Regulations, Policies and Resolutions.

As far as standing up in court, no one can predict the outcome of a judge or jury decision. But the board has a responsibility to make sure all rules, regulations and policies are in writing, distributed to all owners and residents and easily accessible when needed website recommended for 24/7 access. If the HOAs rules are fair and uniformly enforced, most judges will rule for with the board.

Question: I am an HOA treasurer and have been attempting to implement spending controls. We have two board members who regularly purchase items for the HOA and want to be reimbursed. My concern is that expenditures are unpredictable and hard to track. Ive proposed that all expenditures by these individuals must be for budget approved line items. This was rejected by the board as being too restrictive. What do you think is a reasonable policy?

Answer: It sounds like your HOA has a long history of directors spending money as they saw fit. Your well intentioned controls were predictably not well received by the Old Guard. The first question that comes to mind is: Has the old routine caused budget overruns? If yes, you have a sound basis for your controls. If no, you may be making much ado about nothing.

That said, it is not common for random directors to routinely spend the HOAs money. In self managed HOAs, the president and treasurer generally handle payments, occasionally reimbursing a director for an HOA expense that cant wait for the normal payment process. Ideally, if you have a hired manager, all expenditures should be routed through the manager. It is much easier to hold an employee or contract manager accountable than a fellow director.

Your biggest obstacle doesnt seem to be opposition to good financial management practices, but perception that such is not needed. Getting a barge to change course takes time. Continue to press for change. The board has a fiduciary duty to run HOA business in a business-like way.

Question: I recently took over professional management of an HOA which has over 70,000 of unpaid water bills. The water department has threatened to shut off service within 48 hours. The board directed me to impose a special assessment of 1000 per unit without a meeting or member vote. Can an emergency special assessment be imposed without member approval?

Answer: You need to read the governing documents to see what authority the board has to raise special assessments. Even if the board has authority to do so, proper and reasonable notice must be given to the members and time to raise the cash.

If a special assessment requires approval of the members, a member meeting needs to be called with advanced written notice. The meeting must have a legal quorum and a legal majority vote as defined by the governing documents. You may be able to pull this off by mail in ballot if your governing documents allow it. But none of this could possibly take place within 48 hours.

The board needs to make immediate and adequate payment arrangements for the water bill, perhaps by getting a short term loan from the bank. Or, you might be able to get the water department to leave the water on if money is on the way special assessment or loan. But they will, no doubt, want to see the written evidence letter from bank, copy of special assessment notice, etc..

The bigger question is, if this HOA has allowed things to get so bad that basic utilities cant get paid, what other fires are you going to find that they want you to put out? This crisis didnt happen overnight and the board likely has others waiting in the wings. Unless you are getting paid extra to deal with these special circumstances, you need to seriously evaluate whether this is an account worth your time.

Question: Our professional manager is pandering to certain board members and ignoring policies passed by the board majority. How do you keep a manager from getting involved with Board politics?

Answer: The board president has primary authority over the manager and should speak to the manager directly and plainly about this problem. Most managers are only trying to please or do their job. It may be a simple misunderstanding. If, however, there is conscious subterfuge and unwillingness to change, the matter should be addressed directly with the management company owner. If change isnt forthcoming, the president should recommend to the Board that there be a change in management company.

On the other hand, if the manager is kowtowing politically to board president who is abusing her authority, the remaining directors need to have a heart to heart with the president. All officers serve at the pleasure of the board. If one is exceeding authority, the board can remove and replace that person with another director who wont.

Question: Our bylaws indicate that expenses are shared equally. We have one and two bedroom units that vary significantly in size. Dividing expenses equally seems unfair. Can we simply vote to change it? If so, how many need to vote in favor of it?

Answer: Occasionally, developers propose an expense allocation like the one you describe. Its easier to calculate but clearly overlooks disparity in size and value. When there is substantial difference in square footage, the norm is to allocate expenses according to a units square footage as a percentage of the total units square footage. In that case, the expense share may range, for example, from 2 to 5 depending on unit size.

When developers ignore the unit size issue, the inequity usually becomes apparent after turnover. Then, those that feel they are carrying a bigger share than they should lobby to "fix it". The problem is that fixing it requires 100 consent from those that will pay more and those that will pay less. In this regard, individual owners have the protection against a majority foisting its financial will on the minority whenever it sees fit. Its different when it comes to a rule that applies to everyone, like No Pets. A majority could vote to eliminate pets but the same rule would apply to everyone.

If a majority of the owners were allowed to change the expense allocation formula without this 100 requirement, theoretically 51 of the owners could pass an amendment that would force 49 of the owners pay 100 of the expenses. So expense allocation is one area that absolutely requires 100 consent of those affected. While its theoretically possible to achieve if 100 are willing, people are people and there is usually someone that refuses to budge.

Bottom line listen up developers, the expense allocation formula needs to be fair from the get-go. After turnover, its too late to change.

Question: One of our homeowners wants to start an HOA newsletter. A few board members object to starting a newsletter because people dont read the minutes as it is, the board would need to review it and finding someone to do it consistently may be difficult. What say you?

Answer: Having a regular newsletter is not just a good idea, its a basic good management practice. To encourage readership, the newsletter should be worth reading and provide information that all members need to know. If certain members dont choose to read it, thats up to them. The HOA should not withhold information because of it.

The board secretary generally previews the newsletter for content and accuracy. This doesnt take much time for a two to four page newsletter more than ample for most HOAs.

Newsletters do not need to be long and involved, just timely and >

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Jimmy Fallon Inspires Renewed Interest in Interior Slides

Of course, Fallons home may be slightly different than ours. From what we have been able to see on The Tonight Show at home, a pared-down version of his weeknight show that has been a family affair, with his kids and wife participating, the home is as interesting as he is. It has a slew of eye-popping features, including a rustic wood staircase, wallpaper that resembles birch bark, paneled walls, and an indoor slide.nbsp;

Yes, a slide.nbsp;

It made an appearance during the show after Fallon said goodbye to viewers and made his exit.nbsp;

Thats right, said Yahoo. It turns out the late-night host has a full-blown, tubular slide inside his home, which he can apparently use to travel between rooms. The reveal took many Twitter users by surprise, mainly because Fallon made absolutely no reference to the feature during his monologue.

In light of this momentous reveal, weve decided to take a look at some other indoor slides around the world. From taking center stage in swanky Manhattan penthouses to providing the fun secret way to get from the laundry room to the basement in Minnesota, these playground pieces are anything but childs play, said Houzz.

Perhaps no residential slide is as famed as the one at Skyhouse, a penthouse apartment in lower Manhattan. Perks of the pad include a four-story open living room, glass walking bridge, a climbing column and a stainless steelnbsp;slidenbsp;that snakes through each floor, said HuffPost.nbsp;

New York Architect David Hotsonnbsp;built the tubular slide into the upper levels of an 1896 skyscraper, which had not previously been used as a residential space. Per Hotsons website, The entrance to a tubular slide, constructed from mirror-polished stainless steel, emerges through a circular hole cut in the seamless sloping glass partition at the south end of the Attic. The cylindrical helical slide flares to an ellipse which is sectioned on the angle of the inclined glass wall resulting in a circular opening where the slide emerges through the glass.nbsp;This circular opening creates an illusion of flatness contradicted by the sideways path of the slide as it begins its descent.

The slide even has windows that admit natural light from the dormer windows and provide fleeting vistas through the entire length of the penthouse.

This slide isnt just for transport; It helped transform a space with added function. Created by Seoul studio Moon Hoon in a South Korean house, the wooden slide is slotted into a combined staircase and bookshelf, said dezeen. The homeowners asked for various spaces where their four children could play, so the architects designed a house where different floors belong to different residents. The ground floor is dedicated to the children and includes the wooden staircase and slide. Open treads create bleacher->

Not all slides are quite as architecturally distinct. Rather than serving as a sculpture or major design statement, some slides are surprises hidden in the walls, said Houzz. The basement rec-room fun begins with the trip down a level in thisnbsp;Minnesota home. This ones entry point is tucked away in a first-floor closet. The round opening does not give away what the slide experience will be, which builder Steve Kuhl describes as severe tubular craziness.nbsp;He estimates that installing anbsp;slide like this somewhere else would run from 2,500 to 5,000.

Sometimes, you can have both: an architecturally significant slide thats a showpiece on one floor and a hidden gem on another. Found in the Rainbow House in West London, from designer AB Rogers, this slide travels from an upstairs bedroom down into the wide-open living room. Even in the vibrant, yellow-and-white space, the sculptural metal slide is a standout. But the entry from upstairs isnt just demure; if you dont know its there, you might miss it. Instead of a typical slide opening, you instead get a trap door that, when closed, blends right into the patterned floor.nbsp;

Located in a fashionable London neighborhood, the vibrant Rainbow House by designernbsp;AB Rogersnbsp;is a traditional four-bedroom town home that was renovated in 2009 for maximum fun and personality. Wild prints, rainbow-colored spiral stairs, color-coordinated floors, conversation pits, and a bed that rotates 360 degrees are notable features, but the most fun by far is the slide linking a bedroom to the open-plan living room via a trap door in the floor.

We especially love this example by Archology because:

1. The slide is especially attractive, using timber in close collaboration with a makernbsp;skilled in the ideas of boat building, said Wood Solutions. This collaboration allowed the structure to benbsp;curved in both directions. This was achievednbsp;by using narrow strips of plywoodnbsp;that were then smoothed and finished with a hardwearing polish finish.
2. It exists side-by-side with the curved staircase, so you can pick and choose which mode of travel youd like every time you head down to the lower level.nbsp;


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How to Find Housing That Will Suit Your Pet's Needs Too

Check Local Ordinances and Homeowners Association Rules

When youre looking for a home, either rented or purchased, youll need to follow the rules of the community that youre entering. Most areas have general ordinances on cleaning up after your dog when you go for a walk. Theyll also have leash laws, and they might have other ordinances on what kinds of animals you can have. If you live in a condo or townhouse, you will also have a homeowners association, which will tell you whether or not you can have a pet at all. Before you buy or start renting, make sure you know all of the rules that you will be expected to abide by for the length of your stay.

Find a Pet-Friendly Realtor

If youre looking to find someone who knows the neighborhoods that youll be looking in, find someone who understands the needs of the type of pet that you have and knows the ordinances of the area. Realtors who are unfamiliar with your particular pet might say that a building in the backyard would be a great place for your goat, but if they dont actually know about what the animal needs, as well as the type of buildings that could house a goat, theyre just making guesses.

Tips For Finding a Pet-Friendly Apartment

When you want to find an apartment, you need to be aware that many apartments have no-pet policies, or they only allow certain types of pets. For instance, some apartments will allow cats but not dogs. Others will only allow dogs under a certain weight. If youre looking for an apartment, youll have a better chance of finding one if youre aware of their policy. But dont worry. There are plenty of housing options animal lovers can consider. You also need to be aware that you might have to show proof of vaccinations, and it might be wise to show that youre a responsible pet owner. If you have a current landlord, see if you can get a letter of recommendation that tells how you take care of your pet, cleaning up after it when it makes a mess.

Consider Your Pets Needs

When youre looking for a house or apartment, think about the amount of space that your pet will need now and in the future. If you have a puppy mastiff, he might only need a small space now, but in a very short time, hell need a large outdoor space where he can play. Youll also need to think about the materials used in the house. Animals have hooves, claws, and mouths, and youll need to either train them to avoid activities that can damage things like hardwood floors, or youll need to have materials that arent easily damaged.

Whether your pet is a cat, dog, pig, or snake, you love your animal. And it makes sense for you to find the housing that will fit your whole familys needs. Do some research, and youll find the perfect living situation that fits your budget and your life>
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Do You Really Skip Two Payments When Refinancing?

Sounds like a pretty good idea, doesnt it? Take a break from making this months mortgage payment plus skipping the next one? Who wouldnt want that? But lets take a closer look at what actually goes on with those payments during a refinance transaction.

First, lets understand that mortgage payments are made in arrears. Its the opposite of a rent payment. When renting, youre actually paying for the month youre about to live in. With a mortgage, youre paying for the month you just lived in. For instance, you make your mortgage payment on the first of the month, but the payment is for accrued interest from the previous month.nbsp;

You might have noticed this when you first bought and financed your home with an entry on your settlement statement noting prepaid interest and a range of dates. If you closed on the 25th of the month, the interest collected would be from March 25 March 31. That would amount to seven days of interest collected at your closing. But heres where the skip part comes in- because you made your first payment of seven days and because interest is paid in arrears, you dont have to make your first payment on the first of the next month because you already paid it at your closing. You paid seven days. You didnt really skip anything, you just paid it ahead of time.

Now look at a refinance. When your new lender seeks out a payoff from the old lender, the payoff amount will be the principal balance plus interest that has accrued for the current month. Lets look again at closing on the 25th. The payoff will include the outstanding loan balance plus unpaid interest. Because refinances require a three-day rescission period before funding, the loan would fund on three days later. In this example, the loan would fund three business days after the 25th. Borrowers have a right to change their minds for pretty much any reason whatsoever up until midnight on the third business day after signing closing documents. The rescission cant be waived, even if youre completely satisfied with your loan and wondering why theres a wait.nbsp;

If your refinance funds on the 29th for example, the payoff will include the outstanding loan balance from the old lender of 29 days and 2 days for prepaid interest for the following month. This is the two months worth of skipping payments. Yes, you did make your mortgage payments, its just not paid directly out of your pocket like a regular monthly payment. Instead, its included in your new loan amount. Borrowers certainly have the right to not include interest in arrears and prepaid interest in the final loan amount, but most do. Its your choice.

But if you hear of a loan officer talking to you about refinancing and the loan officer mentions you get to skip two payments, while it sounds good its really not the case. You made those two payments, just in a different way. Still, though, your pocketbook will feel a little heavier because you didnt have to make those two payments from your own bank account.


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5 Necessary Steps to Flipping a House

1. Research the Real Estate Market

Not every market is the best choice for flipping houses. For example, if youre starting off with just 10,000 that you can work with out of pocket, you probably shouldnt start flipping houses that are being listed in the millions. It wont work out well for you and youll end up with less than you started with. The general rule of house flipping is the less cash you have to work with, the less the house should cost overall. That means that the first two questions that you need to answer are:

How much cash are you starting off with?

nbsp;

What market can you afford to work with?

You need to know where the neighborhood that youre planning on working with sits on the scale of A to D. A neighborhood that is >

2. Set a Budget and a Plan

Youd be setting yourself up for failure if you went into this without a real plan. It doesnt have to be fancy or crazy, or even super in-depth. You need to know how much youll think the flip is going to cost you and how much youre going to make off of it. Also, make sure that youre never buying anything that has major problems that you wont be able to fix within your budget. For your first house, you want something that you can flip fast and easy.

3. Find the Right House

The next thing that you need to do is to find the right house to start your work on. Again, this is where the neighborhood >

4. Renovate

Here comes the part that you were expecting: the renovation. This is one of the most important parts of the process. Youll be on the clock working on the house all day and into the night since the faster you can flip the house, the more youll make. Add features that make the house feel homey. Add a skim coat to the walls to make everything last longer and to give it an appearance of quality. Every month that you spend working on the house youll lose money. You have to pay to taxes, bills, and insurance. Because of all of that, try to finish the home as soon as possible.

5. Get Ready to Sell

The final step of the process is thankfully the easiest. All you have to do now is sit back and get ready to sell the home. Its up to you to set the price that you want to sell it at. You want to sell it low enough to make sure that the house is >

Once youve done that, you can move on to bigger and better projects.

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How to Buy Your First Home

Set yourself up for success by using these five tips when buying a house:

Repair and Build Your Credit

This is a step that has to be done before you start negotiating rates and looking at houses. If you have a lot of debt to pay off you will need to start paying it off or find some way to repair your credit. You want a good credit score because that will allow you to get better rates on a mortgage.

If you do not own a credit card you will want to get a credit card. You can start out with a nice credit card for beginners that will not cost you anything. All you have to do is pay off the credit card monthly. Use it for purchases that you would normally make such as gas and rent. Instead of using your debit card or cash use your credit card and pay it off on time. nbsp;nbsp;

Down Payment

To buy a house most people need to take out a mortgage, which is a loan specifically meant to buy a house. Most people will not be able to pay 200,000 plus dollars in one payment so they take out a mortgage and pay that off throughout the years.

You are going to need some kind of down payment to get the mortgage that you want. Typically anywhere from a 15 to 20 percent down payment is what banks and lenders are looking for when issuing a mortgage. There are zero percent down mortgages but, as with any loans, there are pros and cons to them.

Find a Realtor

You do not have to have a realtor but a lot of people do not know a lot about home buying so they hire a real estate agent. There are perks of using a real estate agent such as not having to deal with a lot of the paperwork. Real estate agents are great if you are too busy to do all of the nitty gritty work of buying a house. They are also great if you are brand new and not really sure what to do.

Attend Open Houses

Having a realtor allows you to go to open houses that they are putting on. They can also give you places that have good homes that fit your personal preferences. This could include buying a new home versus a used home. Figure out if you want a large home with a yard or a small apartment in a quiet neighborhood.

If you dont have a realtor you will have to do some searching on your own. This could include using search engines to look for open houses.Driving around a neighborhood or town where you want to live is also a good way to find out what houses are for sale.

Sign Paperwork and Lock Down Rates

After you get approved and after you find a house this means a lot of signing paperwork. Look at what each place needs before you go and sign papers. You will need to bring different forms of identification and maybe some past bills for proof of residency and payment.

Having your information ready to go shows that you are on top of everything and this will help speed the process up and help you lock down low rates on mortgage payments. nbsp;

Buying a house is a lot of work and will not happen overnight. Start making some small changes in your life and start saving for your first home. Soon you will make your dream of being a proud homeowner a reality.


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Private Lending During the Coronavirus

Varying government agencies have taken similar steps to those during 1918s pandemic to quell the spread of the coronavirus; isolation, quarantine, use of disinfectants, and limitations of public gatherings. These measures seem to be the fastest way to rid the general population of this kind of virus. During these times, the economic effects are dramatic.

An article by Thomas Garrett, Assistant Vice President and Economist for the Federal Bank of St. Louis, written in 2007 examining the economic effects of the 1918 influenza pandemic, indicated an eerie parallel to todays world. Merchants in Little Rock stated their business had declined 40. Others estimated a decrease of 70. The only business in which there had been an increase in activity was the drug store.

One difference in the two pandemics seems to be that the one in 1918 was reactive, whereas the current one appears to be proactive. In 1918, not only were businesses hit hard by the isolations/quarantines of people, thus, few people to enter an establishment to conduct business, but the number of workers affected with the illness were tremendous; thus, the labor force and the income derived by them had decreased substantially. The current pandemic has, potentially, some advantages over the 1918 pandemic; countries around the world have taken the above mentioned steps in the early stages of todays pandemic. With todays internet, not available in 1918, many workers can work at home. Companies such as Amazon still make home and office deliveries. The proactive measures that the world is taking will, hopefully, curtail the coronavirus so that it is short lived and we all can get back to a >

Garrett points out that most of the evidence indicates that the economic effects of the 1918 influenza pandemic were short-term. Many businesses, especially those in the service and entertainment industries, suffered double-digit losses in revenue. Other businesses that specialized in health care products experienced an increase in revenues. Some academic research suggests that the 1918 influenza pandemic caused a shortage of labor that resulted in higher wages at least temporarily for workers.

How does this affect the private lending sector? In early February 2020, prior to the US Government implemented guidelines of ways to help eradicate the virus such as no public gatherings of more than 250 [since lowered to 100 and in some cases, 10], there was an ample supply of money flowing into private lending. In addition, the capital markets were healthy and hungry looking to place money in loans. The stock market was at an all time high of over 29,500. By March 20, 2020, the stock market dipped below 19,000, a loss of more than 35. Investors, as well as bankers, pulled back their appetite to place funds, as fear and concern pushed these would be providers of capital to sit on the sidelines, as most tumultuous markets make investors anemic.

In addition, although Federal Funds Rates are at near zero, many large banks have, for the most part, stopped accepting loan applications. Most banks will honor their commitments to fund loans that were already approved, but, until things settle down, they do not want to take what they consider, undue risk.nbsp;

The capital markets [those buying loans] have all but dried up. They did not slow down. They just stopped altogether.at least for now.

Private lenders are lowering LTVs and charging higher points and interest as the supply of money has shrunk. Private lending companies derive most of their capital from individual investors. Many of these investors are skittish during uncertain times. When the supply of money seemed to be endless, especially in California, rates and points charged were at historic lows [in the private lending community]. The demand for loans, however, has not been dramatically affected yet. The reason for this is that the supply of money provided by conventional lenders has diminished. Since conventional lending makes up the majority of capital available to lend, this factor has more than made up for the slower demand of loans needed. Although some borrowers have cancelled their applications for loans due to uncertainty, there always seems to be a need to serve the borrowing community. People still move, loans come due, refinances as rates drop still occur and these loan requests need a home.nbsp;

Individual investors are demanding an increase in yield even at historically low rates. This could be due to these investors attempting to take advantage of the low supply of money available for loans. It also could be that these investors remember when they were able to command a higher yield during uncertain times such as the Great Recession starting just 12 years earlier; however, the predominant reason is most likely due to the unknown of how this virus will play out in the real estate market in an almost certain recession that will occur. These investors will demand a lower loan to value on the loans they are making in addition to a higher interest rate. Private lending companies that previously sold to the capital markets will also have to pay their investors a higher rate to attract money; thus, they will have to charge the borrower a higher rate. They will most likely also increase their spread at what they charge the borrowers as compared to what they pay their investors. Quality loans will be in demand for these companies. Loans that may have been marginal from a risk/reward standpoint just a few months ago will be turned down by many lenders.

If Garrett is right about a short lived economic impact due to a pandemic, there is a window of opportunity for those investors willing to lend. Due diligence will be very important, and investors should not presume that a recession is not prolonged. Conservative underwriting will be the law of the land and lower loan to values will be the benchmark. As one private lending company pointed out, there is always money to be made in real estate; one just needs to be prudent. So far, the number of illnesses and deaths worldwide have been >


Edwardnbsp;Brownnbsp;is in the Investor >
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March Real Estate Roundup

Freddie Macs results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that "The Federal Reserves swift and significant efforts to stabilize the market were much needed and helped mortgage rates drop for the first time in three weeks. Similar to other segments of the economy, real estate demand is softening. However, the combination of the Feds actions and pending economic stimulus will provide substantial support to the mortgage markets."

30-year fixed-rate mortgage FRM averaged 3.5 percent with an average 0.7 points for the week ending March 26, 2020, down from last month when it averaged 3.51 percent. A year ago, at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 4.06 percent.

15-year FRM this week averaged 2.92 percent with an average 0.6 points, down from last month when it also averaged 3.00 percent. A year ago, at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 3.57 percent.

5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage ARM averaged 3.34 percent this week with an average 0.3 points, up from last month when it averaged 3.24 percent. A year ago, at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 3.75 percent.


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How to Buy a House Right Now

These are uncertain times, to be sure. But those same low rates that are driving refis are also attracting homebuyers. The 30-year fixed mortgage rate hovers above 3 percent, the lowest that it has been in nearly 50 years, Andrina Valdes, executive sales leader and CEO ofnbsp;Cornerstone Home Lending, Inc., told Apartment Therapy. The lower the mortgage rate, the lower a monthly mortgage payment is likely to be. So, anyone whos on the fence and thinking about buying a home could really benefit right now by purchasing at a record-low rate.

The truth is, there are still homes on the market. There are still people who need to sell. And there are still people who need or want to buy. If youre one of them, youre probably wondering how to go about it. iBuyers have largely shut down enti>

So how can you buy something you cant see? Its time for technology to take over. This time the use of technology may have a significant part to play in how the housing market can try and continue in a normal fashion, said Bindi Norwell, chief executive of thenbsp;Real Estate Institute of New Zealand on One Roof.

That means that your house tour will probably be virtual. Agents are embracing the tech available to them to bring homes to buyers since they cant bring buyers to homes.nbsp;nbsp;

As an alternative to in-person viewings, some agents are turning to tech, offering buyers virtual tours, said the New York Times. The NYC-based Ideal Properties Group launched a virtual listing viewer called Showings on Demand.nbsp;

Individual real estate agents have followed suit. Kendyl Young, Broker/Owner at Glendalenbsp;DIGGS, just held a Facebook Live Open House for her new restored Post and Beam, mid-century modern listing near Brand Park in Glendale, with plans to do more. Ill show you around the space and take your direction, she said on Facebook. Want me to show you a particular room? I will. Missed the part where I showed off the family room? Tell meIll go back. A close up of the super cool family room fireplace wall? Illnbsp;get closer. You are the PUPPET MASTER and I am at your direction.

Its all part of being able to adapt to clients needs during this time.nbsp;

Buying a home will always be a very human experience, but we need to adapt to this crisis, she told us. Physical showings are not safe, and we can marry technologies like 3-D scans, Webb meetings, and video conferencing to provide a pretty reasonable virtual experience. We must find ways to serve our clients while staying safe.nbsp;

Elle Jones of Keller Williams Harma Real Estate team is showing her new San Fernando Valley, CA listing, among others, via FaceTime. If youd like to view a house, Im happy to go by and do a FaceTime walk through for you, she posted on Facebook. If youd like to see my Newlisting in ShermanOaksnbsp;even better Lets get through this together


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Four HOA Reserve Fund Investment Hurdles

Hurdle 1: Failure to use the Reserve Study or not having one in the first place. Homeowner association boards have the duty to conduct long range planning to identify common elements, their current condition, their useful lives and current cost of repair or replacement. This exercise is called a Reserve Study. Some boards believe that a reserve study provides little benefit except to point out the obvious.

These same boards either elect not to pay the cost of one or put the one they have in a file to gather dust. Both approaches are foolish because without a clear road map to follow, the board is bound to get lost in the maze. Properly funding reserves for the standard 30 year projection period could amount to many hundreds of thousands of dollars. Larger HOAs with extensive common elements should reserve millions.

Failure to fund reserves adequately results in unfair and sometimes uncollectible special assessments. Prudent investment of reserve funds could partially offset member contributions and reduce the risk of special assessments.

Hurdle 2: Failure to understand investment choices. Some boards are under the impression that FDIC insured money market accounts or CDs are the only alternatives for reserve fund investments. There are a number of alternatives. State laws vary but in Oregon, for example, HOAs are limited to direct investment in issues of the federal Government and/or FDIC bank accounts or CDs. HOAs are not permitted to invest in municipalities, mutual funds or indirect investments investments to which the investor does not directly hold title, such as mutual funds, limited partnerships and Real Estate Investment Trusts. Non-FDIC insured money market accounts are not to be used for homeowner association reserve investments by law. This creates an opportunity to invest in longer term federal bonds. As of the writing of this article, the going rate of a10 year government bond is around 2.91compared with bank checking accounts that average around 0.5. This increased yield could go a long way to reducing the need for a special assessment. The challenge with investing in 10 year bonds is determining how much should be invested in them. Fortunately, the Reserve Study is very useful in determining the short and long term reserve cash needs.

Hurdle 3: Failure to utilize the Reserve Study when selecting investments. The first step in considering higher yielding investment opportunities is to put that Reserve Study to work. The Reserve Study can be used to match the repair schedule with the investments. This allows combining shorter term/lower yield CDs with longer term/higher yield Treasury Bills. This type of investment strategy is called a Duration Study. Even though a Duration Study costs money to perform, the extra interest return that can be earned by matching the investment duration to your specific HOA is well worth it. Duration studies and the investment mix need to be redone every time a Reserve Study is updated.

Hurdle 4: Not hiring a fiduciary. Regardless of how the board chooses to invest the HOAs Reserve Funds, time, expertise and professional ability are needed to manage them properly. It is in the boards interest to find someone that has the HOAs well being at heart, such as an investment advisory company that is a fiduciary to the board. By better managing your reserve funds, you avoid the hurdles described and improve reserve investment yields. Leave the hurdling to the track stars. Use a trained financial consultant to optimize your reserve fund investments.

For more innovative homeowner association management strategies, see Regenesis.net.


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Cabinet Styles Perfect for Different Types of Kitchen

The kitchen is the heart of the home. This place is one of the most favorite places of moms, and for them, it is important to maximize the kitchen space so as to represent their personality and to serve their culinary needs efficiently.nbsp;

Whether the space is big or small, there are definitely plenty of ways to spice up the kitchen and do all their duties without the hassle With that, it is important to select a suitable type of furniture for your kitchen.nbsp;

So, without further ado, lets take a look at the list of cabinets recommended for the various types of kitchen:

  • Shakernbsp;
  • Shaker cabinets are recommended for kitchens that are square and quite smaller in size. It is known for its simplicity with its basic hardware and recessed panel doors positioned like a frame. The material for most shaker cabinets are made from hardwood and are painted with a distressed finish for a traditional vintage look.nbsp;

  • Insetnbsp;
  • Inset cabinets are composed of an inset->

  • Flat-panel
  • Flat-panel cabinets are best for people who prefer a minimalist kitchen design. These cabinets make use of hard lines and are frameless in structure. This type of design fits most modern kitchens, especially white ones. This is also preferable for kitchens with smaller spaces as they are built in a simple but stylish way.

    nbsp;

  • Louvered
  • Louvered kitchen cabinets are usually made up of wooden horizontal slats. This is commonly used for windows and laundry areas but is now being adapted into kitchen cabinet designs as it offers enough ventilation for utensils and items being stored in a cabinet. This type of design is most suitable for kitchens with large spaces for a more stylish look.nbsp;

    nbsp;

  • Custom
  • For home-owners that are unsure of what type of cabinets suit their kitchen, there is always an option to have them customized. You may contact local interior designers or anbsp; craftsperson to help you ideate and implement the design suitable for your taste, kitchen space, budget, and overall home design.nbsp;

    Choosing a type of cabinet for your kitchen is highly dependent on the size of your kitchen, home design, and your spending budget. Other factors to consider would be the durability and material of your cabinets.nbsp;

    While it may seem to be a less priority, taking time to think about your kitchen cabinet designs will su>

    nbsp;


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    Top Tips for Working From Home

    But working from home takes a certain kind of discipline. And flexibility. And finesse. Especially if your spouse is also working from home and your kids are out of school. If youre new to this, we have a few tips that will help it go smoothly.nbsp;

    Eat and drinkthe right stuff at the right time

    Its easy to get caught up in work and forget to eat or get enough water during the day. Its also easy to take too many trips to the kitchen for snacks, and, before you know it, your healthy habits are going down in a hail of potato chips. Stocking up on healthy food and limiting the high-fat, high-sugar, high-calorie snack foods can help you resist temptation.

    Build in exercise

    Working from home means youre out of your regular pattern, which means youre not getting to the gym. You may also find yourself sitting for longer periods while at home without the normal daily office realities of meetings and trekking to different parts of your workplace. There are tons of ways to get in a workout from homeespecially now, since a number of gyms and fitness experts have put their workouts online. Many of them are also free.nbsp;

    Entrepreneur suggests you take walking meetings when you can.nbsp;If you have a phone call that you dont need to be in front of a computer to take, pick up your Bluetooth headphones and getnbsp;outside. Its great for your muscles, your heart, your happinessnbsp;and your overall well-being.nbsp;

    Be one with the mute button

    It might be cute one time to hear the dog or kids in the background, but you dont want to make a habit of it, especially if youre in for a prolonged working-from-home situation. Even small noises that you think nothing of, like ruffling papers, can be amplified over a cell phone. Get used to hitting mute when youre on calls from home to eliminate the background noise and you wont have to worry about your three-year-old announcing she just went pee-pee in the potty while youre on a call with your boss and 10 other executives.nbsp;

    Designate a work-only space

    This may be easier said than done. In some homes, there just isnt a dedicated home office or even a bedroom with a door you can close. You may find yourself having to work at the kitchen table or in the backyard just to get a little privacy. If you can, however, find a private space you can make your own while youre working from home. It can increase productivity and also allow you to separate work from life so, when you shut the door at the end of the day, you can be present for your family.

    Get dressed in the morning

    Or dont. Its totally up to you. Many people who work from home feel it makes them more productive if they get up, take a shower, and change into work-appropriate clothes. Others think working in their jammies is the best thing ever We tend to agree. The trick to successfully working from home is figuring out what works for you.

    Make a schedule

    Set a schedule, and stick to it...most of the time, said PCMag. Having clear guidelines for when to work and when to call it a day helps many remote workers maintain work-life balance. That said, one of the benefits of remote work is flexibility, and sometimes you need to extend your day or start early to accommodate someone elses time zone. When you do, be sure to wrap up earlier than usual or sleep in a bit the next morning to make up for it. Automatic time-tracking apps, such asnbsp;RescueTime, let you check in on whether youre sticking to your schedule. They can also help you figure out what times of day youre most productive versus when you slack off. You can use that information to your advantage by reserving your hours of high focus for your most important tasks.

    Give yourself a break

    Set an alarm to get up once an hour, stretch, and walk around the house for a few minutes. Know your companys policy on break times and take them. If youre self-employed, give yourself adequate time during the day to walk away from the computer screen and phone, said Buzzfeed.

    Be social

    Working from home can feel isolating, especially if you get energy from your regular workspace and colleagues. One undeniable loss is the social, casual water cooler conversation that connects us to people, said NPR. To fill the gap, some co-workers are scheduling online social time to have conversations with no agenda. Use Slack chats and things like that if you miss real-time interaction.

    Inc. has a few good ideas for how to be social during your break time. Walk around your home while chatting on the phone with a friend. Move to a separate areaaway from your emailto eat lunch for 30 minutes. Breaking up the day and moving your body enables you to refresh and can increase your productivity when you return to your work. When the weather is nice, I like to do conference calls while taking a walk outside.


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    Coronavirus and Real Estate: The Latest News

    Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and HUD suspend foreclosures

    Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been directed to suspend foreclosures and evictions for at least 60 days due to the coronavirus national emergency, said the Federal Housing Finance Agency FHFA.nbsp;

    This announcement comes on the heels of the Presidents press conference, during which he proclaimed that the Department of Housing and Urban Development HUD would suspend evictions and foreclosures until the end of April. The effort is geared at stabilizing the housing market and avoiding a repeat of the spike in foreclosures witnessed in the 2008 financial crisis, housing experts said, according to CBS News.

    According to Denver-based real estate attorney Jeff Friedman of national law firm Hall Estill, this action by the government could protect homeowners at a critical time and ward off a potentially disastrous economic downturn.nbsp;

    "Its no surprise that the coronavirus is wreaking havoc throughout our markets and the economy, he said. But, the CFPB, HUD, and FHFA have reached an elegant solution to an enormous problem at a critical phase in our nations current circumstances. In a typical down real estate market, the daisy-chain, domino-effect reaction goes as follows: apartment renters lose their jobs or take significant pay cuts and can no longer afford to pay their rent; owners collect less rent and cannot make their debt service payments to their lenders; and lenders are not collecting enough on the debt service, with their loans now on distressed real estate assets. Evictions and foreclosures follow, with distressed assets available to vulture buyers. Here, however, the CFPB, HUD, and FHFA have stopped this process before it starts, giving renters and financial institutions the opportunity to address claims through a dispute resolution mechanism administered by the CFPB.

    Bank of America announces mortgage payment pause

    We talked last week about the possibility of a mortgage holiday in the United States after Italy announced it would suspend mortgage payments, and now Bank of America is the first institution to make it a reality.nbsp;

    The bank announced additional support for consumer and small business clients experiencing hardship from the impact of the coronavirus. Included among those support options is the ability to defer mortgage payments, said HousingWire. According to the bank, Bank of America mortgage and home equity customers can request to defer their payments while the virus crisis rages. The payments would then be added to the end of their loan. According to the bank, the payment deferral will be available on a case-by-case basis and can be extended on a month-to-month term.

    President considers mortgage holiday

    The Trump administration is considering a plan to allow homeowners whose income was cut by the coronavirus to delay mortgage payments. Still to be decided is a mechanism for borrowers to catch up, said Bloomberg. The government also will have to determine how to advance money to mortgage servicers so that investors in mortgage-backed securities get their guaranteed payments.nbsp;

    Homeowners impacted by disasters in the past have been able to take advantage of forbearance programs. Per Bloomberg, The White House has been in touch with mortgage lenders to discuss their views on policy responses, according to an official who requested anonymity to speak about internal matters.


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    Isolation Opportunities

    Whats a real estate professional to do now?

    Your professional and personal worlds have been upended and they promise to continue changing dramatically over the next weeks and months.
    Even if you are not in self-isolation to help slow the spread of COV-19 virus, many connections and networks in your workplace and in the community have been temporarily severed by closures and social distancing policies like sheltering in place.
    The worldevery media outlet, online and off, and almost everyoneis super distracted by COV-19. Collective and individual attention has shifted to worrying about what to do about whatever happens next.
    Lots of voices are telling youand everyone elsenot to panic, but are you listening to that cool reasoning in this time of large-scale uncertainty? This may not be the time for a buy now or sell now marketing campaign, so what can you do to help yourself, clients, and your community calm down, refresh, and refocus?

    Dont be distracted by the commonality that the label global pandemic projects. The most dramatic changes are driven by a united effort to slow virus spread, but the experiences and impact of this global redesign remain very personal, individual experiences for each person, each family, each business.

    If you suddenly have free time, which would otherwise have been devoted to work, how can you turn that unexpected freedom into something beneficial? Whether you decide to invest time in your family, community, or in growing or redirecting your practice, this giant pause is an opportunity to apply your unique professional communication skills, real estate knowledge, and community connections:

    Real estate professionals who have spent a few years or decades in their community or selling a particular type of real estate, have accumulated impressive lists of past clients. The forced slowdown may offer time to contact these past buyers and sellers, investors or lessors to find out how they are weathering the crisis and its resulting isolation.nbsp;

    Instead of me>

    Ask how you can help and listen to their response. Some past clients may benefit from learning how loss of income can be dealt with without jeopardizing their mortgage, lease, or real estate. Others may welcome ideas on contacting resources in the community. Many may just want to chat with a friendly voice who is interested in them and is not selling anything.

    Stress has ramped up in many different ways, including through forced confinement and lack of social interaction.

    On the other extremewe love home but enough is enough when entire families are all at home at the same time for the whole day, week, month Additionally, layoffs and business closings are leaving many with financial worries.

    nbsp;Isolation does not have to be lonely or unproductive. What can you do to create or support shared experiences that respect social distancing, but let people laugh together? Have you seen videos of those under lockdown in Italy singing to each other from their balconies? In Spain, residents regularly give healthcare workers a balcony-version of a standing O Hi-rise neighbors joyfully engage in group exercises from their balconies. Many professionals are offering free webinars to help small business owners and entrepreneurs build skills while self-isolating. More and more are using connection platforms like Facetime and the free version of Zoom to safely share time with other isolated individuals and families over a meal, watching the same movie, learning a language

    Your knowledge of social media, effective communication, and your professional skills may combine well to sponsor a social-distancing event like a porch concert, an online real estate Q amp; A, how to webinars, a silly YouTube series, or. What would de-stress, amuse, or inspire your neighbors and past clients? Do what you do wellthink of others and their needs. Let people see you as the resourceful, committed individual you are.

    Life goes onpeople still need to move and many still want to buy a home, but?

    Have you studied the details for proper and fun hand washing, social distancing, and other health safety measures so you can safely show a home or assist sellers or buyers while reducing or eliminating virus exposure for all concerned?

    This may be the time for more and better video representation of listed homes. How could more be appreciated and better understood about each listing when viewing the online profile, videos, layout diagrams, photographs, seller testimonials?

    Helping buyers understand that you have visited all the potential homes they might consider. Using their specific buying criteria, youve professionallynbsp; evaluated each property in their price range and location. That means you can thoroughly present each property to them without having to take the buyers there. Instead of visiting dozens of homes, buyers can view all the listings in their chosen location and price range without having to leave the safety of their home. Help them narrow their choice to three buyable properties worth visiting.

    What have you always wanted to do but felt you never had time to dive into?

    Dont put this off any longer. If you have time on your hands now, heres your big opportunity. Indulge in fulfilling those interests and reduce stress and boost your immune system in the process. With a wealth of how to videos online, along with digital and phone access on a grand scale, theres no excuse not to start now with that exercise goal, creative outlet, guided >

    Our instinctive reaction when we see others in pain or under stress is to reach out and give them a hug. The darn virus has robbed us of this natural reaction, but dont let it win. Reach out in every other way to benefit yourself and others.

    Stay safe and healthy nbsp; nbsp;


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    1% Point, 1% Origination- What’s the Difference?

    There are some basic guidelines you should follow when getting rate quotes to make sure youre actually comparing apples and apples. For instance, you dont want to compare rates from different lenders for a 30 year and a 15 year program. The 15 year rate will be lower than a 30 but the payments will also be higher. In addition, how long would the quoted rate be food for? 30 day locks are a bit more expensive than a 10 day, for example. And finally, and certainly just as important, compare not just the rate but the fees associated with getting that rate.

    There are third party fees, which the lender wont really have any control over, and there are lender fees. Third party fees would be something like an attorney fee or title insurance. A lender fee would be an underwriting fee, processing or document fee. These fees the lender does have some control over. Two of the fees quoted might also be confusing- a 1 point and a 1 origination fee. Are they the same, just different language or are they different?nbsp;

    Theyre different.

    A point, commonly referred to as a discount point is expressed as a percentage of the amount borrowed. If the loan amount is 200,000, the 30 year rate at 4.00 with one point, the additional point would then be 2,000. Lenders offer various options among rate and fee combinations and quite frankly really dont care if you pay any points or not as the net to the mortgage company is essentially the same.

    nbsp;If you pay one point on a 30 year loan the quoted rate might be 0.25 lower compared to a loan without any points. Conversely, that same rate with no points will be higher than the one with points. Its completely up to you and your loan officer will be happy to provide you with a monthly payment and cost breakdown. In general, the longer you intend to keep the mortgage you may want to pay some in point to get the long term benefit. For short term financing options, dont pay any points while also exploring a no point, no fee program. Again, points are expressed as a percentage.

    So too are origination fees. An origination fee is a charge by the lender or broker for originating the new mortgage in the first place. The most expensive costs for lenders when finding and processing mortgage loans is the overhead of personnel.nbsp; Loan officers spend time and money establishing a consistent referral base and at closing there could be a 1.00 origination fee. Of course, this fee should be disclosed to you early on in the Cost Estimate. But while both the point and origination fee are expressed as a percentage, theyre for two totally separate functions.


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    5 Home Projects to Enjoy Your Outdoor Space all Year Round

    Having these kinds of spaces isnt always enough, however, if you arent able to use the space year round. Many homeowners who would otherwise want to invest in these types of spaces may end up putting it off, simply because they dont believe it will get enough use to be viable.nbsp;

    Thats why adding some features to an outdoor living space that can extend their use can be beneficial; it adds value to the area, and increases homeowner use and enjoyment. The following five projects are designed to help make an existing outdoor space more usable at any time of year.nbsp;

    Fire Pit or Outdoor Fireplace

    Fire pits and outdoor fireplaces make great focal points for any outdoor living space. They create a gathering point, and allow you to extend the use of the space into the evening hours as well as into the colder months of the year with the heat and light they provide.nbsp;

    Both of these features can add a lot of use and function to the area, but they are different in terms of operation and cost. A fire pit costs around 700 on average for a built-in model, or you can purchase a movable version for about 100. With a fire pit, you can gather around it on all sides, so it typically sits in the middle of your patio, which can mean its in the way when not in use.

    An outdoor fireplace can be more expensive, averaging 5,000 - 10,000 if you use a readymade insert. You can only gather in front of it, so its a little less versatile, but its also tucked out of the way, so you arent using up valuable real estate on the patio as well. They make good additions to spaces that have other built-in features like outdoor kitchens, because you can typically add on in >

    Hot Tub

    Hot tubs can be used in all kinds of weather and temperatures, including during the snow. This makes them a great addition to outdoor spaces where a pool might not get a lot of use, but a water feature could be attractive.nbsp;

    Hot tubs come in all shapes and sizes including some that can be sunk into the ground, some that can be placed on a deck or patio, and even some that can double as an endless exercise pool. Because of these many choices, youll also have a range of associated costs. The average hot tub installation will run around 6,925 for a tub that seats four people. Keep in mind that many hot tubs are heavy, so if you want to place it on the deck, you may need to have it inspected to ensure it can handle the weight, since there are many factors that go into determining whether or not a deck can handle the additional load.nbsp;

    Hot tubs can be located alongside pools or on patios easily, however, so even if the deck isnt the best place to install one, its possible to find a good location elsewhere.

    Sunroom

    Sunrooms blur the line between indoor and outdoor spaces. They can be three-season rooms with walls made of screens or they can be four season spaces with highly insulated windows. Regardless of type, they can usually be designed to create wide-open views so you can feel like youre outdoors even when you arent.nbsp;

    Sunroom additions have an ROI of just shy of 60, which means that they can add some value to the home, as well as recreation and enjoyment. Sunrooms cost between 35,000 and 55,000 for a three season room with fans and outlets. Costs do go up as you winterize and create a more year round space, with most four-season sunrooms topping out around 60,000 to 90,000. This is mostly due to the amount of insulation and tightly fitting windows that are required for the space.nbsp;

    Add Good Lighting

    Good lighting is important year round, particularly when you want to extend the use of your outdoor space into the evening hours. During the winter months, when the days are shorter this becomes even more important to the use of the space. Installing good landscape lighting to your patio, deck, or pool area can help make the space more functional while opening up more opportunities for things like entertaining.nbsp;

    Outdoor lighting should ideally be customized to the space youre using. For example, if you have walking paths, youll want to ensure theyre well lit, while patios and decks may need additional lighting near seating and doorways to ensure the space is safe and functional. Outdoor lighting can therefore have a fairly wide range of associated costs, with the average being about 3,800 for 20 outdoor lighting fixtures.nbsp;

    Consider an Awning

    Most people associate awnings with creating shade on a hot day, but they also have use year round as well. Awnings can offer some protection from the elements, which can help keep snow and ice off of decks and patios, extending the amount of time they can be used. This way, you wont have to spend as much time shoveling out an outdoor area on a nice winters day.nbsp;

    Not all awnings are going to work well for this; cloth awnings and those designed solely for providing shade may not be able to offer the protection you need. Look for aluminum awnings or have a custom, attached pergola with a solid roof added above your patio.nbsp;

    A metal awning installation can be installed for as low as 600 to 1,000, while an attached pergola with a roof can run around 3,000 to 6,000.nbsp;

    Get More from Your Outdoor Living Spaces

    Outdoor living is becoming more important not only to homeowners, but also their properties. And the more versatile the space is, the more use it will get. Add any of these projects to your existing outdoor space to increase its value and the amount of use that the area will get and start expecting more from outdoor living.nbsp;


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    Everything You Need to Know About Painting Stairs

    What you dont see are the off-screen bloopers. You dont see how often the paint color doesnt look right with the wall finish.nbsp;And dont see how long the job really took.

    Can we share a secret?

    Painting interior stairs isnt the hardest home improvement job, but its not as easy as the Property Twins make it look. Before you sand down your stairs and slap a coat of paint on, read this post. Youll find out everything you need to know about stair painting. nbsp;

    All About the Prep

    Doing the prep work may seem tedious, but without it, the paint wont adhere to the wood.

    Remove carpet and padding first, removingnbsp;any nails and staples left behind.nbsp;Get ready for lots of dust and debris carpets are messy and vacuum the area thoroughly.

    Next, you sand the treads steps until you have a clean, smooth surface. You can use either a belt sander or sandpaper. Keep in mind youll need to sand the corners by hand.

    Dont forget the risers and trim. Both need sanding before you start painting.

    Grab your vacuum and a few damp cloths and get rid of the sanding dust.

    Pick the Right Paint

    When choosing thenbsp;paint and stainnbsp;for your project, you have an array of options.

    For a weathered look, go with a light or medium tone stain. You could also choose a natural oil finish and leave out the stain altogether.

    Not everyone likes the stained look. If youve decided to paint stairs instead of staining, using a porch and floor paint will give you a durable, slip-resistant finish. Youll also have a huge selection of colors

    When selecting colors a dark color for the treads hides dirt. A light color for your risers adds a pop of visual definition. Consider color matching your tread and handrails and the risers to balusters.

    Painting Stairs in Order

    Yes, theres annbsp;order to painting stairs ideas. Of course, if you have a bit of rebel in you, do it in any order you like, but you may wish you hadnt.

    If youre refreshing handrails, do them first, followed by the balusters.

    Now, youre ready fornbsp;the steps and risers. Starting at the top of the staircase youll paint the underside of the nosing. Then paint the riser, followed by the tread.

    Skip a step. Continue the process, skipping a step each time. Painting every other step lets you use the stairs why your paint dries.

    Need a Stair Painting Professional?

    While we cant share everything you should know about painting stairs in this short post, you should have an idea of the main steps youll take to complete the job.

    If you prefer to enjoy the look of refinished stairs without doing the work,nbsp;call us today. Were happy to provide a free quote for your painting project.


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    Updated: Friday, April 03, 2020

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