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Updated: Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Barn Doors Aren’t Just Here To Stay. They’re Here To Slay!

And now were looking around our house trying to come up with the perfect spot to add another one.nbsp;

Barn doors.

Given the name and the fact that their initial popularity was propelled by the rustic doors on Fixer Upper, it would be easy to write them off as a fad. But the truth is you just never know when a trend will fizzle out or transform itself into something more.nbsp;

Barn doors are not just for farmhouses. Today youll find them acting as space-savers in sleek apartments and as dazzling details in mega-manses. You might think that barn doors are strictly fornbsp;farmhousesnbsp;hello,nbsp;Joanna Gaines, but believe it or not, this design element works beautifully in a variety of other spaces, said Elle Decor. Whether youre seeking to add anbsp;rusticnbsp;touch to anbsp;modern kitchennbsp;or need a tasteful way to divide areas in a room, sliding barn doors are a versatile design solution.


Creating privacy, adding a decorative accent, acting as a room separator, or allowing for better flow between spaces where a traditional door with a swing may not worka barn door can function in a number of ways.nbsp;

In a small space where every single inch counts, sliding barn doors come in handy, said Sebring Design Build. A well installed sliding barn door offers great space economy for whatever room you use it in. Of course, you need to have enough adjacent wall space for the barn door to slide over when it is opened. But this is often preferable to similarly space-saving pocket doors that require much more work to install or remove.

So many options

We love how these dual sliding doors were used in place of a more traditional solution to hide a pantry.nbsp;

These antique barn doors feature a varietynbsp;of mid to late 1800 French Colonial doors from Egypt. Theyre available in Mont Blanc, Notre Dame, and Versailles >

Who says you have to use natural wood tones for your barn door? We love the deep blue hue and immense stature of this door, which adds a sense of privacy to a sitting room in a modern farmhouse, said Elle Dcor.nbsp;

The skys the limit when it comes to materials. Clad in iron, this barn door looks right at home in this modern living room. And check out this leather door

This glass barn door is great for any place you need to create a separation without losing the light. Or go decorative with your glass, like in the master bedroom of this San Francisco home.nbsp;

You can also apply the barn door idea to your shower. This frameless shower door uses RollerDisk Technology with one fixed glass panel and another that slides over it on a top rail.nbsp;


Barn doors can range wildly in price. You can pay several thousand dollars for a custom job or a couple hundred dollars for a more budget version. You can also DIY a door from scratcha great solution when you have reclaimed wood you want to feature. We also love this DIY option that comes with the frame and all the hardware for just 98. Just add your slats

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Millie's Motion At The Annual HOA Meeting

But wait Millie, a longtime resident, rises to her feet and says "Madam President, Id like to propose a motion to amend the governing documents to eliminate renters. Im sick and tired of all the coming and going and lack of regard for us owners."

The president responds, "Millie, Ive had the same concerns. Do I hear a second?" A second comes from the back of the room and soon a lively discussion ensues about the pros and cons of renters.

Bill comments "This all seems a bit hasty and arent there federal Fair Housing regulations to consider?"

Mary, who rents her unit out, says "I just signed a one year lease with my tenant. What do you expect me do now? Besides, I bought the unit so I could rent it out. There were no restrictions against it."

Joe jumps to his feet, "Who cares? We need to get rid of those people. Lets change the rules and moveem out"

After much haranguing and gnashing of teeth, a vote is called for and a majority of 10 of the 19 present plus another 40 proxies held by the board president vote to eliminate rentals.

Many believe that the Annual Meeting is a place that the members can be heard and the system changed. While thats true to an extent, certain aspects of it must be handled properly to protect the rights of all members, particularly the ones that arent present. For that reason, no motions should be entertained that are not on the Agenda which has been distributed with the Annual Meeting Notice to all members. If HOA amendments or policy is to be voted on, all members must be informed ahead of time so they can participate in the discussion. Allowing someone to make spontaneous motions disenfranchises members that arent at the meeting. Its up to the board president to call such motions "out of order".

The easiest way to head off such spontaneity is to advise all members prior to the meeting when the Annual Meeting Agenda is being compiled and ask for any proposed amendments or policy changes by such and such a deadline. Add further that no motions can be entertained at the meeting itself unless they are on the Agenda and explained in enough detail so that all members understand what they are and the implications. Proposed amendments should always be reviewed by the attorney prior to voting.

Restricting motions does not mean that members are not allowed to speak their mind. Free speech helps the members to winnow through issues Encouraging this kind of discussion is good.

However, the proper response to Millies Motion should have been "Thank you for your suggestion Millie. Why dont you circulate a petition to all the members to see if there is strong support for restricting rentals? If there is, we can either hold a special meeting or vote on it at the next Annual Meeting. Does anyone else have anything they want to discuss before we move on to elections?"

Amending the governing documents or policy should never be done on the spur of the moment. There are few issues that are so urgent that cant wait for proper review and feedback by all members. If confronted by a Millies Motion situation, help guide the process to a thoughtful conclusion.

For more innovative homeowner association management strategies, subscribe to www.Regenesis.net

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Forbearance News: Borrowers Can Now Defer Payments Until The End Of Their Loan

The >

Previously, there was some question as to whether borrowers would have to make a lump sum payment at the end of their forbearance period or enter into some other type of agreement that would potentially increase their monthly payments.nbsp;nbsp;

Payment deferral is one of the repayment options, they said. Servicers will begin offering the payment deferral repayment option starting July 1, 2020. In addition to the new payment deferral option, borrowers with COVID-19 >

Up to 12 months of deferred payments can be added to the end of the loan term. The deferred sums to be repaid include principal, interest and escrow advances, said National Mortgage News. Borrowers will not have to make the missed payments in a lump sum.

And now for the bad news

There is one piece of not-so-good news >

The stimulus bill contained language that was meant to protect borrowers from credit issues >

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5 Tips to Save in Your Kitchen Remodel

Historically, the kitchen was once hidden away from the main house for several reasons, such as to reduce excessive heat and to control smells. Nowadays that is no longer the case. The kitchen has made its debut as an integral part of the home and perhaps the most important room, which is why many homeowners are looking to upgrade the space. In this article, we will explore tips to save in your kitchen remodel.nbsp;

Top Ways to Save in Your Kitchen Remodelnbsp;

The average cost of a kitchen remodel in the United States is between 8,500 to 25,000. The figure might seem a bit wide-ranging, but if you are looking for ways to pinch your pennies, then rest-assured that with frugal decisions, you can cut costs to keep the total amount in the lower end of the spectrum.nbsp;

Choose mid-range efficient appliancesnbsp;

Sure, it is tempting to pick only high-end appliances for your kitchen, but such high-dollar items are usually unnecessary. You can choose practical, energy-efficient appliances that boast acceptable warranties and look fabulous.nbsp;

A factor to consider when picking appliances is longevity. Refrigerators usually last only 15 years or less but a cooktop and range function last considerably longer. Also, if you have a large family then you are constantly washing dishes, so a large, efficient dishwasher becomes a mandatory investment.nbsp;nbsp;

Whichever appliances you choose, try to stick with one brand and appearance. Stainless steel remains the most popular finish choice. If you want your home to appear modern, then you will want to pay close attention to design and appearance while still trying to avoid paying premium prices. Instead, settle for moderate workhorse appliances that provide you with looks, function, energy-efficiency, and longevity.nbsp;

Opt for affordable yet durable counter materialsnbsp;

When you walk into a kitchen, you might believe your focal point is the cabinets but most people zero in on the countertops first. Perhaps it is the clean, sleek design or the sparkle of the surface. A showpiece countertop dictates the cabinetry, room furnishings, and color scheme.nbsp;

When picking countertop materials, remember you can pick granite with a rating of a level 2 grade mid-grade versus a level 3 premium grade. The differences are subtle and usually missed by a novice who does not work in the granite business. Choosing a lovely, mid-grade granite countertop offers a greater return-on-investment. The cost of granite countertops runs from 35 to 500/sq. ft.nbsp;

Laminate countertops are another option. They mimic the appearance of granite without the high cost. Historically, you could not install an under-mount sink in a laminate countertop, but designs have changed and now you can. Laminate hovers at an affordable 5 to 30/sq. ft.

Quartz an engineered stone and concrete countertops are other cost-saving options. The average cost of quartz is 55 to 200/sq. ft. and concrete runs 75 to 200/sq. ft.nbsp;

Resurfacing an older countertop with tile is another option. This project typically costs around 10 to 70/sq. ft.nbsp;

Go for a cosmetic upgrade instead of a whole cabinet replacement

Its tempting to purchase all new cabinets for the kitchen but that can become expensive with 30 linear feet of average cabinets costing from 6,412 to 11,400 for installation. However, resurfacing the existing cabinets is a great way to provide an instant facelift to the room. Many opt to carry out refinishing cabinets as a DIY project to save even more.nbsp;

You can also replace kitchen cabinets with veneer models instead of real wood. Budget cabinets range from 70 to 100 per linear foot.nbsp;Handles, knobs, and pull are the crowning glory on your kitchen cabinets. However, that does not mean that you must spend a fortune on the hardware. Knobs can range from 1 to 100 and hinges from 1 to 15.nbsp; There is a huge range of prices so you can find your comfort zone within your budget.nbsp;

Install a backsplash with attractive, long-lasting materialsnbsp;

Backsplashes look good and showcase not only the kitchen cabinets but also the countertops. There are a lot of different backsplash materials you can choose to create your perfect backsplash, but they arent all created equally. Depending on how much cooking you do, youll want to find a material thats durable, stylish, and long-lasting.

Ceramic tile is very popular but its also costly, with the average price hovering at 5 to 100/sq. ft. However, you can pick a porcelain tile for 5 to 20/sq. ft. Also, why not cut costs by using large tiles that would usually be laid on floors as a backsplash? The bigger tiles require less grout and costly cutting. Deco-pieces like glass tiles are easy to fashion into eye-catching mosaics.nbsp;

Plan ahead by shopping around and doing some work yourself

Feel out your contractors schedule and get him at a slower time of year. Typically the middle of summer and the middle of winter are a little slower and could get you a better rate.

Next, check your local tile, stone, flooring, and bathroom fitting showrooms for odd lots. Odd lots are often left over or returned items. Theyre just as good quality, but they go for rock bottom prices. The only catch is that what you see is what you get, so if you need 150 square feet of something, and they have 140, it wont work. But, many times you can get lucky and find a thousand feet of something discontinued that you can get for pennies. This also goes for sinks and faucets - it really pays to check around, especially if you arent picky.nbsp;

If you need a small piece of stone for a vanity top, bar top, or table, also be sure to ask about remnants at the stone yard.nbsp;

Final thoughts

Yes, you can create the kitchen of your dreams on a shoestring budget with just a few of the ideas above. These tips to save in your kitchen remodel help you create an upscale remodel without spending an excessive amount of money. You can enjoy your beautiful kitchen while feeling good about the fact that you have potentially increased the value of your home, which is a great return on your real estate investment.

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Confident Decisions in Uncertain Times

Home buyers intent on purchasing real estate now can benefit from three significant advantages:

1. Less Competition: The pandemic continues to keep people home and job loss is at record highs. For these and other reasons, the 2020 spring real estate market is not the mass buying frenzy of past years. Home sales are down significantly in most markets.
2. Low Interest Rates: Interest rates are at historic lows which means buyer purchasing power is strong. Mortgage pre-approval will assure each buyerand the respective sellerof exactly how much the buyer has to spend.
3. Homebuyer Education Courses: Established to prevent a repetition of the 2008-9 housing disaster, most courses are available online. The wide range of topics is designed to help buyers achieve short- and long-term real estate goals and plans.

Our key question remains: Is now the right time?

Whether you must or want to buy now or youre determined to be ready when the time is right, theres less room for error in these uncertain times. The more you learn about the buying process and homeownership in advance, the better prepared youll be to improve your current situation through a real estate purchase.

To avoid second guessing yourself about the decision to buy now, commit, in advance, tonbsp; making a confident decision that you can live with during this economic upheaval and beyond. That does not mean making a quick buying decision nor over-researching your choices. What works here is improving your real estate confidence, so that you understand exactly how to buy and how to protect yourself and your home at the same time.

Make FIVE confident decisions from the start, so you end up with confident decision making you can live with:

1. Set practical expectations


Spending all that money on a property you have only visited for an hour or two is bound to make you nervous. Worry if it doesnt. What you want is confidence that the property meets your criteria and budget and that it is as presented a clause in the offer calling for a home inspection will determine the homes condition.

Let go of searching for a dream home or forever home

Attempting to decide today what youll want or need two, three, or more decades in the future puts undue pressure on you. The pandemic has taught us how unpredictable tomorrow is. Search in the very best location you can afford for what you need now and in the foreseeable future.

2. Plan the work and work the plan

Focus your search instead of trying to view a huge number of homes.

1 Who is the buyer?

Who is or are making decisions?

If youre buying solo, who will act as a sounding board, problem-solver, and property detectivealong with your real estate professionalto help you take a long hard look at each potential home?
Too often couples view properties before they decide what they are looking for. Squabbling, fighting, or competing during the buying process distracts both buyers from assessing the true value of each property.

If you love modern and your partner loves traditional, investigate the two >

2 Where is your best location?

Location is what you are really buying. Oh, there may be a lovely house or condominium unit included, but its location that cannot be changed and that will determine future value. Buy the best location you can afford, even if the property needs some TLC or cosmetic changes, since a great location will usually translate into steadily-increasing value.

Saying no to a great location because of someone elses bad decor is a rookie or a pretentious mistake. Your real estate professional can help with your search by explaining the location-based value of each property. That is, within your budget, value is tied to which end of which street, proximity to what, which school etc.?

3 How secure is purchasing power?

At the top of the list of your strengths is your purchasing power. Whats the source of the money to purchase, maintain the home, and pay off the mortgage? Many buyers are hesitant to take on a home purchase now when employment, income, and savings circumstances are very unsettled and becoming more so. Why are you confident you can provide the down payment, qualify for financing, make monthly mortgage payments, and meet closing and moving costs without compromises? Hope and wish are not realistic real estate strategies.

4 What will be improved by the move?

If you must move now, this will be an easy question to answer. Just be sure you havent overlooked other solutions or new housing issues in the chaos that passes for everyday life right now. If you aim at improvements to your quality of living, that should also improve your standard of living. The reverse is not equally true.

3. Build your confidence with real real estate knowledge

Explore whats important in your next home: Research substance, not me>

Investigate the costs of homeownership and maintenance. Learn about cutting costs to prevent becoming house rich and cash poor. Get the facts For instance:

Heating and cooling costs can take a big chunk out of your paycheck, so consider an energy efficient, cost-effective home. Youll find information galore online. Take care you are not reading marketing pitches, but scientific information like A Consumers Guide to Energy-Efficient and Healthy Homesnbsp;

If life>

4. Discover what you dont know you dont know

If you pay attention, you can learn a lot from real estate professionals, but their job is not to teach you what to buy. They answer questions and follow your instructions. Its up to you to decide which property to buy. Your professional will help you make the purchase successfully.

The last real estate crisis led to Homebuyer Education Courses and Counseling Services designed to help prospective homebuyers think critically about the benefits and risks of homeownership, understand how to choose affordable homes and appropriate mortgage products, and build the financial knowledge, resources, and behaviors needed for sustainable homeownership and long-term financial health.

Homebuying Courses are intended to provide assistance navigating the homebuying process and to help owners keep their homes over the long run. The directory of HUD-approved housing counseling agencies at US Department of Housing and Urban Development HUD, hud.org will introduce you to local housing counselors and to specialty counselors like those for reverse mortgages or for foreclosure avoidance.

Since each Homebuyer Education Course is different, determine the sponsoring organization and what each covers before you sign up. Most programs are available online, like these popular versions:

1 Framework Online Homebuyer Coursenbsp;is provided by Framework Homeownership LLC, a partnership of two housing nonprofits.

2 e Home America Online Homebuyer Educationnbsp;is provided by nonprofit Community Ventures.

3 HomeTrek Online Homebuyer Educationnbsp;is a service of nonprofit InCharge Debt Solutions Inc.

5. Interview Real Estate Professionals

Once you have a clear idea of your needs and wants, interview local experienced real estate professionals to match your criteria against available listings. Professionals are not limited to selling off MLS. They can contact suitable unlisted property owners to discover who is ready to sell now.nbsp;

If what you want is not currently available, dont abandon your plans or goals without re-examination. If you have to change direction or priorities to achieve what you decided on, stop and verify that now is still the right time.

COVID amp; Housing UPDATE: To provide the most up-to-date and accurate housing assistance information during the COVID-19 national emergency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau CFPB, consumerfinance.gov, Federal Housing Finance Agency FHFA, fhfa.gov, and HUD recently launched the new mortgage and housing assistance website: cfpb.gov/housing. The site consolidates the CARES Act mortgage >

For additional forward-thinking articles by PJ Wade, visit PJs RT column Decisions amp; Communitiesnbsp;

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Exciting News: New Quarantine Content Coming To HGTV!

HGTV is about to launch a new show inspired by the coronavirus pandemic. With a stay-at-home state of mind redefining our lives at this moment in history, HGTV is bringing design home literallynbsp;nbsp;in a groundbreaking self-shot TV series, Design at Your Door, said the network. Casting starts now.

The crux of the show is this: Homeowners will present their home improvement needs, and HGTV designers will address them. Just like so many current shows. But this one has a twist.nbsp;

Working completely remotely, our design pros will guide participants on how to make a huge improvement in one room, in just a few days with some satisfying surprises along the way, they said.

Said Jane Latman, president of HGTV: Were all looking for ways to stay happy and connected, and a series like this feels right, right now. Were spending a lot of time at home and all around us are those to-dos that we can no longer ignore. The great news is that if you want help, HGTV is ready with the trusted experts who can guide you from start to finish. Through technology, you can invite them into your home, show them your challenge, and we will send the solution to your front door.

How it works

The network is looking to cast individuals who are comfortable with working remotely and are tech-savvy, as they will have to communicate via video chats with the HGTV expert, said House Beautiful. This person must be willing to share their journey on video, too. HGTV will provide the homeowner with a device to record as well as a surprise package of personalized design elements to help them on their journey. Lastly, this person has to be motivated, as they will only have a few days to tackle this project.

Possible projects could include everything from overhauling a boring kids bedroom to transforming an unused screened porch into a functional homework space, according to The Futon Critic. Throughout the season, eager homeowners will follow the experts advice to make over their spaces one step at a time. The families include a firefighter, an ER nurse, a cafeteria worker and several parents who are simultaneously remote working and homeschooling their children. Now the families must navigate the added challenges of spouses working together on home projects, kids acting as camera operators and pets vying for attention.

Participating designers include:

David Bromstad My Lottery Dream Home and the first Deign Star winner
Tiffany Brooks HGTV Smart Home 2020
Tamara Day Bargain Mansions
Dave and Jenny Marrs Fixer to Fabulous
Alison Victoria Windy City Rehab
Grace Mitchell One of a Kind
Orlando Soria Build Me Up

In addition, Maureen McCormick and Eve Plumb from The Brady Bunch and A Very Brady Renovation will participate.nbsp;

How to get on the show

Sound like something youd like to be a part of? If youve got a room in your home that just isnt working for your family and needs a little love, we want to hear about it, they said. Interested homeowners can send an email with their story and photos of the room they wish to transform tonbsp;nbsp;or visitnbsp;HGTV.com/beonhgtvnbsp;for more info.

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How Lenders View Installment vs. Revolving Debt

The mortgage payment used for this calculation includes not just the principal and interest payment to the lender but also a monthly amount for property taxes, homeowners insurance and mortgage insurance when needed. This monthly total is compared to gross monthly income to arrive at the front or housing ratio. In addition, other monthly credit obligations are added to that amount to arrive at the back or total ratio. Yet some types of credit payments are viewed differently.

Payments such as credit card debt, student loans and car loans and others either fall into the installment category or revolving. When calculating the back ratio, both can be treated differently. Installment debt is like an auto loan. Installment debt means monthly payments are fixed over a predetermined period of time. For instance, an auto loan might be 500 over 60 months. Thats easy enough to figure when calculating debt ratios. Further, when there are less than 10 months remaining, lenders ignore the payment knowing it will soon vanish.

Revolving debt can be a credit card or a line of credit. Revolving debt considers the interest rate on the loan and the outstanding balance. If theres a credit card payment listed on a credit report, there will be a minimum payment amount. Borrowers can pay that minimum payment, a little more or pay off the balance altogether. The minimum monthly payment will vary based upon the current loan balance when the credit report was pulled. The monthly payments will then rise and fall over time. Lenders will use the minimum monthly payment that appears on a credit report.

Are these debt ratios firm? For most mortgage programs, theyre essentially guidelines, not hard and fast rules. When a lender runs an application through an automated underwriting system for a selected loan, ratios are reviewed as part of the approval process. If a loan program requires debt ratios not exceed 50, an approval wont be issued. A 50 debt ratio means monthly payments add up to half of the applicants gross monthly income. Higher allowable debt ratios are the product of other positive aspects in the loan file such as higher credit scores or a larger down payment.

Finally, we should take a quick look at lease payments. Again, lets look at a car payment. Instead of an outright purchase, the consumer opts for a lease. When leasing, the borrower doesnt own the car, but makes regular monthly payments to the lender for a specified period of time. These payments are typically fixed, like an installment loan, but at the end of the lease period the car is returned. An auto lease might be for 48 months, for example. But unlike an installment loan when there are 10 months remaining, lenders still count this debt knowing the borrower will have to either purchase the car outright or return the vehicle and buy or lease another one.

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How Do I Choose the Right Property?

1. Make a List of Your Needs and Wants

Before you start your search, make a list of everything you need in a property. This should include your maximum budget for a home, the number of bedrooms it must have, and the size of the yard. If there are other details that matter, like a pool or a fenced-in yard, include those on your list.

Then, make a list of your wants. Although you would settle for three bedrooms, you may prefer four. On this list, include everything thats not a necessity but would be icing on the cake.

2. Pinpoint Your Ideal Location

Youve heard it before - location matters. As you begin your search for homes, consider which areas you would like to move to. Is the location dependent on the commute time? Do you want to be in a certain school district?

While its great to pinpoint a few neighborhoods, you should also keep an open mind. There may be other areas of which you are unfamiliar. A real estate agent could help you find the best location for your life>

3. Ask Questions

As you search for a home, youll probably go to many showings. When you arrive at a new property, come prepared. Have a list of questions you want to ask the real estate agent. While the listing should give you some information, not everything will be included in the property description.

Some important questions to ask include:

When was the roof installed or redone?
Is the HVAC system new?
Is everything up to code?

While walking around the property, have an eye for detail. If anything looks unfinished or in disrepair, make a note of it. Although it might not be significant enough to keep you from buying the home, it could be enough for you to request a lower price. Keep a list of all of your concerns. After the showing, express your concerns to your realtor.

4. Be Open-Minded

Your dream home could be hiding under your nose. But to find it, you need to be open-minded. For instance, you might see a picture of a home that doesnt visually appeal to you.

After reading the description, you could find that it meets all of your desires. If you choose to buy the home, you could make a few changes to the home to make it more your >

5. Work with an Experienced Real Estate Agent

Unless you are a real estate professional, you probably dont have the resources and tools needed to find the right property. Looking online will only get you so far. A real estate broker has insider knowledge of the local market. They know where to look for the latest listings and can help you pinpoint the ideal neighborhood.

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How to Properly Care for Your New Marvelous Marble Kitchen Countertops

Use Protective Devices on the Marble Countertops

Prevent scratches on the marble countertops by using protective devices for your small appliances, food canisters and pans. You can find washable platforms for the countertops, or alternatively, you can use absorbent kitchen towels or drying mats on the surfaces. By doing this, you can avoid having etching marks on the attractive marble countertop surfaces in your homes kitchen.

Buy the Proper Cleaning Products

Dont use abrasive cleaning products on the marble countertops in your homes kitchen because the substances will degrade the natural stone. Mix a mild dish detergent with warm water to sanitize the marble countertops. Experts recommend using a soft cloth or sponge rather than washing the countertop with a rough towel. In addition, rub gently on the marble countertops to avoid damaging the items.

Prevent Damage during Upgrades

During a kitchen remodeling process, you will want to protect the marble countertops from any damage. The technicians shouldnt place their tools on top of the marble countertops, and it is also essential to protect the sides or edges of the material. Cushioning the countertops with layers of paper, fabric and plastic is essential to avoid any damage to the marble surfaces.

Cornstarch for Absorbing Spilled Debris

If you spill beverage or food debris on the marble countertops, then you should sprinkle cornstarch on the substances to absorb it. This can prevent a larger stain on the countertop, but you must work quickly. For a deeper stain, you can create a paste of baking soda and water to place on the stain before rubbing it away softly.

Application of Sealants on Marble Countertops

You can buy sealant products that will protect the marble countertops, but you will need to reapply this substance at least once a year. The application of liquid sealants is a difficult process, so you may want to hire an expert for this job.

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Tele-Maintenance: The Newest Thing in Virtual Service

Using our free tele-maintenance service, you can talk directly with a Home Pro whenever you have questions or issues around your home, said Hippo. We can help. Schedule anbsp;complimentarynbsp;virtual house call with a Hippo Home Care Pro who can help you with home maintenance by phone or video.

The company has completely shifted to a virtual model for the time being as a service to customers who might not be comfortable having strangers in their house during the pandemic. Customers can schedule a Virtual House Call to troubleshoot specific issues and also use the tele-maintenance service for a complimentary guided Hippo Home Care Home Checkup. Think of it like getting a car tune-up or a physical, only this one is for your house, they said.nbsp;

The free service is available to anyone in the U.S. who needs help with home repair or maintenance. Homeowners can visit the companys website to schedule a time to talk to a certified professional. During the appointment, Hippos Home Pros can walk you through resolving issues yourself or recommend getting professional help. Calls are set in 30-minute increments, but, should the problem not be fixed, the call may be extended, or Hippo can arrange an in-home service from a local provider, if needed. Customers should be prepared with a general set of tools; screwdrivers, Allen wrenches, adjustable wrenches, and a cordless drill can typically do the trick.

The service was originally rolled out to a select group of customers, but the company expanded it once they gauged the need. You can visit Hippo to make an appointment.

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Easy DIY Projects to up Your Curb Appeal

Bring in seasonal color

Lets be honest. Some of have a green thumb, and some of us dont. But adding a little bit of seasonal color is easy and can lift your spirits every time you look outside.nbsp;

If youre not sure you can pull off the steps needed to plant flowers in the actual yard, think potted. A planter placed near the door can add considerably to your curb appeal and only requires a small dollar commitment.nbsp;

Pull the weeds

Wow, your lawn If youve been in the house for a month or more, you may not have noticed whats going on out there. Grab the fam and head outside. Heed these tips to make it easier to get those weeds out.nbsp;

Depending on how bad the problem is, you may also want to consider a weed killer. Check out some good recommendations here.nbsp;

Add some mulch

Your yard may look nice and tidy but adding some fresh mulch around your trees and in your flowerbeds can take it up a notch. For about 3.50 a bag and a little elbow grease, you can make your front yard look like new.

Put in landscape lights

The right outdoor lights can enhance everything else youve got going on. We love this Hampton Bay eight-light set from Home Depot that offers the option of three light colorswarm white, soft white, or daylight. On any of the 3 light color settings, it consumes over 80 less energy than a typical halogen light and has a rated life of 50,000 hours. The LED system provides maintenance free operation and there are no bulbs to change.

Even better, The quick-install wire connector means easy do-it-yourself installation that is quick and safe.

Repaint your door

This is an easy task you can complete yourself, and one that will give your home a surprisingly potent refresh. Choose an unconventional color like yellow or teal for a splash of funbut be sure to check with your HOA first so you dont get in trouble.nbsp;

Repaint your house numbers

This is more than an aesthetic issue, said Realtor.com. If your house is easy to find, help may arrive faster if theres ever an emergency.

Give your mailbox a facelift

Your mailbox probably isnt the type of thing you pay a ton of attention to unless youre focused on whats inside of it. Get some inspiration for your mailbox makeover here.

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Committee Commitments In Your HOA

There are two types of committees, standing and ad hoc. Standing committees exist indefinitely or until the board decides their purpose is no longer needed. Examples include Landscape Committee, Social Committee and Pool Committee. Standing committees have ongoing and often repetitive tasks to accomplish. Ad hoc committees are formed for a specific purpose which, once accomplished, terminates the need for the committee. Examples include the Budget Committee and the Christmas Party Committee.

The beauty of committees is that they can draw on specific member expertise, like a CPA that serves on the Budget Committee or an architect that serves on the Architectural Design Committee. Ad hoc committees do the same thing with the added attraction that the commitment time is limited.

Committees are training ground for future board members. Since committees are called on to participate in board meetings to give reports, participation acquaints committee members with the board process. Proven and effective committee members are candidates groomed for board service.

Whether a committee is standing or ad hoc, both should have a similar framework including:

Purpose. The purpose of a committee is to assist and advise the board in a given area of responsibility.

Structure. A committee should consist of three or more members which may include a board member as a board liaison. The board president typically appoints the committee chairman. The chairman is the spokesperson for that committee.

Committee Authority. Each committee should be provided a clear job description by the board that outlines expectations. A committee must obtain specific authority from the board to deal with any matter outside its job description. A committee cannot make policies or rules. Only the board is granted that authority. A committee may recommend a policy or rule to the board. If the board agrees with the recommendation and formally enacts it, the committee may or may not be given authority by the board to enforce the policy or rule. Enforcement authority is also under the discretion of the board.

Recommendations. A committee should provide recommendations to the board at regularly scheduled board meetings so all directors can participate. Recommendations should be in writing and supported by credible research so that the board can make informed decisions.

Meetings. Committees meet monthly or as appropriate to their assignment. The meetings take place at a time, place and discretion of the committee. A designated person on the committee should take minutes so that the committee has a record of what was accomplished to date or planned for the future. Committee meetings do not need to be announced to or open to the members.

Vendor amp; Contractor Authority. Unless otherwise directed to by the board, committees should not give direction to or request bids from any HOA vendor or contractor. This process is handled through the board or management.

Concerning Property Management. Unless given specific authority by the board, no committee should give direction to or make requests of the management.

Expenditures. Committees are sometimes given a budget which should carefully be accounted for. All committee expenditures that fall outside the committee budget must be authorized by the board. All reimbursement requests should be accompanied by receipts.

Reporting. Committee reports should be prepared and delivered to the board at least one week prior to the board meeting. Committees should prepare their own reports unless the board has approved the management doing so. Each board meeting agenda should provide time for committee reports.

The board is elected to oversee HOA operations, not to do all the work. Committees offer the opportunity to spread the work around and to involve more members in the homeowner association operations. Cultivate committee opportunities when you can and harvest the rewards.

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3 Reasons You Should Buy a Vacation Rental Home Instead of a Home for Yourself

When I was looking to buy my first home, I was of course super excited to pick something out that I loved. To live in my own home and have a proper investment instead of throwing money away each month on rent.

But a funny thing happened. I said no to myself and what I wanted. In a way.

Nashville at that time was blowing up. Tourism was rising and the prices on real estate were rising at an unusually high rate

So, I realized I had a chance to do something different. Did I really want to just buy a home I could live in, or did I want to take advantage of the moment and buy something that would make me money?

So thats why I decided to buy a home that could be a short term rental property. If it didnt go well, and it didnt make money I could just move in

It was one of the best decisions Ive ever made I ended up making a ton of profit on the home and I was able to buy another home just a year later.

Here are 3 reasons you should buy your own vacation rental home

1. Its your chance to make money

Purchasing a home for yourself is the biggest investment you will ever make. So why not make it count? Buying a home for you means a big monthly payment you make with a small amount going to the principal and a large amount going to interest.

It is better than renting, but it doesnt net you a whole lot. Whereas, purchasing a vacation rental property in a booming tourist destination could actually make you money.

So, each month on top of the mortgage payment being covered by other people, meaning you are purchasing that home for free, you also should be making a profit.

Passive income for yourself, that you can use to save up for another home Which leads me to point 2.

2. You can buy second house

If you buy a house for yourself, thats it. Its done and you wont have the loan-to-debt ratio to purchase another one.

BUT, if you first purchase a rental property, in two tax return years you can show income from the property that can be used to get you another loan approval. A regular rental home that isnt AirBnb would require even less tax returns.

If the vacation rental property is bringing in twice the mortgage amount each month, then when you look to get a loan to purchase another home it is almost like that debt doesnt exist.

Because the home is bringing in extra income, it cancels out the debt, leaving you room in your debt-to-income ratio to get approved for another mortgage loan.

But if you had just purchased a home for yourself that wouldnt be an option.

3. It creates a passive income business

The best kind of business you could have for yourself is one that doesnt require a lot of work. One that creates passive income, meaning the income just keeps coming without a lot of activity from younbsp;

As long as you have a good cleaning crew in place and someone to work on maintenance, there isnt a lot of heavy lifting on a vacation rental home once furnish it and get it listed.

So, its the perfect business to create that still allows you to work a full-time job, or run another business

If you dont have enough saved up yet for the down payment, keep saving, I promise it will be worth it

Cara Berkeley is a blogger, investment property owner, and full-time marketing executive. She has learned that thinking outside the box can make all the difference and shares her tips and tricks on smart money management on her blog at www.pennypolly.com.nbsp; Find new ways to save money, make money and have fun doing it

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Are You Ready to Divorce Your House After the Quarantine?

All that time together has not necessarily helped some >

But its our >

Its not something a renovation can fix

There are some floorplans that just cant get with the times. Not without a tremendous financial commitment, anyway. If fixing up your home to get it to modern standards or even make it more livable is impossible or unadvised, it may just be time to move on.nbsp;

You have no appetite for a renovation

Perhaps your home is a good candidate for a makeover but you just cant bear to live through it. If youve been stuck in a house you dont love or that no longer works for you, its OK to say goodbye and move on to something that better suits your familys needswithout the guilt.

Youre not crazy about your neighborhood either

You know what they say: location, location, location. Well put up with a lot in our home to be in the right spot, close to work and in a good school district, perhaps. But maybe that spot doesnt work for you anymore. Do schools still matter or are your kids older now? Is your commute no longer an issue? Or maybe the location has taken a turn in a direction you dont love. When youre no longer tied to a specific neighborhood, the possibilities are endless.nbsp;nbsp;

Its just too small

It can be easy to say that well return to normalcy at some point, but no one really knows what that will look like. If the quarantine has made your small space even more uncomfortable, and there isnt an easy/affordable way to add more space, you mnmight want to consider moving along.nbsp;

Its just too big

Have you been noticing that everyone is gravitating to the same few rooms during this time? One thing the quarantine is teaching us is just what we need in terms of space. Maybe that big, expensive house isnt what you needed after all. Time to downsize? Could be.

Its too old

We all love a heritage home. The architecture. The charm. The100-year-old everything. You may have had visions of making some modern edits to the home when you bought it, and you probably also underestimated just how many edits youd have to make or how many things would go wrongor how much it would costalong the way.nbsp;

If the emotional and financial toll of living in a home that is just too much of a project is getting to you, think new construction. Will you get the same character? Likely no. But you will get a house thats brand new in every way and a warranty to boot.

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Ideas for designing a modern luxury dining room

Any dining space design decision is vital for your home. The dining area is possibly the most significant meeting point. It will be the location for several memorable moments such as meaningful chats with your loved ones. If your dining area reflects your interests and you really enjoy it, youre going to want to be there for dinner or simply sharing time with your loved ones.

Thus, the dining area has to be a cozy place to have a fantastic dinner and also to talk with our loved ones members and guests; however what exactly are the following components to be organized?

To start with, you must be more cautious about where you stand. How do you really feel about interior design? Are you a traditional enthusiast? Or you only need to combine a small amount of all? It is highly recommendable to collect some pictures of the type of spaces or space that you dig in.

Secondly: It is important to get appropriate furniture in the dining area, but it is equally important whether you and your loved ones can walk smoothly through this area. To assess the dimensions of the space lets you receive the most of it. Remember that space will be complete with individuals and that the>

Now that weve got a clearer idea of what were fond of, let us take a look at the critical elements we constantly will need to watch, when it has to do with a dining space, taking information from individuals like Interior design and Elle Decor.


There are a few traditional moves in the color that we have to always understand. Balance is the perfect word. Powerful, bold choices have to be dealt with caution. Generally, no color needs to overwhelm the dining space, and the vivid notes must be found in certain bits, like a set of seats, or even a sidewall.

Which components do you desire in a dining area? It is time to play with and have fun. Furnish your dining area believing from the individual element as the main element, but surround them with a gorgeous, elegant picture.

From the timeless, elegant dining area we find the criteria elements connected with >

Keep inside formal and refined, but in a more >

Let us go Modern:

Mid Century Modern >

A few candlesticks, several parts of contemporary art hanging on the walls along with a halogen pair of lamps, bring some formality to the total collection, without being overly inflexible. In the long run, its freshness and beauty encourage us to sit and talk, even after supper. In cases like this, the preeminence of white colors is balanced with golden brushstrokes, from the lamps and chairs.

Contemporary inspiration:

Let us take a peek at how strong and regal a contemporary >


A huge portion of the activity at a dining area occurs in the evenings, of course. So the ideal blend of natural and artificial light is vital. If or not a large, majestic chandelier or an ultramodern pair of halogen lamps, artificial lighting would be your 2nd most important focus of this dining collection. Obviously, the natural resources of lighting are crucial also, and their best use is supported. Use it in windows or skylights, and theyll do amazing things in our layout.

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How to Tell If an Apartment Listing Is Too Good to Be True Or a Hidden Gem

So, with these factors in mind, how can you really tell if an apartment is all its cracked up to be?nbsp;

How do you know when youve stumbled across a hidden gem - or when the shades are being pulled over your eyes due to strange social circumstances?nbsp;

Weve got a few tips that will help you unearth the truth about the apartment youre investigating. These tidbits of advice will reveal whether the apartment is truly great or just seems great.nbsp;

Be Diligent about Checking the Neighborhoods Crime Rate

One of the first things you should find out is what the local crime rates are. If your apartment seems to be listed at a too-good-to-be-true price, it could be because the landlord seve>

Pay close attention to crimes that could specifically affect you - including car thefts, break-ins, assaults, etc. You can find all of this information online, and what you discover might reveal just why the apartment is priced too low for its appearance.nbsp;

According to Travis Goodreau, a former burglary detective who now advises for SafeHome.org as a Safety and Security Advisor, Apartments tend to be at high risk of break-ins because they often dont have a lot of security, especially in comparison to well-protected homes.

Dont just assume that the apartment is in an okay area just because you looked at it on Google Maps. Diligently research crime rates and break-in reports until you feel confident that its truly safe.nbsp;

Pay Close Attention to Structural Detailsnbsp;

Sometimes, apartments are bought for low prices despite a fancy appearance because the construction is poor. Maybe the construction team cut corners with shoddy workmanship, thin walls, cheap cabinetry, and other structural problems.nbsp;

Perhaps this isnt a big deal to you because you only plan to rent the apartment for a short while. However, if you hope to buy this place and make it your home for a year or more, you might want to pay attention to the structural details listed about the building or complex.nbsp;

Research the HOA and Its Policiesnbsp;

A great apartment can quickly be ruined by an annoying, hard-to-work-with homeowners association.nbsp;

Before you commit to any apartment, read up on the complexs policies and see what people have to say about it. Is it likable? Annoying? Too strict or too loose?nbsp;

An HOA with overly restrictive rules or super-high fees can easily make an affordable apartment less than perfect. Dont just consider how much youll pay for the apartment upfront. Question all of the fees in >

If you repeatedly hear complaints about the HOA, or if you feel like the fees are too high, you might be better off looking for a different apartment listing.nbsp;

Check Out the Development in the Area

What does the surrounding area look like?nbsp;

Does it have lots of plans for the future, or is it pretty stagnant?

If you think the location is up-and-coming, now might be a great opportunity to lock in a low price before things get more expensive. However, there are downsides that come with expansion: more traffic, lots of construction, busy stores.nbsp;

Its up to you to determine if its worth it to lock in a great rate when the area is a work-in-progress. Resources like CrimeReports, FamilyWatchdog, and AreaVibes make this process super easy.nbsp;

Keep in mind that statistics have shown that rent growth has flattened amid the effects of COVID-19. This is a time in which many selling prices levels are leveling off due to uncertainty, so you have more of a chance of snagging a great apartment that would usually be rapidly appreciating in value.nbsp;

Ask Aroundnbsp;

One of the best ways to determine if an apartment listing is too good to be true is to speak to people who live next door or have lived there in the past. Question them about their experience in the area, including the pros and the cons.nbsp;

Chances are, a fellow apartment owner wont sugarcoat things. Theyll give you the facts straight - the good, the bad, and the ugly. Use this information to make a smart buying decision.nbsp;

In Closingnbsp;

No one wants to wind up purchasing a bad egg of an apartment, especially during a pandemic and economic recession when switching homes can be a real challenge.nbsp;

Take your time as you examine apartment listings. Do quality research to see if theyre as good as they seem, and when you find a diamond in the rough, make sure you feel 100 percent confident in your decision.nbsp;

Rileynbsp;is a life>

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Why Do Some Loan Programs Allow for Higher Debt Ratios for Higher Income Borrowers?

Debt ratios over time have been used to determine affordability and are crucial pieces of information when evaluating a loan application. If a loan program asks for a front ratio of 28, that means the PITI represents 28 percent of gross monthly income. Over time, collective data indicates that when someone is making a housing payment, the suggested debt ratio implies the borrower can afford the payment and is unlikely to default due to an affordability issue. But there are different debt ratio requirements for different loan types.nbsp;

When someone has a >

Now lets look at someone with a gross monthly income of 3,500 and someone with 12,000. Lenders might review the 3,500 borrower with a program needing a 28 but the ratio for the amount the borrower wants is closer to 38. That might give some lenders pause. After the house payment, very little is left for other things. Especially if the new house payment is much higher than current rent. On the other hand, a lender might give the thumbs up on the higher income borrower. Why? Residual income.

Okay, a lender decides to make an exception with the 28 ratio guideline and approve a loan application pushing 35. The leftover income for the first individual would be somewhere near 1,100 or so. That might at first sound like a lot but 260 per week doesnt last very long. On the other hand, 35 percent of 12,000 is 4,200. The residual income available for everything else beyond the PITI is way much more. 1,500 to 2,000 is fairly realistic. Yes, higher income borrowers will also have higher expenses beyond a mortgage and car payments, but still, the amount left over each month will let a lender breathe a little easier.

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Refinishing Stairs: The Best Types of Paint for Indoor and Outdoor Stairs

Refinishing stairs doesnt have to be a daunting project. Whether you want to give your interior stairs a makeover or just fix the peeling paint on the back deck, theres a perfect paint for the job.

Read on to learn what types of paint are best for freshening up your interior and exterior stairs.nbsp;

The Best Paint for Outdoor Stairs

Outdoor stairs undergo a lot of wear and tear. Not only do they have to stand up to frequent foot traffic, but theyre exposed to all kinds of weather, too.nbsp;

For that reason, youll need to use a highly durable paint. For wood stairs in particular, your best bet is 100 acrylic exterior paint. There are types of acrylic paint specifically for use on porches, floors, and exterior stairs.nbsp;

Youll want to avoid paints with a very glossy finish. Semi-gloss and high-gloss paints can be slippery, especially when wet.

For the safest results, stick to a satin or eggshell finish. These finishes are glossy enough to resist stains and are easily cleaned, but theyre not so glossy as to be a slipping hazard. For extra safety, you can add a non-slip additive to your paint for extra texture andnbsp;slip resistance.nbsp;

The Best Paint for Indoor Stairs

Although indoor stairs are more protected than outdoor stairs, they still need to withstand a lot of use. For that reason, 100 acrylic paint is also a good choice for indoor stairs.nbsp;

As for the best finishes, satin and eggshell are good choices. Indoor stairs can also benefit from semi-gloss paint, as it is easy to clean and wont be as much of a slipping hazard.nbsp;

If youre planning on painting your indoor stairs in different colors, you might consider different paint finishes, too. For example, you could paint the risers and spindles in a semi-gloss paint and use a lower luster paint for the railings and treads for increased safety.nbsp;nbsp;

Paint Designnbsp;Ideas for Refinishing Stairs

Once youve got the right paint for the job, its time to unleash your creativity. There are many interestingnbsp;ways to paint your stairsnbsp;to turn them from me>

A >

Like the look of a >

Think outside the box in terms of color. You can also usenbsp;creative methodsnbsp;like stencils and wallpaper.nbsp;

Refinishing Stairs for a Fresh, New Look

A fresh coat of paint is a simple way to instantly transform the look of your stairs and brighten the entire area around them. If youre considering refinishing stairs in your home, its important to have all the right paints and tools for the job. That way, youre sure to make your vision a reality.nbsp;

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