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Buying A Home? Factor These Into Your Interest Rate Calculations

Buying a Home? Factor These Into Your Interest Rate Calculations

Posted on Oct 16 2017 - 3:46pm by Housecall

interest rate calculations

By Liz Dominguez

The mortgage process can be complicated if you jump in without any prior knowledge on home-buying and lending. The best tool you can arm yourself with is an understanding of how your mortgage interest rate is calculated.

Credit can make or break you. 

Your credit score will determine how reliable you are in the lending world. The higher your score, the lower your interest rate will likely be. Check your credit on one of the three major credit reporting agency sites—TransUnion, Experian and Equifax—or your credit card company may have a free credit report service (although these aren't as reliable).  Improve your FICO score for a better chance at a lower interest rate.

Factor in size and location.

  • State or County: Even your place of residence can affect your rate.
  • Local Mortgage Lenders: Shop around. Interest rates can vary from company to company even if they're located in the same town.
  • Loan Size: The size of your home can also impact your interest rate. The bigger the loan, the higher your interest rate will be if you're not putting more money down.
  • Down Payment Size: Your mortgage interest rate may also depend on how much you're putting down and if your loan includes closing costs and private mortgage insurance (PMI). Putting down less than 20 percent can increase your risk factor and may require PMI, but your interest rate may be lower depending on the loan.

Not all loans are created equal.

Loan Length: Your loan terms play a bigger role in interest rate calculations than you think. Have you decided whether you want to pay off your loan in 15 or 30 years? You may pay more per month with a shorter term, but you'll be paying less interest over the life of your loan. Short-term loans may also have a smaller interest rate.

Fixed or Adjustable: You'll also have to consider whether a fixed- or adjustable-rate loan is right for you. Your interest rate can change over time if you choose an adjustable-rate loan. It may start off low or fixed, but can increase over time depending on market conditions. Fixed-rate loans, however, will have a higher interest rate attached to them.

Loan Type: Interest rates can also vary according to your loan type. Choosing a loan can be overwhelming, but a local lender should be able to provide you with the best options. Some of the more popular loans are conventional, FHA and VA loans. While FHA loans have less down payment restrictions and a smaller interest rate, your monthly payment can be more expensive due to the required PMI added on. VA loans can have smaller interest rates and don't require PMI like FHA does. Conventional loans are widely accepted in the real estate industry as dependable, but your interest rate may be higher.

Source: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)

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    Green Your Space: 5 Tips for a Healthy Home

    Green Your Space: 5 Tips for a Healthy Home

    Posted on Mar 6 2017 - 10:43am by Andrea Davis
    Healthy home

    Every homeowner wants a healthy home for his or her family and pets. Making the right choices in your house isn't always easy though. Keep reading to learn more about how you can create a healthy space and enjoy your home even more. These five tips should put you on the path.

    Update Your Insulation

    Individuals and families in older homes should consider the fact that they may have unhealthy types of insulation in the walls keeping them comfortable. If you're not sure about your insulation, have the pros check it out first.  In the case of asbestos or any other hazardous material, you don't want to be digging around in the walls on your own.

    Asbestos and hazardous insulation remediation can be a big job, but for a homeowner, it should be a top priority in terms of a healthy home. Updating your insulation will also be a major plus when and if you go to sell your home.

    Get a Mold Check

    Most homeowners never think about mold until they get an inspection related to selling their home. For others, mold isn't even a consideration until damage to the home occurs and a mold issue more or less reveals itself. Getting a mold check for your home can help your family breathe easier in the house. While most recently built homes won't have mold, getting a check isn't going to hurt you.

    Pick the Right Paint

    According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), paint, wood stain and other varieties of coatings account for about nine percent of volatile organic compounds (VOC) emissions in the country every year. For a healthy home, look for low-VOC paint. They are water-based, low or no odor and non-toxic. While it can be hard to identify low-VOC paint on store shelves, online searches and on-can labeling should make it easy to find this type of paint if you're looking for it.

    Take Your Shoes Off

    Taking your shoes off every single time you come in your home might be a hard habit to get into, but for many people, it can lead to a healthier home environment. Your home might also require a little less cleaning, which is an added benefit. If you have a mudroom or a large entryway, removing your shoes should be easy. Tracking less outside germs from your shoes into your home can also help keep pets and children with a tendency to spend time on the floor healthier all year round.

    Add Plants to Your Décor

    Fresh, live plants can beautify almost any space. Live plants do more than just make your home look a little bit nicer though. Spider plants, lilies and aloe vera can help get rid of formaldehyde in the air, and English ivy, asparagus ferns and bamboo plants can work to clean indoor air as well. Whatever plant you choose, make sure they're not toxic to your pets if they roam free around your home.

    Making your home a healthier place isn't exactly as glamorous as buying new furniture or adding a room to your house. Don't take your home's health for granted and you won't have to worry as much about home-related hazards.

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      Should I Sell My Home Now or Wait Until the Spring?

      Should I Sell My Home Now or Wait Until the Spring?

      Posted on Nov 6 2014 - 4:29am by Kyle Hiscock
      pumpkins staging

      There are many questions homeowners ask themselves during the selling process. "How much will my home sell for?"  "How much should I list my home for?"  "Who should I select as a real estate agent to sell my home?"  "What if the real estate agent overprices my home?"  Last but not least, "Is this a good time to be selling a home?" is also a very common question that real estate agents are asked.

      As with every decision in life, there are pros and cons, and choosing when to sell a home is no different. There are many factors that need to be taken into consideration before deciding when to sell a home. Many homeowners believe selling a home during the fall or winter months is not a good idea and that the spring is the only time a house should be sold. This is the furthest from the truth. Certainly most real estate markets across the United States experience a "spring market rush" every year. There is no doubt that the "spring market" is a great time to be selling and buying real estate, however, the fall and winter seasons may be the best fit for you for many reasons.

      Here are several reasons why choosing to sell your home now may be a better decision than waiting until the spring:

      Less Competition
      One way that you can tell the spring real estate market has arrived is by driving down a street in your local community. In all likelihood there will be For Sale signs up all over the neighborhood! One great reason to sell your home now and not wait until the spring market is there is sure to be less competition.  The fewer number of comparable homes for sale, the greater the probability that a buyer will look at your home.

      Simply put, it’s the supply and demand theory. If there are less homes for sale, there are less homes that a potential buyer can choose from, therefore increasing the demand for your home. Not only will less competition increase the probability for showings, but it will also increase the probability that an offer will be received and you will get the maximum amount of money for your home.

      Serious Buyers Are Out There
      Homes are sold and bought 365 days a year, period!  Many homeowners believe that buyers aren't out there during the fall and winter months. This simply is not the case. Serious buyers are always out there!  Some buyers may stop their home search because it is the fall or winter, but serious buyers will continue to look at homes, no matter what time of year it is.

      The fall and winter months are also a great time for a potential buyer to see what a specific neighborhood is like.  Do your neighbors have pumpkins on their front step?  Are there lots of Trick-or-Treaters wandering the neighborhood on Halloween?  Do any of your neighbors have any light displays for the holidays?  There are buyers out there who will look at these types of things when determining whether your home is in the right neighborhood for them or not.

      The Best Agents Are Always Up To The Challenge
      Any real estate agent who tells you that the fall or winter months are a bad time to sell is not someone you want selling your home! A great real estate agent will know how to adapt to the current season and market their listings to reflect that.  A great real estate agent can make suggestions and give some of their tips on how to sell a home during the fall or winter seasons. If a real estate agent doesn't have any suggestions on making your home more desirable for the current season, you should be concerned about the creativity they are going to use when marketing your home.

      Staging For The Holiday Season
      Many sellers believe staging a home is the main reason a home sells.  While staging certainly helps sell homes, some buyers have a difficult time envisioning themselves in a home no matter what you do. However, there are some buyers who can easily be "sold" on a home because it is staged.  Simple “seasonal” staging such as adjusting the color of the decor or having an aroma in the air that is relative to the time of year can go a long way with some potential buyers and possibly be the difference between a home selling or not.

      Mortgage Rates Are Low
      If you've read about real estate in the past year, it's likely you've read that the mortgage rates are very low.  You also probably read that there is an expectation that the rates will increase very soon. Since mortgage rates are so low right now, buyers are able to afford more expensive homes.  If mortgage rates increase over the fall and winter months while you're waiting for the spring market, it could cost you thousands of dollars as it could eliminate many buyers from the real estate marketplace!  Less demand for your home will mean less money. Bottom line: take advantage of selling your home while the rates are this low.

      Quicker Transactions
      Right now, there are fewer real estate transactions than there will be in the spring.  The fewer number of transactions means the mortgage lenders have less loans to process, attorneys have less closings to do, and home inspectors have fewer inspections to do.  All of these factors should lead to a quicker transaction and closing for all the parties involved.  One of the most frustrating things for a seller to deal with while selling their home is not getting answers in a reasonable amount of time. A quicker transaction is going to be less stress for you.

      By considering all of the reasons above, you will be able to determine whether now is a good time to sell or if you should wait until the spring.

      Kyle Hiscock is a top producing Webster, N.Y. real estate agent with Nothnagle Realtors, based out of Rochester, N.Y. He has helped hundreds of buyers and sellers move in and out of the Greater Rochester, N.Y. area. In addition to his vast real estate knowledge, Kyle is very active on many different social media websites. Connect with Kyle on Google+.    

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        10 Easy Improvements to Make on Your Fixer Upper

         

        Posted on Mar 22 2017 - 10:01am by Housecall

        House and key shaped paper cutout, calculator and magnifier on wooden table.

        By Cary Teller

        There is something awesome about buying a fixer upper and doing the renovations yourself. Some people fix them up a bit at a time, using cash as they have it available. If you want to make a big impact by doing small things, here are 10 things you need to include.

        1. Change Out the Lighting

        Nothing says outdated like an old-fashioned gold chandelier. Lighting is something that can be updated easily and won’t cost a bunch of money. It is one of the smallest things you can do that will have the biggest impact.

        2. Paint

        There is an old saying that states “if a barn needs to be painted, slap some paint on it.” You will be amazed at what some paint can do to your home. A new hue can cover imperfections and give the room the blast of color it needs. Forget drab, white walls that are lackluster. Give your home a color makeover.

        3. New Fixtures

        Just like the lighting, the fixtures in the home become outdated quickly. Start with the kitchen faucet and then move on to the bathroom. You can update and upgrade a fixer upper by just adding these small touches.

        4. Paint Cabinets/Add New Hardware

        If you have new cabinets in the budget, then you should go for it. However, if your budget is limited, then you may want to try to paint them. Painting old cabinets and installing new hardware will give the kitchen a facelift. If the cabinets are old but sturdy, then you can bring them back to life. Painting is inexpensive and has a huge impact.

        5. Rip Out Old Carpeting

        Carpet is great when it is new; however, when it is old and dingy, it can really have a negative impact on a space. Hardwoods are the best option, followed by laminate floors. However, if you are stretched for money, you may try a bag floor or a penny style one. There are creative options online that allow you to do great things with your floors for less.

        6. Add Curb Appeal

        The curb appeal of the home is everything. It does not matter how great the inside looks if the outside is in shambles. Clean up any dead plants and add some new. Be sure to pick flowers and shrubs that bloom at different times. This will allow you to have color year-round. Add some shutters and a fresh coat of paint to the porch. Use decorative numbers to display the address. Finally, replace the mailbox if necessary.

        7. Repaint Ceilings

        Ceilings are often overlooked. They are usually white and the color is reserved for the walls. However, people do not realize how dirty these ceilings can be. A fresh coat of paint on the ceiling can really enhance the whole room. The walls are not the only thing that needs to be painted.

        8. Upgrade the Exterior Façade

        The biggest impact you can have on the outside of a home is to replace or paint siding. If you have it in the budget, you can add brick and stone accents. Most fixer upper homes have chipping paint and worn out siding. Splurge for some nice siding or paint a great color to update the home’s look.

        9. Replace the Windows

        New windows are expensive, but they are important. If you have old windows in your home, you need to spend the money to upgrade them. Windows are great for keeping the elements at bay. You will save yourself money in the long run by sealing off old-drafty openings.

        10. Update the Heating and Cooling Unit

        To help the process of heating and cooling a home, you need to make sure the home has an updated HVAC unit. The air filters are just as important as the unit. Filters with a rating of Merv 11, have "astro pleating" to help ensure no dirt or dust gets into your system. Extend the livelihood of your unit by selecting quality air filters.

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          Know Your Real Estate: 5 Researching Tips for Homebuyers

           

          Posted on Mar 20 2017 - 11:47am by Housecall

          woman and man at home typing on laptop computer

          By Dixie Somers

          Being a first time homebuyer can be an intimidating prospect; it seems like there's so much to learn! The process doesn't get less challenging the second or third time around, but here are five tips to help you research and prepare for your next home buying experience.

          Location, Location, Location

          It's a cliché but it's true: location really is the most important part of the real estate equation. However, the right location isn't the same for everyone. Take your family's priorities into account and know where you would buy a home, and where you would not. Try to be flexible, but if you're longing for a place with a yard, then a balcony might not cut it, however a roof deck might! Always look for the exception to the rule. It's also a good idea to compare home prices around the home that you're considering. This will help you figure out if your house is a good deal and in line with the market expectations.

          Find Your Financing

          Finding the perfect house can take years, but once you find it things will move quickly. Most real estate markets are fast moving and a great house at a great price can easily go on the market in the morning and be under contract by the evening. When you find that house you have to be ready to jump on it. This means that you should have your financing figured out before you make an offer. Ask friends, family, any law or finance professionals your family uses, or ask your REALTOR® for a recommendation for a mortgage company. Be sure to get quotes from several different firms so you have a general idea of what your rates really should be.

          Understand the Vocabulary

          You should take the trouble to educate yourself about some of the jargon that comes with the real estate territory, otherwise, you might find yourself completely out of your league when discussing purchasing terms.

          Check out the Neighborhood

          If you're looking for homes outside of the neighborhood you live in, the best way to get a feel for it is to go and spend the day there. Find a few open houses you're interested in and go make a day of it. Have lunch, stroll the streets, check out the parks, schools, and find out what kind of people live there. These are the things that give a neighborhood its flavor, and things that you can't know until you go there and see for yourself.

          Choose a Trustworthy Agent

          A real estate agent can make or break your home buying experience. If you don't have an agent you already know and like, ask for recommendations, check local ratings sites and ask around. This can be a very personal relationship, so if you find an agent you believe in, hang on to them!

          Buying a home is an exciting and stressful process, but with these tips, we hope you'll have a great experience researching, shopping and purchasing your next home.

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            Green Your Space: 5 Tips for a Healthy Home

            Some great ideas from RISMedia's housecall...

            Posted on Mar 6 2017 - 10:43am by Andrea Davis
            Healthy home

            Every homeowner wants a healthy home for his or her family and pets. Making the right choices in your house isn't always easy though. Keep reading to learn more about how you can create a healthy space and enjoy your home even more. These five tips should put you on the path.

            Update Your Insulation

            Individuals and families in older homes should consider the fact that they may have unhealthy types of insulation in the walls keeping them comfortable. If you're not sure about your insulation, have the pros check it out first. In the case of asbestos or any other hazardous material, you don't want to be digging around in the walls on your own.

            Asbestos and hazardous insulation remediation can be a big job, but for a homeowner, it should be a top priority in terms of a healthy home. Updating your insulation will also be a major plus when and if you go to sell your home.

            Get a Mold Check

            Most homeowners never think about mold until they get an inspection related to selling their home. For others, mold isn't even a consideration until damage to the home occurs and a mold issue more or less reveals itself. Getting a mold check for your home can help your family breathe easier in the house. While most recently built homes won't have mold, getting a check isn't going to hurt you.

            Pick the Right Paint

            According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), paint, wood stain and other varieties of coatings account for about nine percent of volatile organic compounds (VOC) emissions in the country every year. For a healthy home, look for low-VOC paint. They are water-based, low or no odor and non-toxic. While it can be hard to identify low-VOC paint on store shelves, online searches and on-can labeling should make it easy to find this type of paint if you're looking for it.

            Take Your Shoes Off

            Taking your shoes off every single time you come in your home might be a hard habit to get into, but for many people, it can lead to a healthier home environment. Your home might also require a little less cleaning, which is an added benefit. If you have a mudroom or a large entryway, removing your shoes should be easy. Tracking less outside germs from your shoes into your home can also help keep pets and children with a tendency to spend time on the floor healthier all year round.

            Add Plants to Your Décor

            Fresh, live plants can beautify almost any space. Live plants do more than just make your home look a little bit nicer though. Spider plants, lilies and aloe vera can help get rid of formaldehyde in the air, and English ivy, asparagus ferns and bamboo plants can work to clean indoor air as well. Whatever plant you choose, make sure they're not toxic to your pets if they roam free around your home.

            Making your home a healthier place isn't exactly as glamorous as buying new furniture or adding a room to your house. Don't take your home's health for granted and you won't have to worry as much about home-related hazards.

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              What Options Do You Have to Refinance Your Home?

               

              Posted on Feb 24 2017 - 5:12pm by Housecall

              interest rates
              When you’re considering refinancing your home, it’s common to have a lot of questions. Unlike a first-time homebuyer, you’ve often gone through the mortgage process before and think you may know what to expect. But what options should you take into consideration before filling out a residential mortgage application? There is a wide range of options available for refinancing your home, and selecting the correct one often involves knowing what kind of financial situation you’re facing. Here are some basics to help get you started in the process.

              What Options Do You Have to Refinance Your Home?

              The first question to ask is why are you looking at an online mortgage? Are you looking for a better deal than your current mortgage because your credit has improved since you were a first-time homebuyer? Are you filling out a residential mortgage application because you’re looking at a second home, perhaps to spend winters in a warmer climate? Are you considering adding investment property to your overall financial portfolio and an online mortgage is easier to administer than one with your local bank? Refinancing a home may be a confusing process, but knowing why you’re doing it and what the economic conditions are may help you make a smarter decision in the long run. Here are some common types of refinance options to consider when looking at a residential mortgage application:

              • Cash-Out Refinance: When you’re in a situation where you need extra cash at a lower interest rate than otherwise available for home improvement loans, college tuition or other necessary expense, a cash-out refinance loan may be a good option to consider. It will typically work best when you’ve built significant equity in your home, which you may then turn into cash, leveraging your home’s equity against the balance of the loan.
              • FHA Streamline: An FHA streamline mortgage is a fast and easy way to save money on your FHA mortgage loan. Depending on the terms of your current mortgage, you may be eligible to refinance with a minimum 5 percent reduction in your payment, with no appraisal, income or asset verification required.
              • VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL): Did you get a VA mortgage loan to finance your home when the economy was better and the interest rates were higher? If you’ve served in our country’s military, whether you’re currently on active duty or a veteran, getting an IRRRL loan through the VA may enable you to enjoy the lower interest rates available in today’s economic market. With a lower interest rate, you may enjoy either a shorter repayment period or a lower monthly payment with a simple online mortgage application.
              • HARP 2.0 Program: Offered through the federal government, the Home Affordable Refinance Plan was developed when the housing bubble burst. Established in March 2009 by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, it was intended to help homeowners, even first-time home buyers, who found themselves upside-down in their mortgages, owing more than their home was worth. If this describes the circumstances you find yourself in, a HARP refinance loan may be helpful if you’ve kept your mortgage payments current but have not been able to receive traditional refinancing due to the changed value of your home. However, if you’re potentially eligible for this program, be aware that it currently has an application deadline of September 30, 2017 with no guarantee of its extension.
              • Refinance to a Fixed-Rate Mortgage: If you have an adjustable-rate mortgage and you’re seeing the rates and your payment constantly changing, it may be very frustrating when you need to stick to a budget. When you need to count on a constant payment over a longer period of time, such as during retirement or while on a fixed income, a fixed-rate mortgage refinance may help provide that level of security. By refinancing into a fixed-rate mortgage refinance loan, you may be able to enjoy lower overall repayments and may not need to worry about changing payment amounts over the remaining life of the mortgage.

              Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer facing an online mortgage process to refinance a bad interest rate or are considering a residential mortgage application to fund investment property, refinancing is often a complex process. Knowing how the process works and what your options are may mean all the difference between negotiating a successful contract and being stuck in a bad deal for years to come. By educating yourself on the options you have available, you may be able to turn a tidy profit on investment property or enjoy that perfect vacation home you never thought you’d have the chance to own.

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                Renovate or Decorate? 3 Things To Consider Before Choosing

                RISMedia Posted on Mar 16 2017 - 11:02am by Housecall

                remodel

                Photo: Pixabay

                By Brooke Chaplan

                If you are unhappy with the current look of your home, you may be thinking about redecorating to spruce the space up. For most, redecorating includes repainting the wall, refreshing the home décor and even purchasing new curtains or furnishings. However, in some cases, redecorating is not enough to produce the desired results. The last thing you want to do is spend hundreds or thousands of dollars redecorating only to still be unhappy with the look of the home. Renovating may be in order, but you should carefully consider these two options to determine the right move to make.

                Your Budget

                Your budget will be a critical deciding factor in whether you should renovate or remodel. Renovating a room may involve replacing the flooring, adding new molding, replacing the windows or window features, adding new lighting and more. After the renovation has been completed, many will also redecorate the space with new furnishings, paint and more. You should carefully review your budget to determine if you can afford a significant renovation project or if a remodeling project is more suitable for your financial situation. After all is said and done, you may find that getting some good furnishings from companies like The Century House can provide a satisfying change at less cost to you.

                 

                The Functional Use of the Space

                It is also important to consider the functional use of the space. With a renovation project, you may be able to knock down walls to adjust the shape and size of the room. You may be able to add a storage closet, built-in shelves or other features. These are just a few of the ways that a renovation can improve your functional use of the space. On the other hand, if you are happy with how the room meets your family’s needs for space, storage and more, you may not need to make any physical changes to the space.

                The Significance of the Desired Results

                A renovation project often takes several weeks or longer to complete, and it can provide much more significant results. Generally, it can change the style of the room and make it look more current. It also can improve the use of the space with great results. You should consider how in-depth and significant you want the results to be to determine if this is the right move to make.

                It is common for homeowners to be unhappy with one or more rooms of the home. In some cases, a minor redecorating project will produce incredible, desirable results. In other cases, more significant and costly effort is needed to fully transform the space. Take time to consider your needs and desires for the space as well as your budget before deciding how to proceed.

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                  High-Resale Value Projects You Can Tackle In A Weekend

                  From RIS Media's housecall...for the Do It Yourselfer...

                  Posted on Mar 1 2017 - 3:58pm by Megan Wild

                  kitchen

                  “There’s no place like home,” as the old saying goes. That’s especially true when it comes to an investment.

                  You live in and love your home, but there might come a time when you have to leave it. And when that time comes, you’ll want to get as much money as you can for your property so you can move onward — and upward.

                  In order to increase your abode’s value, you might think you have to put in a ton of time, effort and money, but that’s not entirely true. Instead, you can take on weekend projects over time to spruce the place up so when it’s time to sell, you have a completely updated property that’ll end up selling itself.

                  Ready to get to work? Roll up your sleeves and start on one of the following five weekend projects.

                  1. Repaint Your Kitchen Cabinets

                  When it comes to smart investment in your home, the kitchen is one of the best places to start. Buyers expect kitchens to be updated. Stone countertops, stainless appliances and sleek flooring all make a space feel modern. Obviously, these changes require a lot of money and, sometimes, a lot of time. That’s why you can tackle it in bits and start first with your cabinets.

                  Old wooden cabinets with equally dated hardware — think oak doors with shiny brass handles — don’t require a complete gut job. Instead, spend a weekend repainting them a more neutral hue. Finish the project off with new metallic knobs and pulls to complete the modernized look.

                  2. Make the Eye Go up With Crown Molding

                  Most homes have roughly the same ceiling heights, but there’s a little trick to make yours look bigger — crown molding. Yes, that white line at the top of your painted walls will draw eyes upward, making the room appear airier than it may very well be.

                  The project is easy enough to complete, too. You might not be able to install molding throughout your entire home over a single weekend, but you can certainly tackle the project on a room-by-room basis. Again, start with the spaces likely to draw in the most moolah:

                  • Kitchens
                  • Bathrooms
                  • Living spaces
                  • Master bedrooms

                  These tend to be the make-or-break rooms when it comes to a big purchase. Crown molding adds a bit of detail, a feeling of luxury that’ll certainly add to the bottom line.

                  3. Boost Curb Appeal — and Backyard Bonuses

                  No one will come in your home unless the first impression is stunning. Another DIY project should be a landscape overhaul of your front yard. It can be something as simple as adding a path of pavers to your front yard or sprucing up your flowerbeds with colorful blooms. All of this will catch the eye of potential buyers — and fatten up the bottom line of the offers they make.

                  Another easy fix — your garage door. If it’s street-facing, it’s another area for prospective buyers to look at, and it has a great return on investment.

                  You don’t have to stop with the front of your home. Especially if you live in a climate that permits lots of outdoor activity, you’ll want a backyard to match. Some may require you rent or buy tools for landscaping and other applications, but imagine the payoff with, for example, the beauty of a functioning fire pit in your backyard. Not only will you be able to enjoy it while you’re still living in your home, but potential buyers will easily be able to envision themselves sitting around a fire.

                  4. Beautify the Bathrooms

                  Bathrooms have a big effect on buyers. They expect clean, modern updates, just like in the kitchen. Overhauling your powder room is an easy weekend task that might require small swaps, such as a new modern light fixture over the vanity or a new vanity altogether.

                  Your full bathrooms will require a bit more attention if you want them to be up to snuff. Again, look in the familiar places:

                  • Lighting fixtures
                  • Cabinets
                  • Hardware
                  • Countertops
                  • Tile

                  You don’t have to shell out a ton of money to have someone else re-tile a wall or backsplash in your bathroom, either, if you have the patience to demo and tile the space yourself.

                  5. Out With the Really Old

                  Some accents once considered fresh and fashionable now give your home a dated appearance. You probably already know what in your home screams 70s, 80s or 90s. Whatever it is should go in due course.

                  The list of outdated design elements is truly endless, but some of the biggest offenders are old-school wallpaper, the floor-to-ceiling wood paneling that may or not be actual wood, and, of course, popcorn ceilings. By removing these three offenders alone — a popcorn ceiling doesn’t take much effort — your home will snap right back into 2017.

                  Once people start envisioning themselves living in your home, you won’t have to envision offers pouring in — they’ll start coming thanks to your hard work. You go, weekend warrior.

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                    Rejuvenate Your Window Design With These Latest Trends

                    Looking to update your window treatments?

                     

                    Posted on Feb 24 2017 - 4:26pm by Housecall

                    By Katie Laird

                    window design

                    Window treatments provide both form and function in your home—they can be a stylish statement, while also performing important tasks. Learn about the latest trends and functionality of popular window treatments to make a choice that works best in your home.

                    The Improved Functionality of Today’s Window Treatments

                    Whether you choose curtains, blinds or shades, each option provides more than just a fashion statement.

                    • Control Sunlight in Your Home: Window treatments, especially shades and blinds, provide you with sunlight control, making it easy to brighten or darken your living space. With blackout shades and curtains, you can achieve complete darkness in a room, making it conducive to a good night’s sleep. With solar shades, you can keep out UV rays while still keeping your view.
                    • Increase Your Home's Privacy: A variety of window treatment options prevent others from looking inside your house. Today’s styles can even allow sunlight in, while still maintaining privacy.
                    • Protect Your Furniture and Household Accessories: Window treatments enable you to protect your furniture and household accessories against UV rays that otherwise may cause fading or cracking over time.
                    • Save Money on Your Energy Bills: The Department of Energy (DOE) notes awnings, blinds and other window treatments can help you reduce heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer, allowing you to cut your annual energy expenses.
                    • Show Off Your Personality: Want to reinvent your home's décor? Window treatments are available in a variety of colors and designs, ensuring that you can bolster your home's décor and show off your personal style.

                    Today’s Most Popular Window Style Options

                    Gone are the days of only choosing between plain roller shades and ornate drapes. Now there is everything in between, so you can go with an option that matches your home’s décor.

                    • Faux Wood Blinds: Faux wood blinds replicate the appearance of wood perfectly and are available in a variety of finishes and styles. They are available at a fraction of the cost of their wood counterparts and offer superior moisture resistance for long-lasting durability.

                    Unlike traditional wood blinds, faux wood varieties consist of a synthetic material that is easy to clean. That way, you won't have to worry about allocating significant time and resources to keep faux wood blinds looking great.

                    • Patterned Drapes and Shades: Window treatments that feature stripes and bold prints have become exceedingly popular over the past few years, and it is easy to understand why. As homeowners search for ways to reinvent their living spaces, patterned shades and curtains allow property owners to go bold with their décor without having to worry about breaking their budgets.
                    • Silk Panels: For those who appreciate the finer things in life, there may be no better option than silk panels.

                    While silk panels may prove to be more expensive than many other window treatments, they can bring a touch of luxury and sophistication to a setting's décor instantly. Options abound with silk panels that consist of embroidered silks, plaid silks and jacquard paisley designs represent timeless choices for homeowners who want to create an elegant living space. When combined with shades or blinds, panels can provide style as well as privacy.

                    • Environmentally-Friendly Window Treatments: Did you know that some window treatments can help you fight off allergies? Environmentally-friendly window treatments that consist of mildew-, mold- and stain-resistant fabrics are gaining popularity among allergy sufferers nationwide. Allergy sufferers can reap the benefits of "green" window treatments without having to sacrifice their personal style.

                    Environmentally-conscious homeowners also can choose shades and curtains that feature non-toxic dyes and fabrics.

                    • Honeycomb Shades: Honeycomb shades consistently rank among the top window treatment options for homeowners. These shades deliver superb insulation and noise reduction, along with light-blocking and light-filtering capabilities. Plus, top-down and bottom-up honeycomb shades are available for supreme light and privacy management.

                    Honeycomb shades come in numerous pleat sizes and can be paired with drapes to maximize style and privacy.

                    Today’s options can fit into any style and budget. Maximize style, efficiency and privacy with a combination of today’s most popular window treatments.

                    Katie Laird is the Director of Social Marketing for Blinds.com and a frequent public speaker on Social Media Marketing, Social Customer Care and profitable company culture. An active blogger and early social technology adopter, you can find her online as ‘happykatie’ sharing home décor, yoga, parenting and vegetarian cooking tips. To learn more about the variety of faux wood blinds and other window treatments like those highlighted in this article, visit the Blinds.com website.

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