Tag: home office

Earn up to 4x miles on Apple purchases – The Points Guy

Editor’s note: This post is regularly updated with new information and offers.  Is it time to upgrade the technology in your home office? Or maybe you’ve put off getting that next iPhone as long as you can? If so, today is a good day to buy the Apple products that have been sitting in your …

Source: thepointsguy.com

Where to Set Up Your Home Office to Get Work Done – Location Ideas

Where should you put your home office so that you can focus and be productive? Here are some ideas to consider for your location.

Source: moneycrashers.com

A Cozy New Rug Collection

Hello friends! Praise be, the election is over and I just marked my birthday over the weekend – my official holiday season milestone. Whenever the calendar passes November 8, I feel like I can finally turn 100% of my attention to all things holiday. Obviously, the holidays are going to look and feel very different than years past. Perhaps instead of the holiday season, we should start referring to the next few months as the hunker down season. Because that’s what holidays in the time of Covid are going to require of us. But I’m not entirely mad about the idea of holing up at home. I’ll take a very valid excuse to look for ways to make my home as cozy, comforting, and beautiful as possible.

Enter the new rug collection from Beni Rugs, designed by my style soul twin, Colin King.

A Cozy New Rug Collection on Apartment 34A Cozy New Rug Collection on Apartment 34

Called the Shape of Color, this new rug collection offers eleven Moroccan style rugs. Each rug features shocks of color inspired by Tangier and Marrakech. The hues are deeply saturated in simple geometric shapes or big bold stripes.

A Cozy New Rug Collection on Apartment 34A Cozy New Rug Collection on Apartment 34

While I typically eschew color, rugs are a wonderful spot to inject something fresh into a room. I used a bold colored rug in my own living room. The particularly nice thing about a rug – it’s an easy way to reenergize a space without really having to change anything else.

A Cozy New Rug Collection on Apartment 34A Cozy New Rug Collection on Apartment 34 A Cozy New Rug Collection on Apartment 34 A Cozy New Rug Collection on Apartment 34

There are a few secrets to picking out a rug. First, you want to think about size. A common mistake is getting a rug that is too small. You want all (or nearly all) your furniture in a space to sit on your rug. That helps a room feel anchored and like everything is working together. A too-small rug will actually make a small space feel even smaller!

Next, you want to think about foot traffic. If you’re looking to put a rug in a high foot traffic area, you’ll want to ensure any rug you select will withstand an onslaught of dirt and use.

Finally, when adding a colorful rug to your space you don’t need to “match your decor. You just want to keep everything in the same design family. Do you decorate with mostly warm colors or cooler tones? That will help you pick your colors.



 

If you’re looking to upgrade the coziness of your home before the holidays hit, I definitely think one of these rugs would be a great way to do it. I’m already debating which one I might add to our house. I do have a home office refresh in the works! If I pick out one of these rugs – I’ll be sure to share.

How are you planning on sprucing up your spaces for the holidays?

images c/o beni rugs

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Source: apartment34.com

Is Now a Good Time to Buy a House?

So you’re at the point in your life where buying a home is not a question of if, but when. You’re scrimping. You’re saving. You’re dreaming of walking through the front door of your very own home.

But as the decision draws near, you start questioning everything. Is now a good time to buy a house? Or is this the worst time? Is it more financially responsible to buy a house right now or wait? And what if you mistime the market, buying too soon or too late, and miss out on lower home prices?

Ultimately, the experts say the answer is less about economies, markets and pandemics and more about you.

So, how do you think through this decision? You’ll want to take time to thoroughly review your personal financial situation and life goals. At the same time, you’ll need to gain some understanding of the market dynamics that impact home costs.

External factors can make buying a house right now intimidating, but your personal finances are an important factor.

This process will take some time, but it’s well worth the effort. With a firm grasp on your personal situation and some context on the housing market, you’ll be able to confidently go forth knowing you’re making a fiscally informed decision about whether to buy a house right now.

Honestly assess these aspects of your finances

Financial security is always important if you’re trying to determine when you’re ready to buy a home. To decide if now is a good time to buy a house, ask yourself the following questions about your finances:

How secure is your income?

Job or income stability is an important factor if you are buying a home in a rocky economy, such as the one triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, says real estate economist Gay Cororaton. Even in a robust economy, your income security should be top of mind when you’re thinking of buying a house right now.

If you have any inkling that your position may be eliminated or that you’ll be making a career change, you may want to delay buying a home. Even a recent break in employment that caused you to draw down some of your savings may raise a red flag with lenders, says Kate Ziegler, a real estate agent with Arborview Realty in the Boston area.

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If you’re considering buying a house right now, you should avoid opening any new lines of credit right before purchasing a home.

– Jeff Tucker, senior economist at Zillow

Do you have enough money saved?

After income stability, savings is the next-most-important financial factor you’ll want to consider to determine if now is a good time to buy a house, Ziegler says. The old rule of thumb was to save 20% of the price of the home for your down payment. While that is ideal, it’s not necessary—far from it, Ziegler says. In fact, it has become more common for first-time buyers to put down much less than 20%.

How much house can you afford?

The down payment is one side of the affordability coin. Your monthly mortgage payment is the other side. You need to know how much you can spend on both to determine if you can afford to buy a house right now, says Jeff Tucker, a senior economist at Zillow. Aim for a monthly mortgage payment that doesn’t stretch you too thin—experts typically put this at around 28% of your monthly gross income, according to Bankrate.

With those guidelines, you can determine what you can afford. For example, if you make $4,000 a month, you should typically spend no more than $1,120 on your monthly mortgage payment in total.

How much house that buys you depends on multiple factors: mortgage rates, property tax rates, homeowners insurance and—if you don’t have the savings to put down 20%—primary mortgage insurance, or PMI. To get a rough estimate, plug your income details into an online calculator. For a more specific figure, talk to a local lender and get pre-approved for a mortgage, Ziegler says.

If you're buying a house right now, aim for mortgage payments around 28% of your monthly gross income.

Once you know your price range, you can determine how much savings you need in the bank to buy a house right now. You’ll also need to have money saved for closing costs, which vary but typically run 2% to 5% of the loan amount, according to Bankrate.

Again, Ziegler recommends talking to a lender to really understand what your individual down payment and closing costs would be. Finally, be sure to add a line item in your budget for home maintenance that will inevitably pop up after you move in. Whether it’s a dishwasher on the fritz or a leaky roof, you don’t want to be caught off guard, so be sure to save money for emergency home repairs.

How is your credit?

Your credit profile is also important to lenders, and it will likely be a factor in what interest rate you’re offered. Given that, you should be checking your credit report and know your credit score before investing in a home. If you’re considering buying a house right now, you should avoid opening any new lines of credit right before purchasing a home, Tucker says.

What is your debt-to-income ratio?

Another factor lenders check is your debt-to-income ratio, or DTI, Tucker says. This is the percentage of your gross monthly income that goes to paying monthly debt payments, plus your new mortgage. Lenders typically require this ratio to be 45% or less but prefer it even lower—in the 33% to 36% range.

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Have you considered the opportunity cost?

Another financial consideration when deciding if now is a good time to buy a house is the opportunity cost of delaying a home purchase, Ziegler says. If you’re renting in a market where the rent is higher than your would-be monthly mortgage payment, you may be spending a lot more money each month than if you were to purchase a home. And of course, with a mortgage, your monthly payment increases your equity.

After taking a clear-eyed look at your income, savings and these other financial factors, you will have a better sense of when you’re ready to buy a home and whether now’s the time for you to dip into the market.

Consider key market factors

Next, take a look at factors that are outside of your control, but still influence your purchase: prices, interest rates and national employment trends.

Where are housing prices?

As you’re looking at the market, one of the biggest considerations when you are ready to buy a home will be housing prices and availability. Research your local market by talking to real estate agents who work specifically in the area where you want to buy and asking them about market trends, Ziegler says.

Track current listings and recently sold prices to get a sense of how prices look today. Generally, the tighter the inventory—meaning the fewer houses available—the higher prices will be, Tucker says.

If you're trying to determine when you are ready to buy a home, track current listings to get a sense of how prices look today.

What’s going on with interest rates?

When you’re ready to buy a home could also depend on another major economic factor: interest rates. When interest rates are low, your housing budget is effectively supercharged, Tucker says, and you can afford a more expensive house because you’re spending less on interest. When they are high, the opposite is true.

This is what compels people to buy when interest rates are low—you get more for your money. If you get a 30- or 15-year fixed-rate mortgage, you lock in that rate for the entire life of the loan, which could save you money now and into the future, Tucker says.

How does employment look nationally?

Finally, if you want to get a general idea of where the housing market may be headed—if prices will drop or rise soon—check out the national employment trends, Cororaton says. Low unemployment means prices will generally trend upward because more people can afford houses, boosting competition and prices, she says.

But if unemployment is inching up, then people are losing jobs and will be more likely to remain in their current homes. As a result, there tends to be less competition for them, lowering prices.

You don’t need to be an expert in the market to determine if now is a good time to buy a house, but a baseline understanding of these big-picture forces can give you the confidence you need to embark on your home-buying journey.

So when are you ready to buy a home? Paying attention to big-picture economic forces can help you decide.

Think about your future plans

After reviewing your savings and income and assessing the market conditions, take a step back and think about your life plans over the next few years. Your lifestyle and goals will help determine whether now is a good time to buy a house.

“For buyers who are not certain whether they will still be living in the same place in three or five years, I would caution against locking themselves into a certain location,” Ziegler says. “If they’re just not sure what the future holds, it may be better to have that flexibility.”

It’s unlikely in many markets that you will see substantial financial gain from homeownership if you move within five years, Ziegler says. Your equity gains will likely be offset by the transaction costs of buying and selling your home.

That goes for remote workers, too. Are you working from a home office these days? While widespread remote work may allow buyers to consider homes farther from their offices, ask yourself: Is my company going to permanently allow employees to work from home? Do I think there will be other remote opportunities in the future?

Is now a good time to buy a house? That depends on your lifestyle and long-term goals.

While you’re thinking about the next three to five years of your career, also consider the next three to five years of your personal life. Will you have a family? Will that family grow?

These can be weighty topics, so be sure to think them through on your own schedule. Buying a house is a big decision, and it’s not one to be rushed. By taking the time to assess your life, from your job security to your financial health to your lifestyle, and considering the impact of market factors, you’ll have a clearer sense of when you are ready to buy a home.

If you’ve decided that buying a house right now is the best decision for you, it’s time to learn more about how it will impact your budget. Get started by reading up on these eight unexpected expenses when buying a home.

Articles may contain information from third-parties. The inclusion of such information does not imply an affiliation with the bank or bank sponsorship, endorsement, or verification regarding the third-party or information.

The post Is Now a Good Time to Buy a House? appeared first on Discover Bank – Banking Topics Blog.

Source: discover.com

‘Fixer to Fabulous’ Reveals 5 Things Every House Needs in 2021

fixer to fabulousHGTV

At long last, 2021 has arrived! But since COVID-19 is still with us, you might be itching to make some changes around the house that’ll help you ride out the rest of this pandemic at home in style.

You’re in luck: On this week’s “Fixer to Fabulous,” Jenny and Dave Marrs renovate a house by adding some essential quarantine-friendly upgrades you might like to try yourself!

In the Season 2 episode “Ranch Becomes Family-Friendly,” Jenny and Dave meet homeowners Wes and Kate Walker, whose Bentonville, AR, home is lovely from the outside, but the interior is too small for a family of five, and doesn’t function well for their needs.

Dave and Jenny have $175,000 to give this home some coronavirus-savvy updates to make this family comfortable at home through the pandemic and beyond. Read on to find out which favorite quarantine features you might want to add to your own abode, too.

1. Outdoor seating that doesn’t curb your curb appeal

house
Wes and Kate Walker already loved the exterior of this house and were nervous to change it.

HGTV

2020 was all about making the most of small outdoor spaces, so Jenny and Dave aren’t surprised when Kate and Wes ask about adding a sitting space out front.

While Kate says she’d love a front porch, Wes is a bit hesitant. He loves the curb appeal of the house and doesn’t want the look to change too much.

deck
This deck is modestly sized, but it will be a great place for Wes and Kate to kick back and relax.

HGTV

So in the interest of keeping the front of the house looking the same, Jenny and Dave decide to make a small (but convenient) deck by the front windows.

They move some of the greenery from the front yard, making just enough space to build a 30-foot steel deck, complete with a fire pit, just off the front door.

“It’ll be really subtle. It won’t be this giant front porch,” Jenny says, “but it would give them a space where they can actually sit and enjoy.”

When the deck is finished, the effect is of having a front porch without changing the shape of the entryway—they gain seating without sacrificing curb appeal.

2. Home decor that feels like a vacation

terra-cotta tile
This terra-cotta tile brings a warmth to the kitchen.

HGTV

Sometimes flooring can be forgotten, but Kate and Wes really want to make sure their floors stand out.

“We keep coming back to a terra-cotta floor,” Kate says when Jenny asks what kind of look they want in the kitchen.

While terra-cotta tiles aren’t necessarily typical for modern renovations, Jenny likes the idea, saying that it’ll give the house a Mediterranean aesthetic. In a pandemic when it’s not easy to travel, it’s the closest these two might get to a European escape!

bath tub
This tile looks great in the new master bedroom and bathroom.

HGTV

In fact, Jenny embraces the flooring style and even uses terra cotta in both the kitchen and the new master suite, which they convert from a garage.

“The hexagon shape makes it really unique and different,” Jenny says when the tile is installed. “The patina is gorgeous. It just feels like you’re on vacation at a spa off the coast of Spain.”

3. Plenty of kitchen storage

kitchen
Wes and Kate didn’t like all the brown cabinets.

HGTV

During a pandemic, plenty of kitchen cabinets for all those home-cooked meals is a must—and with unique kitchen floors, Jenny wants to make sure the cabinets complement the look.

So instead of choosing a typical white cabinet, Jenny decides on a rich green color that will not only bring out the red in the terra cotta, but also add to that old-world European character with its dark, moody shade.

kitchen
These green cabinets work well with the flooring.

HGTV

Dave approves of Jenny’s dark green choice.

“It’s a statement,” he says. “There’s tons of light in here now so I feel like you can go darker.”

4. A spacious and beautiful pantry

pantry
This pantry cleverly matches the kitchen cabinets.

HGTV

In addition to kitchen cabinets, Jenny knows how important pantry space can be—and that it should be beautiful, too. To deliver, Jenny uses a flower drawing by Wes and Kate’s young daughter, Reese, to create a custom wallpaper. It looks great, and Jenny notes that this detail will be extra special for the family.

“Every time they go into their pantry, for years and years to come, they’ll be able to say, ‘Reese drew this,’” Jenny says.

pantry
This pantry comes with a hidden feature.

HGTV

Plus, to add a kid-friendly feel, Jenny and Dave decide to make a secret “spy room” complete with a desk at the back the the pantry—the perfect hideout for the Walkers’ two boys.

5. A home-school/homework room that’ll grow with the kids

office
This office space needed a home-school refresh.

HGTV

At the beginning of the pandemic, families scrambled to set up home-school spaces and work-from-home offices, but this family was ahead of the curve—they were already home-schooling, so the kids already had a workspace!

Still, Jenny and Dave want to update the kids’ home-schooling room so that they can enjoy it for years to come.

“The homework room for the Walker kids is basically going to be a room that’s going to grow with them,” Jenny says.

So they add some paneling to the wall with built-in chalkboards for each of the kids. The decor is youthful but isn’t so kid-focused that it looks like a nursery. The space is bright and beautiful, and it can be used for years to come.

“You know, you’ve got to do your schoolwork. You want to have a happy place to do it,” Jenny says.

office
With three kids home-schooling, this family deserves a great homework room.

HGTV

The post ‘Fixer to Fabulous’ Reveals 5 Things Every House Needs in 2021 appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Source: realtor.com