Category: Home Improvement

10 Hideous Cabin Decor Fails You Won’t Be Able To Erase From Your Memory

cabin decor failschandlerphoto/Getty Images

We love a cozy cabin in the woods as much as anyone—give us a crackling fireplace and warm mulled cider to sip, all day long. But if you’re lucky enough to have a home in ski country, there are a few things you should know about decorating it—because it is possible to take the mountain theme too far.

We get it, you’re serious about your schussing. But that doesn’t mean every bed needs a frame made from old skis, and all the dishes don’t need to be stamped with snowflakes and trees. And don’t get us started on dead animals mounted on the wall.

Need some help determining what’s rustic chic and what’s just plain old tacky? Maybe you simply want to scroll through some epic design fails to pass the time (who could blame you?)

Well, you’re in luck! We’ve done the heavy (ski) lifting to uncover the most atrocious cabin decor out there. Read on for the biggest no-nos.

1. Way too much taxidermy

Photo by Langford Construction Co., Inc 

We see where you’re going with this: Animals live in the woods—and you live in the woods too! So, therefore, it makes sense to hang up some furry friends to complete the equation.

Alas, these severed heads with super-sad eyes are just going to creep out your family and friends. Just say no (the elks will thank you).

2. Tree-trunk furniture

Photo by Amaron Folkestad GC Steamboats Builder 

We had to rub our eyes twice when we discovered that someone had installed a set of lift chairs in their breakfast nook. If you have kids and won’t mind when they try to sway their way through their bowls of Cheerios, then you do you.

5. Trail signs

Is there nothing new under the sun in a ski cabin?

Etsy

Crafty wooden signs that point you toward the guest room or loo have been done to death in most themed homes, from beach bungalows to modern farmhouses.

So of course, personalized posts are the next logical step. Watch out for those black-diamond directions—you could end up over your skis.

6. Corny ski sayings

Get it—going downhill? Groan.

Etsy

“Skiing is expensive (but it’s cheaper than therapy).”

“Caution: Trees don’t move.”

“Eat. Sleep. Ski. Repeat.”

Yup, we’ve heard and read them all. Try artwork instead. Blank walls work, too.

7. Bark anything

Papery birch bark isn’t attractive, people!

Amazon

Rough tree bark shouldn’t line your picture frames, mirrors, or any other home item. Ditto for birch candles. Some people may feel that these lights signal a home filled with hygge, but they’re a tad dirty and unappealing in real life.

8. Moose-print everything

This bedroom set oozes mountain vibes (and not in a good way).

Amazon

You’d better love moose if you’re gonna sleep in this bed. And when you add in the faux sticks, more antlers, and a looming head on the wall, you’ve hit the trifecta for mountain home decor fails.

This bedding seems cozy enough, and it could work in a ski cabin—just remove a few moose (meese?) first.

9. Trees for days

Beware: These bottle-brush pines are scratchy to the touch.

Etsy

Lined up on the mantel. On every single dresser. Oh, and check the towels, rugs, and throw pillows, too.

Everywhere you look, there are ski homes filled to bursting with trees in every shape and size. Are there no other motifs that signal mountain life? Asking for a friend.

10. Bear table

You can’t unsee this abomination.

BlackForest Decor

If you squint, you could imagine that this piece might be cute. But then you open your eyes, and realize that no amount of alcohol on that tree-trunk tabletop will make this kitschy bear seem like an appropriate home decor choice.

Sigh. If you must grab this item, relegate it to the kids’ playroom.

The post 10 Hideous Cabin Decor Fails You Won’t Be Able To Erase From Your Memory appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Source: realtor.com

6 Ways to Summer-Proof Your Home

Not only are we living through a global pandemic, but we’re also living through what is one of the hottest summers in many states. Here’s how you can protect your home from the summer heat and other woes you may face this season.

The post 6 Ways to Summer-Proof Your Home appeared first on Homes.com.

Source: homes.com

How to prepare your home for a winter open house

The winter season can be a great time to sell your house, but while your competition is reduced, success during this time can still depend on a successful open house. To help make your open house as effective as possible, follow these tips.

  • Take down your decorations. The holidays are over, but if you’re the type that likes to leave the decorations up for a time, taking them down before your open house is a good idea. Prospective buyers may not celebrate the same holidays as you and you don’t want to alienate them.
  • Clear the clutter. If you haven’t put those holiday gifts away yet, now’s the time. Prospective buyers should be able to focus on your home instead of the collection of things crowding it. Give them nice open spaces to move about and they’ll be appreciative.
  • Turn up the heat. Warm and cozy is more than a catch phrase during the winter. Bring the temperature up in your home slightly during your open house to keep your guests comfortable. If they are too cold in your home, they aren’t apt to stay long.
  • Plan for winter apparel. Be it jackets or boots, take extra steps to prepare your entryway for the added material your buyers will bring with them. A designated spot to place these items can make guests feel welcome and keep your home cleaner during the showing and beyond.

The post How to prepare your home for a winter open house first appeared on Century 21®.

Source: century21.com

10 home features that have fallen out of favor

Trending: 10 home features that have fallen out of favor:
1. Bold color schemes
2. Industrial-style kitchens
3. Kitchen islands
4. Granite countertops
5. TVs in the kitchen
6. Over-the-stove microwaves
7. Raised-panel cabinets
8. Wall-to-wall carpet
9. Distressed wood walls
10. Mediterranean-inspired suburban McMansions

The post 10 home features that have fallen out of favor first appeared on Century 21®.

Source: century21.com

Should I Refinance My Mortgage? When to Refinance

The Federal Reserve recently lowered interest rates in an effort to stimulate the economy during the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, more and more people are becoming interested in refinancing their mortgage. Depending on the situation, refinancing your mortgage can prove to be a savvy financial decision that can save you massive amounts of money in the long-term. But is it right for you? 

If you’re curious about refinancing your mortgage, this article should answer many of your questions, including: 

  1. How Does Refinancing Work?
  2. When Should I Refinance My Mortgage? 
  3. What is the Downside of Refinancing My Home? 
  4. How Do I Calculate if I Should Refinance My Mortgage? 
  5. What are My Refinancing Options? 

How Does Refinancing Work? 

“Refinancing your mortgage allows you to pay off your existing mortgage and take out a new mortgage on new terms,” according to usa.gov. So when you refinance your mortgage, you’re essentially trading in your old mortgage for a new one. The new loan that you take out pays off the remainder of the original mortgage and takes its place. That means the terms of the old mortgage no longer apply, and you’re instead bound by the terms of the new one. 

There are many reasons why homeowners choose to refinance their mortgage. They may want to secure a loan with a lower interest rate, switch from an adjustable rate mortgage (ARM) to a fixed-rate, shorten or lengthen their repayment term, change mortgage companies, or come up with some cash in order to pay off debts or deal with miscellaneous expenses. As you can see, there are a vast number of reasons why someone might be interested in refinancing. 

There are also a couple of different ways to go about refinancing. A standard rate-and-term refinance is the most common way to do it. With this method, you simply adjust the interest rate you’re paying and the terms of your mortgage so that they become more beneficial to you. 

However, you could also do a cash out refinance, where you pull equity out of your home and receive it in the form of a cash payment, or take out a new loan that’s greater than the remaining debt on the original mortgage. Even though you’ll get an influx of cash in the short-term, a cash out refinance can be a risky option because it increases your debt and it’ll likely cost you in interest payments in the long-term.


When Should I Refinance My Mortgage?

Maybe you’ve been wondering, “Should I refinance my mortgage?” If you can save money, pay off your mortgage faster, and build equity in your home by doing so, then the answer is yes. Whether you can achieve this is dependent on a variety of things. Take a look at these refinance tips in order to get a better idea of when you should refinance your mortgage. 

Capitalize on Low Interest Rates 

When mortgage rates go down, a lot of people consider refinancing their mortgage in order to take advantage of that new lower rate. And this makes perfect sense—by paying a lower interest rate on your mortgage, you could end up saving thousands of dollars over time. But when it comes to refinancing your mortgage, there are a number of other factors you should consider as well. 

Regarding interest rates, you should take a look at how steeply they drop before making any refinancing decisions. It might be a good idea to refinance your mortgage if you can lower your interest rate by at least 2 percent. It ultimately depends on the amount of your mortgage, but anything less than that amount likely won’t be worth it in the long run. 

Switch to Fixed-Rate Mortgage

It’s also very common for people to refinance in order to get out of an adjustable rate mortgage and instead convert to a fixed-rate. An adjustable rate mortgage usually starts off with a lower interest rate than a fixed-rate, but that rate eventually changes and it can end up costing you. That’s because the interest rate on an adjustable rate mortgage changes over time based on an index of interest rates. It can alter based on the mortgage market, the LIBOR market index, and the federal funds rate. 

By converting to a fixed-rate mortgage—where the interest rate is set when you initially take out the loan—before the low rates on your adjustable rate mortgage increase, you can minimize the amount you have to pay in interest. If you’re able to lock in a low fixed interest rate, you’ll be less susceptible to market volatility and more capable of devising a long-term payment strategy.   

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When debating the question of “Should I refinance my mortgage or not?”, you should also keep in mind what lenders will look at when determining the terms of your loan. In order to come up with an interest rate and approve you for a refinancing loan, lenders will take the following factors into consideration: 

  • Payment history on your original mortgage: Before issuing a refinancing loan, lenders will review the payment history on your initial mortgage to make sure that you made payments on time. 
  • Credit score: With good credit, you’ll have more flexibility and options when refinancing. A high credit score will allow you to take out loans with more favorable terms at a lower interest rate. 
  • Income: Lenders will want to see that you generate a steady, reliable income that can comfortably cover the monthly mortgage payments.  
  • Equity: Home equity is the loan-to-value ratio of a borrower. You can calculate it by dividing the amount owed on the current mortgage loan by the home’s current value. Before you consider refinancing, you should ideally have at least 20% equity in your home. If your equity is under 20% but your credit is good, you still may be able to secure a loan, but you’ll likely be charged a higher interest rate or have to pay for mortgage insurance, which is not ideal.

What is the Downside of Refinancing My Home? 

Refinancing a mortgage isn’t for everyone. If you don’t take the time to do your research, calculate savings, and weigh the benefits versus the potential risks, you could end up spending more money on refinancing than you would have had you stuck with the original loan. 

When refinancing, you run the risk of placing yourself in a precarious financial position. This is especially true when it comes to a cash out refinance, as this can put you on the hook for even more money and bury you in interest payments. 

Don’t refinance your home and pull out equity just to get quick cash, make luxury purchases, and buy things you don’t need—doing this is an easy way to dig yourself into a deep financial hole. In reality, you should only refinance your mortgage if you know that you can save money doing it. 

How Do I Calculate if I Should Refinance My Mortgage? 

Before you refinance your mortgage, it’s crucial to crunch the numbers and determine whether it’s worth it in the long-run. To do this, you’ll first have to consider how much refinancing actually costs. 

Consider Closing Costs

So how much does it cost to refinance? One of the most significant expenses to take into account when refinancing is the closing costs. All refinancing loans come with closing costs, which depend on the lender and the amount of your loan, but average around three to six percent of the principal amount of the loan. So, for example, if you took out a loan of $200,000, you would end up paying another $8,000 if closing costs were set at 4%. 

These closing costs are most often paid upfront, but in some cases lenders will permit you to make the closing costs part of the principal amount, thus incorporating them into the new loan. While closing costs generally don’t cover property taxes, homeowner’s insurance, and mortgage insurance, they do tend to include the following: 

  • Refinance application fee
  • Credit fees 
  • Home appraisal and inspection fees 
  • Points fee
  • Escrow and title fees 
  • Lender fee

Determine Your Break-Even Point

To make an informed decision as to whether refinancing your mortgage is a sound financial decision, you should calculate how long it will take for the refinancing to pay for itself. In other words, you’ll want to determine your break-even point. To calculate your break-even point, divide the total closing costs by the amount you’ll save on a monthly basis as a result of your refinance loan. 

The basic equation for figuring out your break-even point is as follows: [Closing Costs] / [Monthly Savings] = [# of Months to Break Even] 

Taking this into consideration, you can see how the length of time you plan on staying in a home can make a big difference as to whether or not refinancing your mortgage is the right option for you. If you’re thinking of moving away and selling your house in a few years, then refinancing your mortgage is probably not the right move. You likely won’t save enough in those few years to cover the additional costs of refinancing. 

However, if you plan on remaining at the house you’re in for a long stretch of time, then refinancing could potentially save you a lot of money. To make an informed decision, you have to do the math yourself—or, to make the calculations even simpler, use Mint’s online loan repayment calculator. 

What are My Refinancing Options? 

As stated above, you have options when it comes to refinancing loans. You could refinance your mortgage in order to secure a lower interest fee and a change in the terms of your loan; or you might opt for a cash out refinance that lets you turn your home’s equity into extra income that you can use to pay for home improvement, tuition costs, high-interest debt payments, and more. 

In order to actually start refinancing your home, you’ll have to find a lender and fill out a loan application. Shop around at large and small banks alike to see who will offer you the lowest interest rates and the best terms. How long does a refinance take? The timeline depends on a few things, including the lender you borrow from and your own financial situation. But, in general, it takes an average of 45 days to refinance a mortgage. 

You might also consider forgoing the traditional banks and dealing with an online non-banking company instead. Alternative lenders often offer greater flexibility in terms of who qualifies for a loan and they can, in some cases, expedite the refinancing process. For example, Freddie Mac is a government-sponsored mortgage loan company that, in addition to offering no cash out and cash out refinancing, has a third option available for borrowers whose loan-to-value ratio is too high to qualify for the traditional refinancing routes. Learn more by visiting freddiemac.com. 

When tackling any big financial decision, it’s important that you’re informed and organized. Learn the facts, do the calculations, and research your options before beginning the refinancing process to make sure it’s the right choice for you. 

The post Should I Refinance My Mortgage? When to Refinance appeared first on MintLife Blog.

Source: mint.intuit.com

7 Thoughtful Gifts To Help the Essential Workers in Your Life Kick Back at Home

essential worker giftsArtistGNDphotography/Getty Images

There’s no denying that essential workers—whether they’re in health care, delivery, or staffing the grocery store—have been the real angels of 2020. No matter how you celebrate the holidays, it’s an important year to acknowledge all the ways our front-line heroes have gotten us through it.

So if you have friends or family members putting their health on the line and working long hours to keep us safe and supplied, we’ve identified some holiday gift ideas that will make their day—and possibly pin you as a hero in their eyes.

1. Instant Pot

Essential worker gifts
Instant Pot

Walmart

As anyone who has ever worked long hours can attest, there’s nothing quite like having a hot meal waiting at home for you. Enter: the Instant Pot.

Your favorite essential worker will be able to cook entire entrees, soups, and even desserts with minimal prep, or just use it to speed up the cook time of those dishes that take longer, like rice or beans.

Shop the entire collection of Instant Pots (starting at $49) at Walmart.

2. Home massage kit

Essential worker gifts
Deep-tissue massage gun

Walmart

While we’re not suggesting you start giving deep-tissue massages to all your friends (although they’d probably love you for it), we are offering up a pretty sweet alternative.

“My husband is a physician’s assistant at an urgent-care facility, so I’ve witnessed firsthand the things that have helped him through the pandemic,” says design blogger Jaime Huffman, of Charleston Blonde. “A massage gun is a fantastic gift for anyone, but especially for essential workers who spend all day working on their feet.”

Help them work out their aches and pains with this deep-tissue massage gun ($76).

3. Foot soak tub

Essential worker gifts
Foot spa bath massager

Walmart

Ensure your essential workers give their tired feet some TLC with a massaging foot soak tub. Not only will the hot water help their muscles relax after a long day of standing or running around, but the massage feature will further treat any pain or tenderness they have. It’s also just a great way to ensure your essential workers are taking a bit of “me” time.

Try this foot spa bath massager ($49) and top it off with a few of your essential workers’ favorite magazines to read while they soak.

4. Sunrise alarm clock

Essential worker gifts
Philips SmartSleep sunrise alarm clock

Amazon

While a normal alarm clock might be the last gift you want to give someone (especially someone who’s overworked these days), this alarm clock is a little different.

“Consider getting them a sunrise alarm clock, which wakes you up gently and gradually with increasing amounts of light and sound,” suggests Huffman. “This type of home decor will truly make an essential worker’s home feel like a sanctuary.”

Let this Philips SmartSleep Sunrise alarm clock ($169) add some soothing vibes to their morning routine.

5. Therapeutic bedding

Essential worker gifts
Gymax weighted blanket

Walmart

Here’s another great gift to give the essential worker in your life: a good night’s sleep.

“Gift them an ergonomic pillow or a cozy throw to keep them warm during the chilly winter nights and encourage more restful sleep,” suggests Huffman. “Weighted blankets are also an excellent gift, as they stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system to calm frazzled nerves and induce deeper calm.”

Check out this Anvo memory foam pillow ($35) or this Gymax weighted blanket ($48) to help your essential worker get some much needed shut-eye.

6. Sophisticated, eco-conscious laundry soap

Essential worker gifts
The Laundress laundry detergents

The Launderess

While doing laundry typically isn’t anyone’s idea of a good time, this amazing soap might just change that.

Eco-friendly and oh, so delicious, the collection of various laundry detergents from The Laundress is sure to put some luxury back into laundry, even for the busy essential worker in your life.

But don’t just stop at one type of soap; try the company’s Best Sellers Kit ($69) so your essential worker has everything she needs to wash her work uniform and all those other delicate items in one go.

7. Favorite delivery service

Essential workers gifts
Dry Farm Wines

Dry Farm Wines

One thing your essential workers probably don’t have a lot of these days is time. Save them some by getting a gift to their favorite subscription service, so they never run out of essential favorites again.

“Hands-down, I’d recommend a gift subscription to Dry Farm Wines,” says Amanda Gates of Gates Interior Design. “I’ve had this service for three years, and the wines are all natural, with no added sulfites or sugar. No hangovers, no aches and pains, just damn good wine! Something each and every essential worker deserves.”

Give your essential worker the gift of damn good wine this season from Dry Farm Wines gifts.

The post 7 Thoughtful Gifts To Help the Essential Workers in Your Life Kick Back at Home appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Source: realtor.com

6 Products You Need to Keep Your Home Germ-free and Sanitized in 2020

Looking to turn your house into a healthy haven to protect your family from COVID-19? Try these six products to transform your space.

*Cover image sourced from Home Depot.

The post 6 Products You Need to Keep Your Home Germ-free and Sanitized in 2020 appeared first on Homes.com.

Source: homes.com

How to Transition Your Kids’ Rooms

As your children grow and change, so should their bedrooms. However, if you were to revamp their rooms with every changing interest, favorite color or boy band, you would not only be spending a lot of time, but also a lot of money. Here are a few things to keep in mind if you’re looking to transition a child’s room as he or she continues to get older.

Start With Change in Mind

Designing a child’s nursery when you’re expecting is a fun and exciting experience. What parents may not plan for, though, are the unforeseen changes that the room might need as the child grows. Create a nursery with neutral wall colors and an open floor plan for playtime. It makes an easier transition that you can work with each changing year.

Consult With Them

When you’re planning to revamp your children’s room after a few years, make sure to consult with them. It’s likely they won’t hold back in letting you know what they want. You can enhance a child’s creativity and production levels if their rooms are filled with things that excite them.

Choose the Right Items

There are certain pieces of furniture and décor that can grow with a child. For example, a desk is a piece of furniture that can be added into a room and never seem to lose its importance, whether they’ll be endlessly creating works of art in coloring books or filling out college applications. Other items can include a classic bedframe and a monochromatic comforter.

Work Slowly but Surely

Make sure to try not to overwhelm your child with a lot of changes at once. If you’ve decided that it is time to “grow up” from the nursery, it may be best to do it little by little. Most parents choose to start with a new bed before gradually continuing to swap out the old with the new.

Remember Teen Tips

During the teen years, make sure to declutter (that garage sale money can go to their college fund), freshen up with a new paint job, and provide grown-up accessories. Allow room for self-expression, but with limits. For instance, you can frame posters instead of using thumb tacks or tape directly on the walls. A bold rug is fine for the time being, especially if it protects the carpet or floor from food spills or shoe marks.

Raising children can be one of the greatest joys in life, so make sure their room reflects that! Take these tips with you over the years and let the DIY project become a fun one you and your child can look back on.

The post How to Transition Your Kids’ Rooms first appeared on Century 21®.

Source: century21.com