Friday, October 21, 2016

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Written by Katie Laird on Thursday, 20 October 2016 3:48 pm
High ceilings and tall windows make for a beautiful, roomy space. However, it can be difficult to get your curtains and blinds up on windows that are 10 feet high or more. Install your window treatments safely, and enjoy them for years to come.
Proper Preparation
Like with any installation project, taking the time to prepare for window treatment installation can make all the difference in achieving success. Because taller windows are more difficult to work with, preparation is especially vital.
Make sure that you have the correct tools and hardware to begin your project, along with the provided instructions.
Take the time to understand the components, installation parts and directions before you begin working on your project. Read through the entirety of product instructions, not just the first step, carefully ahead of time.
Measure... twice. Ensure all components will fit the window appropriately by repeating all required measurements. Clearly mark all drill spots and ensure everything is level before making the first hole.
Note where the electrical outlets, switches and vents are located so that they are not obstructed.
Ask a friend for help. Larger shades, blinds and even curtains are especially heavy and cumbersome, so it's essential to have another pair of hands.
Ladder Safety
When hanging high window treatments, you will most certainly need a ladder. Don't attempt to stand on items not meant for climbing, such as furniture. Basic ladder safety rules of thumb are as follows:
Ensure that the ladder is tall enough for the job: Overreaching may cause you to lose your balance. Determine whether you'll need just a step stool, or if an extension ladder is required.
For taller ladders, keep the "3-point rule" in mind: Have three points of contact on the ladder (two hands and a foot, or two feet and a hand) at all times.
Heed any safety warnings about which rung is the highest to climb: Most ladders warn against stepping on the highest rung.
Keep rungs dry and free of obstructions.
Be aware of weight limits.
Make sure all extensions are locked.
Drill Safety
Most curtain and blind installations will require drilling into the window frame or wall. Operate your drill safely to avoid accidents and mistakes.
When drilling into a wall, use an electronic stud finder to locate studs and any live wires behind the wall.
Use the recommended bit size.
Follow all manufacturer instructions and make sure all bits are properly sharpened and attached correctly.
Wear safety glasses.
Other Safety Concerns
Once you've finished hanging your window treatments, enjoy your finished look with these additional safety tips in mind:
Make the right window covering decisions for your home -- especially by ordering cordless window treatments to keep your children and pets safer. Be sure to install and consistently use all safety features included with your window to use your blinds and shades effectively. Move cribs, beds and other child's furniture away from the window treatments entirely.
Flowing or "puddling" curtains can be a tripping hazard. Keep this in mind when choosing the length of your curtains. If you opt for longer curtains for a certain aesthetic, make sure they are not obstructing highly trafficked areas.
Safe installation of window treatments involves using the right tools and hardware, taking careful measurements and following basic safety rules with the tools you use. Get the help and support you need from a friend, and ensure a beautiful outcome.
Katie Laird is the Director of Social Marketing for 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 window treatments like those highlighted in this article, please check out the website.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

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Written by Jaymi Naciri on Wednesday, 05 October 2016 3:15 pm

According to forecasts just released from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), the Mortgage Bankers' Association (MBA), and Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, "We can expect a hot year for home sales in 2017," saidRealtor Mag, the NAR's official magazine.
"NAR is predicting existing-home sales to reach 6 million in 2017, higher than its 5.8 million forecast for this year. But other entities are even more bullish. MBA is predicting home sales to eclipse 6.5 million next year, while Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are both predicting 6.2 million."
What's driving this trend? "A huge wave of Generation Yers," otherwise known as millennials, whose long-overdue march into homeownership may finally be happening. A strong showing from this group can prop up the real estate market not just next year, but for several years to come. "They are predicted to keep home sales and condo sales strong well in to 2020, according to economists," they said.
Top markets for appreciation in 2017
While the overall picture for home sales next year and into 2020 looks rosy, sales and price appreciation will, obviously, vary depending on the market, with some of the usual suspects at the top.

Park Easier
"The top markets for price appreciation likely will be in Seattle, Wash.; Portland, Ore.; Denver, Colo.; and Boston, predicts Eric Fox, vice president of statistical and economic modeling at VeroForecast," they said. "These markets' robust economies have growing populations but a tight supply of homes for sale on the market that will likely lead to some of the largest price increases across the country."
Gord Collins notes that, "The top forecast markets show price appreciation in the 10% to 11% range," with Seattle at 11.2%, "followed by Portland, Oregon at 11.1% and Denver, Colorado at 9.9%.

Jeff Harris
The California Association of Realtors' forecast shows "modest gains next year amid tight supplies and the lowest housing affordability in six years," said the San Jose Mercury News. "Sales of existing single-family homes -- which make up about 68 percent of the overall market -- are projected to rise 1.4 percent in 2017 to 413,000 transactions. Meanwhile, the median house price -- or price at the midpoint of all sales -- is projected to rise 4.3 percent to $525,600. That's the smallest percentage gain in six years."
On the other end of the spectrum, cities like Detroit and Patterson, NJ may continue to struggle; both of these cities appear numerous times on WalletHub's list of worst real estate markets; both made the list of highest percentage of homes with negative equity and lowest median home price appreciation. Patterson also has the highest average number of days until a house is sold, while Detroit is tied for most unsold homes owned by banks - dubious distinctions, indeed.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

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Written by Jaymi Naciri on Sunday, 02 October 2016 1:36 pm

If you're looking for a house that's not exactly turnkey, you're not alone. Call it the HGTV effect. Is anyone else OBSESSED with House Hunters Renovation?!
"So you're thinking of buying a fixer-upper? Maybe you're a do-it-yourselfer, or you just love this home so much that you don't mind lavishing extra TLC on it in the years to come," said U.S. News. "Or perhaps you're enthralled with home renovation television programs where every home has a camera-ready happy ending."
Yes, buying a house in need of renovation definitely has its advantages, starting with the ability to make updates that match your style and (hopefully) increase the value of the home. But it also comes with its fair share of challenges. Here's what you'll want to know before you make that offer.
Not every home in need of renovation is a diamond in the rough
Some homes might just be too far gone to bring back to life. Or at least too expensive to be a good deal. There is a reason "movie plot lines have been based on the darker idea that rehabilitating a home can result in disaster," said U.S. News. "Sometimes fixer-uppers turn out to be dismal downers."
It could be that the house hasn't been maintained properly and has serious issues that are going to increase the timeline and drive up the renovation costs. Maybe it needs work that's well beyond your scope - and budget.

"If the house needs significant structural improvements, many real estate experts recommend avoiding it altogether,"said This Old House. "That's because major repairs - plumbing and electrical system overhauls, foundation upgrades, and extensive roof and wall work - are usually ‘invisible' and hardly ever raise the value of the house enough to offset the cost of the renovation."
Inspection, inspection, inspection
Some homes in need of renovation are purchased as foreclosures or at auction, but the problem therein is that you might have to buy "as is." That means you don't get to inspect the home before purchase or request any repairs from the seller when you uncover problems.
It goes without saying that this is an idea that is often frowned upon—especially for those who are inexperienced in home renovation. Buy a home "as is" and you may end up with a great big money pit. Making sure your home is inspected before you purchase can help you see the full picture and decide whether it's a good buy—or a goodbye.
Think about bringing in an architect and an engineer, too
If you're planning on knocking down walls (and aren't we all!), you might want to consider hiring an engineer and/or an architect early on. Structural walls or surprises inside the walls like plumbing or HVAC may make the open floorplan you're dreaming of unachievable - or at least really expensive. It pays to do your due diligence before you purchase, even if it costs a little more upfront.
House Beautiful
Who's doing the renovating?
Planning on taking on some or all of the renovation yourself? Are you a first-timer, an old pro, or somewhere in between? If the grand total of your experience is patching a few nail holes in your college dorm room, you might want to think about hiring a professional.
Some things, like tiling or installing hardwoods, and some types of demolition, can be taught in a clinic at your local home improvement store, or even on a video on YouTube. Other skills like roofing, plumbing, and electrical work are usually best left to the pros. Keep in mind that, depending on what you plan to do to the house, you may also need permits before any work can begin.
There's a loan for that
Financing is an important factor when buying any home. A traditional mortgage won't pay for your repairs and updates, and most people aren't super excited about shelling out a bunch of cash for renovations on top of their down payment and closing costs.
"If you're buying a home that needs a little TLC, a typical fixed-rate mortgage isn't going to help you pay for repairs,"said "Your lender isn't going to approve a $300,000 loan to buy a home that's only worth $250,000. And, while homeowners sometimes use home equity loans to remodel, you can't get a home equity loan when you have no equity. This can be a big obstacle for buyers who don't have extra cash to make needed renovations or repairs before moving in."
Thankfully, there is another alternative. Several loans build cash for renovations right into the terms. "Four government-backed loan programs are designed for purchase-remodelers," said Bankrate:
"Each program bases the loan amount on the value of the home after renovations are complete," they said. You'll want to talk to a lender and get preapproved prior to finding a home to streamline the purchase process.