Your Home – How to Carve Out An Office In Your Home

People have had to get creative about how-and where-to work since the Coronavirus sent so many of us home. For those who already had a home office, the transition may have been relatively easy. But what if you don’t have a dedicated space? These trending home office ideas might help give you focus, especially if your remote work situation may not be as temporary as you first thought.

Convert a Closet

Have a closet that’s filled with stuff you rarely use or simply don’t need? Relocate it to the garage or attic and turn that space into a tidy home office. You’d be surprised how much usable space you can gain and how many great blog posts and YouTube videos there are for converting a closet into a productive workspace.

You’ll have to be creative about storage. Running shelves up the back of the closet is an easy and obvious solution. While you’re at it, though, consider adding a rail for hooks so you can hang pencil holders, pictures, or other items up and off your desk. Pegboards are another fun and creative way to create more space. You can add these boards on walls and doors to create flexible storage space for whatever you need.

Look to Your Backyard

There are several companies out there that are offering backyard solutions, like Kanga Room Systems and Modern Shed. These companies can ship standalone structures that can be assembled by homeowners to keep their home offices separated from their living spaces.

Guest Room or Guest Room/Home Office?

You don’t need to lose your guest room to incorporate a home office. You just need to be creative. By installing a Murphy Bed, for instance, you can utilize your guest room for both a decked-out desk and a comfortable overnight space for visitors, without the typically cluttered look of a double-duty room.

Tight on Space? Consider Fold Outs

You don’t even have to have an entire room to dedicate to a home office. In fact, it’s not even necessary to have enough room for a desk. If you’re tight on space, consider a wall-mounted desk that folds down when you need it and disappears when you don’t. Taking a quick search on Pinterest will show you hundreds of fantastic fold out desk ideas that you can quickly and easily install in your home.

A New Zip Code

If your current space just can’t accommodate your work-from-home needs, maybe it’s time to move. With more time at home (and more people home) than before, people are considering moving into larger homes to accommodate the new life realities that face them. If you might be considering such a move, contact me today so we can discuss your home finance options.

Finances – How To Help Your Home Appraise Higher

When homeowners begin to consider refinancing an existing loan, the topic of property value is soon to come up. Refinancing an existing conventional loan means there are actually two different approvals. One for the borrower and one for the property. The borrower’s income, credit and employment will be evaluated among other things and the property must also meet the lenders set of standards.

First, the property must be in good condition with no deferred maintenance. While the appraiser does not perform a full physical inspection, they do make notes of any noticeable issues with the home. A sagging roof or foundation cracks come to mind. That said, the current property value must also be in line with the rest of the neighborhood. When a full appraisal is needed, the appraiser first does a little homework at the office before visiting the property. A bit of research is performed identifying homes in the area that have recently sold, primarily within the past six to twelve months. The appraisal is important to the lender because the home is essentially the lender’s collateral in this deal.

Most conventional loan programs allow for the loan-to-value ( LTV), with a refinance be as high as 90 percent of the current market value of the property for an owner-occupied home. If the value exceeds this 90 percent, the loan might not make it through the approval process. If for example, the LTV is 92 percent, the borrowers must decide whether or not to move forward. Moving forward would mean paying the current loan balance down to the 90 percent level in order to get it to comply with their standards.

With a purchase transaction, the appraiser has a head-start. The value of the property is the lowest the sellers were willing to accept meeting the highest price the buyers were willing to pay. The appraiser then begins the process with this information. With a refinance, however, there is no such sales price. The appraiser must begin with recent sales in the area.

On a mortgage loan application, there is a space where the owner’s opinion of what the current value should be. This is based upon knowledge of similar homes that have recently sold in the neighborhood. That’s a starting point. But if the value may be a concern, there are some things homeowners can do to boost the value:

How Is Your Curb Appeal?

How does the property look from the street? This “first impression” can play a key role in helping the property appraise. Is the lawn trimmed? Trees cared for? Is the property clean? Maintaining the landscaping and physically cleaning the exterior will help the property shine

How Does the Interior Look?

The floors should be scrubbed and polished. New paint will help. Do the appliances sparkle or do they need a little love? You can give the interior of your home a thorough cleansing, but many choose to hire a professional team to give the inside a fresh, new look.

Were There Any Off-Market Sales in Your Neighborhood?

Finally, let the appraiser know of any recent ‘for sale by owner’ transactions. Such sales won’t be listed in the local multiple listing service. Appraisers count on this sales data to help arrive at a final value. A private sale could help boost the value of your home, so if this is the case, it’s important to point out that property to the appraiser.

This article is for information, illustrative and entertainment purposes only and does not purport to show actual results. It is not, and should not be regarded as investment advice or as a recommendation regarding any particular investment action.

Personal Interest – Tips For A Healthy Lifestyle

Think you’re leading a healthy lifestyle? Aside from occasionally veering off the path, most of us think we do a fair job of maintaining our health with good (or at least okay) eating habits and physical activity whenever we manage to fit it in. But is that enough to be considered “healthy?”

According to a recent study, very few adults actually meet the criteria for a healthy lifestyle. The study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, showed that only 3% of American adults got a perfect score on what the authors say are the four basic criteria for healthy living. Just 13.8% met three of the criteria; 34.2% met only two criteria. Women scored slightly better than men.

See how well you measure up on the researchers’ four keys to healthfulness:
– Do you smoke?
– Are you able to maintain a healthy weight (a BMI of 18-25), or are you successfully losing weight to attain a healthy weight?
– Do you eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily?
– Do you exercise 30 minutes or more, 5 times a week?

While those four habits are indisputably important for a healthy lifestyle, some may argue that more factors should be taken into consideration. What would be on your list? Here are a list of 10 that you might want to put on your list:

Contribute to Wellness and Satisfaction with One’s Lifestyle:

  1. Brush and floss daily. Doing this to keep your teeth and gums healthy and free of disease is actually a very important factor in your overall health
  2. Get a good night’s sleep. Well-rested people not only cope better with stress, but may also have better control of their appetites. A lack of sleep can put our “hunger hormones” out of balance — and possibly trigger overeating.
  3. Enjoy regular family meals. This allows parents to serve as good role models, can promote more nutritious eating, and sets the stage for lively conversations. Being connected to family and/or friends is a powerful aspect of a healthy life.
  4. Smile and laugh out loud several times a day. It keeps you grounded, and helps you cope with situations that would otherwise make you crazy. Read the comics, watch a sitcom, or tell jokes to bring out those happy feelings.
  5. Meditate, pray, or find solace. Try and work up to at least 10-20 minutes each day. Contemplation is good for your soul, helps you cope with the demands of daily life, and has been shown to help lower your blood pressure.
  6. Get a pedometer and let it motivate you to walk, walk, walk. Forget about how many minutes of activity you need. Do everything you can to fit more steps into your day, every day. No matter how you get it, physical activity can help defuse stress, burn calories, and boost self-esteem.
  7. Stand up straight. You’ll look five pounds lighter if you stand tall and tighten your abdominal muscles. Whenever you walk, think “tall and tight” to get the most out of the movement.
  8. Try yoga. The poses help increase strength and flexibility and improve balance. These are critical areas for older folks especially, and both men and women can benefit.
  9. Power up the protein. This nutrient is an essential part of your eating plan, and can make up anywhere from 10%-35% of your total calories. Protein lasts a long time in your belly; combine it with high-fiber foods and you’ll feel full on fewer calories. Enjoy small portions of nuts, low-fat dairy, beans, lean meat, poultry, or fish.
  10. Last but not least, have a positive attitude. Do your best to look at life as if “the glass is half full.” You must believe in yourself, have good support systems, and think positively. When you think positively, you are much more likely to succeed.
Posted in

Paul Stella

%d bloggers like this: