District customers in Jurupa Valley and Eastvale may see more outdoor watering cuts, which will be discussed at a Thursday, April 30, meeting.
District customers in Jurupa Valley and Eastvale may see more outdoor watering cuts, which will be discussed at a Thursday, April 30, meeting.
A fun little quiz courtesy of Buzzfeed.
I got “anything with a pool” <—————– very accurate though I am still looking for that one with a pool the whole family likes.
Furniture (and how you arrange it) can make or break your home. Too much and you’ll feel overwhelmed and uncomfortable. Pick the wrong spots and you won’t be able to move freely through your space.
Living comfortably is all about how you pick and place you furniture. Avoiding a furniture ‘pile’up’ is key! Photo: Ethan Allen
Arranging furniture is about creating a natural flow in your home. It is about living comfortably and happily in harmony with your possessions.
Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to get it wrong, and often results in a home that feels cluttered and badly managed.
Here are some very basic rules to furniture arranging that can prevent this self-sabotage, and guarantee you too can live in harmony with your furniture. We promise!
Problem 1: Buying Furniture First
A new home and fresh start bring with it a flurry of excitement at the thought of furniture and the opportunity to start over.
In that excitement, we often find ourselves running out to IKEA or our favorite furniture stores in a mad dash to fill our rooms with pretty things. This usually results in a lot of great individual pieces that seemed irresistible in the store, but in reality don’t work with your space or each other. With furniture that’s too large or just doesn’t account for the architectural design of the room, you might soon be headed back out, receipts in hand, for a whole lot of returns.
Solution: Plan, Then Buy
Think of starting with a blank space and arranging a room as a whole, instead of rushing out and buying individual pieces. Photo: Remodelista
Try to contain your excitement for just a little longer, and take the time to plan properly. Measure your room, consider its scope and decide what ultimate purpose you would like that room to serve.
Interior designer Laurel Bern of Laurel Home sees this problem all too often when dealing with first time clients and has sage advice.
“You begin by giving yourself a little quiz. What do you want to be able to do in this room? How many people would you like to be able to sit in it (comfortably)?”
Taking a quiz helps you get a better understanding of what you would like your room to be, and is the first step towards creating a well-arranged and successful space.
Another great tip comes from staging pro Cathy Hobbs, who notes that “seldom is buying the set successful. For most people, it’s too much furniture.” So don’t feel like you need to splurge on the entire living room set. Buy what your home can handle.
Problem 2: Forgoing a Focal Point
It may sound dramatic, but ignoring or forgoing a focal point can lead to a room that has no soul. A room needs a heart from which to draw its energy. Without that, you may find yourself feeling uncomfortable and unsettled. Where to sit? Which way to face? Where to gather together? These everyday questions become real conundrums in a room that doesn’t come with directions.
Solution: Zero In
Center your room around a focal point, like a fireplace, so your eye knows where to settle. Photo: Milk Magazine
Focal points can either be found built into the architecture of a room, or they can be created manually. If you’re lucky enough to have a fireplace built in to your wall, use it to harness the room. Place your couch or chairs so that they face the flames and build the rest of the room accordingly.
Alternatively, if you’re lacking architectural directions, focus the room’s energy onto a grand mirror, piece of art or, if the purpose of your room is watching TV, a television.
Also important to note is that if you’re in the market to sell your home, focal points will put buyers at ease. The experts at Stage My Own Home note that “a bold or lovely focal point will also distract home buyers from seeing the flaws in your home.”
Problem 3: Overcrowding a Space
Sometimes more is just too much! Filling a room with more furniture than it can comfortably hold leads to a feeling of claustrophobia and discomfort. Clutter, no matter how clean and ordered it is, can make a room feel overwhelmed and all-together unwelcoming.
Having ten chairs in a room may feel like you’re creating a suitable space to entertain, but in reality no one will want to sit where they can’t breathe easily.
Keeping it simple can be beautiful. An uncluttered room is soothing and pleasing to the eye. Photo: Styles by Ginny
The key? Simplify, simplify, simplify! When arranging furniture, you have to learn to edit. Pick three pieces you absolutely want in a room, then be ruthless with the rest.
Do you have enough seats to accommodate your household with one or two additions? Then stop there! People will huddle up, or in a case of emergency, a neatly stowed collapsible seat or two will come in handy for occasions that draw a crowd.
Freshome has a great tip to avoid that over-furnished feeling: “If your space does start to become cluttered, pack some items away and rotate them in at a later time. This can help keep your space fresh.”
Problem 4: Living on the Edge
Pushing all your furniture to the edge of the room will leave you with a lot of awkward, dead space in the middle, and put a real damper on relaxed conversations.
In a room where the couch sits against one wall and the armchairs sit against another, it’s very difficult to create a sense of togetherness or comfort. With too much space in the center of a room, and no facilitation for communication, a room feels cold and uninviting.
Perhaps surprisingly, this method of arranging furniture actually makes the room appear smaller, as there are no cohesive points of interest for the eye to zero in on.
Solution: Huddle Up
Leave room behind your couch for easy passage and breathing space. Photo: Bright Bazaar
Celebrity designer Angelo Surmelis suggests that “placing a couch even a few inches away from the wall will create a little breathing room and make a space seem larger,” and we couldn’t agree more.
Also, creating an area that takes its inhabitants into consideration will provide a cozy feel in a more breathable space. Arrange your couch, coffee table and chairs in a comfortable cluster, keeping the focal point of the room in mind. This will bring the room together and make it more inviting.
Problem 5: Stretching a Room Too Thin
If you have a large, long room and you’re trying to stretch its contents across the length of it into one big seating or living area, you’re doing the room a disservice. It’s nearly impossible for someone sitting in a chair at one end of the room to connect with someone sat in the couch at the other end of the room.
Or perhaps you’ve piled all your furniture up at one end and find yourself with a blank space at the other, resulting in a lopsided feel.
Either way, you’re not making the most of all that lovely space you have to work with.
Solution: Divide and Conquer
Divide a room into multiple living spaces to keep it manageable. Photo: Katie Gard via Apartment Therapy
The key is division! No one ever said you have to have only one communing area in a room. In fact, you can have as many as your room will comfortably hold!
“When you have an extremely large and long area to work with it may look a little stark to create a small intimate space in the center of the room,” say the design experts over at House Envy. “In this case it may be necessary to think of some ways to create two spaces in one open area.”
Perhaps the dining table and chairs find themselves grouped at one end of the room, and a love-seat and two armchairs find themselves circling a low coffee table at the other.
Arranging in this way also allows for multiple activities in one room, without requiring participation from everyone.
Problem 6: Masking Your Favorite Piece
Remember what your room is all about! When you walk into a bedroom and the bed is the last thing you notice because your desk is overwhelming or your chairs get in the way, it can be a bit confusing.
Having no sense of order or purpose can make an otherwise peaceful room seem difficult to navigate, and underplaying your favorite pieces can lead to a disappointing end result.
Solution: Let It Shine
Let your favorite piece do the talking. Photo: Franklizstein
Pick your favorite piece of furniture and make the room be about highlighting it. Your bed is probably your most valued element in your bedroom, in which case you should have the rest of the furniture cater to it. For example, have an armchair that faces and compliments your bed, drawing the attention inward as opposed to away.
Problem 7: Ignoring Form and Function
We’ve all been in bedrooms where you can’t open dresser drawers without scraping the bed frame and living rooms where every time you stand up from the couch your knees hit the coffee table.
If the purpose of a piece of furniture is to open its drawers, placing it somewhere where it can’t fulfill its function doesn’t make much sense.
It’s important to allow space to enjoy both a piece of furniture’s form and its function.
Solution: Get Practical and Space it Out
Leave enough room between furniture pieces so they can serve their function properly. Account for doors and drawers being opened. Photo: Country Living
According to our friends over at Apartment Therapy,“you should have about 3 feet of walking space around the room. This is what you need to be comfortable, without knocking into furniture and bumping into walls.”
Nobody likes to knock their knees on the coffee table! Leave enough space between the sofa and the table to move freely. Photo: Modmint
We consider this a great rule of thumb. After all, you want to be comfortable in your space, not fighting your furniture.
Related on Yahoo Makers: 5 Furniture Pieces You Can Totally Live Without
Problem 8: Forgetting First Impressions
When you walk into a room and the first thing you see is the ugly back of a couch, it’s not exactly inviting. Being greeted by an eyesore is no way to enter a room – it’s disappointing and can put you and guests off a otherwise wonderful space.
A room, like anything is, is about first impressions. If something is visually off-putting, it’s very likely we move on from it, rather than stopping to take a closer look.
Solution: Put Your Best Foot Forward
If the back of your couch isn’t attractive, place a sideboard against it. A table featuring beautiful things will distract from an otherwise unsightly eyesore. Photo: RelaxDeco
Lead with your best and invite people in with something beautiful and eye catching. If the back of your couch is drab, tattered or simply underwhelming, position the piece so it’s less visible. Instead of having the back straight on as you walk into the living room, place the couch so that you have a side view instead. Doing this will also open up the space instead of blocking it off.
If the constraints of your room make this impossible, hang a beautiful throw over the back or place a sideboard against it. That way, you see something interesting before you see the back of the couch.
Remember, a room should be inviting, welcoming and open to visitors, so let your furniture signal that.
The last time I got up in front of a group to talk about my job, no one had questions for me. It was a high school career day a few weeks ago, and the students stared at me blankly as I dropped words like “personal finance,” “credit scores” and “debt.” I could tell they thought my work wasn’t exciting, that the topics I write about are boring. Everyone was happy when the bell rang to end my session.
This week, I spoke to a group of college students and community members, and the atmosphere couldn’t have been more different. I went into the talk with a list of things I thought they’d want to hear about — the event was called “10 Things Everyone Should Know About Credit Scores” — but as people trickled into the auditorium, I thought I’d gauge their interest in certain topics. The idea was to make people feel comfortable talking to me about credit.
I tried to be casual: “Does anyone have anything specific they’d like me to talk about?” I asked with a smile, hoping maybe one person might say something.
The reaction surprised me: People immediately started blurting out questions, and I hadn’t even introduced myself yet.
I was happy to hear their questions, but I thought back to those high schoolers and got a little sad: My group at the college asked a lot of questions about the basics of personal finance and recovering from bad credit — perhaps if they’d had conversations about these things earlier, things would be different.
There are way more than just 10 things you should know about credit scores, but here’s what I told that group.
1. Credit Reports Are Different From Credit Scores
Credit scores are calculated using the information on your credit reports, which includes details of your credit accounts, how often you apply for credit, debt collection accounts and some public records, among other things.
2. Your Scores Are Based on 5 Core Factors
Those factors are (in order of importance) payment history, credit utilization, average credit age, account mix and inquiries. You can find a more detailed explanation of each of those factors here.
3. You Can Get Your Scores & Reports for Free
You’re legally entitled to a free copy of your annual credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. You can get your credit scores for free from various places, including two scores from Credit.com.
4. Checking Your Own Score Won’t Hurt It
Only hard inquiries (aka when a lender looks at your credit when you apply for a loan or credit card) have a negative impact on your scores, and the effect is small and temporary.
5. There Are Many Different Scores & There Are Different Credit Score Ranges, Too
When you’re trying to figure out where you stand or if your credit is improving, make sure you are comparing the exact same score and that you know the range — wherever you’re getting the score from should tell you that information. For example, a 750 FICO score is not necessarily equivalent to a 750 in another scoring model.
6. Your Credit Can Help You Spot Fraud
If someone runs up a large credit card bill or takes out credit in your name, it will show up on your credit report and affect your credit score. Watch your score for changes you did not anticipate.
7. Your Credit Score Can Cost You Thousands Over a Lifetime
A low credit score means you’ll probably have to pay higher interest rates on things like credit card balances and mortgages. You can see an estimate of how much your credit will cost you using the Lifetime Cost of Debt Calculator.
8. Joint Accounts Affect Your Credit Scores, But There Aren’t Joint Scores
If you open a loan or credit card with a partner, the account activity will be reflected on both your credit reports. Joint accounts are different than authorized users, but whenever you share credit, make sure you’re aware of who will be responsible and who will be affected if a payment is missed.
9. Negative Information Eventually Ages Off
Different kinds of negative information will remain on your credit report for different periods of time (bankruptcy is an exception to this, for example), but generally, negative information ages off your report and no longer affects your score after seven years.
10. Credit Scores Aren’t the Only Things That Matter for Lending Decisions
A credit score isn’t the only thing lenders consider when reviewing applicants. If you have no credit or poor credit, you may be able to secure a loan through an alternative lender, and in some situations, making a personal appeal or giving a lender more context to your credit report can help you access financial products.
The Questions I Was Asked
As far as the other things the group wanted to know about, here are some answers.
“How do you build credit? I mean, how does it work?”
Focus on those five fundamentals that determine your credit score; mostly, use credit sparingly and make payments on time. It takes years to build good credit, but it’s worthwhile to be patient.
“Is it ever too late to build credit?”
No. Your credit score can affect you for a lifetime, so it’s always worth trying to improve.
“How do student loans impact your credit?”
Making payments on time is good. Not doing that is very bad.
“How do you get credit when no one wants to give it to you?”
There are a few options: See if you can get a secured card or other credit card designed for people with bad or no credit. Then, spend very little money on it and make the payments on time. You can try piggybacking on someone else’s credit by becoming an authorized user, but that’s a lot to ask of a friend or family member since they’ll be ultimately responsible for any debts you incur. There are also some companies that will help you get loans based on your payment history of rent or utility bills, if that shows a pattern of responsibility.
Utilitarian spaces like laundry rooms and mudrooms seldom receive the attention they deserve, which is odd when you consider how often they are used. A properly planned utility room can be a complete housekeeping area that simplifies your household chores.
These rooms may even serve multiple purposes. A mudroom may double as a grooming center for the family pets and a storage room for sports gear. An overhead rack in a laundry room can be used for drying flowers as well as clothes, and the sink can be turned into a potting center.
Here’s how to make the most of these hard-working spaces.
Leverage the space. A mudroom is the ideal storage space for shoes, lunch bags, sports equipment, and pet essentials such as food dishes, leashes, blankets and toys. You don’t even need an entire room to reap a mudroom’s benefits. A narrow hall, a partial wall, or even space carved out from between wall studs will do just fine.
Supply smart storage. Instead of letting a mudroom become cluttered, take advantage of its potential. Counters, tables and benches can serve as storage pieces that collect and organize both day-to-day and seasonal items. A built-in cabinet that resembles a set of lockers will allow individual family members to have their own space. Other essentials for the room might include an umbrella stand, boot tray, baskets, and a chalk or message board.
Organize on a budget. Many cost-effective storage solutions are tailored specifically for utility spaces. Home centers and container stores offer a wealth of inexpensive storage ideas, such as wall-mounted racks for boots, shelving for hats, and hooks and baskets for sports gear.
Make it multi-functional. A full-sized laundry room offers flexible options beyond just doing laundry. If there’s space for more than appliances and a sink, add a table or table-height shelf for folding laundry, wrapping gifts, or potting plants. Add extra shelves or cabinets to store supplies. A drying rack over the sink that folds up against the wall makes it easy to hang clothing directly out of the washing machine.
Paint the walls. You may spend a lot of time in this area, so make sure it’s attractive. Paint the room a vibrant color that draws you in, or a soothing color that calms. Wall sayings or murals are a fun way to add interest.
Contain it. Laundry rooms are more functional if organized. Use clear jars or colored pottery for clothespins, sewing items and detergent. Choose various heights to add interest.
Play it up. “Dirty Laundry” never sounded so good as when sung in the utility room. Make sure you have access to music for some background interest. This utilitarian space should be just as interesting as the rest of your home.
Demand for housing remains strong as we enter the spring season, and renters are finding that it may cost them less to buy a home than to rent. But if you don’t have a lot of cash and are looking to purchase your first home this year, you may find that you need less cash than you think.It was standard to have 20% down to purchase a home 20 years ago. Today, putting down 20% does still give you the lowest possible payment in relationship to the cost of the house, but it is by no means a requirement, nor should it be thought of as the be-all and end-all for purchasing your first home.
The magic down payment amount you can have to purchase a home is — drumroll, please — 0%, no money down. You do not need a down payment to purchase a house. Alternatively, a 3%, or more common a 5%, down payment can help strengthen your offer. Also, a loan insured by the Federal Housing Administration requires a 3.5% minimum down payment. There are programs that can help get a first-time buyer in the door all with a 30-year fixed-rate payment containing no banking prepayment penalties or hidden terms. (Keep in mind that you’re considered a first-time homebuyer if you’ve not owned a home in the past three years.)
Let’s look at what other loan types require a low (or no) down payment.
1. USDA Mortgage
The U.S. Department of Agriculture allows people in less industrialized areas to purchase a home without putting any money down. You’ll need the cash for closing costs or you can ask the seller for the credit for closing costs. The loan allows a buyer to purchase a home up to the conforming loan limit working with the standard $417,000 conforming loan size. As long as you can qualify, the program does not require a down payment.
2. Conventional Mortgage
The more traditional mortgage loan program recently announced it will accept as little as 3% of the purchase price for a down payment. Similar to USDA, the qualifying standards with the 3% down option are more stringent than if you were working with the more common 5% down payment option. Investing 5% down will cast a wider net for you in the marketplace because of how much stronger you look on paper. And the 5% down option is available all the way up to a maximum conforming loan size of $417,000. If your loan amount exceeds $417,000 for single family home, you’ll need at least 10% down with conventional financing as your loan considered to be conforming high balance, aka a “jumbo” loan.
3. FHA Mortgage
The FHA insures mortgage loans with as little as 3.5% down payment all the way up to the maximum conforming loan limit. The conforming loan limit does surpass $417,000 in several markets — for example, in Sonoma County, Calif., it’s up to $520,950. The FHA has risen in popularity as the ability to qualify for such financing is incredibly lenient. The FHA routinely signs off on previous unfortunate circumstances including short sale, foreclosure or even bankruptcy in the last few years.
Don’t Forget the Cash You’ll Need for Closing
While it’s true you don’t need money for a down payment to purchase a house, the transactions that are actually closing in strong real estate markets are the transactions supported with strong homebuyers coming in with at least a 3.5% or 5% down payment. Closing costs are another factor to take into consideration that go beyond your down payment funds in procuring a mortgage to buy a home. If you can come up with the down payment, you can always ask for a seller credit for closing costs or even obtain gift money from family if cash is still tight. Total closing costs on average can be about 2.5% of the purchase price. (You can use this calculator to see how much house you can afford.)
Here’s a range of closing costs when buying with less than 20% down:
These numbers should give you an idea of how much cash you’ll need for a home purchase. Acceptable sources for procuring cash to close on a house can be one or any of the following:
The key here is that the money needs to be documentable.
Don’t have cash available from any of the above-mentioned sources? Even these sources are still considered acceptable because they can be paper-trailed:
Homebuying tip: Line up the cash before you go house hunting. Have a statement showing proof of funds to close that you can submit with your pre-approval letter when you identify a house you want make an offer on, especially if cash is tight. At the same time, it’s a good idea to check your credit to see where you stand, and to look for any errors that you may need to correct. You can get a free summary of your credit report on Credit.com, plus two truly free credit scores.
Being a first-time homebuyer today does not carry additional tax benefits or incentives like it did a few years ago when the federal government was trying to bolster homeownership in leaner economic times. The ability to purchase a home as a first-time buyer in today’s real estate market means working with a traditional mortgage loan program and having money in the bank to best position yourself for not only being a responsible borrower, but also demonstrating you have the merit and capacity to purchase a home.
Special to Yahoo Homes 4/16/15
If you’re trying to sell your home this spring — and really, there’s no better time, according to Realtor Mag — here are some ways to increase the curb appeal of your home, attract prospective buyers and give your home an edge on the market.
You want the entrance to your home to be as inviting as possible, so start by giving your front door a fresh coat of paint. What color? Try red. In feng shui, red conveys a warm welcome. And adding molding around your doorframe will give your entryway a polished look.
(Credit: Iriana Shiyan/Shutterstock)
Don’t overlook the details. If your doorbell, door knob or door knocker is rusted or simply outdated, it can leave a poor first impression. Whether you choose brushed nickel or solid brass, modern or vintage, select a finish and style that best suits the overall aesthetic of your home.
Continue the warm welcome by adding potted or hanging plants for life and color. If you have a porch, add patio furniture to help homebuyers visualize enjoying the front space. And don’t forget the welcome mat for a finishing touch.
(Credit: Anna Oleksenko/Shutterstock)
Your mailbox gets plenty of use and is vulnerable to the elements, so don’t overlook it. Options include a stand-alone version or one that is attached to your home. A traditional look is timeless, or you can get more distinctive — just don’t go too crazy. Remember, you’re trying to appeal to a wide range of potential buyers).
Your house number is an opportunity to add a distinctive accent to your home. Install decorative number plates to the face of your home or fence, or paint the numbers onto your door, decorative rocks or on the pots of an arrangement of plants. Your style options are endless; just make sure they complement your home rather than detract from it.
(Credit: Frontier Sights/Shutterstock)
Yard lighting isn’t just for ambiance but for security. Buyers want to feel that their prospective home is safe, so lighting should be ample around the exterior. Add hanging lights on either side of the front door, or pole light fixtures on either side of your front stoop. Light up the walkway and/or driveway with solar-powered accent lights, and consider motion-detecting flood lights around the front and back of the house.
Weathered trim ages the look of your house. Fresh paint offers an instant upgrade, and as a bonus, it will draw attention to the details of your home. Select a vibrant white or a color that complements the color of your home.
(Credit: Iriana Shiyan/Shutterstock)
If your rain gutters are detached or sagging, the best thing to do is just replace them. New gutters also signal to potential buyers that you’re good with upkeep, especially on important details that can cause water damage if neglected.
(Credit: Amy Walters/Shutterstock)
A walkway that leads to the front door is an invitation. Brick, stepping stones or pavers provide a uniform look and are simple to lay out. Salvaged wood pallets or gravel create a rustic feel. Or get creative and pour concrete and stamp it with a design. Line your finished walkway with plants or solar lights.
Few things detract from an otherwise beautiful home than overgrown grass and weeds. Manicure the edge of the driveway for instant polish. You can simply use an edging tool to create clean lines along your driveway, or take it a step further and add a border of decorative blocks or stones.
Create a welcoming portal by installing a trellis or arbor over the walkway leading to your home. Possible materials include reclaimed wood, bamboo or metal. Then, select a vining plant for your location and climate — helping buyers to picture their future home in full bloom.
Trees are practical as well as decorative, and easy to plant. When choosing which varieties to plant, don’t forget to factor in its full-grown size. If there’s room, plant two trees to line your walkway.
Cover up any eyesores around your home with clever containment. Paint electrical boxes and weathered piping. Disguise trash and recyling bins and outdoor air conditioners with a privacy screen or lattice fencing. Tuck unsightly hoses into attractive containers. These charming but simple touches will go far with prospective homebuyers who are trying to envision your house as their own.
(Credit: Naddanai Kongsima/Shutterstock)
Pro.com is a website founded in 2013 by service industry entrepreneurs and former Amazon executives to simplify home services — especially research on contractor fees and qualifications.