This isn’t your momma’s kitchen

From Yahoo Makers

Buh-Bye, All-White Kitchens! This

Dark, Badass Design Trend Is on

the Rise

Kelly Phillips Badal
‎October‎ ‎27‎, ‎2015

Kitchens are going over to the dark side.

Even though mega-paint company Benjamin Moore just announced that its 2016 color is “Simply White” (The Huffington Post scoffed at this, stating that the company has “completely given up on picking out a color”), sorry, we’re so over that vanilla hue — in the kitchen, at least.

Sophisticated, bold, badass black is where it’s at. It’s the new neutral (seriously!).

Even if such an inky shade scares you, there are a ton of reasons why you should give this “kitchen noir” style a shot. For example, the white kitchen can read bright yet sterile; black, in marked contrast, makes a kitchen exciting. White kitchens are a dime a dozen, such a go-to choice that they’re forgettable. Boldly go black in your kitchen and it’ll look like you’ve paid your life savings to a ritzy designer — even if you haven’t. A deep color can makes a small kitchen look amazing and, in a large, open kitchen, can help ground the space. Plus, black is simply an unbelievably chic color: There’s a reason the fashionista catchphrase “Black is the new black” is heard every season. It looks fantastic against trendy copper, gold, or brushed-steel appliances, and it makes the room where everyone loves to hang out ultrahip.

Dark cabinetry, tile, walls, appliances, and accessories are all growing in popularity, so even if you start with KitchenAid’s glossy black mixer, there’s an easy way to get into this trend, even if you start small.

This isn’t your mother’s kitchen. And that’s a very, very good thing.

To check out all the ideas click here

5 Hacks for Creating Antique-Looking Furniture With Cheap Household Items

From Yahoo Makers

5 Hacks for Creating Antique-

Looking Furniture With Cheap

 Household Items

‎October‎ ‎26‎, ‎2015

It’s popular to have the newest iPhone, but when it comes to your furniture, old is in. No heavy chemicals or special skills necessary — you likely have everything you need to get in on the vintage trend, right in your own home.

Seriously, these magical (aka, scientific) weathering techniques make use of items like salt, vinegar, tea, petroleum jelly and more to age your stuff. Got those things at hand? Great! Let’s get started.

Remember, though there are hundreds of popular sites online specializing in selling antique furniture, those extra years will cost you extra bucks. Even just a small, plain (vintage) wooden crate can run you $20 on Krrb!

Much as we love investing in heirlooms and antiques, we Makers reserve the right to cheat a little.

After you’ve DIY’d your own little slice of history, all you’ll have left to do is DIY a good back story.

Check out all the tips here


Smoke Alarm Safety Tips

Smoke Alarm Tips

The Impact of TRID on Appraisers

The Impact of TRID on Appraisers

Photo credit: Ron Frazier


Appraisers shouldn’t fear the new rules

The new TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) rule for mortgage loan applications is here, and while there’s been many stories about how TRID will affect lenders and borrowers, there’s not much information on how appraisers would be affected.

With the newly implemented TRID, once borrowers receive the Loan Estimate (LE), with its loan terms and estimated costs from the lender-including appraisal fees, the appraiser cannot charge the borrower a higher fee than the initial estimate. This is because appraisal fees are in a category of costs which should be as close as possible to the lender’s initial estimate.

For example, an appraiser accepts an assignment for an agreed upon fee, but later finds that the property is more complicated than thought, which requires a higher fee according to the appraiser’s fee schedule. The appraiser cannot go back to the borrower and request a higher fee. The exception to this is if there’s a valid ‘change of circumstance’.

There are property attributes which may be considered atypical for the market areas and therefore fall under a valid ‘change of circumstance’. Although properties in rural areas may be considered complex by the appraiser, because the property address was listed at the time of disclosure, the rural location would not be considered a valid ‘change of circumstance’.

Here’s a short list of property attributes that may place a property in a valid ‘change of circumstance’ category:

  • Manufactured housing
  • Unique architectural style – log home, dome home, berm home
  • Homes with garage apartments, guest houses or in-law suites
  • Luxury homes and/or large homes
  • Homes on large acreage lots
  • Property that is unique for its market
  • Historic homes
  • Vacation-type homes (mountain, lakefront, ocean front homes)


Adding appraisal-related questions to the application process could save lenders the possible expense of incurable LE under-disclosures and delays relating to re-disclosures, and this could become a part of a lender’s best practice. This will be covered in more detail next week.

As appraisers and AMCs consider the implications and solutions for this issue, PEMCO Limited will stay abreast of all regulatory developments regarding TRID’s effect on the appraisal profession.

This article is being provided as informational purposes only and is not intended for legal advice. Please consult with your compliance officer or legal counsel for guidance on your company’s policy with regard to what constitutes a valid ‘change of circumstance’.



Nadlan Valuations. TRID’s Troubling Impact on Appraisals

Valuation Management Group. TRID & Appraisals – Advice from Valuation Management Group


U.S. existing home sales rise more than expected, inventory tighter

From MSN Money

U.S. home resales rose more than expected in September to the second highest monthly sales pace since February 2007, suggesting the housing market continues to show strength compared to the rest of the economy.

The National Association of Realtors said on Thursday existing home sales increased 4.7 percent to an annual rate of 5.55 million units.

August’s sales pace was revised slightly lower to 5.30 million units from the previously reported 5.31 million units.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast home resales rising to a 5.38 million-unit pace last month. Sales were up 8.8 percent from a year ago.

Sales increased in all four regions of the United States and inventory continued to tighten. Unsold inventory was down to a 4.8-month supply at the current sales pace, down from 5.1 months in August and 5.4 months a year ago.

“As we enter more softer demand months, we may not really feel the squeeze of tight inventory, but come spring of next year … we could be facing a very tight inventory situation,” said Lawrence Yun, the NAR’s chief economist.

Nationwide, the medium home price fell to $221,900. That was still an increase of 6.1 percent from one year ago.

Homes are seen for sale in the northwest area of Portland© REUTERS/Steve Dipaola/Files Homes are seen for sale in the northwest area of Portland

The stable pace of home resales in September follows Tuesday’s strong housing starts data, which was buoyed by increased demand for rental apartments.

Housing has steadily improved relative to the rest of the U.S. economy, which has been buffeted by soft global demand, a strong dollar, and weak capital spending in the energy sector.

Avoid First-Time Homebuyer Mistakes with This Checklist

From Houselogic

A real yard. Closets bigger than your average microwave. The freedom to decorate however you darn well please! Making the switch from renting to owning is exhilarating, but many rookie homebuyers find the process trickier to navigate than they expected. This is why we created our First-Time Homebuyer Checklist. The 12-month timeline will help you sidestep common mistakes, like paying too much interest or getting stuck with the wrong house. (Yep, it happens!)

12 Months Out

Check your credit score. Get a copy of your credit report at The three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) are each required to give you a free credit report once a year. A Federal Trade Commission study found one in four Americans identified errors on their credit report, and 5% had errors that could lead to higher rates on loans. Avoid last-minute bombshells by checking your score long before you’re ready to make an offer. And work diligently to correct any mistakes.

Determine how much you can afford. Figure out much house you can afford and want to afford. Lenders look for a total debt load of no more than 43% of your gross monthly income (called the debt-to-income ratio). This figure includes your future mortgage and any other debts, such as a car loan, student loan, or revolving credit cards.

There are plenty of calculators on the web to help you determine what you can afford. If you’re pushing the limits, start reducing your debt-to-income ratio now. To get a reality check on what you may actually be spending every month, use this worksheet.

Make a downpayment plan. Most conventional mortgages require a 20% downpayment. If you can swing it, do it. Your loan costs will be much less, and you’ll get a better interest rate. If, however, you’re not quite able to save the full amount, there are many programs that can help. FHA offers loans with only a 3.5% downpayment. But they require mortgage insurance premiums, which will drive up your monthly payments. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides a list of nonprofit homebuying programs by state. Also check with credit unions; and your employer might even have an assistance program.

As you’re planning your savings strategy, keep in mind that banks like you to “season” your money. That is, they like to see that you’ve had stable funds in your account for 60 to 90 days before applying for a loan. Don’t worry: You can still use a financial gift from a family member or bonus received near the time you buy.

9 Months Out

Child exploring a closet at an open houseImage: Emily Dunham

Prioritize what you most want in your new home.
What’s most important in your new home? Proximity to work? A big backyard? An open floor plan? Being on a quiet street? You’ll make a much better decision on what home to buy if you focus on your priorities. If it’s a joint decision, now is the time to work out any differences to avoid frustration and wasted time. Perhaps most important: Know what trade-offs you’re willing to make.

Research neighborhoods and start visiting open houses. But now’s when the fun begins, too. Use property listing sites, such as, to find out about neighborhoods, public transport, and cost of living.

Start visiting open houses to get an idea of what kind of homes are in your price range and what neighborhoods appeal the most. Seeing potential homes will also keep you motivated to continue reducing your debts and saving for your downpayment.

Budget for miscellaneous homebuying expenses. Buying a home has some miscellaneous upfront costs. A home inspection, title search, propery survey, and home insurance are examples. Costs vary by locale, but expect to pay at least a few hundred dollars. If you don’t have the cash, start saving now.

Start a home maintenance account. Speaking of saving, start the good habit now of putting a little aside each month to fund maintenance, repairs, and home emergencies. It’s bad enough to have to call a plumber. It’s worse if you’re paying credit card interest on that plumbing bill.

6 Months Out

Collect your loan paperwork. Banks are very particular when it comes to mortgage loans. They demand a lot of paperwork. What they’ll want from you includes:

  • W-2 forms — or business tax return forms if you’re self-employed — for the last two to three years
  • Personal tax returns for the past two to three years
  • Your most recent pay stubs
  • Credit card and all loan statements
  • Your bank statements
  • Addresses for the past five to seven years
  • Brokerage account statements for the most recent two to four months
  • Most recent retirement account statements, such as 401(k)

If you start collecting these documents now, it’ll lessen the stress when it’s time to get your loan. Bonus: Looking closely at your loan documents each month will also help you stay focused on saving for your downpayment and keeping your debt-to-income ratio low.

Research lenders and REALTORS
®. Start interviewing REALTORS®, specifically buyers’ agents. A buyer’s agent will work in your best interest to find you the right property, negotiate with the seller’s agent, and shepherd you through the closing process. Your agent also can be instrumental in finding a lender who’s familiar with first-time homebuyer programs.

Even better, look for a mortgage broker, who will shop for a competitive loan rate for you among multiple lenders, unlike a bank, which can only offer its own products.

3 Months Out

People touring an open houseImage: Jesse Keen

Get pre-approved for your loan. At this point, if you’ve been following this timeline, your credit score, paperwork, and downpayment should be on track. You’ve done your research on lenders and buyers’ agents. Now it’s time to start working with them. First you’ll need to get pre-approved for a mortgage.

Make an appointment with your lender or mortgage broker and bring all your paperwork. He’ll run a credit check on you and tell you how much of a loan you’re approved for. It often makes sense to borrow less than the maximum the lender allows so you can live comfortably. Draft a budget that accounts for mortgage payments, insurance, maintenance, and everything else you have going on in your life.

Start shopping for your new home. One you’re pre-approved, the buyer’s agent you’ve chosen will be able to target homes that meet your priorities in your price range. This way you won’t be wasting time looking at homes you can’t afford.

2 Months Out

Make an offer on a home. It usually takes at least four to six weeks to close on a home. So if you have a firm move-out date, allow enough time to deal with any hiccups that can delay closing.

Get a home inspection. One of the first things you’ll want to do after an offer is accepted is have a home inspector look at the property. If the home inspector finds something that needs repair, that’s a common example of something that can delay closing.

In the Last Month

Triple-check that all your financial documents are in order and review all lending documents before closing. You’re in the home stretch! If you’ve been keeping your documents up to date, and your downpayment is in reserve, these final steps are the easiest. Reviewing the mortgage documents is probably the most difficult. Your agent can help guide you through them.

Get insurance for your new home. Don’t forget to secure insurance before closing. You’ll need to bring proof of insurance to closing.

Do a final walk-through. Do a final walk-through of your new home, usually a day or two before closing, to make sure the home is in the shape you and the seller have agreed upon.

Get a cashier’s check or bank wire for cash needed at closing. Make sure you get an exact amount of cash needed for closing. You’ll get that number a few days before closing so you can secure a cashier’s check or arrange to have the money wired. Regular checks aren’t accepted.

That’s it. Congratulations!


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