5 Fall Design Ideas That Will Boost Your Creativity

As homeowners pull out Halloween decorations, however, they often take the opportunity to look around their homes and make some more permanent changes. Whether it means splashing walls with a fresh coat of paint or rolling out a new rug, even the smallest changes can make a difference in the way a home looks.

With the cooler fall temperatures, this is the perfect time to tackle those interior design projects homeowners have put off all summer. As an additional bonus, your home will be ready for entertaining friends and family this holiday season. Here are eight of the latest design trends to help inform your decisions as you redo your own living spaces.

Reclaimed Wood

Not only is reclaimed wood good for the environment, but it is attractive, as well. You can craft everything from light fixtures to desks using salvaged wood.

Space-Saving Design

Even if you aren’t challenged for space in your new home, you can always use more space. With a little creativity, you can free up extra storage space and extend the size of your home.

Mixing Metals

Historically designers have worked hard to achieve uniformity in the metals in a room. If a kitchen had stainless steel appliances, the last thing a designer would consider was gold knobs and handles on cabinets. But multiple metals in one room is gaining in popularity, as demonstrated in these designs.

Mismatched Colors and Patterns

Instead of painstakingly matching every item in each room, this new design trend frees you up to pair items that wouldn’t have normally been matched. With the right touch, you can even make different patterns and clashing colors work together.

Mixing Some Old with Some New

It’s a great time for homeowners on a limited budget, since budget decorating is all the rage. Combine new items with finds from thrift stores and garage sales for a trendy, eclectic look that catches the eye and impresses guests.

This fall, update the look of your home with one of these exciting design trends. You’ll have something to show off when family visits for the holidays and you’ll give your home a new look going into the new year. Best of all, many of these ideas can be done with minimal expense, keeping your budget free as you prepare for the gift-buying season.

Remodeling Mistakes You Should Avoid

Remodeling your home? If so, there’s some planning required on your part before you dive into whatever project you’re working on. Keep in mind that while certain things you do will help the project in a positive way, there are also things that you might do that could totally sabotage your efforts.

Are you a novice at home remodeling? Then make sure you don’t make the following mistakes:

Not Making All Necessary Decisions Before Moving Forward

If you don’t take the time to scope out every detail of your project before construction even starts, you’re making a huge mistake. A reputable contractor will understand this, and will carefully walk you through the entire project from A to Z in order for you to be able to anticipate all the scenarios that might pop up along the way. But in addition to these scenarios that need to taken into consideration, you’ll also need to think about things like paint colors, faucet selection, hardware choices, and other details like these.

You might think these are minor decisions that need to be made, but you’d be surprised at how much they can influence the overall product. The hardware you choose might not be the ones delivered, or the faucets you want might be on backorder. Things like this can make a 4-week project turn into an 8-week ordeal.

Make sure you make these decisions well in advance to avoid any hiccups.

Not Having a Detailed Floor Plan Designed

Working without a design drafted up is a huge faux-pas. How are you going to know precisely how everything will be laid out without a solid floor plan? There are tons of elements that go into making up a space, and having a detailed plan in place will help you nip any problems in the bud before they become major issues.

Your best bet? Hire an architect and a designer.

Changing Your Mind Too Often

OK, so it’s pretty common for people to change their minds about a previous decision made when it comes to home renovations. And while this might be fine the odd time, changing your mind too many times can not only completely complicate the project, but it will also cost you a lot more at the end of the day.

Every time you change your mind about something, it’ll result in a charge order. This costs money. You’ll also be throwing off the scheduling with every little change you order. Think about it: the change need to be communicated to everyone on the job so that they can ditch the old plan and get with the new. This will basically delay the completion of the project.

It’s fine to make a change here and there, but you need to be aware of how this will affect the overall job.

Not Having an Emergency Fund

Planning ahead is key, not only to make sure the end product is exactly what you had envisioned, but also to make sure the project stays with your budget. But of course, it’s highly unlikely for home remodeling projects to stay well within budget, which is why an emergency fund needs to be set up and kept on the side in case the costs are a little more than you had initially anticipated (and they probably will).

If you plan well enough from the get-go, you should be able to comfortably get away with a 5% or 10% contingency.

Putting a Bandaid on a Major Problem

You might want to reface your kitchen cabinets, for instance, but sometimes a lot more work will be needed. There may be times when the entire kitchen cabinetry may need to be ripped out and replaced entirely if the materials are rotting or sagging. There may even be times when entire walls may need to be replaced, or in much more extreme cases, the entire house may need to be ripped down as is the case with faulty foundation.

Be honest with yourself, and be realistic about what really needs to be done so that you’re not just covering up a problem temporarily. Listen to the advice of your contractor about what he suggests needs to happen. Hopefully, you’ve chosen a competent and reliable contractor who will give you open, honest answers that are best for you, and not just for his wallet.

Don’t Get in the Way

Want to disrupt the workers and delay the completion of your project? Getting in the way will do just that. Sure, you want to make sure everything is going the way you want it to, but don’t be a nag. Sorry to sound brash here, but every time the workers need to stop to talk to you or to work around you, it causes a delay (not to mention annoys the workers).

If the conversation is important enough that it can’t wait, that’s one thing. But to chat up the plumber or electrician about every minor thing is just a downright distraction.

Do yourself a favor – hire a contractor, and other professionals involved in home remodeling. They’ll give you a plethora of advice about you should and shouldn’t do before, and during the construction. Doing your due diligence will not only save you time and headaches, it’ll save you money too.

Remodeling Mistakes You Should Avoid

Remodeling your home? If so, there’s some planning required on your part before you dive into whatever project you’re working on. Keep in mind that while certain things you do will help the project in a positive way, there are also things that you might do that could totally sabotage your efforts.

Are you a novice at home remodeling? Then make sure you don’t make the following mistakes:

Not Making All Necessary Decisions Before Moving Forward

If you don’t take the time to scope out every detail of your project before construction even starts, you’re making a huge mistake. A reputable contractor will understand this, and will carefully walk you through the entire project from A to Z in order for you to be able to anticipate all the scenarios that might pop up along the way. But in addition to these scenarios that need to taken into consideration, you’ll also need to think about things like paint colors, faucet selection, hardware choices, and other details like these.

You might think these are minor decisions that need to be made, but you’d be surprised at how much they can influence the overall product. The hardware you choose might not be the ones delivered, or the faucets you want might be on backorder. Things like this can make a 4-week project turn into an 8-week ordeal.

Make sure you make these decisions well in advance to avoid any hiccups.

Not Having a Detailed Floor Plan Designed

Working without a design drafted up is a huge faux-pas. How are you going to know precisely how everything will be laid out without a solid floor plan? There are tons of elements that go into making up a space, and having a detailed plan in place will help you nip any problems in the bud before they become major issues.

Your best bet? Hire an architect and a designer.

Changing Your Mind Too Often

OK, so it’s pretty common for people to change their minds about a previous decision made when it comes to home renovations. And while this might be fine the odd time, changing your mind too many times can not only completely complicate the project, but it will also cost you a lot more at the end of the day.

Every time you change your mind about something, it’ll result in a charge order. This costs money. You’ll also be throwing off the scheduling with every little change you order. Think about it: the change need to be communicated to everyone on the job so that they can ditch the old plan and get with the new. This will basically delay the completion of the project.

It’s fine to make a change here and there, but you need to be aware of how this will affect the overall job.

Not Having an Emergency Fund

Planning ahead is key, not only to make sure the end product is exactly what you had envisioned, but also to make sure the project stays with your budget. But of course, it’s highly unlikely for home remodeling projects to stay well within budget, which is why an emergency fund needs to be set up and kept on the side in case the costs are a little more than you had initially anticipated (and they probably will).

If you plan well enough from the get-go, you should be able to comfortably get away with a 5% or 10% contingency.

Putting a Bandaid on a Major Problem

You might want to reface your kitchen cabinets, for instance, but sometimes a lot more work will be needed. There may be times when the entire kitchen cabinetry may need to be ripped out and replaced entirely if the materials are rotting or sagging. There may even be times when entire walls may need to be replaced, or in much more extreme cases, the entire house may need to be ripped down as is the case with faulty foundation.

Be honest with yourself, and be realistic about what really needs to be done so that you’re not just covering up a problem temporarily. Listen to the advice of your contractor about what he suggests needs to happen. Hopefully, you’ve chosen a competent and reliable contractor who will give you open, honest answers that are best for you, and not just for his wallet.

Don’t Get in the Way

Want to disrupt the workers and delay the completion of your project? Getting in the way will do just that. Sure, you want to make sure everything is going the way you want it to, but don’t be a nag. Sorry to sound brash here, but every time the workers need to stop to talk to you or to work around you, it causes a delay (not to mention annoys the workers).

If the conversation is important enough that it can’t wait, that’s one thing. But to chat up the plumber or electrician about every minor thing is just a downright distraction.

Do yourself a favor – hire a contractor, and other professionals involved in home remodeling. They’ll give you a plethora of advice about you should and shouldn’t do before, and during the construction. Doing your due diligence will not only save you time and headaches, it’ll save you money too.

How to Boost Your Chances of Getting Approved For A Mortgage

Roughly 8% of all mortgage applications are denied by lenders. But as challenging as it can be to get approved for a mortgage, it’s not impossible, as long as you’ve got all your ducks in a row. Here are a handful of reasons why borrowers are denied mortgages, and what can be done to offset them.

INSUFFICIENT INCOME

The money used to pay for your mortgage has to come from somewhere. If your income is not sufficient enough to afford a specific loan amount, you’ll likely be rejected. And if you’ve recently changed your line of work or went from a salaried position to a freelancer, your home loan application stands a better chance of rejection based on income.

Even if you’ve got sufficient income, maybe it’s not properly documented. Having a pile of cash doesn’t make you a shoe-in for a successful mortgage applicant. If you can’t adequately prove your ability to afford the loan and support your income with tax records, lenders don’t have anything to go on. This can often happen to self-employed individuals who don’t have proper accounting practices in place. Many jobs that are paid for in cash aren’t documented with the IRS, so there’s little paperwork existing to back up income.

SOLUTION: Make sure all your income is properly documented. You might think you’re saving a few bucks by not making full tax claims to the IRS, but doing so will leave you with limited documentation as far as your actual income is concerned.

CREDIT ISSUES

Among all the factors lenders look at when assessing borrowers, credit score is a big one. Generally, lenders will be apprehensive about loaning capital to borrowers whose credit score is under 600, but the ideal benchmark is a score of 740. If your score is in the 500’s or lower, odds of getting approved for a mortgage are pretty slim, if not impossible.

And even if you are approved, the interest rate you’ll be charged will likely be pretty high. Every 20-point increment lower than 740 means the loan is more likely to result in default. In order to compensate for this risk, lenders will increase the cost to the borrower by increasing the interest rate.

SOLUTION: While repairing your credit score won’t happen overnight, there are plenty of things that can be done to gradually bring a low score up to snuff. The first thing you should do is find out what your score is by pulling your credit report through one of the three credit bureaus. You never know – there might be errors in your report that are bringing your score down unnecessarily. If that’s the case, you can insist on an investigation to rectify these mistakes.

You should also resist the urge to make large purchases on credit, such as a new car. And now is not the time to start applying for new credit cards either. If you’ve already got a credit card or two, make sure you don’t go over the credit limit. In fact, try to stay as far away from the limit as possible.

And as always, pay your bills on time, in full, and as quickly as possible.

UNFAVORABLE DEBT-TO-INCOME RATIO

Even decent income might not be enough to secure a mortgage approval if you’re growing in debt. Lenders look at many factors, including a borrower’s debt-to-income ratio, which is basically the percentage of your monthly gross income that’s dedicated to paying off your monthly debt. If this number is too high, you’ll likely be denied a mortgage. Ideally, lenders want to see a debt-to-income ratio that’s no higher than 38%, which is the percentage of your income devoted to your debt payments. You wouldn’t want to get stuck with a mortgage if your ratio is that high, anyway – nobody wants to wind up “house poor.”

If you’ve got certain factors that can balance out your debt and help your financial situation – such as a high credit score or lots of home equity – lenders may be willing to bend a little, but only up to a maximum of 45%.

SOLUTION: You can help the situation by calculating your debt-to-income ratio before you even apply for a mortgage. If you come up with a number that’s higher than 38%, now’s the time to make some changes to drop it down. Think of some ways to reduce excess debt or increase your income. Take steps to strengthen your credit score, such as ensuring all debt payments are made on time and in full every month. Find ways to beef up the down payment so the amount of loan you apply for is reduced.

UNDER-APPRAISAL OF PROPERTY PURCHASED

Lenders want to make sure the property being financed is actually worth what you’ve agreed to pay for it. That’s why they send out an appraiser to assess what the property is worth under current market conditions. If the property is deemed to be worth less than what you bought it for, you stand a good chance of getting rejected for a home loan.

You’ll only be loaned an amount of money that is justified by the home’s value. The lender will be put at risk if more money is loaned compared to what the property can realistically be sold for should you default on your mortgage. To minimize this risk, lenders will simply deny a loan amount based on the appraisal of the home.

SOLUTION: You can ask to have the property re-appraised by another appraiser. Maybe the one appointed wasn’t fully qualified, or didn’t use all the pertinent data needed to make an accurate assessment. You can also use the appraisal as a negotiating tool with the seller to try and have the price reduced.

GAPS IN THE ACTUAL APPLICATION

Mortgage applications aren’t exactly fun, nor are they usually completed in a couple of minutes. But making sure that they are filled out in entirety and that all information provided is 100% accurate is essential. Not only can gaps in the application itself delay the mortgage process, it can derail it completely.

SOLUTION: Go through your application with a fine-tooth comb to make sure you haven’t missed anything, and that all information provided is complete and verifiable. Mortgage brokers are there to help you with the process, so don’t hesitate to connect with these professionals when filling out these important documents.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Nobody applying for a mortgage wants to see the words “REJECTED” splashed across their application. But there are things you can do right now to avoid this ugly scenario. Working with a professional mortgage specialist can help you identify potential problems with your financial portfolio, and set you up for success when you’re finally ready to apply for a home loan.