How to Make Your Christmas Plants Thrive 'til Santa Arrives

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Holiday greenery and flowers add color and life to your home on a chilly winter’s day. But if yours never seem to last once you get them home, you may be treating them all wrong. “Many holiday plants can thrive for years with the right conditions and care,” says Tim Pollak, outdoor floriculturist with the Chicago Botanic Garden. Here’s how to ensure your favorites won’t end up as the Ghost of Christmas Past before the holidays ever arrive.
Poinsettia
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“Choose plants that have little yellow flowers, called cyathia, in the center of the colored leaves,” says Gary Vollmer, product and technical manager with Selecta North America, a poinsettia breeder. If you chose a plant that’s shedding pollen or the yellow flowers have dropped off, it’s past its prime and won’t last through the season.
HOW TO CARE FOR IT
Cover your poinsettia when bringing it home, especially if temperatures are in the 20s or lower, and don’t leave it in the car while you run errands. Water when dry to the touch. “The most reliable way to kill them is root rot from overwatering,” says Vollmer. Remove the foil or pot cover (or poke holes in it) that’s around the plant when you buy to ensure it’s not sitting in water. Water sparingly, then let drain completely in the sink.
KEEP OR TOSS?
Your call! To promote flowering next year, place in a bright window after the holidays. After April 1, remove the colored leaves (called bracts). Shape as needed by pinching tips until early August. Feed every two weeks with a standard fertilizer. In September, move to a room where it gets only Mother Nature’s light with absolutely zero artificial light after sunset. In early October, move back to your regular living area, and cross your fingers.
Christmas cactus
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“These are one of the hardier holiday plants and can last for years and years,” says Pollak. Different species bloom at different times of year including Thanksgiving and Easter.
HOW TO CARE FOR IT
Place in a bright window. Flower buds that drop before opening may be caused by warm temperatures or overly dry soil. Water when dry, but don’t let the plant sit in water. “They’re a succulent and the pads get soft and mushy if you overwater,” says Pollak. Check pot every seven to 10 days.
KEEP OR TOSS?
Keep! To get flowers to set next year, take the plant outdoors for about three weeks in late summer to early fall, bringing it indoors before temperatures dip into the mid-40s. They prefer to be pot-bound, so no need to repot for years. Fertilize monthly between April to October.
Cyclamen
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These cool-season plants tolerate temperatures into the 40s, which is why they’re popular in the winter months. They can bloom for more than eight weeks with the right conditions.
HOW TO CARE FOR IT
Place in medium diffused, not super-bright, light. Avoid warm drafts to prolong flowering, and deadhead spent flowers and yellow leaves by pulling off the entire stem near the foliage line. Water from the base, not from the top, by setting it in a saucer of water and letting it absorb for 15 to 20 minutes, then remove the plant. Avoid splashing water on the leaves.
KEEP OR TOSS?
Toss! It’s tough to get cyclamen to re-bloom.
Rosemary
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This plant often is sheared into a topiary or pyramidal shape to mimic a Christmas tree. Its fresh piney scent is invigorating in the middle of a dreary winter and is a savory addition to stews and roasts.
HOW TO CARE FOR IT
Place in bright light in a south or west-facing window. The more light the better or it tends to drop leaves. Keep the soil evenly moist by checking the pot every few days. “The number one most common mistake with rosemary is underwatering,” says Pollak. These plants are Mediterranean, but they don’t like to dry out completely.
KEEP OR TOSS?
Keep!Move it outside as soon as your area is frost-free, typically sometime in May. Fertilize every few months with a slow-release pellet-type product, and let it grow naturally. You don’t need to maintain the topiary or pyramidal shape unless you prefer it.
Amaryliss
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These exotic-looking flowers bloom about four to six weeks after you plant the bulb. Some varieties send up the flower first before the foliage.
HOW TO CARE FOR IT
Place in bright light, not hidden away on the coffee table where low light levels may cause it to grow floppy and topple. Turn the pot every few days to help the plant grow upright. Keep the soil evenly moist, but don’t drown it.
KEEP OR TOSS?
Keep! Once the flowers fade, cut the stalk but keep the leaves to help replenish the nutrients in the bulb. Move outside in a shaded area when the danger of frost is past. In late summer or early fall, let the plant go dormant and place in the garage or basement. Cut off the yellowed leaves, and ignore it (no water!) until November when you begin watering and start the growing cycle again.
Paperwhites
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These often come in kits or loose bulbs with a planting medium. Pot them up and enjoy the fragrant blooms in two to three weeks.
HOW TO CARE FOR IT
Keep them in a cool but sunny location. Locations that are too warm cause leggy growth. As soon as the flowers emerge, tie the stems to a decorative stake to prevent them from toppling over. Water regularly so that the soil stays evenly moist.
KEEP OR TOSS?
Toss! They’re inexpensive enough to buy again next year, and they’re tropical so they can’t be replanted outdoors.
Phalenopsis Orchid
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These delicate-looking plants are not as fragile as they appear and will bloom for months with little care, says Pollak.
HOW TO CARE FOR IT
Give them bright, indirect light. They generally prefer it on the cooler side indoors. Avoid sudden temperature changes, which causes buds to drop. Water once a week until water comes out the bottom of the pot (they’re usually planted in a soil-less planting medium).
KEEP OR TOSS?
Keep! Keep in a east or west window. Feed with a specific orchid fertilizer. Water regularly but in late summer, let the leaves dry out or wrinkle a bit to trigger the plant setting new buds. Once you see a new stem, start watering again but stop fertilizing.
Norfolk Pine
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This long-lasting plant is native to the South Pacific so it cannot be planted outdoors in most of the country, says Pollak.
HOW TO CARE FOR IT
Keep it medium-bright light such as an east or west-facing window. It needs about six to eight hours of light per day. Light conditions that are too low may cause lower branches to drop. Water when dry to the touch, but don’t let it dry out too much or you’ll get loads of brown needles.
KEEP OR TOSS?
Keep! Every two years, refresh the planting medium by topdressing with new soil. It prefers to be pot-bound. You can take it outdoors in late spring if you like, but keep it shaded. Bring inside before temps drop lower than 40 degrees. Fertilize every 6 to 8 weeks with a standard fertilizer. Toss when it gets too leggy because it won’t re-grow lower branches that are lost.
Frosty Fern
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These adorable tiny fern-like plants tinged with white are a newcomer to the holiday lineup. They’re increasingly available at high-end grocers and nurseries.
HOW TO CARE FOR IT
Place in low to medium light. They prefer consistent humidity, so they do well in terrariums. Keep the soil slightly moist. Use room temperature, not cold, water. Water from below by placing in a saucer of water, letting it absorb for 15 minutes, the removing the plant.
KEEP OR TOSS?
Keep, if you’re lucky. The plant is on the finicky side and often dies long before you get tired of it. No worries. Enjoy its delicate form as long as you can.

6 Ways to Maximize your Small Space

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A small space can be challenging to decorate especially when there is very little light entering the room or is in an odd space…Below we bring you 6 ways that you can make the most out of your space and make it a place you can actually enjoy.
Create a visual complexity
It might sound strange but by layering the room it forces your eye to carefully examine the objects composing it; hence creating a visual illusion of a larger space…Include on your interiors shelving cabinets ,transparent items ,larger plants make it difficult for the eye to read the room in a second.146856_5f733dec
Customize
By custom tailoring your furniture to your exact dimensions you utilize your space effectively helping your furniture look larger and that are made for the space. This also creates the image that the space is used effectively.
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Oversized Items
Using a super large item or two can make the space look grand. Add a very large painting, a large vase , a plant. By doing this it throws the eye off and makes the space feel larger vs when using smaller items it reinforces the smallness of the room.
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Paint
Picking a soothing hue to paint your walls can create a harmonious and sophisticated balance in the room …Make sure you paint the ceiling as well .It will blur the boundaries between wall and ceiling making the room appear taller and infinite.
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Use mirrors
Mirrors are reflective and expansive . They bring depth and can maximize your space…A particularly interesting effect is when you place a mirror behind a light or a candle …the light travels through the mirror creating a magical effect.
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Create a Vertical illusion
Like with clothes same in spaces; vertical lines, built ins etc create the illusion of taller, bigger, slimmer. Go as high as possible, all the way to the ceiling with artwork , shelving . storage, plants…It forces the eye to look up creating a vertical illusion of a bigger, taller space.
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TRADITIONAL SYMBOLS FOR THANKSGIVING: DÉCOR TRENDS 2017

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Thanksgiving is a holiday filled with tradition and history. It’s a time to gather with family and friends, feast on a turkey dinner, and enjoy the beauty of the autumn season. With a history going back to ancient harvest celebrations, Thanksgiving is characterized by iconography that reflects its past. The images that adorn many of our Thanksgiving decorations today are tied to the fall celebration by centuries of history.
1. TURKEY
Perhaps the most essential image of Thanksgiving in America is the turkey. While it’s unlikely that the Pilgrims dined on turkey during their celebration in 1621, the bird is the focal point of many present-day holiday meals and often literally occupies a good portion of the Thanksgiving table. Turkey is so central to the holiday, in fact, that Thanksgiving is sometimes referred to as “Turkey Day.” As such, images of turkeys are prevalent in Thanksgiving decorations. From decorations with friendly cartoon birds to tracings of small hands with added gobbles to realistic feathered figures, representations of the turkey are a part of many Thanksgiving celebrations.
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2. CORNUCOPIA
The cornucopia’s symbolism fits perfectly with the appreciation of food and abundance that characterizes the Thanksgiving holiday. A symbol dating back to the ancient Greeks, the cornucopia signifies abundance, fertility, and the harvest. Cornucopias as decoration provide an opportunity for a great deal of creativity. They are traditionally filled with flowers, fruits, and fall vegetables, but the possibilities are endless.

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3. PUMPKINS AND GOURDS
Another reflection of Thanksgiving’s history as a harvest celebration is the presence of fall fruits such as gourds. Pumpkins are native to North America, and as such are an appropriate decoration for American Thanksgiving tables. Certainly, many holiday tables will be graced with pumpkin in pie form! Many gourds are especially suited to use as decorations for Thanksgiving because of their rich autumnal colors. Special white varieties are making an appearance in recent years to add a modern twist to this tradition.
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4. AUTUMN LEAVES
The very embodiment of the season, autumn leaves and their vibrant, rich colors are a beautiful element in many decorations for Thanksgiving. Autumn leaves, real or artificial, appear in elegant wreaths, beautiful table centerpieces, and as accents in floral arrangements. The shape and color of autumn leaves can even be used to create unique Thanksgiving cookies.

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5. CANDLES
Indispensible to many holidays, candles can provide an especially warm glow at Thanksgiving. A candle with a rich, warm scent of apple or harvest spices may help to set the mood around the holiday. A collection of votives in any room can create a festive glow. Candles surrounded by flowers and fruits make for perfectly elegant Thanksgiving table centerpieces.

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6. WHEAT
It’s a quintessential symbol of the autumn harvest, and wheat can be incorporated into a variety of Thanksgiving decorations. Sheaves of dried wheat can create a beautiful holiday wreath or provide the perfect accent for a cozy arrangement of autumn-colored flowers.
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7. CORN
Corn was likely part of the first Thanksgiving celebration held by the Pilgrims and it appears as a dish in many Thanksgiving meals today. But when it comes to its decorating uses, corn doesn’t come only in yellow! There are beautiful and variously colored cobs of corn available for the fall season. Use dried ears of this colorful corn to add a touch of the harvest to a centerpiece or use them as decorative ornaments on their own.
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8. THANKSGIVING CRAFTS
Usually assembled from one or more of the traditional Thanksgiving symbols, handmade items can play a big role in decorations for the holiday. If there are children in your family, you’ve likely got no shortage of Thanksgiving art projects to display around your home. From the hand-traced turkey to pinecone poultry, Thanksgiving crafts have their own time-honored traditions.

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Today’s Article comes from a special guest writer my girlfriend Anna, who decided to help me add some flavor to my blog posting. Hope everyone enjoys.

VA & CFPB Warning on Refinancing Offers

Colleagues and Fellow Veterans,
The VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL) lowers your interest rate by refinancing your existing VA home loan. During FY17, VA guaranteed over 190,000 home loans under this program. In FY 2017, there were nearly 1,500 lenders that participate in the VA Home Loan program.
Regrettably, some lenders have taken advantage of Servicemembers and Veterans with VA home loans in the past. They have sent unsolicited offers to refinance VA mortgages with misleading advertising. If you have a VA home loan, there is a good chance you have already come into contact with unsolicited offers which appear official and may sound too good to be true.
The VA and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) have issued their first Warning Order to Servicemembers and Veterans who currently have a VA home loan, as we have found that some of you are being targeted with misleading advertising.
Understand that certain advertised benefits, such as no out-of-pocket closing costs, skipped mortgage payments, and escrow refunds, are costs that are generally added to your loan and increase the overall principal balance. These are all red flags that may indicate that the loan is less likely to benefit you. Before you proceed with a VA mortgage refinance, be sure to consider the long-term and short-term benefits and consequences of refinancing your loan.
If you are contacted to refinance your VA mortgage, carefully consider your options and ask questions:

  • Does a lower interest rate extend the term (i.e., 30-year fixed rate to another 30-year fixed rate)?
  • What are the financial implications when choosing between a fixed term and an adjustable rate mortgage loan?
  • What is your total payback for the new loan vs. the original loan?
  • Do offers of skipped payments or cash back ultimately get added to my loan amount?

If you have a problem with a VA mortgage refinance or other mortgage issues, you can submit a complaint to the CFPB online or by calling (855) 411-CFPB (2372). Please also see VA/CFPB’s blog on this topic at: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/blog/cfpb-and-va-warno-va-refinancing-offers-sound-too-good-be-true/.
We are working hard, along with other government agencies, to identify, stop, and prevent illegal and misleading advertising related to VA mortgages and refinancing. If you have questions that aren’t being answered by your lender, please get a second opinion from another lender, or call a VA loan specialist who is available to assist you from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday at (877) 827-3702.
As always, thank you for your service.
Regards,
Curtis L. Coy
Deputy Under Secretary for Economic Opportunity
Veterans Benefits Administration
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Washington, DC 20420
VA Core Values: Integrity, Commitment, Advocacy, Respect, Excellence (“I CARE”)

INTERIOR DESIGN SLANG FROM AROUND THE WORLD

When you walk into a room with exceptional design, you’re probably at a loss for words. Good aesthetics seem to transcend language — after all, the appropriate response to statement wallpaper or the perfect velvet sofa is *gasp*.
But when you do get down to talking good interiors, you need to know the lingo, otherwise it can be hard to keep up. We’ve already broken down the basics for you — from elevated to contrived patina — and now we’ve rounded up a few examples of design slang from around the world to keep on your radar.
Broaden your vocab and decorating horizons below.

South Africa: ‘Partial Story’

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If you know what a mezzanine is, then you’ve seen a partial story. “It’s an additional level in an area that does not cover more than a quarter of the space (give or take), creating a double-height effect,” says Janine Saal, an interior designer at Collaboration in Cape Town. “It’s a great addition to any home that wants to add more functionality to a large, cavernous space but maintain the natural light and openness, while cutting the costs of adding a second floor.

Sweden: ‘Trasmatta’

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“Look around a Swedish home (particularly a rural dwelling) and you’re more than likely to come across a trasmatta, or rag rug,” writes Niki Brantmark, the author of Lagom (Not Too Little, Not Too Much): The Swedish Art of Living a Balanced, Happy Life. “This traditional rug is usually handmade on a loom from scraps of worn-out clothes and old rags. You can easily find a trasmatta in the shops, but why not give your old textiles a new lease of life and create your own?”

France: ‘Chiner’

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“The rule I follow when decorating is chiner, which means looking in many second hand shops to find the perfect pieces,” says French illustrator Alice Wietzel. “What’s important to me is to decorate in a sustainable and ecological way, and chiner — reusing and reinventing a purpose for elements of decoration — is part of that process.”

Philippines: ‘Ventanilla’

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Considering the Philippines gets incredibly hot and humid, houses tend to have large windows to let air in. “You don’t want to keep big windows open all night, so traditionally houses have other ways of letting in air, like these small screened slots below windows,” says Filipino interior designer and blogger Jennifer Cederstam. “Basically, if it’s not a window but it lets in air, it’s a vetanilla.”

United States: ‘Decorina’

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“We love the word decorina, which could be used like: ‘I see the decorina has been busy today.’ A decorator pet word, if you will,” says Miles Redd.
So, go on global decorinas and prosper!
Today’s Article comes from a special guest writer my girlfriend Anna, who decided to help me add some flavor to my blog posting. Hope everyone enjoys.
 

UNDER THE STAIRS

We all have those scary places in the house where things get dumped and forgotten. A classic hiding place that can be targeted is the space under the stairs. Ours houses a rather awkward cupboard stuffed with Scooters, hoovers and boxes that haven’t been opened since we moved in.
A very common use for this space is a ground floor WC. They can be dark and awkward. But with some interesting lighting, contemporary light walls and clever space management a quirky, unique room can be created. See this clever sink / WC combo that uses very little floor space but makes the maximum use of the area with the best head height and looks quite stylish too.
 
norwoodinteriors-downstairsloo-793x1024If storage is what you are desperate for then there are ways to make the most of it. These pull out doors with compartments specifically designed for coats, hats or shows, maximize the use of the space, look really slick and become part of the natural architecture of the hall. Add some led strip lights inside on a movement sensor and nothing will get lost inside and the effect is stunning.
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This design creates a dedicated area for reading; with bookshelves above a built in seating area and cunningly designed storage that looks like walls with skirting’s attached. A kind of cozy cave.
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If your stairs are open plan to the kitchen area then they can provide either an interesting feature wall or really useful additional kitchen storage.
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A built in bar area can be fun fitted into in a tight space. It makes a really individual feature and if you add mirrored backs to the shelf and serving area this gives a glamorous touch, highlights the shape of the stair and reflects light back into the room.
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If you are short of a room in the house then this under stair space can be adapted to make an extra one. This office area would otherwise be taking up useful bedroom or living space. Snuck in under the stairs is a compact study with stationery drawers, filing, shelving and plenty of work space. Although it is probably only really suitable for the super tidy, modern, paper free worker who is not in need of a spring clean anyway!
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Today’s Article comes from a special guest writer my girlfriend Anna, who decided to help me add some flavor to my blog posting. Hope everyone enjoys.

Florida’s affordable housing programs: Real people, real stories, real impact

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Nov. 6, 2017 –Florida Realtors®has launched a new video and study to demonstrate the positive impact affordable housing programs have on Floridians and their communities to give Florida’s lawmakers a clear picture of the return on investment of the funds they appropriate to the State Housing Initiatives Partnership Program (SHIP) and the State Apartment Incentive Loan (SAIL) program.
“The state and local government housing trust funds do so much good for so many, but it is not always easy to see their direct impact both on people and the economy,” says 2017 Florida Realtors Secretary Cheryl Lambert, who also served as the immediate past chair of the state association’s Attainable/Workforce Housing Committee. “This is all about educating our legislators on the true value of these trust funds. We know they have hard decisions to make, and that’s why it’s important they see first-hand the effect of those decisions.”
The video, called “True Stories of Florida’s Affordable Housing Trust Funds,” features several Floridians who talk about the obstacles and tragedies they faced in their lives, and how finding an affordable home helped them achieve stability. They include a previously homeless woman in West Palm Beach, a U.S. Army veteran in Clearwater, a senior in Hernando and a law enforcement officer in Tallahassee.
“Each of these stories is heartbreaking – but also triumphant when you consider how far these people have come and how they were able to use these programs to rebuild their lives,” says Lambert.
The affordable housing study, which was commissioned by Florida Realtors and conducted by the Florida State University Center for Economic Forecasting and Analyses, breaks down the economic impact of the SHIP and SAIL programs for each of Florida’s 67 counties from 2006 – 2016.
Of the $1.3 billion appropriated for these programs during that timeframe, $12.54 billion was generated in sales and revenues, 94,149 people were employed and $2.97 billion in wages was earned. This means that for every dollar the Florida Legislature appropriated over those 10 years, $9.50 was generated by SHIP and SAIL programs in economic activity for the state.
The study also projects the economic impact of these programs all the way through 2030, with results showing an average of 4,178 jobs a year, $1.02 billion in economic output each year and $274 million a year in earned wages.
“We wanted the video to focus on the human side of the these affordable housing programs because that is what really matters in the end,” says Lambert. “But we knew the economic impact results would have a story to tell as well. All I can say is wow, what an impressive story it ended up being.”
The State Housing Initiatives Partnership Program provides very low, low and moderate-income families with assistance to purchase a home, money to repair or replace a home and many other types of housing assistance. The State Apartment Incentive Loan program provides low-interest loans on a competitive basis to affordable housing developers each year.
© 2017 Florida Realtors®

9 Home-Buying Costs Veterans and Active Military Should Keep in Mind By Cathie Ericson | Sep 29, 2017

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For veterans and active military, VA loans are a great way to achieve the dream of homeownership. More than 22 million service members have used these flexible, no down payment loans since 1944.
But when people hear “no down payment,” they often don’t realize they’ll still need some cash on hand to finish the deal.
“Zero down does not mean zero to close,” points out Gwen Chubirko, broker in charge at Genesis Realty Co. in Kannapolis, NC.
The good news is that buyers don’t have to go in blindly: Your VA loan-savvy real estate agent will be your ally in helping you estimate the costs you will need throughout the process, no matter where you live.
“Our goal is to save veterans money and get them into a home that they’re happy with,” says Realtor® John Ulrich, broker associate with Illustrated Properties in Manalapan, FL.
While the amount you need to close will vary according to your location and situation, experts say you can usually expect to need about 3% of the purchase price on hand to close.
Want to break it down? Here are some home-buying costs that veterans and active military shouldn’t overlook.

1. Credit report

Buyers will often pay this fee, which runs, on average, about $30, to their lender when they first apply for a loan. Be aware that this fee is nonrefundable even if the loan doesn’t close.

2. Earnest money

The earnest money deposit is key to the home-buying process. It essentially allows you to put a “hold” on a house while you conduct the inspections and appraisal. Without earnest money, you could theoretically make offers on many homes, essentially taking them off the market until you decided which one you liked best. As the name suggests, it shows that you are earnest about moving forward on the purchase.
“The seller wants that buyer to have some money in the game when they take the house off the market,” Chubirko explains.
Depending on where you live, you can expect to put down anywhere from 1% to even 10% of the home’s purchase price as earnest money. (In some highly competitive markets, buyers are making even larger deposits in an effort to stand out.)
But don’t worry! Whatever you put down for earnest money will go toward your down payment and closing costs as soon as the deal goes through. (If the deal falters, you could lose some or all of your deposit, depending on the reason why the agreement tanks.)

3. Appraisal

All VA loans require an appraisal to ensure the property is up to acceptable standards and meets the VA’s Minimum Property Requirements. What does that mean? Well, an appraiser will calculate the square footage, confirm the property is worth the price you’re offering, and that it’s safe, structurally sound, and sanitary. Among other things, the appraiser will check for safe mechanical systems, acceptable roof life, and hazard-free basements and crawl space. VA buyers will often pay for the appraisal upfront, but they may be able to recoup the cost at closing.

4. Home inspection

While the appraisal is required, a home inspection is technically optional (except for a pest inspection, which is required in certain states and can cost roughly $50 to $150). But you never want to take a pass on the inspection, unless you’re buying a tear-down (not with a VA loan!).
The home inspection is your all-too-crucial opportunity to uncover any problems with the house before you make it official. It’s also your chance to point out repairs you can ask the seller to make on your behalf (and those repairs could cost much more than the inspection itself, which is going to run about $300 to $500.)

5. Recording fees

Recording fees must be paid out of pocket at the time of closing. This is the fee you pay the county to record your mortgage in the public record, and the cost varies from county to county.

6. Real estate transfer taxes

These costs vary by state—from none in Indiana, to a $2 flat fee in Arizona, to $2 per each $500 in value in New York. States, counties, and municipalities collect these taxes to transfer the title of the property from the previous owner to the new owner.

7. Title insurance

Title insurance protects you (and your lender) in the event there are title issues from previous owners of the home. The average cost of title insurance is around $1,000 per policy, but that amount varies widely from state to state and depends on the price of your home.

8. HOA fees

If you buy a home in an area where there is a required homeowners association, you will need to pay the application fee, which is variable depending on the local rules. Then there are your monthly dues. For a typical single-family home, HOA fees can cost homeowners around $200 to $300 per month, although they’ll be lower or much higher depending on the size of your unit and the amenities.

9. Loan origination fees

An origination fee is one of several that will make up your closing costs. The VA allows lenders to charge up to 1% of the loan amount to cover origination, processing, and underwriting costs.
The bottom line? While VA loans are a great option for any veteran hoping to buy a house, being prepared before you apply will ensure no surprises throughout the process.
https://www.realtor.com/advice/buy/va-loans-home-buying-costs/
 

Fall 2017 Interior Trends

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Believe it or not, summer is already over, and many of us are already setting our sights on what home design and hues will be huge in fall and winter. After scouring Interior design magazines and Pinterest we came up with the list of trends very popular in the next season. Of course, remember to choose what you love, regardless of what might be in style. But as the weather shifts from summer to fall, it can be fun (and not to mention easy and cheap) to make a few changes to your house as well. Here’s what interior design experts predict will be “in” for fall and winter 2017.
Velvet
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What could be more soothing than velvet? The fabric feels luxurious and welcoming for fall and winter, and when combined with rough natural textures (think reclaimed wood and woven baskets) and smooth metals and ceramics, it adds visual interest and tactile coziness to a room. Don’t have the budget to spring for an upholstered chair like the one pictured? Add velvet pillows or a velvet throw instead.
Woven Texture
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Don’t underestimate the depth woven textiles and accents bring to a room—especially during cold-weather months. Hang baskets for a focal point on the wall, put plants in wicker stands, or swap out your light fixture for a basket pendant light. Again, off-set the rough texture with soft velvet or hand-knit wool throws and smooth metal side tables, mirrors, and ceramic accents.
Brass
#4
Brass is the new copper, especially when incorporated into furniture in an overt way. Take this sectional with a beautiful brass frame, for example.
Dark Paint
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Forget farmhouse white and gray! This season, it’s all about drama. PPG Paints, Glidden Paints, and Olympic Paints & Stains all announced cozy shades of black as their 2018 Color of the Year—Black Flame (PPG1043-7), Deep Onyx (00NN 07/000), and Black Magic (OL116), respectively. Not ready to go completely over to the dark side? Adding chocolate brown to your decor is the best way to add some luxe—especially in the fall. Also, swap out your lighter colored pillows and throws for this rich hue.
Emerald Green
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Nature-inspired hues are all the rage and what’s more perfect than a rich emerald green? For a dramatic look opt for a deep shade, or if you prefer a more serene space then choose a hue a few tones lighter. It’s a luxurious colour that looks great teamed with blush pinks and copper accessories. Break the look up by using prints and patterns in contrasting shades to add interest.
Nature-inspired hues are all the rage and what’s more perfect than a rich emerald green? For a dramatic look opt for a deep shade, or if you prefer a more serene space then choose a hue a few tones lighter. It’s a luxurious colour that looks great teamed with blush pinks and copper accessories. Break the look up by using prints and patterns in contrasting shades to add interest.

Today’s Article comes from a special guest writer my girlfriend Anna, who decided to help me add some flavor to my blog posting.  Hope everyone enjoys.