by Tom DeJarnett
on Monday, February 24th, 2020 at 3:14pm.
Hiring an Interior Designer
Don’t call them decorators! Interior designers are trained, degreed and licensed professionals who do far more than choose curtains. Their job is to transform the interior of your home to make it more functional and beautiful. If your home could use more space, better traffic flow, better lighting, or an additional room, an interior designer is the one to call.
They save you money. Interior designers can buy appliances, cabinetry, flooring, fabric, furniture and accessories that are sold “to the trade” only. While they charge for their time and/or add a mark up to each item they choose for you, you’ll pay about the same for unique wow-factor results as you would for big-box, off-the-shelf items.
They save you time. The interior designer learns your lifestyle, personal preferences and space concerns. They know the latest products and design solutions, and if they don’t have an immediate answer, they do the research so you don’t have to.
They help you prevent mistakes. An interior design is like a symphony – every detail should compliment everything else in utility and beauty. Designers give you what you want, but they also expand your tastes to try new ideas.
They have resources. Many design solutions aren’t available at retail. Designers have their own go-to teams of contractors, upholsterers, artisans and craftspeople, so they can customize solutions for you.
You’re almost done! All that’s left to do is to pack up and move in to your first real home. Here are a few tips that will make your moving day as a new homeowner easier.
Sort your belongings. Moving can be more expensive when you cart along items you don’t really want or need. A great way to do it is to sort and pack at the same time. Think in terms of three piles – keep, donate, trash. Trash the trash and drop the donations off at the first opportunity. Put your “keep” pile into moving boxes labeled by room.
Plan your storage options. Closets, attics and cabinets can fill up quickly, especially if you’re downsizing. Where will the out-of-season sports gear go? What about holiday decorations? How are you setting up your kitchen? What goes in the garage besides tools? Where will you put valuables?
Plan your car trip. Whether you’re moving across the country or near the same neighborhood, pack your car or rental with necessities, including first aid, drinks, and snacks. Each family member should choose their favorite items to bring, like blankets, pillows, games, books, and a change of clothes – just in case you don’t have time to unpack those items the first day in your new home.
Meet your neighbors. If possible, introduce yourselves to your neighbors beforehand to let them know you’re moving in. You’ll have a greater sense of familiarity and belonging on moving day.
Build Wealth with a Less Expensive Home
Here’s a case for buying a less expensive home than you secretly want.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American spends approximately 37% of his or her income on housing. Notably, the top 20 percentile earners spend only 29.9% of their income, while the bottom 20% pay 39.9%. So what do high earners know that you don’t know?
If you have a little less money invested in housing, you’ll have more money to do other things, like:
Invest more in your 401K or Roth IRAs.
Pay extra on your mortgage so one day you’ll be mortgage-free.
Save money to buy another property. Rent out the first home for passive income as renters make your mortgage payment for you.
Build or add to an emergency fund.
Make improvements without adding more debt or tapping into equity.
Conventional loan guidelines from Hud.gov suggest that the average homebuyer spend no more than 29% of his or her monthly gross income on housing. If your gross monthly income is $4,167, spend no more than $1,208, which should include property taxes and home insurance.
What if you have current debts? The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recommends that your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio be no larger than 43% to secure a qualified mortgage - one the lender has done the due diligence on your ability to repay the loan according to government standards. However, many lenders aren’t comfortable with more than 36% DTI and may charge you higher interest rates accordingly.
All About City Trash Pickups
In this environmentally ‑correct age, you can’t throw an old appliance out with the garbage anymore. Most areas require that you place household and yard waste in separate containers, and that you deliver hazardous items to collection centers. So what are the rules in your area?
Trash pickup dates. Your city’s website will offer a garbage and yard trash schedule for the year for your area, including holidays. Simply input your address, if available, and print and save the schedule in a handy kitchen drawer. You can also order new trash and recycling bins.
Recycling. You’ll need to know how to separate your disposables for pick up and what days those pickups are available. Los Angeles, California offers blue recycling bins for paper, cartons, small glass like spaghetti jars, and metal cans and containers. They offer green bins for yard waste.
Yard waste. Learn your city’s rules for yard waste. Charlotte, North Carolina requires you to place yard waste in open containers on pick up day. Tree limbs and sticks should be unbound while leaves and grass clippings should be sacked in paper. Many communities forbid plastic garbage bags.
Hazardous waste. Some things can’t be thrown out, but instead must be dropped off to special facilities for hazardous waste. Dallas, Texas offers mobile BOPA (batteries, oil, paint and antifreeze) pickup stations and HHW (household waste) stations to collect old computers, pool chemicals, poisons, etc.
You’ll learn a lot about waste disposal, recycling and doing your part to protect the environment.