Jill Finkelstein - Compass



Posted by Jill Finkelstein on 8/2/2020


 Photo by Solomon Rodgers via Pixabay

When you've been in the same home for a while, it is common to get an itch to switch things up a little bit. For many homeowners, this means renovating the kitchen. Renovation is a great way to not only add a little bit of style but also increase the value of the home at the same time. There are a few great ideas to think about when it comes to kitchen renovations.

Add a Backsplash

One of the most popular kitchen renovations is to install a backsplash. This is a great way to upgrade and personalize the food prep area. Furthermore, a backsplash is easy to clean, functional and durable. There are plenty of ideas that people can use to make their kitchen backsplash unique. Consider neutral stone tile with colored or patterned pieces randomly interspersed, a pressed metal design or colorful glass tiles.

Open Up The Area

Consider opening up additional space in and around your kitchen. This can be accomplished with the removal of upper cabinets, introducing a window or skylight or, for a larger-scale project, removing walls to connect with other rooms. If you can't change the floorplan of your room, swapping in glass-front cabinets or open shelving for your upper cabinets can create more visual space.

Add Flair to the Counters

Counters are a common target for kitchen renovations. Styles change and, over the years, you may find the need for additional space. One solution is to add a kitchen island. This adds both storage space and workspace for your kitchen. Don't be afraid to go with unique countertop materials like concrete or wood.

Upgrade the Appliances

Finally, consider upgrading appliances to incorporate new technology and conveniences. Newer appliances not only come with new features like convertible compartments and touch screens but are also more energy-efficient than older models. This means you might also be able to save additional money over time with this investment.





Posted by Jill Finkelstein on 7/26/2020

Photo by Oleg Magni from Pexels

The VA home loan program allows qualified veterans and active-duty members of the military to get an affordable home loan with a minimal down payment. If you're planning to use this loan program, you can take specific measures to improve your chances of approval. These tips will take you from house hunting to homeownership quickly with an affordable VA home loan.

1. Get Your Certificate of Eligibility

The Certificate of Eligibility (COE) shows your lender that you are approved for the program. If you get this document before you apply for the loan, you'll know whether or not you qualify. You can request the COE from the VA through the eBenefits portal or in person at the VA Regional Loan Center.

2. Check Your Credit

One of the benefits of the VA home loan program is the fact that it has less stringent credit requirements than other loan types, but that doesn't mean your credit has no role to play. Your credit rating directly impacts the interest rate on your VA loan, and if your credit is too low, you may not get approved. Check your credit, and if needed, make changes to raise your score.

3. Establish Reliable Income

Even with the VA home loan program behind you, a lender is not going to loan you money if you don't have a reliable, stable income. Most lenders want to see that you have held a job with enough income to cover your payments for at least two years. If you have recently changed jobs, ask your lender what you need to show to prove your reliability as an employee.

4. Choose the Right Agent

Not all agents are well-versed in the VA home loan program. There are some quirks to VA loan approval that can put roadblocks in place as you look for a home. For instance, the VA has specific property requirements that the home must meet for the loan to be approved, and the appraisal process is a bit more stringent than traditional loans. Working with an agent that is VA-savvy will help speed up the process and make loan approval on the house you love easier to get.

5. Choose the Right Lender

A VA home loan doesn't come from the VA, but rather from a lender that partners with the VA. You can take some time to shop for the most affordable option, as long as you shop with lenders who participate in the VA home loan program. Remember, closing costs and fees may vary from one lender to the next, so find the one that offers the best terms for your situation.

The VA home loan benefit never expires, and you can use it again and again. As long as the mortgage money goes toward a home you're going to live in, not an investment property, you can buy a home with zero down and a fair interest rate using this benefit. With these tips, you can get the best possible loan funded quickly.





Posted by Jill Finkelstein on 7/20/2020

Photo by bongkarn thanyakij from Pexels

Shopping for a new home should be an exciting experience, but if you are unsure of where you stand with your credit, it can be a little nerve-wracking. Having good credit will not only help you to secure more favorable interest rates for your mortgage, but it can also help you to avoid less favorable loan structures, higher down payments, and additional costs such as PMI. The best way to prepare yourself for your financing is to whip your credit into shape before your hunt begins. Check out three ways to help prep your credit.

Check for Any Collections

Collections are delinquent accounts that can seriously affect your credit score. Review your credit report and address any collections that are listed. If there are ones on there in error, file a dispute with the credit bureaus. If you owe the debt and can pay it, contact the collection company and ask if you can satisfy the debt by paying it and have it removed from the report. Finally, if you can not afford to pay the whole debt, discuss with the creditor possible settlement options.

Don't Request Any New Credit

When you open a new credit card or credit account, it can affect your credit in multiple ways. First, it will count as a hard inquiry, which can slightly lower your score, and secondly, it may change the average of your credit history. Mortgage companies don't like to see a lot of credit being acquired right before a mortgage is being established, so if it can wait, let it wait until the mortgage is secured. 

Pay Down Your Credit Card Balances

If you have the means to reduce the balance of your credit cards, now is the ideal time. Your credit score is affected by your credit card balances in two primary ways. The first being the amount of debt that is listed on all of your credit cards. The second is the ratio of the amount owed on your card in relation to the credit limit on the card. A good ratio is less than 30%, so to keep your credit score high, you will want to be below this percentage. Paying a large chunk of your debt can increase your score by several points, and also improve your debt to income ratio. Just be sure to do this at least thirty days out so that the new balance is reflected when your score is pulled.

Don't let poor credit lower your chances of buying the home that you always wanted. Follow the tips above to pump up your credit before applying for your next mortgage. Even a few points can mean significant savings. 




Tags: Mortgage   Loan   debt  
Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Jill Finkelstein on 7/20/2020

Image by Ernest_Roy from Pixabay

When putting together a room’s design, there’s one area that often gets overlooked above all others, and that’s the ceiling. There are a variety of interesting things that you can do with a ceiling to bring life and add interest to a room. Some ideas will add a sense of height or give the space an elegant look while other things will even help enhance the room’s lighting—without the addition of new light fixtures.

If you’re looking for design ideas, don’t skimp on the ceilings. Instead, try one of the following!

1. Gloss Finishes are Fashionable & Brightening

People don’t normally think of high gloss finishes when they think of ceilings, but this is a trend that is taking off for two good reasons. Gloss, whether it’s glossy paint or a gloss wood finish, draws attention upward while also reflecting a lot of light. Lamplight or sunlight streaming in from windows—either way, the reflection helps make the room look much more spacious.

2. Wallpaper isn’t Just for Walls

Looking for an unusual way to make a statement? More and more, interior designers are turning to wallpaper as a creative way to change up the look of a ceiling. This is another technique that draws a lot of attention upward, and it has the added advantage of making a bold statement.

3. Choose Bright Colors for Low Ceilings

Low ceilings can make a room feel cramped even if it isn’t—and this is an effect that can be heightened if the room has a dark color scheme on the walls and ceiling both. Brighten things up and give the ceiling a little lift by choosing light shades to contrast dark walls. This also helps brighten the room, which is another way to make it feel a little more expansive.

4. Try the Beamed or Coffered Look

This idea will help you add loads of style to interior spaces. Beamed ceilings and coffered ceilings both, whether the style is rustic or elegant, lend a seriously high-end feeling to a room.

There’s lots of ways to get this look, too. Coffered ceilings can be created with lumber or even with moldings repurposed to lay out the ceiling’s pattern. You can just do simple, clean lines, or you choose lumber with intricate edge profiles for a more classical look. And then there’s the layout itself. Coffered ceilings are typically done in square patterns, but there’s nothing stopping you from making hexagons or using squares and rectangles in differing sizes.

Beamed ceilings work similarly in that you’ll use lumber to give the ceiling depth and texture. Here, however, the designs are usually simpler, as if structural beams have been left exposed. Because of that, this style often works well with rustic themes.

Even though ceilings are sometimes left out of the design process, there really are many ways to turn them into a thing of beauty. Your ceilings don’t have to be flat or understated. Use one of these ideas or come up with your own to draw attention to this key piece of the room.





Posted by Jill Finkelstein on 7/20/2020

Image by Jonathan Petersson from Pixabay

Home improvement to accommodate residents of all ages and physical abilities not only add convenience and safety to the home, but also make good economic sense. "Aging in place" guidelines have been formulated to assure that housing of the future is designed to meet changing needs. Open floor plans are not only trending, but offer better options for tailoring homes to individual needs.

Sustainability, energy efficiency and accessibility issues have become part of mainstream consciousness. The passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act brought sweeping changes in the realm of accessibility to public facilities and commercial buildings. It is now recognized that similar guidelines can, and should, be applied to residential development. Primary concerns focus on mobility issues, vision or hearing impairments, physical limitations and limited abilities.

Designers and builders acknowledge that homes can better serve the needs of all residents with relatively minor alterations. The current trend toward multi-generational households has driven the point home. Although toddlers and senior citizen have different requirement, minimal changes in home design will make life better for all. 

Here are some basics to consider:

Single-level Design

Minimize steps and level changes. While thresholds are necessary at exterior doors, it's important that at least one entry door is accessible to someone with difficulty walking or climbing stairs, for anyone using a walker or wheelchair, or for a resident with a vision problem. If there are interior stairs, consider an electric stair lift.

Maneuverability and Safety

Be aware of traffic patterns. Provide ample space to move about, even with a walker or wheelchair, particularly in kitchens and bathrooms. Eliminate interior halls if possible. Hallways and stairwells should ideally be at least 42 inches wide; 36-inch wide door openings are recommended. Fewer doorways mean fewer barriers in the home. Be aware of the hazards created by flooring changes.

Lighting

Motion-controlled and voice-activated lighting is recommended both for home exteriors and for interior spaces. Pay special attention to safety lighting on stairs, in bathrooms, and in bedrooms. Also, note that placing electrical receptacles higher on the wall and lowering light switches is of benefit for young children and older adults alike. 

Safety and Convenience

Rely on technology to create a safe home. Install security devices, smoke detectors and CO2 monitors, room-to-room communication, programmable thermostats, remote controls for blinds and window coverings, and temperature controls on faucets. Automate home systems as much as possible.

Inclusive Features

Sometimes, it's the little things that matter. Blade handles on faucets, door levers rather than round knobs, appropriate cabinets knobs and handles, comfort-height bathroom fixtures, multi-height kitchen counters, and numerous other modern home features can make for better living for all.

When building new, including universal design features typically adds great value but little or no cost to a project. Remodeling with an eye toward aging-in-place is also cost-effective and offers high ROI.







Jill Finkelstein