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Wednesday Dec. 26, 2018 Your source for complete Real Estate coverage



Budget checkup for current, future homeowners BPT

A budget is an important tool for first-time homebuyers and current homeowners. Throw out any negative feeling you may have toward budgeting. We're here to tell you that budgeting is a great exercise, and can free your financial mind. A budget is meant to be a guide to where you should spend your monthly income. Budgeting can mean guilt-free fun. By making and sticking to your budget, you can spend money knowing exactly how much you need to set aside for necessities, and how much you can spend on other activities! Budgets are an important tool for the first-time homebuyer because it can help you make your move into a home with a payment that fits your lifestyle and circumstances. For existing homeowners, budgets can help you achieve or maintain financial freedom. Budgeting can be done by anyone — it just takes time initially to set it up correctly.

Gather paychecks, bills and bank statements to get started. You can write down all this information or use a budget tool. Start by calculating your monthly income, which includes not only the amount you may get from a regular paycheck, but also any

money you get in government aid, child support or pensions. The next step is to look at your bills and bank statements to find out truly what you spend in each category. This accurate information will empower you to take control of your

finances. Do you see a surplus? That is great! You can take that surplus and contribute to your financial goals, whether that be saving for a down payment, taking a family vacation or building a nest egg. Do you see a deficit?

If so, you can make the changes needed to balance your budget. You can cut back on nonessential items, like eating dinners out, to get financially fit. Having this knowledge is powerful and can help you take the right steps toward financial

stability. A budget is crucial for home ownership, whether you're a firsttime homebuyer or you currently own a home. A sound budget can relieve stress and help you feel confident in the way you spend your hard-earned income.

Five steps to help improve the value of your prefab home BPT

The majority of Americans believe buying a home is a wise financial decision — 84 percent, to be exact, according to a recent survey1 Why is this such a widely held belief? In short, buying a home brings the potential for home equity and appreciation into your financial situation. For some, including first time homebuyers, this can be confusing. First, let's explain

home equity. To calculate home equity, take the total value of the home and land and subtract the mortgage loan amount outstanding. For example, if your home is worth $150,000 and the mortgage loan balance is $125,000, you have $25,000 in home equity. Home equity isn't like cash on hand, but you can realize the money if you sell your home. Home equity can be increased in two ways: paying down the home loan principal balance or

improvement in your property value. Home appreciation refers to the increase in home value over time. Many believe that prefabricated homes do not appreciate as well as site-built homes. A recent report from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) suggested that manufactured home price trends have been broadly similar to those of other homes. While the index is experimental, an industry group commented that,

"The FHFA's important new MH index suggests that prefabricated homes that include the land may actually appreciate at rates similar to site-built properties." While property appreciating is never a sure thing, here are 5 simple steps that may help the value of your prefabricated home. Affix your prefabricated home to land Permanently affixing your home to land and converting to real estate

may help the property appreciate over time. Perform routine maintenance Make a checklist and stay on top of your regular home maintenance tasks. Changing your air filter, clear dead plants from the house and other routine maintenance will keep your home performing well over time. These quick routine checkups can help avoid larger plumbing and appliance issues down the road.

Add curb appeal Pay attention to both the inside and outside of your home. Maintain your yard and landscaping, pave your driveway, apply a fresh coat of paint, change the color of your front door or add greenery. These are quick ways that may help boost your home's ability to sell. Fix the little things Neglecting a leaky faucet or not cleaning your gutters can cause bigger and more expensive repairs later. Tackle these tasks up front to keep your home in great condition and help prevent larger unexpected issues. Invest in upgrades Choosing upgraded materials and features for the kitchen, family room and bathroom will make your home more valuable. Common upgrades could be a stylish kitchen backsplash, new vanity features or energy efficient

upgrades. Follow these tips to potentially help your home's value, and if you're looking to capitalize on your investment in your prefabricated home. Owning a home can change your family's life for the better.

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Five bathroom DIY projects for weekend warriors BPT

Dreaming of a bathroom update? Don't wait until you can hire a professional to get the upgraded bathroom you desire. With some simple DIY projects, you'll enhance your home's value and functionality in just a weekend (or less).

Project 1: Shower overhaul Many people are surprised it doesn't take weeks for a shower update. Convenient all-in-one kits provide a custom look without the extra work. The American Standard Passage Custom Shower System is ideal for the DIYer, with stylish, textured, patterned walls, a sleek glass shower door, modern shower bases and storage options. The Shower Wall kit includes adhesive, color-matched sealant and pre-measured walls that easily adhere over existing wall materials, making it a time-saving project. Its designs mimic granite, stone or timber, delivering an upscale look at an appealing price. Door, bases and storage options are part of the Passage Collection but sold separately. Available at select The Home Depot locations flush. The award-winning nationwide and online. flushing platform has been independently verified to Project 2: clean the bowl two times Smart toilets better than conventional Replacing a toilet can toilets. So put away the rubeasily be completed in a ber gloves and cleaning day or two, making it a DIY brush as they won't be project worth considering. needed for a while. Not only will the bathroom feature an updated focal Project 3: element, but the right toilet Modern flooring design can reduce the Don't forget to look down future need to clean. Install the VorMax Plus self-clean- when considering smart updates. ing toilet and watch as it bathroom freshens the toilet bowl with Replacing the floor is a Lysol cleaner with every simple weekend project

that stands out. If you have dated vinyl flooring, consider installing modern vinyl options that are far superior to the designs of yesteryear. With planks that closely mimic wood or tile, the new look will impress. Ceramic or marble tiles are popular choices for bathroom flooring as well. For a luxury touch, consider taking a weekend to add in heated flooring elements. You can find kits at your local home improvement store that install under

stone floors, so with the turn of a knob you transform chilly floors into toasty tiles.

Project 4: Stylish sinks A new sink is a smart way to update a bathroom in minimal time. Designs with simplified installation, like Studio S bathroom sink faucets, make it an easy DIY task. With a modern look available in various finishes, the design is specifically created to be a time-saver to install. The Speed Connect Drain is a pre-assembled system that won't need adjusting now or years down the road, plus the unique Speed Connect widespread installation system can be dropped in from the top for easy hose connections. No need to hire a plumber for a functional and fashionable new sink.

Project 5: Visual elements To update a bathroom, consider visual real estate and all the extras that create a cohesive aesthetic. The walls typically take up the largest space in a bathroom, which means fresh paint can be a simple weekend project with big impact. Consider choosing a semi-gloss mildew-resistant paint for moist bathroom spaces. Continue the refresh by painting the ceiling a crisp white, which

provides a clean look that also reflects light. Finally, analyze hardware and replace dingy or outdated knobs, handles and hooks. This provides a finishing touch that ties the entire space together. With just one weekend you can transform a dated bathroom. These smart DIY projects increase value and enjoyment for all members of the household.



WEDNESDAY, DEC. 26, 2018 ✦ PAGE 3B

Steps for dealing with ice or snowstorms ■ Have a portable ■ Check for cracks grill or camping around your door! Are you ready if a stove at the ready to Use silicone caulk to blizzard hit tomorfill in any gaps larger prepare food. row? While smaller than a credit card. snowstorms certain- ■ Purchase nonly create a level of perishable food. ■ Clean out your frustration for chimney and secure homeowners, large ■ Move perishable a pile of firewood. storms require items into a cooler preparation to stay that can be packed Beyond securing safe and comfort- with snow to keep the necessities and able. Families don't them fresh. winterizing your want to be caught home, there are a off guard in the ■ Pretreat areas number of tools that event of a large outside your home work even when snowstorm. Finding with a bag of ice salt your power doesn't! yourself unprepared before the storm Below are the tools and without power hits. that can make dealcan be a dangerous ing with a large predicament. of Winterizing your accumulation A loss of power home is another step snowfall much more can reduce your you can take to pre- pleasant. access to water, pare for winter food and light. storms. Checking ■ A battery-powFollow the tips that your house is ered snow thrower to below and you'll be ready to withstand a clean off the driveready to weather winter storm is cru- way. Greenworks any snow event. cial. Review the Tools 60V 20" Snow checklist below to Thrower will get the ■ Have at least ensure that you stay job done and eliminate the noise and three days' worth of warm and dry. hassles of dealing water. fossil-fuel ■ Make sure to with options. ■ Have a supply of clean out your gutflashlights and bat- ters and patch any ■ A generator that teries on hand. holes in your roof. BPT

the back-breaking work. The Greenworks Cordless 12" Snow Shovel is a valuable addition to any winter tool collection as ■ A cordless, bat- it effortlessly clears tery-powered snow a foot of snow on a shovel to remove single pass. snow on porches or sidewalks helps ■ A cordless, clear a path without portable heater to provides portable power can also be of great use in charging cell phones or other essential electronics.

help prevent frostbite in the absence of electricity or a fireplace. If you follow these important steps, you will be prepared for anything Jack Frost throws at you this winter.

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Setting up your home office for efficiency BPT

Why you must insure the 'little' things in life object removed from a pet's stomThe gift-giving season is upon us ach, can cost nearly $800. BPT

once again. Whether you're buying your loved ones a new pet, some fancy jewelry or the latest mobile phone for the holidays, one thing is for sure — these gifts come with costs and complications that can add headaches in the long run. For instance, new pets will inevitably need visits to the vet, electronic devices are often accidentally damaged, and valuables such as jewelry, art or cameras can get stolen or misplaced frequently. Therefore, this holiday season, investing in pet insurance, device insurance and valuable personal property insurance is the thing to do, so that the "little" things in life do not turn into big problems when things don't go quite as planned. Here are a few reasons why you should consider purchasing insurance this holiday season:

Pet insurance: Coverage is flexible and nondiscriminatory. A major bonus of pet insurance is the flexibility associated with it. For example, unlike health insurance policies for humans that often require you to use a specific group of providers, pet insurance policies allow you to choose the veterinarian you prefer. Likewise, pet insurance does not favor certain ages of pets. You can choose to begin insuring your pet at any time, whether that is at the time of adoption/purchase or many years later when your pet reaches maturity. Perhaps most compelling is the fact that many pet insurance policies reimburse owners at least 3/4 of costs after deductibles. This is a significant chunk of change, especially when a seemingly small procedure, such as having a foreign

Device insurance: Accidental electronic device damage is all too common. Approximately one-third of all users damage their cell phone within the first year of owning it, and as we all know, repairing or replacing these devices can be quite pricey. While a phone warranty typically does not cover loss or theft, many insurance providers offer protection plans that do and save you money to boot. USAA has partnered with ProtectCELL to offer a smartphone protection plan. Valuable personal property insurance: Homeowner's and renter's insurance do not always cover valuables. Many homeowner's coverage policies have a certain limit for valuable items categories. For example, a typical homeowner's policy may have a limit of $1,500 in coverage for jewelry. A valuable personal property policy provides coverage for higher-ticket items such as jewelry, silverware, fine art, stamps and coins, instruments, etc. that may not be adequately accounted for in other property policies. This type of policy also provides coverage for damage or loss, which is a major distinction from a homeowner's or renter's policy. It is the smart and financially savvy decision to protect your purchases for loved ones this holiday season, especially when it comes to meaningful and valuable gifts such as pets, electronic devices and personal property, such as jewelry or art.

So, you've been running your business from your home for some time now, and with the busy holiday season upon us, you find yourself overwhelmed, stressed and your office is a mess. When running a business, there are so many things you need to think about to maximize efficiency, from having a clean setup to ensuring that you are well equipped with the supplies you need to get things done. First things first. To help increase productivity and get things started, it's time to tidy up your space. Start by going through any old files you may have and determining whether you really need them, then get rid of things that no longer are relevant. Next, start organizing and getting your layout set. Arrange your space in a way that is functional and will ensure that you are able to access the things you need easily, like your phone and computer. Once your office is cleaned up, it's time to take a step back and ensure that your office is equipped with the latest equipment and stocked up on supplies. Your technology and hardware are key components to running things efficiently, so making sure your computer and peripherals are up to date will be crucial. A printer is a critical component in your home office setup and it's important that it is compatible with the latest technology and that there is enough ink to fulfill your business needs. When it comes to smoothly running your business, there are many things you need to help maximize productivity, and replenishing office supplies should not be a worry. As it is, the holidays are a stressful time, and buying office supplies is an added stress you don't need on your list. Say you need to print an important docu-

ment for a meeting and you're alerted that you are low on ink, but you are completely out, and you don't have time to get to the store to replace it. According to a new independent study from YouGov, 57 percent of Americans find that it's a pain to buy new cartridges for a printer. That is where a replenishment service comes in. Having your items delivered right to your doorstep will help alleviate the time it would take to do this on your own and eliminate the guesswork in knowing when you need to stock up on supplies. In fact, over one-third of Americans think that ink and toner replenishment is a good idea. All you need to do is enroll in the service and you are guaranteed to get your items right when you need them. You don't even have to know what model your printer is and what kind of cartridge it takes. Services like Amazon Dash, Brother Refresh and Best Buy Easy Replenish allow customers to quickly and easily replace their ink and toner without having to think about it. "Running out of ink is always frustrating but it's especially infuriating when it happens at an inconvenient time, like when you are in a rush to get a print out," said Rafi Haqqani, Marketing Director, Brother Genuine Supplies and Auto-Fulfillment at Brother. "Through our Refresh service, we are helping office users run their business more efficiently by removing the bottlenecks and stress that comes with running out of ink and toner." Don't let the busy holiday season bog you down. Get your office set up right and your supplies and equipment in order so you can get your work done efficiently and enjoy your time with the family.



WEDNESDAY, DEC. 26, 2018 ✦ PAGE 5B

Indoor survival guide for guys BPT

The winter months are known as a leading cause of indoor stir-craziness. Colder temperatures, rain, sleet, snow and shortened daylight hours all mean we spend more time inside than we would like. This poses a particular challenge for guys, who after months of hibernation are surely climbing the walls. The male head of the family needs some creative outlets that will keep him from driving the rest of the house - not to mention himself - crazy. Here are some outside-the-box ideas to support inside pas-

times for guys to help maintain sanity. B.Y.O.B. (Brew Your Own Beer) The craft beer craze continues to grow, with nearly 1,000 new breweries opening across the country each year, according to the Brewers Association. But no need to venture out to the local taproom if you can serve the fruits of your own labor from the comforts of home. Given the right ingredients and equipment, brewing homemade beer is as simple as following a recipe. After brewing, fermenting and bottling over a couple of

2019: Year of the space-age home BPT

In 2019, the "spaceage" home will become a reality with modern innovations that are poised to change the way we think about luxury, elegance and comfort. Incorporating advanced technology into your home is essential when elevating its overall style, design and functionality. What better way to create a futuristic environment than by living like an astronaut in your own home. You can do exactly that with the new Flotation Tub with ZERO DIMENSION from TOTO. Made from proprietary Galaline man-made marble, the stylish tub combines a luxury spa aesthetic with spaceage technology that simulates zero gravity by offering bathers a weightless experience. After more than a decade's research, TOTO discovered that a unique posture — with the reclining body stabilized and the hips, knees and ankles flexed — reduced the joints' m e c h a n i c a l energy/load to nearly zero. Astronauts sleep in this position; it enables the most relaxing rest possible. Cerebral blood flow studies show activity in the left ventrolateral prefrontal cortex - the part of the brain responsible for language - is dramatically reduced, enabling a meditative state. With the TOTO Flotation Tub as a bathroom focal point that showcases luxurious design, add sleek accessories to enhance your space, such as a smart mirror that doubles as a TV monitor. Imagine checking the weather as you put on your makeup or watching the news as you shave, creating a dual functionality and must-have

futuristic design component. Space-age aesthetic is all about blending minimalistic features with high-tech devices, allowing for a seamless transition between design and innovation. But why stop with just the bathroom? Consumers will continue to see a vast range of technological innovations throughout 2019, inspiring home transformations that are out of this world! To reach new worlds, innovation is key, especially when it comes to energy efficiency. For state-of-the-art elements both inside and outside your home, consider installing the highly anticipated solar windows that will collect solar energy while remaining transparent. The windows utilize photovoltaic technology, similar to what's being incorporated into solar blinds and solar roofs. These kinds of energy-conscious building materials will add a space-age look and functionality to your home, bringing you into the next century. Make everyday life more efficient with a home automation system, a rapidly growing innovative technology that allows users to manage various household settings with one single command. Users have control of their entire house at their fingertips including their security, lighting, climate and entertainment systems, even their household appliances. By incorporating an innovative and designforward centerpiece like TOTO's Flotation Tub, along with additional subtle, sleek tech accessories and gadgets into your living space, the space-age, futuristic home can become your reality.

weeks' time, invite the pals over to show off your own brand of beer. Establish the indoor work station Tackling the list of projects around the house requires a work station where you can get things done, though being confined indoors means that space is at a premium. The portable Keter folding work table from Northern Tool + Equipment is an efficient way to establish this home base that you can easily fold up and store when finished. Use the table for working on any number of household odd jobs, or

help the kids with their hands-on school projects. Better still, park the table in the garage and treat it as a hang-out place for chips and beer with the buddies. Man-d√© ©cor the den If time must be spent inside, add some intrigue from the great outdoors to your den or man cave. Nothing sparks some good storytelling like a realistic taxidermy specimen mounted on the wall, and the Jackalope Wall Mount from Kotula's is sure to turn heads. No two of these creatures are alike, so regale your pals with epic tales of the chase until you

can all get back out on the trail again. Embrace the elements You know what they say: "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em." The only surefire way to overcome stir-craziness is to get outside, no matter what the elements may present. If it's snowing, try an hourly or fullday snowmobile rental. If your area has been hit with heavy rains, fight back by taking the truck out "muddin.'" Be creative and get the whole family involved so that when the day is done, all will be happy to enjoy the comforts of the indoors once again.

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Five simple ways to bring more color to your home BPT

When you look at your home's interiors, do you find yourself craving a refresh? If so, there's no better time than the New Year to update your home with thoughtful design touches that embrace the power of color. Color is a key component of interior design and a useful tool for updating any space. What's more, colors can convey many emotions — from calm to energetic — helping you create rooms that are perfectly reflective of your personal tastes. Even though the possibilities are endless, color can be intimidating. While you may like the use of color when you see it online, in magazines or other people's homes, the uncertainty about how to incorporate it into your own home may hold you back. Fortunately, a few simple expert tips and tricks will have you using color like a pro in no time. Lifestyle expert and EasyCare Paint Brand Ambassador Camille Styles knows the power of color in transforming spaces from bland to beautiful. She uses color throughout her home to create rooms that are stylish and unique and you too can transform your favorite spaces by using her top tips to bring color into your home: Paint an accent wall: An accent wall commands attention and creates depth in the space, becoming the focal point of the room. The color you choose can be any hue that's different from the other walls in the room. Whether it's slightly different or drastically different is up to you. "I'm really into EasyCare Paint's French Coast color," says Styles. "Its strong blue hue makes a bold statement

without being too harsh or overpowering." Add a rug: Transform a room in an instant with a vibrant rug. It will add the perfect touch of color and can even be changed out seasonally to bring new hues into the space. A rug with a bright color or pattern can help create the illusion of more space so don't be afraid to use one in a smaller room to open it up and make it more inviting. Start small: Many people are timid about color, so you can start small and incorporate a new, bold tone with items like a coffee table accessory or oversized pillows. You may find that your choice quickly becomes a favorite piece in your home, plus you'll gain the confidence to add more color to other rooms, too. Introduce textures: Bringing in different colors and textures, such as a plush throw blanket or a woven basket, takes your space up a notch and adds another visual layer. Since these aren't permanent fixtures in the room, they offer an easy way to play around with colors to see what works best in the space. Embrace the unexpected: Bring in a bold pop of color by doing something unexpected, like painting the trim instead of the wall. "Black can take a room up a notch with its rich tone. "EasyCare Paint's Crow color will really wow your guests whenever you entertain," says Styles. Whether you're looking to do a quick update or a complete interior design overhaul, color makes a room more dynamic and energized. From simple décor pieces to bolder accent walls, bringing color into your home is a great way to refresh in the New Year.



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Real Estate Dec 2018  

Real Estate Dec 2018