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.

Should You Paint or Stain Your Kitchen Cabinets For an Easy Upgrade?

If you’re looking to change or update the look of your kitchen on a budget, simply changing the face of your cabinets can work wonders. Not only is this a cost-effective option, it can completely alter the look and feel of your kitchen.

Two ways to make a change to your kitchen cabinets is to either paint or stain them. The question is, which option should you choose?

Painting Your Cabinets

If you’ve been paying attention to the world of interior design, you probably noticed that painted cabinets are on-trend lately. Whether they’re steel blue, mustard yellow, emerald green, or classic white, painted cabinets are all the rage.

The exact type of paint that you choose for your cabinets will affect how they look, how well they can withstand wear and tear, and how resistant they are to water. Aside from the color, there are many paint options, including oil-based, water-based, or even varnishes. You will want to discuss each option and their effects (such as lifespan, off-gassing, and so forth) with a paint professional before you make your choice.

Another factor to consider is how the paint will be applied to the cabinets: either sprayed on or brushed on. Spraying the paint typically provides the most even, smooth finish; however, if you ever need to touch it up in the future, it could be a challenge to get a blemish-free finish. On the other hand, brushed-on paint might not have as consistent a finish as a spray-on version, but it will be a lot easier to touch it up as the need arises.

The type of wood also matters if you’re leaning towards paint over stain. In order to achieve a smooth finish, the wood needs to have a completely flat surface and be void of knots and heavy grains.

Paint offers certain benefits that stain simply can’t deliver:

It’s modern

If it’s an updated, contemporary look that you’re after, then paint is the way to go. If you’ve got old-fashioned wood cabinets – such as oak, which has fallen out of style – paint can disguise any grains in the wood that you’re no longer a fan of.

It provides a ton of options

Considering the seemingly endless variety of paint colors to choose from, the options are vast when it comes to creating a truly unique look to your kitchen.

It hides dust easily

Compared to stained wood, painted cabinets hide dust much better, especially lighter colors.

However, there are some downsides to painted cabinets as well:

It’s expensive

Generally speaking, it costs more to paint cabinets than to stain them because it entails a lot more time and elbow grease. If you are having your cabinets painted by a professional, you’re looking at paying anywhere between $2,000 to $5,000, depending on the size of the kitchen, how complex the job is, and where you live.

It can crack over time

Painted cabinets are more susceptible to cracking as time passes which can make the cabinets look worn and dated.

Staining Your Cabinets

If you love the grain of a certain type of wood, then staining your cabinets is a fantastic option. While stained cabinets are more traditional-looking than painted cabinets, they still provide a classic, timeless look.

Stained cabinets let the natural features and grains of the wood show through. You can choose from a variety of stains, from clear to a very dark mahogany or chocolate brown that adds a dramatic touch while still letting the wood’s grain and texture show through. You also have the freedom to choose the type of finish you’d like, including glossy, semigloss, and matte. Some stains even have UV protection.

Stained wood cabinets come with their own set of advantages over paint:

They’re classic

While old oak cabinets are somewhat dated, many other types of stained woods are timeless. As such, stained wood cabinets are still rather popular among homeowners simply because they are less prone to going out of style and are not dependent on the latest trends in kitchen design.

They’re good for resale value

Because of their classic and timeless look, stained cabinets are often better for resale value than painted cabinets.

They’re more affordable

Since staining cabinets doesn’t take as long as painting them, staining is the cheaper way to go.

On the other hand, there are some disadvantages to stain:

The wood needs to be attractive

Stain is meant to show the grain of the wood, so if you are not a fan of the type of wood your cabinets are made of, stain is likely not the best option.

There aren’t as many design options

You can’t get nearly as much variety with your stain as you can with paint colors.

The Bottom Line

When it comes time to make a decision about the finished surface of your kitchen cabinets, make sure you test each option with your actual cabinet material so you can have an actual visual of what the finished product will look like. In addition, have samples of your countertops and backsplashes readily available to match up with the cabinets so you can verify how everything goes together before making your final decision.

Types of Inspections a Property May Need Besides the Typical Home Inspection

A home inspection is one of the most common contingencies to be included in a real estate contract. Even if a home is only a couple of years old, anything can happen, which is why it’s important to take the opportunity to have the home inspected before your purchase agreement goes firm.

While certain minor issues can be quickly and easily fixed with minimal cost and effort, other issues are much more severe and can wind up costing tens of thousands of dollars to fix. It’s these types of issues that may prompt buyers to walk away from a deal, but without a home inspection clause, the opportunity to uncover such issues is lost.

As important as home inspections are, they don’t necessarily cover absolutely everything under the sun when it comes to issues with a home. As such, there are plenty of other types of specialized inspections that can be undertaken in order to uncover certain problems with a home that will require further attention.

Termites

It’s easy to spot mice and cockroaches in a home, as well as the damage that they leave behind. Termites, on the other hand, are not readily seen and can wreak havoc behind the walls and under floors of a home. A termite inspector will take the time to look in a property’s crawl space and attic and look for any evidence that termites are around and chewing up the beams. They’ll also look for dry rot that can disintegrate the wood and leave it unable to support the home’s structure.

Asbestos

If the subject property was built before 1980, there’s a good possibility that asbestos is lingering within some of the materials, including insulation, window caulking, and popcorn ceiling. While not dangerous when left alone, asbestos can be hazardous if it is broken up and disturbed. Once its particles become airborne, they can be easily inhaled, which can lead to serious medical conditions, including cancer. An asbestos inspector will look for signs of asbestos and conduct patch tests to identify its presence.

Soil

If the soil upon which the home sits is contaminated, a professional soil inspector will be able to confirm this. Testing the soil for contamination is especially helpful for those who plan on doing a lot of gardening. You might also want to have the soil tested if the house is located atop a hill to see if it’s stable enough to withstand incumbent weather that could cause the home to slide away.

Mold

Mold can easily be spotted if it’s on the outside of window sills, trim, ceilings, and walls. But if lurks behind drywall, in attics or crawl spaces, a typical home inspector might not be able to find it. A specialized mold inspector will scope out the home and be able to conduct tests on spores and look into areas that may have been subject to past water damage.

HVAC Systems

If there is anything wrong with the home’s furnace or air conditioner, an HVAC specialist will be able to identify if there is anything wrong. If there is, you’ll be informed about the approximate cost to fix the problem, or whether the units will need to be replaced.

Plumbing System

Old galvanized plumbing pipes may need to be inspected by a plumber, especially since the chances of them being clogged are much higher compared to more modern copper pipes. If severe blockages are identified, the pipes may need to be replaced.

Electrical System

If a home is older or has been renovated over the years, it’s possible that the electrical wiring has been played with. If the job was done properly, then there’s nothing to worry about. But if the rewiring work was shoddy, not only will it violate building codes, it can even lead to a fire hazard. An experienced electrician will be able to identify any faulty wires that may need to be rewired to bring the home back up to par.

Radon Test

Radon is a radioactive gas that’s naturally found in soil and rock, and can be found at concentrated levels in a home. Small levels of radon in a home may be fine, but elevated levels can be dangerous when exposed to over the long haul and can even lead to cancer. A mitigation contractor will be able to test for the presence of radon in the home and recommend ways to eliminate it.

Chimney

A wood-burning fireplace might be an attractive feature in a home, but the chimney that releases its smoke might need to be checked. A chimney inspector will ensure that smoke is being ventilated properly and that the interior bricks and flue liners are in decent shape.

The Bottom Line

There are so many facets of a home that make it extremely difficult for a traditional home inspector to be able to uncover every issue that may be present. Depending on the type, age, condition, and location of a home, you may want to consider calling in specific specialized inspectors to make sure there are no major problems with the home that you’ll wind up taking over.

Affordable Ways To Enhance Your Bathroom On A Budget

Updated Accessories

Accessories can never be underestimated, no matter what room you’re using them in. You can easily create a luxe look by sprinkling your bathroom with opulent accessories such as candles, perfume bottles, soap dispensers, and others to make your bathroom look fit for royalty.

Decorate Using White

If you’ve looked through home design magazines or stayed at 5-star hotels, you may have noticed that the more expensive-looking spaces are those that are spa-inspired. These bathrooms tend to have a monochromatic look that exudes feelings of luxury. Typically, an all-white bathroom is used to create an elegant space. From the wall color, to the vanity, to the linens, all white in the bathroom provides the feeling of richness despite its incredible simplicity.

Add Extravagant Lighting

Don’t underestimate the power of good lighting. One of the easiest and fastest ways to introduce extravagance into the bathroom is to install gorgeous light fixtures, particularly a chandelier. This type of light fixture can make a dramatic impact in the room without occupying any space, which is important when dealing with small areas like the bathroom.

Add Wainscoting

The addition of wainscoting on the walls in your bathroom can instantly give the space an enhanced look. For this project, you might need to enlist the help of a contractor to make sure the job is done right. Once it’s up, paint the wainscoting in a neutral color, such as white, grey, or steel blue to completely change the look and feel of your bathroom.

A Unique Mirror

Nothing brightens up a space more than the reflective properties of a mirror. To give your bathroom a luxurious boost, hang an oversized mirror in an interesting frame that takes up the majority of the space on the wall that it’s hanging on. Install a couple of wall sconces on either side and you’ll really have something that will stand out and enhance the richness of the room.

Diagonal Tiles

While a little more complicated than laying them in a square fashion, tiles that are applied diagonally look a little fancier. Not only that, this type of tile arrangement can also make a very small bathroom appear larger than it really is. Just be sure to use the appropriate tile size in relation to the square footage of the space that you’re working with.

Line your Walls With Wallpaper

Wallpaper has made a splash on the home design scene over the past few years, offering homeowners a host of different patterns to choose from. Adding wallpaper to bathrooms, in particular, has become a popular trend, as the right pattern and color combination can truly being this understated space to life.

The Bottom Line

Who says you can’t have luxury in your bathroom without spending a pretty penny? With these crafty ideas, you can take your bathroom from outdated to opulent in no time, without making a dent in your wallet.

4 Ways to Give Your Home A Fresh New Look

Freshly Painted Walls

Perhaps the easiest and most cost-effective way to give your home a fresh new look is to simply give the walls a fresh coat of paint. Newly painted walls can give a home a new and updated look, which can go a long way. Make sure to patch any imperfections first and paint in a neutral tone in order to make your home more attractive.

Here are some color ideas:

  • Pure White
  • Interesting Aqua
  • Grizzle Gray
  • Believable Buff

New Fixtures

You’d be surprised at how much of a difference little things like door knobs and electrical outlets make to the overall look of a space. Swapping your old fixtures and hardware for newer, more modern ones can give your home just enough of a facelift. Making some small changes can make a dramatic difference in how your home looks.

Here are some fixture ideas:

  • Lighting
  • Curtain Rods
  • Door Handles
  • Switches

Landscaping

Before you tackle the interior, take a close look at your home’s landscaping. For starters, get rid of any clutter that may have accumulated over the years. Trim the bushes, install some addtional lighting, plant some flowers, and fix any loose stones or pavers along the walkways.

Here are some landscaping ideas:

  • Pathway Lighting
  • Concrete Pavers
  • Easy to Maintain Plants
  • Gravel & Stones

Updated Window Treatments

Any old drapes or plastic blinds that are covering your windows are just taking away from the esthetics of your home. If your window treatments could use an update, consider making some changes to improve the looks of your windows and potentially even let more natural light in, which is always a good thing.

Here are some window treatment ideas:

  • Roman and Roller Shades
  • Shutters and Blinds
  • Updated Hardware
  • Automation and Motorization

What You Need To Know About Home Warranty Plans

Many purchases that you make come with the option to buy a warranty in the event that the product is damaged, such as small appliances and electronics. This helps cover the cost of repair should they break down so you’re not paying out of pocket.

Warranties also apply to home purchases and offer buyers some peace of mind knowing that the major components and systems of the property are covered in case something goes wrong after you take possession. While they’re certainly not mandatory to buy, home warranties can help alleviate any concerns that you might have about anything malfunctioning in the home, and will be of financial assistance should anything go awry.

That said, it’s important to understand exactly what is covered under home warranties before you buy into one, as not necessarily everything under your roof will be covered.

The specific coverage offered will depend on the plan that you choose and the items you want to be covered, as all home warranty plans differ. The warranty company that holds your policy will replace or make any necessary repairs on any covered item that breaks down as a result of normal wear and tear according to the plan’s terms.

It’s critical for homeowners to fully understand precisely what is included in the home warranty in order to avoid the disappointment of a rejected claim.

That said, certain items are typically included in basic coverage, including the following:

  • Electrical system components
  • Plumbing systems
  • Ovens and stovetops
  • Dishwashers
  • Built-in microwaves
  • Water heaters
  • Exhaust fans
  • Sump pumps

Of course, homeowners may opt to upgrade their coverage in order to have more items included in their home warranties, such as:

  • Air conditioner units
  • Refrigerators
  • Washers and dryers
  • Central vacuums
  • Pools
  • Hot tubs
  • Garage door openers
  • Septic systems

Have Your Home and its Components Inspected Before Taking Out a Policy

If there’s something wrong with any one of the components in your home that you want covered, it’s possible that the warranty company you’re with will refuse to approve your claim. They’re covered under what’s known as a “pre-existing condition” clause that basically states that the company will not cover any component that already had an underlying condition.

In order to avoid the frustration of having your claim denied, it’s advisable to have your home and its components inspected first if your warranty does not cover pre-existing conditions.

What Constitutes a Denied Claim?

A pre-existing condition isn’t the only thing that could result in a rejected claim. Other issues that could leave you empty-handed include inadequate maintenance, improper installation, excessive and unnecessary wear and tear, and violations of building codes. Make sure none of these apply to you before you attempt to file a claim for a malfunctioning component.

Isn’t a Home Warranty the Same as Homeowner’s Insurance?

After reading about what home warranties are, you might be wondering how they differ from homeowner’s insurance plans. Granted, they do sound somewhat similar, but they’re certainly not the same thing.

Home warranties are designed to protect the systems and appliances of homes from any malfunctioning that is caused by normal wear and tear. On the other hand, homeowner’s insurance covers damages and loss as a result of issues out of your control, such as fires, natural disasters, or theft. They don’t cover anything that simply breaks down after normal use. That’s where a home warranty enters the picture.

The Bottom Line

It’s always important to look over your home warranty policy in great detail to understand exactly what items in your home will be covered. If you want more coverage for additional items that are not part of your basic policy, you’ll need to pay extra for these to be included. Even if you currently have a home warranty that you’ve been paying for every year, you should still look it over in the event that your coverage changes.

Top Tips For House Hunting Online

Hunting for a new home online is a great place to start your search, but it should not be your end all be all. Good listing agents are excellent at highlighting the best features of the home, but keep in mind there may be more than meets the eye. To make the most of your time and efforts and gather a well-rounded picture of home listings online, keep the following three things in mind.

Stay up to date

When you start your search, make sure you find a site that pulls up-to-date listings directly from the multiple listing service (MLS) where real estate agents actively post their most current homes for sale. Many online resources update less often or fail to remove listings that are off the market, making it more difficult to sort through the clutter.

Pictures can be deceiving

Real estate photographers are experts at showing a home in the best possible light. Many use tools and strategies to boost appeal, such as a fisheye lens to make areas look larger and creative editing to make colors and textures really pop. But, often listings will not contain photos of unappealing parts of the home, like small closets or outdated bathrooms.

See it to believe it

Once you find what appears to be your dream home online, call up your real estate agent and schedule a showing. You want to take the opportunity to vet the home in person and explore every part of it before beginning the offer process. Your real estate agent will help you cover all your bases and will ask questions you may not have thought of.

Finding The Right Mattress

You’ve got more options than ever when mattress shopping these days with no shortage of brick-and-mortar and online-only retailers to choose from. Here are the factors you should consider when you’re shopping for a perfect night’s sleep.

1. Mattress construction: The most popular mattress types are inner spring mattresses, memory foam mattresses, and adjustable air mattresses. Each has pros and cons when it comes to durability and comfort customization.

2. Firmness: Mattress firmness plays a huge role in the quality of your sleep. Mattresses that are too firm or too soft can cause aches and pains, so it‘s recommended that you test a mattress for 10- to 15 minutes in store before making a purchase.

3. Sleeping position: Your mattress should match your sleeping style (side, back, face-down, etc.). You want a mattress that keeps your spine in proper alignment. For example, some mattresses are better for side sleepers, while others are better for back sleepers.

4. Size: It’s not quite as simple as choosing between a king and a queen mattress. You should also consider your height, as some mattresses are a better fit for shorter people while tall people will want a longer mattress so their limbs aren’t hanging over the edge of the bed.

5. Stability: For couples, you should consider how the mattress reacts when one person moves, so the other person’s sleep isn’t disturbed in the middle of the night.

Dispelling Refinancing Myths

“Refinancing” is a scary word for many people, but that shouldn’t be the case for you. For many homeowners, refinancing can not only lower your monthly payments and help with your monthly budget, but it can save you thousands of dollars in the long run.

YOU’RE NOT TOO LATE

For years now, we’ve been hearing that interest rates will be on the rise, and although there have been some small increases, you’re still in a great position to drastically lower your interest rate. The general rule is if your mortgage interest rate is more than one percent above the current market rate, you should consider refinancing.

IT’S NOT TOO TIME CONSUMING

Don’t brush off refinancing just because it seems like a long and daunting process. An informational call with a lender to see how rates compare will only take a few minutes. There are also some programs for streamlining the application process. And besides, isn’t the amount of money you could save worth the time and effort?

ARMS CAN BE REFINANCED, TOO

Seeing your Adjustable Rate Mortgage (ARM) increase after the introductory period can be incredibly stressful and place a squeeze on your budget. Many people assume they’re stuck, but ARMs can be refinanced, just like fixed-rate mortgages. You can even switch to a shorter term fixed-rate mortgage, such as 15 or 23 years. The longer you’re planning to stay in the home, the more sense it makes to look into refinancing.