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Updated: Thursday, March 23, 2017


Top 5 New Bathroom Tech to Consider

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Top 5 New Bathroom Tech to Consider

Written byAndrea DavisPosted On Tuesday, 14 March 2017 19:59
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Installing bathroom tech is a great way to take your remodel or addition to the next level. Aside from adding extra comfort, bathroom tech will also improve the efficiency of your home. Heres a look at five high-tech gadgets that will turn your bathroom into the ultra-modern -- and ultra-convenient -- space of your dreams.

1. High-Tech Toilet Fixtures

High-tech toilet fixtures may not sound too exciting, but theyrsquo;re an important part of creating a clean and modern bathroom. Herersquo;s a look at several high-tech fixtures and their benefits:

LED-lighted toilet seats. Seat illumination will allow you to find your toilet at night without turning on lights or walking in the dark.

Temperature-controlled seats. Temperature-controlled seats ensure your toilet is comfortable no matter the temperature inside your home.

Self-cleaning toilets. Self-cleaning toilets eliminate bacteria buildup in and on your toilet. These models also prevent unsightly mineral staining with automated cleaning.

2. Chromotherapy Showers

These showers use color-changing LCD panels to create a restorative bathing experience. This can help you wake up in the morning or >

3. Soaking Tubs

Smaller, more efficient soaking tubs are replacing larger Jacuzzi tubs. Soaking tubs come in unique shapes and offer air-based massage jets. You can purchase soaking tubs in stone, copper and even some man-made materials. Some also employ energy-efficient technology that will help you reduce your utility costs. This is particularly helpful if you have a large family.

4. Waterproof Televisions

Having a TV nearby can make bath time a lot more fun. Waterproof televisions are common in many renovation projects and come in a variety of price points. Some waterproof TVs also have internet connectability. This will allow you to check emails, stream your favorite shows or stay up to date with the news while taking a bath.

5. Refrigerated Cabinets

Refrigerated bathroom cabinets are popular in many renovations. Cooled cabinets will allow you to keep medicine and temperature-sensitive cosmetics close by without having to worry about spoiling. You can also use refrigerated cabinets to keep beverages and snacks cool. Temperature-controlled cabinets are >

Conclusion

Heated toilet seats, soaking tubs, chromotherapy showers and refrigerated cabinets can add value and comfort to your home. For many homeowners, thats worth more than the additional cost.

Andrea Davis is the editor for HomeAdvisor, which helps homeowners find home improvement professionals in their area at no charge to ensure the best service in the shortest amount of time.


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13 Versatile Furniture Pieces That Grow With You

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13 Versatile Furniture Pieces That Grow With You

Written byLaura Gaskill, HouzzPosted On Tuesday, 14 March 2017 20:06
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Whether you have just signed the lease on your first apartment, or you are working on replacing your college apartment furniture with higher-quality stuff, it helps to have a long-term strategy for furnishing your place.

You may not always have a huge bedroom, or that odd little window nook to fill, so avoid buying things just to fill a temporary space perfectly. If you do, make it a budget find. But even when your living arrangements are in flux, you can slowly build an arsenal of key pieces that will work anywhere. For these foundation pieces, its worth it to save for the highest quality you can afford. In the long run, you will save money, because you will have to buy only once, instead of making serial purchases of lower-quality furniture that falls apart after only a year or two.

All of the 13 pieces described here are small in scale, so they are highly portable and versatile - plus, they are design >

1. A ceramic garden stool. These glossy little gems can act as a side table, an extra seat, a nightstand or a spot to hide folded towels in the bathroom. Of course, they are also perfectly at home on the patio or in the garden mdash; youll never be sorry you have one.

Photo by Living Gardens Landscape Design - Look for contemporary patio pictures

2. A potted tree. Purchasing a fiddleleaf fig shown here or another potted tree as a baby is inexpensive, and if well cared for, it will last for many years. Be sure to ask for detailed care instructions when you purchase your plant, and place it in a spot with adequate light when you get home.

Photo by - Look for traditional family room pictures

3. A pair of chairs with a good shape. As long as they dont have overstuffed rolled arms, a pair of armchairs will work well even in a small apartment, and they make a room look more finished than a single chair or two mismatched chairs would.

4. >

Photo by - Search traditional dining room design ideas

What to look for: Look for a recognizable >

5. A shapely love seat. Love seats and settees are some of my favorite pieces of furniture, because you can use one just about anywhere and it will look fantastic. In a small living room, it can take the place of a regular sofa; in a large living room, it can supplement a bigger couch. You could also place one at the foot of your bed; in a spacious entryway, guest room or study; or even at the dining table.

Photo by - Search traditional living room design ideas

What to look for: The most versatile love seats are neutral in color and have a tight back, slender arms and either a single loose seat cushion or a tight seat.

6. An interesting chair. Its common to find single chairs at antiques shops and flea markets, and they generally come at a lower price than those in a set. Scoop up one with a lovely shape and use it as an occasional chair anywhere in your home.

Photo by Kerrisdale Design Inc - Look for contemporary home design pictures

7. A patterned rug. A small patterned rug can be all you need in a small living room, and later it can be layered atop a larger natural-fiber rug to fill a big space.

Photo by MH Architects - Browse eclectic family room ideas

What to look for: Choose the highest quality you can afford, and think timeless, not trendy. Vintage kilims and Oriental rugs are foolproof, but new designs can be just as worthy mdash; Angela Adams and Madeline Weinrib design modern >

8. A leather pouf. The Moroccan->

Photo by Platform - More eclectic living room ideas

What to look for: Natural leather and white are the most >

9. A decorative tray. A decorator essential with good reason, a great tray can be used to make just about anything into an attractive vignette. Use one to corral books topped with sculptural objects, collect mail by the front door or as a bar area. Or place one atop an ottoman to make it function as a coffee table.

Photo by Martha OHara Interiors - More traditional family room ideas

What to look for: Rectangular, square or round; woven, lacquered or fabric wrapped ... the options are limitless. Choose a tray that meshes with your design >

10. Pretty textiles. Suzanis, Moroccan wedding quilts, kantha quilts and vintage linens are all worth snapping up, because you can always find a use for them. Draped over a sofa, chair or bed, or even hung on the wall, textiles are a quick and easy way to give a space a lift. Plus, they take up hardly any space, so you can easily fold and store the ones you are not currently using.

Photo by Platform - Search contemporary bedroom design ideas

11. A chest of drawers. A small dresser can do much more than hold clothes - it can also work as a capacious bedside table, an entryway organizer, a dining room buffet or extra storage in the living room.

Photo by Kerrisdale Design Inc - Look for contemporary home design design inspiration

What to look for: Seek a solid wood version for the most longevity. Vintage furniture stores can be a great place to find a high-quality piece for less than you would spend on something of similar quality new.

12. A beautiful mirror. Propped on your dresser, it can help you get ready in the morning. But a lovely mirror will always find a place in your home mdash; from the entry to the bathroom, theres not a room in the house that couldnt use one.

Photo by Alan Design Studio - Look for traditional powder room design inspiration

13. Cafeacute; table and chairs. In a studio apartment, a cafeacute; table can serve as your dining table. Later on you can still use it in a breakfast nook or move it into the garden.

Photo by Kate Michels Landscape Design - Search traditional deck pictures

Tell us: What piece of furniture have you had the longest“ Is there anything you let go of and wished you hadnt“

  • Search for a Love Seat in Any Size, Shape or >
  • Make a >
  • Quilt, Duvet, Comforter or Coverlet: Which One Is Right for Your Home“


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Tips For Moving Into Your New Home

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Tips For Moving Into Your New Home

Written byRealty Times StaffPosted On Thursday, 16 March 2017 00:00
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Congratulations, youve bought your home and its move-in time. Wait Before you move in, read on to get some practical and important tips.

Change the locks. Youve closed escrow and the keys to your new home are yours.

The first thing you should do is change the locks. Its hard to say who may have access to your home. Anyone from real estate agents to the sellers or maintenance people: all could still have a set of keys to your home. Be safe and change the locks first thing.

If the home doesnt have deadbolts on the doors, install them. If the door has glass on it, be sure you install a deadbolt that uses a key to unlock from both sides.

If someone is breaking into your house and there is glass on the door, it can be shattered and the intruder can just reach through the broken glass and turn the deadbolt. Instead use a key deadbolt and keep an extra key near the door but out of reach and out of sight from the outside.

Create an inventory of your belongings. Dont risk losing something that means a lot to you. Take an inventory of all your belongings. Its best if you can pack your items in clearly labeled and numbered boxes that are marked for particular rooms, such as kitchen or bathroom supplies.

Using an inventory sheet to detail what each box contains will make it so much easier to unpack and remember where things are. You may need to find something quickly before youre fully unpacked. If youre using movers or friends and family to help, the inventory sheet will also help you keep track of your stuff and make sure that it all ends up in your new home. You can find moving inventory sheets on the Web.

Repair and paint while the home is empty. Its a no-brainer but sometimes goes overlooked. If you have to make major repairs, try to do them before you move in. Its easier to take care of major maintenance or messy repair jobs when the home is empty.

So, give your new home a good look and mark down the maintenance needs, then try to plan your move-in dates for after the work is completed. Even if the work is being done in an enti>

Whole-House cleaning. Its maybe the only time youll have this opportunity. Give the entire house a good top-to-bottom cleaning. Its a great way to start a new life in a fresh, clean home. Plus its a lot easier to clean everything when nothing is inside to be moved around.

This is a good time to make sure things like smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are all functioning properly. Change the batteries on them so that you can track the need for new batteries with the anniversary of the home purchase.

Thinking ahead and taking a few extra steps will save you time and energy. It will simplify the move-in process and make your home a safe place to get good sleep on your first night.


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Seven Ways To Reinvent Your Bathroom With Nothing More Than a Trip To a Big Box Store

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Seven Ways To Reinvent Your Bathroom With Nothing More Than a Trip To a Big Box Store

Written byJaymi NaciriPosted On Sunday, 19 March 2017 13:44
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homedepot.com

Renovating a bathroom may seem like a huge undertaking, and, in many cases, it is. But you dont have to take the room down to the studs to get a fresh, new look. A new vanity may be all you need to reinvent and reinvigorate the space. And you dont have to travel far to find one. Lowes and Home Depot have so many options, the hardest part will probably be choosing only one or, maybe youll be so inspired, youll redo a couple of bathrooms.

Before you go, be sure to measure your space and your existing vanity so you know what to look for - and what not to. Then, its just a matter of figuring out your priorities and which >

Modern

The 72" Amare double vanity with integrated sink brings some modern panache to your bathroom. The grey oak and floating cabinetry are both on trend - if youre looking for a super modern look and one that can help a bathroom feel airy, a floating vanity is a great way to go. This vanity also coordinates with the Amare linen storage cabinet, and the collection also comes in espresso if youre looking for a more >

White

White cabinetry is clean, crisp, and >


lowes.com

Antique

Blah bathroom not expressing your >


lowes.com

Beachy

You may not live on the coast, or even in a Cape Cod home, but that doesnt mean you cant bring that cottage->


homedepot.com

Luxe

Looking for a super high-end look for your bathroom“ The Fresca Torino 108-inch double vanity in white with glass stone vanity top is just one of the luxury vanities price: 3,000 you can find that will take your bathroom to the next level.


homedepot.com

Budget

On the other end of the spectrum are the budget vanity options. Remember to check the quality carefully when looking. A super budget vanity may not give you great longevity or be appropriate in a space that gets a ton of use or that is used by children. But, if you just want a quick and cheap refresh, you can get a vanity like the Project Source White 24.5-inch single sink bathroom vanity with cultured marble top for under 100.


lowes.com

Guest bath

Your guest bath can be stylish and provide function, even if you have minimal space to work with. The Ashland 36.5-inch vanity in chocolate is modern and >


homedepot.com

Have even less space than that“ Try the allen roth Moravia Sable bathroom vanity, which measures only 23.5-inches wide and has a generous cabinet for storage.


lowes.com


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Tired Of White Everything In Your House? Paint It Black

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Tired Of White Everything In Your House“ Paint It Black

Written byJaymi NaciriPosted On Sunday, 19 March 2017 13:48
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hookedonhouses.net

White is crisp and cool. But if its all starting to feel a little clinical, you might be ready for a change. Bring some drama and sophistication to your space, not to mention a chic counterpoint to all that white, with the unexpected addition of black. Afraid to take that plunge into the deep, dark abyss“ Its easier than you think.

Black walls in an entry hall“ All that glass, an eye-popping floor and ceiling, and glam details make this foyer a showstopper.


elledecor.com

The black floors and fireplace in actress Cameron Diazs Manhattan apartment look sleek, especially with the light tones in the rest of the space, and the mirrored fireplace wall, which bounces light around the room.

Who would have thought black walls in the bedroom would be so chic“ Keep the other furnishings light and finish it off with a sparkly chandelier for maximum glam.


christinedovey.com

You dont have to cover almost every inch of your black walls with art... but it sure looks cool if you do.


pinterest.com

You also dont have to paint every wall black. Look at how the black feature wall in this New York living room designed by Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent helps center the eye on the view out the dual windows. A stellar black coffee table and duo of chairs continue the color play.


domino.com

Soapstone is a great way to introduce the color into your kitchen because its a softer black that has some white veining.


rswstone.com

But if you really want to make a statement in the kitchen, deck it out in black from the cabinets to the integrated appliances to the countertops to the beams above. Keeping the island counter white gives you all the contrast you need for an exceptional space.


homedit.com

Talk about glamour. If youre thinking about black in the bathroom, take a cue from this chic space. Black, large-format subway tile and a black countertop work when you weave in some shiny chrome and the big window streaming light into the space doesnt hurt.


pinterest.com

If you dont want to make such a large or semi- permanent change, think about transforming a piece of furniture. A tired dresser gets a whole new life with a coat of black paint. This piece started out pretty ragged and outdated in light and mid-tone brown.


hometalk.com


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Can Canada Tax Its Way Out Of High House Prices?

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Can Canada Tax Its Way Out Of High House Prices“

Written byJim AdairPosted On Monday, 20 March 2017 15:57
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Everyone wants to do something about high house prices in the greater Vancouver and Toronto regions, but few can agree on what that "something" should be.

In Toronto, is it a matter of too much demand for housing, or too little supply“

"The population of the GTA has grown significantly in the past decade, but housing supply has dropped," says Bryan Tuckey, president and CEO of the Building Industry and Land Development Association. "Today in the GTA there are fewer than half the number of new homes available to purchase than there were a decade ago. In December 2006 there were 30,400 new homes in builders inventories, while in December 2016 there were just 13,670. Ten years ago, more than half of the available new homes were low-rise homes. Today less that one in seven is."

On the resale market, the Toronto Real Estate Board TREB says the inventory of listings for sale is at a "more than 15-year low". It says TREBs average months of inventory trend for February was at one month, "while in many neighbourhoods across the GTA, inventory can now by measured in weeks rather than months."

TREB president Larry Cerqua says, "The provincial government should work with municipalities and industry stakeholders to look at ways in which the supply of housing could be increased, including potentially revisiting land use development in built-up areas to allow for a broader array of home types to be built, streamlining the development approvals process and examining ways to incentivize land owners to develop."

But not everyone agrees that lack of supply is the problem.

"The supply constraints and the rate of immigration in Torontos real estate market explains why house prices have been going up five to 10 per cent per year for nearly 15 years. But these factors do not explain why house prices started rising by 25 per cent to 30 per cent year-over-year last year," says John Pasalis, president and broker of Realosophy Realty in Toronto. "The 30 per cent price increase in detached house prices we are seeing is the result of a rapid increase in the number of speculators buying houses in the GTA -- both domestic and foreign.

"By speculators, I mean people buying single family homes as investments, but not for the rental income, for the 20 to 30 per cent appreciation they expect to earn as prices continue to rise."

Pasalis is among a growing group of people who are calling on the provincial government to introduce a foreign buyer tax, similar to the 15 per cent tax implemented last August in the Metro Vancouver area.

A paper >TREBs Cerqua begs to differ. He says, "Concerns about the effect of foreign buyers on the GTA market are widely overblown." He cites a survey of TREB members that found foreign buyers were involved in 4.9 just per cent of transactions. Other surveys by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. and by research firm Urbanation support TREBs findings.

But Josh Gordon, author of the Ryerson report, says that in both Vancouver and Toronto, expectations that foreign capital will keep pushing up prices prompts "many domestic buyers, both speculative and otherwiseto jump into the market, even at very high prices. This has meant that rising foreign demand has been placed on top of, and fostered domestic speculative demand and first-time buyer panicked demand so-called FOMO, or "fear of missing out" demand. In combination, this has created scorching demand conditions that disconnect prices from local fundamentals."

In Vancouver, the introduction of the foreign buyer tax pushed down sales volumes for detached homes by 54 per cent compared to last year. Attached unit sales are down by 40 per cent. But prices are still at or near all-time highs.

Gordon says that a foreign buyer tax will not be enough to cool prices in the Toronto market either, so in both cities he is advocating the introduction of a "progressive property surtax that can be offset by income taxes paid." It would be levied annually on properties above a certain threshold in value. In his example, a house worth 2 million might have an annual surtax of 14,000.

"The surtax is designed to hit those who own expensive property based on foreign income or wealth, and/or those who have aggressively evaded taxes," Gordon says. "Recent immigrants who arrived in Toronto with wealth but who participated in the local economy and paid taxes would be effectively exempt from the surtax."

Other taxing ideas are being floated in Vancouver, including the suggestion to implement a capital gains tax on the sale of residential property, like that in the U.S.

Meanwhile, the Canadian Press reports that a proposed


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Building a Wall Around The Homeowners Association

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Building a Wall Around The Homeowner039;s Association

Written byBenny L. KassPosted On Monday, 20 March 2017 15:59
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"Lets build a great big wall around our property", the board president told the directors of his community association. "We have too many cars taking shortcuts through our streets to get to the main highway," he pointed out. "And we have no security at night, I often see strangers wandering over our grounds. Furthermore, our neighbors down the street have a gated community, so why not ours", he added.

"Can we do this", asked one of the directors. "I agree its needed, but it will cost a lot of money. Dont we need the approval of those who voted us into office", he asked.

That is the 64,000 question: what can a board of directors in a community association do on their own and when do they need the advice and consent of the membership“

The technical, legal answer will always be found in the associations legal documents, usually in their Bylaws. In general, there are two different provisions: one is called "Maintenance and Repair" and the other is "Additions, Alterations or Improvements".

For the first, the board generally has full authority to "maintain, repair and replace" the common areas of the property regardless of cost, although in a very few associations there is a dollar cap, above which the board needs the approval of a majority of the owners.

Additions, alterations or improvements, however, usually impose a financial limit on the boards authority, and the members must approve any work over that dollar cap.

Thats the "technical and legal" definition. The problem is determining what is "maintenance" and what is an "improvement". Take this real life example: a cooperative association here in the District of Columbia had a very old phone system, where an operator answered all incoming phone calls and then literally "plugged" the caller into the appropriate apartments house phone. Some of us older folks may remember Judy Holliday as Ella Peterson, telephone operator, in "Bells are Ringing".

After many years the cooperatives phone system failed. The board arranged to pay and install a totally different system. They based their decision on "maintenance and repair" and did not seek members approval. A member filed suit, claiming this was an improvement which needed the vote of a majority of owners. The DC Superior Court upheld the boards decision. According to the Court, while the new system clearly was an "improvement", since it was impossible to replace the old one, this was, in effect, me>In an 1999 Ohio case, the court provided an interesting definition: "an alteration orimprovement involves the change of things from one form or state to another, where maintenance contemplates the restoration of a thing to its original condition."

Unfortunately, the court cases are inconsistent. I have read cases with identical facts in which one judge called it an improvement and another said it was maintenance. Even the Internal Revenue Service has struggled with these definitions, but you can get guidance from Publication 523, "Selling Your Home" free online from irs.gov. According to the IRS, you cannot claim anything as an improvement if, when installed, it has a life expectancy of less than one year.

In addition to determining whether the board needs membership approval, there is yet another reason why it is important to determine in which category the work falls: if it is an improvement, association owners may be able to claim their percentage ownership interest in the amount for income tax purposes.

If you bought your condo unit many years ago, it may have increased significantly. Your association has spent a considerable amount of money improving the property. They have added a new roof or roofs, installed a swimming pool, and made other similar improvements.

In your community association, you own a percentage interest of that association. Let us assume the association spent 300,000 in improvements from the time you bought the property, and that your percentage interest is 1.5. If you multiple your interest times the total improvements, you get 4,500, and this amount could be added to your basis as "improvements." Confirm this with your own tax advisors.

It is surprising to me that many community association owners are not aware of this tax benefit. This is especially helpful for the elderly owner who is selling his or her last property, and does not want to have to pay a lot of tax on the gain that was made. Remember, if the gain is over 500,000 if you file a joint tax return or 250,000 for single filers, you have to pay capital gains tax on the overage.

In most community associations, the records should be available as to the total expenditure for improvements on a year to year basis. Please understand that maintenance and repair items are not added to basis, but capital improvements -- generally items which have a useful life of one year or more -- are indeed legitimate items to be added to basis.

Incidentally, the great wall will be an addition, alteration and improvement, requiring membership approval. Why“ You did not have a wall before and now you do.


Full Story >


Ask the HOA Expert: The Meeting Agenda

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Ask the HOA Expert: The Meeting Agenda

Written byRichard ThompsonPosted On Tuesday, 21 March 2017 18:29
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Question: How does the board choreograph a meeting if not allowed to meet privately in advance“ We have always scheduled work sessions every other month prior to the open board meetings. Some members are calling us on it. Some board members have said they will resign if they have to face a room full of homeowners every month.

Answer: The choreography of a meeting is called a "Meeting Agenda". The board is always allowed to formulated an agenda ahead of the meeting. The board is not permitted to discuss or make decisions concerning the agenda item content outside the meeting venue. An agenda can be discussed and approved by email, phone, face to face or any other means.

Question: Whats the best procedure for filing a rule violation complaint with the HOA“ We are getting bombarded with verbal complaints.

Answer: It depends on what the nature of the complaint is. If it is a noise issue, the affected resident should first be required to address the issue in person with the offender unless there is a threat of violence keeping a record of the issue, date, time and what the response was. If it happens again within a short period of time, say, one week, an email or letter should be directed to the board/manager with the details for further action.

If the issue involves something like parking, roaming pets, an email or letter should be directed to the board/manager with the specific details.

Do not take complaints verbally either in person or over the phone. Theyre too easy to pull off. Require it be put in written form with all the details. It will generally reduce the number of complaints and put the issue in the complainers own words to eliminate misunderstanding.

Question: Our HOA sent out notices for our Annual Meeting by both regular mail and email. Our president prepared and sent the email notice and proxy without approval from the board. In the email notice, the president wrote that responding "Yes, a board member" was enough to assign their proxy to a board member. Is that allowed“

Answer: Transacting HOA meeting business by email may or may not be allowed by your governing documents or state statutes. Even if it is, a proxy needs to be in writing and carry the members signature to avoid fraud. The board or president has no authority to make up new standards for how proxies are handled.

Question: We divide our expenses equally, however, the master insurance policy premium is being allocated according to unit square footage which varies. Is that okay“

Answer: Unless the governing documents specifically permit a square footage allocation of insurance premiums, they should be allocated the same way as other expenses. Another common error occurs where, for example, the annual budget is allocated according to a square footage formula and a special assessment is assessed equally. Regardless of the type of assessment, the same allocation formula should be used. The board has no authority to change how expenses are allocated.

For more innovative homeowner association management strategies, see www.Regenesis.net


Full Story >


Making Your Down Payment With Gift Money

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Making Your Down Payment With Gift Money

Written byRealty Times StaffPosted On Wednesday, 22 March 2017 20:14
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To take advantage of low interest rates while home prices climb higher and higher, some homebuyers need help accumulating enough money for a down-payment. To satisfy secondary market loan package purchasers such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and insurers like the Federal Housing Authority, lenders have strict rules about where down-payment money originates.

Lenders prefer that borrowers supply their own down-payment funds. It shows they have "skin in the game" and that they are good with money and can meet their financial goals. However, many homebuyers are turning to their parents, grandparents and other family or friends for help.

Research in from loanDepot LLC, found that more parents are planning on helping their Millennial-age kids buy homes. In the last five years, 13 percent of parents pitched in with down payments, covering closing costs, or co-signing the loan but lenders anticipate that fully 17 percent of parents will help their kids.

Because gifts are a gray area, lenders are requiring more documentation for down payment monies. For example, a parent may provide a few thousand dollars to an adult child to use as a down payment -- but is the money a gift or a loan“ Lenders may require borrowers and gift-givers to provide a certified down-payment gift letter or to sign an affidavit.

Such affidavits must include:

  • The amount of the gift, accompanied by a corresponding cashiers check
  • The name and address of the gift-giver and >
  • The purpose of the gift -- to be used only as a down payment on the subject property, complete with the propertys address
  • A statement confirming that the gift is not a loan, and does not need to be repaid
  • Signatures of the borrower and the gift-giver

Because lenders require a paper trail, allowing parents to simply transfer money into the borrowers account to mix with the borrowers funds is discouraged. First, a large deposit raises the borrowers income and alters the bank statements, possibly allowing a borrower to qualify for a home that in reality is too expensive. And dont think underwriters wont find it. One of the first things they do is examine your bank accounts.

If you want to get a conventional loan, Quicken Loans advises the following:

  • If you put down 20 or more, it can all be from a gift.
  • If you put down less than 20, part of the money can be a gift; how much varies by loan type.
  • You can only use gift money on primary residences and second homes.

For FHA and VA loans, all of your down payment can be gift money. If your credit score is between 580 and 619, at least 3.5 of your down payment must be your own money. You can only use gift money on primary residences.

If youre planning to use gift money as part or all of your down payment, ask your lender how to meet the appropriate requirements.


Full Story >


Why Millennial Buyers Are Swiping Left On Your Home

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Why Millennial Buyers Are Swiping Left On Your Home

Written byJaymi NaciriPosted On Wednesday, 22 March 2017 20:16
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They want it fast, they want it easy, and it better be perfect. That pretty much sums up the typical millennial homebuyer today. So, if thats your target and your house isnt pristine, theyre going to move on to one that is. So how do you make your home swipeable“ Its easy, really.

Clean it up

"Whether or not we admit it, weve all seen at least a few of the home reality shows on channels such as TLC and HGTV. Those shows can be fun and informative, but they also do a lot to shape buyer expectations," said Bankrate.

That means millennial buyers - maybe more than any other demographic since they grew up in the age of House Hunters and flipping show marathons - will be expecting a house to be spic-n-span and well-staged. Award-winning home stager Torinbsp;Toth, author of the best-selling book,nbsp;FEEL AT HOME: Homenbsp;Stagingnbsp;Secrets for a Quick and Easy Sell, has some ideas that can be easily implemented to help a home sparkle, including staging your kitchen or your bathroom for under 1,000.

Consider the color

Are the walls of your home beige, gold, or something else in the Mediterranean family“ Go gray, instead. As weve seen countless times, most buyers have little vision when it comes to overlooking design issues, and may get hung up on something like a paint color, which keeps them from being able to really see the home. An outdated color may also give them the impression that the rest of the house is outdated.

"The new grays that have gained wide appeal have become a standard base for the millennial palette, along with more whitewashed gray variations, other soft neutrals and cooler whites influenced by Scandinavian deacute;cor," said the Chicago Tribune.

Dont be afraid to throw some modern wallpaper up in a space that needs a pop. It can make the buyer feel like time, effort, and care was taken to make the home stand out.

Focus on kitchens and baths

Weve been told for decades that kitchens and baths sell homes, and those spaces are top of mind for millennial buyers, too. But, while they may have ideas about what theyd like these spaces to look like, they may not have the patience, or the funds, to pay for them to be redone.

"The primary reason younger buyers seek updated kitchens and baths is because they have limited budgets," Jack Curtis, a Keller Williams real estate agent in Dublin, Ohio, told Bankrate. "Most of their savings will go toward the down payment and furnishings. Kitchens and bathrooms are also the most expensive parts of a home to update, and young homeowners cannot afford to sink a lot of money into those areas."

If youre going for a big renovation in the kitchen, taking down walls to open it up to the living space will reap rewards. Think: A large island with seating, stainless steel appliances, quartz countertops, and new fixtures, "which are especially important for todays young, budget-conscious buyers," said Curtis.


Decorpad

Go for luxury-ish

When considering options and materials, muse on this: "Anbsp;Monitoring the Futurenbsp;study by the University of Michigan showed a dramatic increase resulting in 75 of millennials noting that wealth was a very important life attribute," said Freshome. "Since millennials seem to value money and success, it only seems natural for them to flock to high-tech jobs that lead to wealth and success. nbsp;This life>

The takeaway is that millennials want a space to look rich. But that doesnt mean it has to put you in the poorhouse. Decluttering the space is one of the top tips of home stagers, and this will help create a minimalistic appearance that helps communicate luxury. A few inexpensive, high-end-looking details - a faux fur pillow on the couch, a gilded accessory, a marble-topped side table you pick up at Home Goods for 50 - can take it a step further:

Incorporate easy-care materials

Millennials may want the look of luxury, but they may not want the upkeep. "Most millennials want a turnkey home that needs little or no work. They spend long hours on the job and have many interests, and prefer materials and that require minimal care," said Mary Cook of national, award-winning commercial interior design firm Mary Cook Associates. "That means wood or tile floors, easy-care countertops and gas fireplaces. New products that reflect this are ever-more-functional engineered stones and tiles that mimic more luxurious surfaces, from marble to exotic wood. The model home interiors we create embrace furnishings that reflect these preferences."

Fashion a home office

Have an extra room thats serving as a guest space or a catch-all“ Pick up an inexpensive desk, position the guest chair in front, and now you have a home office. Today, millennials might reject your home altogether and fail to even come for a tour if they dont have a place to work from home. The words "home office" have to be in your listing.

Upgrade your tech

"One defining characteristic of the Millennial generation is that they grew up with technology," said Better Homes and Gardens.nbsp;"Many were lsquo;plugged in from the day they were born. To these individuals, technology is not just a luxury, but its a necessity. Your home needs to be technologically friendly in order to appeal to these buyers."

Making a few easy changes to add tech features to your home could go a long way toward making it irresistible to a millennial buyer. "Install a simple home automation system like a programmable thermostat that can be linked to your smart phone," they said.


Forbes

Dont ignore the curb appeal

Making sure your home looks good from the street is universally important. But dont forget about the backyard. An annual Better Homes and Gardens survey monitoring "attitude and behavior trends of homeowners in the U.S." took a look at millennials and found that "more than three-quarters 77 say they want their outdoor living space to feel like a >

Take good pictures

Millennials are visual people. You only need to return to the Tinder analogy to understand that. Its more important than ever to make sure the pictures of the home are stellar. A baby boomer or Gen-Xer may be able to look past photos to come see a home that matches their needs. You may not have the same shot with a millennial.

Think carefully about how you promote the location

How far is the local Trader Joes Whole Foods, and Target“ Is there a popular shopping area or group of restaurants nearby“ Walkability is key for many millennials. Playing up these details in the home listing and marketing materials can go a long way toward attracting this target.

Play up energy efficiency

"With energy costs on the rise and growing interest in protecting the environment, young buyers are conscious of buying homes that are green," said Bankrate.

While many energy-efficient items may not necessarily be seen by the naked eye, expect millennials to "ask about the sustainability of your building materials and practices," said Pacesetter Homes. "They are committed to eco-friendly, energy-efficient homes - with ENERGY STAR appliances, programmable lighting and thermostats, and other high-tech, low-carbon-footprint amenities. Not only can they spell lsquo;LEED, but they want this building certification."

Got a fixer-upper“ Market it that way

Millennials may be turned off by a junky or outdated home masquerading as move-in ready, but if you have a true fixer-upper thats being sold as is, well, Hello challenge A millennial might be turned on by the idea of having a project, especially if they think theyre getting a deal.


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Updated: Thursday, March 23, 2017

Ask the HOA Expert: The Meetin...
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