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Houses today are built larger than ever. In spite of all the extra rooms, homeowners still have one common complaint: not enough storage space.

When house hunting, buyers often name storage space as one of their key concerns. As nest-makers, we often find it difficult to part ways with toys for our kids, exercise machines that are collecting dust, or old appliances that “still work” but no longer worked for us. That leaves homeowners with two options: rent a storage facility or make room.

Taking on an extra monthly bill just to store things that you aren’t using isn’t an idea that sits well with most homeowners who are already inundated with monthly expenses. But how can you create more space in your home than you already have? The answer lies somewhere up near the ceiling.

In this article, we’ll talk about the vertical space in your home and how to take advantage of it without making things appear cluttered.

When and when not to use vertical space

Before we give you vertical storage tips, first let’s talk about where you don’t want to stack the boxes high.

Rooms where you have guest and the places in your home where you spend the most time aren’t the ideal place for vertical storage. The living room, bathrooms, and bedrooms are all places where you need room to breathe. We often recommend light colors, open windows, and mirrors to improve the usage of space in these rooms. However, there are other places in your home that aren’t frequented as often.

“Where am I going to put this thing?”

That’s a questions many of us ask ourselves when we make a new purchase. Let’s start outside the house and work out way in, hitting all of the best areas to store things.

The garage or shed

If you have a shed or garage, odds are there’s a lot of space up toward the ceiling you aren’t using. A good way to take advantage of this is to use shelving and hooks for your tools.

If you’re a cyclist but can’t figure out where to store your bikes during the winter, consider buying hooks so that you can store them up out of the way of the more useful winter items like shovels and snow blowers.

Kitchen storage

Kitchen cabinets can get cluttered easily. Inside your cabinets, try using stacking shelves to make it easier to stack high things like plates and bowls. For frequently used utensils, pots, and pans, and knives, consider installing a hook board on the wall above your counter. This will open up room in your cabinets and make your frequently used kitchen tools more accessible.

Bathroom storage

The bathroom closet can be a scary place. It is often home to countless cleaning objects, dirty laundry, towels, and more.

One great way to open up a lot of space in the bathroom closet is to hang laundry baskets on the interior of the closet door, or to hang mops, sweepers, and vacuums on the interior of the door for easy access.

Now that you know the benefits of vertical storage, think about how you can use it in your home to save space.


If you’re looking to gain some more enjoyment out of your home and your yard, installing a fire pit can be just the way to do that. It’s actually quite simple to install your own fire pit with the right materials and planning. Take a look at the steps we have laid out for you below.




What You’ll Need:


  • A shovel
  • Stones for the wall
  • Concrete
  • Stakes and string
  • Spray paint
  • Fire brick
  • Landscape cloth


Choose Your Location


You’ll need to find a place in your yard that is far away from anything that can catch fire like bushes, sheds, trees, or tall grasses. 


Plan Your Area


You’ll need to plan the area for your fire pit. Be sure that the area you choose has enough space. The fire pit itself requires about a 3 foot area of diameter. The outer wall will have a 5 foot diameter. Then you’ll need a 12 foot diameter circle sectioned off for the seating area around the fire pit itself. You can mark these areas off with string or spray paint. 


Time To Dig


You’ll need to dig the footer for both the inner and outer walls of the fire pit. Dig between the 5 and 3 foot markers down about 5-6 inches into the ground. Then, fill the newly dug out ring with concrete. Ensure that the top is level and smoothed out. Wait for the concrete to set. 


Organize Your Stones


While you’re waiting for your concrete to dry, find your stones and separate these into either cap stones or face stones. The cap stones are used for the top of the wall and the face stones are for the bottom. Cap stones should be flat and smooth. 


Place Your Stones


Follow the outer edge of the ring that has been created. Complete the circle. Then, place a ring of fire brick around the inner ring. Continue this process as follows: an outer layer of stone, an inner layer of fire brick. Make sure that you’re keeping everything level throughout the process. 


Fill In The Cracks


Using scrap stone and mortar, fill in the spaces of your completed wall. Before the wall is capped, you’ll want to make sure that it’s completely solid. 


The Final Step


Now that your wall is solid and filled, you’ll need to place your cap stones. You may need to cut certain stones to be sure that everything fits in place for this part of your project. Once everything fits, mortar the stones into place. 



Set Up Your Seating Area


Dig up the grass inside of the 12 foot circle that you have mapped out. Then, put down some landscape cloth. Fill the area with gravel for safety. 


Enjoy Your Fire Pit


Now, all you need to do is add some comfy seating with some firewood and your fire pit is ready to enjoy! Heed safety recommendations placed by your city or town for a stress-free time using your fire pit. 


A fire pit can be an asset to your home no matter where you live. Cool evenings call for great conversation by the fire anytime!


When you decide that you want to buy a home, you probably hope it will all happen overnight for you. There’s some bad news though. It can take between 6 weeks and 6 months to buy a home! It could take even longer if you face a few roadblocks or inventory happens to be low in your area. There’s so many variables when it comes to getting a place to live that everyone has a different experience during their home buying process. 


A Long Road


Even if you decide to buy a home today, and find a home you love tomorrow, there’s a bit of a “grace” period before you actually get to own the home. There’s many different steps that you’ll need to complete in order to successfully secure a home.  


Pre-Approval


The first step that you need to complete when you want to buy a home is that of getting pre-approved. The lender will look at your debts, income, and credit history in order to get a complete financial snapshot of you. With this information, the lender will be able to tell you just how much house you can afford. This will be given to you in the form of a maximum loan amount. If your loan amount is $300,000, you can’t be shopping for $400,000 homes. The pre-approval process generally only takes a few days, but everyone’s circumstances are different.


Get An Agent


Before you even start on the house search, you’ll need to find a real estate agent who can help you on your home search and knows how to secure the home transaction. Do a little research on agents in your area. You can also ask around amongst your family and fiends to see if they have recommendations. Who you pick for your agent can have an impact on how smooth your home search process and transaction will be. 


Start Searching For A Home


Start your home search online. With today’s technology, online home searches save those shopping for a home a lot of time. By simply looking at details and listing descriptions, you can narrow down the number of homes you‘d like to see in person. The online home search is a way to screen homes and eliminate the ones that you have no interest in. 


It never hurts if you are driving around and see a “for sale” sign. You can take down the address and look it up later. If you’re interested, you can always set up an in-person showing with your realtor.               


How Much Time Should You Expect To Spend? 


When it comes to how long you’ll be searching for a home, you’ll need to be realistic. If you’re only doing casual weekend searches, it could take a bit more time than if you have a bit more flexibility in your schedule. Then, you have the final steps to look forward to which include:


  • Negotiations
  • Mortgage underwriting
  • Escrow
  • Closing


All of these final steps can take varying amounts of time from a few weeks to a few months to complete. Patience and diligence are indeed requirements when it comes to buying a home.


No homeowner wants to borrow more money. However, if you’re experiencing hard financial times or looking for a way to fund a home improvement project, there are ways to borrow money with your home as collateral.

In this article, we’re going to talk about home equity loans and home equity lines of credit (HELOC). We’ll explain how they differ and break down their benefits and risks.

Before the bubble

Before the financial crisis of 2007-2008, many homeowners were borrowing readily based on the equity of their home. Interest rates were low on home equity loans, encouraging homeowners to leverage their portion of homeownership.

During the recession, however, all of that changed. People owed more money on their mortgages than their homes were worth, and banks became reluctant to lend.

In recent, years, however, house prices have been creeping back up, and banks and homeowners alike have gained confidence in the equity of their home.

As a result, a growing number of homeowners are turning back to home equity loans and lines of credit as a source of low-interest financing.

So, what exactly are these loans and credit lines?

The difference between a home equity loan and a line of credit

A home equity loan is a lump sum of money that you borrow which is secured by the value of your home. Typically, home equity loans are borrowed at a fixed rate. Lenders take into consideration the amount of equity you have in your home, your credit history, and your verifiable income.

A home equity line of credit (HELOC) is a bit different. Like a credit card, you are able to borrow money as you need it via a credit card or checks. HELOCs often have variable interest rates, which means even if you’re approved for an initial low rate it could be increased. As a result, HELOCs are better suited for borrowers who can withstand a higher leverage of risk and variation each month.

Is now a good time to borrow?

If you’re a homeowner, there’s an understandable temptation to use the equity you’ve built over the years to your advantage. In some cases, home equity loans and HELOCs can earn you better interest rates than other forms of borrowing.

However, as with other loan types, it’s important for homeowners to realize that HELOCs and home equity loans are not the same as having cash in your savings account.

Another danger that borrowers face is the potential for foreclosure if things go badly. While most lenders won’t seek foreclosure after a few missed payments, your home has been put up as collateral for repaying the loan. Most lenders will choose to sell a defaulted loan to a collections company rather than seek foreclosure.

Ultimately, the best course of action is to avoid borrowing unless it will help you out financially in the long term. However, for those with high home equity who may, for one reason or another, need to borrow, a home equity loan or line of credit might be the best choice.


If you’re buying a home for the first time, you have a lot to learn. There are so many decisions that need to be made and new terms to be understood. While you may have been saving up for a downpayment, you’re most likely going to need t finance the majority of the cost of your home. Knowing how to deal with lenders, real estate agents, and other professionals involved in the process of purchasing a home will make your life that much more straightforward. Read on for some mortgage tips that every first-time home buyer should understand.


Know Your Budget


You may find when you apply for a mortgage that you’re able to finance more than you thought you could. Being able to borrow such a significant amount is where many home buyers get caught in a numbers trap. Although the bank may be willing to loan you a certain amount, you might not actually be able to afford it. While the bank looks at many of your financial numbers, the bank doesn’t know your entire budget. How much you spend on groceries each month or the cost of your monthly phone bill are out of the picture when the mortgage company approves you for a loan. Whatever amount of money you borrow to buy your house will result in a monthly payment amount. If you’re only paying $800 per month in rent but your mortgage payment will be $1400, that will result in a significant budget adjustment. Will you be able to come up with the additional $600 each month to pay the mortgage? You need to look at your entire budget seriously to be safe in your mortgage transaction. 


Plan For Out Of Pocket Expenses


You know that you need to save for a downpayment on the home of your dreams. What you may not know is that there are many other out of pocket expenses that you need to foot the bill for when you buy a home. These costs include:


Inspection

Legal fees

Insurance

Pizza for the people who help you move

Repairs to the home

Utility costs


There are so many expenses that you need to come up with when you buy a home. Don’t merely save enough for your down payment and stop. Make sure you have a financial cushion for emergencies, money to help furnish the house, and more. 


Mind Your Credit


When you buy a new home, it may be tempting to buy new furniture, decor, or other items for your property. Hold off on opening any new credit or making large purchases. While a new car will look great in your new driveway, it won’t look so good on your credit score. Be very mindful of your credit score when you are getting ready to buy a home.