Home Decorating Ideas for Fall

Now that fall is officially here, it’s time to start thinking about switching up your décor to fit the new season. Check out these ideas for decorating your home this autumn!

Try Out Different Patterns

Beyond the traditional red, orange, and green color palettes, fall is a great time to play around with various patterns. Plaid and tartan are very popular for fall and allow you to use different and often unique color schemes.

Let the Light In

As it starts getting dark earlier, you’ll likely find yourself using additional light sources more often in place of waning natural lighting. Use candlesticks on your dining room table and spread scented candles around your home. String lights are another fun way to add light to any room or outdoor space.

Up Your Cozy Factor

As temperatures begin to drop, many of us start spending less time outside and more time bundling up indoors. Use blankets and pillows as accent pieces in your home. This can be a great way to utilize interesting patterns and colors in an eye-catching yet functional way.

Bring the Outside Indoors

Fall is one of the most visually striking seasons. Bring a piece of the lovely fall foliage inside by displaying leaves, acorns, and pine cones in some way; try creating a wreath or using them in a table spread. Flowers aren’t just for spring and summer; there are some beautiful flowers that bloom in fall. Mums, pansies, marigolds, black-eyed Susans, and asters are just a few of the fall flowers that can enhance the look and feel of your home. When it comes to decorative fall produce, we all know pumpkin is king. While they’re definitely a great option, don’t be afraid to think outside the pumpkin-shaped box and explore other types of produce such as flint corn, corn husks, gourds, and apples. These can be a beautiful addition to your front porch or a table centerpiece.

Go Online for Inspiration

Thanks to the internet, we have seemingly endless information at our disposal. There are so many places online where you can source decorating ideas. Pinterest is a great place to start for visual inspiration but there are countless other sites and blogs you can browse. Check out HGTV’s favorite fall decorating ideas and Country Living’s best fall decorating ideas to turn your home into a seasonal escape.

Have Fun with It

Regardless of whether you stick with traditional fall decorating motifs or try something new, the most important thing is that it makes you feel like the look of your home is elevated and helps you embrace and celebrate the new season. If you have kids—and even if you don’t—you may want to emphasize the “spooky” aspects of fall and things associated with Halloween such as ghosts, witches, mummies, vampires, jack-o-lanterns, and even candy. What matters most about your decorating is that it makes you happy!

If you’re interested in buying a new house or refinancing your current home, contact our experienced loan officers today for more information!

Pet-Proofing Your Home by Room

When a new furry friend enters your life, it doesn’t take long for them to become an important member of the family. Animals, especially young ones, can be very curious and easily get into things they shouldn’t. It’s important that you take steps to protect your pet from hazards in your home and from potential damages caused by your pet. Here are some tips for pet-proofing different areas of your home.

Throughout the Home

In many ways, your pet is a lot like a little kid. Think about the steps you’d take to make your home safe for a child. If there are areas of your home you don’t want your pet to access, consider using a pet or baby gate to restrict where they can go. You may even want to use childproof latches to stop them from using their paws to open cabinets and drawers. Like you would for a child, beware of small items they can easily swallow such as batteries, coins, magnets, buttons, paper clips, and anything with small removable parts. Try keeping electrical wires and cords out of your pet’s reach so they can’t chew through them, or at least try making a habit of unplugging things when they aren’t in use to minimize the risk of electrocution. The tidier you keep your house, the less likely your pet is to get into something they shouldn’t. When it comes to house plants inside and out, do your research; some flowers and plants (including lilies, tulips, and azaleas) are poisonous to animals and can make your pet critically ill. The ASPCA has a list of toxic and non-toxic plants you can review.

Kitchen

Keep your food up high and secured where you pet cannot access it. The ASPCA has a list of food to avoid feeding your pet so you can take extra care securing foods that are more likely to make your pet sick. Beyond the well-known chocolate, these foods include avocados, onions and garlic, grapes and raisins, coffee, nuts, salt, and gum. Even when a food isn’t harmful to your animal, the wrapper or packaging it comes in could be. Watch out for little things like twist ties and can tabs that your pet could easily swallow. For extra safety, you may want to use a gate to keep your pet out while you’re cooking so they don’t get under your feet and they stay away from any hot surfaces or open flames

Laundry Room

Always check to make sure your pet hasn’t gotten into the washer or dryer before loading them. Keep laundry detergent, bleach, and other chemicals up high and out of reach. It’s best to keep your laundry in a basket to minimize the risk of your pet chewing on or even swallowing small articles of clothing such as socks. When swallowed, things like strings and buttons can cause digestive issues.

Bathroom

Keep any and all medications, soaps, cosmetics, and cleaners up and out of your pet’s reach. Make sure your toilet lid is kept closed to stop your pet from drinking from the toilet. Don’t leave your pet alone when there’s water in the tub or shower to prevent drowning.

Living Room

If your pet is particularly rambunctious, you may want to secure your furniture to the wall to avoid potential tip overs which could injure your animal or someone else nearby. If you have children, keep their toys tucked away when not in use so your pet can’t chew on or swallow them, especially small toys. If you’re concerned about your pet damaging upholstery, there are couch and chair protectors you can buy so they can’t scratch or chew your furniture.

Bedrooms

Keep your clothes and shoes out of your pet’s reach so they don’t have an opportunity to chew on them. Be careful what you leave on nightstands if it’s at eye level or within swiping reach of your animal. Make sure your pet isn’t sleeping in any drawers or closets before closing them. If you have a very small or senior pet that sleeps in bed with you, you may want to purchase a ramp or set of steps to help them get into bed easier.

Outdoors

If your pet has access to a pet door, it’s essential that you have a fence or other barrier in place to keep them within your yard. Check your fence for any gaps or holes where your pet might be able to get through. Be careful and follow directions when using pesticides and other chemicals as these can make your pet sick if they come in contact with them; keep your pet inside when working with chemicals outside and store all chemicals up high and away when not in use. After your pet has been outside, especially in tall grass, it’s important you check them for pests such as fleas and ticks.

Are you looking to purchase a new home or refinance your current home? Reach out to one of our loan officers today to get more information!

Tips for Selling Your Home During a Pandemic

The outbreak of COVID-19 has changed the way we do most things, real estate included. While it may not be the most ideal time to sell a home, it’s also not a bad time. Demand for homes is up, and with mortgage rates near all-time lows, many interested buyers are jumping at the chance to find their dream home. Here are some tips for safely selling your home during a pandemic.

Offer Virtual Tours

A virtual tour could consist of anything from a simple live walkthrough with an agent to a full 3D recorded house tour. These in-person walkthrough alternatives allow a potential buyer to really get a feel for what a house is like without physically stepping inside. Ask your realtor for more information about how to set up virtual tours of your home.

Don’t Forget About Staging

Staging is an incredibly important part of the home selling process, but not everyone wants a stager entering their home during this uncertain time. Some professionals are offering virtual staging services where they can seamlessly add décor to images of your home digitally. If virtual staging isn’t for you, consider taking a DIY approach and staging your home for photos or videos yourself. Items such as blankets and throw pillows, mirrors and framed art, plants, and decorative containers can really elevate the look of a room. Check out these helpful DIY room staging tips from HGTV.

Use the Extra Time in Your Home to Transform Your Space

Most of us are spending more time than ever in our homes. Take advantage of this time by tackling some home improvement projects. Transform unused space in your home into a spare bedroom, home office, or gym. Upgrade your backyard to include a patio or garden. Build the fence you’ve always thought would elevate your outdoor space. The possibilities are seemingly endless.

Take Extra Precautions for Face to Face Showings and Meetings

While it’s great to have virtual options, they aren’t always going to be the best choice for you depending on your unique situation. When welcoming people into your home, be sure to sanitize before and especially after. In their Coronavirus guide for Realtors, the National Association of Realtors offers guidance for what to do before, during, and after in-person showings. First and foremost, you should check state and local mandates and executive orders for any specific requirements regarding in-person showings. During the showing, they suggest maintaining social distancing, limiting the number of people who may attend at one time, hand washing and sanitizing as well as removing footwear at the start of the tour, discouraging the touching of any home surfaces such as handles and light switches, and avoiding handshaking. If possible, keep a log including names, dates, and locations for contract tracing purposes should someone contract COVID-19. Following a showing, you’ll want to wipe down all surfaces visitors came in contact with. For more suggestions, check out our tips for disinfecting your home.

If you have questions regarding financing your home now or in the future, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our experienced loan officers.

How to Get Your Home Ready for Renters

Owning a rental property can be a great investment, but do you know how to properly prepare a space for tenants? Check out these tips for getting your home ready for renters.

Give It a Thorough Cleaning

It’s essential that you clean your house prior to renting, ideally when looking for renters but certainly before anyone moves in. This should go beyond your regular cleaning routine and get to things that are easily neglected or put off such as cleaning carpets, changing air filters, and scrubbing baseboards. You can do it yourself or hire a cleaning company; all that matters is that the job gets done well and from top to bottom.

Perform Inspections

This is another task you can do yourself or leave to a professional so long as it’s done correctly and thoroughly. Inspect your home and everything in it to be sure everything functions properly and is move-in ready. Make sure the structure of your home is in good shape; check out all your ceilings, windows, roofing, floors, doors, walls, systems (plumbing, HVAC, electrical, etc.), and other structural components. Keep an eye out for mold, cracks, and water damage. If the rental comes furnished, make sure there aren’t any issues with furniture on top of checking that all of the appliances are working properly. If you uncover any problems, be sure to have them fixed as soon as possible.

Spruce Things Up Inside and Out

Even if everything works fine, you may find there are still improvements to be made. Lay a fresh coat of paint on all your walls, do some landscaping outside, update lighting fixtures, and make other changes to refresh the space. You can even consider upgrading countertops, cabinetry, and appliances. While improvements and renovations can get expensive, they can also increase the amount of rent you can charge as a result.

Make It Safe

A potential renter wants to know they’re living in a safe and secure home. Be sure to change the locks, make sure all smoke detectors are in working order, and equip the kitchen with a full fire extinguisher. If you don’t already have one, consider installing a security system. Installing motion sensor lights outside is an easy way to give your tenants more peace of mind when they walk outside at night.

Check Your Mortgage for Additional Requirements

Depending on your lender and mortgage type, you may be required to notify your mortgage company before renting out your home. These requirements should be listed in your loan contract; consult a loan officer if you have any questions. You may need to follow up with information about the tenant or provide proof of additional insurance if stated in your contract. When in doubt, contact your lender.

If you’re interested in buying a rental property or have questions about renting your mortgaged home, reach out to one of our experienced loan officers to learn more!

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