If apple picking is a fall tradition for you, here are some options for a day trip or to include in your itinerary for your weekend about to Lake Geneva or Harbor Country. Predictions are that early October will make for good Fall Foliage road trips. [Read more…]
Written by Jessica Ashley
Just like fresh notebooks with untouched pages, brand new sneakers and a crisp breeze that blows across an otherwise smoldering hot day at Foster beach, pumpkin spice drinks are one of the first signs that autumn is on its way.
Whether you’re a fan of the spicy-squashy $6 coffee drinks or lotions or scones, or you’re not so keen on sipping it or slathering it on your body, you can still celebrate this autumnal trend right in your own home.
We’ve harvested a few favorite ways to bring pops of pumpkin spice into your living space so you can enjoy just enough of it all season (or year) long.
Something to Stare At Longingly While Leaves Fall Outside
If you can’t have a cup of joe permanently attached to your hand, you may as well have art that’s an homage to your love of pumpkin spice coffee. Replace your summer landscapes with art that speaks right to your warmed-up and whipped-cream-topped heart. And while your seasonal latte might not be on the menu year-round, you can always opt to keep your art up until you’re able to order it again.
This pop art print, Woman Holding a Huge Cup of Coffee, is available exclusively on Art.com, and is also available framed or laminated. $14.99 and up.
Something Cheeky for Your Kitchen
Remind your loved ones that you really do adore them more than your morning fix while adding a pop of pumpkin-y orange to the place where you all gather at the beginning and end of each day. Go for even more color pow by pairing these tea towels with complimentary dish towels, scrub cloths and luxe table linens.
These sweet and spicy tea towels are available at Anthropologie (both online and in-store). $16.
Someplace to Rule the Roost
Pick your favorite flavor in a solid, craftsman customizable chair that’s just the place you need to be to oversee the year’s end. Choose a scrumptious blood orange or soothing lighter shade to spice up your living space, office or wherever your command central is located. Inspired by Danish design, pieces like this are both art and furniture and add tang to go-to neutral tone decor.
The Soto chair by Joybird pictured here in Key Largo Coral and Cordova Amber, is a best seller at District furniture boutique on the North Side of the city. Play with all your customizing options online at Joybird or visit District to ease into their furniture in person. $799 and up.
Something to Show Style on Your Shelves and Tables
If you’re not into design clichés or all-too-obvious decor that screams PUMPKIN, PEOPLE!, choose stealthy style to go alongside your first-edition book collection or after-dinner coffee service. If you need a bit more function from your nearly-hidden autumnal touches, opt for a bowl where you can eventually stash Halloween treats, your keys or gift cards to the local coffee shop.
Balloon glass vases available individually and in sets in limited quantities on Wayfair. $60 and up.
Something to Add Color to Your Blah Couch
That lovely worn leather or soft beige microfiber couch is the perfect space to create a canvas of color. Spend a few dollars on slipcovers for the throw pillows you have, or splurge on some with saturated colors, rich textiles and the same ahhh comfort in the first sip of coffee each day. Throw in a fuzzy, cream-colored pillow if you’re the kind who confidently says ‘yes’ to adding an extra dollop to your morning cup.
Find your perfect pop of pillow color in big-box retailers or exclusive online gift boutiques. Here, the orange leaf applique pillow is available at Target, the leather clutch pillow is at Pfeifer Studio, and the stand-out shag puff and embroidered fleur-de-lys pillows are at Anthropologie. $29 to $179.
Someplace to Pull On Your Leather Boots
Aside from the practicality of needing a place to lace up your cool-weather gear or stretch out while you binge-watch Ozark, an ottoman can be used in many other ways throughout the year – night stand, dry-cleaning pile holder, place to rest your belongings in the front hall. With all this purpose, doesn’t this lovely workhorse deserve to come in a sumptuous autumnal color?
If you’re ready for a statement, stretch out on this mid-century tufted ottoman bench on Houzz. The nail-head detail upholstered ottoman by Safavieh is so affordable, you may want to buy a pair, here on Amazon. Find this cozy knitted tawny-colored pouf at your local CB2. $79 – $129.
Something that Says Your Holiday Game is Strong
A wreath welcomes guests – and you, into a sanctuary of delight after a long day of spreadsheets and not nearly enough caffeine. Choose a door or centerpiece wreath crafted from fresh flowers, dried fruits and plants. Or DIY your own (and spray lovingly with the essential oils below) or invest in a lush artificial wreath you can hang year after year.
Something to Serve Up Your Own Brew
For decor or for sharing whatever you’ve just simmered, stirred, baked or brought home from the deli, add a vibrant serving tray, set of monogrammed glasses, dishware or a sweet little singing kettle to your entertainment wares. From your favorite mulled recipe to pumpkin spice martinis, or holiday hand-pies and generous slices of smoked ham – it will all taste better when served on something gorgeously orange.
The sleek and useful Zuma orange lacquer tray and ombre demi kettle by Le Creuset are both at Crate & Barrel. Monogrammed acrylic wine glasses for raucous parties, outdoor excursions or just the convenience of the dishwasher are available on Mark & Graham. Find the watercolor harvest pumpkin plate set at Pottery Barn. $29.95 – $79.
Something That’s Cheap, Scrumptious and Calorie-Free
Maybe you don’t have the budget or patience or time to decorate your home with fall touches. No judgment. You can still fill your home with as much pumpkin-inspired pampering as you like with essential oils. Add a few drops to your bubble bath, mix into coconut oil and dab on your wrists, or diffuse it in your car or wherever things smell not-so-delicious. Ahhh, divine.
This aromatherapy set is available on Etsy. $6.50 and up.
There are many potential homebuyers, and even sellers, who believe that they need at least a 20% down payment in order to buy a home or move on to their next home. Time after time, we have dispelled this myth by showing that many loan programs allow you to put down as little as 3% (or 0% with a VA loan).
If you have saved up your down payment and are ready to start your home search, one other piece of the puzzle is to make sure that you have saved enough for your closing costs.
Freddie Mac defines closing costs as:
“Closing costs, also called settlement fees, will need to be paid when you obtain a mortgage. These are fees charged by people representing your purchase, including your lender, real estate agent, and other third parties involved in the transaction. Closing costs are typically between 2 and 5% of your purchase price.”
We’ve recently heard from many first-time homebuyers that they wished that someone had let them know that closing costs could be so high. If you think about it, with a low down payment program, your closing costs could equal the amount that you saved for your down payment.
Here is a list of just some of the fees/costs that may be included in your closing costs, depending on where the home you wish to purchase is located:
- Government recording costs
- Appraisal fees
- Credit report fees
- Lender origination fees
- Title services (insurance, search fees)
- Tax service fees
- Survey fees
- Attorney fees
- Underwriting fees
Is there any way to avoid paying closing costs?
Work with your lender and real estate agent to see if there are any ways to decrease or defer your closing costs. There are no-closing mortgages available, but they end up costing you more in the end with a higher interest rate, or by wrapping the closing costs into the total cost of the mortgage (meaning you’ll end up paying interest on your closing costs).
Home buyers can also negotiate with the seller over who pays these fees. Sometimes the seller will agree to assume the buyer’s closing fees to get the deal finalized, which is known in the industry as ‘seller’s concession.’
Speak with your lender and agent early and often to determine how much you’ll be responsible for at closing. Finding out you’ll need to come up with thousands of dollars right before closing is not a surprise anyone is ever looking forward to.
Have You Saved Enough for Closing Costs?
Source: Simplifying the Market
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In many markets across the country, the number of buyers searching for their dream homes greatly outnumbers the amount of homes for sale. This has led to a competitive marketplace where buyers often need to stand out. One way to show you are serious about buying your dream home is to get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage before starting your search. [Read more…]