‘Fixer to Fabulous’ Reveals Where a Home Office Could Be Hiding in Your Home

Jenny and Dave Marrs of “Fixer to Fabulous” are always busy making over other people’s homes, but in the latest episode, they get personal—turning their efforts toward renovating their own rental property.

In the Season 2 episode “Boring Turns Into Boho-Chic,” Dave and Jenny learn that their friends J’Aaron Merchant and Jasmine Hudson are moving from New Jersey back to northwest Arkansas. The Marrses decide to fix up their rental property so Hudson and Merchant can move in.

The problem: This rental needs a lot of work, and with only $95,000 and four weeks to finish the project, it’s going to take a ton of clever solutions to get this home fixed up in time.

To make things worse, Jenny and Dave run into issues when they have to decide whether to renovate the house to their renters’ boho tastes (in the hope of encouraging them to stay for a long time) or to give it a more classic look to try to appeal to other renters in the future.

Read on to learn how the Marrses renovate their rental property, and learn how to create a great space for any guest, no matter how long or short their stay.

No cash for real terrazzo? Make your own

White paint and new windows make a big difference to this house.
White paint and new windows make a big difference to this house.

HGTV

The Marrses are determined to polish up the first impression of this home, so they refresh the exterior with white paint and new windows.

These improvements make the house look fantastic, but when it’s time to work on the front walkway, they aren’t sure what to do. Jenny wants to install a terrazzo walkway, but knows they don’t have the budget for such a pricey material.

This homemade terrazzo makes for a great walkway.
This homemade terrazzo makes for a great walkway.

HGTV

So they decide to craft their own makeshift terrazzo out of spare pieces of marble.

“We’re gonna take this marble, break it into teeny little pieces, then put it in concrete to create terrazzo steps,” Jenny says.

The terrazzo look-alike has tons of character and gives a unique look to the front of the house.

Lose the closet to make room for a bar

This bar area is a fun and funky way to be welcomed home.
This bar area is a fun and funky way to be welcomed home.

HGTV

Jenny knows that this home’s entrance is disappointing. The front door opens right into a small coat closet—and while a closet may be functional, it doesn’t give guests that “Wow!” factor.

Instead, she comes up with an idea to turn this closet into an arched minibar area where they can display pretty drinkware on open shelving, while a cabinet below provides useful storage.

“It’s a built-in that’s functional and really pretty,” she says.

Dave builds the bar area, and when it’s finished, it looks amazing. The wood shelves look perfect, and the beautiful blue-green cabinet really makes the feature stand out.

With a rental, it’s OK to take small risks for the sake of style

Jenny usually loves brick, but she doesn't think it's the right look for this fireplace.
Jenny usually loves brick, but she doesn’t think it’s the right look for this fireplace.

HGTV

Jenny wants to give this house a boho-chic look, starting with the fireplace.

“Imagine if the tile had a little bit of these blush tones in it,” she suggests.

Right away, Dave disapproves, objecting that it’s too risky. He feels the design should be a little safer, to ensure that future renters will enjoy the look as well.

This pink fireplace was a risk, but it looks great!
This pink fireplace was a risk, but it looks great!

HGTV

Still, Jenny decides to go for the blush tile, which is installed from floor to ceiling over the fireplace.

In the end, it looks great—the look is definitely boho and definitely feminine, but it’s not so wild that a future renter wouldn’t want to live in this space.

Try some flashy fabric at the breakfast bar

This boho kitchen table is a great addition to the kitchen.
This boho kitchen table is a great addition to the kitchen.

HGTV

Jenny and Dave redo the kitchen with fun colors and a fresh, youthful feel, so when it comes time to design a breakfast table, they want the style to match. Jenny decides to add a fun, flashy fabric to give the space some sizzle.

“I want this dining nook to be a little bit different,” Jenny says. “I want the bench to have a cushion, and then I have a back bolster cushion as well.”

She chooses a blush material for the bolster pillow and a bolder, black-and-white pattern for the seat. It’s a great combo that makes this dining nook stand out.

Repurpose a garage as a workspace by adding a glass door

This garage-turned-workspace is light and bright.
This garage-turned-workspace is light and bright.

HGTV

Jenny knows that Hudson and Merchant both need workspaces at home. While they’re able to turn the third bedroom into an office for Merchant, they also need an art studio for Hudson.

So, Jenny gets an idea to turn the garage into a studio. It’s an easy swap, as long as she can change one feature: the garage door.

“We’re going to replace this garage door,” Jenny says, looking at the old, worn-out door. “Instead of replacing it with just a normal garage door, what if we replace it with a glass garage door, so that it lets in natural light and this becomes her studio?”

While a glass garage door can be expensive, Jenny and Dave spring for the update and are able to give Hudson a stunning studio.

It’s the perfect solution for anyone who needs a home office but who has assumed that the garage would be a no-go because of the lack of light.

Source: realtor.com

6 Products You Need to Keep Your Home Germ-free and Sanitized in 2020

210 Shares

Looking to turn your house into a healthy haven to protect your family from COVID-19? Green Builder, an award-winning trade magazine dedicated to responsible and sustainable construction, has some ideas for you. The magazine has been named “Best Residential Trade Magazine” by the National Association of Real Estate Editors for seven straight years. Recently, managing editor Alan Naditz posted a list of eight “standout, pandemic-proof products” for a healthier home. We wanted to share our favorite products from that list with you:

Smart Toilet

Kohler’s new intelligent toilet, Eir, has a one-click sanitizer button that activates electrolyzed water and ultraviolet light to clean the unit for what Naditz said is “unparalleled hygiene” against bacteria and viruses. There’s a bidet function, too. It uses a water filtration system that removes impurities, residual chlorine and heavy metals. Also included is a heated seat, customizable cleansing, a night light, hands-free lid opening and closing, automatic flush and a remote.

kohler smart toiletkohler smart toilet
Source: Kohler

Read: Remodel Your Bathroom for Less Than $1,000

Open Sesame

The Wave Switch from Legrand allows you to turn lights on and off with the wave of your hand, minimizing the need to touch germ-prone surfaces. And, as Naditz points out, the switchless design makes it easy to turn on the lights when your arms are full or your hands are messy. It’s an easy, 15-minute do-it-yourself installation available in several colors. But, keep in mind, it does require a special wall plate.

legrand wave hand activated motion light switchlegrand wave hand activated motion light switch
Source: Legrand

Divide and Conquer

Bosch’s Climate 5000 series is designed for individual living spaces and rooms. It’s multi-part filtration system acts as a defense against allergens, odors, viruses and bacteria. In warm weather, the system sends inside heat outdoors. In cold months, it uses refrigerant that is naturally colder than outside temperatures to absorb the heat from outside and transfer it inside. The system does not require large-diameter duct work, so it can be retrofitted into existing homes with minimal construction.

A Clean Bathroom Leads to a Healthy Human

Broan’s Surface Shield Vital Vio® Powered exhaust fan has one light mode for standard illumination and another to kill bacteria. The modes can be run individually or together. The new model can be upgraded with an LED grille cover and light module, or you can install the unit with your choice of inclusions: just the fan, just the LED light, or just the standard bright while grille.

air exhaust fan filters germs and bacteria out of bathroom sanitized homeair exhaust fan filters germs and bacteria out of bathroom sanitized home
Source: Broan

Germ-free Surfaces

The World Health Organization says the coronavirus can live on stainless steel surfaces for days. Sounds like the perfect opportunity to try out a hands-free faucet! Sonoma Forge’s Sans Hands model features an electromagnetic sensor to turn the water on and off, and the finish has antimicrobial properties. When your hands approach the faucet, the magnetic field is interrupted which signals a valve to release the flow of water. When you move away, the water stops. Simple, clean and germ-free!

sonoma forge sink handless germ freesonoma forge sink handless germ free
Source: Sonoma Forge

Read: How Have Cleaning and Hygiene Habits Changed During COVID-19?

Pure Kills

Included with each of Carrier’s new flagship air conditioning and heat pump units is an air purifier that uses “capture and kill” technology to trap up to 95% of pollen, animal dander, bacteria and other pollutants. An electric charge then zaps the cell walls of the pathogens. Note: The purifier has not yet been tested against the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.


Lew Sichelman

See more posts by this author

Syndicated newspaper columnist, Lew Sichelman has been covering the housing market and all it entails for more than 50 years. He is an award-winning journalist who worked at two major Washington, D.C. newspapers and is a past president of the National Association of Real Estate Editors.

210 Shares

Source: homes.com

The ABCs of Multifamily Cash Flow

You hear the term all the time. After all, it’s an essential concept for apartment investors because it not only reflects the viability of your investment but also its value. 

But what really is cash flow? How do you compute it, and more importantly, how can you increase the cash flow of your multifamily property?

Cash flow is simply the money that moves in and out of your business. For apartments, the cash coming in is in the form of rent, and the cash flowing out is in the form of expenditures like property taxes and utilities. 

Cash flow – or lack of it — is one of the primary reasons businesses, or real estate investments,  fail. Without sufficient cash flow, you’ll run out of money. That’s why it’s essential that you have sufficient capital to not only purchase an apartment property but also sustain it in the event that cash flow fails to be what you projected – for example, if units turn over more often than you expect or rents decline. 

Here are some ways you can improve the cash flow of your apartment investment:

  • Increase rents. This is perhaps the fastest and easiest way to improve cash flow. Consider repositioning the property – investing some capital to improve the units and then bumping rents.
  • Reduce utility costs. Fix leaky shower heads and faucets, which waste water. Install energy-efficient appliances and lighting fixtures. 
  • Decrease expenses. Renegotiate your property management contract, or put it out to bid at the end of the term. Use free rental property listing sites rather than paying a broker to rent apartments.
  • Encourage residents to stay. Moveouts are expensive, so when tenants renew their leases you’ll save time and money on prepping the unit.
  • Add additional streams of revenue, such as pet deposits and rent, garage rentals, vending machines or valet trash. 

Source: century21.com

The Property Brothers Reveal 5 Simple Tricks To Make Your Yard Feel Luxe

The “Property Brothers” stars know that the coronavirus pandemic has made backyards a premium real estate feature. And, on the latest episode of “Celebrity IOU,” they reveal some prime ways to deck it out.

In the season 2 episode “Justin Hartley’s Bombshell,” actor Justin Hartley enlists Drew and Jonathan Scott to help his friend Mat upgrade his backyard. Mat and his family moved into their Los Angeles house just a year and a half ago, and they spent all of their savings renovating the interior.

Jonathan Scott and Justin Hartley get to work.
Jonathan Scott and Justin Hartley get to work.

HGTV

While staying home in 2020 in a newly updated house may sound great, this family was still stuck with a run-down backyard and a broken pool. Now, Drew and Jonathan have just three weeks to fix up this outdoor space and make it match the modern look of the house.

See how the Scott brothers give this yard everything it needs to ride out the pandemic—which might inspire a few changes in your own backyard, too.

1. Add indoor luxury to your yard with an outdoor kitchen and bar

This backyard dining space was unimpressive.
This backyard dining space was unimpressive.

HGTV

Drew and Jonathan know, from the beginning, that they want to give this yard an outdoor kitchen with a grill, fridge, pizza oven, and porcelain counter. But halfway through the project, Hartley requests the extension of the porcelain counter to include a bar.

“Mat hasn’t been able to get around to installing a bar inside, so Justin wants to give him one outside,” Jonathan says. “This stunning porcelain-top bar will not only be a focal feature, but the perfect spot for Justin and Mat to sip on their favorite spirits.”

When Hartley wanted to add a bar area, the Scott brothers delivered!
When Hartley wanted to add a bar area, the Scott brothers delivered!

HGTV

When the bar is finished, it looks beautiful. Plus, with this extra porcelain bar surface to be used as an eating area or an extra food prep space, this outdoor kitchen is as functional as an indoor kitchen.

2. A pergola provides shade for outdoor dining

This pergola opens and closes, which is perfect for protection against the sun.
This pergola opens and closes, which is perfect for protection against the sun.

HGTV

With a kitchen and bar ready to go, the brothers know this backyard will need a great dining area. And while setting up a table and chairs is easy enough, Drew and Jonathan realize that the hardest part of outdoor dining in California is planning for the sun.

___

Watch: Nothing Gets Between the Property Brothers—They’re Now Neighbors!

___

This backyard will get warm, especially during the summer, so the Scott brothers add a pergola to the dining space.

Hartley and the Scott brothers show off the new outdoor dining space.
Hartley and the Scott brothers show off the new outdoor dining space.

HGTV

While any shade will undoubtedly be appreciated in this space, this pergola comes with Hartley’s touch of star quality because the slats up top can be electronically shifted to let in a little bit of sun (or none at all). It’s a great upgrade that makes this beautiful yard feel ultraluxe.

3. Choose a colorful waterline tile for a modern pool

The tile around this pool made it look dated.
The tile around this pool made it look dated.

HGTV

One of the most important things on Hartley’s list is to fix up the broken pool. Not only does it need to work so Mat and his family can finally go swimming, but it also needs a serious style update.

So, while the Scott brothers handle getting this pool up and running, it’s up to Hartley to help with the style.

Now, the waterline on the pool is elegant and modern.
Now, the waterline on the pool is elegant and modern.

HGTV

Hartley says that Mat likes a modern look, but he doesn’t want to make the backyard feel too stark. So when it’s time to pick out a waterline tile, Hartley chooses a chic blue tile that looks both contemporary and classic.

“It’s cool, like a modern but vintage kind of look,” Hartley says. “It looks like it’s been there for a while.”

4. Set the mood with a dark fire feature

Jonathan and Hartley pick out materials for the backyard renovation.
Jonathan and Hartley pick out materials for the backyard renovation.

HGTV

With a beautiful outdoor kitchen and an updated pool, Hartley knows that the only thing this backyard is missing is a spot to hang out and relax. So the brothers design a private fire pit area where Mat and his wife can enjoy quiet nights outside.

The design is great, but when it comes time to choose materials, the pressure is on for Hartley. He likes the idea of using a dark stone to give the space a modern, romantic feel.

Hartley wanted this fire pit to be a dark color.
Hartley wanted this fire pit to be a dark color.

HGTV

“That’s probably something you’re going to use at night,” Hartley says of the fire feature. “Maybe he and his wife want to have a romantic evening, maybe come out here and tell each other how much they love each other. So I don’t know, I’m thinking something darker.”

Hartley goes with his gut and chooses the dark option for the fire feature. It’s a great choice; plus, with light-colored rocks on the ground around it, the dark color really stands out. In the end, this extra sitting space ends up being a standout in this beautiful new yard.

5. Finish the yard with some great foliage

The foliage makes this backyard look lush and beautiful.
The foliage makes this backyard look lush and beautiful.

HGTV

There are many beautiful features in this backyard, but Drew and Jonathan know that they need just one more thing to make this space feel lush: greenery.

“Most people think a water feature in a backyard softens the hard lines of an outdoor design,” Jonathan says, “but the greenery is really what balances the hardscapes, making it feel like an oasis.”

Drew and Jonathan go shopping at a nearby tree nursery, choosing practical plants like lemon and lime trees that Mat can use at the bar, mesquites to provide some shade, as well as plenty of grasses and shrubs.

Of course, the brothers want to find plants that are beautiful but also easy to care for.

“Justin wants this backyard to be a much-needed escape for Mat to maximize time with family, so we want to choose greenery that will minimize watering and yardwork,” Drew says.

Hartley, Drew, and Jonathan show off their handiwork.
Hartley, Drew, and Jonathan show off their handiwork.

HGTV

At the end of the three weeks, Drew, Jonathan, and Hartley are able to present Mat and his family with a stunning backyard. Mat is shocked to see how much the space has changed, and his wife and two daughters are thrilled to find a luxurious space to hang out together. It looks like Hartley’s project was a big success!

Source: realtor.com

4 Things You Can Do to Protect Your Home During Cold Months

The weather is starting to get cooler, which means it’s a good time to get your home ready for the upcoming winter. Doing basic home maintenance seasonally, not only protects your home, but can hopefully detect and prevent major costly repairs down the road. The easiest way to do your winter checklist is to take a top-down approach. 

Start with the Roof

After the especially active and harsh storms this spring and summer, it’s a good idea to check out your roof. Look for any loose or missing shingles and check around fireplaces for any gaps. If you have a fireplace chimney, have it inspected and cleaned before you light your first fire. 

Read: DIY Home Improvement: Give Back to Your Home This December

It’s also a good idea after the leaves have fallen, to clear out the gutters and downspouts of any debris and clogs. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this task, definitely look into hiring someone who specializes in these sorts of inspections and repairs. 

Checking the Exterior

Drain and remove any hoses from the spigot on the side of your home. By not doing this, water could freeze and burst inside of your home. Don’t forget to drain your sprinkler system and any outdoor fountains. If you’re lucky to have a pool, you’ll want to take the necessary steps to close it up for the season too.

Read: The Dos and Don’ts of Staging Your Home During the Holidays

Cover up outdoor furniture and store away any toys or tools you won’t need during the winter, including your grill. Protect your deck and cement by staining or sealing before the harsh winter weather comes. Wet weather combined with drops in temperature can create cracks in cement or destroy wood decking. Check out your landscaping for any branches that could pose a risk if there were an ice storm. Clear out your garden of any remaining fruits, vegetables, or flowers. Pull any debris away from your foundation to deter any furry or unwanted creatures from nesting during the colder months.

Focus on the Windows and Doors

Inspect the weather stripping on your doors and replace any that look ripped up or missing. Take a look at the glass on your windows and any doors. If you see any fog or water between the pains, chances are they need to be replaced. Check out the caulking around your doors and windows to see if there is any gaps, cracks, or shrinkage.

front door of homefront door of home

Stopping heat from escaping your home is going to significantly impact not only your electric/gas bill, but also help keep the wear and tear down on your HVAC system. During the colder months you may even want to consider a heavier fabric on your windows to help keep the cold out and keep the warmth in. 

Don’t Forget the HVAC!

Speaking of the HVAC, it is recommended to have your heating system inspected before you turn it on for the new season. This is the same for your air conditioning in the spring. Keeping your system tuned up will help with the longevity of your system and prevent major repairs or replacement. 

Taking on these four major tasks can greatly help protect the investment you call home. Being able to detect minor repairs before they become major, or even be able to have a heads up that you should be thinking of replacing something soon. Saving for a new roof or new HVAC on your own timeline can be better than an unexpected surprise during a very inconvenient time or busy time of the season. Not to mention keeping your family cozy, warm, and protected all winter long. 

Read: “Home Alone” This Holiday Season? Visit These 5 Iconic Christmas Movie Homes in Real Life


See more posts by this author

Brooke has a lifestyle blog called Cribbs Style and currently lives in Charleston, SC. This wife, mom of two almost tweens, and mom of three fur children enjoys all things DIY and organizing. When she’s not helping others tackle the chaos of life, she’s either working out, at the beach, or just enjoying time with family and friends.

Source: homes.com

How to prepare your home for a winter open house

The winter season can be a great time to sell your house, but while your competition is reduced, success during this time can still depend on a successful open house. To help make your open house as effective as possible, follow these tips.

  • Take down your decorations. The holidays are over, but if you’re the type that likes to leave the decorations up for a time, taking them down before your open house is a good idea. Prospective buyers may not celebrate the same holidays as you and you don’t want to alienate them.
  • Clear the clutter. If you haven’t put those holiday gifts away yet, now’s the time. Prospective buyers should be able to focus on your home instead of the collection of things crowding it. Give them nice open spaces to move about and they’ll be appreciative.
  • Turn up the heat. Warm and cozy is more than a catch phrase during the winter. Bring the temperature up in your home slightly during your open house to keep your guests comfortable. If they are too cold in your home, they aren’t apt to stay long.
  • Plan for winter apparel. Be it jackets or boots, take extra steps to prepare your entryway for the added material your buyers will bring with them. A designated spot to place these items can make guests feel welcome and keep your home cleaner during the showing and beyond.

Source: century21.com

Buying A Second Home? 8 Things To Consider

Buying a second home is a major expense. You might have several reasons for wanting to buy a second house. Perhaps, you’re buying a second home for vacations or weekend getaways. Or, it might be that you want to use it as a rental property for rental income. However, there are things to consider before buying a second home.

The benefits of buying a second home

If you’re buying a second home for rental income, you’ll benefit from many perks, especially tax advantages.

For example, you will be able to deduct interest, property taxes, homeowners insurance and other expenses against the property’s income.

Even if the value of the property declines, you will still be able to deduct depreciation from your taxes.

While these benefits are great, the mortgage requirements for a second home are much stricter than for a mortgage on your primary residence. So, make sure you can afford it.

8 Things To Consider When Buying A Second Home

1. Financing options: When you bought your first home, you had available to you what’s called an FHA loan – a government loan program.

FHA loans are an appealing and favorite choice among first time home buyers due to their relatively low down payment requirement.

FHA loans require a 3.5% down payment and a relatively low credit score of 580. However, FHA loans are not available to second home buyers.

That is because FHA requires the home to be the borrower’s primary residence. So, if you’re thinking of buying a second home, you will need to either use a conventional loan or financing it with your own cash.

2. A larger down payment: If you’re using a conventional loan for your second home, you will need to come up with a larger down payment.

Lenders for a conventional loan usually requires a 20% down payment of the home purchase price.

But for a second home which will be used as a rental property or vacation home, expect lenders to ask for 30% or even 35%.

3. A higher credit score. For an FHA loan, you only need a credit score of 580 to qualify. But for a conventional loan on a second home, you will need much higher credit score — usually 750 or higher.

4. Expect a Higher Interest Rate: Lenders will likely charge you a higher interest rate on your second home than your primary residence.

The reason is because they see a second home — be it a vacation home or a rental property — as riskier. They feel that you are more likely to default on a mortgage on your second home than on your primary residence.

5. Do your research: Just as you did your homework when you bought your place to live in, buying a second home is no different.

In fact, you’ll need to spend more time researching rental property. That means researching the neighborhood you will want to invest in, knowing the zoning laws for a particular area, the sales price for the homes in the area.

You will need to know if the area has adequate public transportation, schools, grocery shopping, etc,– things that potential tenants will need.

6. Be prepared to be a landlord: if you’re buying a second home to rent, be prepared to be a landlord.

And be prepared to deal with all of the headaches that come with being a landlord. Do you have sufficient time? Can you deal with problems?

Owning a rental property and being a landlord is time consuming. It is also hard hard work and you have to do your due diligence.

You can hire a property manager to run the property for you. But if that is not feasible, you’ll have to do it yourself.

That means, screening new tenants, collecting rent, dealing with delinquent tenants, fixing problems in the property, such as a broken pipe.

So before buying a second home, make sure you have sufficient time and make sure you can deal with the day-to-day headaches that come with being a landlord.

7. Do you have a stable income? Dealing with a second mortgage on your second home is doable.

While you may be able to afford upfront costs, if you don’t have a stable income, you may have to think twice about whether it is a good idea.

Plus, you still have to consider the additional expenses of owning a second home such as insurance, property taxes, maintenance, repairs, property management fees, etc.

8. Are you out of credit card debt? If you have paid off outstanding and high interest credit card debts, then purchasing a second home may make sense.

But if you’re still struggling to pay your debt, you may need to put buying a second home on hold. 

The bottom line

If you’re thinking about buying a second home, whether it is for investment or vacation, be prepared to save some money, budget for expenses, and come up with a bigger down payment.

More importantly, spend as much time, if not more, researching for the home just as you did when your purchased your primary home.

Speak with the Right Financial Advisor

  • If you have questions about your finances, you can talk to a financial advisor who can review your finances and help you reach your goals (whether it is making more money, paying off debt, investing, buying a house, planning for retirement, saving, etc).
  • Find one who meets your needs with SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching service. You answer a few questions and they match you with up to three financial advisors in your area. So, if you want help developing a plan to reach your financial goals, get started now.

Source: growthrapidly.com

How to Build a Photo Scanning and Digitizing Side Gig

A woman scans old photos and saves them on her computer for a customer. The photo she is currently scanning is an old black and white photo of a boy.

Sabrina Hughes is a photography historian who operates her business, PhotoXO, from her home in South Pasadena, Fla. She archives analogue photos using a method of scan, organize and share. Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

As simple as it sounds — and actually is — most people are overwhelmed by the thought of taking hundreds or even thousands of photos and organizing them into searchable, digital files.

Then there are the videos filmed on various versions of clunky cameras over the decades.

Perhaps the most daunting version of unorganized photographic memories are slides. Once the butt of so many jokes about boring dinner parties, now they are covered in dust with no hope of ever seeing the light of a projector again.

Well, anyone armed with a $229 scanner and a computer can make searchable digital files of photos and slides. To turn videos into digital files, it takes the original camera they were filmed with or a VCR, an $87 adapter and a computer.

Here’s how to make photo scanning and digitizing your new side hustle.

Five years ago, professional photo curator Sabrina Hughes decided she could make a business out of helping people organize their photos, videos and slides. Her company, PhotoXO, has a compelling slogan: “Show your photos the love they deserve.”

Her years as a photographer, plus a graduate degree in art history and experience as a curatorial assistant at the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg, Fla., combine to make her an astute photo archivist. But all of this expertise and experience is not required.

“There’s a certain point when I’m not doing anything you can’t figure out on your own,” she said. “A college student or really anyone could do this to make extra money.”

Hughes offers a self-paced online class called Disaster to Done for $297, which includes lifetime access to course materials. But she’s also sharing her tips with The Penny Hoarder.

Get the Right Equipment

  • Scanner. There are hundreds of scanners out there, but she prefers the Epson v600, which sells for $229.
  • Video adapter. Hughes uses the Elgato Video Capture for digitizing VHS tapes. It can be bought online for $87.
  • Storage. “When I first started out, I was giving everything back on hard drives,” Hughes said. “I was trying to get away from DVDs, since most computers don’t even play those anymore.” She then offered flash drives filled with the photos. Though they are also becoming less common, this is still probably the best tool for beginners. Hughes now uploads everything to her website, which offers permanent storage.
  • Software. Hughes uses Adobe Lightroom ($119), which enables her to label photos so they can be searched and has photo editing functions. Software isn’t required to organize unlabeled photos into folders, however.
A stack of old black and white photographs sits on a person's desk.
A stack of client photos sits on Hughes’ desk . Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

Develop and Perfect Your Process

The first step to starting your photo scanning business is setting aside a space in your home. It can be as small as a corner of your bedroom or a desktop if an actual office or spare room isn’t possible.

Next, create a storage system for clients’ photos and video tapes while your work is in progress. Of course clear boxes that stack are great, but they come with a cost. Cardboard shipping boxes work just as well. Place white adhesive labels on the ends with the name of the client and the date the work started. You can place new labels over these when one project is done and the next client’s photos go into the boxes.

To digitize photos and slides, scan each one with the scanner to upload it to your computer. Make files for certain years or topics such as “1970s beach trips” or “kids’ birthday parties.” Drag and drop the photos into the appropriate file.

A college student or really anyone could do this to make extra money.

For videos, they have to be played the whole way through on the camera that originally filmed them and the adapter will transport the movies to a computer. If you don’t have the camera, you can play them on a VCR connected to the computer with the adapter.

Warn your clients that digitized videos won’t look so great on a TV, especially if it’s high definition, because the videos were filmed with lower resolution. They look best viewed on a phone or a computer screen.

You may have to limit the number of photos to digitize if the client wants to save on time and your fee. If the photos are organized in albums, ask the client to mark which ones to exclude with sticky-notes. If they are loose in boxes, suggest you select which ones to use.

“Sometimes it’s easier for a third party to make the decisions in narrowing things down,” Hughes said. You can pick what you think is the best of the three or four repetitive photos.

To organize and select from loose photos overflowing shoe boxes or laundry baskets, Hughes hand sorts them into piles based on the clothes people are wearing, the backgrounds and the time of year.

You can offer photo editing if it’s something you can handle. Hughes uses a very simple process in Adobe Photoshop. “You can also do it as you are scanning them,” she said. Adding, that many scanners have color correction options.

Deciding What to Charge

It’s smart to charge by the hour when you start out, and give an estimate of how long the project will take.

Determine ahead of time how many photos you can scan in an hour. If you are sorting and scanning, that may be harder to estimate, but it probably adds another 30 minutes onto each hour of scanning. Say you can scan 40 photos an hour, then it would take you five hours to digitize 200 photos that don’t require sorting.

A high schooler or college student might charge $30 to $50 an hour, or approximately $150 to $250 for 200 photos. Allow an extra hour for computer glitches, labeling files and calling the client with questions.

A woman looks off into the distance toward a window with an old photograph on a television screen behind her.
In addition to her PhotoXO services, Hughes also offers a self-paced online class called Disaster to Done for $297, which includes lifetime access to course materials. Chris Zuppa/The Penny Hoarder

Hughes started out charging by the hour, but found clients were spending so much time “pre-organizing” their photos themselves to save money, it would take them six months or more before they were finally ready for her to start archiving. So she switched to a flat fee of $2,222 for unlimited archiving of slides, photos or videos. To do all three formats, she charges $7,777. She also offers small projects a-la-carte based on the amount of work.

How to Attract Clients

You might have to offer to digitize photos for one or two friends at no cost first to get an idea of how long the process takes and what you will charge.

Then spread the word on social media. Give an estimated price of how many photos you can do for a certain price. Ask your early clients to share something about how wonderful it feels to finally have photos organized and saved forever.

Digitized photos make a great Mother’s Day, Father’s Day or Christmas gift. Promote your business online and in emails during these times and throughout the year.

Source: thepennyhoarder.com

How Much Money Do You Need to Buy a House?

Understanding how much money you need to buy a house can give you an idea of how much you should expect to save.

You’re probably excited about the thought of buying your first home? If so, you have every right to be.

But how much money do you need to buy a house? A calculator can help you determine that. But the average cost of buying a $300,000 is typically around $17,000.

In this article, we’ll go over the main costs of buying a house including the down payment, inspection cost, appraisal cost, closing cost, etc.

Check Current Mortgage Rate

How much money do you need to buy a house?

Out of Pocket Cost of buying a house

The five main out of pocket costs of buying a house are 1) the down payment; 2) inspection cost; 3) the appraisal cost; 4) earnest money and 5) closing costs. These out of pocket costs or upfront costs are money yo need to pay before you become the owner of the property.

In addition, some lenders also require you have some cash reserves to cover 2 to 3 months of the mortgage repayments.

Determining how much cash needed to buy a house depends on the type of loan you’re using.

Let’s suppose you’re buying a $300,000 house with an FHA loan.

An FHA loan requires a 3.5% of the home purchase price as a down payment as long as you have a 580 credit score. So, for the down payment alone, you will need $10,500.

Here’s a quick breakdown for how much cash needed to buy a $300,000 house:

  • Down payment: $10,500
  • Inspection cost: $300
  • Appraisal cost: $300
  • Closing cost: $6000

So, $ 17,100 is how much money you need to buy a house.

Whether you’re buying a house with a 20% down payment or 3.5% down payment, you can certainly find a loan with both the price and features to suit your needs as a first time home buyer. You can compare First Time Home Buyer home loans on the LendingTree website.

The down payment

The biggest cost of buying a house is obviously your down payment. But that depends on the type of loan you are looking for.

For example, a conventional loan requires a 20% down payment. You can pay less than that, but you will have to pay for a private mortgage insurance – which covers the lender in case you default on your loan.

A 20% down payment however can also mean that you’ll get a better interest rate, which also means you’ll save money on interest.

For an FHA loan, you only need 3.5% down payment as long as your credit score is 580.

FHA loans are very popular these days. Not only it’s easier to get qualified (low down payment and low credit score), but also your down payment can come from a friend, a relative or your employer.

Using our example above, you only need $10,500 for a down payment for a $300,000 house.

If you’re using a VA loan then you pay $0 down payment.

Check to see if you’re eligible for an FHA loan or VA loan

How much money do you need to buy a house also depends on other factors, such as whether you are a first time home buyer or not. Your state may have a range of programs that may contribute toward your down payment.

So visit your local government office to find out if you are eligible for any down payment assistance for first time home buyers.

Inspection cost

Another upfront cost of buying a home is the inspection cost.

It is highly recommended to perform inspection for your home for any defects so there are no surprises later on.

Inspections typically cost between $300 to $500, but it depends on the property and your local rates.

Compare home loans for first time home buyers with LendingTree

Appraisal cost

Before a lender can give you a loan to finance a house, they will want to know how much the house is worth. So appraisal means an estimate of the home’s value. A home’s appraisal usually costs between $300 to $500. A home appraisal will also determine what your property tax will likely be.

If you’re pay the home appraisal, it will be deducted from the closing cost. (see below).

Earnest money

Earnest money is a deposit you will have to pay upfront as soon as an offer is accepted, while you working on other aspects such as getting the home inspected, etc…

This deposit is part of the down payment, and it is usually between 1% to 3% of the final sale price. It is held by an escrow firm or attorney until the closing process is completed.

So if the sale is successful, that money is applied to your down payment. If it’s not, you get 100% of your money back.

Closing costs

The closing costs are fees by the lenders. They typically cost 2% to 5% of the final price. The costs include fees for homeowner’s insurance, title insurance, title insurance, property tax, HOA dues, private mortgage insurance.

It’s possible to lower these costs by comparing mortgage options.

Other costs of buying a home:

In addition to upfront costs, there are other recurring costs associated with buying a home. They include moving fees, repair costs, furniture, remodeling, etc. So consider these costs when making your budget to buy a house.

So how much money do you need to buy a house? The answer is it depends on the type of loans you’ re using. But if you’re buying a $300,000 house with an FHA loan, which requires a 3.5% down payment, $ 17,100 is how much money you need.

For more information about upfront costs of buying a house, check out this guide.

Read more cost of buying a house:

Work with the Right Financial Advisor

You can talk to a financial advisor who can review your finances and help you reach your goals (whether it is making more money, paying off debt, investing, buying a house, planning for retirement, saving, etc). So, find one who meets your needs with SmartAsset’s free financial advisor matching service. You answer a few questions and they match you with up to three financial advisors in your area. So, if you want help developing a plan to reach your financial goals, get started now.

Source: growthrapidly.com

Chipotle to Hold Nationwide Hiring Event to Fill 15K New Jobs

An exterior of Chipotle in California is pictured.


Photo courtesy of Chipotle

Chipotle is kicking off the new year with a nationwide hiring blitz.

With hundreds of new restaurants in the works, the fast-casual Mexican food chain plans to fill 15,000 new openings, according to the hiring announcement.

To make headway on those recruitment efforts, all Chipotle locations are holding a “Coast to Coast” career event Jan. 14. On-site interviews are taking place from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. local time.

As a safety precaution, outdoor and curbside interview accommodations are available.

“Please bring a mask and follow all safety protocols while you’re in the restaurant,” the company said.

Pro Tip

To participate in the hiring event, you must fill out a brief application and select an available interview time slot at your local Chipotle. Do not show up without requesting an interview.

Compared to the overall restaurant industry, Chipotle has fared well throughout the pandemic. The company hired 10,000 new workers in July as it added new locations and built drive-thru windows at many existing locations. In November, Chipotle unveiled its first ever “digital” restaurant in New York to experiment with only providing drive-thru and pick-up orders.

Job Openings at Chipotle

Chipotle’s recruitment spree is focused on hiring new restaurant team members, which primarily consist of line cooks, food preppers, and cashiers. These positions are entry level.

According to job listings on the company’s career board, the main crew-member requirement is that you must be at least 16 years old to apply. All training is provided.

Chipotle doesn’t have a company-wide minimum wage. On average, crew members earn about $10 to $11 an hour (or local minimum wage if higher) according to thousands of self-reported wages on Glassdoor.

To entice new workers, the burrito chain has been experimenting with new perks and benefits available to all employees, part- and full-time:

  • Medical, dental and vision insurance.
  • 401(k) retirement plan after one year of employment.
  • One free meal per shift.
  • 100% tuition coverage for select degrees and universities through a partnership with Guild Education.
  • Tuition reimbursement of up to $5,250 for schools and degrees outside that partnership.
  • Paid time off including parental leave.
  • English as a second language training.

If Chipotle meets its hiring goals, the company’s workforce is set to exceed 100,000.

Adam Hardy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. He covers the gig economy, remote work and other unique ways to make money. Read his ​latest articles here, or say hi on Twitter @hardyjournalism.



Source: thepennyhoarder.com