Browse Category: Eclectic Homes

How do I Compute Real Estate Tax?

Property taxes, also known as property taxes, are taxes levied against the assessed value of a house on a yearly basis. Since the tax rates and assessed value varies small every year, it is possible to compute your likely property tax before getting your annual tax bill. Having an estimate of the tax due can be helpful when planning annual budgets. With advanced understanding, you are able to set aside funds throughout the year so that if the tax is due, you aren’t caught without necessary funds.

Obtain the most recent tax assessment made on your house by the county tax assessor. The tax collector calculates your annual property taxes according to official appraisal worth. These values may vary from current market values, so separate evaluations may not supply you with an accurate view of potential taxes. Contact your county tax assessor’s office and request a copy of your last property appraisal.

Locate the yearly tax rate that pertains to your property. Contact your county tax office to get a list of rates.

Look carefully at the tax code to your region to ascertain if there are any exemptions or special charges applicable to your tax situation. Exemptions lower your tax payable, while fees add on to the total tax owed. Contact your local county tax office to get a copy of the tax code pertaining to your house type.

Calculate your property tax by multiplying your property’s assessed value by the yearly tax rate. Subtract any applicable exemptions permitted by the tax code from this sum and add any special charges that you’re accountable for. The resulting quantity is the actual estate tax applicable to your premises.

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Guest Picks: Beautiful Wire

Wirework has a lengthy history in homewares. From the humble beginnings as a means to repair precious broken pottery in 17th-century Slovakia, it gradually spread through Europe, thanks to itinerant tinkers whose clever hands created a massive collection of household items from the very simple material. Nowadays, the flexibility and strength of wire attracts modern designers who reveal the same imagination in their work as those drifting craftsmen from long ago. Here are a few inspiring vintage and modern examples of wonderful wire.
— Lori from automatism

John Lyle Design

Vestal Fire Screen

I adore the hip midcentury vibe of the Vestal fire screen by John Lyle. An intricately designed bronze sculpture instead of wire work, its great style would work well with any modern space.

Cox & Cox

Wire Mail Box – GBP 15.50

Even bills would look good in this pretty mail box from Cox & Cox. Use it in your front door to catch the mail when it is delivered, or on your desk to arrange the paperwork.


Moooi Carbon Chair – CAD 1,102

Produced in 2004 by Bertjan Pot and Marcel Wanders for Moooi, the Carbon Chair’s utilization of carbon fiber emptied in epoxy resin not only makes it strong and light, but convenient for both indoor and outdoor usage.

Cox & Cox

Bird Cages – GBP 65

This pair of birdcages would look equally as good with a little felt bird or plant indoors because it might with the real thing. Though I believe I enjoy it even more as a way to display art, as shown here.

Herman Miller

Eames Wire Side Chair – $1,399

The classic Wire Side Chair, designed in 1951 by Charles and Ray Eames, is a showcase for the versatility of cable. Both strong and lightweight, it seems as good now as it did back then. It’s offered in a choice of seat and back cushions.


Petra Pendant Lamp – $449

Add a warm glow to your dining or living room using all the Petra Pendant Lamp, handmade from iron wire finished with an antiqued copper patina. I adore its organic modern layout.

Cox & Cox

Wire Wall Rack – GBP 60

I adore the prettiness of this wall stand from Cox & Cox. And its size makes it perfect for adding storage to a strange corner in the kitchen, bathroom or home office.


Vintage Four Bottle Wine Carrier By Vintage French Linens – $75

This charming French classic wine bottle carrier will tote four bottles of classic bubbly in style — a good housewarming party gift.

West Elm

Wire Lanterns – $19

I adore the simple clean lines of these outside lanterns from West Elm. They create a pretty way to add light to a day on the patio or a midnight dip in the pool.


Alessi Nuvem Round Wire Basket – CAD 110

I really like the loose, scribbly look of this wire basket, with its playful relaxed vibe. Great for showing fruit onto a modern table.


Vintage Wire Basket By Experimental Vintage

Here is a vintage wire egg basket which would look equally as fine storing veggies, fruit or a small assortment of, say, classic wooden spools.

Design Within Reach

Bertoia Asymmetric Chaise With Seat Pad – $6,689

Produced by Harry Bertoia over 50 years ago for Knoll, the Bertoia Asymmetric Chaise remained a prototype before 2005, when Knoll introduced it into production. I really like the free form sculptural shape of this piece; it is a work of art as much as it is chairs.


Vintage Wire Frame Lampshade Photo Screen By Crimson Truck Designs – $25

That is such a clever way to use a classic lampshade frame — though its pretty shape would look equally as good covered with fabric.


Wire Hanger From Areaware – $49

Inspired by the form of the timeless hanger, the Wire Hanger by Areaware is a fantastic way to organize odds and ends from the hallway, office or other areas where space is at a premium.


Vintage Wire Magazine Rack From msmichiganroux – $32

I adore the simplicity of this midcentury wire magazine rack, along with its own golden tone adds a touch of glam. It would be a fantastic choice for exhibiting your prettiest inside design magazines.

MoMA Store

Photo Mobile – $14

Produced by Will van den Bos in 2003, the Photo Mobile is a lively way to display favorite photos, postcards and art by the youngsters. I really like how it’s an ever-changing cosmetic element.

Clayton Gray Home

Entrelace Modern Hanging Chandelier Light – $265

Made in the intertwined nest of aluminum cable, the Entrelace Chandelier includes a beautiful scribbly quality to it rather like a Ronald Searle drawing.

Contemporary Storage And Organization – CAD 395

Add a touch of country chic to your home with all the Three-Tier Chicken Weave Rack from Black Rooster Decor. Not only can it be pretty, but it is also a clever way to add storage to a space without the majority.

Haus Interior

Wire Book Holder – $12

Display your funniest novels or photos on this very simple book holder out of Haus Interior. I adore its industrial, handmade look.

The Conran Shop

Baffling Wire Puzzles Game – GBP 11.95

Give family game night a twist and take turns learning the secret of this traditional disentanglement game. A charming reproduction of a classic set, the collection includes 12 cable puzzles in a gorgeous retro packaging.

Next: 18 Great Midcentury Modern Chairs

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The way to Write an Apartment Condition Checklist Guide

When you’re renting out an apartment, then damage most likely will happen, as well as issues from normal wear and tear. Developing a state checklist can help you determine who’s to blame for any issues and who have to cover the repairs — the renter. The best practice is to produce a checklist guide that spells out just what the security deposit is and what damage it will insure, if needed.

Set up two columns on your checklist: one to work with until the tenant moves in and one for after all the tenant’s belongings are moved outside. Leave room for detailed descriptions of every product. Some items might just require a check mark, meaning that they are in tip-top state, while some may require some explanation. Holes in the wall in an earlier tenant’s artwork ought to be noted, for instance, as if worn flooring places in high-traffic places.

List cosmetic items that have to be in tip-top condition when the tenant moves out. This includes the walls in each room, making certain they are free of holes and scrapes; no stains or excessive wear on the carpet or flooring; no broken blinds; and no outside damage to appliances.

Insert livability issues, like that every room needs to be washed — and specify that it means swept, mopped, vacuumed, dusted and also the interior of cupboards and appliances scrubbed — and livable. Add notes to look for exposed wires from where the tenant may have rigged up a new entertainment system or installed new cable lines himself. The apartment shouldn’t have an unpleasant odor, like lingering cigarette smoke or pet odor.

Include conditions about working fixtures and appliances, including kitchen appliances, all faucets and lights, and the heat and air system. These things sometimes malfunction, but it is the tenant’s duty to contact you immediately when he discovers a problem. If the problem exists when you’re performing your move-out checklist, part of the repair may be his duty, based on the wording in your rental.

Examine any outdoor space and add items to your checklist that reflect the tenant’s duty. For instance, balcony railings should be protected with no flaking paint and wooded areas must be well preserved.

Place a basic description of tenant obligations on the checklist. The detailed list ought to be in your rental, but putting information on the checklist provides you an additional layer of security when it is time to maintain his security deposit to cover damage. Give a timeline, like the file has to be completed in just three days of move in and move out. Say that the renter is responsible to keep all areas clean and to notify you immediately of non-working appliances or damage to the apartment. Be aware that the tenant must leave the utilities on till the final walk-through is completed. Not after those rules can result in you maintaining the entire deposit.

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Is Birch Wood Good for Furniture?

Birch is abundant in North America, especially in the northern United States and Canada, and while it isn’t a superior furniture-grade hardwood, it’s a great one. It is durable and appealing, it takes stain well and it’s affordable. Birch plywood is also a favorite material for making cabinets, benches and tables.

Birch Characteristics

Yellow and sweet palace are two of the best-known species, and while yellow birch is a bit more difficult, both are comparable in hardness to oak, walnut and other domestic hardwoods. Birch is workable and doesn’t nick or gouge easily, which can be two qualities which woodworkers like. Since it’s a close grain, it stains evenly, but its becoming yellow to tan shade looks attractive even without a stain.

Birch Uses

The blond tones of yellow birch allow it to be a good stand-in for walnut, although its color variations and characteristic grain texture make it easily distinguishable. With red heartwood and sometimes almost white sapwood, these variations are largely absent in Baltic birch plywood, a construction material from Europe that many manufacturers use to make paneling and cabinets. Since Birch is powerful, holds screws well and is affordable, furniture makers use it for bracing and other structural components of furniture as frequently as they perform for its visible parts.

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Eliminating an Kitchen Sink to Install Tile

To install tile you need to remove the sink so that you can install the tile. Sinks utilize clamps underneath to hold them. Since you’ll be tiling over the existing countertop, you do not need to be overly worried about scratching the surface of the countertop. While you’ve got the sink out, you might want to think about replacing it. A glistening new sink would put it off, if you’re dressing the kitchen to put your home on the market.

Shut off the water running to the cold and hot water lines. Locate the two valves under the sink, and flip them until they stop. Turn on the taps up top to make certain there’s no tension and drain the remaining part of the water.

Set or pan below the sink. It has to be wide enough to be under the drain at the center and the valves you turned off.

Disconnect the water lines. There’ll be a nut over the valves. Turn them slowly to loosen and then continue turning until you can pull the supply lines.

Disconnect the drain pipe. There’ll be a straight pipe running out to the piece of the base of the sink. At the top between the bits that are straight and curved, there will be a nut holding them. Utilize the pipe wrench to loosen the nut until you can lift the part that is straight .

Remove the straps holding the rim of this sink to the countertop. There are more or eight small metallic clips up under the sink’s edge holding it to the counter. These are held in place. Use a flashlight to find them. Use the screwdriver to loosen the screws before the clamps pull free in the sink.

Cut on sealant or any caulk between the edge of the sink and the countertop with the knife. You ought to be able to lift the sink out of this hole at the counter. The countertop is ready to be prepped for installing tile.

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The Way to Install Cork Underlayment for Engineered Floating Wood Floors

Cork is a material for any home, although some condo associations require cork underlayment where floors are installed. As it’s a rapidly-renewable resource, alameda County Waste Management Authority recommends cork for Bay Area building jobs. Cork insulates cushions and helps control the sound from walking floating, engineered timber floors. Underlayment installments, which are typical for floors, need only a small amount of adhesive around the room’s perimeter. Less glue means odor and fewer fumes compared to fully-bonded underlayment.

Pry off baseboards, if any exist.

Unroll the cork underlayment and flip it with all the ends curving toward the ground. They shouldn’t curve up.

Cut 2-inch-wide strips of cork off the border of the unrolled underlayment with a utility knife. Lay a straightedge . Twist the edge of the straightedge with the border of the cork. Draw a utility knife along the edge of the straightedge to make clean, straight cuts.

Apply bamboo flooring glue comprising urethane, rubber latex or acrylic to a narrow border of a 2-inch-wide strip of cork.

Place onto the ground against the wall with all the edge touching the ground and the remainder of the strip extending the wall up. Where a baseboard would go, the place of the strip is. Surround the room’s perimeter with glued strips of cork. This strip is known as the isolation barrier, which will help contain sounds.

Move the cork underlayment that is unrolled throughout the ground to its place against the wall, butting the underlayment contrary to the isolation barrier’s border.

Until the floor is covered unroll and lay underlayment round the space, butting the isolation barrier with the borders. Butt the sheets of underlayment together, but don’t overlap the material in the seams.

Trim cork off the sheets fit round the room with a utility knife.

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The Way to Acquire a Built-In Microwave Out of the Opening

Microwaves require adequate air space , but they seem to be built into the cabinets with no additional room. This illusion comes following the microwave is installed in pieces that are installed to the front of the cupboard. In the event you have to remove your microwave and replace it, or even if you want to clean behind it, then you can remove it more quickly than you might think. All you need is a few hand tools.

Insert the tip of a putty knife under one side of the trim that encircles the front of the microwave to a thickness of one inch. Force it gently in the event that you have to. Stone and Hint the putty knife until the trim lifts.

Holding the trim up using a putty knife, insert the tip of a chisel. Put a little scrap of 1/4-inch plywood under the chisel. Applying it for a fulcrum, pry down on the putty knife to lift the cut off the face off the cupboard. Do all four sides.

Pull out all nails in the trim or the cupboard using pliers. Reach into the opening. Grab the microwave with both palms. Slide it lightly toward your body until you can reach behind it and then unplug it.

Twist the microwave forward to your body until you can find both hands underneath it and then pull it out of the opening.

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HUD Laws on Living Communities

Senior living communities target people over 55 years old, and specialize in providing housing adapted to the requirements of older people. The communities are also referred to as active-adult communities or age-restricted communities. They offer independent living, but might also offer facilities for assisted living. Some senior living communities offer single-family houses that seniors can purchase, while others are flat communities with rental units. The federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) modulates senior communities to ensure their compliance with the Housing for Older Persons Act of 1995 (HOPA).

Age Qualifications

At least 80 percent of those units in a senior living community, whether for purchase or for rent, must have one occupant who is 55 years old or older. In order to maintain the designation of a senior living community, HUD requires management to conduct an audit of its residents every two decades, and then submit the age of each individual living in the community to HUD. This survey requires that each occupant must show identification such as a drivers license, military ID, state-issued ID, immigration card, passport or birth certificate. The community must maintain a copy of the questionnaire submitted to HUD.


Apart from recording the ages of the community’s residents, the direction of an active adult community must market the units specifically into the senior community. Twenty per cent of the housing units can be inhabited by residents younger than 55, however, HUD wants to make sure that the community directs its promotion and marketing to the senior community and not to younger households. In smaller communities, advertising to senior citiens might not be a problem, but a few senior develpments are massive, with thousands of units. HUD regulations guarantee that a developer doesn’t target the younger market in its marketing materials. When there’s proof that the marketing has been targeted to younger households, the community may reduce its designation as a senior community.

Community Design

HOPA demands that senior communities be separate from other housing units in a large development. If the 55-plus community is a rental community, all the apartments have to be in a building that’s separate from unrestricted rentals inside the community. In for-sale home communities, the most active adult housing needs to be contiguous. By way of example, if a builder wants to make a senior living community inside an existing planned community, she must make sure that the senior units are different and separate from houses being sold to the mainstream industry. This can be accomplised by fencing the parcel or utilizing streets and roads as a boundary.

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Which Mortgage Is Ideal for Me?

Based on RealtyTrac, 1.65 million housing units in the United States obtained a foreclosure filing–a default option, bank or auction repossession notice–in the first half of 2010. California led the nation in the number of foreclosure filings with 340,740. Regardless of the grim statistics, people are still buying homes. If you’re one of these, mortgage options abound, albeit with tighter restrictions than prior to the home crash.

Loan Apps

Three main mortgage programs exist in the United States–conventional, VA and FHA loans. Conventional loans are tagged as conforming should they fall under price limits set by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and non-conforming or unsecured loans should they transcend these area-specific numbers. According to, conventional loans work best if you’ve got excellent credit and enough cash for a deposit of more than 5%. VA and FHA loans are government applications. Both are financed through participating creditors, but guaranteed by the federal government. If you default on the loan, the government repays your creditor. To qualify for a VA loan, which is sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs, you have to establish U.S. military veteran or active duty status. VA loan holders usually fund 100 percent of the home’s purchase price. The Federal Housing Administration backs FHA loan, which require a 3.5 percent deposit as of July 2010, and have significantly more lenient credit requirements than conventional products.

Kinds of Loans

With a fixed-rate loan, your interest rate stays the same throughout the life span of this loan. Sheyna Steiner of notes that 30-year fixed-rate loans are very popular because they provide the lowest monthly payment. But 10-, 15- and 20-year loans are available. Interest rates on adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) alter yearly. Some ARMs, known as hybrids, combine the qualities of fixed-rate and flexible loans. Beneath an interest-only loan, you pay interest but not the main balance for the first few years of the loan. This gives you a rock-bottom monthly payment until the interest-only term expires.

Mortgage Insurance

Typically, if you’ve got less than 20 percent for a down payment, your lender requires mortgage insurance, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The insurance is a guarantee for the loan in the event of default. VA loans do not require mortgage insurance, but a personal mortgage insurance premium is built into all FHA loans. You may also confront an up-front insurance charge up to 3% on an FHA mortgage, according to Bankrate.


Credit requirements for all loans finally are up to the creditor, even if you have qualified for a government program, such as FHA. The home crisis motivated lots of lenders to tighten their standards. On a conventional loan, you may qualify using a credit score as low as 620, according to the Bankrate report, however if your score is less than 740, expect your creditor to tack on a plethora of fees. An FHA loan may be more suitable if you’ve got spotty charge; for example, traditionally FHA creditors accept applicants using debt-to-income ratios which exceed the accepted standard of 25 percent. You may qualify for an FHA loan even if debt takes up around 40 percent of your pay.

Pro Insight

Jeff Brown, a personal finance blogger on PBS'”Nightly Business Report” website, claims that a fixed-rate mortgage is easily the best deal. Though the 15-year option lowers the interest you will pay on the loan, it requires significantly greater monthly payments. Each $1,000 Located on a 15-year loan at 4.77 percent translates to $779 per month versus $562 on a 30-year loan. As far as ARMs are concerned, Brown says they look great when interest rates are reduced, but moving into a fixed-rate loan with a high speed at the outset may pay off in the future if and when rates climb.

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Who Is Eligible for an FHA Loan?

FHA loans are loans originated by private mortgage lenders and insured by the Federal Housing Administration against default by the borrower. The loans benefit the creditors and the borrowers because the lender is assuming no danger and the borrower receives lower rates of interest. The cost of the house, the borrower's credit score, and earnings are variables in FHA loan eligibility.

Price Ceilings

The FHA loan program started in 1934 to help make home ownership accessible to more Americans. Since its inception, the FHA has had ceilings on the amount of the loan it would insure. In recent decades, the agency took into account regional differences in home costs and set the ceilings for single-family and attached houses on a market-by-market foundation. Since this shift, more people have been able to get FHA insured loans, broadening the capability of people to own houses. The cost ceiling in the Bay area is $729,750 for a single-family house. The FHA must individually accept connected projects before buyers can access the FHA loan program. All remote houses and single-family homes are qualified for the FHA program.

Credit History and Down Payment

All lenders look at credit history and often use this as the benchmark for lending money to house buyers. However, with an FHA loan, buyers have more latitude with their credit ratings. Obviously, the FHA will not guarantee a loan when a borrower has a gloomy credit rating, but the agency will insure loans for people whose credit scores are below 580 by requiring a deposit of 10 percent or higher. Home buyers with credit ratings over that need to put down only 3.5 percent on the house, less than the 5% or greater that conventional loans require. A number of those FHA's programs even have down payment assistance for first-time buyers.

First-Time Buyer Programs

Even though the federal government removed down payment assistance programs out of sellers, it’s still possible to use monetary contributions from family members that will offer a specific amount of money for a deposit. The definition of a first-time buyer is one who hasn’t owned a house for three decades. Grant program requirements vary from state to state.

Approved Attached Housing

Home buyers looking for an attached house will probably be restricted to choosing from properties that are approved. The Department of Housing and Urban Development requires that 80 percent of those units inside a condominium project be owner occupied. The developers or owners of these buildings need to apply for acceptance before FHA will insure loans for components in the project.

Refinancing with FHA Loans

Present-day homeowners may use the FHA to refinance their houses as long as the loan worth doesn’t exceed the FHA caps for their kind of land. Since the rates of interest on an FHA loan are usually lower than market prices, people who’d love to refinance their houses can do so with FHA loans only if they reside in the house. The FHA will not refinance a house not occupied by the homeowner.

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