Weâre finally closing the book on 2020, and many of us have never felt more desperate for a fresh start and a new beginning. And since it’s not like we’re leaving the house anytime soon, it makes perfect sense that the first place to start anew would be at home. (Plus, decorating and home renovation projects are a pretty good distraction from ever-present existential dread, if we do say so ourselves.)
If you’re looking to do a design overhaul, you’re probably also looking for some inspirationâso we asked real estate and design experts to weigh in on what they anticipate will be the biggest home trends of 2021. It turns out, with all the stress that 2020 brought to our lives, it also influenced some defining changes in the way we decorate, design, and live in our homes.
So get cozy on your sunken-in couch cushionâyou know, the one youâve barely left since March 14âand join along for some inspiration as we prepare for the new year.
1. Dedicated home offices
We can probably all admit: Working from the kitchen table was kind of cute when you thought you would be doing it for only a few weeks. But now? Not so much. That’s why, in 2021 (and beyond) home offices will be more important than ever.
âOne of the most prevalent design trends currently is adding or renovating home offices. People are working from home and do not want to field calls from the kitchen table,â says Simon Isaacs, owner/broker of Simon Isaacs Real Estate.
If you donât have a spare room for an office, there are plenty of ways to get creative and set up a space with some personality. In fact, one of the biggest trends on Pinterest this year is the rise of the “cloffice,” a portmanteau of “closet” and “office.”
âIâve seen clients transform hall closets into amazing offices with high-gloss paint, some wallpaper, and a few shelves,â Isaacs says. âA can of paint can go a long way.â
2. Clearly delineated spaces
Itâs quaint to think back on our obsession with open floor plans. Theyâre not completely passÃ© (yet), but people are increasingly interested in closing off those wide-open spaces we so used to covet.
âThe pandemic has completely shaped home design trends for 2020 and 2021,â Isaacs says. âNot only do people want to create a cozy shared living space, but they also are carving out areas to have some space to themselves.â
âThe trend will be to create different living spaces within the open floor plan so people will have pockets or nooks in the home for e-learning, Zoom calls, a conversation, lounging, exercising, etc.,â adds Julie Busby, founder of the Busby Group at Compass in Chicago.
The need for separate spaces is also shifting home buyersâ priorities in the new year.
âNew buyers are asking for homes with more separation, as sometimes multigenerational families share a home and need space and privacy amongst themselves,â says Yorgos Tsibiridis, a Hamptons broker at Douglas Elliman.
3. Houseplants and indoor gardens
âDuring the pandemic when it was difficult for some to get their daily dose of nature, people started bringing the outdoors in with natural materials in their home,â Busby says.
With the pandemic raging on, the pros say the indoor houseplant trend is here to stayâwhich is good news for your collection of monsteras and air plants.
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âFor houseplants, definitely do your homework before investing,â she says. âTake into account your natural light, exposures, and how much you will remember to water.â
4. Rattan accents
In line with the houseplant trend, natural materials are having a âhuge moment,” Busby says. In particular, rattan is the material du jour, appearing everywhere from drink holders to bed frames.
Try out the trend by choosing a rattan accessory or accent piece that you love; just don’t go overboard.
“Rattan is best in small doses, so pick your favorite piece and work from there,” Busby suggests.
5. Wood-grain kitchen cabinets and counters
Organic touches are also sprouting up in the heart of the home: the kitchen.
âFor the kitchen, our designer members are seeing more minimalist styles with touches of organic and natural materials such as wood grainâperhaps as part of a desire to connect with nature,â says Bill Darcy, CEO of the National Kitchen & Bath Association.
Instead of painted kitchen cabinets or the ubiquitous all-white kitchen, expect to see homeowners embracing a more natural look with wood-grain cabinets and wood countertops on islands.
6. Next-level playgrounds
Speaking of connecting with nature, 2020 has taken our cabin fever to record levels. Experts say enhanced outdoor spaces will continue to trend in the new yearâincluding elaborate custom playgrounds, which Isaacs says are one of the hottest trends he’s seeing right now in South Florida.
To create the ultimate kids’ club, homeowners are even going beyond store-bought swingsets and adding zip lines, adventure courses, and climbing walls to their backyard playgrounds.
7. Outdoor kitchens
Multiseason spaces that feature âfireplaces or fire pits, patio/deck areas, or screened-in porches that can be used year-roundâ are on the rise, Darcy says. That includes outdoor kitchens, which have become more popular than ever during the pandemic.
An outdoor kitchen can be as elaborate (read: expensive) or as modest as you like. Some homeowners may simply add an outdoor refrigerator and dining area to the backyard to create an expanded entertaining space. Others will invest in a stovetop, ample counter space, and appliances to create a fully equipped outdoor kitchen.
8. Smart bathroom innovations
We wonât soon forget the Great Toilet Paper Shortage of 2020, when grocery shelves were cleared of Charmin and bidets sold out at home improvement stores.
Never embraced the bidet in your home bathroom? Well, hold on to your butts: That’s just the start of thingsâyou can expect to see a slew of new bathroom innovations in 2021 as homeowners continue to focus more than ever on hygiene (and perhaps prepare for the next Great Toilet Paper Shortage).
âTouchless appliances, including motion sensors for lighting, and smart temperature control for bathroom floors will be more popular in the next year,â Darcy says.
9. Retro furniture and color palettes
The pandemic brought on a serious wave of nostalgia for people seeking comfort from the past, and Busby says that wistfulness will influence our home decor in 2021.
Expect to see funky color palettes (think mauve, forest green, and burnt orange) and furniture throwbacks like ’80s curves and ’90s traditionalism.
âI think people are nostalgic for simpler times, and we are seeing this desire reflected back in home design,â Busby says.
An easy way to try the trend for yourself is with a quick coat of paint.
âPick a bold color and one wall, or a smaller bathroom, and paint your way back to the ’80s or ’90s,â Busby says.
10. Cozy, layered vibes
âOverall, the design pendulum is swinging to be more traditional,â Busby says.
That means warm colors and natural wood in lieu of cool grays and blues. Instead of stark white minimalism, expect to see more color and personality in 2021’s home decorâless uber-modern and more boho chic.
So go ahead and pile on those mismatched blankets and throw pillows, and don’t be afraid to embrace a design that reflects your personality.
âPeople want to feel at ease in their homes now more than ever,â she says. âBefore the pandemic, people may have put form before function to create the out-of-a-magazine look for their living room. Trends now lean toward a more casual and layered aesthetic.â
The post It’s a Shake-Up! These 10 Drastically Different Design Trends Will Be Everywhere in 2021âand Beyond appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.comÂ®.
Being a homeowner on a budget is nothing to be ashamed of, if anything, most people prefer to keep their expenses low, especially after recently purchasing a home! But,there are some things you shouldn’t cheap out on, and we’ve got you covered.
The post 5 Things You Should Pay Premium for as a Homeowner or Renter appeared first on Homes.com.
You hear the term all the time. After all, itâs 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 â or lack of it — is one of the primary reasons businesses, or real estate investments, fail. Without sufficient cash flow, youâll run out of money. Thatâs why itâs 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 â 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 â 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 youâll 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.
The post The ABCs of Multifamily Cash Flow first appeared on Century 21Â®.
When most parents offer to fund their childâs tuition, itâs with the expectation that their financial circumstances will remain relatively unchanged. Even with minor dips in income or temporary periods of unemployment, a solid plan will likely see the child through to graduation.
Unfortunately, what these plans donât tend to account for is a global pandemic wreaking havoc on the economy and job market.
Now, many parents of college-age children are finding themselves struggling to stay afloat – much less afford college tuition. This leaves their children who were previously planning to graduate college with little or no debt in an uncomfortable position.
So if youâre a student suddenly stuck with the bill for your college expenses, what can you do? Read below for some strategies to help you stay on track.
Contact the University
Your first step is to contact the university and let them know that your financial situation has changed. You may have to write something that explains how your parentâs income has decreased.
Many students think the federal government is responsible for doling out aid to students, but federal aid is actually distributed directly by the schools themselves. In other words, your university is the only institution with the authority to provide additional help. If they decide not to extend any more loans or grants, youâre out of luck.
Ask your advisor if there are any scholarships you can apply for. Make sure to ask both about general university scholarships and department-specific scholarships if youâve already declared a major. If you have a good relationship with a professor, contact them for suggestions on where to find more scholarship opportunities.
Some colleges also have emergency grants they provide to students. Contact the financial aid office and ask how to apply for these.
Try to Graduate Early
Graduating early can save you thousands or even tens of thousands in tuition and room and board expenses. Plus, the sooner you graduate, the sooner you can get a job and start repaying your student loans.
Ask your advisor if graduating early is possible for you. It may require taking more classes per semester than you planned on and being strategic about the courses you sign up for.
Fill out the FAFSA
If your parents have never filled out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) because they paid for your college in full, now is the time for them to complete it. The FAFSA is what colleges use to determine eligibility for both need-based and merit-based aid. Most schools require the FAFSA to hand out scholarships and work-study assignments.
Because the FAFSA uses income information from a previous tax return, it wonât show if your parents have recently lost their jobs or been furloughed. However, once you file the FAFSA, you can send a note to your university explaining your current situation.
Make sure to explain this to your parents if they think filing the FAFSA is a waste of time. Some schools wonât even provide merit-based scholarships to students who havenât filled out the FAFSA.
Get a Job
If you donât already have a job, now is the time to get one. Look at online bulletin boards to see what opportunities are available around campus. Check on job listing sites like Monster, Indeed and LinkedIn. Make sure you have a well-crafted resume and cover letter.
Try to think outside the box. If youâre a talented graphic designer, start a freelance business and look for clients on sites like Upwork or Fiverr. If youâre a fluent Spanish speaker, start tutoring other students. Look for jobs where you can study when things are slow or that provide food while youâre working.
Ask anyone you know for suggestions, including former and current professors, older students and advisors. If you had a job back home, contact your old boss. Because so many people are working remotely these days, they may be willing to hire you even if youâre in a different city.
It may be too late to apply for a Resident Advisor (RA) position now but consider it as an option for next year. An RA lives in the dorms and receives free or discounted room and board in exchange for monitoring the students, answering their questions, conducting regular inspections and other duties.
Take Out Private Loans
If you still need more money after youâve maxed out your federal student loans and applied for more scholarships, private student loans may be the next best option.
Private student loans usually have higher interest rates and fewer repayment and forgiveness options than federal loans. In 2020, the interest rate for federal undergraduate student loans was 2.75% while the rate for private student loans varied from 3.53% to 14.50%.
Private lenders have higher loan limits than the federal government and will usually lend the cost of tuition minus any financial aid. For example, if your tuition costs $35,000 a year and federal loans and scholarships cover $10,000 a year, a private lender will offer you $25,000 annually.
Taking out private loans should be a last resort because the rates are so high, and thereâs little recourse if you graduate and canât find a job. Using private loans may be fine if you only have a semester or two left before you graduate, but freshmen should be hesitant about using this strategy.
Consider Transferring to a Less Expensive School
Before resorting to private student loans to fund your education, consider transferring to a less expensive university. The average tuition cost at a public in-state university was $10,440 for the 2019-2020 school year. The cost at an out-of-state public university was $26,820, and the cost at a private college was $36,880.
If you can transfer to a public college and move back home, you can save on both tuition and housing.
Switching to a different college may sound like a drastic step, but it might be necessary if the alternative is borrowing $100,000 in student loans. Remember, no one knows how long this pandemic and recession will last, so itâs better to be conservative.
The post My Parents Can’t Afford College Anymore – What Should I Do? appeared first on MintLife Blog.