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If you’re a parent of a child on the autism spectrum, you likely know firsthand some of the challenges that come with playtime. Whether it’s with you or other children, your child may struggle to play with others due to a loss of interest in directives or because they engage in repetitive, isolating acts of play.
Nonetheless, playtime is critical in teaching children on the spectrum essential developmental skills. And when they play outside, they get the added benefits of nature. So, if you’re wanting to make your backyard a safe, accessible play zone for your child on the autism spectrum, we’ve provided you with some helpful information.
Softscaping and Hardscaping
Nothing is more important than safety when it comes to customizing your backyard to accommodate your child’s needs. By incorporating living and nonliving elements, you can make your backyard safer than ever.
Along with changing your yard’s landscaping, be sure to look into various sensory activities for your child to enjoy outside.
A Place for Retreating
Along with play, your child on the spectrum may need a place where they can escape overstimulation and enjoy solitude from time to time.
All children need outdoor play, but it comes with special benefits for those on the autism spectrum. Utilize softscaping and hardscaping to increase the safety of your backyard, and think of any activities that will engage your child’s senses. Finally, brainstorm ideas for creating a backyard retreat for your child when they need to get away from overstimulation.
Thinking of purchasing a new home? Partner with the skilled and dedicated real estate professionals at Bryan Lincoln Real Estate! 916.469.9540
StorageUnits.com is an up-and-coming startup that aims to help people all over the United States find the best, most convenient storage options in their communities. Our website is designed to allow consumers to quickly find and compare storage unit companies that meet their needs, whether they are looking for traditional self-storage or a full-service storage and moving solution.
Our goal is to help you skip the hours of research and numerous phone calls, so we do the hard work for you. The result is a curated list of storage companies nearby that you can trust, and short summaries of our research that help you quickly determine whether a company meets your needs and is worth your time to follow up with.
Best Self Storage Units in Sacramento, CA
In order to pick the top 20 storage units companies in Sacramento, we looked at all 180 facilities in the area, including an in-depth review of each company’s amenities, features, and customer reviews. You can read more about it here: https://www.storageunits.com/sacramento-ca-self-storage/
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So you’re thinking of diving into real estate investments! Let’s look at how you can set yourself up for success, right from the beginning.
Look for a Great Location
You’re probably familiar with the old saying about location being the key to success in real estate, and it’s especially true in the investment property market. In fact, per Fortune Builders, it’s one of four key factors that make or break a rental property. The other three are vacancies and listings, the local economy, and projected development in the area. Ultimately, those three concerns reflect directly on the location, so look hard at how those aspects come together in the area you’re considering.
Choose a Property With Potential
Beyond the general area, you should examine the individual property and what it offers prospective renters. There are certain things renters often look for in properties, like space, pet-friendliness, and aesthetics. Being able to offer storage is a boon, they will look at the available parking, and security is also a factor.
Some things you can enhance, like aesthetics, while others you’ll be stuck with, like space, so think carefully about your decision. For example, you can easily replace impractical or tired carpet with a hot flooring like hardwood, which is sure to catch the attention of renters. On the other hand, you may or may not be able to expand parking options, like with a wider driveway.
Be Sure to Budget Carefully
Be sure to budget for any changes you intend to make, including the materials involved and how extensive your changes would be. For example, driveway expansion will depend in part on the surface and size of the project. An asphalt driveway will typically run $2.50 to $4.00 per square foot, while concrete costs $4.00 to $6.00 per square foot.
Along those same lines, a low-cost wood floor like pine or bamboo will run an average of $2,400 for installation. Installing a more luxurious wood, like walnut, typically will run considerably more.
If you’re planning to rent your home to vacationers, you’ll need to budget for amenities like a hot tub, HD television, a home security system, and quality linens. One thing you definitely don’t want to skimp on is Wi-Fi service. Renters will expect access to speedy and reliable internet service; some of the latest 5G options offer almost unnoticeable lag time and can handle any device.
Bear in mind that there is more to effective budgeting than the initial property purchase price and upgrades as well. While there are loans to help you make renovations to your investment property, keep in mind that the longer you go without being able to rent it, the longer you go without income from the property.
Renters and Running Things
Once you go through all the trouble of selecting a great location and upgrading a property, the last thing you want to do is have bad renters. Bad renters can come in a lot of shapes and styles, from those who don’t pay to those who harm your property. For those with long-term residential properties, there are screening services to help you weed out the potential bad actors, and Nolo points out a short-term rental can be listed with a hosting service that screens renters on your behalf.
For those who don’t want to mess with all that, another option is to hire a property manager to cover the day-by-day dealings. Beyond handling renters, they also can take on the rest of your management concerns, like upkeep, cleaning, and marketing. If you want your property to truly be passive income, this arrangement is your best bet.
Investing in property is a smart way to go. Decide where you want your venture to be, the particulars of what you’ll offer, and how you’ll run things. Starting out on the right foot is easy if you follow these strategies carefully!
Guest Submission From: Katie Conroy
Personal loans are a useful source of financing for many borrowers. Interest rates tend to be well below what you’d pay using a credit card. They’re usually unsecured, unlike mortgage loans that put your property on the line. And you can use personal loans for nearly anything you want.
However, personal loans can come with unexpected fees. And some lenders charge more than others. This guide explains some of the common fees to watch out for when applying for a personal loan and comparing lenders.
Loan origination fees
Loan origination fees are likely the most common type of fee. You’ll pay this fee upfront when you borrow.
What is an origination fee?
A loan origination fee is charged when you first take out a loan. Its purpose is to cover the costs that lenders face to underwrite and process the loan.
An origination fee is usually charged as a percentage of the loan amount. They can vary from around 1% of the borrowed amount to 10%, depending upon the lender. The fee is usually subtracted from the loan: If you borrow $10,000 and pay a 1% origination fee, you’ll receive $9,900 in funds.
Loan application fees
Application fees are also paid upfront but are much rarer than origination fees. Lenders charge them to cover the costs of processing an application submitted for a loan, and they vary by lender, loan type, and amount borrowed.
If a lender you’re considering charges an application fee, you can easily find an alternative that doesn’t.
Late payment fees
Late payment penalties aren’t charged when you obtain a loan, but rather if you make a monthly payment after it’s due. These fees are intended to deter late payments and cover any costs a lender incurs to collect the payment.
Some lenders charge a flat rate while others charge a fee equal to a percentage of the late payment. Flat rates on loans we’ve reviewed tend to be between $10 and $40, but could be as high as a $100. A percentage-based fee is usually 5%.
Prepayment penalties are sometimes charged if you want to pay off a personal loan ahead of schedule. Not all lenders charge them, but those that do aim to recoup some of the interest they expected to obtain throughout the life of the loan.
A prepayment penalty is generally based on how long you have had your loan and your outstanding loan balance. If you have just a short time left in the repayment term, your prepayment penalty will be smaller.
While not common, some lenders charge annual fees during the time you have a loan. These are intended to cover costs associated with servicing a loan, such as collecting and processing payments. Personal loan annual fees are usually less than $100.
See the full guide here: Common Personal Loan Fees & Charges
Article submitted by Andy Kearns, LendedU.com
Downsizing is one of the most emotionally challenging moments in seniors face. In time, however, it can also be one of the most liberating. The anxiety seniors feel over downsizing isn’t just the purging of belongings or moving to a new place; it’s also stressful to decide what to do with your current home—a place where you may have made many cherished memories.
Considering downsizing after retirement but not sure what to do with your home? You may feel overwhelmed and unsure of where to start. Here are three ideas you can explore to help make your decisions a little easier.
Get a Lump Sum: Sell Your Home
Many seniors choose to sell their home to pay for a smaller house or an apartment in an independent living facility. The first thing you need to do is research what your current home could fetch on the housing market. Research the average sticker price for homes in your area of similar size and features. You may find out that with a few simple upgrades, you can increase the resale value of your home substantially.
With a lump sum from a home sale, you can put a downpayment on your next residence or, even better, buy it in cash outright. Since many seniors have often paid off their mortgages, you can even plan to purchase a new place that is far less expensive so you have some extra cash to cushion your retirement fund.
Earn Monthly Income: Rent Your Home
Seniors who downsize into a smaller residence can earn regular income by renting out their old home. This can be especially helpful for seniors living on a fixed income during retirement. The additional monthly cash flow, especially if your mortgage is already paid off, can help fund post-retirement fun like travel. Just remember you have to foot the bill on any big fixes your tenants require. And you may suffer financially if your home lies vacant for a few months or a tenant doesn’t pay you rent.
Many seniors have embraced the role of technology when it comes to renting their homes. Turn your home into a vacation rental by listing it on Airbnb, Turnkey, or VRBO. You can rent your home for both short-term and long-term guests. Either way, you can also hire a property manager to do the heavy lifting for you, so you can just sit back and earn income. When looking for a management company, find one that provides tenant screening, seamless booking, cleaning services for new guests, and all-hours local support.
Protect Your Investment: Keep Your Home in the Family
Letting a loved one move into your home after you downsize has several benefits. You can keep your home in your financial portfolio, protecting the investment you have spent decades to build. It’s a way to let your loved ones enjoy their inheritance before you pass on. It also helps to know your home is being cared for by people who are not strangers. Your family member can manage the upkeep of your home, make upgrades, keep the lawn tidy, and oversee remodeling projects.
However, one of the biggest benefits isn’t financial; it’s emotional. With your house still in the family, you can return whenever you feel the need. Whether it’s to celebrate a holiday or for a family dinner, you don’t have to say quick goodbyes to the place that has provided the foundation to many of your life’s memories.
Deciding what to do with your home after downsizing isn’t a process that should be rushed, but sometimes you don’t get a choice. If you can’t take your time to think through all the options, try to focus on the decision that sets you up for financial success. You friends and family can be your support as the other pieces fall into place.
Article contributed by: Jim Vogel
Maybe there’s been a recent uptick in home invasions in your neighborhood, or you just moved into a new home. In any case, it’s time to think about safety and home security.
The first thing to consider is your home itself, since its size, type, and location will all determine what’s needed (and what’s actually possible). Some apartment complexes or condos will have strict rules about drilling into exterior walls, renters will likely have to follow their landlord’s specifications, and a two-story home will need different equipment than a 12th story studio, to name just a few examples. However, once you’ve figured out which security system is best for your needs, there are a few other considerations to look into.
How to Finally Conquer Your Home’s Clutter Without Hiring a Pro
Are you fighting a never-ending battle against mess and clutter? Maybe you’re thinking about hiring a professional organizer to transform your messy house into a clean slate but are turned off by the cost. An expert organizer is sure to get your home looking fantastic, but that’s not the only way to achieve a clutter-free home. If you’re the hands-on type or on a strict budget, you can achieve professional-quality results with DIY decluttering and organizing.
3 Keys to Effective Decluttering1. Work in zonesDon’t jump from the kitchen cabinets to the bedroom closets, or your decluttering efforts will be just as disorganized as your home. Instead, focus on one type of item or one room at a time. It will be easier to assess what you own and choose the best way to organize.
2. Skip the maybe pileDo your decluttering projects usually end with a “maybe” pile that’s twice as big as the pile of stuff you’re getting rid of? If you want a clutter-free home, you need to be decisive about what stays and what goes. If you haven’t used an item in years or didn’t remember owning it until pulling it out of a box, then it needs to go.
3. Keep only what you loveThere’s usually a good reason things become clutter. Sometimes, we never needed it in the first place. Other times, there’s something about an object’s design that stops us from loving it. If you’re keeping items that aren’t quite right, replace them with versions you like enough to use.
Step-by-Step DeclutteringClean as you goBefore you start decluttering, plan for clean-up. This may be the only chance you get to clean out-of-the-way space before your next big cleaning project. You could clean as you go, but if you’d rather speed things up, hire a cleaning service to deep clean each room while you focus on the organizing. Most cleaning services in Sacramento charge between $121 and $403, so you could still be saving over the cost of a professional organizer.
Eliminate kitchen duplicatesAre you holding onto more dish towels than you could ever use, three sets of measuring spoons, and scratched-up skillets you’ve relegated to the back of the cupboard? Kitchen clutter makes cooking and clean-up harder and constrains space in the room we need it most. Eliminate duplicate kitchen items and reorganize so your kitchen has everything you need in easy reach and nothing you don’t.
Simplify your wardrobeIf you have lots of clothes and nothing to wear, the problem isn’t too little clothing — it’s too much. When you can’t see what you have, you reach for the same old outfits out of habit. Pick out the items you wear most, then choose complementary pieces to keep. If it doesn’t suit your style, is tattered, or doesn’t fit, recycle or donate it.
Downsize the toy collectionToss or recycle toys that are broken, missing pieces, or are rarely used, then organize the remaining toys into a system that’s age appropriate for your children. Labeled storage bins (these can be purchased for less than $12) are great for toddlers and elementary schoolers. For older kids’ gadgets, try these electronics organization ideas. If you know your kids will protest and argue why they need to keep the Barbie with dog-chewed legs, you may want to do this project in secret.
Organize the garageIs your garage full of clutter while you park on the street? Reclaim your parking space by donating or throwing away old paints, fertilizers, and other chemicals through your city’s hazardous waste disposal. Long-forgotten recreational equipment and duplicate yard tools are also great candidates for donation or sale. After reducing garage clutter to the essentials, add wall and overhead storage to keep the floor clear.
Put the rest in storageYou may decide to hold onto some items, like family heirlooms, that you regularly don’t use but aren’t ready to part with. If that’s the case, don’t try to cram them into your garage, attic, or basement. Store your items elsewhere by looking for deals at a storage facility nearby. Storage units in Sacramento can fluctuate in cost depending on the month—particularly in September and February, when prices are at their highest and lowest, respectively. You can expect to find that costs vary by about $23.44 each month.
Most people want to live in a clean, organized home. Unfortunately, when you’re surrounded by clutter, it’s hard to know where to start. Rather than letting decluttering anxiety stop you before you start, tackle the mess step-by-step and watch your home transform before your eyes.
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If you are moving to a new home, it can be a very exciting and stressful time. There is a lot to do from coordinating the move, transferring your utilities and finding a good, reliable mover. In fact, finding a moving company is easy, but you want to find a reputable mover that will responsibly move your things to your new home.
By preparing in advance, you can find the right mover to meet your needs.
1. Determine Your Budget
Before even calling a moving company, you should think about how much you want to spend. There are many services offered from moving companies from packing your boxes to merely adding on packing supplies. The more you can do ahead of time, the more money you can save on the move
The average cost of a local move is around $1,200. A long distance move or around 1,000 miles will usually cost around $5,000. This estimate is based on a 2-3 bedroom move.
2. Look for A Moving Company That Has Experience Moving
When looking for a moving company, it’s good to know how long the company has been in business. While there are reputable newer companies, you want to make sure that the movers have experience moving and that they have a good reputation. Look for a company that has been around for many years.
3. Get An In-Person Estimate
A mover needs to come to your home to give you a proper estimate. Never get an estimate over the phone. The moving company needs to inspect through room to room, open up cabinets and give you a proper estimate based on exactly what needs moving. Moving prices are based on the mileage and the weight of all your belongings.
4. Get references
It’s always a good idea to ask the moving company to give you a few references of people who are in your area that have been moved in the last few months. Give those customers a call and find out about their experience.
It’s even better if you first ask your family, friends or even a local realtor for some good, solid movers. The more reviews or recommendations from people who have actually used the moving company, the more informed you can become of the reliability of the moving company.
5. Insurance and Valuation Protection
Make sure that your moving company has insurance. If the company doesn’t have a license number to prove that they are insured, it’s best to move on and look for another company.
Most moving companies have at least two types of insurance. One is called Basic Release Value Protection and is automatically included in the cost of the move, covering $.60 per pound per item for damaged or lost items.
Full Value Replacement Insurance generally means that if the mover damages or loses any of your belongings, then the moving company is required to either replace the item or reimburse you for the cost of the item.
Have a budget in mind, make sure the movers are clear about what needs to be moved and you will have a successful move to your new home.
Source: Consumer’s Advocate.org
blog post provided by Sam Klau
How to finance aging in place renovations: A fully accessible guide
JUNE 6, 2019 in PERSONAL LOANS
In a 2017 study, AARP found that 95 percent of people ages 65 and older preferred to stay in their own homes as they aged. It’s a process known as aging in place – in which older homeowners retrofit their homes to accommodate growing older. It’s a popular alternative to relocation, whether it’s to a nursing home or retirement facility.
Staying in your own home as you grow older offers many benefits. Homeowners can enjoy a stronger sense of safety, comfort, independence, and privacy. Though the renovation cost may be high, it can still be cheaper to age in place than it would be to move to an assisted-living facility.
For a room-by-room guide on aging-in-place renovations, check out AARP’s HomeFit Guide.
For the budget-minded homeowner, there are a number of ways to finance the aging in place process, including:
What’s your current situation? Choose an option below.
I’m still employed, and I haven’t retired yet
I’m retired and on a fixed income
I’m moving in with a family member
I’m still employed and I haven’t retired yet
Best for you: home improvement loans or home equity loans/HELOC
If you’re still employed but considering aging-in-place, retirement may be on the horizon. At this point in life you may own a home. Maybe you’re also considering renovating your property.
If you are, you can incorporate aging in place into your renovations. Renovating your home for old age doesn’t have to result in a cold and clinical design. In fact, according to Home Advisor, it’s better to integrate aging in place into other home improvement projects. This way you can have the interior design you want – while laying the groundwork for future renovations.
For example, let’s say you’re redoing the cabinets in your kitchen. Perhaps you could consider replacing the knobs with D-shaped pulls to make gripping easier as you age. Small steps like that can help prepare for larger aging in place renovations in the future.
Currently, men and women both reach their peak earning years in their 40s. So your credit score may be the highest it’s ever been, and you may have the most equity in your home.
Your two best financing options may be to consider a home improvement loan, or a home equity loan. The option that works for you will vary according to your financial situation.
There’s benefits and drawbacks to both types of loans:
Home improvement loans are personal loans taken out for funding home renovations. These loans are unsecured, and rely entirely on your credit score / history. You won’t have to tap into your home’s equity. But since home improvement loans are unsecured, interest rates are generally higher.
Home equity loans and HELOCs do tap into your home’s available equity. Since they’re secured by your home, the interest rates should be lower.
Home improvement loans work best for short-term expenses. Home equity loans/HELOCs tend to come with repayment periods of anywhere from 15 to 30 years. If you are at all unsure if you will continue to live in your home past retirement, but still want to plan just in case, we recommend a home improvement loan.
I’m retired and on a fixed income
Best for you: home equity loan/HELOC, government assistance, reverse mortgages
At this point, you may need renovations for the direct purpose of aging in place. For example, AARP recommends that older homeowners install nonslip flooring as well as a low rise shower with a no-step entry.
But how can you finance these renovations after retirement?
For many retirees, Social Security is their only source of steady income. But you may still be unsure about where you want to live — and it might be more difficult now to begin the renovation process.
It’s still possible to fund a home improvement project after retirement, but you’ll need a different strategy. Taking out a home improvement loan may result in higher payments than you can afford. Instead, consider capitalizing on your hard work.
Your best options may be to utilize the equity you’ve build up in your property, or find more favorable rates in government-based loans.
Examine your savings before taking out any loan that taps into your equity. You may be able to pay for some renovation costs up front, while still ensuring you can live comfortably in the future.
If you choose to tap into your home’s equity, you should be sure that you’re going to remain in your home for as long as possible. Home equity loans/HELOCs have an average lifespan of 15 to 30 years. And a reverse mortgage will come due when the borrower either dies, sells the home, or permanently moves out.
These loans do still need to be repaid, but you may get a better interest rate than with a home improvement loan. Each loan is secured by your property, and your equity helps determine the value of your loan. And as always, never borrow more than you need.
If you think you can qualify, the Department of Housing and Urban Development offers several federal loans. For example, Title 1 Property Improvement Loans let borrowers take out a loan from eligible lenders. Each loan is insured by the federal government, so borrowers may be able to find a lower rate than they would elsewhere.
I’m moving in with a family member
Best for you: Proceeds from your home sale, personal loan, low-interest credit card
Best for your loved one: Home equity loan/HELOC
Moving in with a family member or loved one may mean you have fewer options for customizing your living space. It may not be the most ideal for aging in place, but gives you the chance to live with your loved ones and have a home within a home. To start, talk with your loved one about potential renovations they might allow to make the property safer and more accessible.
The most important changes will be in the room or suite you’ll be staying in. These can include things like:
Naturally, you’ll want to help your loved one pay for these renovations or cover them in full. If you’re selling your home before move-in, the sale proceeds can go toward any renovation costs you might encounter. If you’re not selling a property, you may consider a personal loan or a low-interest credit card to cover the costs.
If you’re on the other end of the equation — and an aging loved one is moving into your existing home — then carefully consider the space in which they’ll live. If you don’t have a dedicated room they can stay in, then you might consider adding a mother-in-law suite or accessory dwelling unit on the property.
If you do have an available room, make an effort to improve its accessibility before they move in. The small changes above are a great place to start, as are updates to the bathroom they’ll be using. These can include:
Original Source: https://www.bankrate.com/loans/personal-loans/aging-in-place-renovations/
For many families, the idea of an assisted living can serve as an appealing solution for their loved ones; but with the rise of smart home technology independent living for seniors is a more realistic and budget friendly idea to explore.
From everything to automatic stove turn-off devices and medication dispensers to health monitoring sensors there is technology to help your loved one in every stage of independent living, making the aging in place process a more comfortable and less invasive possibility.
Door Locks and Security Systems: A smart security system allows your family to monitor entrance activity to your home, so they’ll always know you’re safe. Smart door locks let you lock your door no matter your location.
Smart Doorbell: Communicate with visitors from anywhere inside of your home; smart doorbells come with video surveillance, speakers, and microphones for added home protection.
Wi-Fi Enabled Refrigerators: Your smart refrigerator keeps track of your grocery list and delivers it to a participating grocery store near you. You can even view the inside of your refrigerator from an app on your smartphone.
Automatic Stove Turn-Off Devices: Automatic stove turn-off devices come with a timer, motion sensors and an automatic shut-off feature to ensure that your kitchen equipment powers down when you want it to.
Automatic Medication Dispenser: Automatic medication dispensers can ensure all your medications are taken on schedule and according to the doctor’s orders. Your dispenser alerts you or your family of missed medications and even provides your physician with detailed reports regarding your medication activity.
Health Monitoring Sensors: Wearable health monitoring sensors communicate physiological data directly to your healthcare providers in real-time. Monitoring sensors can be worn in a variety of accessories to track heart health, exercise activity, chronic conditions and more.
Smart Light Switch: Control the lights in your home using timers or voice command with the help of your smart home assistant or via an app on your smartphone.
For more information on the top technologies for seniors visit Home Automation for Seniors.