Jay Costantino's Blog
Your kitchen is the ultimate workspace, but only if it has the lighting needed to properly illuminate your work area. Without the right lighting, you could end up fumbling through your tasks, failing to complete them to the best of your ability. Thankfully, resolving that problem is as easy as installing LEDs under the cabinets. Here’s what you need to know about this awesome lighting solution for your kitchen.
Types of Under-Cabinet LEDs
When choosing under cabinet lighting for your kitchen, the following types tend to work best.
Resembling hockey pucks in size and shape, LED pucks allow you to shine light wherever you need it. As a standalone lighting option, these typically use batteries for power, giving you virtually unlimited placement options. But remember, if you choose this design, make sure you have plenty of batteries on hand to avoid losing light when you need it most.
Available in a variety of sizes and shapes, LED bars are the most popular under cabinet option. These lights securely fasten to the bottom of whatever cabinet you like and plug right into a nearby outlet for power. Since these use a plug, you are somewhat limited in placement options, depending on your kitchen design.
For a little more flexibility, you may want to consider LED strip lights, which come in a variety of lengths and sizes. These strips are typically plug in, though some run on batteries instead. Their extra length can make it easier to place them in hard to reach areas that are far from an outlet.
Once you decide which LED light design you favor most, you can pick up as many as you need to create the task lighting of your dreams.
Key LED Light Features for Under Cabinets
Under cabinet LED lights have a large price range, which is largely built around the standard features included with each unit. At the high end of the price range you might find lights with dimmable bulbs, motion sensors, and even color-changing features. At the low end, you just get basic lights that can be turned off and on with the press of a button.
To find your ideal options, take a look at your expectations, budget, and kitchen activities. If you frequently need extra light while cutting up meat, for example, you may want motion sensors to have light on demand without having to flick a switch.
Installation Tips for Under Cabinet Lighting
Whether you choose strips, bars, or pucks, there are a few things to remember when installing these lights:
When you take the time to select and install your LED under cabinet lights, you can transform your kitchen into a truly effective workspace. So, get started in planning this smart upgrade to treat yourself to a well-illuminate space to complete all your kitchen tasks.
Thinking of buying a home in the near future? You're going to need a preapproval. This tells real estate agents that you're serious about the home-buying process, and it alerts sellers that you're a solid, low-risk candidate. Preapprovals aren't always easy to score, however. And if you're someone who's had a few credit issues in the past, you may need to improve your credit score before your dream of home-ownership becomes reality.
Here's a checklist of best practices for prepping your credit to gain a preapproval:
Check Your Credit Reports
Before you ever approach a lender for a home loan preapproval, make sure you know what's on your credit reports. You're entitled to one free credit report each year from each of the three different reporting agencies:
Order credit reports for yourself and for anyone who will be a co-applicant on your home loan, and then scour your reports for inaccuracies.
File Immediate Disputes Over Inaccuracies
Any discrepancies you find should be reported immediately. It's an easy process of reporting the issue to the credit bureau and waiting while they go back to the creditor to verify what you've claimed. In most instances, the inaccuracy will be removed within a week or two, though you may have to produce receipts as proof of payment.
Contact Creditors to Offer Settlements
Make a list of old, unpaid debts that are valid and set aside the funds to pay them off, one by one. If you have cash-in-hand, call creditors and ask them to settle for a portion of the balance in cash. Some may be willing to work with you, others may not. But it never hurts to ask.
Pay Current Bills On Time
Stay current on existing accounts. Make sure everything is paid on time, from credit cards to car payments, to ensure you don't lose points on your overall score while you're working toward credit restoration.
Pay Down Your Debt-to-Income Ratio
Your debt-to-income ratio is an indicator of how responsibly you use your credit. The lower your ratio, the easier it will be to obtain a preapproval. Pay down big balances. The more credit you're able to free up, the more attractive you'll look to potential lenders. Prepping your credit to gain a preapproval is surprisingly easy, but it requires the funds necessary to pay off outstanding debts and to pay down current balances.
Start early if you suspect there are items on your credit report that require fixing, and be patient as things circle back around. Credit repair is not an overnight fix, but with steady progress, it won't be long until you have a preapproval for your new dream home.
A closing represents the final stage before a buyer acquires a house. At this point, a buyer and seller will meet and finalize an agreement. And if everything goes according to plan, a buyer will exit a closing as the owner of a new residence.
Ultimately, there are several steps that a buyer should complete to prepare for a home closing, and these are:
1. Review Your Home Financing
Typically, a lender will provide full details about your monthly mortgage payments for the duration of your home loan. This information is important, as it highlights exactly how much that you will be paying for your house.
Assess your home loan information prior to a closing. That way, if you have any home loan concerns or questions, you can address them before your closing day arrives.
If you allocate the necessary time and resources to review your home financing, you may be able to alleviate stress prior to closing day. In fact, once you know that all of your home financing is in order, you can enter a closing with the confidence that you'll be able to cover your mortgage expenses.
2. Perform a Final Walk-Through
A final walk-through provides a last opportunity to evaluate a residence before you complete your purchase. Thus, you will want to take advantage of this opportunity to ensure that a seller has completed any requested repairs and guarantee that a house matches your expectations.
Oftentimes, a final walk-through requires only a few minutes to complete. The inspection generally may be completed a few days before a closing as well.
It is essential to keep in mind, however, that a final walk-through won't always go according to plan. If you give yourself plenty of time for a final walk-through, you should have no trouble getting the best-possible results.
Try to schedule a final walk-through at least a week before a closing. By doing so, you'll ensure that a seller can perform any requested repairs prior to closing day.
3. Get Your Paperwork Ready
During a home closing, you'll likely need to provide proof of home insurance, a government-issued photo ID and other paperwork. If you get required documents ready ahead of time, you won't have to scramble at the last minute to retrieve assorted paperwork for your closing.
If you need help preparing for a home closing, there is no need to worry. Real estate agents are available nationwide, and these housing market professionals can guide you along each stage of the homebuying journey.
A real estate agent will help you find a house, submit an offer on it and conduct a house inspection. Plus, this housing market professional can provide recommendations throughout the homebuying process to help you achieve your desired results. And as closing day approaches, a real estate agent is available to respond to your homebuying concerns and questions too.
Prepare for a home closing – follow the aforementioned steps, and you can seamlessly navigate the home closing process.
The process of buying a house may prove to be long and complicated. Fortunately, there are several steps that you can take before you pursue a home to streamline the homebuying cycle, and these include:
1. Create a Homebuying Checklist
It helps to start the homebuying process with a homebuying checklist in hand. This checklist will enable you to differentiate between home must-haves and wants, resulting in a fast, efficient homebuying journey.
Think about what you require from a home. For example, if you need a house that is located close to your office in the city, you should include this information in your checklist.
Also, if you want a house that features a built-in swimming pool, you can include this information in your homebuying checklist. But keep in mind that a swimming pool likely is a non-essential item. And if you find a home that is virtually perfect but lacks a swimming pool, it may still be a good idea to pursue this house.
2. Establish a Budget
How much can you afford to spend on a house? This question frequently plagues buyers as they proceed along the homebuying journey. Luckily, you can determine how much money is at your disposal if you develop a budget.
To budget effectively, it helps to meet with local lenders. Banks and credit unions generally offer a wide range of mortgage options and can help you make an informed mortgage decision.
In addition, it often helps to get pre-approved for a mortgage prior to entering the real estate market. Because if you have a mortgage, you can pursue houses that fall within a specific price range and reduce the risk of overspending to acquire your dream house.
3. Hire a Real Estate Agent
If you want to enjoy a quick, seamless homebuying experience, it is beneficial to have a homebuying expert at your side. Thankfully, real estate agents are available nationwide, and these housing market professionals will do what it takes to help you discover a great house at an affordable price.
A real estate agent understands housing market patterns and trends and can help you plan ahead for a buyer's or seller's market. He or she will teach you about the real estate market and respond to your homebuying queries as well.
Furthermore, a real estate agent acts as a guide throughout the homebuying journey. This housing market professional will set up home showings, negotiate with a seller's agent on your behalf and help you finalize a home purchase. By doing so, a real estate agent will take the guesswork out of buying a house, regardless of the current housing market's conditions.
When it comes to purchasing a house, it helps to prepare. If you employ a real estate agent today, you can get the support you need to plan ahead for the best- and worst-case homebuying scenarios. That way, you'll be able to identify and address potential homebuying hurdles before they escalate.
Ready to buy a house? Follow the aforementioned steps, and you can move closer to pursuing your dream residence.
If there’s one battle that all homeowners fight, it’s the one to get organized in their spaces. There’s a few actions that you can put into play to help you finally get organized once and for all. Follow the tips below to develop your own plan to get organized.
Find Your Focus
If you know the areas of your home that drive you crazy, you’ll know where to start to get organized. Does your entryway get cluttered easily? Is it difficult for you to find things in your kitchen? start in these rooms to be on your way to organizational greatness.
Have A Plan
The first thing that you should do when you’re trying to get your home organized is make a list. This will make your organizing duties much easier if you can see your plan on paper. Decide where you want to start in your home with organization. If you approach your home room by room, the task will be that much less overwhelming for you. Have your priorities set. Which room do you really want to be the first to have some order in it? If you start there, then it will be easier to get moving on the other rooms that need some semblance.
Declutter And Purge
A big part of organizing is decluttering. To reduce the amount of clutter that you have in your home, you’ll need to get rid of some things. As you go through each room, include a donate pile and a throwaway pile. Old things that you aren’t using can either be repurposed or gently trashed. Try to keep the rule that if you haven’t used the item within a year, it’s time for it to go! Plenty of things that you aren’t using can be put to good use by families in need.
It’s important to set goals throughout your organizational process. You don’t want your project to be going on for years with no end in sight. Plan a party, for example, and be sure to get the majority, if not all of your organizational tasks done in a timely manner. You can show off your newly straightened out home to friends. Your home will feel like a new place when you can find everything with ease.
Get Your Storage Under Control
Undoubtedly, you’ll have some things that will need to be stored. To make things easier for yourself, label all of your boxes and keep them in convenient places close to where you’ll need them. Anything that is stored in the attic or the basement should be labeled and put away by by category. All of your Christmas decorations should be in one place and labeled, and so on. As a bonus try to get all of the same colored boxes for each purpose if you can.