How Many Homes Will It Take to Find ‘The One’?

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When you’re house hunting, you can start feeling like Goldilocks pretty quickly: This one’s too small, that one’s too big, and that other one has crazy wallpaper—the list of “not quite right” goes on and on.

The average home buyers will visit 10 homes over 10 weeks’ time before they find “the one”—that special place that inspires an offer. But that number can vary widely: Some may fall in love with the first place they see, while others feel compelled to check out several dozen.

To prove that the path to homeownership can take some wild turns, we got three home buyers to reveal how many houses it took to find the perfect place. Let their stories inspire you to find your dream home!

We bought the very first house we toured’

Becky Dacona and her husband toured only one house—one!—before buying it. Given they had so few reference points, how did they know there wasn’t something better out there?

The secret, says Dacona, was doing a thorough vetting job online.

“In reality we searched for about three years,” she says of her digital home-shopping saga. “We would first search the listings and find things in our price range, and that met our requirements. Then we would do extensive research online about the place like the taxes, and check out Google Earth to see how the home was situated in relation to the neighbors. Then, if we still liked what we saw, we’d compile a list and do a drive-by.”

At long last, they cruised by a house for sale in Fremont, NY, and they were persuaded to take a look inside.

This house is the first that inspired us to contact the real estate agent,” Dacona says of her current home. “It wasn’t an ‘aha’ moment or anything like that. We did our drive-by, and it really appealed to us. Then we drove by again, and again. Then we realized that we wanted to take that next step and see where it led. And it led to us buying this home.”

Take-home lesson: Doing thorough research online can really help you narrow your options—and save you time and effort. Make sure to vet the home and the neighborhood using Google Maps, and use tools such as realtor.com/local to get neighborhood info.

‘It took five years and 50 houses’

“I looked at houses for years,” admits Steven Eliades. “You name it, I looked at it. There was always something just not right. The yard was too big. The yard was too small. It was too far from town.”

It was an exhausting process, but when he saw the quaint yellow Victorian in Philadelphia, Eliades immediately knew it was perfect.

“I knew I wanted a Victorian house that wasn’t too big, that had a wraparound porch, that I could drive to the grocery store from in five or 10 minutes,” he says of his home since 2002. “And I wanted to be in a community. I wanted to have neighbors!”

He and his wife made an offer on the spot. “We didn’t even pull out of the driveway, didn’t think about it overnight,” he recalls.

Take-home lesson: Sometimes you have to shop around to get a firm handle on what you like—and dislike—and what your market has to offer. So don’t think of it as wasted time if it takes a while for the right house to appear; consider it time well spent honing your house hunting skills.

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What Is Your Property Really Worth?

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Question. Over the years, I have been involved in questions dealing with the value of certain property. This has involved such diverse issues as appealing the County’s assessment for tax purposes, obtaining a refinance mortgage to avoid private mortgage insurance, and recently challenging an IRS valuation of property we just inherited.

Is there a way to determine what our property is really worth. We have often obtained different appraisals on the same property and would like to determine our true net worth. How do the appraisal prices work?

Answer. The most commonly used method to determine the value of one’s property is to obtain an independent appraisal from an experienced appraiser. However, appraising market value of real estate is an art — and not a science. And at best, it is an inexact art. My own experience with appraisals and appraisers has led me to question the validity of a number of appraisals.

It should be understood that an appraisal is an estimate and an opinion of value. The appraisal will not determine or establish the value of your property, but it can only estimate what that value is. The Supreme Court of the United States has defined fair market value as “the price at which the property would change hands between a willing buyer and a willing seller, neither being under any compulsion to buy or to sell and both having a reasonable knowledge of relevant facts.”

All too often, however, the appraiser does not understand — or even know — the neighborhood, and brings to bear his or her subconscious prejudices while considering the value of your house. This is even worse now since lenders often have to rely on appraisers who are not even in the locality of the property.

There are three methods used by appraisers. First, the cost approach. Under this method, the cost of reproducing the building is added to the value of the land, and a discount is applied for depreciation and deterioration that the buildings might have suffered.

A second approach is known as the capitalization of income. Since this is generally used in considering income-producing property and is complicated and controversial, this column will not enter into a discussion of this approach.

The third formula is known as the market comparison. Here, the appraiser must consider the value of comparable properties, and once again, this is a highly subjective task. For example, your next door neighbor’s house recently sold for $410,000. Your house looks identical to your neighbor’s from the outside.

But inside your house, there are major differences. You have a finished basement; your neighbor does not. You have wall-to-wall carpets; your neighbor does not. You have recently installed a very modern kitchen; your neighbor’s kitchen is from the l940’s.

Needless to say, unless the appraiser actually visits and inspects both houses, the comparable method may adversely affect you.

Nevertheless, this market comparison method is widely utilized by appraisers in determining property values for mortgage lenders.

This does not mean to imply that you must take the appraisal without question. Here are some tips for dealing with your appraiser:

  1. 1. Insist on obtaining a written report from the appraiser. Obtain the appraiser’s name and address, and inquire as to the methods used to determine the value of your property.
  2. 2. If the appraisal was obtained by a mortgage lender, appeal that appraisal through that lender. Advise the lender you are dissatisfied with the value placed on the property, and that you will insist on a second appraisal being done, by an appraiser of your selection.

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February home to-do’s

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You started off the new year with resolutions for yourself and goals for the home. As you now begin to settle into your new lifestyle, it’s important to clean up clutter at home and look forward to the months ahead. Winter is slowly coming to an end, and your house maintenance needs to reflect a fresh spring feel. Take a look at five chores to help give your home a boost of spring.

Clean up indoor paint

Unless your wall needs a fresh coat of paint, go through them with a sponge and freshen up the paint on your doors and cabinets. Take a deeper look and spot the smudges and dust that builds up in these areas. An easy run through will freshen the paint in the house and reduce the need for a new paint job.

Clean under the heavy stuff

It took time and lot of energy to put the fridge where it currently stands, the oven in its place, and the dresser in its corner. It’s understandable not to want to move them again. Though, there is dust and trash that can slip into these areas. These are not everyday chores, but it is important to clean under these untouched spots to prevent bad build up over time.

Raid the Fridge

A common trend that tends to happen during the new year is putting more food in the fridge than we take out. With our new diets or eating styles we outlined in the new year, eventually, there are a few of those items we just don’t get around too as much as we had hoped. Take some time to dispose of those items that got pushed to the back of the fridge.

Mattress and Bedding

Clean up the mattress by vacuuming and laying it on its side to fully air itself out. Replace the current sheets you have to give the bed a fresh new feel. It might be a good time to start packing up the winter weather bedding and start replacing it with a springtime vibe.

Windows/Screens

There are a few windows that get all the attention while the rest get none. The dust and grime that gets into the surface of your windows will make them look old and cloudy. Take a look at the windows around the house and grab some window-cleaner to take the cloudiness right off.

Shades of Gray: Selecting Design’s Most Neutral Color Is Trickier Than You Think

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Choosing a gray paint can feel like a monumental task—dare we say, right up there with selecting a career or deciding whether to have kids.

OK, maybe it’s not quite that monumental. But if you’re in a decorating mode, a sea of choices—from brown-gray to blue-gray and everything in between—might make you feel like you’re drowning in a smoky, slate- and gunmetal-hued ocean.

Don’t despair! You can go gray without turning your hair the same shade in the process. You just have to follow some simple design rules.

Find the undertone

Before jumping into the world of gray, it’s important to figure out which shade will complement the furniture and textiles you already have. To do this, you need to determine whether the undertone in your room is on the warm or cool side.

“If there are warm tones in the home, such as brown or taupe upholstery and flooring, or there’s a lot of red, orange, or yellow accents, then it’s imperative to use a gray with warm (tan or beige) undertones,” explains Dessie Sliekers of Slick Designs.

But if details in the rooms favor blues and purples, you’ll need a gray with cool undertones, which will have a bluish or greenish cast.

Look to your lighting

 

To narrow your gray choices, gauge the light your space receives, recommends Sara McLean, color expert and designer at Dunn-Edwards.

“North-facing rooms get little natural light, so a cool gray (green-gray, blue-gray) will only make it feel chilly or cold,” she says. “Instead, choose a warm gray or grays with brownish undertones.”

West-facing rooms also show better with warmer grays, while south-facing views, which get more sunshine, look great with cool grays. East-facing rooms tend to have little bluer natural light, so green- and blue-grays can also work nicely here, pairing beautifully with turquoise and cobalt accents.

A word of caution before you commit, though: Paint a swatch on your wall in your chosen shade, and see how it looks in the light.

“Know that the color will change slightly throughout the day,” says Justin Riordan of Space and Archer Design Agency.

Assess the room

Yup, the function of your room is a factor, too. Unless you have an ultracontemporary home, beach-front property, or an industrial loft (these styles look amazing painted a blue-toned, cool gray) look to warmer tones, says Sara Chiarilli, an interior designer with Artful Conceptions in Tampa,FL.

In particular, gray with warmer brown undertones is lovely in living rooms and master bedrooms, she says.

Riordan sticks with cooler grays when designing around sources of water, like in the bathroom. A cool, light gray, like Benjamin Moore Winter Solstice(1605), above, is a solid pick for a spa atmosphere.

Split the difference with ‘greige’

Want a paint shade that’ll work both ways? “Greiges (gray and beige) are the perfect neutral because of its versatility—you can pair it with warm or cool tones,” says Liz Toombs, president of PDR Interiors.

Amazing Gray (Sherwin-Williams 7044), above, is her pick.

“It’s also a wonderful transition color for those who aren’t sure about painting a whole room gray,” she adds.

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Tips on getting the home tax deductions you’re entitled to

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Taxes can be difficult for even seasoned homeowners to understand. With new tax legislation that was passed on December 22, 2017, there may be changes to the taxes you file this year. The following tips can help ensure you’re filing for and receiving all of the home-related tax deductions you’re entitled to.

1. Mortgage Interest Deduction

The Mortgage Interest Deduction can be used by itemizing using Schedule A. To qualify, the mortgage must be secured by either your primary or secondary home; homes, trailers, boats, and RVs can all qualify as long as they have a sleeping area, cooking area, and bathroom.

Interest on mortgages up to $1 million, or up to $500,000 for married couples filing separately, can be deducted. Likewise, if you have an additional loan such as a second mortgage, home equity line of credit, or home equity loan, the additional interest is still deductible up to a total amount of $1 million on all home loans.

While it will not affect your filing this year, beginning in tax year 2018 the mortgage interest deduction cap will be $750,000. The accompanying increase in the standard deduction may make it more worthwhile for homeowners not to itemize in the future.

2. Prepaid Interest Deduction

If you bought a home during 2017, the interest – or points – you prepaid may be 100% deductible along with the mortgage interest deduction. Prepaid interest deductions are also reported using Schedule A; your lender will provide you with a form 1098 that details the amount paid either when closing the mortgage or after refinancing.

 

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5 DIY projects that will reinvent your bathroom in a weekend

(BPT) – Ready to tackle your next home remodeling project and showcase your Do-It-Yourself (DIY) skills? Or maybe you’re an aspiring DIYer, hoping to channel your creative spirit and try your hand at the next home improvement project? Now is the time to get started.

According to experts from the National Association of Home Builders, the amount of money homeowners spend on remodeling projects is predicted to grow nearly 5 percent in 2018. Some of these dollars will be spent on large comprehensive rebuilds and others will be spent on smaller fix-it-up projects. No matter the spend, it’s a good bet much of this money will go to fund DIYers in their home improvement efforts, and many of them will be taking on projects for the first time.

Here are five bathroom upgrade projects that can be completed in a weekend. So now you can reinvent your bathroom and employ your DIY skills at the same time. Go ahead, pick the project that appeals most to you, and let’s get this project underway:

* Upgrade your bathroom fixtures. The focal points of your bathroom can easily be replaced, making a big overall impact with little outlay of effort. Tapered design lines and modern styling, like those in the American Standard Townsend bathroom fixtures, can beautifully enhance your bathroom. Consider replacing an old vanity with a new smoked gray vanity or washstand. It can be accented with a softly angular sink displaying generously sized side ledges to conveniently accommodate toiletries. Finish the room with matching accessories – towel bars, toilet paper holder, robe hook – and you’re on your way to a whole new level of style, all done with your DIY expertise.

* Install a new shower door. A shower door replacement can be made for cosmetic reasons; plus, there are very real potential benefits behind it as well, provided you pay attention to the details. Follow the process to install your door and be sure to apply silicone caulk at the end along the edges of the base track – both inside and out – and along the jams. This will make your new door water tight and keep your whole bathroom cleaner and drier.

* Replace your sink faucet. The faucet in your bathroom gets used every single day, so why not make it one you love? American Standard Studio S bathroom faucets showcase a fashion-forward geometric silhouette with minimalistic surface details. You can choose an easy-to-operate single handle model, or distinctive two-handle configurations, depending on what works for your home and family. These faucets are easy to install, and the WaterSense-certified 1.2 gallons per minute flow rate will save you water – up to 45 percent over conventional models – and money without compromising your experience.

* Lay the tile. Whether you’re motivated by structural needs or an outlet for your own artistic expression, laying new bathroom tile is a project that immediately ups the wow factor. Tile is incredibly impervious to water and stains, making it perfect for the bathroom. But it won’t lay properly unless you thoroughly clean the surface beforehand. Fill those backboard seams with mortar, apply a fiberglass mesh and then you’re ready to lay a tile design that matches your unique look.

* A spot for the perfect seat. If you’ve ever wished your time on the toilet seat was a little more luxurious, now is the perfect time to upgrade to an American Standard SpaLet bidet seat. It’s easy to install and provides the ultimate personal experience with a wide array of features like heated seat, water temperature control, spray strength, nozzle position, and even a deodorizer. Now, you can bring a spa-like environment right to the comfort of your own bathroom, without much time or cost invested.

Start reimagining your bathroom today

As one of the most used rooms in your home, the bathroom is the perfect place to start your weekend warrior home improvement projects. Simple upgrades to the elements in a bustling family bathroom, cozy master bath or heavy-use powder room can often be done with DIY know-how and enjoyed for many years to come.

IMAGE CAPTIONS:
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Caption 1: The focal points of your bathroom can easily be replaced to make a big overall impact with little outlay of effort, as shown here with the American Standard Townsend collection of bathroom fixtures and faucets.

Caption 2: Sleek design-lines and modern styling, like those highlighted in the American Standard StudioS faucets and Studio line of fixtures shown here, can beautifully enhance your bathroom to make it ideal for your family's needs.

2018 remodeling trends that boost your home’s value

(BPT) – A strong housing market is giving homeowners the confidence to invest in remodeling. In fact, homeowner spending on improvements and repairs will approach $340 billion in 2018, an increase of 7.5 percent from estimated 2017 spending, according to the Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA) from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University.

Remodeling can add value to your home while also making it more livable, but not all remodeling projects are created equal. While the choice to remodel is individual, there are many studies that show some projects return more on your investment than others. Fortunately, some of 2018’s leading remodeling trends also have great ROI.

Trend 1: Bathroom additions

Adding a bathroom can add comfort and convenience for current homeowners, plus catch the eye of potential buyers. A bathroom addition recoups about 60 percent of the cost, according to Remodeling magazine’s 2018 Cost vs. Value report.

A top trend in 2018 is adding bathrooms to unique spaces, meaning not letting existing plumbing limit your options. This might include adding a small powder room on the main floor or adding a full bathroom to the basement where there is no current drainage.

Homeowners can get the valuable bathroom addition they want without cutting concrete or undermining the structural integrity of the home by opting for above-floor plumbing features such as a macerating toilet and drain pumps from Saniflo. The Saniaccess3 is a smart choice for full baths, and the Saniaccess2 is ideal for powder rooms.

These compact systems can fit into a closet, beneath a stairway or even be built into the wall. When the project is complete, it will look like any conventional bathroom, but above-ground plumbing options make it possible to put a bathroom virtually anywhere – even in the garage or outside. Learn more at www.saniflo.com.

Trend 2: Home exterior updates

You never get a second chance to make a first impression, and this is true for houses as well. With this in mind, homeowners are focusing their efforts on the house exterior in 2018.

Some exterior remodeling projects can be costly and time-consuming, such as replacing siding and windows or redoing landscaping. To get a big visual bang for your buck with great ROI, consider replacing your garage door. The average garage door replacement job cost is $3,470, according to the Cost vs. Value report, plus it has a whopping 98 percent cost recouped at resale.

Want to take exterior upgrades one step further? Consider replacing your existing entry door with a new steel option that matches your new garage door. Your house’s facade will be completely refreshed, plus that door recoups 91 percent of the cost.

Trend 3: Smart home upgrades

You have a smartphone, smart watch and smart TV; it only makes sense that you also want to bring the convenience of technology into your remodeling projects with a smart home.

Smart homes have been trending for some time, but in 2018 this trend could reach a tipping point thanks to wider availability and more affordable options. What used to cost thousands may now only cost hundreds, and you might be surprised how many DIY options you can now find at your local home improvement store.

Some of the most popular technological enhancements for the home include smart lighting controls that save energy and let you customize lighting in every room of your home. Smart door locks and security systems are also valuable additions.

If you’re looking for an affordable way to enter into the smart home market, consider a smart thermostat or smart smoke detector. Technology is bound to make your home more comfortable and safe while boosting the bottom line come sale time.

Bright Ideas: How to Light Up Your Rooms

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These clever tricks banish dim interiors and dark corners, and usher natural light into the house.

Most homes have a few gloomy rooms and nooks, but you don’t have to stay in the dark. To illuminate a poorly lit home without flicking a single light switch, use a combination of these bright ideas to enjoy an improved result that’s like the difference between night and day.

Choose glass-paneled doors. One of the most effective ways to let natural light flood into your home is to use glass-paneled doors. Installing a new window or increasing its size usually requires a permit, but this may not be the case when replacing exterior doors. Whether you like the bold lines of these steel-framed doors or prefer the traditional French doors in the next photo, there is a design to suit every palette and position, both inside and out.

Tip: If privacy is a concern, opt for frosted glass.

Use transom and sidelight windows. This Sydney home uses a sophisticated series of interior French doors to borrow light from adjacent rooms. Designed by Luigi Rosselli Architects and Decus Interiors, the transom windows (which crown the tops of the French doors) and the sidelight windows (which flank the opening) more than double the aperture and maximize the amount of light that travels from room to room.

Sidelights, transomsand fanlights (which also sit above doorways and are arched or elliptical) can usually be retrofitted with relative ease.

Adopt glass backsplashes. Can’t afford to lose valuable cabinet space by replacing your wall-mounted kitchen cabinets with a window? Try using a window for your backsplash instead, as Rudolfsson Alliker Associates Architects did in this residence in Sydney. Natural light will illuminate your countertops and provide important task lighting for cooking. Window backsplashes are possible when your kitchen butts up against an exterior wall. If yours runs along an interior wall, try using a mirrored backsplash instead.

Install clerestory windows. We can’t always puncture a wall with a window at eye level, but clerestory windows can be equally effective in brightening up interiors. Clerestory windows sit high in your wall, as shown in this house in Melbourne, Australia, and because they are positioned above your sightline, they rarely compromise your privacy. They are also especially effective in letting light into dim, excavated rooms.

Select white paint that has a sheen. If you’ve asked anyone how to brighten up a dark home, chances are you’ve already been told to paint your walls white and banish dark furnishings. While this is the first trick in the book, the glossier the paint is, the better it will diffuse light throughout your home. So opt for a satin finish on walls and use gloss or semigloss paint for the trim.

Just note that paints with a medium to high sheen highlight every inconsistency, so make sure that you plaster, sand and prime surfaces well before painting — or call in a professional.

Tip: Reflective tiles and metallic wallpaper have a similar effect.

Embrace glossy floors. We rarely consider treating our floors to lighten a room, though high-gloss floors are brilliant at bouncing light around. It may be as straightforward as sanding back your floorboards and polishing them with a glossy finish, or you may prefer to employ a more drastic treatment and use high-sheen white floor paint or epoxy, as used in this industrial Montreal penthouse.

Install a tubular daylighting device. These ingenious inventions go by many names —tubular daylighting devices, solar tubes, sun tunnels, tubular skylights. Most capture sunlight through a small dome on your roof and funnel it down a reflective tube and through a skylight-like opening in your ceiling, which diffuses light throughout the room.

These devices amplify natural light, do not cause homes to heat up and in some cases are capable of capturing solar energy to light rooms at night. Most can even be installed in rooms with no direct roof access, using angled reflective tubing to channel light into hard-to-reach spaces.

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How to Buy a House This Year: 5 Tips to Get an Edge

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Figuring out how to buy a house is no small feat—particularly since the rules keep on changing. So even if you’ve bought a home in the past and feel like the process is old hat, watch out: What worked in 2017 might not fly in 2018. It’s a whole new real estate world out there!

In an effort to prepare you, here are some of the new rules on how to buy a house this year. You will face new tax codes, an onslaught of tough competition, and more that will require you to hone your home-buying skills more than ever. But knowing what awaits you is half the battle. Check out this refresher on how to buy a house in 2018.

1. Know how the new tax codes affect you

New year, new tax code! Although the recent tax reforms have stirred up concerns that they’re putting homeownership further out of reach for many Americans, the reality is more nuanced than that—and shouldn’t deter home buyers from making the leap.For instance: In 2018, homeowners can deduct mortgage interest on loans up to $750,0000. That’s down from $1 million, but keep in mind that, according to realtor.com® data, the median list price for a home is only $270,000. As such, this change is expected to affect just 1.3% of new mortgages, mostly in pricey markets such as California, New Jersey, and New York.

Bottom line: Don’t give into vague fears about the new tax code without doing your homework and understanding how it affects you. Here’s more on how new tax codes affect home buying.

2. Prepare for some cutthroat competition

“Housing stock continues to be at record lows across the country,” points out Bobby Montagne, CEO of Walnut Street Finance. “The days of multiple offers are back in many [areas].”

As such, you should prepare to wage battle against the worthiest foe of all: all-cash buyers.

“One trend we’ve seen is all-cash buyers,” notes Anthony Grosso of Grosso Properties in Malverne, NY. “They’re coming from everywhere and, unlike the lowball cash offers from years ago, they’re offering full price or more, waiving appraisals and contingencies.”

In January of last year, 23% of all home purchases were made with all cash with no mortgage, according to the National Association of Realtor®’s Confidence Index Survey Report—and some experts say that number will rise this year. These buyers have the edge since they don’t have to secure financing, so they’re particularly appealing to home sellers. But that doesn’t mean it’s hopeless.

One way to get the edge over all-cash buyers is to write a letter to the seller about yourself and your family to make your situation more personal. This could steer sellers in your direction, especially if it means choosing you over a buyer who might tear down the home and turn it into a new development.

Another strategy: Ask sellers about their own goals in the sale. If you can help meet them, such as having a closing date in a few months, you could stand out by being flexible. Here’s more on how to compete with all-cash buyers.

3. Get street-wise about what you read online

We’re not knocking “For Sale” signs planted in front lawns; however, these days perusing real estate listings online on sites such as realtor.com is par for the course. Yet while it’s a definite perk to be able to shop for homes on your laptop or phone, it would be naive to instantly believe everything you see.

In the same way you’d be skeptical of that online plea to raise funds for cute puppies, you should be suspicious of real estate “offers” that could be thinly veiled attempts to steal your identity or scam you out of money.

So how can you tell? Here are some classic red flags:

  • Offers that sound too urgent (e.g., “available at this price for only today!”)
  • Listings asking for personal information such as your Social Security number
  • Home sellers or listing agents who are “out of the country” or otherwise unavailable

Also be cautious of incoming emails: According to data from the FBI, criminals attempted to divert nearly $1 billion into their pockets in 2017, up from $19 million in 2016. This crime usually begins when hackers send you an email that appears to be from your real estate agent or a title company. So if you receive a message requesting information you hadn’t previously agreed on, or asking for a quick change in plans, pick up the phone and call the person or company involved to be sure.

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Bold Brilliance: How to Decorate With Jewel Tones in Every Part of Your Home

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After years of taking our collective home decor in a more neutral direction (we’re looking at you, inoffensive beige, gray, and granite color schemes), we’re finally branching out and allowing some color back into our homes. Look no further than our 2018 interior design forecast, which predicts jewel tones will continue to reign supreme this year.

These bold hues—deep sapphire blues, vibrant emerald greens, and intense, regal purples—can transform a room from a boring, vanilla box into a lusciously rich and cozy space you never want to leave.

“We’re definitely seeing that our customers have a renewed interested in jewel tones, specifically deep magnolia green, plum, sapphire, and dark red,” says Anna Brockway, co-founder of San Francisco–based Chairish, an online vintage furniture and decor marketplace. “They are lovely colors for a home because they are warm, welcoming, and mix well with plenty of other colors, neutrals, and prints.”

Indeed, designers and manufacturers are taking their cues from the shifting demand: Sherwin-Williams named Oceanside SW 6496—an intense shade of teal—as its 2018 Color of the Year, while Pantone recently announced the dramatic Ultra Violet as its pick of the year.

While you might worry that these deep hues could overpower your decor, don’t fret: The pros say jewel tones can work for just about anyone, whether your style is bright and bold, or if you lean more neutral.

“When decorating with jewel tones, you’re not limited in how to apply them,” explains Melanie Coddington, founder and principal designer at Los Angeles–based Coddington Design. “They can be used as the paint color, upholstery, tile, area rugs, or accessories, depending on how bold you want to go.”

You can incorporate these rich and lush colors in a more subtle way, she adds, by focusing on single pieces such as a light fixture, side chair, or accent table—all in your favorite color that pops.

So are you ready to bring the drama in 2018? Read on for more ideas to add jewel tones to any room in your home.

In the kitchen

You don’t have to gut your entire kitchen and install purple cabinetry and a teal island to get the coveted jewel-tone look; you can go bold with small, easy touches. Add colorful tiles, a fresh coat of paint, or a bold wallpaper to give your kitchen a nice dose of flair, Coddington explains.

“The best thing about any of these methods is that you can control just how much color is being used,” she says. “The entire kitchen backsplash can be a bold sapphire tile, or you can strategically use that tile for a small section behind the range, and the rest can be neutral.”

You can temper your use of colorful paint and wallpaper, too, to achieve the perfect balance.

“You can cover each of the walls or choose one or two focal walls to really highlight—which is what I did in my own kitchen,” she adds.

In the living room

If you’re looking to brighten up your entire living room, a signature piece of furniture in a jewel should do the trick.

“Even though the jewel tones are often bold, they can work really well on an anchor piece in a living room,” says Sara Malek Barne, an interior designer based in Austin, TX. “Specifically, an emerald-green velvet sofa in an otherwise muted space can be visually stunning.”

Some options include the Article Sven Sofa in Grass Green and Mahogany ($1,299) or the Jennifer Taylor Home Becca Tufted Settee in Hunter Green($900).

Not ready to invest in new furniture? A velvet pillow or two can look “yummy” in your living room and contrast well with neutrals, Brockway says.

Look for the Pier 1 Midnight Velvet Beaded Peacock Pillow ($35) or the purple Bed Bath & Beyond Austin Horn Classics Escapade Velvet Square Throw Pillow ($60).

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