Downsize or Upsize—Which Is Right for You?

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At one time, it seemed that everything you read in the newspaper’s real estate section had to do with downsizing—the practice of selling off the family home and moving to a small, low-maintenance villa or condominium. The favored communities for downsizing were often located in the South, offering good year-round weather and no more snow shoveling. It sounded like a great deal—pre-pandemic.

At that point, many families found themselves living in small condominiums with adult children and college students returning home for quarantine. Everyone thought it would be for a week or two, at most. Now, almost a year later, some families are looking to re-upsize, either by buying a new, bigger home, by installing an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) in the backyard, or by renting an additional apartment in order to provide better options and a little more elbow room for their families.

Once COVID is in the past, these homeowners will have to decide whether they want to re-downsize or if more room makes more sense. Meanwhile, Gen-X homeowners are thinking ahead and wondering whether downsizing really works for the active retirement they’re envisioning.

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What to Expect When You Close on a House

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Buying a house is one of the biggest things you might do in your life. The final step in the process is typically the closing. Once you reach this point, it can be a relief because you’ve through the arduous underwriting process, but what should you expect when you’re closing on a house?

The closing date is usually decided during the contract negotiation. It’ll be listed on your purchase agreement. A seller accepts your offer, the earnest money is paid, and then, at some point you’ll have your closing. A closing date can be weeks or months after the formal acceptance of your offer, depending on how much time is needed to complete the deal. Being prepared can speed up the process.

Go Over Your Closing Contingencies

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Myths About Transitioning From Renter to Homeowner

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Making the leap from being a renter to becoming a homeowner is a process that includes taking stock of your financial situation and determining whether you're ready for such a massive responsibility. For most people, the primary question is affordability. Do you have enough cash in the bank to fund a down payment, or do you have a credit score high enough to qualify you for a home loan? But there are other considerations, too—and plenty of misconceptions and myths that could keep you from making that first step.

Below, our experts weigh in on why some situations that may seem like roadblocks are actually not as daunting as they appear.

1. Buying a home means heavy debt

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Ways To Make Your Home Feel Like a ‘Big Hug’

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During winter, when temperatures drop, we all want to keep our homes feeling (and looking) as cozy and comfortable as can be—and that’s easily done if you layer in the right fabrics like mohair, boucle, and chenille. Soft textiles like these are obviously cozy, but they also provide a luxurious look that makes spaces feel timeless. If you’re a fan of natural textiles, the winter-weight options below fit the bill.

“These fabrics offer strong fibers that are healthy for the home, plus they add texture, which infuses rooms with dimension,” says Liz Caan, an interior designer with the eponymous firm. “They’re like a big hug—and who doesn’t love a hug?”

If you’re craving a warm and fuzzy shopping spree, check out these decor ideas below.

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Seven Myths That Get in the Way of Homeownership

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Think you need to come up with 20% for a down payment in order to buy a house? It might surprise you to know that the median down payment for first-time buyers last year was just 7%, per the National Association of Realtors®. And there are plenty of loan programs out there that require far less. The 20% myth is just one of the things that’s keeping homeownership out of reach. We’re digging in to seven others.

Read more: Seven Myths That Get in the Way of Homeownership

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