Updated: Friday, October 24, 2014
10 Things You Have To Do With a Pumpkin Right Now
Its the season of the pumpkin. Theyre everywhere - in your coffee, in your pie, spilling out of supermarket aisles, and on everyones front porch, stoop, stairs, and walkway. Its not even Halloween yet, and were already tiring of all the bright orange.
You too? Good. Then youll get some great use out of our timely pumpkin guidea guide specially constructed to take the almighty squash and make it just a little more interesting.
Here are the 10 things you have to do with a pumpkin right now.
1. Paint it
Acrylic paint will give you decent coverage and numerous color options if you want to paint it black, white, or neon pink and then get crazy with stripes or polka dots, or even create Frankenstein.
2. Spray it.
Or, take the brush out of the equation and use spray paint. Its fun and easy. Even more so when you tie into a design trend, like metallic. For an extra special look, pick up a few different colors of spray paint.
"Gold. Silver. Bronze. Sophisticated enough to sit on the mantel or step in as a table arrangement. This years harvest gets the Midas touch," said Real Simple.
3. Bedazzle it
Grab a white one or some paint to splash onto an orange one if white isnt available, and then go crazy with sequins. Extra points for the super fabulous spider.
See more ideas at Making Lemonade, and steal their tip that uses pre-glued rhinestones in patterns.
4. Carve it.
But forget about that normal carving stuff. You have to be creative with your pumpkin carving these days. Thankfully, you dont really need to be all that talented. Get yourself a stencil and you can be Van Gogh. Or, you can carve a nifty backlit cat.
5. Decoupage it
Go elegant using this crafty technique of attaching paper or other printed materials onto the pumpkin with Mod Podge. This version from HGTV uses printed napkins.
6. Simplify it
Slice, scoop, glue, googly. This low-maintenance pumpkin couldnt be easier, and its so cute youll be easily forgiven for not being a carving master.
See more ideas here.
7. Beach it
Who says you have to forgo your beach chic-ness once fall hits? A little ingenuity, a little sand try a craft store or even a pet store, in the reptile section, and a visit or two to Pinterest creates a unique coastal display .
8. Draw on it.
The Sharpie is your friend. And so is Pinterest.
9. Bleach it.
A cool trick for making your pumpkins last longer, a few sprays of bleach should be all you need to preserve your masterpieces this year.
10. Cook it
Or, more specifically, roast it and fill with bubbly homemade soup from the Food Network. Yum.
For more carving ideas, see Southern Living.
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Is Airbnb The Goldmine Youve Been Waiting For?
Your tenants are moving out when their lease is up and you arent sure its the right time to sell.
Youve been increasingly staying at your girlfriend or boyfriends place, leaving yours mostly empty. You thought about renting it but dont know if you want to tie it up for a whole year.
You live in an area favored by tourists - or at least one that hosts an event or two every so often that brings in a big crowd.
What do these three scenarios have in common? They may each offer a great opportunity to use Airbnb.
What is Airbnb anyway?
Airbnb describes itself as "a community marketplace where guests can book spaces from hosts, connecting people who have space to spare with those who are looking for a place to stay."
With Airbnb, you can list your home, or even just a room if youre so inclined, for travelers from all over the world. They stay, you get paid. Its a growing alternative to hotels and works particularly well for those places that are located in a desirable travel spot or one that attracts large sporting or entertainment events or conventions. But the exciting news for those with a property "to spare" is the potential income generated.
How much income are we talking?
Well, a lot, depending on how well - and how much - you use it. Consider this Fast Company story that profiled an entrepreneurial Airbnb host who expects to make a six-figure income just from renting out his spaces.
Or this account from Business Insider that details how one man made enough money through Airbnb to buy a house. "He was charging 200/night and paying 1,900/mo. in rent, staying with his girlfriend whenever the apartment was rented out," they said.
And dont forget to check out their inside look at Super Bowl Airbnb rentals -- a way to make a serious buck and something that has us thinking very seriously about how to use the NFL connection in our city. Hmmmmm
What kind of responsibilities are involved
Not unlike being a landlord, being an Airbnb host comes with a list of have-tos for basic care and maintenance. You are responsible for providing bedding, dishes and other items for daily living, as well as cleaning and replacing them as needed.
Easy tip 1: Shop at IKEA Mr. Six Figures referenced above reportedly outfitted his one-bedroom apartments for 8,000 each including all the furniture. Easy tip 2: Get a cleaning crew.
If youre thinking of taking the Airbnb plunge, these additional tips from Huffington Post should help, as should these nine hospitality tips from the Airbnb blog.
Beware the legal issues
As Airbnb has grown Wikipedia reports the company founded in 2008 now has more than 800,000 spaces around the world and a valuation of 10 billion, so has its critics. Not surprisingly, that is led by the hotel industry that is losing business to Airbnb.
A few cities around the world have raised the question of hotel taxes, while the company and the New York State attorney general have also famously tangled over subletting laws. If you are planning to Airbnb your place, be sure to check your state and local regulations to make sure you stay on the right side of the law.
You can read more about pending legal issues and how Airbnb has responded to them here.
You can also calculate how much your space is worth on their site. But, you probably want to use it as a starting point. Their estimation proved to be low when we did further research. For the best idea of what you can charge, estimate on their site and Google other Airbnb listings in your area.
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Five Ways Bargain Hunting For Homes Can Backfire
Its natural to want to save money when youre making a purchase as large as a home. You want to buy the best home in the best neighborhood at the best price, and to do that, you may think you have to shop in the bargain bin.
FSBOs for sale by owner, foreclosures, and short sales arent as plentiful as equity listed homes -- homes listed with a real estate agent by the seller. You may even scour the MLS multiple listing service for signs of desperate sellers, such as homes priced AS-IS, or homes that have been on the market for months.
While some people are successful buying a bargain basement home, you may not be so fortunate, if you put price first. Here are five ways a low price can backfire on you:
The home doesnt suit your needs. A home is a good buy only if it suits your familys needs for space, features, comfort, and function. If you buy a home without enough bedrooms or baths, its not as comfortable or functional.
A bad fit costs you later. To get out of a home thats too small, too old, or too far from where you need to be, youll likely to pay more in transaction costs to sell the home and buy another than if youd chosen more wisely in the first place.
Bargains are rare. If a home is priced lower than others in the area, theres a reason. Sometimes bank-owned home will appear to be a bargain compared to other similar nearby homes, but you may notice a real difference in the way its been maintained. Its not much of a bargain if you find out that all the appliances have been stolen or all the copper wiring has been pulled out of the walls.
The home needs updating. A home priced below market value usually requires expensive repairs or updates. Are you willing to perform the work or pay someone else to do the work? Any remodeling you do will be at todays prices. Before you buy, get a home inspection and then talk to professionals who can help you bring the home up to todays standards.
You lose ground trying to lowball the seller. Just as you want the home you buy to appreciate in value, sellers purchased their homes as investments, too. They want to net as much as possible, because theyve already taken on the risks of buying and maintaining a home. That makes sellers less willing to negotiate on homes that are well priced and well maintained.
If a home has been on the market for a long time without a price reduction, theres usually a good reason. You have an unmotivated, unrealistic, or upside-down seller, any of which could waste your time unmercifully.
An unmotivated or unrealistic seller simply wont negotiate to your level. For example, for-sale-by-owner homes are typically priced the same as listed homes, even though the sellers arent paying real estate agent commissions, including for your agent, if you have one. Why would you pay the seller not to represent your interests?
Furthermore, a bank foreclosure or bank-approved short sale could take months to close. What if interest rates go up before you close? You may get the home at a bargain price, but the savings could evaporate in higher interest payments.
Right now, home prices are still below previous market highs. Mortgage interest rates are hovering near historic lows. And inventory levels are improving in most areas.
Under these circumstances, youre buying a home at a bargain already. The best strategy for today is not to try to beat the seller down, but to offer a fair price for the home you think is best for your household.
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