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Why Concrete Is 2018’s Next Big Thing in Interior Design (and How to Try the Trend)

So far 2018 has brought us quite a few polarizing design trends. We’ve already talked about how to harness the power of bold colors, but now, it’s time to talk about a trend on the other end of the aesthetic spectrum. The concrete look is here and it’s ready to bring a subtle yet sophisticated edge to your interiors.

If you need some convincing, this post is for you. We’ve broken down why concrete works so well and why it’s set to become a fixture in the design landscape. Read on and, before you know it, you’ll be ready to give concrete a shot.

industrial aesthetic

Concrete is the perfect fit for those who want an industrial aesthetic. Image: SHED Architecture & Design

Concrete creates an industrial edge

It almost goes without saying that concrete and industrial design go hand in hand. You don’t have to work hard to conjure images of former industrial warehouses turned sun-drenched lofts or reclaimed bits of machinery that have been transformed into chic accent pieces.

If you’re going to go this route, we suggest going big to really drive home your design inspiration. Concrete floors are a natural choice. They work particularly well in open concept applications and, when compared to many of the rustic-finished woods that also fit this aesthetic, they’re an affordable alternative.

If concrete floors aren’t your thing, concrete walls are also a great way to make a style statement. However, you’ll probably want to stick to a singular accent wall. In this case, while one wall will probably add a bold punch of texture and visual interest, multiple walls run the risk of feeling too stark and overwhelming.

maintain

Once properly installed, concrete easy to maintain. Image: Audrey Matlock Architects

It’s easy to maintain

More and more people are choosing to incorporate concrete in their interiors because it’s a particularly easy material to maintain. In fact, the bulk of your work takes place when you first purchase the item. Whatever application you choose for your concrete — whether it’s a fireplace, countertop, or coffee table — it should be properly stained, sealed and polished.

Be sure to ask the manufacturer how to maintain your specific items. As a general rule, simply sweeping away general debris and washing it with a non-abrasive cleaner is the way to go.

texture

Concrete gives the room instant texture. Image: Wood Melbourne

It adds texture

We’ve talked before about how texture can help bring untold amounts of visual interest to your space. Remember, in an interior design context, texture refers to the way an element looks like it feels. Everyone knows the feeling of running their hands over concrete, so including one of these items in your design fosters an instant connection with the viewer.

When you’re looking to highlight texture, the key is to create contrast. In particular, concrete does best when it’s juxtaposed against something natural, such as wood. You should also pay attention to the colors in your concrete and be sure to choose contrasting shades for the rest of the room.

focal point

Looking for a focal point. Problem solved? Image: Glancey Rockwell & Associates

It’s an instant focal point

Every room in your home needs a focal point. Since concrete is such a heavy material to work with, when it’s used in design, it lends a ton of visual weight to the room. This means it will instantly draw the eye and ground the space. All told, these factors make concrete an excellent choice to become a focal point in your home.

Take the picture above as an example. The fireplace has such a commanding presence that your eye is pulled to it. If you’re willing to go this bold, an architectural element definitely fits the bill. It’s also possible to go more subtle. A concrete island instantly becomes a conversation piece in your kitchen and a coffee table easily grounds a seating area.

concrete

Consider making concrete a trendy fixture in your interiors. Image: Sea Island Builders LLC

Concrete is a bit different than some of this year’s other design trends. While others are focused on bold patterns and bright, in-your-face colors, concrete is subtler. That said, we understand some people may need convincing. To that end, this post is dedicated to how concrete can ultimately benefit a room. Read it over and we’re sure you’ll be ready to give this once-commercial material a place of honor in your home.

What do you think of the concrete interior design trend? Will you be trying it out in your own home anytime soon? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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Home Equity Loan Taxes: Watch Out, It’s a Whole New World

Have a home equity loan or home equity line of credit (HELOC), or thinking of getting one? Homeowners often tap their home equity for some quick cash, using their property as collateral, but watch out—you’ll want to know how this debt will be treated at tax time.

With the recently passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the rules of home equity debt have changed dramatically. Here’s what you need to know about home equity loan taxes when you file this year (which is still under the old tax rules) and next, once the new tax code takes effect.

Acquisition debt vs. home equity debt: What’s the difference?

For starters, it’s important to understand the concept of “acquisition debt” versus “home equity debt.”

“Acquisition debt is a loan to buy, build, or improve a primary or second home and is secured by the home,” explains Amy Jucoski, a certified financial planner and national planning manager at Abbot Downing.

That phrase “buy, build, or improve” is key. Most original mortgages are acquisition debt, because you’re using the money to buy a house. But money used to build or renovate your home is also considered acquisition debt, since it will likely raise the value of your property.

Home equity debt, however, is something different. “It’s a home equity debt if the proceeds are used for something other than buying, building, or substantially improving a home,” says Jucoski.

For instance, if you borrowed against your home to pay for college, a wedding, vacation, budding business, or anything else, then that counts as home equity debt.

This distinction is important to get straight, particularly since you might have a home equity loan or line of credit that’s not considered “home equity debt,” at least in the eyes of the IRS. If your home equity loan or line of credit is used to go snorkeling in Cancun or open an art gallery, then that’s home equity debt. However, if you’re using your home equity loan or HELOC to overhaul your kitchen or add a half-bath to your house, then it’s acquisition debt.

And starting in 2018, Uncle Sam is far kinder to acquisition debt than home equity debt used for nonproperty-related pursuits.

Interest on home equity debt is no longer tax-deductible

Under the old tax rules (which you can take advantage of one last time this filing season, so enjoy it while you can!), you could deduct the interest on up to $100,000 of home equity debt, as long as your total mortgage debt was below $1.1 million. But going forward, it’s a whole different world.

Starting in 2018, “home equity debt interest is no longer deductible,” says William L. Hughes, a certified public accountant in Stuart, FL. Even if you took out the loan before the new tax bill passed, you can no longer deduct any amount of interest on home equity debt.

This new tax rule applies to all home equity debts—home equity loans and lines of credit (which are often called “second loans” you take in addition to your main mortgage), as well as cash-out refinancing. That’s where you replace your main mortgage with a whole new one, but take out some of the money as cash.

For example, say you initially borrowed $300,000 to purchase a home, then over the course of time paid it down to $200,000. Then you decide to refinance your loan for $250,000 and take that extra $50,000 to help your kid pay for grad school. That $50,000 you took out to pay tuition is home equity debt—and that means the interest on it is not tax-deductible.

Meanwhile, acquisition debt used to buy, build, or improve a home remains deductible, but only up to a limit. Any new loan taken out from Dec. 15 onward—whether a mortgage, home equity loan, HELOC, or cash-out refinance—is subject to the new lower $750,000 limit for deducting mortgage interest (down from the former $1.1 million for mortgages taken earlier). So, even if your sole goal is to buy, build, or improve a property, there are limits to how much the IRS will pitch in.

When in doubt, be sure to consult an accountant; here’s how to tell if you need one to help you navigate the new tax rules.

For more smart financial news and advice, head over to MarketWatch.

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Real Estate Roundup!

May new home sales gain 2.2% from April

Sales of new single-family houses in May 2015 were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 546,000, which is up 2.2% from April, according to estimates released jointly today by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. — From Housing Wire

3 ways to tame student loan debt and afford a mortgage

It’s no secret that student loans can make buying a home a challenge. But what exactly is the problem, and how can buyers overcome it? The problem is that student loans can be included in the buyer’s debt-to-income ratio, or DTI. — From Bankrate

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We’re ready for the TRID rules!

At 5 p.m. EST June 17, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued a statement that the effective date for the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure (TRID) rules would be pushed back to Oct. 1, 2015.

CFPB Director Richard Cordray said in a prepared statement: “The CFPB will be issuing a proposed amendment to delay the effective date of the Know Before You Owe rule until Oct. 1, 2015. We made this decision to correct an administrative error that we just discovered in meeting the requirements under federal law, which would have delayed the effective date of the rule by two weeks. We further believe that the additional time included in the proposed effective date would better accommodate the interests of the many consumers and providers whose families will be busy with the transition to the new school year at that time.”

Rainier Title has been working towards the TRID implementation for over a year and felt prepared for August 1st. However, with the proposed delay we will be taking this opportunity to continue our education and training of TRID. While we believe that we have been proactive and ready for this change, there are still so many unknowns that will have to be addressed at the time of implementation. The industry should still prepare for 45-60 days for transaction to close due to the new timing parameters of the forms.

We’re working hard to be ready for all changes!

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Real Estate Roundup

Active Home-Building Industry Will Lead to More Demand for Warehouse Space

Strong consumer spending and the rise in housing construction activity are currently the prime factors for the incredible rebound of the U.S. industrial real estate sector, and experts say as home buying continues to increase, so will demand for warehouse space. — From NRE Online

To Buy or Not to Buy: That Is the Developer’s Question

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