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(StatePoint) Whether you’ve just moved into your dream home and are experiencing the elation of making it your own or you are a few years into paying off your mortgage, if you are like most homebuyers, chances are you have the standard 30-year mortgage and may feel daunted as you anticipate decades of payments.
     What if there were a simple way to cut years off that mortgage and potentially save yourself thousands of dollars in interest? By making just one extra payment a year to your mortgage or by spreading that one payment over 12 months, you can do just that, say experts.
    “If you have a nest egg and are in a good place financially, put a little extra money to work to cut the mortgage term and add equity faster, suggests PNC Bank’s Staci Titsworth, a regional manager for mortgages.
     Titsworth offers strategies to help make the extra payments easier to handle.
     “A good rule of thumb is to take a tax refund or year-end bonus and apply it to the principal of your mortgage. It’s simple to do on a yearly basis, plus you are not parting with a large portion of your regular paycheck to fund that extra payment,” she says.
  Another strategy is to add a little extra to each month’s mortgage payment and apply to the principal. That way it doesn’t hurt quite so much.
     As an example, with $200,000 borrowed at a 4.5 percent fixed rate, making one extra payment of $1,013 annually can take 4.25 years off the loan and save more than $2,500 in interest. Double that extra payment and you could shorten the term by seven and a half years and save more than $9,600 in interest.
     In the early years of a 30-year mortgage, the bulk of the payment goes toward interest and the interest is calculated on the outstanding principal balance, so every extra dollar that you can put toward that balance is going to take cost off the back end of the mortgage.
     “We talk to our customers about their complete financial picture, from their loans to savings to retirement. We know that most people want to retire in a financially sound position, and typically their biggest debt is a mortgage,” says Titsworth. “Consider meeting with a financial advisor who can take a look at your complete picture and calculate the benefits of paying off your mortgage faster while also managing your long-term goals.”
      More tips and resources can be found at www.pnc.com.
     With a comprehensive approach, you can make paying for your home a little sweeter.

(StatePoint) Are you planning to refresh your home but aren’t sure where to start? Some of today’s most popular design trends encourage mixing and matching favorite home accents within the same space.
     There is no need to feel limited by fixtures or finishes, according to design expert, Colleen Visage, who is Progress Lighting’s vice president of Product Management.
     “Homeowners today are not content to have the same look, the same finishes or the same collections throughout the house,” says Visage. “They really want to personalize their spaces.”
      Coordinating complementary pieces creates a cohesive feel to the home. It can also reinforce a unique style because the ultimate outcome is a custom design. Here are a few ways to master the mix and match trend.
• Mix Monochromatic Accents: Tone-on-tone designs are very popular in kitchens, bathrooms, entryways and living areas. Countertops, cabinets and home accents in varying shades of grays and creams can create a sophisticated statement. These tones pair perfectly with gold, brass or brushed nickel finishes.
• Design with Dual Tones: Mixed metals or dual tones are on-trend and very popular in home design today. This look can be achieved through mixing fixtures with different, but complementary finishes. For example, Progress Lighting offers fixtures that feature finishes with contrasting accents, such as antique bronze and brass, antique bronze and natural brass or polished nickel with silver ridge -- adding visual interest.
• Pendant Groupings: Pendant groupings are commonly used in a foyer, over a kitchen island or above a dining room table. These versatile fixtures can be mixed and matched to create a custom cluster design for a statement-making look.
     “I like to design areas that are so inviting, people don’t want to leave,” says Susan Wilson, designer and founder of Susan Wilson Interiors. “When a home features accents and lighting that work together seamlessly, it makes the spaces throughout memorable and relatable.”
     Searching for more design inspiration? Visit progresslighting.com to view images, collections and project ideas for every budget, style and space.
     Take your design vision to the next level and personalize your home’s living spaces by mastering the art of the mix and match trend.

How to cut years off of your mortgage
Update your home with 
2018 design trends
Real Estate