The Custom Furniture Business: Creating Beautiful and Timeless Designs
Small businesses are the soul of America

More people are interested in buying locally made products than ever before. You can capitalize on many consumers’ return to local shopping by emphasizing that all components of your furniture are made in the United States, or in your town or area. The same applies to handmade goods. Individuals who are tired of mass-produced goods are often the same people who are interested in buying locally. Given this climate, it is a good time to start a handmade furniture business.

If the coronavirus has you worried about your mortgage, do these three things

An aerial view of a suburban subdivision filled with two-storey single-family houses.Getty Images

These steps can help if you’re at risk of missing a payment because of COVID-19

The health and economic impact of the spread of COVID-19 is both already devastating and only just beginning.

Food-service and gig workers are already seeing their incomes dry up. Nest eggs are vanishing as the stock market collapses. It seems as if it’s only a matter of time before the impacts are felt in other sectors of the American economy.

If you have a mortgage and your source of income is threatened by the fallout from the novel coronavirus, you are probably—and understandably—very worried. Take heart that on Wednesday, President Donald Trump announced that evictions and foreclosures on houses backed by government-sponsored mortgage facilitators Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, or by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), will be suspended at least through the end of April. Freddie, Fannie, and the FHA back the vast majority of single-family houses. So if you’re in financial trouble, you will be protected, at least through April.

Federal regulators went a step further on Friday by announcing that homeowners impacted by the novel coronavirus fallout could qualify for mortgage...


An aerial view of a suburban subdivision filled with two-storey single-family houses.Getty Images

These steps can help if you’re at risk of missing a payment because of COVID-19

The health and economic impact of the spread of COVID-19 is both already devastating and only just beginning.

Food-service and gig workers are already seeing their incomes dry up. Nest eggs are vanishing as the stock market collapses. It seems as if it’s only a matter of time before the impacts are felt in other sectors of the American economy.

If you have a mortgage and your source of income is threatened by the fallout from the novel coronavirus, you are probably—and understandably—very worried. Take heart that on Wednesday, President Donald Trump announced that evictions and foreclosures on houses backed by government-sponsored mortgage facilitators Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, or by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), will be suspended at least through the end of April. Freddie, Fannie, and the FHA back the vast majority of single-family houses. So if you’re in financial trouble, you will be protected, at least through April.

Federal regulators went a step further on Friday by announcing that homeowners impacted by the novel coronavirus fallout could qualify for mortgage payment reduction or deferral if they have mortgages backed by Freddie or Fannie.

The private sector is also taking action. Bank of America announced Thursday that it is offering relief to consumers and small business owners experiencing hardship because of the coronavirus, which will include mortgage payment deferrals. These will be offered on a case-by-case basis and will run month-to-month. NPR reported that JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo are also working with borrowers who’ve been impacted.

But given the situation is incredibly fluid and the terms for who qualifies for relief haven’t been released, there are steps you should be taking to protect yourself in the event that you lose some or all of your income, or if the federal government changes its policy.

Contact your mortgage servicer immediately

Mortgage servicers are the companies that manage your loan. They send you statements, collect your payment, field inquiries from borrowers, and initiate foreclosure. Contact your mortgage servicer if you’re at risk of missing a payment.

Note that sometimes your mortgage lender is also your mortgage servicer, but more often than not, your mortgage lender sold mortgage servicing to another company. You can find the name of your servicer on your mortgage statement.

When you call them, tell them your situation and ask what options are available. Mention that Fannie and Freddie say you might qualify for mortgage payment reduction or deferral. But be aware that they almost certainly won’t make any special exceptions for your case for a number of different reasons.

One is that there are about to be countless homeowners in your exact situation, so any exception made for you is likely to extend to others as well. Second, servicers follow strict guidelines set by Freddie and Fannie when servicing your mortgage. The good news is those two enterprises just announced they will not evict or foreclose through April, and that mortgage payment relief is on the way.

Diligently document your financial hardship

As things progress, the federal government might change its policy or offer some form of relief for those who qualify. Freddie and Fannie and thus your servicer could make changes as well. It’s a very fluid situation.

When this happens, you’re going to want to have all the documentation showing that you are in need. If you’re taking a pay cut, start collecting pay stubs or communication from your employer that shows this. If your stock portfolio tanked, get statements that show it. If you’re laid off, save those related documents.

“It’s really important to provide evidence of whatever hardship is leading to or causing you to fall behind [on mortgage payments],” says Patrick Boyaggi, CEO of mortgage marketplace Own Up. “Presumably if you could qualify for financing and you get a mortgage, you’re in a position to do that. Something has transpired in your life that puts you in a position where you can’t do that.”

Document everything that transpires between you and the servicer

Mortgage servicers are about to be swamped with calls from people dealing with the coronavirus fallout. While servicers are likely recording your call with them, it’s important to document all your communication with them for your own records, too.

If you can record your calls with them using a voice recorder or smartphone, do it. If they send you emails related to your mortgage, put them in a specific folder in your email account. If they send you paperwork in the mail, put it in a file folder and have it handy.

This way, if the servicer loses documentation of what it promised you in the deluge that is about to unfold, you’ll be able to play the call back to them or send them documentation of any kind.

These three steps won’t solve all your problems, but they will help you navigate them as the situation continues to evolve.

An aerial view of a suburban subdivision filled with two-storey single-family houses.Getty Images

These steps can help if you’re at risk of missing a payment because of COVID-19

The health and economic impact of the spread of COVID-19 is both already devastating and only just beginning.

Food-service and gig workers are already seeing their incomes dry up. Nest eggs are vanishing as the stock market collapses. It seems as if it’s only a matter of time before the impacts are felt in other sectors of the American economy.

If you have a mortgage and your source of income is threatened by the fallout from the novel coronavirus, you are probably—and understandably—very worried. Take heart that on Wednesday, President Donald Trump announced that evictions and foreclosures on houses backed by government-sponsored mortgage facilitators Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, or by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), will be suspended at least through the end of April. Freddie, Fannie, and the FHA back the vast majority of single-family houses. So if you’re in financial trouble, you will be protected, at least through April.

Federal regulators went a step further on Friday by announcing that homeowners impacted by the novel coronavirus fallout could qualify for mortgage payment reduction or deferral if they have mortgages backed by Freddie or Fannie.

The private sector is also taking action. Bank of America announced Thursday that it is offering relief to consumers and small business owners experiencing hardship because of the coronavirus, which will include mortgage payment deferrals. These will be offered on a case-by-case basis and will run month-to-month. NPR reported that JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo are also working with borrowers who’ve been impacted.

But given the situation is incredibly fluid and the terms for who qualifies for relief haven’t been released, there are steps you should be taking to protect yourself in the event that you lose some or all of your income, or if the federal government changes its policy.

Contact your mortgage servicer immediately

Mortgage servicers are the companies that manage your loan. They send you statements, collect your payment, field inquiries from borrowers, and initiate foreclosure. Contact your mortgage servicer if you’re at risk of missing a payment.

Note that sometimes your mortgage lender is also your mortgage servicer, but more often than not, your mortgage lender sold mortgage servicing to another company. You can find the name of your servicer on your mortgage statement.

When you call them, tell them your situation and ask what options are available. Mention that Fannie and Freddie say you might qualify for mortgage payment reduction or deferral. But be aware that they almost certainly won’t make any special exceptions for your case for a number of different reasons.

One is that there are about to be countless homeowners in your exact situation, so any exception made for you is likely to extend to others as well. Second, servicers follow strict guidelines set by Freddie and Fannie when servicing your mortgage. The good news is those two enterprises just announced they will not evict or foreclose through April, and that mortgage payment relief is on the way.

Diligently document your financial hardship

As things progress, the federal government might change its policy or offer some form of relief for those who qualify. Freddie and Fannie and thus your servicer could make changes as well. It’s a very fluid situation.

When this happens, you’re going to want to have all the documentation showing that you are in need. If you’re taking a pay cut, start collecting pay stubs or communication from your employer that shows this. If your stock portfolio tanked, get statements that show it. If you’re laid off, save those related documents.

“It’s really important to provide evidence of whatever hardship is leading to or causing you to fall behind [on mortgage payments],” says Patrick Boyaggi, CEO of mortgage marketplace Own Up. “Presumably if you could qualify for financing and you get a mortgage, you’re in a position to do that. Something has transpired in your life that puts you in a position where you can’t do that.”

Document everything that transpires between you and the servicer

Mortgage servicers are about to be swamped with calls from people dealing with the coronavirus fallout. While servicers are likely recording your call with them, it’s important to document all your communication with them for your own records, too.

If you can record your calls with them using a voice recorder or smartphone, do it. If they send you emails related to your mortgage, put them in a specific folder in your email account. If they send you paperwork in the mail, put it in a file folder and have it handy.

This way, if the servicer loses documentation of what it promised you in the deluge that is about to unfold, you’ll be able to play the call back to them or send them documentation of any kind.

These three steps won’t solve all your problems, but they will help you navigate them as the situation continues to evolve.


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Give your business a name. Name your business something that indicates what you sell. This will come in handy later on, when you are marketing your business and want people to associate your business name with handmade furniture.
File a DBA, which stands for “doing business as,” at your local county clerk’s office. You may want to do a search to ensure that no other business in your town is operating under the same name. If you live in a large metropolitan area, a search is a necessity.
Create a line of furniture. You’ll need to have models of each piece of furniture that you intend to sell, so that customers can easily visualize what you have to offer. Add to your furniture line each year so that your stock stays fresh and on-trend.