Posts Tagged ‘Home Improvement’

Pros and Cons of Replacing Your Roof Before a Listing

October 17, 2019

Pros and Cons of Replacing Your Roof Before a ListingYou might be wondering whether to replace your roof before listing your property. Most reputable real estate agents will advise you only to do so if your current roof isn’t likely to pass inspection or if replacing it will significantly raise the value of your home. 

Here is some valuable information to help you decide.

Pros Of Replacing Your Roof Before You Sell

Buyers are attracted to homes with curb appeal and online photos highlighting a new roof will attract a lot of traffic. That means you may sell your home more quickly. Roofing replacements also help you when it comes time to negotiate a sales price. Buyers will be willing to pay more for the security of knowing they won’t need a new roof anytime soon.

Cons Of Replacing Your Roof Before A Listing

Putting on a new roof is a huge financial commitment. It may not be one you’re willing to assume before moving into a new property. Other problems may arise that delay construction or cause cost overruns. Both of these scenarios impact your ability to look for a new home right away, meaning you can’t put the current one up for sale.

Consider Repairing It Instead

If your roof is in decent shape, talk to an expert about whether it needs to be repaired. If there’s structural damage, chances are an inspector or appraisal will request repairs prior to closing anyway. You may want to just get it taken care of. If the roof is in good shape but doesn’t look great, it may just need to be cleaned and spruced up. A roofing expert can give you some great ideas that are within your budget.

Should You Replace Your Roof?

Ultimately, it’s your decision. It’s important to determine how much a new or repaired roof adds to the price you’re likely to get. Dealing with construction on a home that no longer meets your needs is stressful. If the roof needs a lot of work, it may be worthwhile to offer a concession to the buyer — you essentially give them the money to fix it when they move in — so you can move out and move on sooner. Your time frame is another factor. If you don’t have a lot of time, this may be your best option.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss current financing options.

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3 DIY Home Improvement Projects You Can Complete Before Thanksgiving

October 11, 2019

3 DIY Home Improvement Projects You Can Complete Before ThanksgivingIt’s the time of year when many people are making their holiday plans: booking travel, making shopping lists, and getting their home ready for guests. Hiring a house cleaner, having the carpets steamed, and buying new furniture ahead of the holiday season are all common, but what about completely updating a room (or two)?

It’s easy to think that home improvement projects are too expensive or will take several weeks or even months to complete. However, there are several simple, affordable do-it-yourself projects that can be completed in a weekend to give outdated rooms a fresh new look — in plenty of time to host holiday guests. 

Refinish Kitchen Cabinets The Easy Way

Painting cabinets is an excellent way to totally transform a kitchen. This fun budget-friendly project can be done in a weekend or spread out over a couple of weeks if necessary. With adequate preparation and attention to detail, the “new” cabinets will look great for years to come.

Minimal supplies are necessary for this project and there is no limit to the looks that can be created using different paint colors, stains, and seals.

Create A Shiplap Accent Wall

Arguably one of the most popular home decor trends is the rustic farmhouse look, and shiplap is at the center of that. Using basic tools that are likely already in the garage and some plywood from the local hardware store, it’s easy to create a unique shiplap wall and dramatically change the look of a room.

The most fun part about DIY shiplap is that it’s so customizable. Use reclaimed or pallet wood, paint unfinished planks, or try using boards cut to different lengths. 

Update Flooring With Vinyl Or Laminate

Replacing outdated flooring is perhaps the biggest bang-for-the-buck DIY project that can drastically freshen up a space. Changing the floors in even one room can have a tremendous impact on the look of the entire home. 

With so many budget-friendly options such as click-together laminate panels and peel-and-stick vinyl tiles, choose different looks for different rooms or go for one cohesive look throughout the house.

Giving a home an entirely new look doesn’t have to involve a complicated renovation project. Major home improvement stores and websites have step-by-step tutorials to make it as simple as a few coats of paint and some elbow grease.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss current financing options.

4 Cool Green Material Ideas For Your New Home

October 1, 2019

4 Cool Green Material Ideas For Your New HomeIf climate change is foremost in your mind, you may be interested in reducing your new home’s carbon footprint. Choosing green materials is one way to promote sustainability and ensure you’re doing your part to help the planet.

Green Flooring 

Flooring takes up all the square feet throughout your home. If you can opt for green flooring that will do a lot to reduce your new home’s carbon footprint. Bamboo is a sustainable flooring option to consider. Bamboo grows at a rate that far outpaces any hardwood. For that reason, it’s become a popular choice for homeowners looking for green material options. Bamboo flooring now comes in a wide variety of colors, textures and styles. You’re sure to find something that matches with your style and décor.

Green Insulation

It’s now easier than ever to find green insulation options at just about any hardware stores. Green insulation is frequently made up of recycled fabric. The benefit above being sustainable is that there is no fiberglass to worry about getting into your skin or lungs. Green insulation is available in the same forms as some other kinds of insulation, including as a rolled up “blanket” that can be trimmed to match your insulation spaces.

Green Countertops

Countertops are often made of stone and granite, which may be considered green materials. However, the processing of such materials and the energy needed to transport them from the source to your home may not be so green. Consider investing in concrete countertops for your kitchen and bathroom. Concrete is a renewable and sustainable green material. Concrete countertops can be created in the same general location as your new home. They are mold and pest-resistant, fire resistant and offer a permanent countertop solution for those who are eco-conscious. 

Green Roofing

Green roofing is harder to find, but in most areas, eco-conscious homeowners still have plenty of options. One such option is to have a copper or metal roof. While copper and other metals do require a labor-intensive process to extract from the earth, they last far longer than traditional roofing materials. Your copper or metal roof could last for a lifetime or more, whereas traditional roofs typically only last a maximum of 20 years. 

These green material ideas for your new home will ensure that your home is leaving as small a carbon footprint as possible. For more green material ideas, contact your local contractor. 

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss financing options.

 

How Color Can Affect Your Home and Psyche

July 5, 2019

How Color Can Affect Your Home and PsycheAre you dreaming in color of your future new home? You probably can’t wait to get your hands on a paintbrush and a bucket of beautiful new paint. But how will you choose the colors to decorate your new home?

If you’ve been to a paint store recently, you know there are thousands upon thousands of shades to choose from. Choose wisely, because color can affect your home and psyche.

Shades of Purple

Whether you call it purple or eggplant or violet or plum, purple evokes feelings of warmth and vitality in a home. The dustier shades of plum are ideal for walls in the dining room, where taste buds are tantalized. Light lavenders and lilacs are perfect for a little girl’s room, perhaps dotted with white and yellow daises as a border around the baseboard.

Crimson Reds

Red is a dramatic color to use in the home, yet it works in many contexts. Try dark red in a bathroom with dark wood cabinets for a sophisticated look. Burnt red in the bedroom is sultry and inviting. A statement wall of red in a home office denotes serious business and power.

Bluesy Blues

Blues can evoke serenity and peace, but they can also spark creative thought. Blue green colors are ideal for vintage kitchen themes, whereas navy blue in a boy’s bedroom is a classic look. Try white tinged with blue for your new home’s ceiling; it’s said to make a room feel more spacious because it simulates the sky.

Going Green

Kelly green isn’t a color that most people would use in the home, but sage green is perfect for a bedroom in which you want to instill tranquility. Sea foam green is a classic choice for a bathroom even if your home is miles from the ocean. Lime green can be surprisingly uplifting, especially when used in the kitchen. 

Pinkies

Though little girls seem to adore pink, it’s been psychologically shown to be a color that induces upset. It’s not a particularly passive color, but in pastel shades, pink can be soothing, especially when combined with calmer colors like beige or blue. 

Sunny Yellow

If you want a room to feel happy, consider painting it a shade of yellow. Yellow makes you smile; it’s cheery and friendly. Of course, if you get into the neon shades of yellow, it can have the opposite effect, so to stay safe, stay on the lighter side of yellow.

Color can certainly affect the way your home looks and feels, and how you feel in it. The wonderful thing about paint is that it’s an easy way to make a house a home.

If you are in the market for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted mortgage professional.

How To Turn A “Dumb” Home Into A Smart Home

July 3, 2019

How To Turn A Dumb Home Into A Smart HomeHaving a “smart home” is a trend that is popular. What does it actually mean? Smart home technology improves energy-efficiency, increases security, and creates more convenience for the home’s occupants.

Innovative smart home technology improves with the deployment of the Internet of Things (IoT), 5G wireless broadband, and the use of artificial intelligence (AI) programming. Many things that an owner and/or occupant of a home needs or wants may be done for them by smart home technology.

Energy-Efficiency

Green energy systems include installing energy-efficient windows and perhaps solar panels along with battery storage. Moreover, by managing micro-zones within a home, money is saved by not wasting it on heating or cooling when not needed.

Management of temperature control is possible with smart home technology that allows the heating and air-conditioning system to direct hot or cold air to the rooms that need it, only when occupied. These systems turn off the zone when the room is not in use.

Advanced systems learn the occupant’s typical home-use patterns and anticipate them. For example, if a person comes home around the same time each day, the house prepares the rooms for that person in advance of their arrival.

Advanced systems link vehicles with the home. For example, the climate control system may receive the GS location of the vehicle over the IoT. Then, the AI software of the house can determine the distance the car is from the home and the direction it is traveling. The AI guesses if the person is driving home and adjusts the home accordingly.

Increased Security

This is one of the best reasons to install smart home technology. Increased security may help to reduce risks of burglary, home invasion, and damage caused by unavoidable disasters.

Home security may use biometrics, such as facial recognition, fingerprints, iris scans, and others, to authorize entry for specific people and prevent unauthorized intruders.

Video surveillance of the property, inside and out, keeps a record of what is happening. Innovation in AI detects camera images that are not appropriate, such as someone trying to break into the home and alert the homeowners as well as law enforcement.

Alarms trigger for many things such as a break-in of a door or window or someone coming to the front porch to steal a delivered package.

Sensors, which are much more sophisticated than a basic smoke alarm, may warn of smoke, fire, natural gas leaks, carbon monoxide levels in a garage, and even plumbing problems. With nanny cams, monitoring of babies and children is helpful for their safety.

Convenience

Smart Home technology can respond to the occupants’ use automatically or be manually chosen. For example, the coffee maker can turn on automatically in the morning to have the perfect brew ready for those who wake up. The dog door can be unlocked from bed for the dog to go outside in the morning.

A real-time inventory, using the barcodes of foodstuffs, automates the re-ordering of regularly used items when depleted.

The car can be started remotely and warmed up or cool before the driver and passengers enter it. During wintertime, entry steps can be heated to melt ice and snow just in time for people’s arrival. A hot tub can be turned on remotely so that it is fully heated up and ready for use when the owner’s come home.

Summary

There are so many innovations in smart technology already available and more on the way. Homeowners who invest in this smart technology may not only get to enjoy their home more, they may save on energy bills, and might also get a higher resale value for the “smart” home when selling it. It’s worth considering.

If you are in the market for a new property or interested in refinancing !

Pros And Cons Of Installing A Pet Door

June 21, 2019

Pros And Cons Of Installing A Pet DoorIf you’ve just moved into your new home and you have a pet, you may be thinking of installing a pet door. A pet door is a permanent door feature that is cut into the bottom third of an entry door. Before making a permanent alteration to your door, consider the pros and cons of installing a pet door. 

Pro: Your Pet Can Come And Go As Needed

A pet door could cut down on indoor pet accidents if that’s a problem you’ve had to deal with in the past. This is especially convenient if you get home late to let the dog out, or if they have a temporary gastric illness that requires more frequent outings. 

Con: An Unwanted Visitor Could Get Inside

Pet doors are designed to give egress to pets, but your pet door might give indoor access to an unwanted animal. It’s not common, but it does occur, particularly in areas where wildlife is abundant.

Pro: You Could Do Without A Litter Box

Cats can be trained to go outdoors instead of using a litter box. With a pet door, you can dispense with the odorous litter box entirely, knowing your cat will always be able to take care of business outside.

Con: It’s Something Else You Must Remember To Lock

Most pet doors have a locking mechanism for times when you need to secure the home, such as at night. But this is just one more thing you’ll have to remember to do, along with setting the alarm and locking windows. And, the more you have to remember, the more you could forget.

Pro: Better Energy Efficiency

Anyone with pets knows that they can ask to go out and come back in numerous times per day. Every time you open the door you’re letting hot air in, cooled air out, or vice versa. With a pet door, your conditioned air stays in the home much better because there’s a smaller opening, and less time spent with the door open.

Con: New Homebuyers Might Not Want It

If you ever sell your home, the new homebuyers might see a pet door as a negative. Since a quality new door costs around $500, they could ask for a price discount on the home purchase.

A pet door can be a huge convenience, but there are some drawbacks as you can see. However, depending on your view (and the opinion of your pet!) the pros may outweigh the cons.

If you are interested in buying a new home or refinacing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss your current financing options.

 

 

The Benefits Of Adding An In-Law Apartment To A Home

June 18, 2019

The Benefits Of Adding An In-Law Apartment To A HomeOne renovation that may add value to a home is an in-law apartment. Even if a homeowner does not have any relatives, an in-law apartment makes wonderful guest accommodations. It is possible to rent it when unoccupied to earn some money.

Homeowners who rent out part of a home need to check with their insurance agent to upgrade insurance to accommodate commercial use of a part of the home.

Additionally, a person staying in an in-law apartment, who is not a member of the owner’s household, may need to get renter’s insurance to cover any personal property kept in the in-law apartment.

Renovation Plans

An in-law apartment may be in a basement or attic. Creating one is possible as a home addition, a garage makeover, or as a tiny house in the backyard.

Check the building regulations for the area where the home is. It is wise to get the proper building permits needed for the construction. Work done without permits usually does not add value when reselling because it creates a liability.

Some people make an in-law without having to do major renovations if partitioning the house is possible. It may be possible to separate an area to create an in-law apartment if the house has an extra bedroom with a connected bathroom.

If no existing part of the home is suitable for remodeling, then adding an addition is an option. A better choice for a backyard that usually increases the resale value is building an in-law cottage rather than investing in installing a swimming pool. Some people may prefer having in-law accommodations when compared to the cost of maintaining a swimming pool.

Multiple Uses For An In-Law Apartment

Almost everyone has a use for an in-law apartment. This is why they are attractive to potential home buyers. Children can stay with parents as they become adults. Elderly parents can live with their children. Couples without children can use the room as a home office. Single people can rent out the space to help pay the bills.

Use of the space may change over time, so be sure to think creatively about the space. The value-added for having this space is the privacy it allows. Living together is normally easier when the parties also have some privacy.

Having a private bathroom, a separate entrance, and a kitchenette in the in-law apartment covers all the needs. This allows the space to be self-contained.

Summary

Consider adding an in-law apartment for the convenience, potential improvements in the resale value of the home, and to reduce the expense of supporting family members who live elsewhere and pay rent for an apartment to others.

If adding additional space for in-laws or guests sounds like a good fit for your family, you may want to consider accessing some of your home equity funds to cover the cost of renovation. Be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional for current financing options.

7 New Home Upgrades that Could Save Your Life

June 11, 2019

7 New Home Upgrades that Could Save Your LifeOne of the best things about moving into a new home is personalizing it and really making it yours. From hanging wall art to arranging furniture to finding the perfect spot for your grandmother’s hand crocheted afghan, it’s a real joy to decorate.

But are you forgetting about the big investment you just made? Consider the following important home upgrades that will protect your home and your family.

1. Smoke Alarm

Take an afternoon and upgrade all your new home’s smoke alarms. Smoke alarms save lives and it’s not worth it to assume that just because it’s there it’s working. 

2. Carbon Monoxide Alarm

Do the same upgrade with your carbon monoxide alarm. If your new home doesn’t yet have one, go ahead and pick up the latest model. Even if your home has all electric appliances, it’s worth it to have this added protection.

3. Trim Bushes

It’s lovely to have a home that’s nestled behind evergreens, but you should know that this gives intruders easy cover around the perimeter of your home. Trim bushes so they are no more than four feet high so intruders have nowhere to hide.

4. Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor lighting adds to the curb appeal of your home and also deters intruders. Install solar lighting to highlight attractive areas and motion sensor lighting around windows and doors. 

5. Security System

Consider enrolling in a security alarm system for your new home. Several companies offer this option. These systems come with cameras that you can have in/or around your home. The mere presence of cameras is often enough to ward off unwanted persons. 

6. Fire Extinguishers

Stock every room with a fire extinguisher. Many times people only put these in the kitchen, but a candle or electrical fire can break out anywhere, including the garage. This isn’t technically an upgrade, but this could save your live and your property.

7. Door Alarm

If you have children, consider installing a door alarm on your sliding patio doors. This is especially helpful if you have a backyard swimming pool. A door alarm can be picked up at the local hardware store and installed within minutes if you’re even a little bit handy.

These seven tips will help to ensure that both you and your home are well-protected. After this, you can get back to decorating comforted by the knowledge that you’ve taken care of the important points first.

Another way to protect your family is to be sure that you have the best financing options available by staying in contact with your trusted home mortgage professional.

 

Renovations That Improve Resale Value And Those That Don’t

June 6, 2019

Renovations That Improve Resale Value And Those That Don'tThose who want to renovate a home usually do this to make it more spacious, improve its condition, and to add amenities. However, it is also important to consider if the renovation has the potential to add value to a home.

Unless the plan is to live in the same place for life, there is a strong likelihood that, at some point, the home will go on the market for sale. It is nice if it sells for a high price and there is some profit for the seller in the transaction.

It is not the amount spent on renovations that is the key consideration. In fact, spending a lot of money making certain renovations may not improve the sales price, when the home sells. This guide helps decide between renovations that add value and ones that do not add value.

Renovations That Add Value

Renovations that add value are those things that almost everybody wants, which include:

  • Upgraded Kitchen: Having a professional-style cooking area and all the appliances with matching stainless steel-finishes creates an attractive upgraded kitchen. Many appreciate having an island area in the center for use as a working area when cooking large meals that doubles as an eating area for breakfast.
  • Luxurious Master Bedroom and Bathroom: Homes with a large master bedroom with big windows and a king-sized bed usually sell for a top price. If the master bathroom has a large renovated bathroom with a big tub, then this is a plus.
  • Extra Bedroom: Having another bedroom puts a home in a higher-valued category.
  • Lots of Closet Space: Many think that adding an extra bedroom is sufficient; however, adding extra closet space is also a great idea, especially when adding walk-in closets with his/hers vanity areas that are accessible from the master bedroom.
  • Green Systems: Solar energy systems that reduce the monthly utility bill are desirable. Energy-efficient windows are also attractive.
  • Smart Home Systems: These systems offer computer control of the home for energy efficiency, security, and convenience for the occupants.

Renovations That Do Not Add Value

  • Carpeting: Carpet colors are a matter of personal taste. If the carpet is not brand-new or thoroughly cleaned, it will lower the interest in the home. It is better to have nicely-finished wood or tile flooring with rugs strategically placed to create different usage areas. Offer to sell the rugs for their value with the home or to take them away.
  • Excessive Front Yard Decorations: There are a few homes that have so many garden gnomes in the front yard that adding another one is nearly impossible. Avoid this because not everybody appreciates this style.
  • Swimming Pools: For many, this is potentially negative. The cost of building a new, in-ground, swimming pool is not usually an amount recouped in the selling price. Some like pools; however, many others do not like the idea of continual maintenance and monthly expenses. Families with young children may see pools as very dangerous.
  • Bright-Orange Exterior Paint: It is not surprising to learn that most people do not like houses painted this color and other garish colors. Even if the paint is new, they do not usually sell for a higher price.

Summary

In general, in order to add value with renovations, do the things that most people appreciate. Complete the project for a budget to add to the purchase price of the home that will not exceed the average market value of a home of a similar type.

Homeowners who follow this general rule, get to enjoy the renovations and get their money back, perhaps with some profit, when the home sells.

If you are in the market for a new home or considering renovating your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss current financing options.

I Can’t Believe It’s Not Grass!

May 31, 2019

I Can't Believe It's Not Grass!For those who have not taken a look at the innovative technology that is now used to make artificial grass, they will be surprised at how realistic some of the newest products look when compared to living grass. Installing artificial grass, which is high quality, does not come cheap.

Prices range from $8 to $14 per square foot. However, this investment may pay off well because of improved resale value, low monthly water bills, and other benefits. The best artificial grass can last up to 25 years with little to no maintenance.

Here is a comparison of the advantages and disadvantages of the most innovative artificial turf to help homeowners and business owners decide if these new products are suitable for their properties.

Disadvantages

Besides the investment cost, here are some other disadvantages.

Hot To The Touch

Some artificial grass products do no dissipate heat very well. In areas where there is a lot of direct sunlight this problem can make artificial grass too hot to walk on barefoot.

Nevertheless, there are advanced designs of artificial turf, which have perforations that allow water to easily run through. These can be quickly cooled down by simply spraying the artificial turf with a light water mist spray.

Homeowners Association Rules

The rules of the homeowners association (HOA) may prohibit the use of artificial turf. Check the HOA rules before installing artificial grass. There may be a need for an exception to the rules.

High-quality artificial grass looks as nice, if not better, than real grass. Low-quality artificial turf looks like cheap, green, furry plastic. Make sure the HOA sees a sample of the artificial grass product for the project for their more accurate understanding and consideration.

Advantages

There are many advantages of using high-quality artificial grass.

No Water And Low Maintenance

In drought-stricken areas, water for irrigation may not be available at all, has use restrictions, and/or is extremely costly. Artificial grass does not need a huge amount of water that real grass needs to survive. It is very low maintenance.

No mowing or lawn care is needed to keep it looking perfect. It is washable, which makes it easy to remove dirt, dust, and pet litter. It is durable and tough.

Curb Appeal

High-quality artificial grass makes a home stand out. When all the neighbor’s homes are dull with dead, brown, real grass or another bland-colored ground cover, a vibrant green artificial lawn really looks spectacular in comparison.

Pet-Friendly

Pets like quality artificial turf. It is easy to clean. It should be able to withstand plenty of pet activity without showing ugly wear and tear. Depending on the installation, pets are discouraged from digging up the lawn.

If a portion does get damaged, it is fairly easy to replace a damaged section.

Conclusion

Artificial grass is increasing in popularity. In most cases, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages. Even for properties, which have the option of maintaining a real-grass yard, artificial grass is something worth considering.

If you are interested in purchasing a new home or refinancing your current property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss financing options.