Skip to Content

Knowledge Center

Home Improvement Tips

May 28
Category | Helpful Tips

Home Improvement Tips

Buying a home is one of the biggest financial investments you’ll ever make. Unlike in a rental situation, the on-going maintenance and upkeep of your home falls squarely on you. It’s something you should plan and budget for, in part because you want to live in a safe and up to date home. It is also because you might not live in that home forever, and you want to protect its re-sale value when the time comes.

Everyone loves watching those shows on HGTV where it only takes an hour to see a before and after of a brand-new kitchen, or a fully landscaped backyard. The truth is, no matter the project, big or small, it takes planning. So, get your creative juices flowing for some great brainstorming, there is a project for every do-it-yourself warrior!

Home improvement projects can vary depending on what you are looking for. Are you looking to make your home more aesthetically pleasing and show versatility? Or maybe you are looking to invest in a project that will add to your home’s overall value? Either way we have some things to consider as you make your way through the world of home improvement.

Styling Your Space

Starting small. If you are hesitant to start a larger renovation project, tackle household projects with smaller, overlooked spaces. These projects can be budget-friendly and fun to do over a weekend.

  • Curb Appeal:

    • Design: framing your front door to coordinate with your home style will dress up your curb appeal. Adding plants, unique exterior lighting, and even house numbers will create a polished look as you enter the home.

  • Entryway

    • Storage: your entryway is one of the first things people see when they walk in. Create a storage system, so your loose shoes and jackets have a place to live. Kids would love to have cubbies of their own.

    • Design: add millwork to your entrance. Keeping the style as you come from outside will add a layer of luxury that visitors will instantly notice! Try layering pieces around the entryway for a more dramatic look.

  • Kitchen

    • Storage: ample kitchen storage is always a great selling point. Take advantage of an unused wall or corner space. Install open shelves for your most commonly used cookware.

    • Design: use the space behind the open shelves to add a fun wallpaper print or backsplash. Adding an extra element of design will draw the eye around the room.

  • Living Room:

    • Storage: books and display pieces can add interest to your living room. Adding baskets or boxes to shelving gives dimension and you can store items out of sight.

    • Design: transform your room with crown molding or trim work. You can achieve a brand-new look in one weekend!

  • Banish Clutter:

    • Storage: getting rid of unused items is the first way! Here are some tips on eliminating clutter and how to keep it that way.

Projects that Add Value

If renovation or remodeling is in your plans, you’ll want to mitigate costs as much as possible. Depending on the material used and the magnitude of the project, home renovations can cost tens of thousands of dollars, an amount that few families have readily available. That is where an FHA 203K loan with RMS might make sense.

As you are brainstorming about your end goal, you might want to figure out how much you will reap the benefits of costly projects. We broke down some benefits for a few scenarios below. For a more comprehensive list, and financial breakdown, visit Remodeling Magazine for the up to date 2021 data.

  • Garage Door Replacement: If your garage door gets a lot of wear of tear, it might be worth replacing. Garage doors have been the highest ROI for several years. Coming in at an affordable cost to replace, the value of the door almost pays for itself.

  • Remodel the Kitchen: Many buyers are looking for a modern, updated kitchen. When remodeling, start small. Replace the faucet, add new hardware and replace light fixtures. You could paint the cabinets instead of installing new ones. If you’re going for a complete overhaul, don’t go overboard. You may recoup a large percentage of your investment, depending on the value of your home.

  • Upgrade Appliances: This may go hand in hand with kitchen upgrades, but you could focus on matching and modern appliances. It gives your kitchen a more cohesive look, and if they are energy-efficient models, they will be better for the environment and save on your monthly expenses.

  • Windows: Quality windows are an investment that can’t go wrong. The ROI for good windows is about 69% according to Remodeling Magazine in 2021.

  • Remodel Attic or Basement: adding usable square footage with an add-on could be costly. Converting the basement or attic into a versatile space will add more appeal to potential buyers. 

  • Boosting Curb Appeal: First impressions mean a lot. Enhancing your exterior could be as simple as power-washing the siding, installing a new front door, or pruning shrubs, and adding a flower garden. It doesn’t need to be expensive to boost that wow factor!

Projects that May Negatively Affect Value

Certain projects might have a negative effect on the resale value of your home. A general rule of thumb is less is more. Lower-cost, less customized projects generally reap more significant returns. It doesn’t mean you can’t do your luxury renovations, just keep in mind the buyer may not see the appeal and may not be willing to pay additionally for these additions.

  • Swimming Pools: In-ground swimming pools are a nice to have. Depending on where you live, they might be used more than a few months out of the year. Buyers with children might think of it as a safety hazard, and some may not want to pay for the additional costs of keeping up a swimming pool.

  • Luxury Upgrades: If you are thinking about selling in the near future, you may want to think twice about the high-end additions. Invest in quality appliances, flooring, and upgrades that will appeal to all buyers.

  • Garage Conversions: Most buyers want a garage for their car or storage. Upgrading your garage into usable square footage might not attract buyers. Keep track of what your neighbors do. You don’t want to be the most expensive home on the block.

What If You Need To List Quickly?

If your budget won’t allow for repairs, and you need to sell your home, you have options.

  • Sell as-is: Make it clear to buyers you won’t be making any repairs. You will need to adjust your listing price based on what necessities need to be done to the home. Buyers may try to negotiate based on the “sell as-is” offer, especially if the repairs are lengthy.

  • Offer a credit at closing: If the home inspection uncovers unforeseen issues, you can offer a credit that will allow the buyer to make the repairs after closing.

  • Other options: There are real estate companies that will buy your home and quickly. Zillow Offers will give you a cash offer and take the stress off showing, repairing, and managing your home for sale. These offers may be at a much lower price than you would typically sell, but if the need is there, it might be what you are looking for.

At the end of the day, it’s still your home. Enjoy where you live and be aware of projects that might be costly to you and not add value to the house. If you are in the market to sell your home and don’t know what projects would be best for your budget, get an inspector to come out and assess your home.

This might also be helpful if you are looking to refinance. Adding value to your home will mean you will have more equity and a lower loan-to-value ratio. If it is early on in your mortgage, depending on the financing you have, you might be able to cancel your private mortgage insurance. If you have any questions regarding refinancing, the Loan Officers at Residential Mortgage Services will be glad to answer any questions. Contact us today to get started!