Monthly Archives: June 2017

Why Home Improvement Loans Suck

Imagine the scenario: you’re ready to buy your first house. But you don’t have the cash lying around to buy your dream house, so you decide to settle on a fixer-upper that you’ll spend your free time turning into the perfect home. If you’ve been through the home buying process this already, then you probably remember this quite well. In fact, buying a fixer upper in need of major TLC is a rite of passage for many homeowners. Tons of first homes need work done like re-painting, deck repair, all new floors and wallpaper or an extra bathroom.

Of course the problem is that most first time home buyers simply don’t have the funds to pay for these home improvements after closing on their mortgage. So they go into a do-it-yourself mode. Sometimes they use home improvement loans to help pay for the work. Other times they do all the work on nights and weekends. Maybe the financing comes from credit cards. Sometimes, it’s all one terrible experience. This begs the question: Why do home improvement loans suck?

    1. They take too much time. From the bidding process for the work, to the actual upgrades and construction to moving day, it can be very time-consuming. Many borrowers say closing a home improvement loan takes more than 3 months, and might never even close. An efficient lender who understands the home improvement loan process should be able to get your loan closed in a little more than a month. Sometimes even less time than that.
    1. Renovation mortgages are too much work. Yes this option will take more paperwork. After all, the bid process alone can add a lot of extra work to the process. However, working with an experienced mortgage consultant will help you avoid the extra work, requiring mostly just extra signatures.
    1. No one understands programs like FHA 203k or HomePath Renovation. It’s true that many real estate agents haven’t heard about some of the options for financing upgrades. Many deals die because the buyer sees a house they like but there may be a few things they’d like to change. The challenge to home improvement loans lies with the effort to help educate real estate professionals and buyers alike.
    1. Do it yourself work is a real pain. Putting in a new kitchen takes time and skill, and doing all on your own isn’t likely something you want to do. Same with a bathroom, wider hallways for wheelchair access or painting the entire house. Again, it’s not something you may want to do, and that’s okay. Home improvement loans are generally for paying a professional to do the work. They’re not really for the DIY crowd.
    1. Buying a new home is easier than buying a fixer-upper. This is certainly true in many cases, but it’s not always feasible. And with so many homes on the market today under the foreclosure cloud, you can actually find a great deal on a fixer-upper and roll the cost of the repairs right into the monthly payment! Plus, older houses have more character than subdivision cookie-cutters.
    1. They are expensive. Home improvement loans generally come with a little higher interest rate, it’s true. Interest rates are based in part on risk. Paying for home improvements can be risky, as the after-improved value is used to predict the future worth of the house. But the difference between a home improvement loan and a regular mortgage is pretty low. It’s definitely lower than the cost of financing the work and materials on a credit card!
  1. Store credit is so much easier to get. Again, this may be true, but you’ll pay a much higher rate than a home improvement loan and you’ll have to do the work yourself. If that’s your goal, then a home improvement loan isn’t for you.

Home improvement loans are definitely not for everyone. There’s no doubt that they take a little extra time and work. Sometimes you can find a newer home that needs less work for a good price. And that’s okay. Go for it. But if you find a home that’s average and needs your personal touch with a few upgrades and renovations, then a home improvement loan just may be your next step. Good luck in the house hunting, and let us know if there’s some way we can help!

As the Multimedia Marketing & Communications Specialist at AmeriFirst Home Mortgage, Dan is responsible for creating and editing the content in the first time home buyer resource blog.

Enjoy Home Improvement Ideas Below!

Well, you’ve decided to improve your home. Good for you! However, there is so much information that you may not have a clue where to begin. Don’t worry, home improvement tips are here! Listed below are some tips that will help you get started and organized so that you can become a home improvement expert.

New wallpaper can transform a room. Before you add wallpaper, you need to find out what type of wall is under the existing wallpaper. Usually walls are either drywall or plaster smoothed over lath. You can figure out what kind of wall you are dealing with by feeling the wall, plaster is harder, smoother, and colder than drywall. You can also try tapping the wall, drywall sounds hollow while plaster does not.

If you are looking for home improvement, don’t forget the outside areas of your home too. If you love fish, you may want to consider putting in a Koi pond. They look beautiful, and they can be customized to match the look of your backyard or be made the focal point.

If you have a small bathroom and not enough space to store your items, you can easily create some space yourself. Buy some wooden shelves and install them on your bathroom wall. Display your lotions, perfumes and other beauty items on the shelves as well as your smaller towels or toilet paper rolls. This will not only give your bathroom a decorative boost, it will also organize it.

Before beginning a home improvement project, make a list of the actions you think will need to be taken from start to finish. Obtain a second opinion from a trusted source to see if there are any steps you missed or anything you didn’t take into account. Plan to set aside plenty of time for your project, as it might take longer than expected.

The shingles on your roof will at some point need to be replaced. As asphalt shingles get older, they start to lose the bound granules and curl up on the corners of the sheets. If you are experiencing leaks that have gone through the ceiling, then it is definitely time to lay down a new roof. Otherwise, if your roof has lost several shingles, this is a less drastic but firm indication that it’s time to replace the roof.

When you are getting ready to deep clean your deck, make sure you have all of your materials ready before hand. Some of the things you will need to get together are a pressure washer, a nice sturdy scrub brush, commercial deck cleaner, a hose, and a hefty broom you can use outdoors.

Before beginning home improvements apply for the appropriate building permits. Any home improvement that involves plumbing, electricity, or structural changes can require a permit. Check your local laws. If you proceed without a permit then you can be fined or it could make the house harder to sell in the future.

When it comes to home improvement, be sure that you are not causing your home to awkwardly stand out from the rest of the neighborhood. This will ensure you will be able to resell it and also, that you will not receive scorn from your neighbors. Be creative, but try to lean toward conservative with colors. With additions, keep your the total size of your home somewhat near that of your neighbors.

If you live in an older home with a wooden floor that is beyond sanding and staining, add a few coats of oil-based paint over the planks. Choose a paint that is intended for outdoor use on decks or porches; this ensures that it will be able to withstand the occasional wet spill and light traffic. It can also hold you over until you have the resources to replace the floor altogether.

If you want to make your house shine then look to the curb appeal. First impressions are important with people, and they are just as important to your home. Consider repainting if your color is fading or is dated, and choose colors and other details that fit into the era of your house.

You should feel better after reading those tips when it comes to home improvement. That was a lot to think and read through, but at least you should have an idea of what to do and where to begin with improving your home safer and smarter. In addition, you can always come back to this list.

Factors to Look For When Looking for a US Home Improvement Contractor

Many residents who live in the US find the need to make home improvements season by season. The main reason for doing these is to make their homes look newer, improve on the architecture, bring new technologies in the home and even increase the value of their homes. All the above services can be hired from different US contractors spread all over different cities.

Some home improvement jobs for hire:

Different clients who want to hire contractors have choices to make from the available services. Some of the jobs include treating the windows, roofs and doors. Other home owners will hire the contractors to remodel the homes while others will pay for the storm drain repair, insulation needs, plastering needs, glass work jobs and even carpentry services.

Factors to put in place when looking for a contractor:

It is obvious that different home owners have different needs when it comes to their home improvement. The first thing to consider is the type of home improvement. For example a person who requires roofing facelift must check on the different roofing experts in their locations. It will be awkward when looking for a roof fixing expert and you head to a company that has expertise in storm drain remodeling.

Secondly one has to consider the pricing. Many companies will charge different prices. This will depend on the services offered. When a client is looking for any of the services, then they must compare the prices to be paid. This can be done by checking various online sites for the services offered by each company and initial charges.

In addition, some of the US home improvement companies have been in the business for a number of years therefore they have a good reputation. When a home owner is getting the services, it is only ideal to consider the companies that have worked in various cities and many people are recommending them. These reputable companies have the latest technologies to deal with any jobs offered.

The technology used:

Due to the competition among various US service providers, the home owner must get some information about the technology used to finish the jobs given. For example, a home owner seeking to improve the insulation around the home can check the companies with the best materials and technology to help in insulation remodeling. Since they know the requirements, then they will have to choose the best.

Availability:

In some parts, it is impossible to get specialists to solve a particular need. So this will mean importing the services from a neighboring state. This will translate to higher payments. To reduce the operation costs, they service provider needs to be contacted online to reduce the costs.

Offers made:

Some companies providing US home improvement services have various offers for different improvement jobs. In order to get the best at reduced prices, the home owner should ensure they take advantage of the discounts given on any service that will reduce the costs significantly.

The US home improvement has improved in the recent days as more people contact the experts to give a facelift to their homes. With these services available, home owners can pay smaller fees to ensure their homes look good every time.

How to Repair a House to Help You Create a Home That Can Save Better Energy

Whenever you take on a home renovation task, you can go beyond making visual enhancements. Home renovation projects also provide you with the ability to increase the energy efficiency of your home. Remodeling for a more energy efficient home won’t just be great for the environment – it will also save you money in the long run. No matter what kind of home improvement project you’re considering, it’s a good idea to find out if there are ways you can enhance your home’s energy efficiency. A good renovation project offers you the opportunity to add more beauty and value to your home, but it will be even more successful if you’re able to use that project to lower your energy bills and reduce your carbon footprint.

Tips for the Bathroom

The bathroom is one of the most popular areas to start home improvement projects. When you’re ready to start making some changes in your bathroom, it’s the smaller decisions that can help you to increase the energy efficiency of your bathroom. If you’ll be replacing faucets, sinks and showerheads as a part of your home improvement project, you can save on water by going with low-flow options that still provide you with plenty of water pressure. Another option is to invest in a dual flush or low flow toilet that will help improve energy efficiency in the bathroom.

Tips for the Kitchen

Kitchens are often the heart of the home and they are also a popular place for home renovation projects. It is possible to work on home improvement tasks that improve the function and aesthetic beauty of your kitchen while also working to make your home more energy efficient. Many kitchen home improvement tasks focus on replacing surface features, including floors, counters and cabinets. You can go with sustainable materials to help out the environment. Choosing the right appliances for the kitchen is the real way to save energy while taking on a kitchen home improvement project. Look for ENERGY STAR products that use less water and power, helping to cut down on your energy bills. These energy efficient appliances also come in great sizes and trendy styles so they’ll go along with your d├ęcor of choice in the kitchen.

Tips for Other Living Areas

While it may be more difficult to make living rooms, offices and bedrooms more energy efficient, there are still ways that you can work on energy efficiency when you take on these home improvement tasks. When you’re ready to remodel these areas, work to go with sustainable materials, such as hardwood flooring that is harvested in a sustainable way. Another option is to choose curtains that will help cut back on heat transfer, which will help keep energy bills down. Adding in some extra insulation while involved in home improvement tasks or adding in new ceiling fans can help reduce the cost of heating and cooling your home as well. Also, keeping in mind that materials pulled from the home can be recycled when you do a home renovation in living areas.

As you can see, you can find many ways to take on a home improvement project to improve your home’s aesthetic beauty, function, value and energy efficiency. As you plan out your next home improvement task, make sure you keep energy efficiency in mind. You’ll be taking great measures to help improve the environment while also finding ways to save money over time with a more energy efficient home.