Mark Galante's Blog
After settling into your home, you start to notice a few things either need to be retouched or completely overhauled. The biggest issue that a lot of homeowners run into is the money for the project. Even after assessing whether the project is a DIY or you’ll need a professional, funding still comes before action. Here are a few funding options to consider before you begin your home improvement projects.
Borrow from Your Future: 401(K)
A vast number of traditionally employed homeowners have a 401(K). Often, an employer will deposit funds into this account just as the employee does, but did you know you can borrow from it? If your housing project requires a little more than what you have in your savings account, try taking a little from your 401(K). Remember, even though it’s your account, it’s not free money. You will have to put it back once you’re able, and if you separate from your current company, you may run into a few extra fees if the money isn’t returned within five (5) years.
Government-Backed Improvement Loans
There are a few different types of government-backed loans that allow you to improve your home. You just need to identify the category your home improvement falls under. If you’re looking to do a few moderate improvements, try the 203K loan. These loans are great if you’ve purchased a preexisting home and have a few hefty renovations to cover. You can even add this loan to your mortgage payments.
If your home improvement project happens to fall more along the “greener” side of things, such as heating/cooling, water-efficient landscaping, energy reduction systems, etc., you may be able to apply for a PACE loan. These loans are pretty easy to get approval for, can often receive tax credits and may be sold to your next buyer when you decide to move.
Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)
Have you been in your home for a while? Maybe a HELOC would be the best method for you to finance your home improvement projects. Since your home has accrued equity over the years, you’ll be able to secure the loan by using it as collateral. These loans are often suited for long renovations or projects that may require a few extra stages.
If your home improvement projects end up with a longer price tag than you were expecting, don’t fret. There are several other ways that you’ll be able to cover the cost, including tax credits and grants. If you’re prepping your home to sell in the near future, chat with your agent about the best renovations, improvements and repairs, as well as, how to fund them.
Many times the house that people initially buy isn’t the property that will be their forever home. The house could be too big, too small, or not in an ideal location. When you sell your first home, you want to get the most out of your investment. There are so many easy ways that you can upgrade your home for a small amount of money. Any of these upgrades will add value to your home. Read on to find some of the most affordable improvements you can make to your home that will add character and value for you.
Do Something With The Kitchen
While “something” is a bold statement, it’s true. Just about any improvement, you make in your kitchen will give you a great return. Some ideas include:
Change the countertops
Replace the cabinets
Replace the stove
Get a new dishwasher
Install a new floor
There are so many different things that you can do to make a kitchen better. The possibilities are almost endless! The key to any renovation that you do is that you don’t want it to be too styled. Try to aim for improvements that will be timeless. Check out the current trends and see what seems to be a staple in modern homes. Keep in mind that you also have to like whatever it is you’re doing to your home.
Give Your Fireplace A Facelift
Upgrading the fireplaces in your home can be a great project and an excellent way to enhance your home. You can do anything from merely repairing your fireplace relieving it from any cracks. If you’re feeling zealous, you can change the type or face of fireplace you have. Look into switching from a wood burning fireplace to a gas fireplace. Change the front of your fireplace from brick to tone. Fireplaces are attractive features in homes that make any space cozy.
Upgrade The Outdoor Space
An outdoor living space adds a lot to a home. The nice thing about adding outdoor is you can go as big as you want to. If you live in a warm region, an outdoor kitchen is an awesome feature to add on. Put a deck on your house. Construct a patio. Put up a gazebo or permanent screen house. There are so many ways to make outdoor living a possibility.
Clean Up Your Outdoor Space
Giving the outside of your a once over can be an easy way to upgrade your property. You can power wash your siding. Trim your bushes. Add some more plants and foliage to the landscape. These are all simple, yet practical upgrades to your home that add value and appeal.
One of the clear benefits of siding is to protect both the exterior and interior of the home. This protection is mainly against harsh elements. There are many siding options from which to choose, but the standard siding choice is vinyl siding. Homeowners looking to add this feature to their home will enjoy many benefits such as:
Vinyl is extremely durable and long-lasting when professionally installed. Vinyl siding does not rust, corrode, or warp, and its design withstands the harsh elements. Another feature that makes vinyl siding a good possibility is it's impervious to pests, such as termites. Also, it is moisture resistant, unlike wood that is prone to rot or split.
Another compelling reason why homeowners choose vinyl siding is the cost. Compared to other siding styles, vinyl is the least expensive, with a modest maintenance cost to boot.
The overall cost of maintaining vinyl siding is inexpensive. There is no need to paint, scrape, or apply a stain year after year. All you need is a gentle clean once a year with water and a mild mold remover or use a power washer to remove built-up mud and dirt.
Improve home value
Vinyl siding significantly increases your homes' equity. It beautifies the exterior of your home. It doesn't peel, chip or flake, which helps your home look well-maintained all the time. It can also improve your home’s value in the marketplace.
Vinyl siding is lightweight and often comes with pre-drilled holes for easy installation. As a result, the time required to install vinyl siding is minimal compared to the other options.
Vinyl gives homeowners an extensive collection of options. It comes in a variety of colors and textures. Choose from narrow gauge triple-lap clapboard designs to wide-gauge Dutch-lap, faux-stone, or staggered shake styles.
Vinyl siding is the best when looking for an excellent siding choice that is durable, affordable and easy to maintain. Visit your local building store to get more information about vinyl siding or consult with your home contractor for a recommendation.
Most everyone would love to gain some extra room, especially those in small homes with limited space options. Here are three home interior DIY projects to help you maximize your space.
1. Transform a Closet into Workspace
If you’re lacking the room for a home office, transform one of your closets into a mini-office. This is a relatively easy and inexpensive way to give yourself a dedicated workspace.
- Remove the door and hinges.
- Empty the closet and give it a good wipe down.
- Disassemble hanging rods.
- Touch up or repaint the closet’s interior.
- Add two to three shelves—a deep one to serve as your desktop and additional ones for storage.
If you prefer a traditional desk and your closet is wide enough, slide one in and eliminate the need for a deep shelf.
2. Mount Your TV
Modern styles are all about minimalism and entertainment centers don’t exactly fit this look. Besides, media consoles take up a ton of floor space. An easy way to reclaim this useful space is to mount your TV to the wall or above a fireplace.
- Choose a mount for your TV—this will be a tilting mount, low-profile mount or full-motion mount.
- Select a location and determine the best viewing height—be sure you have sufficient outlets and access to cable connections you need.
- Cut out a piece of TV-sized cardboard or poster board and tape it to the wall to get a “visual” of your TV’s position.
- Locate a stud and mark it. (If mounting to a fireplace use masonry anchors.)
- Before you drill, use a level to ensure the wall mount is even.
- Drill holes, attach your mount and secure it so it doesn’t collapse.
- Add a cord cover to hide unsightly wiring.
Media consoles were useful before flat-screen TVs became the norm, but most people today can easily get by with a wall-mount and a shelf to hold cable boxes, media players or game consoles. If you need additional storage, add a small table with cabinet space.
3. Build Window Seats
Adding window seats to any room eliminates the need for extra seating on the floor, gives a cozy look and offers additional storage space.
- Buy two wall cabinets about 30 inches wide by 15 inches high. You can purchase new or, to scale back costs, check secondhand stores, such as Habitat for Humanity’s Restore, for used cabinetry.
- Use plywood (2x4 or 2x6) to serve as a perimeter base, nailing these pieces of wood into the floor to create a toekick. Be sure your outline’s depth is large enough to hold your cabinets, and leave a little extra room to pull your cabinets away a few inches from the wall beneath the window to save space for your seat.
- Place cabinets on top of the toekick and clamp the two cabinets together. Be sure your screws are strong enough to hold the units together.
- Clamp and screw cabinets to the toekick.
- Place hardwood plywood on top of the cabinets to widen your seating area. (Sand and paint, if necessary.)
- Add cushions and pillows.
Tip: Be sure to avoid positioning your seat over an HVAC vent or baseboard because you don’t block out your heat or A/C.
If you’re working with some tight spaces, you can better utilize it by transforming your existing space.
Everyone had something ugly in their yard that they want to hide. For many, it’s the oversized trash bins that don’t really fit in the garage but are big and distracting when left out. Others may have utility boxes that mar your lovely landscaping. In some cases, it’s lawn equipment or gardening tools that don’t have a place you can tuck them away.
Here are some ideas of ways to hide your ugly stuff and beautify your home.
If your oversized cans must be outdoors, create a trellis enclosure to surround them. Place pots with climbing plants such as ivy and trumpet vine along the sides so that they grow up and over the trash cans. However, remember to leave enough space for you to open the lids conveniently.
Another option for trash bins is to make a raised planter box that rises above the cans. Plant bright annuals, vegetables, or succulents in the box.
To cover a utility box, vent pipe, or other smaller eyesore, purchase a faux stone or cluster of rocks to set on the street-side of it. Surround it with flowering plants or small bushes to give it a more pleasing look.
Disguise utility boxes with raised beds and fill them with taller perennials such as Iris or Agapanthus. The beautiful blooms distract from the ugly utility boxes and hide them in plain sight.
When a full toolshed is not an option, hide your tools in a patio chest. These chests double as extra seating for entertaining and can even hold a small lawnmower if necessary.Or, create a hideaway cabinet under the deck landing. Just wrap the area with siding to match the deck, add access doors and voila, your tools are hidden in an area that looks like it was meant to be there.
When you have a wood-burning fireplace but don’t know where to store the logs, build a bench seat similar to a crate and stack the wood under it. Use the bench for extra seating or as a display shelf for your favorite potted plants.
Use two pillars of your patio cover to stack the logs between, but place lattice on the patio side to hide the wood. Hang planters from the trellis to create a walled garden to bring cheery greenery to your patio area while hiding the logs.
Hide your hose in a lovely pot situated near to the faucet. Most garden centers and DIY hardware stores offer choices specially designed to keep unruly hoses in check.
Whatever the problem area, you can find a way to keep it hidden from view with a little ingenuity and effort. Doing so improves your home’s curb appeal and increases your enjoyment of your outdoor living space.