What comes after you get the keys is what truly determines how to make your house a home. We have a list of helpful tips to help you make smart renovations.
So you’ve bought a house and you are staring at that awful orange shag carpet! Where do you start in the re-decorating process and how do you pay for it? If you are like most people, all your money was put towards the down payment, but you are dying to tackle some major renovations. Now that you are in your home, it is important to be realistic about home projects and not go overboard with spending. Owning a home is a marathon not a sprint.
Where to Start
Here are a few tips I have found helpful in the re-decorating process with the purchase of multiple homes.
- Take it room by room and start with paint. A quick coat of paint can freshen up a whole room and make it feel more like home.
- Start with common living spaces and work your way to areas that don’t get a lot of traffic.
- Live in your home for a while before you decide on major renovations. Once you get to know the house, the necessary updates and potential layout changes will become more apparent.
- Create a budget for each project and price all materials and services before making concrete plans. This might bring you back down to reality.
- Ian from www.ibflooring.com said ‘Changing the flooring in a room can refresh its, look while also being practical. Putting laminate or tiling down in a kitchen or bathroom is done all over the world and can be a key feature of the room.
DIY vs. PRO
A recent Chase survey saw that the majority of Americans are starting the home search on their own, but still consulted the professionals at some point in the homebuying process. Similarly, as you go from moving in to settled in, you might be trying to decide if those pesky eyesores are something you can tackle on your own. After a few epic fails, here are the DIYs I recommend and the projects I won’t ever do by myself again.
- Painting is always a DIY. It might be a pain to tape all that moulding and spend hours going up and down the ladder, but it is definitely cheaper. Save your money for bigger projects.
- Anything involving major electrical or plumbing work should be done by a Pro. Inexperience in these areas can spell disaster.
- Small tile projects are great DIY projects. Flooring and backsplashes can be done with a relative amount of ease. There are great instructions online and your local home improvement store may even offer tutorial classes.
- Dry wall is a job for a Pro. Small minor fixes can be handled on your own, but if you are re-dry walling a room or anything else it is best to call a Pro. I have helped do many a dry wall job in my own homes, and we can never get smooth flat lines. It turns out lumpy and uneven which is extremely noticeable especially after it is painted. When we sold our first home, it was the number one complaint from those who viewed it. Oh…also it is a terribly messy and tedious job.
- Demo work is pretty easy DIY work. After all, your intention is to destroy it. If you need cabinets torn out or carpet ripped up, it is cheaper to tackle it on your own, even if you are having pros install new materials.
- Always talk to a mortgage professional about financing for renovations. You want to make sure your money is well spent and a professional will be able to help you see realistically…beyond that new jet tub calling your name. Which brings me to my next point…
As you plan for those major projects, there are a lot of ways to finance all those renovations. Whether you choose to use credit, a loan or a HELOC, it is important to consider a few things before you commit to such a major investment.
- What projects you want to tackle and how much each will cost. Plan on what you absolutely want to get done and what will fit in your budget. It is also important to add a little cushion to what you expect to borrow or finance. Home renovations whether done by the Pros or by you always have unexpected problems, hidden costs, and last minute necessities.
- How much you can spend. What you can borrow depends on a variety of elements including your income, credit rating, and loan to value ratio. Just because you get ads in the mail saying you are approved for $40,000 doesn’t necessarily mean you are nor does it mean you should borrow that much. Be wise and cautious about how you approach borrowing.
- How you will pay it off. The most important part is how you will be able to afford to pay these renovations off in the future. As you look at finance options, look at interest rates and understand how your credit history and personal finances affect your potential interest rates. Know how much you can afford in monthly payments and be realistic about that payment. That payment for a new kitchen shouldn’t trump your savings contributions or affect other important finances. Keep in mind the value of your home, the value of homes in your area, and when or if you expect to sell. Can you still make that monthly payment if you don’t sell the house by a certain date?
Work with your local banker to help decide which finance options make the most sense for you. Financing for renovations is almost as important as the mortgage process. If you can’t sell the house for what you put into the home, you may be carrying the debt of home improvements after you sell. You may be unable to sell if you won’t make enough to pay off the mortgage and renovations from the sale. If you plan on selling, remember the home has to appraise for the agreed purchase price. If it doesn’t your buyers may walk. While we all want a beautiful completely updated home, it shouldn’t come at the expense of ruining your finances.
With the purchase of four homes and the sale of three, my husband and I have seen a fair share of predicaments and bad decisions. We have done a lot of DIY projects that have turned out great and a few we hired professionals to fix. Here are a couple that have turned out nicely.
In any house, my favorite place to start is always the bathroom. I love to have a beautiful bathroom to take a nice hot shower or soak in the tub after a long day. In our first home home, my husband and I took on a major overhaul with our first floor bathroom. The previous owners had tried unsuccessfully to update the bathroom only to stop after they started tearing it apart. We had a major project.
With some tile and a little patience we managed to completely remodel the bathroom. The tile was a challenge, but the end result turned out great.
I also love a great kitchen. A family often spends a lot of time together in the kitchen, but it can be one of the most expensive remodels. In all of the houses we have owned, we have painted the cabinets to give the kitchen a cheap facelift. It is a bit involved and takes a while, but it is much more affordable than a whole new kitchen.
We take off all the doors and move them into the garage where we sand them down one by one and paint them white. It will take a few coats per side, but once they look just right, we add a coat of varnish to seal in the color. We do the same thing with the cabinets, and buy new hardware for the doors. Then, bam! You have a whole new kitchen.
During renovations in our first home we decided to use credit through the local hardware store. However, the promotional discounts must be paid off in a certain amount of time or all the deferred interest will accrue at once. But we managed to pay it off in time.
With our third house…we did the same thing, but we couldn’t sell the house. We sat there for what felt like forever and looked at the looming date that the promotional discounts would expire. Before dooms day arrived, we decided to take out a home equity loan to pay off the credit and avoid the ridiculous amount of interest we would be charged, which would have skyrocketed our monthly payments. The home equity loan actually made our monthly payments cheaper, and the value of the house was still much more than what we owed even with the loan. It can be difficult to juggle the finances for renovations and even potentially disastrous. Don’t jump into the DIY world lightly.
Buying a house is only part of the process of making a home. What comes after you get the keys is what truly makes a house yours and a place for you and your family. Creating a space that is all your own and reflects your everyday life is no easy task.