Pamela McArdle's Blog
Renovating your home is a great way to improve your home while also adding value. While you may go into a home improvement or renovation project with the best-laid plans, problems are bound to arise especially with a larger scale job. Some issues can be prevented by understanding the most common pitfalls that may come into play during the home renovation process.
Establishing and sticking to a budget is a common home renovation problem. When setting a budget for your project, it is helpful to work with an experienced professional who can plan for contingencies. While the budget might be "set in stone" in the beginning, contractors may discover other issues that need attention further into the project. Additional costs may be incurred along the way so be prepared for the possibility of budget overage as the project moves ahead.
While the goal of a home improvement project is to update the home and add something new, it is also important to work within the existing architectural style. Renovation projects should complement the original structure of the building so that the update flows seamlessly with the original structure. Introducing a completely different style can make the addition or renovation seem out of place and forced when compared with other more established elements.
Consider how the renovated space will be used and how it will impact daily life. Try not to sacrifice function for design. It is important that the final project looks good but it should properly serve its function and add value to the home and to your life. A home renovation project may look fantastic but if it creates usability issues such as lighting, electrical access or a disturbance in traffic flow it may create frustration in the end.
Focusing Too Much on Trends
Trends are enticing and an exciting way to personalize your home but beware, what is popular today may fall out of favor next year. If you're incorporating a trendy detail into a big renovation decision, be sure it's something you truly love. If not, consider incorporating trendy colors and textures in places that are easy to update like paint, carpeting or decor.
When you own a home, you want to reduce your costs as much as possible. As a homeowner and environmentally conscious person, you may also want to reduce your carbon footprint and reduce the amount of waste that you and your family produce. Read on for some tips on how to reduce the amount of trash you produce on a weekly basis and see what a difference you can make in your little corner of the world.
Find Reusable Products In Lieu Of Disposable Ones
There are so many convenience products that we find on store shelves. For every type of product that you can just throw away, you can find something reusable. Products that you can substitute include:
Washcloths instead of disposable makeup wipes
Reusable water cups instead of disposable bottles
Washable plastic cups substituted for disposable ones
No paper plates
Use washable plates instead of paper plates
Dust with rags, not paper towels
Use reusable grocery bags
Drink coffee out of a refillable mug
Buy reusable containers to pack a lunch in
Any products that provide less buildup of waste are better for the environment. Many times, we rely on convenience for ourselves and our families, but convenience can be costly to both the environment and our budgets.
Use Natural Cleaning Products
Many cleaning products contain harsh chemicals that are dangerous for our bodies and our environment. There are many things right inside of your kitchen cabinets that can be useful and effective in cleaning your home. Items that you can clean with include:
Wth just a few products, cleaning naturally is easy. You won’t have to worry about harming children, pets, or yourself by using these all natural items that can be found right in your kitchen. You also will have more space in your cabinets because you’ll need fewer bottles to stock your cleaning supply. Vinegar can be used to clean most things in your home, and it does the job pretty well compared to its harsh chemical counterparts.
Your new lifestyle that consists of less waste will take some time. You can gradually switch different products and containers as you move through your days. This will be a much more practical approach than just starting from scratch all at once. Not only is changing your lifestyle a time investment but a money investment since you’ll need to buy new products to replace old ones initially. Over time you should see a big difference in your wallet and your trash can with your waste-free lifestyle.
If you’re a newer homeowner, odds are you don’t really “own” your home outright. Rather, you likely have equity in your home.
In this article, we’re going to talk about what home equity is, how to use it to your advantage, and things you should avoid using your home equity toward.
What is home equity?
Unless you’re one of the lucky few who paid for their homes in cash, you probably took out a mortgage. As you pay off that mortgage you build equity.
Home equity is essentially the value of a property that a homeowner has at their disposal due to paying back part or all of their mortgage.
However, there’s another factor at play in home equity, and that’s market value.
Since the housing market fluctuates, the value of your home does as well, and as a result, your home equity changes with the market value of a house. That might sound worrying, but the good news is that due to something called appreciation.
In the same way that the cost of living tends to rise each year with inflation, so do housing prices. However, appreciation isn’t the only factor at play in the valuation of your house. As your home ages, it will likely need some renovations, which could decrease the home value.
Generally speaking, however, your equity achieves a net gain as you pay your mortgage and the value appreciates.
Now that we know why equity can be so beneficial as an asset, let’s talk about ways to build it.
The best way to build home equity is to repay your home loan. However, more than simply repaying, you’ll want to repay in the fewest number of years to avoid paying more in interest. The longer you take to pay your mortgage, the more interest accrues that could have been used toward other investments.
The second way to increase equity is one we mentioned before--market fluctuation--namely appreciation. To improve the chances of getting a high appraisal of your home, it’s important to keep up with maintenance and make smart renovation choices that will have a high return on investment.
Using home equity
The best use of home equity is to leave it be and increase its value over time. However, that isn’t always possible for all of us. Since many of us need to move before repaying our full mortgage, equity allows homebuyers to use their equity toward their next mortgage.
Another option is to take out a home equity loan or home equity line of credit. Ideally, you’ll only use these loans if you’re planning on using the loan money to increase the value of the home via home improvement projects.
Borrowing against your home equity does come with risks. Since you are putting your share of your home on the line, there is a chance of your home being foreclosed on if you don’t repay the home equity loan. However, lenders typically seek other methods of repayment or settlement before foreclosure.
Buying a house is a life-changing decision. As such, you should perform extensive home evaluations before you make your final purchase decision.
There are many questions to consider as you review houses, and these questions include:
1. Does a home match my expectations?
Entering the housing market with homebuying criteria usually is a good idea. If you know what you want to find in your dream house, you can tailor your home search accordingly. As a result, you can speed up the homebuying journey.
When it comes to establishing homebuying criteria, it helps to consider your short- and long-term goals. For example, if you want a house that is close to your current office in the city, you can search for residences in towns and cities near your workplace. Or, if you are willing to upgrade a house on your own, you may want to focus on "fixer-upper" properties.
2. Can I afford a house?
Home prices vary based on many factors. Fortunately, if you create a homebuying budget, you can narrow your house search and review properties that fall within your price range.
Oftentimes, it helps to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Banks and credit unions are happy to provide you with a wide assortment of mortgage options. Once you assess the different types of mortgages, you can choose one that will ensure you can acquire your dream home in no time at all.
3. Will a home require in-depth repairs in the near future?
How a home looks today may not match how this residence looks in the years to come. As you evaluate residences, it may be beneficial to consider potential repairs.
For instance, if a house likely will require a new roof in the next few years, you may need to budget for this expense. Conversely, if a home is brand new or recently has been upgraded, you may be able to avoid costly, time-consuming repairs in the foreseeable future.
If you want to streamline your home search, you can hire a real estate agent too. In fact, if you employ a real estate agent, you can receive comprehensive support throughout the homebuying journey.
A real estate agent has a simple goal: to help you find a great house at a budget-friendly price. To accomplish this goal, a real estate agent will learn about you and your homebuying criteria and craft a personalized homebuying strategy. Plus, a real estate agent will set up home showings, offer expert homebuying recommendations and help you submit an offer to purchase your dream residence. And if you have homebuying concerns or questions, a real estate agent is available to respond to them at your convenience.
Lastly, be careful as you evaluate available homes in your preferred cities and towns. Keep in mind that no house is perfect, and any residence you buy may increase or decrease in value over time. And if you find a home that you want to buy, prepare a competitive offer, and you can boost the likelihood of receiving an instant "Yes" from a property seller.
You don't need to be a home selling expert to counter a buyer's offer to purchase your house. In fact, sellers who know what factors to consider as they evaluate a homebuying proposal may be better equipped than others to submit a successful counter-offer.
Now, let's take a look at three factors a seller should consider before countering a buyer's offer to purchase his or her home.
1. Your Home Selling Goals
If an initial offer to purchase your home falls shy of your property selling expectations, there is no need to stress. By countering this proposal, you and a buyer may be able to find common ground. And as a result, both parties may be able to come to an agreement on a house sale.
Analyze your home selling goals closely. And if you find a buyer's offer to purchase comes close to helping you achieve your goals, you may want to submit a counter-proposal.
2. Your Home's Condition
The condition of your home may have far-flung effects on your house selling experience. If your home is in need of assorted upgrades, a buyer may be more inclined than ever before to account for these repairs in his or her offer to purchase. Meanwhile, as a home seller, you need to consider your residence's condition as you assess an offer to purchase and proceed accordingly.
If you feel a buyer's initial offer to purchase your home is low based on your residence's condition, you may want to counter the proposal. However, if you account for the costs of potential home repairs in your counter-proposal, you may be able to come to terms with a buyer on a home selling agreement.
3. Your Home's Price
Although you may have allocated significant time and resources to price your home appropriately based on the current real estate market's conditions, you may receive an offer to purchase that falls short of your expectations. Fortunately, if you submit a counter-proposal, you can make it clear about what price you are willing to accept for your residence. And if you provide a counter-offer to an initial homebuying proposal, you can show a buyer exactly how much he or she will need to pay to purchase your house.
As you analyze an offer to purchase your home, keep in mind that you can always collaborate with a real estate agent too. If you work with a real estate agent, you may be able to gain the insights you need to make an informed property selling decision.
Typically, a real estate agent can help you weigh the pros and cons of accepting, rejecting or countering an offer to purchase your house. If you are looking for in-depth home selling recommendations and suggestions, a real estate agent is happy to provide them to you at your convenience.
Assess an offer to purchase your home carefully – you'll be glad you did. If you feel you may be able to reach an agreement with a buyer, you may want to counter his or her homebuying proposal.