Susan Baghdasarian's Blog
You might think renovating a home is simple when budget isn't a factor, but when there are no limits, it's deceptively easy to become side railed. Getting off-track on a home renovation can be disastrous. You may end up with rooms that feel cavernous and impossible to fill or hallways that meander on, seemingly for miles. Worse, you might find yourself stuck in the middle of a renovation that never seems to end. You'll need focus and a plan to keep these situations from happening.
Have a Definite Plan Before You Begin
It's important to have a plan and to stick closely to it throughout your renovation. This doesn't mean you won't opt for an alternate style of sink or choose different flooring. It means deciding what you're going to renovate and how long you want it to take. Have an overall design and a timeline for each element. And have an overall timeframe of when the work will be completed. Keep the momentum of the project going with incremental goals so you can measure progress.
Act as Though You Have a Budget, Even if You Don't
It may sound unnecessary, but setting a budget is actually vital. Even if funds are unlimited, you should set a target for your contractors to operate within. The professionals who are working to help you with your remodel -- your designer, your contractor, and more -- need to have real, physical limits on spending. If you want to go all-in, that's fine. But you should still declare financial limits, even if it's only for your own peace of mind.
Narrow Your Choices
When you can have everything your heart desires, it's easy to become overwhelmed with options. Sit down with anyone else who will be living in the house and talk through which features are needs and which are wants. It's great to incorporate both, but needs should always take precedence so that the final result serves you well. While you may have the budget for a home movie theater, do you have the space? And if not, where will you make the space? Will you sacrifice your finished basement, or will you add on a new level? Once you have an exact idea of what everyone wants and how you'll achieve it, it's time to approach a designer and a contractor.
Exercising a little caution during an upscale home renovation will keep things moving along at an acceptable pace. It will also help keep you and your design team from becoming lost along the way.
Refinancing your home can have many benefits. First, you’ll be able to take out money to address immediate needs in your home like improvement projects. These things can only benefit your home’s value in the long term. Before you take the leap to refinance your home, you should be sure that you’re actually ready to take this step. Knowing what you’re in for allows the entire process to go more smoothly. Read on for tip to understand more about the refinancing process and what you’ll need.
Know Your Finances
Just like when you initially purchase a home, refinancing your home will require you to have your finances in order. Take a look at your budget and needs and determine if it makes sense for you to refinance your home. For example, your employment status or distance from life goals like retirement could have a factor on the term of the loan you’re willing to take out. A 15-year mortgage may make more sense than a 30-year mortgage, but your monthly payments will also be a bit higher. You need to take all of this into consideration before you refinance.
Your credit score will also be a factor in refinancing your home just as it was when you initially bought your house. Check your score and see if any red flags pop up. Getting these corrected earlier rather than later can help you to get a better rate on the loan. There are plenty of free services that exist online that allow you to check your credit score.
Know The Value Of Your Home
If you know the value of your home and understand how much equity you’ve built up in the house, it will give you a better idea of your refinancing options. You can’t get more than 70% of what your home is currently worth as a cash-out refinance. If you owe more than your home is worth, you might be in a tighter financial situation than you realize. You can do plenty of things to increase the value of your home; it will just take some time. You may even consider selling your house, making a move, and starting from scratch. Financially, this could be the best option, and you could also end up with a better interest rate.
Getting your finances in order and the simple act of preparing for a home refinance could give you some insight into your financial picture after being a homeowner for some time.
Stay out of debt. Don’t open new accounts. Pay down any debt you may have. That is the standard advice for people who are trying to get in good financial standing before buying a home or refinancing a home.
Do some research and find the best home loan refinance rates around. Then, look into your own finances and decide what’s best for you regarding refinancing your home loan.
While some home improvement projects are done purely for aesthetic reasons, window replacement projects offer a wide range of benefits.
If your current windows are decades old, they're probably difficult to clean, provide poor insulation, and get stuck every time you try to raise or lower them.
Old wooden window frames also tend to deteriorate over time, which negatively impacts both their appearance and their ability to seal out drafts and outdoor temperatures.
Modern, energy-efficient windows make older models look like they're straight out of the Stone Age! Many windows manufactured today meet strict U.S. government standards for energy efficiency and durability, which can help you save money on your home energy bills. These new features include multiple panes of glass, which provide improved insulation and impact resistance. Instead of using just plain air, many of these advanced windows are insulated with non-toxic gases, such as argon and krypton. (As long as you're not Superman, you'll do just fine!) If you're willing to pay extra, there's also the option of having mini-blinds inserted between the panes of glass.
Reducing Home Energy Costs
According to the EPA, "Replacing old windows with ENERGY STAR certified windows lowers household energy bills by an average of 12 percent nationwide. Lower energy consumption also reduces greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and shrinks a house's carbon footprint."
Energy Star-certified windows also have special coatings that reflect both infrared and ultraviolet light. That not only helps keep your home cooler in summer and warmer in winter, but it helps stop the sun's rays from fading furniture colors, flooring, and other materials.
Some of the newer windows are available with three or more layers of glass panes, which can help make your home more comfortable and quieter. If external noise is an issue, installing well-insulated windows with multiple panes can reduce that problem significantly.
Although many of the new window products are constructed of wood, they're often covered with vinyl or aluminum to be more weather resistant and durable. Fiberglass is another low-maintenance, durable material that offers good insulation qualities.
Cost Versus Benefits
While a window replacement project can take a big chunk out of your home improvement budget or bank account, it does provide a return on your investment. In addition to the fact that your home energy costs should decrease, installing new, energy-efficient windows will improve your home's marketability in the future. If and when you decide to put your home on the market, the fact that you've installed energy-efficient, easy-to-use window replacements will be a major selling point in the minds of prospective buyers.
As is the case with all home improvement contractors, it's always a good idea to get several estimates and check references, read online reviews, and take a look at Better Business Bureau ratings before choosing someone to handle the project.
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