Many of us watch TV shows and see the miraculous transformation of homes and gardens by professionals and amateur do-it-yourselfers. Is it really that easy, we ask ourselves. Could I do it? Where do I begin? What home improvement projects will generate the biggest increase in the value of my home?
What Do You Want and What Can You Afford?
There are several good reasons for wanting to redecorate or remodel your home. If your residence no longer reflects your changing tastes and lifestyle but you don’t want to leave a desirable neighborhood, maybe all you need to do is make one or two basic changes. Altering a color scheme, converting a bedroom into a home office, or upgrading the kitchen and bathroom are practical improvements that add esthetic appeal and financial value. If a move is in the future, you want home improvement projects that will give you the biggest bang for your buck when it’s time to sell. You may even want to check Steel Building Prices to add value to your home.
Whatever your motives for improving your home, make a wish list with three categories:
* Must have
* Would like to have
* Dreams can come true
When your list is complete, consider the amount of money you have available or are prepared to borrow. Unless you have unlimited funds, make a realistic estimate of what you can afford. Are you planning major renovations that will require the services of an architect or a contractor? Will you need an electrician, a plumber, a carpenter, a painter, or all four? How much work can you do yourself? All these factors must be taken into account as you pare down your list into affordable home improvement projects.
How Do You Begin?
Every project starts with a plan. Itemize everything you want and think you can afford, and include a design of rooms to be remodeled. If you are going to require professional help, now is the time to talk to contractors, plumbers, and other tradesmen, and to ask for estimates. Comparison-shopping is a must. If you are an accomplished do-it-yourselfer, price materials and tools needed. If you can’t afford to do everything on your list, reassess your prime needs and make a new plan.
What Projects Are Key?
The best projects for improving the value of your home are, happily, the most affordable and the easiest to do yourself, even if you are a super klutz. Ask any real estate agent for tips on how to prepare a home for resale and you will be told that the house and yard should be cleaned and all clutter removed. Creating suitable home storage facilities and cleaning and painting the interior and exterior of your house, therefore, are the jobs that top the list of desirable improvements. The premium projects that usually require professional help are kitchen remodeling first and bathroom remodeling second. These particular upgrades will provide the best return for your money, and the real estate industry has statistics to prove it.
Clean Everything in Sight
Cleaning your home and yard is a great improvement project, and if you are remodeling, it will be the final step after the dust has settled. You will need something heavy-duty like tri-sodium phosphate or its equivalent to wash most surfaces inside and outside the house. There are also special cleaners for glass, tile, porcelain, stainless steel, and wood, and for getting rid of unpleasant molds and mildew. Visit your friendly hardware store and read labels. There are cleaners for almost every material and for solving almost every cleaning problem. Make sure rooms are well ventilated whenever you are cleaning, carefully follow directions, and wear gloves and a mask.
Removing clutter is another worthwhile project and requires adequate home storage with a combination of cabinets, shelves and bins, and sufficient strength of mind to discard all junk, no matter how much you love it. You can buy easy-to-assemble shelving and cabinets in a great variety of sizes and materials at affordable prices. Small, decorative containers can be used to organize and conceal the ongoing accumulations of such items as incoming mail. In the yard, removing clutter means getting rid of dead trees, dead branches, broken slabs and stones in patios and walkways, and tidying up the garden and lawn. When faced with clutter, ruthlessly throw it out, recycle it, hold a garage sale, donate it to the charity of your choice – get rid of it.
Interior painting and exterior painting should be next on your list of preferred home improvement projects. Fresh paint helps make your home look clean, bright, and spacious. When selecting colors for the exterior, don’t forget to do something about that bland front door. Have fun! Fresh, harmonious colors add beauty and personality to your home both inside and out.
Put Kitchen and Bathroom Remodeling High on the List
Although remodeling a kitchen seems like a daunting task, a complete overhaul pays great dividends if and when you sell your home. Purchasing new cabinets and appliances are worthy goals, but you can also make minor changes that will create impact. If you can’t replace the kitchen cabinets, replace the cabinet doors at least. If that is also beyond your means, add molding to the cabinet doors, paint them, and replace the hardware. It’s not that difficult or expensive to replace an outdated sink, and if you can’t afford a new stove, fridge and dishwasher, don’t hang on to those gold or avocado monstrosities – buy attractive reconditioned replacements.
Bathroom remodeling is the next most important improvement and the biggest dividends come from installing a new sink, bathtub, toilet, and shower stall, as well as attractive tiles and custom cabinets. Again, if you can’t manage a complete makeover, replace the tired old taps, faucets and showerhead; add shelves; and paint and redecorate the cabinets.
Other Projects to Consider
After you have decided on and planned for the most important home improvement projects, new window covering and upgraded flooring should receive your attention. You can choose from a large array of window dressings and styles, or simply buy fabric, turn hems with iron-on tape, and dramatically drape the material over attractive curtain rods. Shutters are another possibility and lend themselves to many different decorating styles.
- Unfortunately, some people do not have the amount of space to afford a large greenhouse, or garden. This is largely due to them living in apartments, with no yards, or simply very little space to work with.
Mini-greenhouses are compact and can be collapsed when they are not being used.
They can also be setup anywhere that you have space.
- Most miniature greenhouse are designed to be setup on a patio, or in a small yard, however, there are some designs that can be setup for indoor use.
A mini-greenhouse does not need to be terribly sturdy as they will spend most of the time out of the weather and in doors.
- Most miniature greenhouses are designed with a solid black covering and an internal UV lamp to optimize year round growth.
They are also designed with a set of racks that your plants can be put on while they are in the greenhouse. They are smaller then standard greenhouses and typically require less care. Internal greenhouses can also allow for hydroponic plant systems. Versatility and compact design allow for many different options for the indoor apartment gardener.
Picking out the correct mini-greenhouse can sometimes be difficult.
- You must first recognize the amount of room that you are capable of having and working with.
- If there is a patio behind, or in front of, your apartment, your options are slightly better.
While still smaller then the average greenhouse, these smaller versions are perfect for people who are wanting to save money on vegetables and herbs, as well as people who are gardening for the joy of gardening.
- You can construct your own miniature PVC framed greenhouse, or purchase a professionally made greenhouse from other sources.
Growing your own plants in your apartment can be very simple.
- With mini-greenhouses, you only need the plant seedlings, as well as pots to start the growing process.
Mini-greenhouses are becoming very popular in apartment complexes, especially for ecologically minded people.
- Producing and consuming vegetables and herbs without hurting the planet is a serious concern and can be addressed with small greenhouses.
- Knowing what you need and where to get it is the most important step to living green with a mini-greenhouse.
- There are many different designs and different manufacturers.
Affordability can also be an issue in picking out your ideal mini-greenhouse. It may be cheaper to simply build your own small greenhouse out of PVC and greenhouse plastic.
- While it is a good idea to start an apartment garden, remember to check with your landlord.
- There may be regulations that can prevent, or regulate your garden.
- Make sure you know what you can do with it before you begin.
Buying a first home represents the major financial landmark in your life. With homeownership, you take on the single largest investment you’ll ever make, with all the advantages – and risks – such an investment requires. Understanding home finance can be somewhat confusing, as there is a wealth of information available, and no shortage of companies eager to provide mortgage-related services. How do you weed out the good advice and make an informed decision? Simple: start with the basics of home finance.
Are you ready?
First, evaluate your economic situation. Are you carrying substantial unsecured debt, such as credit cards and student loans? Do you have a steady income and the means to survive an interruption in that income, if necessary? Are you willing to pare down your spending, in order to maintain mortgage payments and, most likely, additional home finance expenses like Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)? These are major considerations when deciding whether or not to trade the relative simplicity of renting a home for the financial responsibility of ownership.
How much can you afford?
Next, run the numbers. Use an mortgage calculators to determine how buying a home will impact your budget. The government says that housing costs are excessive if they surpass 30% of your household income. Home finance means borrowing a substantial sum from a lender and repaying that amount over a period of time, with interest. Depending on the price of the home and the amount that you borrow, you will probably experience a dramatic rise in the amount you’re spending, just to put a roof over your head. Be sure that you are realistic about the amount of “home” you can handle financially.
Where should you buy?
You’ve heard it before: the three most important considerations when buying a home are “location, location, and location.” Actually, there are plenty of other considerations (see above), but deciding where to buy is nearly as crucial as deciding which home finance loan to choose. Spend time checking homes online, before you venture out. You’ll have a good idea of price values, amenities, and neighborhoods, which saves time when the actual house hunting begins.
What are your mortgage options?
The selection of home finance options for first-time buyers is astonishing. From zero-interest mortgages to the traditional 30-year fixed rate loan, you’ll find a vast array of terms, rates, and other choices. Once you’ve done some homework and determined how much you can afford, it’s time to go mortgage shopping. Speaking with a lending expert can save you plenty of time, but you should be prepared to ask questions of your own. After you identify a couple of affordable home finance options, try running the numbers again, this time with the exact loan, term, and rate amounts. Be sure to include costs such as PMI, points, bank fees, and any additional charges involved with closing your loan. You don’t want to encounter any financial surprises at the end of your home buying odyssey.
You’ve mastered the basics. With preparation, practicality, and a little luck, you can join the ranks of homeowners who have steered through the home finance process successfully, and settle into your personal oasis with pride. For help along the way, contact the mortgage experts at HomeLoanCenter.com, who can explain the process fully and help you evaluate all your options, at no obligation.