Whether you’ve recently moved into a new property or you’re a longtime resident, there comes a time in every homeowner’s life when they look around and see room for improvement. Whether it’s for fun, upgrading out-of-date features, or adding home value, it can be an intimidating process to get started. A big concern amongst homeowners is starting a home improvement project, then spending more money than you initially anticipated.
Good news though — there are a number of popular home upgrades that offer a wide range of possibilities and varying levels of affordability. That means you may be able to significantly improve the look and feel of your home without spending a fortune.
From the weekend warrior to a casual DIYer, here are our home improvement recommendations to inspire your next home project.
Loans for home improvement projects
Prior to starting your home remodeling, there are two things you should consider above all else. One: Determine what the best way to fund your project will be so you have a better idea of the costs you can afford. And, two: List your home improvement priorities.
When it comes to funding a home renovation, there are a number of loan options on the market that can get you the money you need. For larger projects, it may be worth considering a home equity line of credit (HELOC). This type of home equity loan provides you with a line of credit, based on the amount of equity your home has. Rather than receiving a lump sum of cash, you can draw funds from your line of credit as you need them. This minimizes the risk of taking out too much money for a single project, while ensuring you have access to added funds if unexpected expenses pop up.
A home equity loan is also an option that gives you access to the equity in your property for financing projects. This loan uses your house as collateral and provides a fair interest rate. Note though, that you’ll receive a lump sum once you close on a home equity loan. You’ll then be expected to pay interest on the whole amount, whether or not you use all of the cash.
Another type of loan worth considering is a cash-out refinance. This kind of refinance is another way homeowners can tap into their home’s equity for funds. There are no rules specifying how you must use your cash-out funds; however, it’s essential to understand that it will increase your mortgage payment amount. If you’re comfortable with an increased payment, the money can be a great resource for home improvement projects. Unlike a HELOC, you receive a lump sum when you close on the refi.
Regardless of how you decide to fund your project, it’s important to determine your goals/outcomes of the upgrades. Are you trying to add curb appeal or increase the home’s value for a future sale? Or are you updating out-of-date features? You may even decide on a project that simply makes your home more comfortable for you!
Home improvement priorities
Our list of top home improvements offers a range of ideas — some have curb appeal in mind, while others may make your everyday life a little easier. All of them are designed to add to your home's equity and resale value while making your home more attractive and pleasant in the short term as well.
How to add curb appeal
- Lawn and landscaping
An easy and cost-effective way to improve your home's curb appeal is simply cutting the grass and clearing overgrown plants. Install a flower bed or accentuate the front entrance with large potted plants. Planting a new tree is not only good for the environment — it can change your home's whole appearance while providing improved climate control and insulation.
- Exterior doors
New exterior doors can offer an instant upgrade, making your home appear more vibrant. You'll find a variety of exterior doors to fit every budget, from steel to fiberglass to wood. Want to save money and still improve your home's look? Paint exterior doors and switch outdoor hardware and street numbers.
Projects that increase a home’s value
- Kitchen upgrades
Kitchen improvements are a home improvement project that can get you a great bang for your buck. They not only increase resale value, but also improve the way your home functions day to day. Not ready for a full-scale remodel? Consider simple changes like new countertops, refaced cabinets, a new appliance suite, and upgraded sink hardware.
- Backyard renovations and additions
Nothing brings the family together more (and adds home value) than a backyard entertainment space. Additions like a built-in swimming pool or patio renovations are great ways to add more value to your home and make entertaining easier.
- Bathroom improvements
Bathroom upgrades can make a huge difference in your home's resale value. Add new tile work and flooring plus upgraded fixtures and finishes to create a spa-like experience. You can take it even further by rethinking your space allocation to increase the size of your owner's suite bath.
DIY projects for fun/aesthetic
- Update your flooring
If you’re looking to instantly update your home's look and feel, consider updated flooring throughout. Trade dingy carpet for hardwood floors or wood laminate. Explore water-resistant flooring for homes with pools or for high-traffic areas.
- Upgrade room additions
The right room additions can bring the family together and add more room for entertaining. If the room is located on the first floor and consists of at least one exterior wall, add a large slider that opens into a patio for easy entertaining and fun barbeques. Consider upgrading your entertainment space with quality lighting and sound systems for that extra oomph on movie night.
- Refurbish inside and outside
The addition of new appliances is a great way to modernize your home. From the latest kitchen appliance packages, an upgraded HVAC system, and new roofing or windows you can add value to your home inside and out.
Upgrades and improvements for functionality
- Add a dedicated home office
If you're working from home, you may be looking for dedicated office space that works for you. Whether it’s a spare bedroom, an unfinished basement space, or a flex space on the main level that can double as a den or study, add a built-in cabinetry for storage and upgraded internet infrastructure for better connectivity.
- Smart home updates
You may want to consider a smart home makeover with a fully integrated system encompassing smart entrance features, lighting, home security, and home entertainment systems.
- Make room for a growing family
Whether you’re expecting a new baby, or taking in an elderly parent, it’s important to take the time to ensure your home is ready to welcome them. This is the time to prep the nursery or bedroom, refinish floors, babyproof the kitchen and bathrooms, and install gates and new locks.
- Adding accessibility
For older homeowners, it’s never too soon to consider home improvements that increase the accessibility of your home. Whether it’s replacing steps with ramps, or installing grab bars, it’s important to take steps that ensure you can live comfortably in your home as you age.
When it comes to home improvement projects, the possibilities are endless. Whether you’re looking to completely upgrade your home, or it’s a simple DIY job, there are home loan options that can help you get started and conquer any home project you have in mind.