Healthy Living

Can You Afford To Improve Your Home?

Improving your home can cost you a lot of money; depending on the upgrades you’d like to install, or the changes you’d like to make, you could be forking out thousands from your savings account. Of course, sometimes these renovations are needed – a kitchen that’s breaking into pieces from the cabinets down, or a bathroom that’s molded over, are both rooms that need seeing to sooner rather than later! 

But it’s always important to keep your budget in mind when tackling home improvements, so you can structure your payments correctly, work with the right people, and get all the work done on time. So, without further ado, here are some of the points to ponder over right now if you’re thinking of improving your home, but you’re not sure if you can afford to or not. 

Even a simple coat of paint could eat up your weekly budget – have you seen the price of paint cans these days?! (Pexels Image – CC0 Licence)

First, Would it Be Cheaper to Move?

The first thing you’re going to need to work out, before you decide on and plan for any potential home improvements, is whether or not it would be cheaper to just move. If the repair work that needs to be done to your home is too extensive to manage on a budget, and you know all about current housing market prices and have been secretly fitting them into your budget in your spare time, it might just be better to pack up and move on. 

Think about the improvements you want to make; are they going to last? Or can you only afford some temporary adjustments right now? Can you even make a good return investment on the proposed changes to your home, or will you make very little money off of a renovation when the time comes to sell? Keep all of these questions in mind before you get in touch with a local contractor, as even just hiring them on could leave you with more problems than working solutions. A built home that’s a bare face for you to make improvements on is a sure deal, but proposed changes based on the work of a third party are going to be up in the air until they’re completed. 

Foundation cracks can compromise the integrity of the whole home foundation. Homeowners do need to worry about foundation cracks. Don’t put off a repair because cracks in the foundation worsen over time, which means a more expensive repair if you wait. Underpinning is a repair technique that anchors a firm foundation to stable soil that can support it. 

At the same time, think about the costs associated in moving house, because you’re going to need to balance these ideas against each other. Would moving house help you to save some money in the long term? Would it be better if you sold up now, based on how well properties are selling? It’s hard to predict what housing prices will look like in the future, after all, so this may be your chance. 

Do a bit of legwork; use a best mortgage calculator to see what you can borrow and afford to pay back in the long term, based on your current income and expenses. Think about the money you could save, the money you could make, and get some facts and figures to help influence your decision. 

Find the Average Local Quote

Next up, in your quest to afford the home improvements you really want, is to get in touch with all the local tradespeople in your area, who would suit the potential jobs you want to get down around your home. You’re going to need a quote from all of them (as long as they provide free quotes, otherwise give them a miss…) to ensure you can work out an average, and provide yourself with a sum to aim for. 

Once you’ve got this average, you can work with the contractors that provide costs closest to it, or you could even flex your haggling muscle and see if you could get them down to the average. At the same time, weigh up the pros and cons of working with the most relevant contractor. How much time would the job take to complete, compared to periods offered by other tradespeople? Are they certified in the way you like? Do you even just rub along with them, and find them pleasant to talk to? 

All in all, if you take the time to work out the average quote, you’ll be in a much better position to fit a home improvement job into your household budget, and you’ll know what the competitive price is. Even just letting a contractor know you’ve found the same job somewhere cheaper could get them to knock a few bucks off! 

Know Your Financing Options

Finally comes your financing options, and working out what the right one for you is. You’ve got quite a few on your plate right now, but they mostly fall into two categories: working with your own savings, and taking out a loan. 

Of course, the best course of action here would be to use your own money, as long as there’s enough and you’re confident to put it to use here. You’ve got a lot of savings sitting around just accumulating a bit of interest, and using these for a much needed home improvement is a worthy cause for dipping into your balance. However, sometimes you’re going to have to rely on borrowed cash, and it’s important to know the ins and outs of a home loan like this. 

Know your types of loans first of all. Of course, you’ve got your private loan options, and knowing the ins and outs of these is a good way to get started with finding the money you need. However, there are also government run programs you may be able to borrow from. Title 1 property improvement loans, and loans that depend on the mortgage you may have already taken out. In the latter’s case, you may be able to borrow up to $35,000 more for any required improvements on your home. 

Improving your home can cost you a lot of money; be sure to work out a budget first and foremost, before you get your hopes up about a potential home renovation. 

Karla Urwitz
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