Dec. 20, 2018
Whether you’re looking to sell or simply wanting to increase the value of your home, undertaking a remodeling project could be a smart move. Although it may sound like a significant project that will drain time and resources, it really doesn’t have to be. There are some simple tips and tricks that can make a remodeling project simple yet highly effective. It’s all about knowing the right ways to approach it. That’s where this guide comes in handy.
We’ve compiled information about every aspect of home improvement for increasing the value of your home. This guide is packed full of our top tips, pieces of valuable advice, and practical ways to approach your remodeling project. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll have plenty of great ideas for improving your own home and increasing its value. And don’t worry, we cover areas for all budgets, meaning you can find inspiration even if your resources are limited.
Thinking of Selling?
If you’ve made the decision to sell, there are a few key points you should consider before putting your home on the market. You need to make sure it’s in the best possible shape, and that you’re in the right position to sell. Below, we’ve outlined some of the essential things you should look out for when deciding if you’re ready to sell:
- Financial position. Do you have your finances in order? How much do you have left on your current mortgage, and can you afford to upgrade your house? Will you be buying a new property of switching to a rental? How much is your house worth and how much value do you want to add? These are all vital questions you need to ask yourself before you sell. Also, keep in mind agents commissions and closing costs to determine what you will ultimately net. These normally total 7.5% to 9% of the selling price.
- Seller. How are you going to sell your property? Will you try to sell it privately or will you choose a REALTOR? Again, it’s better to think of these now than once the process is underway. Don’t forget, attempting to sell yourself often seems tempting, but it very rarely ends up netting more than using a REALTOR.
- Are you emotionally ready? Moving house can be a big undertaking, full of stress and things to do. You have to be 100% prepared to take this project on, especially if there’s work or renovations to do yourself. Bear in mind that a good real estate agent can make the process much easier.
Once you’ve thought about these points and answered the important questions, you should be ready to start planning for a move and any home improvements to make it happen.
Terms to Know Before Selling Your Home
To help you navigate the tricky waters of property sale, we’ve created a quick glossary of essential terms you need to know. Jargon is rife in the industry, so this list can help you get ahead of the game:
- Assessed value. The value of your home as assigned by a public tax assessor. This is used for tax purposes and may be different from that assigned by a private surveyor or the amount you actually sell for.
- Closing. Also known as the settlement, this is the final step in the process where buyer and seller exchange contracts and complete the deal.
- CMA. Comparative Market Analysis, or ‘comps.’ A report that shows the value of similar homes in your area which recently sold. It can help determine how much you should sell for.
- Equity. The amount of value in the home that you own, essentially its value minus how much you have left on your mortgage.
- Interest. Also known as the rate, this is the percentage of your loan you’ll be charged in costs by the lender.
- Principal. The amount of money you borrowed in order to purchase a home. This will be the amount you’ll need to pay back with the addition of interest.
- REALTOR. A real estate agent that is part of the Association of REALTORS . They are beholden to the code and ethics of their association.
The Value of Home Remodeling
You may be wondering why you should choose to undertake a home remodeling project. It may seem like a lot of planning, effort, and know-how is needed. But trust us, it’s not all that hard, and there are some tangible benefits of doing so:
- Return on your investment. Whether you’re selling or not, home improvements generally have a pretty decent ROI. Small to medium renovations can result in big gains on the price of your home.
- An easier life. Many renovation projects can increase the enjoyment you get out of your home. It can make rooms or features in the house more convenient and more appealing to prospective buyers.
- Energy efficiency. Many home improvements, such as insulation or replacement windows, can help to reduce your energy bills. This not only saves you money in the long run but also means your house is more likely to sell. In some areas, this can lead to government, electric company, and other monetary incentives as well.
- More space. Depending on the time of remodeling you take on, it’s possible to increase your functional space. Garage, “Arizona room”, loft or basement conversions can open up entire new rooms for you to make use of.
- More appealing. Small renovations or home improvement projects can make your property a more tempting buy, giving you room to maneuver in the market.
- A project. Undertaking renovations at your house can be a rewarding project. There’s potential for you to do it yourself, meaning you can learn valuable skills and gain knowledge about what to look for in other homes.
- Safety. It’s possible to make your house safer by carrying out home remodeling. Whether it’s outdated wiring, safer access, or better home security, home improvement can make you safer.
As you can see, there are some real benefits of home remodeling, and many of them will add genuine value and appeal to your house. If you’re thinking of selling, it can be a crucial undertaking beforehand.
Step-by-Step Guide to the Ultimate Home Remodel
No matter what size of remodeling you’re going to undertake, it’s vital that you have a defined plan and process in place. Doing so can prevent your time and costs getting out of control, and means you’ll be prepared for what’s to come. This step-by-step guide will guide you through the process:
This stage is nearly as crucial as the actual work itself. It will keep you on track and mean you’re prepared for every eventuality. Here’s what you should plan:
- The work. Consider the scale and scope of your remodeling. Will it be confined to one room or area, or will it be more extensive?
- The workers. Who will be carrying out the work? If you have ambitious plans, the chances are you’ll need professional help. Look for local experts and check with them regarding their availability. If you’re already working with a REALTOR, they can refer you to trusted professionals.
- The budget. Find out how much the proposed work is going to cost. Look for tradespeople who will give you a quote, or research material costs if you’re doing it yourself. Allow room in your budget for unexpected expenses. Finally, speak with your REALTOR about the return on investment expected for any expenditure.
- The financing. In some instances, you may be eligible for a loan or grant to carry out the work. Check with your local council/government to see if there are any incentives to help you out.
- The impact. If your project will involve a room or rooms out of action for a while, you’ll need to consider alternatives. For example, if you’re remodeling a bathroom, do you have another one you can use in the meantime?
6. The cleaning. It’s best to make sure the area being improved is clear of unnecessary clutter. This will make it far easier for whoever is doing the work to maneuver.
7. The routine. Before the work starts, make sure that your planned contingencies work. Try out your routine with the limited access to make sure no problems arise.
8. The materials. If you’re carrying out the work yourself, make sure to buy all of the materials and tools you’ll need well in advance. This will mean you don’t have to go out mid-way through the project.
9. The funds. Ensure that you have all the necessary funds available to pay for materials and labor. Keep in mind that the final cost can often be a bit more than expected, so plan for 20- 30% more than you expect to spend.
10. The work. With such good planning and preparation, the work will hopefully go smoothly, no matter who’s doing it. If you’re doing it, don’t rush. If someone else is, don’t rush them. However, if you’ve employed someone to carry out the work, don’t feel bad about asking for a status update or progress report every so often.
Affordable Home Improvement Ideas
So, you know how a home improvement project should work, and the value that it could bring to your home. But how do you know what you should do? Thankfully, we’ve got you covered there too. Here are some of our top ideas for affordable home improvement projects:
These are some remodeling ideas that can be implemented in almost any room in the house:
- Lighting. Whether it’s new bulbs, new fittings, or even just new angles, your choice of lighting can transform a room. Try out different styles to see how they impact the ambiance or feel of different spaces.
- Paint. Simply changing the color of the walls, or even one wall, can make a significant difference to a room. It’s an inexpensive way of making a change to the feel of it. Make sure to get plenty of samples and look at different styles to get an idea of what works and what color go together. Fresh paint can also make your home seem cleaner and more manageable.
- Switches. The fixtures on your light switches may not seem like the most obvious thing in the world, but changing them for something that complements the rest of the room can make a noticeable difference.
- Curtains and blinds. Your windows can be one of the focal points of any room, so having the right curtains or blinds can really highlight them Look for style as well as practicality, and try different material samples until you’re happy.
- Flooring. No matter the room, a change in flooring can totally revitalize it. Whether it’s tiles in the kitchen or laminate in the living room, you have plenty of options that don’t have to break the bank.
The kitchen can be one of the most profitable places to improve in your home. The ROI is often very high, making it a great choice if you’re thinking of selling. Here are some ideas:
- Sink. The kitchen sink can make a huge difference to the overall feel of one of the most important rooms in the house. There are plenty of options for changing it out, many of them are affordable. It’s also not too tricky if you want to do it yourself.
- Cabinets. You don’t have to replace your existing cabinets if you don’t have the budget. A simple coat of paint can totally transform the look of your kitchen. Just make sure the color complements your existing scheme. Don’t do this yourself though, unless you know how. Hire a professional cabinet painter or refinisher.
- Worktops. Countertops don’t have to be mega expensive. There are plenty of options that look great and come well within budget. Look for places that sell and install prefabricated granite countertops to cut down on the cost.
- Furniture. Again, it’s not always necessary to replace all of your current furniture. Repainting the drawers and dressers you have can make a massive difference.
- Ceiling. Try skimming and painting your ceiling to create a clean and unique feel to the room. Go for colors that are conducive to a relaxing atmosphere. If there’s any chance your ceiling might contain asbestos, be sure to seek professional advice!
- Wallpaper. Wallpaper isn’t as difficult to work with as it once was. Many newer designs are self-adhesive, making it easy to fix them to the wall. It can be a simple way of adding texture to your walls.
Mistakes to Avoid
Before you run off to start planning your next home improvement project, it’s worth reading about the potential pitfalls. It’s easy to get carried away sometimes, so knowing the common mistakes that others make is important.
Health and Safety
If you’re remodeling your home yourself, it’s sometimes easy to forget about the associated dangers. Your primary concern should be ensuring that your workspace is safe, for you and those around you. Always follow the necessary health and safety protocols when you’re working, and wear proper protection.
Most projects will cost more than you expect. When you’re planning out the tasks you’ll be carrying out, make sure that you have extra budget to cover unforeseen costs. Make sure you account for every element, including any tools, nails, brushes, etc. that you’ll need. Then add an extra 30% just to cover emergencies. The last thing you want is to be caught short mid-way through a project.
Don’t fall into the trap of vaguely measuring a space. If you need something to fit in there, you have to make sure you measure it accurately. The same goes for things like curtains and blinds; you shouldn’t be guesstimating these things.
Ignoring the Professionals
It’s certainly possible to carry out many home improvement projects by yourself. However, certain tasks require the help of a real tradesperson. No amount of YouTube tutorials or how-to guides can give you the right level of expertise.
Using Cheap Materials
There’s no substitute for quality, and that goes for the tools, materials, and professionals you use. Although it’s tempting to keep your costs down as much as possible, you’re always better paying a little bit extra for something that’s high-quality.
Home Improvement Loans
If you’re set on undertaking a remodeling project but don’t quite have the capital to back it up, you have options. A home improvement loan can be a useful way of getting the money to take on your renovations. There are plenty to choose from, meaning you’ll have the luxury to shop around to fit your needs.
When choosing a loan, you’ll want to try and balance convenience, amount, service, and interest rate. You’ll also need to ensure that you can make repayments on any money that you borrow. Not doing so can have serious consequences on your financial health.
Thankfully, if you’re a homeowner with equity in your property, you should find it quite easy to find a loan with a low interest rate. This is because you’ll be able to use that equity as collateral on the loan.
You Just Finished Your Remodel. Now What?
Congratulations on finishing your project. If you’ve stuck with us, you’ve no doubt successfully completed your project. If you’re still in the planning stages, this is where you want to get to. All the hard work is done, so what now? Here are some things you should consider:
- A walk-through. If you’ve hired contractors, you should have one final tour of the work they’ve done to highlight any issues and outline any future steps that need taking. If the tradesperson doesn’t suggest this, you should.
- Clean. Once the dust has literally settled, it’s time to resume normal service. It’s a good idea to get everything cleaned and tidied away as soon as possible so you can use your new space. Any contractors should clear up behind them, but there will still be plenty of rearranging to do.
- Maintenance. You’ll want your new renovations to stay in pristine condition for as long as possible. Make a checklist of what needs doing to maintain the space over a long period of time.
Desert Landscaping Shouldn't Be Boring
If you’re in Arizona or looking for a place to live here, bear in mind that there’s plenty you can do outside to make your home more appealing. Here are some of our quick top tips:
- A desert oasis. Consider turning your backyard into a relaxing, spa-inspired escape. With a water feature, decking, relaxing chairs, and plenty of shade, you can have your very own desert oasis.
- A desert garden. Don’t be fooled into thinking the desert has to be devoid of life. Many plants thrive in the hot and sunny conditions that Arizona offers. Try introducing some of the bright and colorful plant life that can make your garden a haven.
- Outdoor lighting. Make your house more inviting, and safer, by illuminating it at night. There are plenty of options available that can transform how it looks on a night.