Category: New Homeowner

Whether it is with the goal of saving money or for the satisfaction of living in the fruits of one’s labors, it has become increasingly popular for homeowners to take on home renovation projects themselves. One of the most common types of do-it-yourself projects is a bathroom remodel. Not only can bathroom remodels help to improve your overall quality of life, but they can also dramatically increase the value of your home if you ever decide to sell.

 

However, there are a number of potentially complicated or dangerous parts of every bathroom renovation, such as electrical and plumbing work, that you should be aware of before attempting the project. Here are some things to keep in mind when you are tackling a bathroom renovation for the first time so that your project can be quick, easy, and fun.

 

Plan out the Entire Project Beforehand

 

As with any kind of renovation, the first thing you need to do is plan out the scope of the entire project. The more you prepare, the fewer unexpected costs you will have to endure down the road. Start by listing all the things you would like to do to your bathroom. Don’t factor in cost at this point — instead, just list them all. You may want to include things like a walk in shower, a clawfoot tub, a heated floor, a double sink, and so forth.

 

Next, organize the list in order of desire — put your must-haves at the top, all the way down to negligible or “bonus” projects. Then, it is time to do some research online. Find the average costs of each type of project and put the numbers next to each line on your list. Finally, compare these costs to your total budget. This way, you can make sure that you have enough money for the most important projects, allowing for extras if you happen to come in under budget.

 

However, Remember to Have Fun

 

Even though it is tempting to get bogged down in the minutia of planning and money management, don’t let yourself forget to have fun. A bathroom remodel is a great way to boost your bathroom’s appeal, both for yourself and for potential buyers if you ever decide to sell your home. For instance, a renovated bathroom can provide you with a 40 to 80 percent return on investment, depending on the current state of the real estate market.

 

Think About Ways to Come in Under Budget

 

It is common for do-it-yourself projects to end up going over budget, but there are a few things you can do that will keep your costs lower. First, if you need to buy power tools for your renovation, you may want to try borrowing them from a handy friend or family member. If you end up having to buy them after all, look at previously used tools to save money. Next, while part of the reason you may want to be doing the project yourself is to save on the cost of a professional, in certain cases, a professional can actually save you money, such as with walls damaged by water. Furthermore, certain plumbing and electrical projects can be dangerous for you to attempt on your own — always hire a professional contractor in those cases.

 

When you are renovating your bathroom, remember to consider all the possible angles that will need to be covered, both from the financial and design sides of the process. Doing so will allow you to relax and have fun with the project.

 

Photo Credit: Pexels

Thank you to guest writer, Erin Reynolds

There are many benefits to homeownership, but one of the top benefits is protecting yourself from rising rents by locking in your housing cost for the life of your mortgage.

Don’t Become Trapped
A recent article by Apartment List addressed rising rents by stating:

“Our national rent index is up 0.1 percent month-over-month, marking the sixth straight month of increasing rents. Year-over-year growth now stands at 1.2 percent.”

The article continues, explaining that:

“Rents increased month-over-month in 62 of the nation’s 100 largest cities, down significantly from the 85 cities that saw rents rise last month. That said, rents are still up year-over-year in most of the nation’s largest markets — 77 of the 100 largest cities have seen rents increase over the past twelve months.”

Additionally, Urban Land Magazine explained that,

“Currently, nearly half (47 percent) of renter households are cost burdened (i.e., paying more than 30 percent of income for housing), while 25 percent (totaling 11 million households) are severely cost burdened, paying over 50 percent of their total household income for rent.”

These households struggle to save for a rainy day and pay other bills, including groceries and healthcare.

It’s Cheaper to Buy Than Rent
As we have previously mentioned, the results of the latest Rent vs. Buy Report from Trulia show that homeownership remains cheaper than renting with a traditional 30-year fixed rate mortgage in the 100 largest metro areas in the United States.

The updated numbers show that the range is an average of 2% less expensive in Honolulu (HI), all the way up to 48.9% less expensive in Detroit (MI), and 26.3% nationwide!

Know Your Options
Perhaps you have already saved enough to buy your first home. A nationwide survey of about 1,166 renters found that 34% said they rent because they cannot afford to buy, 29% said they cannot afford to buy where they live, and nearly a quarter (24%) were saving to buy.

Many first-time homebuyers who believe that they need a large down payment may be holding themselves back from their dream homes. As we have reported before, in many areas of the country, a first-time homebuyer can save for a 3% down payment in less than two years. You may have already saved enough!

Bottom Line
Don’t get caught in the trap that so many renters are currently in. If you are ready and willing to buy a home, find out if you are able. Have a professional help you determine if you are eligible for a mortgage today.

Young people looking to purchase their first home are often put off by the cost involved, including the downpayment and the mortgage process. Fixer-uppers can be a perfectly viable option as long as you’re up to handling the extensive renovations that go along with buying a house in a state of disrepair. Bear in mind that buying a fixer-upper can end up being more of a financial burden than you’d anticipated. Some turn out to be the dreaded “money pit,” the house that always seems to have another problem. There are several things to consider carefully before choosing to take on a fixer upper project.

Location

You’ve probably heard that location is the most important factor when it comes to real estate. The same holds true for fixer uppers. Consider location first, since you’ll be fixing up the house. Once you’ve identified the area in which you want to live, begin searching for fixer uppers. There are real estate agents who specialize in these kinds of properties. Once you’ve talked to lenders and been pre-qualified for a home loan, spend some time on the internet looking for agents who specialize in fixer uppers. Homes for sale in Naperville, Illinois, have an average list price of $450,000.

Assess your handyman skills

Think carefully about what you’re proposing, and assess your skills honestly and objectively. Fixer uppers are almost always a challenge, and you could be facing a job that requires tools and experience that you may not possess. You’re going to need power drills, sanders, jigsaws and a host of other robust power tools. Crowbars, a mallet, joists and a full set of reliable hand tools are also essential. Then there’s the time commitment. Remember, this is more than two or three weekends of work. You could be renovating and fine tuning for years to come until you get it just right. There are many examples of eager, over-optimistic buyers who found out too late they’d bitten off more than they could chew. Don’t pursue such an opportunity until you’ve had a home inspection done and have a good idea of what fixes are necessary and whether they’re within your capabilities.

A big investment

Buying the house is only the first step. There’s a considerable ongoing investment involved in a fixer upper, which means you’ll need to have a considerable nest egg socked away for the work that’s yet to come. The home inspection should help you determine whether your finances are up to the challenge or not. Make a careful list of everything that needs to be repaired, get estimates for each, and then decide whether it’s within your reach.

What are your long-term plans?

People who purchase a fixer upper are usually committed to it for a period of years. If your job may require you to move at any given time, you’ll probably want to pass on a home that’ll need a lot of money and time to fix up. If for some reason you’re called on to relocate while you’re renovating, you could lose a lot of money if you find yourself having to sell.

Priorities

The first projects to tackle will depend largely on what the inspector has to say. Often, windows, flooring, electricity and roofing are priorities when moving into a project home. If there are serious structural, foundation or plumbing problems, you’re probably better off continuing your search. Once you’ve completed renovations, check out home values and prices in your area. You might consider selling if it’s a seller’s market and you can be pretty sure of getting maximum value for your investment and the sweat equity that went into it.

Purchasing a new home is always a big investment. Between the cost and the improvements you make, a fixer upper can be a tremendous investment if the market’s in your favor. Think of yours as a big investment in your financial future.

 

Courtesy of Pixabay.com.

 

CoreLogic broke down appreciation even further into four price ranges, giving us a more detailed view than if we had simply looked at the year-over-year increases in national median home price.

The chart below shows the four price ranges from the report, as well as each one’s year-over-year growth from February 2017 to February 2018 (the latest data available).

How Much Has Your Home Increased in Value Over the Last Year? | Keeping Current Matters

It is important to pay attention to how prices are changing in your local market. The location of your home is not the only factor that determines how much your home has appreciated over the course of the last year.

Lower-priced homes have appreciated at greater rates than homes at the upper ends of the spectrum due to demand from first-time home buyers and baby boomers looking to downsize.

Bottom Line

If you are planning to list your home for sale in today’s market, find a local agent who can explain exactly what’s going on in your area and your price range. Like us!