Home Renovation Ideas –How to Invest in Your Home | Egypt Sherrod
Thinking about your next home projects and DIYs? Learn more about smart ways to increase the value of your home with my easy and efficient home improvement tips!
This post is sponsored, and paid for, by LightStream. All reviews and opinions expressed in this article are based on my personal view.
My Top 5 Home Renovation Tips
Life can surprise you—and that can be a good thing! As you may know, my husband Mike is a contractor, which is how we met and fell in love 15 years ago, as house flippers. The home we currently live in was actually supposed to be a flip house. But sometimes it’s your plans that end up getting flipped.
We started out by making all the necessary repairs and updates necessary to cash out. Our goal was to get in and get out of this high-end flip in 2 years while waiting for the economy to improve. But our plans quickly changed. As family members and friends began to move close by, we got comfortable with calling this place home. Then, earlier this year, we welcomed the newest member to our family, Harper Skye. Our beautiful daughter’s arrival brought incredible joy—and the need for a little more stability. So, we opted to stay put just a little longer.
But with our personality types, that meant taking on more home improvement projects. We decided to redo the entire backyard and add a movie theater, where the girls have been spending most summer nights after a day at the pool. We’re also working on adding a personal gym so we can stay fit all year (let’s see how long that lasts — ha!).
Between my own personal experiences and my work helping clients navigate their home improvement investments, I wanted to share some of my favorite tips to consider before you dive into your next project.
Plan for the unexpected (mentally and financially!)
No matter how well you plan, every homeowner will run into unexpected expenses during their home improvement project. I recommend setting aside 10% of your overall budget for any hiccups along the way. If you don’t end up needing it, you’ll have a small pool of money you can use to fund future renovations.
Good bones add the most value
Don’t just go for glam. There’s fun in functionality! Projects like these often lead to a higher ROI compared to aesthetic-focused ones. And while they improve your quality of life, they also have the potential to save you a lot of time and money down the road.
- Roof and gutters: Have your roof soft-washed once a year if you live in a shady area surrounded by trees, and bi-annually otherwise. You should also have your roof evaluated every year to ensure the weather hasn’t worn down the flashings or loosened any shingles. It’s a small price to pay to prolong your roof life, which can carry a huge price tag if you have to replace it early. Don’t forget to clean your gutters every season, too.
- HVAC and hot water heater: Be sure to have your HVAC system serviced annually to prolong its life. Perhaps opt for a tankless water heater as it’s more energy efficient. You may also want to invest in a dehumidifier, which can combat the moisture and mold, and restore the humidity in your home to appropriate levels.
- Exterior painting: It’s recommended to paint the exterior of your home every seven years.
- Landscape: If you notice an unhealthy-looking tree on your property, consult an arborist to determine if it needs to be removed. It’s better to be proactive than to later find a disease or infestation has spread to other trees or caused additional problems.
- Irrigation: It’s also wise to check your plumbing and irrigation systems annually. Often, lawnmowers and weather conditions can wear on them, causing expensive water leaks.
Choose timeless over trendy
It’s easy to get caught up in the latest fads during a home renovation. Bold wallpaper, shiplap walls, and waterfall countertops might be hot right now—but so were wood-paneled walls and popcorn ceilings in the past. Most people can’t afford to hop on every passing trend, so it’s important to consider what designs will give your home a classic facelift. Instead, opt for styles that are timeless or can be easily updated down the road without breaking the bank. Think simple, efficient and clean.
Wallpaper is a great example of a trend that is resurfacing in renovations. But it’s subjective and can be very expensive to put up AND takedown. Easily removable vinyl papers and stenciling are two unique alternatives that allow you to express your personal style and easily change once you’re ready to switch it up.
Be smart about your upgrades
When it comes to renovation, not all systems, appliances, windows and floors are created equal. Make smart home selections that will be energy efficient and help keep some cash in your pocket.
- Energy audits: Many companies offer free energy audits to check your home and identify where your energy dollars are going. These inspections can be a good place to start when you’re deciding what to prioritize as you upgrade.
- Windows: ENERGY STAR ® qualified windows can lower your energy bills by 10%-30% and are much more efficient than many single- or even double-paned glass windows.
- Heated floors: Radiant heating warms a room from the floor up. As a result, most people will feel more comfortable with their thermostat set at a lower temperature, potentially saving money in the long run. The U.S. Department of Energy found that heated floors can be more efficient than baseboard heating and usually more efficient than forced-air systems because no energy is lost through ducts. This is also a great option for people with allergies, as irritating particles are not blown around the room.
- Fight allergens: And speaking about air quality, fight home allergens by replacing carpet with hardwood, installing appliances with filtration systems, and making sure your house is equipped with good air filtration systems. Everyone will breathe easier.
Invest in your nest…without depleting your nest egg
Approach renovations as you would any other investment, with strategies in place to Prepare, Price and Pay.
- Prepare in advance: Go into your project with a clear vision and your major decisions finalized. That way you won’t be tempted by options that aren’t within your set budget. It also helps keep things more efficient when scheduling contractors and inspectors. Keep in mind that it’s more expensive to make changes midway through your project.
- Price it right: Stick to the Rule of Three when getting quotes—one that covers your “ideal” end result with all your bells and whistles; one that is the bare minimum; and one that lands somewhere in the middle. Having three quotes in your back pocket will give you multiple perspectives and a better foundation to negotiate with your contractors.
- Plan the way to pay: A lot of people think the best thing to do when embarking on a home improvement project is to dip into their cash stash or get a home equity line of credit. But using your rainy day savings may leave you short in an emergency. A home equity loan can be the least expensive way to fund renovations, but many people in today’s real estate market haven’t accrued enough home value to tap into. Using credit cards can be an option, but they’re costly as you carry your debt forward at high-interest rates. Another option? A home improvement loan. A fast, unsecured home improvement loan from LightStream is a smart financial tool, giving people with good credit access to the funds they need to turn dreams into reality at low-interest rates and with no fees.
The best part of my job is helping make clients’ dreams come true, which is why I’m excited to partner with LightStream. If you have good credit, a LightStream home improvement loan you can get anywhere from $5,000 – $100,000 deposited directly into your bank account the same day you apply (when all conditions are met), at a low-interest rate and with no fees.
Because of my LightStream sponsorship, I’ve actually arranged a special discount on home improvement financing for my blog readers. Visit my exclusive page at LightStream.com/Egypt for important details. If you apply from there and are approved, you’ll receive a money-saving .10% APR discount. Check it out!
SunTrust Bank is an Equal Housing Lender. © 2019 SunTrust Banks, Inc. All rights reserved. SunTrust and LightStream are federally registered service marks of SunTrust Banks, Inc.