One of the best potential uses of a home equity line of credit is to make certain home improvements on your house. You do need to take care to invest your equity into projects that will mostly or entirely pay you back when you sell your home, however. The ability to finance home remodeling, construction and repairs with tax deductible options and the lowest home equity line of credit rates reported in decades, make this financing tool an incredible cash-cow worth researching. Without further ado, below are eight suggestions to improve your home with a home equity line of credit:
1- Make Over the Front Yard
If you want to get a potential buyer in your home in a few years, it really helps if the front yard is attractive. Whether you put in a new walkway to the front door, sod the front yard or simply planting beautiful flowers, you get a lot of bang for your home equity buck here. Also, it tells the neighbors that you have pride in your home, and it really makes it stand out from the crowd. The best part is that many front yard improvements do not cost an arm and a leg!
Bonus tip: Spend $200 of that home equity on a nice weed whacker and edger if you do not have one. A neatly edged yard really looks nice.
2- Replace the HVAC and Furnace
This home improvement may not be top on every list, but with the energy savings and rebates you can get today, replacing both of these items can boost the value of your home. When many buyers are looking at a house, they are thrilled that there is a new furnace and air conditioner. Some experts advise to possibly skip this improvement if you are going to be in the home less than five years. Upgrading both of these items can run you $10,000 or more. You may not see the pay off in energy savings in less than five years.
3- Put in More Insulation
Not on the sexy home improvement list, but remember: If you do not have good attic insulation, around 30% of the warm air your new furnace is pumping out is going out your windows. Laying new insulation is cheap and easy for a layman to do. Bonus tip: To save more on energy costs, place new caulk around doors and windows. It's a cheap improvement but can save you a lot in energy costs over the months.
4- Update the Plumbing
Appraisers usually consider the quality and age of the plumbing in your home. Many people think that a plumbing upgrade will cost $50,000. However, re-piping often may be performed with PEX, which is a new form of plastic tubing that can be run through the walls like electrical wire. This means there are fewer holes and sheetrock being torn up. And this of course means that it will save you big. Plumbing is certainly not cheap but the interest only payments from a HELOC make this kind of home improvement more affordable.
5- Tear Out Popcorn Ceilings and Paneling
If there are two home items you want to take care of with your home equity, it is these two. Wood paneling is never going to come back into vogue; it makes a home appear dark and primitive. Tear out the paneling and install new sheetrock right away. The only exception here is if the paneling is REAL wood and it matches the style of the home.
Popcorn ceilings were a cheap way to do finish work and they are used to hide cracks and seams. Definitely have the ceilings dry walled.
6- Improve Bathrooms
It is not necessary to perform a $25,000 makeover. Just install some new, attractive light fixtures, put new grout in the shower, put in some nice crown molding, and take out most old wallpaper.
7- Renovate the Basement
If you have a basement, you should finish it. Whether it is used as a man cave/rec room or a new bedroom is put in, just adding usable square footage is a great investment in your home. Make sure you get a building permit and all codes have been followed, or it could create problems when you sell.
8- Upgrade the Kitchen
Of course, unless the roof is about to cave in, the most important upgrade with your equity is the kitchen. When most realtors have an open house, the majority of potential buyers go to the kitchen. Of course, you should consider putting in tile, stone and backsplash and install a new sink. But another think to think about is how the kitchen is laid out. If the kitchen sink is far from the stove, this creates an interruption in the flow of the space. If you have the home equity to spare, try to put in a sink, stove and refrigerator in such a way that they are easy to access as you cook.
Not every home improvement is a good use of your home equity. But if you keep the costs reasonable, the above eight upgrades will help to boost your house's value.
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