Finding a Lender for Your Remodeling and Home Improvement Project

Finding a Lender for Your Remodel

If you’ve been dying thinking about how wonderful it would be to have your home remodeled in the image of your dreams, then the next step will be how to get an appropriate lender for your needs. For those new to the lingo, it would be very easy to get lost amidst the sea of terms and concepts related to lending – and we haven’t even gone to which lender would be best for you. So if you are new to the lending biz, here are a few tips to help guide you on your way.

Explore your options, make sure you have a list of credible lending institutions to choose from when refinancing. It would do well if you had a list of institutions followed by the pros and cons plus the terms to each lending institution.

Many financial institutions will offer some sort of credit product especially tailored for home buyers and homeowners who seek to remodel. The best place to start looking is your local bank. Not only are they legal, they are also stable, and will prove to be the standard by which you make your financial decisions.

Your Bank: The First Stop On Your Lending Adventure

Try exploring the loan plans of the bank you deposit with. They will usually give you better interest rates than other banks. When visiting your bank for this purpose, it will do no harm to seek customer service personnel who can explain to you the various loan products and services their bank offers and the ins and outs of managing such agreements. Good banks will also offer advice on what course of action would be best for such situations, having had much experience with such.

If you have applied for other loans before, then this experience will not be any more painful than before. Many of the terms and rules applicable to them are applicable to your refinance loan.

Make sure you understand every detail of the loan. Do not gloss over some parts because you think they are not important, or that they can be omitted or referred to later. Some of the decisions you will have to make regarding your loan must be made with these terms in mind.

Your Mortgage Broker: The Loan Middleman

Mortgage brokers have the advantage of having more loan sources than other people. They will typically be more informed of the ins and outs of the lending business. However, the main issue against them is trust. You will want to associate with mortgage brokers that are trustworthy and honest. Try checking with people you know to get in touch with such brokers. Those of your friends who have had experience with these brokers can give you tips about, feedback on, and references to good mortgage brokers who do their job well.

Finding a mortgage broker is best when you are getting a second mortgage, or refinancing, or a FHA 203(k) mortgage.

Contractors: Last Line of Lending

Some contractors will also offer lending plans. However, finding a good contractor – and one that offers a good loan at that – will be doubly difficult. Their plans may also be a lot trickier to deal with. You will need to approach this option with a lot more caution than with the other options.

When considering their terms, take careful note of the monthly payment they require. If they put too much focus on the monthly payment instead of the total bill, you will have to be very suspicious of their plans.

Your Rights as a Borrower

The federal Truth in Lending Act, Article Z protects you from some of the more ostentatious scams in lending. It states that lenders must disclose their interest rates, costs, plus the total APR along with the terms of the loan for it to be legitimate. If they don’t do so, then you must scoot away from these institutions – but not after refunding your application fee (which is another one of your rights). You can use this information when comparing lenders and choosing from among them.

You should also be aware of the upfront fees which could typically cost anywhere from $50 to $300. Most reputable lenders will keep this fee low, if they charge too much or if they state that these fees are nonrefundable, you would do better with other lending institutions.

Home Improvement Tips to Lower Your Monthly Water Bill

When it comes to conserving water, there are a wide variety of home improvement steps, both big and little, that you can take.

1. Purchase Energy Star certified dishwashers and washing machines. These are rated by how much water they save in addition to energy. Look for models that allow you to adjust cycles and load size. Only run them only when they are completely full.

2. Test your shower head. If it can fill a one-gallon bucket in less than 20 seconds, you should replace it with a water-efficient type. Installing a low-flow shower head is easy and inexpensive and can save up to 4 gallons a minute or 750 gallons a month.

3. If you don’t like the feeling of a low-flow shower head, attach an air shower device to your shower head. This device adds extra air to each water drop, making it feel as big and strong as a typical drop, and it can cut water use by 30 percent.

4. Install a low-water toilet. Dual-flush models, which permit the user to determine how much water is required, save even more water.

5. Put water-saving aerators on all your faucets. Touchless faucets or faucets that use flow pedals are now available for residential use. They reduce water use by shutting off the flow more frequently.

6. Another great home improvement tip is to replace a conventional water heater with a tankless one that only heats the water you use. This saves on energy costs as well as water since you don’t have to run the sink or shower while the water heats up.

7. Water your lawn in the morning to avoid losing water to evaporation. Make sure you’re only watering the lawn and not the driveway or street.

8. Use rain water to water plants. If your municipality will allow it, use gray water for your outdoor watering needs.

9. When planting bushes, trees, and grass, use varieties that don’t require as much water. Alternatively don’t have a lawn at all, especially on slopes and hard-to-water areas. A yard of mostly bushes, trees, and other plantings are low maintenance.

10. Shorten your showers. Don’t run the water while brushing your teeth or shaving.

11. Check diligently for leaks in faucets and toilets. This can save as much as 300 gallons of water a month.

Home Improvement Tips to Help Sell Your Home

With the real estate market fluctuating, there comes a period every couple of years where there are more sellers than buyers and hence the people looking for a home can be choosy. They know that sellers desperately want to move on to their next home and will do anything reasonable to close a deal.

With so many homes on the market, many sellers resort to home improvement tips and tricks to make their house stand out from amongst the competition. However, the key lies in knowing which home improvement tips can increase the value of your home and which won’t make much of a difference. Here are some of the most popular home improvement areas that can help sell your home faster and for a better price

Paint

The cheapest home improvement aspect can also give the best payoff. You can save even more money by doing the job yourself. A fresh coat of white or taupe can really improve the homes appearance. It looks cleaner, looks bigger and looks like the people who live here care for their property. However, one word of caution here is to stick to neutral tones if you want to sell your home. Home improvement shows boast of the latest faux paint techniques and the hottest colors for the season. However, the green you like for your master bedroom may not appeal to prospective homeowners. If you do have hot pink bedroom walls for your daughter, tone them down or make them neutral as well. This is because new owners may not have a daughter who will use that room and they may want to move in to something that requires minimum effort.

Window Treatments

Again, if you can make window treatments yourself you can save some money. But even if you cannot, new curtains and blinds are home improvement aspects that really spruce the place up. Again, stick to prints and patterns that people of all ages would like so that you appeal to more buyers. Better still, opt for solids rather than floral or abstracts as they are a safer bet.

De-clutter

Perhaps the biggest payoff as far as home improvement tips are concerned is to make your home look bigger and less messy. You may have accumulated a lot of stuff (and junk) over the years. Ideally, go through the entire home and toss, donate or store anything you do not need immediately. This will free up walking space, wall space, counter space and the like and prospective owners will feel they are getting more footage for their dollar. If there are pieces you can not part with, hold them in a separate storage area not your garage or basement. Then if you still feel they are important, bring them back in your new home.