3 Smart Exterior Home Remodel Ideas

Curb appeal should always be front of mind when you plan to sell your home and want to attract buyers, but it’s just as desirable when you want to boost your real estate’s resale value in general. It also makes your home a more appealing place in which to live in the interim, which is why you may want to consider these smart exterior home remodel projects in the future.

Ideas for Exterior Home Remodel Projects

No matter how beautifully you decorate the inside of your home, the outside offers up the first impression to visitors, and these exterior home remodel ideas can be great investments for you as a homeowner—whether you’re planning to sell your house now or not.

From adding texture to the exterior of your home to swapping out old windows for more contemporary ones to fixing up your front door, a home exterior makeover can be a smart way to make a lasting impact in a short amount of time.

Replace Your Front Door With An Inviting Style

Psychologists say that it takes just seven seconds to make a first impression, meaning your front door is one of the first parts of your house that a guest or potential buyer will see—the catalyst for making a snap decision on how they feel about the home in general. Thus, the front door should be one of the first places you focus your energy when tackling exterior renovations of your property.

combining cedar shingles and shiplap in the same color .

You can also mix and match levels of gloss, or shapes and lengths of bricks and stone.

For a baseline cost, installed vinyl siding can range in price from $6,116 and $16,143, with the average cost being $10,956. Your costs will depend on the thickness of the siding, how much added style you want as you mix and match textures, the size of your house, how standard the shape of your house is or isn’t, and any added details like moldings, trim, soffits, corners, or vents. If there’s old siding that needs to be removed first, you’ll also want to factor in the additional cost of labor (or consider doing it yourself).

Upgrading the Windows

credit card debt can be tricky to pay off. That’s because most credit card companies charge compound interest, which means you’re paying interest on the accrued interest, with the interest continually calculated and added to your balance. To make matters worse, the interest may typically be compounded daily.

Even if you make minimum payments, the interest just keeps compounding. In fact, it keeps doing so until the balance is paid off completely. If you miss a payment, the situation gets worse, with late fees and penalties often added on.

If you’d like to calculate what you’d actually pay on your remodeling debt, use our credit card interest calculator.

If you decide that it won’t make sense to use a credit card to pay for your remodeling, then consider comparing and contrasting home equity lines of credit versus personal loans. Under certain circumstances, a home equity line of credit (HELOC) may make sense; for example, if you have significant equity in your home, plan to borrow a large amount of money and/or want the potential tax benefits.

Benefits of choosing a personal loan include:

•  You won’t tie up any equity in your home.
•  Fees are likely to be less, and maybe you won’t have to pay any fees at all (like at SoFi).
•  Application and approval processes are typically faster than with a HELOC.

With a home improvement loan from SoFi (not a HELOC; rather, a personal loan for home improvement purposes), you can benefit from:

•  a quick process, one that typically takes seven days from online approval to funding
•  fixed payments, which makes budgeting easier
•  not having your home equity tied up
•  no fees, no surprises, no catches

The Takeaway

Considering exterior home remodel projects can be a way to increase your house’s curb appeal, while also adding value; they also are often the quickest way to turn a real estate investment into long-term value. Exterior home projects can be as simple as adding a fresh coat of paint to your existing front door or as complex as replacing all the windows in your house to be both contemporary and more energy efficient.

At the very least, tackling these smart exterior home remodel ideas should help you down the line when you decide to sell your house.

To get started, you can find your personal loan rate in just two minutes. Then, when you’re ready, you can quickly and easily apply.

Ready to get started? You can quickly and easily apply for your personal loan online.


SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp (dba SoFi), a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law, license # 6054612; NMLS # 1121636 . For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
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Source: sofi.com

6 Tips for Doing Home Addition Projects the Right Way

Home additions and renovations can be purposeful, aesthetic, functional, or a need that strikes deeper into your personal idea of living space. Perhaps you’re building a guest cottage, new garage, or outbuilding; adding a deck; installing a pool; or upgrading the bedrooms and bathrooms to better reflect the current situation and age of your family.

Although the specifics of each of these undertakings may vary, the same underlying principles apply to each of them, so we’re sharing six tips for tackling home addition projects the right way.

How to get started with a home addition

Home additions can boost the value of the home while enhancing aesthetics and functionality. In fact, home additions and renovations can be among the most effective ways to increase your home’s value, and you can tailor the construction to your particular stage in life in a way that is customized to your needs and wants.

To transform your home addition ideas into a completed project, there are a few steps to consider first:

•  Create a plan

•  Set a clear budget

•  Work with trusted professionals

•  Decide what parts of your home addition you can do yourself

•  Research and obtain permits

•  Fund your project

Create a Plan for Your Home Addition

Perhaps you’re adding an extra bedroom and bathroom to the back of your house for a place for guests to stay. As part of the process, you’ll need to first make sure that the addition will fit within your property lines; you’ll also want to check with your local government to see how closely codes in your city allow you to build next to someone else’s property.

While creating your home addition plan, also ensure that any construction will not interfere with utility lines or pipes, as well as whether the structural changes you’re considering will fit into the framing and foundation of your building.

As you design the bedroom and bathroom, think about them from two perspectives: first, how these rooms will add value to your living space; then, how the construction will impact the outside of your home, architecturally speaking.

You’ll also need detailed plans drawn up by an architect or builder that describe the scope of the work and the materials needed. To consider how home additions may increase the value of your home, discover the resale value of your next real estate improvement project with our Home Project Value Estimator.

One strategy to approaching home additions is to create your dream list, then have alternate choices in mind if your budget, material availability, or other external factors create a need to alter the project down the road. For example, you may love the look of marble flooring, but its price point might be higher than you’d initially estimated—or perhaps it doesn’t blend in with the rest of your house once you’ve started laying out the plans. Having a back-up plan—and one that’s cost-efficient at that—could help keep your budget in check.

According to HomeAdvisor.com , home additions can typically cost anywhere from $14,000 to $150,000, with the average home addition cost being $40,915. This figure doesn’t take into account factors like where you live, the size and scope of your addition, or the slope of your property, all of which can vary across the country. Plus, if you want your addition to blend in with the rest of your house, you also may need to plan for improvements in existing rooms.

Set a Clear Budget for Your Home Addition

According to HouseLogic.com , major upgrades like a bathroom remodel or family-room addition typically run $100 to $200 per square foot; sometimes, they can cost much more. This article recommends that you set a budget for your home addition by first obtaining bids from three professionals, then adding in 15 to 20 percent to the overall project price given by the contractor to cover unforeseen costs.

If the ballpark figure is too high and doesn’t align with your budget, then you might want to look at alternative choices for materials that will still give you the general renovation you desire. You could also scale back on your plans or save some of the more costly home addition projects for the future when your budget allows.

If you intend to work with a specific contractor, then your chosen company may be able to help you find lower-cost options—for example, replacing granite countertops with laminate ones—and offer creative solutions gleaned from years of industry experience. Or you may want to look at reducing the scope of your project to a smaller addition or even asking the contractor for competitive pricing for the off-season.

Work with Trusted Professionals

Whether you do some of the home addition work yourself or plan to have the professionals of your choice build the addition, it’s crucial that you hire the right contractor for your needs. Tips for working with contractors include:

•  Get three to six bids, then research companies that seem like good matches. You can check for information about these contractors at LinkedIn , Angie’s List , and the Better Business Bureau . Have any complaints been filed at your state’s contractor board? (You can find state-by-state licensing requirements for contractors here .)

For contractors who interest you, reach out to references they provide for personal experiences from past clients.

•  Be wary of suspiciously low bids. If a quote comes in significantly lower than that of the other contractors who bid your home addition project, it’s possible that contractor may not understand exactly what you want; this can lead to significant problems if you hire this company without clarifying specifics.
•  Hire a contractor who you think you can work well with, but don’t base your decision largely on emotion.

Decide What Parts of Your Home Addition You Can Do Yourself

Say the home addition ideas you have are necessary to solve space problems, perhaps you’re having a baby, or maybe your mother is moving in with you—but you’ve got to find a way to adjust the costs of a home addition. In this case, it might make sense to figure out what you can do yourself.

If you’ve got the experience needed to do the demo work safely without damaging load-bearing walls, electrical wires, and the like, this can save you some money on labor. If you’ve got professional-level skills in plumbing or drywall, you might talk to your contractor about taking on those tasks yourself and further reducing the cost of labor. Or you can attempt the finish work, such as sanding walls, painting, and general cleanup.

Research & Obtain Permitting Requirements

Unfortunately, a home addition isn’t as simple as deciding what you want to do, saving up, then paying for the work. You also need to make sure your home is appropriately zoned for the home addition or remodel. Depending on the scope of the project, you may or may not need a permit.

For example, if you want to build a deck in some states, you need a permit if you intend for it to be more than 30 inches off the ground. Getting to know your local codes can help surmount significant hurdles as the project unfolds, which often will save time and money for homeowners.

Strategically Fund Your Project

To find materials for your home addition on a budget, you could shop at stores like a Habitat for Humanity ReStore , attend auctions, or explore similar options to find salvaged materials. Before you go this route, though, if you’re employing a contractor, make sure he is willing to work with recycled materials and ones that may not be standard size.

When adding a room to a house that’s a higher priced project, it might be tempting to use credit cards to pay for expenses. If you’re doing this to maintain a record of your spending or to take advantage of credit card reward points, this can be a good strategy provided you can pay off the balance quickly, ideally within a single billing cycle.

But when you can’t pay off the balances, it can be easy to get caught up in a spiral of debt, and credit card debt is especially challenging. Why?

Credit card companies typically charge compound interest on the current balances on your accounts, which means they charge interest on the accrued interest—in other words, there is interest that’s continually being calculated on a daily basis and added to your balance until you pay it off in full.

To find out how compound interest is affecting your outstanding balances, you can use our credit card interest calculator.

Getting a Home Improvement Loans for Your Home Addition

Consider getting a home improvement loan for your home addition project. At SoFi, we offer competitive rate home improvement loans that can allow you to focus less on your budget and more on building your dreams.

Benefits of choosing SoFi for your personal loan for your home improvements include:

•  A quick process: You’re anxious to get started (who wouldn’t be?) and, on average, it takes only seven days from online approval to funding, allowing you to transform your home addition plans into reality soon.
•  Fixed payments: This is ideal for budgeting purposes.
•  Absolutely no fees: No surprises, no hidden fees, no catches. None.

When it comes to our personal loans, they are 100% fee-free. Plus, the application process is fast and easy, conveniently online, and you have access to live customer support seven days a week.

If you lose your job, we can pause your payments temporarily, and even help you to find a new job.

The Takeaway

A home addition can increase the value of your real estate while also allowing you to retrofit your house to your current lifestyle. There are many factors that figure into a big decision like a renovation, and it’s important to consider it from as many angles as possible.

With a quick online application process and lower rates than most credit cards, SoFi personal loans can help you make your house a dream home. Check your rate in just two minutes.

Ready to get started? You can find your rate in just two minutes, with no commitment. When you’re ready to get going with your home addition plans, you can apply for your personal loan quickly and easily.


SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp (dba SoFi), a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law, license # 6054612; NMLS # 1121636 . For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Third Party Brand Mentions: No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.
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Source: sofi.com

7 Tips for Maintaining the Value of Your Home

Before signing the dotted line for a new home, your real estate agent might point out features about the property that could be “good for resale value.” And while you may be in the market for your forever home, the unexpected twists and turns of life mean that people sell their homes for a million reasons.

For homebuyers who are in the market for a smart investment, selling their home when the time is right is the objective from Day One. They may anticipate the future of an up-and-coming neighborhood, get a killer deal on a short sale or foreclosure, or intend to upgrade once they grow their families.

For others, a move can be unexpected. Issues like financial changes (for better or worse), job transfers, unexpected bills, marriage or divorce, or the need for more or less space can all motivate homeowners to sell.

And for a few, they just realize that the house they bought isn’t right for them.

In fact, Americans move every five to seven years on average. (Apparently, we’re a restless lot.)

No matter what your future plans are for your home, doing what you can to maintain its value can be a smart strategy. And while some value-add items take care of themselves, like the property’s location and the current real estate market, the majority are up to the homeowners.

And let’s be real. When it comes to working on a home, a little work here and there is a lot less painful than a lot of work on a moment’s notice.

Here are some ideas for creating a home maintenance checklist:

Update, Update, Update.

If a home that’s for sale has an updated anything, the real estate listing will scream it out in ALL CAPS. This can apply to appliances, cabinetry and countertops, flooring, popcorn ceiling, bathroom remodels, kitchen remodels, and more.

But which updates will actually add value to the house is a different question, and the answer can vary depending on current trends. In 2020, for example, home buyers are looking for large, spacious kitchens and, thanks to COVID-19, a home office space.

If your kitchen is due for an update, try to keep in mind that this doesn’t necessarily mean stripping it to the studs and starting from scratch. Are the cabinets in good shape? Consider a fresh coat of paint or stain to reflect the latest color trends.

value estimator could help inform your decision.

Keeping an Eye on the Big Ticket Items

Repainting to cover wall damage or update to a more modern color is a project that may not take too much time or money out of your budget.

Repairing or replacing a home’s expensive items, like the foundation, roof, electrical, plumbing, water, septic, well, A/C—can come with some serious sticker shock.

Issues with a home’s foundation, for example, can cost upwards of $10,000 to remedy. But a foundation inspection? That’s more like $350 to $1,000 . And keeping an eye on the foundation and walls yourself is free. Note that estimates will vary based on factors like location, the size of the house, and the extent of repairs required.

Aside from the foundation, replacing a home’s central heating and air system can be a significant expense that can also cost five figures to replace in the event of a total failure. The biggest contributor? According to an article on Realtor.com, it’s neglect .

Regular maintenance can help extend the life of the system so it can reach it’s full life expectancy—which is generally about 15 years.

Staying On Top of Maintenance

According to HomeAdvisor’s State of Home Spending Report , the average homeowner spent $1,105 a year on maintenance in 2018. That sounds like a lot, but when compared to the average cost of $7,560 for home improvement projects in 2018, it starts to sound more affordable.

What’s more, the report found that homeowners completed an average of 6.7 home maintenance projects vs. just 2.2 home improvement projects.

For their study, they listed items like HVAC maintenance, cleaning gutters, and landscaping as maintenance-related projects, but the list can also include keeping up with the pool or hot tub, power washing siding, decking, or concrete areas.

If it seems like a lot to remember, consider setting reminders on your smartphone for things like replacing A/C filters, having carpets professionally cleaned, or flushing out the hot tub.

You may also consider adding a line item into your budget for maintenance items, since these are normal costs of owning a home and it can help to plan for them.

Improving Curb Appeal

If there’s a “For Sale” sign in front of your house, the outside will be the first thing a potential homebuyer judges about your property. If not, the way your home looks as visitors arrive still makes a statement.

To evaluate the outside of your home, look at it from a visitor’s perspective. Is the grass trim? Are the weeds under control? Consider taking a look at the driveway, mailbox, and front porch area and asking yourself, if you were thinking about purchasing this home, would you be interested based on the curb appeal?

If the answer is no, it doesn’t mean you have to dig into the dirt. An affordable landscaper can help if your home is lush with vegetation, invest in mulch to help keep weeds under control, and consider native plants and shrubbery that require the least maintenance.

Another item that deserves attention is your front door. It creates a statement about your home, serves as a welcome to visitors and, if it’s steel, comes with an amazing return on investment—as much as 91% of the costs, which average around $1,500.

Upgrading Energy Efficiency

89% of homebuyers report wanting to see efficient windows and appliances in a home), but also if you want to reduce spending on bills and taxes . And it doesn’t just mean big investments like switching to solar or wind-powered energy, although those are both growing trends .

Making your home more energy efficient can also be as simple as replacing bad weather seals, ensuring that the attic has sufficient insulation, paying attention to the air and heating, and using energy-efficient light bulbs and appliances.

Upgrading the energy efficiency of your home is something that might even be rolled in with another project, such as maintenance or updating.

Installing Smart Tech

Even if your home is more than 100 years, old adding smart tech can make it 21st-century ready. Smart home assistants like Google or Alexa, for example, can control everything from the lights to the TV to locking the front door.

They can also allow you to remotely control your heating and air temperatures, make sure the oven is actually turned off, and even give you a sense of security with security systems or video door bells. In order for the home assistants to accomplish all of these features, additional smart appliances may be required.

While some types of home tech are hard-wired into the house and others are more portable, even being able to say “wired for surround sound” can be a bonus on a home listing.

According to a recent Forbes report, smart home tech is starting to move up the must-have list for homebuyers. But, like energy efficiencies, adding it to your home can be a perk even if you have no immediate plans to move.

Keeping the Bugs at Bay

One important job that comes with homeownership is keeping unwanted critters outside where they belong. Public enemy No. 1 in this category? Termites. They can wreak havoc on a home’s wood structures to the tune of $1 billion in property damage every year.

The problem is so widespread that some home loan companies require buyers to get a termite letter , which is basically a guarantee that the home is free from termite damage.

DIY recommendations for keeping the pests at bay can also check off items on the home maintenance list, including keeping gutters and downspouts flowing, filling in any places where water pools around the home or in the yard, filling in cracks in the foundation and keeping air vets free and clear.

And if an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, then a $75 to $150 termite inspection is worth avoiding a $1,000 termite treatment.

Beyond termites and the havoc they wreak, there are a variety of other living creatures that can cause damage to a home or surrounding property, including attic squatters like mice or raccoons, carpenter bees, moles, mosquitoes, and even grasshoppers that brunch on beautiful landscaping.

Making Improvements Affordable

Budgeting a few extra dollars a month for A/C filters is one thing, but putting on a new roof is a bigger beast. Before going down the path of home improvement, it can be important to determine whether the goal is to add resale value, or something that’s just a personal desire. If it’s the former, consider using a Home Project Value Estimator that can help determine whether it’s a smart investment, or if it might be wiser to take a different route.

From there, one next step could be to weigh the various options for paying for a home project. Some companies offer same-as-cash financing options, or deferred-interest loans , but in those cases it’s important to remember that if the balance isn’t paid by the deadline, it could lead to a payment that includes any leftover balance plus interest.

One way to avoid deferred-interest surprises is with a personal loan. Securing a low interest rate and a fixed monthly payment can mean no surprises, less hassle, and maybe even enough to hire an expert for the heavy lifting.

Ready to bring back or improve the value of your home? With SoFi’s Home Improvement Loans, qualifying borrows can get approved for up to $100,000.

Apply for a SoFi home improvement loan today!



Tax Information: This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice.
External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Third Party Brand Mentions: No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

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Source: sofi.com