DIY home improvements on a budget
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Home renovation is a pricey endeavor. However, if you go the DIY route, you can change the look of your home on a budget.
A DIY home project will require some work from you, but it may increase the value of your home—or become a fun family project at the very least.
If that seems appealing, the next question you may have is how to fund a DIY home renovation. The good news is simple projects might not require much of a financial or time investment. And for those that do, you have quite a few financing options.
Let’s take a look at a few simple DIY home projects to consider—and how to pay for bigger ones.
Weekend home improvement projects
Some budget-friendly DIY projects can only take a couple of days and significantly improve your home’s aesthetic (and even increase its value).
Here are some examples to consider.
Paint the walls
The way the walls inside your home look can significantly influence the overall appearance of the place.
If your walls have old wallpaper, dirty paint or other cosmetic imperfections, it may be time for a paint job.
When you’re picking a new color, think of how it may impact your home value. Typically, a neutral color scheme that stays consistent throughout the house is the most appealing to potential buyers.
Give your kitchen cabinets a new look
Speaking of painting, consider upgrading your kitchen by painting the kitchen cabinets.
Installing new cabinets can be extremely expensive but painting the existing ones a brighter color can make a world of difference, too.
Another thing you can do is change cabinet knobs and drawer handles. Such details, while seemingly minor, can make a huge impact on your kitchen’s aesthetic.
Replace bathroom hardware
Remodeling a bathroom can be costly and time-consuming. Luckily, certain upgrades can give your bathroom a new look while sparing your wallet.
For example, you can install new faucets and replace the bathroom mirror. Even more minor touches like new drawer pulls or towel bar can spruce up the look and feel without draining your savings account.
Add new window treatments
Those old window blinds or plastic shades that came with your house may be familiar and convenient. Unfortunately, they don’t do your home value any favors and they’re not especially good-looking.
You can upgrade them to wooden blinds, drapes or plantation shutters. If you’re planning to sell, stick with neutral colors to increase your home value.
Rent a power washer
Let’s not forget about your house exterior. Before you commit to repainting it, rent a power washer. You may be surprised by how much of a difference a nice pressure washing can make.
While you’re at it, you can clean your patio, driveway and walkways, too. Your home will shine like new!
DIY vs. hiring a pro
With many home projects, there’s a question of whether it makes more sense to go the DIY route or hire a professional.
Doing it yourself is appealing mainly due to the money you’ll save in labor costs. Sure, you’ll have to put the work in (which can be a lot, depending on the project) but you can save thousands of dollars in paying workers. If you don’t have the skills, you can easily find a book or a YouTube tutorial to guide you. The result may not be perfect, but you’ll be able to take pride in it—and in how much you’ve saved.
On the other hand, it may be a good idea to leave some projects to pros. If an error may result in safety risks, or if your project requires special permits, you may want to hire contractors. Sure, it’ll cost you, but your home will be safe. Plus, pros will save you time and do the work that’s more likely to increase your home value.
How to finance DIY projects
If you’ve decided to tackle your home project yourself but it still requires a significant investment, don’t fret. You have quite a few financing options.
Home improvement loan
A home improvement loan is simply a personal loan used for home renovations. It comes with a fixed interest rate and is paid in fixed installments. This type of loan is unsecured, which eliminates worrying about losing your collateral.
On the other hand, personal loans charge comparatively high interest rates. Plus, you’ll have to meet the lender’s requirements to qualify, including credit score, income and debt-to-income requirements.
Home equity line of credit (HELOC)
You can also finance a remodel with a home equity line of credit (HELOC). This is a secured loan which allows you to borrow against the equity that you’ve built in your house.
You get a draw period during which you can draw funds from your credit line and only make interest payments. Once that period is over, you can no longer borrow and must begin repaying both principal and interest.
This kind of loan typically comes with low interest rates. However, these rates aren’t fixed and may fluctuate, impacting your monthly payments. On top of that, your home becomes your collateral, which is always risky.
A HELOC also has credit score, debt-to-income and other requirements.
Home equity loan
Similar to a HELOC, a home equity loan is secured by your home and allows you to borrow against your home equity. You get a specific amount of money and repay it in equal monthly payments over a fixed term.
How much you can borrow depends on your income, credit history and the market value of your home.
A home equity loan can be an option for costly upgrades. However, you’re risking foreclosure if you don’t pay as agreed.
Unlock is an innovative solution to your home improvement financing needs. It’s not a lender, so you’re not taking out a loan. Instead, it’s a real estate investor who pays you a set amount in exchange for a percentage of your home’s equity. For instance, Unlock can offer cash equal to 10 percent of your home value in exchange for 16 percent of the home value in the future.
Unlock can be a good option to pay for an expensive home project as it allows you to access a large sum of money without getting into debt.
Why use a solution like Unlock?
Unlock has a few obvious advantages over borrowing. Since it’s not a loan, there are no monthly payments and no income requirement to qualify. The minimum FICO score required is only 500.
How much you can get depends on your equity. Typically, you need at least 20 percent of the home value built up in equity to use the program.
With Unlock, you may get as much cash as the equity you have on your home at the time of the agreement—in addition to your first mortgage—without worrying about interest rates.
Unlock gives you 10 years to buy out its investment or sell the home.
This solution can be an excellent choice for many types of homeowners remodeling their home. Whether you’re seeking convenience, affordability or working to increase your home price, Unlock is worth looking into.
The bottom line
Home renovation can get expensive, but with enough skill and patience, you may complete many home improvement projects yourself.
If you’re seeking financing for such projects, you have a few options. You can go a more traditional route and take out a loan, or try a solution like Unlock to avoid adding debt.
Whatever you choose, make sure to realistically assess which projects can be DIY and which will require working with contractors—especially if you’re renovating to sell your home soon.