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Mortgage Refinancing: Home Improvement Dos and Don'ts

by Gabriel  Traverso
Mortgage Directory Columnist

Playing it Smart with Your Home Improvement Loan
Taking out a second mortgage or refinancing is an excellent way to fund a remodeling project. If your end goal is to sell then you need to think smarter than someone who plans on staying in the home. These home improvement dos and don'ts can help you with your plans and possibly prevent a costly mistake.

Don't:

  • Do things halfway. If you plan on making improvements yourself, make sure you know what you're doing and can handle the job.
  • Buck the norm. If none of the other homes in your neighborhood have a swimming pool or colonial columns then don't try and start a new trend.
  • Spend money on expensive cosmetic changes. Costly moldings, light fixtures, and other little luxuries won't get you much return on your investment.
  • Buy expensive new appliances. The new stainless steel fridge and dishwasher might appeal to you, but might not to prospective buyers.
  • Get a loan you can't afford. Mortgage refinancing is perfect for a remodeling project, but if you can't afford the payments don't gamble on selling the house to bail you out.

Do:

  • Spend money on the kitchen and master bathroom. These are two of the most important rooms of the house. Small projects here, like cabinet refacing, can provide a big return on your home improvement investment.
  • Write a budget and stick to it. It's easy to go over the top when you get a home improvement loan. Be realistic and stick to your plans.
  • Improve the landscaping. No matter how beautiful your home is on the inside, if the lawn is brown and weeds dominate the front, you need to spend some money on getting green things growing.
  • Consider new siding. If you have an older home, installing new siding can be a great investment to boost your home's value.
  • Get it in writing. When you are working with a contractor, make sure you get a written contract--no matter how small the project.
Sources: About the Author
Gabriel Traverso is a freelance writer, independent musician, and artist. He resides in Reno, NV.

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