Home Improvement Loan Application Checklist

painter-2247395_640Are you on the verge of making major home improvements? If so, it’s possible you’re looking at many different financing options. In this scenario, you would greatly benefit from a home renovation loan since you obviously want better interest rates, greater flexibility, and better options when compared to paying for home renovations with a credit card.

You’ll gain a wide range of benefits by choosing a home improvement loan paid back in installments as opposed to using a credit card. Additionally, you’ll get the benefits of receiving higher loan amounts, longer and better terms, and interest rates that are much more competitive than the credit card interest! Even if you wanted to pay for your renovations with a credit card, many home improvement contractors do not accept them. They need to get paid by check or cash to perform your much-needed restorations.

With that said, we want our readers to be prepared when they begin applying for home renovation loans. So, we’ll provide a checklist that everyone should use to get ready for the loan application process.

While we’re at it, don’t forget to use the internet to your advantage. Use an online comparison tool that will compare numerous home renovation loans based on your specifications.

Getting Ready to Apply for Home Improvement Loans

Before beginning the home loan comparison process, you have to be prepared for the inevitable. You must have all your ducks in a row before you prepare any documentation for potential lenders. Some of the main things lenders look for are as follows:

Income Proof

You’re never going to qualify for a home renovation loan, or any other loan for that matter, if you cannot prove your income. This makes sense because financial institutions are only going to loan money to people they know can pay it back over time based on the terms of the loan. Even though lenders loosened their qualifications prior to the housing market crash in the mid-2000s, they’ve since tightened their criteria and now thoroughly scrutinize every potential borrower and look at their financial history, employment history, and more under a microscope.

It’s relatively easy to prove your income. Just provide potential lenders with copies of your pay stubs, any investment income you may have, or other paperwork regarding income you generate throughout the year. By having this information gathered and prepared ahead of time, you’ll be able to immediately provide documentation proving how much money you make.

Lower Your Debt to Income Ratio

If your debt to income ratio is high, you’ll have a difficult time getting financial institutions to lend you money. If you have $2000 worth of expenses every month and currently owe $20,000 worth of credit cards and you only make $25,000 a year, lenders will not provide you with a renovation loan.

In this scenario, you’d have to significantly pay down your credit card debt before any lender considers giving you a home improvement loan. So keep your debt to income ratio in mind, lower it when necessary, and you’ll have a much better chance of qualifying for a low interest loan.

How’s Your Credit Score?

Finally, lenders are going to look long and hard at your current credit score. If it’s low because you’ve been late with payments or stopped paying certain bills altogether, you will not appear to be a safe bet to lending institutions. So do everything you can to clean up your credit report and raise your credit score. Otherwise you’ll have a tough time getting a home improvement loan.

Conclusion

Please pay close attention to these guidelines when applying for home improvement loans. Work on fixing your credit and debt to income ratio to have a better chance at qualifying for financing. You’ll have your dream kitchen in no time.

How to Give Your Home Curb Appeal On a Budget

how to give your home curb appeal on a budget

While the housing market is still not fully out of the red, there has been some positives in 2016. For one, millennials are finally starting to enter the market, which is a generation that some experts were concerned would never purchase homes, according to this Forbes article by real estate writer, Samantha Sharf. Sharf also noted that mortgage rates remained historically low in 2016. And although cities are still facing affordability issues, despite the increase of wages, homes are appreciating in value due to the decrease in demand to build new homes. In short, things seem to be looking up, even if it is at a slow pace.

Given the above, perhaps you’ve been considering selling your house to relocate or simply have a change of scenery. Or, conversely, maybe you’re simply interested in increasing your property’s value now so that, if or when the time comes, you’ll be ready. This could easily be a costly project, but it doesn’t have to be. Here’s how to give your home curb appeal on a budget:

How to Give Your Home Curb Appeal On a Budget:

Sidewalks and Shutters

You may not realize it, but the simplest of tweaks can add a world of difference. It is often advised to pull out any weeds from between the sidewalk path leading to your home, tighten screws on any shutters to make sure they aren’t crooked or appear as though they may fall over, and the like. These fine details may be an effective (and simple) starting place.

Landscaping

Before planting anything new, make sure you have healthy soil or see where your current shrubbery could use improvements. Trim up overgrown bushes, clean up dead leaves, get rid of weeds in the grass and along the house, and so on. Quora user and real estate agent Andrey Sokurec recommends getting a spray tank and bottle of weed killer (available for roughly $42 total) and treating your yard with granulated fertilizer to make it greener longer.

Other landscaping tips to consider are to purchase colorful flowers for a nice pop if your exterior lacks color. You can incorporate shadow boxes below windows or on your porch railings, which will save money on mulch to line your house with flowers. Additionally, if you have space, you can look into planting trees on each side to frame your entry way. But, planter beware: Make sure to look into how large the trees will get first to avoid your home, particularly your front door, becoming hidden by them. Alternatively, you can use large potted plants to use at your doorway.

Paint

It’s amazing what a coat of paint can do, and this holds true for adding curb appeal. Painting your entire exterior will be costly, but you can simply paint your door, the trim, or shutters to provide the house with an updated look without breaking the bank.

Clean Up House

Keep your house looking nice on the outside by making sure toys are kept out of the yard, patio furniture isn’t damaged or looking decrepit, and the sidewalk and porch are swept. You should also try to power wash the outside of your home, especially if it is built with siding, to help give it a fresh face. Other than the cost of time, this will be essentially free to do.

Other ways to “clean up house” include but are not limited to:

  • Repainting or replacing your mailbox
  • Upgrading the numbers on your house
  • Replacing exterior lighting

But, before you start:

Even if you have no plans to sell your house anytime in the near future, you can still make these upgrades that will make you happy to come home to each time. But, before you start, you should determine what will look best with your home instead of trying to fit in an aspect that doesn’t work. Consider the following:

  • Take pictures. Interior designer Adrienne Kushner advises taking pictures of the exterior, including the sides and back of the house. This can help you see things you might otherwise miss. These photos can also assist in choosing shrubbery and colors that are right for your home.
  • Pick the right flowers and plants. Don’t plant anything without doing a little research on the type of plant and whether it will be a good fit for your environment and location. For example, flowers often need a lot of sunlight, and if your home is shadowed by surrounding trees, your flowers of choice may not be able to survive. It may also be more cost-effective to choose flowers that bloom annually rather than only live one season.
  • Choose colors that complement not take away from your home. With the pictures you take of your home, you may want to bring those with you to a local paint shop or home improvement store to see if they have any input on color choices for you. Let them know what style you’re going for, and they will likely provide you with some really helpful information, especially since they want you to buy paint from them.
  • Keep it simple. Don’t go overboard with shrubs and plants; simple is best to avoid a cluttered look. Need some inspiration? HelpMeBuild.com has some great suggestions here.
  • Have a budget in mind. Before you start any project, create a budget so that you do not go overboard and unnecessarily waste or spend money. If applicable, talk with your spouse first so that you are on the same page with spending.

What tips would you add on how to give your home curb appeal on a budget?

Top 6 Tips to Save on Glasses


Here are 6 easy tips to help you save money when out shopping for glasses. They are all pretty easy to follow and can save you anywhere between $20 to as much as $100, depending on what type of
frame or lenses you are trying to buy.

  • Buy online

This tip can’t be stressed enough. Online stores for glasses simply have the best prices. Their prices are often shockingly cheaper than what you will find in retail stores at the mall. Online stores have also come to specialize in express glasses, meaning that you will receive your glasses in just a day. If you are visiting an online store to buy, make sure that they are an express glasses store.

  • Buy just the frames

If you lenses are still good and you just need to change out the frames, you must do exactly that. Don’t throw out your lenses. Instead, shop for cheap glasses frames and have your old lenses installed on them. You obviously have to pick frames that will be able to house your lenses but chances are that you will have at least a dozen frames to choose from, no matter what lens you wear.

  • Price match using online quotes

You can walk into a glasses store in the mall and show them an online store that is selling a certain frame for less than what the store is selling it for. If the staff are convinced that the online store is a legitimate store and the frame is indeed the same as what they have in the showroom, they will gladly give you a price match. A lot of people have been able to knock off as much as 20%, 30% or sometimes even more, using online price quotes. You can certainly try the same.

  • Never pay for repairs

Many glasses stores offer free repairs and adjustments, especially if such repairs and adjustments are minor. This is especially true if you have been a customer of that store. Call up a few glasses stores and ask them if they will charge for minor repairs like lens tightening or frame tightening and you will be surprised to hear that they don’t charge anything at all. This obviously saves you money.

  • Use Vision Insurance

Go through your health insurance plan to see if it includes a vision insurance clause. If there is such an option, you must make use of the insurance benefit. Just make sure you buy your glasses from stores that work with insurance plans. While you will stay pay for a deductible, using insurance for purchasing your glasses can bring down your cost of buying glasses by as much as 80% to 90%. If you think you will need glasses for the rest of your life, it makes sense to upgrade your health insurance with a vision cover, so it includes vision insurance.

  • Hunt before you buy

Glasses is one industry where prices can be very, very different, from store to store, even in the same mall! It is not uncommon for one store to sell a pair of designer frames for $500 while another store sells the same for $350. As a thumb rule, you must shop at least 3 stores or look up 3 online stores before you actually buy your glasses.