Fall Home Improvement Projects that Add Value

For most homeowners, fall is the season you adorn the house with harvest decorations and take in the colorful foliage. The new season can also be the perfect time to tackle some home improvement projects you have on your to-do list. The cooler weather makes outside DIY tasks more bearable, or if you decide to hire help, there may be more available contractors during the “off” season.

By making a few minor updates you can increase the curb appeal and overall value of your home. So if you’re a homeowner planning to sell in the spring, it might be time to roll up your sleeves and invest in a few simple improvements:

  1. Paint the front door
    One of the most effective, yet simple, ways to spruce up your home’s exterior is by painting the front door. Applying a fresh coat of paint instantly gives your home a more polished look and the cooler weather is optimal for exterior painting. Extra points if you repaint the shutters as well!
  2. Repair the deck or patio
    Having a deck or patio is a feature home buyers value enormously. However, if the wood is warped, splintering or faded, it becomes more of a problem than a benefit. The sight of a deck in poor condition can reflect badly on the overall aesthetic of the back yard. If your deck needs to be repaired, simply power washing or applying finish can do the trick. However, if the overall structure needs work, it’s probably worth the investment to hire outside help.
  3. Power-wash the exterior
    The amount of value this adds to your home depends on the level of cleaning needed. Taking care of few minor stains will definitely help a home sell and it’s a moderately easy DIY project for the homeowner. However, if the majority of the exterior needs washing, hiring a professional could add phenomenal value when the job is finished. Although the cost of using outside help might be intimidating, having your home look like new will be worth it.
  4. Replace or repair your roof
    A properly maintained roof inspires confidence in a homeowner. It provides peace of mind for residents, knowing they will be safe from leaks and water damage. A brand new roof can be a mandatory venture or maybe you simply need to update it with new details to increase curb appeal. Either way, making sure the roof over your head is sound and up-to-date is a must. If there is a chance the roof needs fixing while on the market, buyers can see it as a factor to decrease asking price.
  5. Enhance the exterior
    Curb appeal will remain one of the most important factors in home buying. If your home exterior has stained siding or chipping paint, many prospects might turn away before they even see what’s inside. Although it can be costly to invest in new siding or the labor to repaint an entire house, your return on the investment when you sell is worth it. Just remember to stay on the safe side when choosing a color; something neutral is best.
  6. Window replacement
    Windows can be a costly investment, so it’s wise to hold off on complete replacement unless there is serious damage or the insulation is so poor it racks up utility bills. If you have large bay windows, a periodic washing of the interior and exterior will help retain your home’s look and value.
  7. Update your HVAC
    If your HVAC system is more than 15 years old, it might be worth it to upgrade. It’s not major highlight on a buyers list, but if they point out the system is old, it could be a way for them to negotiate a lower price.
  8. Clean the gutters
    Cleaning the gutters probably seems pretty dull on the home improvement list, but regular maintenance prevents larger problems down the road. Overlooked rain gutters could amount to foundation damage, which would mean substantial costs and devaluation of a home. To prevent future damage, make sure you stay on track with this chore and give your home the care it needs to last a lifetime.

9 Ways to Avoid Mortgage Sabotage

Homebuyers are often not aware of how an innocent transaction such as making a credit card purchase or moving cash from one bank to another can jeopardize the mortgage pre-qualification process. Please be aware of the common areas that need special attention:

  1. Review your credit report:
    The best way to get a jump start on your mortgage process is to know what your creditors are saying about you and the accuracy of the information! Review the report with your Loan Officer and report any inaccurate or omitted information.
  2. Credit cards/new debt:
    Do not apply for any new credit of any kind! That creditor will show up on your credit report, and the lender will have to verify there is no new outstanding debt. If you are planning to add a debt or pay debts off for closing, wait until you have spoken with your Loan Officer. A paid debt may not show on your credit report, and the lender will have to re-verify each creditor’s current balance, which takes time. It may be possible to pay off those debts at closing, with no effect to your approval process.
  3. Don’t move cashing/savings around:
    Lenders have to verify all funds for closing, including the source of those funds. Moving assets around can create a paper trail nightmare. The best advice is to leave everything where it is, even if the purpose of the move is to pool your funds for buying the house. After your accounts have been verified and the lender give you an “ok”, you can consolidate your accounts if needed.
  4. Large deposits:
    All sources of funds for the transaction must be verified. The lender will be looking at any large deposits into your asset accounts (checking, savings, money market, etc.). You should be prepared to document the source-such as a copy of the paycheck, bonus check, money from the sale of an asset, etc.
  5. Do not pack financial papers:
    Keep all pages of your tax returns, along with any W-2’s, 1099’s, or K-1’s and any other financial papers from the past two years in a handy place. If you sold a home in the past two years, have your (HUD-1) Settlement Sheet handy. You may have to provide more items, which your Loan Officer will outline.
  6. Become a paper hound:
    Save all pages of all bank statements and pay stubs from now until closing. The lender will need these, so please make sure you keep them handy!
  7. Changing jobs: 
    While a different career opportunity can be an exciting venture, it’s best to wait until the mortgage process is complete if possible. A new position could derail the financial information you originally provided and jeopardize loan approval. If you need to change jobs, make sure you let your Loan Officer know so adjustments can be made.
  8. Gifts:
    Gifts from relatives are very common in the purchase of a home. However, there are specific ways a gift must be handled to avoid a paper trail nightmare. If you are receiving a gift, hold off on accepting the funds until you have spoken with your Loan Officer. There is a Gift Letter form you may use which provides instructions.
  9. Selling something?
    If you are selling an asset such as a car, an antique, or baseball card collection to come up with the cash for closing, make sure you document the asset. For example, if you purchase a car, obtain the check from the buyer, car title and a bill of sale. You may need to get a certified appraisal for the item.

When in doubt, always consult your Loan Officer. He or she will help guide you through the process and answer any questions you might have along the way.

Connect With Us