You may also consider refinancing your home in order to finance a home improvement project. Many banks offer refinancing and renovation options that allow you to roll home improvement costs into your mortgage, even if you don’t have a lot of equity in your home. By basing the mortgage on the home’s renovated value rather than the current value, you’ll be able to finance everything with one loan. If you’re a do-it-yourself type, however, you’re out of luck: Many banks require you to hire a professional contractor to perform the work as part of a refinancing and renovation package.
All of these options are One Time Close offerings. This gives our clients the advantage and peace of mind of not having to worry about re-qualifying for permanent financing when their build is complete. There’s no new credit checks, appraisals or closing costs; everything that needed to be done is already done, so your construction loan simply rolls into your permanent loan at the completion of your remodel.
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Whether you hire a contractor or take on the work yourself, begin with an accurate estimate of what the project will cost. Lenders will insist on a specific figure before they work with you. If you're hiring a contractor, start with a firm bid, broken down into labor and materials. Then add on 10 percent for surprises. On work you'll do yourself, compile a detailed materials list with quantities, costs, and an accurate total. Include permit fees and equipment rental. Then add a cushion of 20 to 30 percent to be safe. Once you know how much you need to finance your home improvement project, how much will you get? Despite the promises and hype lenders make in their ads and promotional materials, how much you can borrow hinges on your credit rating, the loan-to-value ratio, and your income. These factors also help determine the interest rate, the length of the loan, and whether you'll pay points. Your credit rating. The best rates and terms go to homeowners with an A rating—no late payments in the last 12 months and no maxed-out credit cards. One or two late payments or overdrawn credit cards probably won't knock you out of the game, but you might end up with a higher interest rate and a smaller loan.
Almost all credit lines have variable interest rates, and if the rate is raised, it can be applied to your existing balance — something credit card companies are not allowed to do. So be sure to check the lender’s offer to see how often, and by how much, it can raise your rate. If you’re not careful, a once-affordable loan balance could become hard to repay.
We know from personal experience that a large number of older homes in Northern and Southern California are still in great shape and can be updated, upgraded and expanded to meet the needs of a growing family. It’s a great solution for families that love their neighborhoods and the cost of renovation is usually substantially less than the cost of purchasing a larger home.
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Sooner or later, you’ll decide it’s time to make some renovations to your home. Whether you put in the elbow grease and do it yourself or hire a contractor to cover the dirty work, any remodeling venture can be pricey. Finding the best way to finance a home improvement project can be tricky, and the ideal choice varies according to your financial situation.
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