Spring cleaning time is around the corner but sometimes your home needs a little more than just tidying up. Whether it’s basic home maintenance or ambitious renovations, spring is a great time to get started on those spring home improvement projects you’ve been planning all winter. Of course, you first need to have a plan in place to pay for your new project. Fortunately, there are several excellent options available. To help you make a more informed choice, let’s look at some common spring projects and a few popular options for financing them.
Home Improvement Projects
Repair Your Roof or Siding
Your roof and siding are constantly exposed to the elements, and that wear and tear can really take a toll over time. The spring thaw is an excellent time to keep your home well-protected by replacing your aging roof or worn siding. And it’s also a great opportunity to increase your home’s curb appeal. Roofing and siding traditionally offer a high return on investment, so your dollars certainly won’t go to waste. To get the most bang for your buck, you can even opt for more energy-efficient materials to help conserve energy and cut down on your utility bills.
Paint Your Front Door
When someone enters your home, your front door is among the first things they see. If your door is cracking, peeling or otherwise showing signs of age, you aren’t creating a very good first impression. Remedy that by applying a fresh new coat of paint, and consider going with a bold new color to revitalize the look of your home. While professional services are available, you can save some cash by handling the painting yourself. Just remember to use a high-quality primer and two coats of enamel paint for optimal results.
Clean Your Air Ducts
From dust and other allergens to months of furnace deposits, your air ducts have likely accumulated a lot of contaminants over the winter. With the heating season winding down and the summer cooling season still on the horizon, spring is a great time to have these ducts cleaned and inspected by a professional. A thorough cleaning ensures that your HVAC system is cleared out and working at maximum efficiency, saving money and protecting your family from the irritants that can accumulate in your ducts over time. Be sure to replace your HVAC filter and clean the grates as well.
Go Green With Landscaping
Though your home itself may take priority, don’t forget about your lawn. A bit of tasteful landscaping can go a long way toward boosting the curb appeal of your home and creating a pleasant environment. Something as simple as fertilizing your lawn is an excellent first step. But don’t be afraid to plant a few ornamental shrubs or even make bolder changes. After all, what better time than spring to get started on creating a greener, more beautiful landscape?
Build a Deck
It may come with a bigger price tag than many other spring home improvement projects, but building a deck is an excellent investment. It’s a reliable way to improve your home’s curb appeal. And it also provides a place to host guests, have a family cookout or just relax on a lazy Sunday morning. You can expect a nearly 80 percent return on your investment on average, and building a new deck may not take as long as you’d think. A deck can be built in as little as one to two weeks, making it a quick and financially sensible project for the relatively short spring season.
Home Improvement Funding Options
Pay as You Go
The simplest option for financing home improvements involves no financing at all: simply pay for your project as you go. Take a look at your weekly or monthly household budget and consider how much cash you can spare. Use this information as a guide to plan your project appropriately, purchasing supplies as you can afford them and saving for any professional labor costs you may need. While this approach isn’t ideal for major undertakings, you may be surprised at how quickly you can pay for and complete smaller projects. As an added bonus, you’ll avoid those pesky financing and interest charges.
Secure a Loan From a Mortgage Broker
While homeowners have traditionally turned to banks when they need financing, you may be better served working with a mortgage broker. A broker serves as an intermediary, working with various financial institutions to identify the best financing options for the homeowner’s needs. What this means for you is that you’ll get highly competitive rates and favorable terms without doing all the legwork yourself. While it’s possible you may be able to find a better deal on your own. Working with a mortgage broker is a convenient and reliable way to gain financing for your project.
Use a Credit Card
It may not be the best idea for large-scale renovations, but a credit card is a perfectly acceptable way to pay for smaller maintenance and improvement projects. It’s especially useful if you’re faced with pressing repairs for which you don’t have cash on hand. And some cards offer cash back or other appealing rewards on home improvement-related purchases. By using a credit card and promptly paying off the balance, you may even see a boost to your credit score. Be aware, however, that interest rates are often far higher than with other financing options. If at all possible, try to pay down your debt quickly to avoid excessive interest costs.
Make Installment Payments
If your home improvement project requires work by a contractor, be sure to carefully discuss the payment arrangements. While a sizable down payment is often required, you may be able to negotiate installment payments that work within your budget. For large projects, it’s especially important to work with your contractor to create a sensible draw schedule. This schedule should clearly define when each payment is due and what aspects of the project are covered with each stage. Such an agreement ensures that you know precisely what you’re paying for. And it allows you to save or find financing for each phase separately.
Your home is likely the largest investment you’ll ever make, so it’s important to take proper care of it. Springtime represents a great opportunity to carry out much-needed maintenance tasks, tackle routine improvements or even launch into a full-scale renovation. These projects are some of the most common ways to improve your home during the spring season. But your only limitations are your budget and your imagination. Armed with this information, you can move forward confidently and make an informed decision on what projects you can afford and how best to finance them.
Maricel Tabalba is a freelance contributor for Credit.com. She is interested in writing about personal finance advice for Millennials and college students. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in Communication from the University of Illinois at Chicago.