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HomeHomes
Published: Friday, 9/4/2009

Home Improvements that Pay You Back

Woman Painting a Door Woman Painting a Door
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(ARA) - Purchasing a home is perhaps the most significant investment you'll ever make. One way that millions of Americans are increasing the return and value of their homes is through remodeling. Remodeling is not only a great way to enhance your investment, but it can also provide you with greater satisfaction with your living environment. But before you call the contractor, there are a few other things to consider.

"Remodeling projects can offer significant rewards whether you are looking to put your house on the market in the immediate future or even if you are not interested in selling for years to come," says Jim Ferriter, executive vice president, retail lending for GMAC Mortgage. "But before you get started, you need to identify which remodeling projects will increase both the resale value of your home as well as your day-to-day comfort."

Here are some ideas from GMAC Mortgage for home improvement projects that pay off.

* Kitchen remodels are among the best for recouping the cost of renovations. Modernize with new appliances, counter tops and cabinets.

* Adding a bathroom increases the value of your home. So does upgrading an existing one. Adding new light fixtures, vanities with plenty of storage, ceramic tile or marble, and a new coat of paint are just some of the ways to improve a bathroom.

* Building a deck enhances your enjoyment of your yard and lets you recover approximately 85 percent of the project costs in added value.

* Converting an attic into a bedroom or adding a family room are great ways to add value and make your home fit your needs as your family grows.

* One of the most affordable and effective improvements you can make to your home is painting both the interior and exterior. Painting the exterior not only helps maintain the beauty of the home, it also helps prevent damage to the siding.

* Replacing your old furnace, putting in new windows and doors, and replacing your roof can help you improve your monthly energy costs as well as enhance the resale value of your home. Some states even offer credits for remodeling projects designed to enhance energy efficiency in the home.

So how can you pay for your remodeling projects? According to a recent nationwide study sponsored by GMAC Mortgage, over half of consumers would pay for their remodeling projects with cash from either their checking or savings. However, approximately 29 percent would use a home equity line of credit or home equity loan.

Why are more and more people turning to the home equity option? One reason is that borrowing against the equity in your home is often cheaper than maxing out credit cards that usually carry higher interest rates. In addition, payments on a home equity loan or home equity line of credit may be tax deductible. How do you decide whether to get a home equity loan or home equity line of credit? GMAC

Mortgage has these tips to offer:

* A home equity loan provides a flat amount of funds that you pay back in fixed monthly payments over a set period of time. If you like the idea of a fixed, non-adjusting rate of interest and a constant monthly payment and you are also certain of your total costs while allowing for some over-budgeting, a home equity loan might make sense for you.

* The home equity line of credit is like a credit card by nature, with the homeowner accessing cash when they have the need. The interest rate is usually variable, often tied to the fluctuation of the prime rate of interest. You can make minimum payments and allow for month-to-month decisions on cash flow. The home equity line of credit is a revolving line of credit that stays open as long as you haven't used up your credit limit. Courtesy of ARA Content



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