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Courses in this Department

How Ready Are You to Buy a Home?

Determining Your Dream Home and Finding It!

Factory Built Homes Are Worth a Look

Purchase Manufactured Homes with FHA Loan

How to Buy a Foreclosed Home

Pros and Cons of Corner Lots

Know the Neighborhood Before You Buy

Tune in to an Open House on the Radio

Finding a Qualified Broker or Agent

Shopping for a Loan and Choosing a Lender

How to Improve Your Credit

How to Survive the Loan Application Process

Making an Offer and Signing Contracts

Cancel Your Contract in 3 Days

Understanding the Closing/Settlement Process

Choosing Home Inspection and Settlement Professionals

Double Check Your New Home - The Walkthrough

Know Your Consumer Rights

Seniors Have Many Housing Opportunities

Preparing for the Big Day -- Relocating Moving

Make Your Home Your Castle - Cost Effective Redecorating Ideas


Making a Plan

For your home.

You Have the Home

Do you have a plan?

You have a new home. Now the problem is how to make it all your own. Sure you want to eliminate all traces of the past owners and put your own mark on the place. Everyone does. Whoever bought your home will be doing the same thing.

In fact, a majority of homeowners remodel within 18 months from the date of purchase. The problem is knowing where to start, what to fix, and how much to spend. You just got done paying for a closing and taking on a new mortgage. Cash could be a little lean. You may also need to buy a few items for the house like curtains, trash cans, furniture. Most new homes need the little touches.

The Plan

This is just the beginning.

The best way to start fixing up your own castle is to make a plan.

If you thought you could rest because you are the proud new owner of a house and mortgage, think again. Your days of planning just began.

You have to start thinking about how you want to change the place. Look at your wishes, wants and needs for the home. What do you need to change? Want to change? Wish you could change? Your answers could range from needing a new refrigerator that works and is energy efficient to wanting new carpet because the color isn't exactly what you would like.

The Next Step...The money

Next build your budget and start planning the work. It may take years to get the place exactly as you like it. The thing with owning a house is that there is always something else to do. The work never ends. And just as you get it the way you want it, you will either want to move or start over from the beginning.

Four Easy Ways... start your project off on the right foot:

  1. Decide how long you plan on staying in your home. The length of time you intend to stay in a home will affect how much money you should invest in it. If you are going to stay in the home for more than ten years, you can and should spend as much as you can to create the home of your dreams. However, if you are planning on moving in the near future, you should take care not to overbuild for your neighborhood. You don't want to invest thousands of dollars you won't be able to recoup at closing. Some remodeling projects and home improvements are worth more than others. You may really want to add a custom library in your home, but it may not raise your home's value. Renovating a kitchen and bath usually are good investments though. How much return you get on your home improvement dollar will vary depending on your home, your neighborhood and the types of changes you make.

  2. Create a wishes, wants and needs list for your project. The needs column will include those features you absolutely must have, the wants will include your items, and your wishes will include those features you would include if money were no object. This list will help your contractor determine what type of project you are planning. You may even be surprised how many of these items make it into the final plan and budget. This list will help keep you focused, just as it did when you were house hunting. You may need to do your renovations in stages, which you can base on your list. Prioritize. Which should come first, the new furniture or new carpeting?

  3. Start planning the actual look. Create a book with pictures of designs and products you would like to include in the project for your remodeling contractor's reference. This will help define the intent and scope of the project. Take your time in this step. You will want to consider all your options.

  4. Determine how much you can afford given the closing costs and new mortgage payments. Don't forget to factor in those new bills you just acquired: trash, cable, utilities, homeowner's dues, etc. You will be amazed how many new bills you will have if this is your first home. If it's not your first, then you know how bills have a way of accumulating and growing.

Now Let's Get Down to the Money... A remodeling budget can be a little tricky. Here are some hints for creating one.

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