(Family Features) If you’re planning a home remodeling project but don’t know where to start, you’re not alone. Starting any remodel or renovation can be nerve-wracking, but having the right steps in place, from picking the project to smart financing strategies, can lessen the stress.
Before beginning any project, homeowners should consider what projects they want to prioritize, what they can afford and smart financial solutions to pay for it all. This can help you complete the project on time, on budget and with less stress.
Do Your Research
Part of being prepared for a renovation project is doing your research. That means considering design and material options that reflect your personal tastes and what might add the greatest value to your lifestyle and home. It’s also important to plan ahead for factors like long lead times for contractors or supplies.
Establish a Budget
Before you begin planning a project, determine what you can afford. If your list of upgrades is larger than your budget allows, consider a short-term budget and a long-term one so you can tackle some smaller projects more immediately and save the bigger renovations until you’ve had a chance to save or secure additional financing.
Set a Financial Strategy
Setting a budget and determining your financial strategy aren’t quite the same thing. Once you have a budget set, you’ll need to decide how to pay for the work. According to a survey by online lender LightStream, savings accounts provide at least some capital for about 66% of homeowners who plan to renovate. However, in today’s uncertain economy, depleting a savings account may make you nervous, especially if you’re tapping into an emergency fund.
Credit cards are a financial strategy about 30% of homeowners will use. However, unless card charges are paid off quickly, you may end up carrying that debt for years, making your project much more expensive due to high interest rates over a long repayment timeline.
An unsecured consumer loan, like those provided by LightStream, may be another financing option and can often save thousands in interest charges compared to credit cards. Homeowners with good credit can borrow up to $100,000 at fixed rates with no fees. Funds can be deposited directly into customers’ bank accounts as soon as the day they apply and can be used to pay for any renovation service, finishes or products.
With your budget in mind, you can turn your attention to which renovations to prioritize. When possible, begin with your home’s most immediate needs, even if they may not be the most exciting projects. Go for lasting impacts rather than cosmetic fixes. Repairing a leaky roof or crumbling foundation may not be as dreamy as creating a chef’s kitchen, but it’s important to make sure the projects you elect to do sooner set you up for success – and improved home values – later.
Beyond critical repairs, the survey found the most popular projects homeowners planned this year include kitchen (38%) and bathroom remodels (32%). Building home offices also jumped in popularity as the pandemic drove a focus on upgrading remote workspace, doubling to more than 26% of planned projects.
Consider the Environment
For many homeowners, Mother Nature plays a role as to which renovations are prioritized.
About 35% of survey respondents said they plan to invest in projects that improve their outdoor living spaces. When it comes to indoor improvements, consumers are interested in incorporating eco-friendly and sustainable products such as smart systems, energy-efficient lighting, solar panels, air and water filtration systems, insulated windows and other money-saving, eco-sensitive products.
Many people are also choosing to work with companies that are committed to environmental responsibility. For example, through a partnership with American Forests, LightStream plants a tree every time it funds a loan, totaling more than 1 million trees planted across the United States.
Find more advice to get your home improvement project underway at Lightstream.com/remodel.Photos courtesy of Getty Images