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73% of American home owners are planning to do renovations on their home this year. HGTV star and real estate expert Egypt Sherrod gave us some advice on which projects they should tackle first common misconceptions, and more.

1. Plan for the unexpected (mentally and financially!)

No matter how well you plan, every homeowner will run into unexpected expenses during their home improvement project. I recommend setting aside 10% of your overall budget for any hiccups along the way. If you don’t end up needing it, you’ll have a small pool of money you can use to fund future renovations.

2. Good bones add the most value

Don’t just go for glam. There’s fun in functionality! Projects like these often lead to a higher ROI compared to aesthetic-focused ones. And while they improve your quality of life, they also have the potential to save you a lot of time and money down the road.

3. Roof And Gutters!

Have your roof soft-washed once a year if you live in a shady area surrounded by trees, and bi-annually otherwise. You should also have your roof evaluated every year to ensure the weather hasn’t worn down the flashings or loosened any shingles. It’s a small price to pay to prolong your roof life, which can carry a huge price tag if you have to replace it early. Don’t forget to clean your gutters every season, too.

4. HVAC And Hot Water

Be sure to have your HVAC system serviced annually to prolong its life. Perhaps opt for a tankless water heater as it’s more energy efficient. You may also want to invest in a dehumidifier, which can combat the moisture and mold, and restore the humidity in your home to appropriate levels.

5. Exterior Painting

It’s recommended to paint the exterior of your home every seven years.

6. Landscape:

If you notice an unhealthy-looking tree on your property, consult an arborist to determine if it needs to be removed. It’s better to be proactive than to later find a disease or infestation has spread to other trees or caused additional problems.

Irrigation: It’s also wise to check your plumbing and irrigation systems annually. Often, lawn mowers and weather conditions can wear on them, causing expensive water leaks.

7. Timeless Over Trendy

It’s easy to get caught up in the latest fads during home renovation. Bold wallpaper, shiplap walls and waterfall countertops might be hot right now—but so were wood-paneled walls and popcorn ceilings in the past. Most people can’t afford to hop on every passing trend, so it’s important to consider what designs will give your home a classic facelift. Instead, opt for styles that are timeless or can be easily updated down the road without breaking the bank. Think simple, efficient and clean.

8. Wallpaper

Wallpaper is a great example of a trend that is resurfacing in renovations. But it’s subjective and can be very expensive to put up AND take down. Easily removable vinyl papers and stenciling are two unique alternatives that allow you to express your personal style and easily change once you’re ready to switch it up.

9. Choose Your Upgrades Wisely

When it comes to renovation, not all systems, appliances, windows and floors are created equal. Make smart home selections that will be energy efficient and help keep some cash in your pocket.

10. Energy Audits

Many companies offer free energy audits to check your home and identify where your energy dollars are going. These inspections can be a good place to start when you’re deciding what to prioritize as you upgrade.

Windows: ENERGY STAR ® qualified windows can lower your energy bills by 10%-30% and are much more efficient than many single- or even double-paned glass windows.

Heated floors: Radiant heating warms a room from the floor up. As a result, most people will feel more comfortable with their thermostat set at a lower temperature, potentially saving money in the long run. The U.S. Department of Energy found that heated floors can be more efficient than baseboard heating and usually more efficient than forced-air systems because no energy is lost through ducts. This is also a great option for people with allergies, as irritating particles are not blown around the room.

Fight allergens: And speaking about air quality, fight home allergens by replacing carpet with hardwood, installing appliances with filtration systems, and making sure your house is equipped with good air filtration systems. Everyone will breathe easier.

11. Plan The Way To Pay

A lot of people think the best thing to do when embarking on a home improvement project is to dip into their cash stash or get a home equity line of credit. But using your rainy day savings may leave you short in an emergency. A home equity loan can be the least expensive way to fund renovations, but many people in today’s real estate market haven’t accrued enough home value to tap into. Using credit cards can be an option, but they’re costly as you carry your debt forward at high interest rates. Another option? A home improvement loan. A fast, unsecured home improvement loan from LightStream is a smart financial tool, giving people with good credit access to the funds they need to turn dreams into reality at low interest rates and with no fees.


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