Banking & Savings

15 Home Improvement Projects to Complete Before You List Your Home

If you’re planning to list your home for sale, you’ll want to make a great first impression. That usually means making a few repairs and upgrades, inside and out.

Here are 15 home improvements you might want to complete to help your home sell quickly — and at the best possible price:

Paint the exterior of your housePaint the interior of your houseRefinish or replace flooringFix or replace window and door screensRemove wallpaperRefresh countertopsReplace light fixturesDeep clean your homeGet a new roofSpruce up your landscapeCreate an outdoor living spaceHave your home stagedFix leaky plumbingCorrect obvious safety problemsReplace knobs and handles

1. Paint the exterior of your house

Few things can revitalize a house like a fresh paint job. The prep work will eliminate many of your home’s blemishes — like chips and cracks in the trim — to help it look newer.

More than just an aesthetic update, painting the exterior also prevents moisture and termite damage and helps the home stay in good condition for many years to come.

If a full paint job is not in your budget, consider having a professional pressure wash your home and touch up any areas where the paint is chipped or flaking.

2. Paint the interior of your house

Painting the inside of your house is a cost effective way to spruce it up. It’s also fairly easy if you have a steady hand and an eye for detail. Just make sure you can complete the proper preparations. That means cleaning the walls, filling and sanding holes, taping off trim, and protecting floors with drop cloths.

You can paint an entire room in a day or two, and with some planning you could do all the rooms in your home over a few weekends. Consult with your real estate agent about the best neutral colors to appeal to a wide range of buyers and ask your local paint store about the best tools and paint for the job.

Not Moving? Refinance Your Mortgage Quickly: Find a Better Rate and Prequalify in Just 3 Minutes

3. Refinish or replace flooring

Historic wooden floors are often an essential part of a home’s character and a desirable feature for buyers. They can also be refinished if they’re not looking their best anymore. Durable tile, stone, and engineered hardwood can look good for decades with the proper care.

But if you have old carpet or worn-out vinyl, replacement may be your best bet. Old carpet harbors stains, smells, and allergens; old vinyl can make your home look cheap. Ask your real estate agent for advice on the most popular flooring choices in your area and consider making a replacement.

If you’ll be selling your home with its existing floors, consider having them professionally cleaned. This affordable option will still help your home show better (and possibly smell nicer, too).

4. Fix or replace window and door screens

Bent or torn window and door screens, especially on the front of your home, leave your property looking neglected. Plus, damaged screens can’t do their job of letting fresh air in while keeping insects out.

Low-cost fixes include cleaning and patching (or completely removing) damaged screens. An ideal solution, if it fits your budget, is to replace the screens with new ones.

If you’re handy, you can replace them yourself. Otherwise, professional services are available to measure and install custom window screens onsite at your home. And if you’re not in a hurry, you can take the measurements yourself and order custom screens online.

5. Remove wallpaper

Wallpaper can make a striking impression, but not always a good one. Tastes in patterns and textures vary more than tastes in paint colors, and buyers won’t be excited about the messy and time-consuming prospect of removing an unsightly wallpaper. Taking care of this task before listing your home will put it one step closer to being turnkey.

Get Inspired: 18 Home Improvement Projects You Can Wrap Up in a Day

6. Refresh countertops

After the exterior, the kitchen may be the next most important thing for catching a buyer’s attention. While a full kitchen remodel is a time-consuming and expensive undertaking that is unlikely to provide a good return on your investment, replacing outdated or worn-out countertops is a simpler solution that can make a big difference.

If that’s out of the question, look into resealing, resurfacing, or refinishing. The best option will depend on your countertop material.

7. Replace light fixtures

Older homes often have older fixtures, or mismatched fixtures from a variety of decades. New light fixtures, both inside and out, can update a home’s look for minimal expense and effort. They can also help you create a cohesive style, from traditional to mid-century modern to contemporary.

When you replace the fixtures, you can also install smart light bulbs. These allow you to adjust each bulb’s color, temperature, and brightness right from your phone to create the perfect ambience. Plus, these bulbs use energy-efficient, money-saving LEDs and last for years.

8. Deep clean your home

Even if you’re still living in your home until it sells, a deep clean before listing it will make a big difference. We all become somewhat blind to the hard water stains by the sink, the dust on our drapes, and the grime on our windows. If scrubbing isn’t your favorite form of stress relief, hire a professional cleaning service. They’ll knock out these tasks and many more to make your house sparkle.

9. Get a new roof

A new roof is not a glamorous or exciting home improvement project. It’s also not an expense future homeowners want to deal with. What they do want is the security of knowing that the major purchase they’re about to make won’t suffer water damage from a leak the next time it rains. If your roof is nearing the end of its life, consider getting some bids to replace it.

It’s possible that this project will be too costly to be worth the investment, and it’s not a good place to test your DIY skills. But do keep in mind that if a buyer’s home inspector says your roof is shot, you might have to lower your asking price.

Related: Home Improvement Loans

10. Spruce up your landscape

Curb appeal is the first thing a prospective buyer will notice when they come to your home, and your yard can make or break their impression. Bright flowers and neatly trimmed hedges will help them envision the compliments their guests will give them at the housewarming party. Weeds will make them wonder how much to budget for gardening service.

Also keep in mind that less is more. Buyers will appreciate a clear view of the house, so if your trees are overgrown or your potted plant collection has overtaken the front porch, look for ways to scale back.

11. Create an outdoor living space

Speaking of guests, many buyers love the idea of relaxing and entertaining in the backyard. Try to convince them that your home is the place to do it (after they buy it, of course).

You don’t need to build an outdoor kitchen to check this item off your list. Simply create an outdoor space that suggests an inviting place to gather, like four comfortable chairs around a fire pit or a long picnic table with colorful place settings.

12. Have your home staged

The most functional items for comfortable living, like reclining sofas and blackout curtains, usually aren’t the most attractive options for showing off your home. That’s why you might want to use a home staging company.

Home staging is technically not a home improvement, but it will make your home massively more appealing to buyers. A professional designer’s staging tricks and arsenal of furniture and decor can make your home look like the bright, airy, and on-trend “after” shots from your favorite home improvement show.

13. Fix leaky plumbing

Similar to replacing the roof, this one’s not exciting. But if buyers see a dripping faucet or shower head, they might wonder what other maintenance you’ve neglected.

If your fixtures are fancy, they may be worth repairing. Otherwise, a replacement might be the best option, especially if the repair would be labor intensive or the fixture is old. Consider enlisting a handyman or plumber for this work if you’re not interested in crawling under the sink.

Also See: 8 Popular Pandemic Home Renovations to Transform Your Space

14. Correct obvious safety problems

If your smoke detectors don’t work, the furnace is broken, or the stair railing is loose, buyers (or at least their home inspectors) will notice.

Similar to leaky faucets, safety issues are a sign of neglect. They can also prevent buyers from getting approved for certain mortgages. Bite the bullet and pay for these repairs up front.

15. Replace knobs and handles

Here’s a project almost anyone can crank out with a ratcheting screwdriver and a trip to the hardware store. Unscrew all the scratched up and worn out drawer handles and cabinet knobs in your kitchen, bathrooms, and laundry room and replace them. Make sure to select new ones with the same hole alignment. This minor improvement can make a surprisingly big difference, especially if your hardware is dated.

Consider a cash-out refinance

A cash-out refinance can help you pay for multiple home projects and lower your mortgage rate. It can be a good choice if you’re not moving anytime soon. If selling is in your shorter-term plans, consult with your real estate agent to go over the most profitable home improvements that’ll help you sell your home.

Credible can get you started with your cash-out refinance. You can compare loan options from all of our partner lenders and get prequalified rates in just a few minutes.

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Loans Serivces

Is Residential Asphalt the Best Building Material?

A residential asphalt is a form of building material that has been designed to be stronger and more durable than other forms. In fact, asphalt has stood up to decades of harsh weather and usage because of its durability. Many homeowners and commercial businesses are choosing residential asphalt for their driveway, walkways, and parking lots because it is a tough, durable, and cost-effective material to work with. In addition, there are many reasons why this material is so beneficial to a structure.paving

One of the most common reasons why asphalt is chosen as a material for structures is because of its ability to withstand a variety of climate conditions. When the temperature and humidity are high, most types of asphalt will crack under stress. If an asphalt repair job is needed on a structure, finding a company that can work with the particular issues and concerns of the structure will make the project easier to complete. The same is true when it comes to repairing or replacing any part of a structure. When a company has experience repairing and replacing these types of materials, they will know exactly what to do to make sure the structure is repaired or replaced in a timely manner.

Another reason why people choose this material for their asphalt repair projects is because it is available in a wide array of colors. In addition, it can be used for a wide variety of other purposes, including exterior house painting, driveway repairs, and new construction. There are a lot of advantages to using this material, but the biggest one is cost. If a structure has to be replaced or repaired, the use of asphalt is often the most affordable option, especially when compared to other types of materials that require extensive amount of labor in order to install and repair.

One advantage of using asphalt for repair or replacement projects is the material’s energy efficiency. When it is used for both interior and exterior applications, this building material can save a structure a considerable amount of money on heating and cooling costs. Some asphalt materials have a high level of reflective properties that help reduce heat transfer from the summer to the winter. It also reduces internal temperatures from building elements and allows them to retain cooler air. This energy efficiency feature can significantly reduce the need for cooling and heating expenses.

Resdential asphalt is also highly durable. It is made with a thick, durable coating that will resist damage from inclement weather and vandalism. In the case of inclement weather or damage, it is easy to replace just the damaged asphalt instead of having to replace the entire building. When compared to other building materials such as vinyl or concrete, asphalt is more resistant to both heat and moisture. A resdential asphalt structure can be anticipated to last for decades.

When people are considering asphalt repair or replacement, they should think about all of the benefits that come with using this material rather than traditional building materials. This is an excellent choice for repairing or replacing structures because it is eco-friendly. It is also a cost-effective option that is ideal for do-it-yourselfers and small businesses. Resdential asphalt is a low maintenance material that will not require additional protection from chemicals or water damage.

Aesthetics are important to many people. And resdential asphalt is an attractive building material with a beautiful color. It is extremely decorative and its beauty can be enhanced by the proper paints or staining. In addition to being decorative, asphalt is an excellent material for landscaping, especially when used as a driveway. Asphalt is a tough and durable material that can withstand heavy vehicle traffic and stays looking new.

Asphalt is resistant to fire, is highly flexible and has a low impact resistance. If you are considering asphalt repairs or replacement, you might want to call a professional company. There are many things to consider before repairing your structure. If you are not sure if it will be a good idea to repair your structure yourself, contact a local contractor. They will give you a free estimate and help answer any questions that you may have. Resdential asphalt is a great choice for many projects.

Financial Tips

How to Get a Mortgage With a 600 Credit Score

If you want to get a mortgage but your credit score needs work, you might think homeownership is out of reach. But you don’t need perfect credit to get a home loan. It’s possible to get a mortgage with a 600 credit score.

Check out some of the home loan programs with flexible credit requirements — and how you can improve your credit score to get better terms:

Can I buy a house with a 600 credit score?Mortgage loans for a 600 credit scoreHow to improve your credit score

Can I buy a house with a 600 credit score?

A 600 credit score is high enough to get a home loan. In fact, there are several mortgage programs designed specifically to help people with lower credit scores. However, you’ll need to meet other lending requirements too. For instance, the lender will check your debt-to-income ratio (DTI), verify employment, and go over your credit history. You might have to make a down payment as well.

A lower credit score also means you’ll have higher borrowing costs because there’s more risk for the lender. These costs usually come in the form of mortgage insurance premiums and higher interest rates.

Mortgage loans for a 600 credit score

If you’re looking for a home loan with a 600 credit score, check out these programs:

FHA home loan

FHA home loans are mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration. The government backing removes some of the risk for lenders, so people with lower credit scores and smaller down payments may qualify.

If you have a credit score of 580 or more, you’ll only need to put down 3.5% of the home’s purchase price, while a score of 500 to 579 requires at least 10% down.

You’ll have to pay two types of mortgage insurance with an FHA loan as well: an upfront premium and an ongoing fee — known as an annual mortgage insurance premium — that’s baked into your monthly payment. Depending on how big of a down payment you make, you’ll have to pay these mortgage insurance premiums for either 11 years or the life of the loan.

VA home loan

Backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, VA loans are geared toward veterans, service members, and surviving spouses. You’ll pay no money down and no mortgage insurance, though you’ll be required to pay an upfront funding fee between 1.4% and 3.6% of the loan amount.

There’s no minimum credit score requirement for VA loans. The lender sets its own minimum, which means it’s possible to get this type of loan with a 600 credit score.

USDA home loan

USDA home loans are no-money-down mortgages guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. To get one, you’ll need to meet income requirements and buy a home in a USDA-designated rural area. Borrowers are also responsible for paying mortgage insurance in the form of an upfront guarantee fee and an annual fee.

Like VA loans, every lender sets its own credit score requirements. So it’s possible to get a USDA-backed mortgage with a 600 credit score, as long as you find a lender willing to work with you.

Non-qualified mortgages

A non-qualified mortgage loan, also known as a non-QM loan, is a home loan that doesn’t satisfy the requirements to be a Qualified Mortgage. Non-QM loans are ideal for borrowers with fluctuating incomes — such as self-employed workers — and people who can’t meet stringent conventional loan requirements.

Non-qualified mortgages are usually offered by banks that set up and service their own unique mortgage programs, such as interest-only home loans. You can shop around for lenders that offer these loans or work with a mortgage broker who can make recommendations.

How to improve your credit score

If you can pause your mortgage search for a few months and work on improving your credit, you may be able to qualify for conventional financing. Or you might get better loan terms that help you save money.

Here are some ways to boost your credit score:

Make on-time payments

Payment history is one of the most important factors that influences your credit scores, so focus on paying all of your bills on time. To avoid missed or late payments, set up automatic payments or schedule a reminder on your phone a few days before the bill is due. Make sure you have money in your checking account before the payment is processed too.

Tip: If you’re in danger of missing a payment, contact the service provider or lender right away. They may be able to move the due date or work out a payment plan for you while keeping your account in good standing.

Pay down debt

Paying down outstanding balances lowers your credit utilization ratio, which is the amount of credit you’re using compared to your available credit. A lower credit utilization signals less risk for a lender. In turn, it can help improve your credit scores.

Tip: Aim to keep your credit card balances to 30% of the credit limit or less, and pay off loan balances where possible.

There’s another bonus to paying down your credit card debt: It improves your debt-to-income ratio, which measures how much of your monthly income goes toward debt payments. With a higher credit score and lower DTI ratio, you improve your chances of qualifying for a home loan.

Don’t close credit card accounts

Credit scores are also based on the length of your credit history, so the simple act of keeping credit card accounts open can help keep your credit healthy.

You might have been tempted to close an account if you don’t use it much or it comes with a high annual fee. But you can keep the account active by connecting the card to a small recurring bill and setting up payment reminders.

Tip: Additionally, your card issuer might be able to downgrade the account to a card with lower fees. Just make sure you ask about changes to your perks and rewards, and make sure the issuer will report the new card to the credit bureaus as the same account.

Limit new credit applications

Every time you apply for new credit, whether it’s for a credit card or loan, the lender reports a hard inquiry to the credit bureaus. Plus, the new account can bring down the average age of your credit history and increase your outstanding debt. All of these factors can bring down your credit score, so always keep this in mind before opening a new account.

Get a credit-builder loan

A credit-builder loan is designed to help you build credit as you make payments. They’re typically available at smaller financial institutions, such as community banks and credit unions.

If you qualify, you don’t get the money upfront. Instead, the lender holds it in a savings account and collects payments from you (with interest) throughout the loan term. You get the money once the loan is paid off, usually within six to 24 months.

Become an authorized user

With this option, a trustworthy friend or relative adds you to their credit card account. You get your own copy of the credit card and can make purchases with it, but you’re not required to make payments. The account activity will be reflected on your credit reports along with the primary account holder’s.

An account in good standing will positively impact your credit, but the opposite is true too. Any late payments or high balances may negatively affect your credit.

Regularly check your credit reports

Your credit scores are based on the information in your credit reports, so it’s a good idea to make sure they don’t contain mistakes. You’re entitled to a free credit report with TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian once a year at If you find an error or signs of identity theft during your review, you can resolve it with the credit bureau.

The post How to Get a Mortgage With a 600 Credit Score appeared first on Credible.

Loans Serivces

Where Can You Find Homes For Sale?

realtorsAre you looking for Homes For Sale? Are you looking to move to a more prominent place and don’t know what type of home you want? Looking to find a place to raise your children when you are getting older? There are many things that you can do to look for and purchase a good home.

First, determine what kind of house that you want. Are you looking for places to live alone, or do you want to buy a home with someone to live with you? Either way, you will like something out there, so set your goal and work towards it.

The next thing that you will want to do is go online and do some research. Many people make the mistake of not looking around enough before they decide on a house. There are many homes for sale in every area of the country. Take the time to look at what is available and see how much they are selling for and how much you think it should cost.

Once you have done this you need to compare the prices of the houses for sale. You can do this by using a site like Zillow. This will allow you to put in your criteria and see how the houses for sale compare. This will give you an idea of what kind of house you should be looking at.

Now that you have your list of houses for sale you need to see where they are located. Usually the best houses are located close to a major city. Look at what the city is known for and if you are interested in living somewhere there.

After you have found a few houses you can then start to ask yourself, are you looking for homes for sale? When you are searching online you can find out information about the houses for sale and their history. You can see what the neighborhood is like and how much there is to offer for it. You can also find out about the owner and what kind of mortgage plan they have. Find out if they pay on time or if they have defaulted on their mortgage.

You can go to the city and look at some of the houses for sale. These are not always the best though. If you know the neighborhood, you may want to wait and see if the property will gain equity over time. If you can afford to buy a home in a neighborhood that needs work then it might be the better choice. The equity will allow you to make repairs and add some improvements.

When you are looking for homes for sale the internet can provide you with some helpful information. You can check out houses and get price information right away. You can find out where the houses are located and if they have any value added services.

You can save yourself time and money too. You can find many different houses all in one place and see what is available. It can take you a while to drive around the area and find the houses that are for sale. With the internet you can browse at your leisure and see what you can find quickly. You can save a lot of time by doing this.

You can even find houses that are still owned by the original owners. Many owners want to sell their home and are willing to sell it in return for some sort of compensation. This is an excellent way to get a house quickly. Most owners are more than willing to sell their property because of the equity that is built up on the house.

If you are wondering where you can find houses for sale then you need to turn to the internet. There are many places that offer houses that are being sold. This will give you options that you would not have found otherwise. The best way to find out where there are houses that are for sale is to use a site that specializes in letting you do a free online search. This will give you all of the options that you need to know where you can find a home.

You can also contact real estate agents who specialize in selling and buying foreclosures. These people will usually have an entire catalog of homes that are ready for your viewing. You can narrow your search in almost every way possible until you find the house you are looking for. These experts can also give you information on where you can view houses so that you can find one quickly.

Loans Serivces

Home Loans – An Overview

At Paragon Home Loans, your dream of becoming a homeowner can come true. Our mission is to help you achieve your goal by providing you the highest quality mortgage products and valuable education. We want you to succeed, so we work hard to find the lowest rates available in your area. The best part is that our home loans are backed by the FDIC – Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

home loans

Paragon Home Loans strives to be the most reliable source for your mortgage needs. Our goal is to help you become a homeowner by giving you the very best mortgage deals and education available. Since we offer competitive mortgage rates and flexible loan terms, our goal is to help you make the most affordable home loans possible. To do this, we work hard to educate you on affordable home loans so you make the best decision for your future.

We understand how confusing mortgages can be. There are so many different types of mortgages, and each has different rules and restrictions. When it comes to home loans, there are many different types of lenders. Here are some things you should consider when choosing your mortgage:

If you have an above-average credit score, you should not have any problems qualifying for the best home loans rates and packages. The majority of borrowers with above-average credit scores qualify for the prime rate and get competitive rates. However, some borrowers have below-average credit scores and still qualify for the loans. If you have below-average credit but have a good fico score, you should have no problem securing the financing you need.

If you are a frequent borrower, you may qualify for lower interest rates and repayment options. Most lenders offer a fixed-rate mortgage for borrowers who make regular payments. They also offer an adjustable-rate mortgage rate that changes as interest rates change. If you pay off one large loan quickly, you can lower your monthly payments and start paying less in principle while your principle is growing. This type of leverage can help you save thousands of dollars in the long run.

The term length you choose will determine the amount you pay in interest over the life of the loan. Lenders vary on their terms for these terms. Some lenders allow borrowers to purchase 30-year mortgages. Others require borrowers to begin paying interest in the first year and finish paying on the last year. There are other mortgage loans to choose from, including options to borrow against the equity in the property or to use the cash flow from other assets.

Borrowers who own a home are always interested in the current interest rates. Adjustable-rate mortgages offer flexible payments based on changes in the index. They feature fixed-rate mortgages for thirty years and then come with an option to repay the loan early or not at all. Mortgage rates can change each day, and you may find that your payment amounts go up. Fixed-rate mortgages provide an initial interest rate and a level interest rate after the introductory period. As the introductory period ends, the interest rate goes up and may stay there, or it may fluctuate depending on the market.

Both adjustable-rate mortgages and interest-only mortgages have come with different payment and interest rates. Adjustable-rate mortgages start with a lower interest rate but later increase to become more competitive with a fixed interest rate. Interest-only mortgages offer a lower monthly payment but start with a higher interest rate. The payment and interest rates will decrease once the loan has been paid in full.