Home equity. What is it exactly? Here’s our cheat-sheet of a definition!
The difference between what your home is worth and how much you owe on it. For example, if your home is worth $250,000 and you owe $100,000 you have $150,000 in equity. As time goes on and you make more payments and increase the value of your home, your equity grows.
“Home equity is using a certain percentage of your home’s value to work for you in a sense of purchasing something else or doing home improvements,” said 2nd Vice President of Mortgage, Janet Norris, of Two Rivers Bank & Trust. “To put it simply, you’re using the equity in your home to borrow money.”
One way people can improve their home equity is by increasing the value of their home. Most of the time, this is accomplished through home improvements, and fall is the perfect time to start.
So what improvements can you make to add more value to your home?
“Easy home improvements with minimal maintenance would be changing up a kitchen, changing up a bathroom, painting, installing new carpet or hardwood floors… those are all items that you can use to help the value of your home,” said Norris.
Here are some suggestions:
- Kitchen Remodel
- If you really want to dive into a project and have a few dollars to spend, consider starting with your kitchen
- It’s a central focus in any home. Whether you’re whipping together a family dinner or hosting some close friends and family, many people spend the majority of their time in the kitchen
- Consider swapping out your current appliances for those that are energy efficient. When it comes time to sell, homes with energy efficient appliances will appeal to those that are environmentallyconscious, as well as those who might be on a more restrictive budget
- Adding a Bedroom
- Many times, couples and families buy houses that they can slowly grow into, meaning there has to be enough room to do so!
- If you currently have a room that is a holding area for all of the miscellaneous items in your home, clean it up and transform it into another sleeping area
- Transforming an already-existing room—be it a den, attic, second floor office—is a cost-effective way to add value to your home. Not only is your resale value likely to increase, but it’s also great for friends and family members that visit you from out of town
- Curb Appeal
- A lot of people hear “remodel” and their brains immediately jump to inside the home
- Don’t underestimate what putting a few bucks into the outside of your home can do, after all, it is the first thing the neighbors see while walking their dog around the neighborhood, and when a potential buyer is pulling into the driveway for the first time
- Heading to your neighborhood home-improvement store to purchase some flowers and cutting shears to trim the shrubs will add value to your home without breaking the bank
- Another option to add an instant upgrade would be to swap out your old front door for a new one
If your home could use a little sprucing up, now is the time to hop on the home improvement band wagon! Whether it’s home improvements, a new car, or other family expenses, talk with your friendly neighborhood representative from Two Rivers Bank & Trust to find out more about home equity loans.
“You’re using your money for your benefit. Unlike credit cards, your rates are going to be lower, there could be tax benefits to it, and you have control over that part of your money,” said Norris. “You’re having your home work for you. So, it’s an asset working in your benefit.”