home improvements

Thanks to Capital One for sponsoring this post.

When it comes to home improvement projects, my favorites are the ones that add true bottom line value to a home.

After all, your house is probably the biggest investment you’ll ever make. As a real estate blogger and journalist, I want to see homeowners increase the value of their property in big ways and in every way possible. That’s true whether they’re planning to sell and looking to increase their asking price, or simply wanting to enjoy their home more while they’re in it.

Some of the smartest home improvements I’ve seen over the years are big and sexy (think glorious new master suite with an extraordinary, spa-like bathroom retreat), but some are more “behind the scenes” and add value to the house in less obvious ways.

I’d love to tell you all about them…

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capital one

Thank you Capital One for sponsoring this post.

Your home is likely the biggest investment of your lifetime, and building up its value can help you make the most of your money, especially in a market that continues to see increasing values.

Over my many years as a real estate reporter, and recently armed with a real estate license, I’ve seen so many fabulous home improvement projects. These projects, from kitchen renovations to new master suites and spa-quality baths, add serious dollars to a home’s value. Let’s face it: today’s buyers are more turn-key than ever. They simply do not have the time or vision for a remodel.

But home renovations don’t come cheap. For many homeowners, a home equity loan or a home equity line of credit is the best way to pay for these improvements, whether it’s a small change or a total renovation of a pretty-but-stale space.

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dallas landscaping

Thanks to Capital One for sponsoring this post.

When it comes to increasing a property’s value, beautiful, lush landscaping is a top option for homeowners. Nothing woos buyers like fabulous curb appeal and an oasis of a backyard that turns your property into paradise.

Fresh, sophisticated landscaping has the added benefit of bringing years of happiness as you live in your house. After all, Texas gets an average of 232 days of sunshine a year, meaning we spend lots of time outdoors on our patios with friends, family, kids and pets. I know my family has created wonderful memories in our backyard, with the pool as a focal point and gathering hole. From teen parties to birthdays, to letting our one-month old grandchild float in the spa, our yard has been a symbolic constant for our family’s best memories.

But quality landscaping isn’t cheap. A minimum job — adding a bed of liriope, fall color and a gravel walkway — can start at $5,000, with more extensive, sophisticated plans ringing in at $20,000 or more. With so many other financial obligations, oftentimes, that much cash isn’t readily available.

Many homeowners don’t know that they can take out a loan on their home’s equity to pay for new landscaping. It’s a super smart choice if you’re looking to sell, or simply love your home and want to enjoy it more!

Plus, the interest you pay, which is historically low today, may be tax deductible!

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We know the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) real estate market is thriving, and that it’s a sellers’ market. Most of us with homes locally have probably thought about selling at some point – in fact, according to a  Capital One survey*, more than one in three (38 percent) DFW homeowners are likely to consider selling their home in the next two years. Yet, Dallas has conversely been described as one of the toughest markets for home buyers. Consider that 43 percent of current homeowners are willing to get into a bidding war to buy the new home they really, truly want! It’s clear that it’s more important now than ever for those thinking about buying a home in the DFW area to get their finances and documents in order so they can get the home they want when it hits the market. But for most folks, that’s easier said than done.

Nearly 70 percent of Capital One’s DFW survey respondents admit to facing obstacles in obtaining a new home, and the home loans process is at the crux of these struggles. Capital One asked about the specific problems with the home loan applications process.

While 33 percent of DFW respondents indicated the amount of paperwork, 29 percent said it’s not knowing where the heck they stand in the application process.

Thankfully, Capital One Home Loans has rolled out an innovative new home loans experience in select markets, including here in DFW. (more…)