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!
A recent Capital One survey* of 500 Dallas-Fort Worth homeowners conducted by Wakefield Research in December of 2015 shows that many local homeowners are in fact making that choice.
Sixty percent of the people who have taken out a home equity loan or home equity line of credit (HELOC) have used it for home improvements, like landscaping, and 58 percent of respondents expect to pay for home improvement projects in the next two years.
What types of gardens are Dallas homeowners creating?
I’m seeing several big trends around DFW when it comes to landscaping. First, xeriscaping. This uses native or low-water plants to create a yard that’s easy to care for, needs less watering and is better for the environment. Even if people don’t choose to use xeriscaping for their entire look, it’s showing up in parts of their landscaping, such as the back yard.
Another big Dallas trend is creating privacy through landscaping. So many modern homes have huge windows and open-concept floorplans, which allow you to see straight through to the back of the house. That can be a little disconcerting to live in, especially if neighbors can see in. So homeowners are adding a little privacy in front and back in the form of green trees and shrubs that look welcoming and let in light, but also block the “Hello world!” aspect. Nobody needs to see me in my bathrobe with my coffee! Adding privacy also creates an oasis-like atmosphere in the backyard, while making it extremely private. Some landscaping can even help muffle the “urban waterfall” of car and truck noise.
A third huge trend I’m seeing in North Texas landscaping is layering. Think layers of lush green plants that create a depth and richness in a backyard, making it almost look like a vignette. Layering takes into account varying degrees of height and color to create a dimensional, luxurious look.
To create any of these looks, you might consider a home equity loan or line of credit. Both options share a lot of advantages. First, the rates are typically much lower than unsecured loans, so your monthly payments will likely be lower. Also, just like your mortgage, the interest you pay on a home equity loan or home equity line of credit is often tax-deductible. And finally, many home equity lenders do not charge any closing costs or origination fees.
A home equity loan is a great option if you know your exact budget and want consistent payments with a fixed interest rate. Homeowners receive a set amount of cash as a lump sum, and pay it back on a regular schedule over several years. These loans have low fixed rates, and terms generally range from five to 20 years.
A home equity line of credit is great is you’re not entirely sure how much you need. It works similar to a credit card, but rather than swiping a card, you can access your funds online to withdraw, among other ways. You can borrow from your line of credit as needed, making payments as you go. Homeowners are given a set credit limit based on a percentage of the equity they have in their home. The interest rate is variable, but they do have an option to lock in the rate at the time you get the line of credit. They also have the option to make interest-only payments during the first 10 years.
Capital One has some great tools that make it easy to figure out which option is best for you. Check out their “Help Me Decide” tool to learn the benefits of a home equity loan or home equity line of credit and which is right for you, and let your landscaping dreams come true. While I haven’t used their products yet myself, I certainly look forward to using them in the future.
Just by visiting CapitalOne.com/home-equity, you can get your customized rate offer and estimated loan amount – with no impact to your credit score.