Popular Home Upgrades 2021 – And How To Pay For Them
(Nerdwallet) – Staying at home during the pandemic has changed the way homeowners renovate, but not always in the way you might expect.
You might assume, for example, that homeowners are desperate for privacy and therefore add more walls.
But interior designer Max Humphrey says the rumors of the open floor plan’s death, which bubble up every year, are exaggerated.
“I think Central America still likes their open floor plans,” says Humphrey, who is based in Portland, Oregon. “Designers are talking about the end of open floor plans, but trust me, it’s not. “
Instead, homeowners create spaces they would want to visit if they weren’t living there. Home kitchens have replaced restaurants and your favorite outdoor bar is now your patio.
Many homeowners paid for their improvements with savings last year, according to NerdWallet Home Improvement Report 2020. Indeed, if the economic impact of the pandemic has not touched your own finances, cash is the cheapest way to cover home renovations.
But there are also affordable financing options, including cash refinancing and personal loans, for those who don’t have or don’t want to use savings.
Here are projects interior designers expect to see more of as the pandemic stretches into 2021, along with funding options to make it a reality.
Whole house renovations
Stephanie Sullivan has been busier than ever since becoming a full-time interior designer in 2014.
His clients are seeing again the things in their homes that they wanted to change when they bought the house but have remained busy enough over the years to ignore them.
“It’s amazing how we don’t notice a thing until we’re stuck at home saying ‘hmm, really’,” she said. “So they’ve been walking past it for years, and now everyone’s home and they’re like, ‘Wait, I can’t do this.'”
A landlord asking him to remodel the whole house is common these days, says Sullivan, who is based in Austin, Texas.
She says several clients over the past year have said, “I just need you to start at the front door.”
Completely renovating most or all of the rooms in your home is probably an expensive undertaking.
If your project is $ 50,000 or more, Certified Financial Planner Sarah Ponder recommends a refinancing of collection, which involves replacing your existing mortgage with a larger one and using the extra money to renovate.
Cash-in refinancing is only a good option if you have enough equity in your home to match the cost of the project and you get a low interest rate – a real possibility given today’s low mortgage rates. says Ponder, whose company, Real Estate Wealth Planning, is based near Austin.
It will also take patience. The refinancing process used to take about a month, Ponder says, but lately it can take two or three months.
Another common request Sullivan says she receives from homeowners: Turn a master bathroom into a home spa.
“Since they can’t go to the spa, they create spa retreats in their bathrooms,” she says.
They’re remaking their kitchens as places to connect with family, she says, but they also want their own getaway, even if it’s only upstairs.
Homeowners are also turning basements and spare parts into home offices and study rooms, or gymnasiums and playrooms, says Humphrey.
He says his clients are looking for ways to expand.
For mid-size projects like one or two room renovations, refinancing your mortgage may not be worth the time and effort.
San Antonio-based CFP Tess Downing says a Personal loan could work for projects of around $ 20,000. These loans do not use your home as collateral, and eligibility is based on your creditworthiness and finances. Good credit and little existing debt are essential to obtain a low rate.
Consumers who qualified for a personal loan in 2020 with excellent credit (720 or more FICOs) were typically approved for rates between 10.7% and 12.5%, according to NerdWallet market data.
There are also affordable ways to give your home a new look on a budget.
Replacing lights can make a big difference, says Humphrey, and beginners can get help from YouTube.
“These are things that you notice every day, you know, it’s the light in your house,” he says. “Even as a tenant, I would exchange the lights. “
Homeowners can also add a roll of self-adhesive wallpaper, he says, or a fresh coat of paint. Even new towels, light bulbs, and linens can change the look of a room.
Small projects that you do yourself, like update your home office or adding new shelves, can be done on a budget.
If the cost of your project is less than $ 10,000, zero-interest credit might be a good choice, Ponder says. If you can pay off the balance during the card’s promotional period (often 12-18 months), you will complete your project interest-free.
More traditional credit cards and in-store rewards cards can also help you cover purchases on these projects, especially if you have a card with a hardware or furniture store. Make sure you can pay off the balance in full each month to avoid interest.
It’s probably not worth spending the time and money on a complete remodel of a home you’re going to sell in a few years, because you won’t get that money back, says Humphrey.
He cautions his clients against over-personalizing a home they don’t plan to stay in for the long term.
“I don’t like to think about reselling when I’m designing for someone, but the pandemic won’t last forever,” he says. “So I encourage people to think about reselling a bit. “
But as long as the house is a restaurant, spa, gym, school, and office, go ahead and make changes you can afford just because they make you happy.
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Annie Millerbernd writes for NerdWallet. Email: [email protected]
The article Popular Home Upgrades 2021 – and How to Pay for Them originally appeared on NerdWallet.
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