Great Reading Just Below here!

Basement Renovations for Real Men

If you have a basement that needs finishing and there is a man in the house, it ought to be made into their man cave, no questions about it. The rest of the home can be pretty, delicate, and ‘just for looks’, but let the man retreat to his cave and re-energize now and again. So what types of basement renovation ideas should this incorporate?

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Apartment Building Renovation Ideas for Maximum Returns

Multifamily buildings are one of the hottest real estate investments at the moment, offering investors an opportunity to take advantage of cheap financing for great leverage and rising rents. However, one of the best advantages of these types of properties is the ability to create earned appreciation in any market by making improvements. The question is which apartment renovation ideas will yield the biggest returns?


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Be Careful of Great ‘Deals’ on Unfinished Homes

Home building and renovating is not always just an exciting adventure for home buyers. It can often be a great investment, too. While there has been a lot of buzz in the news about REOs, foreclosures, and bank owned properties, lenders actually have far more construction REOs than any other type of property. For home buyers looking for build their dream homes, these properties can often offer the biggest discounts.

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Small Home Renovations for a Bigger Feel

The last couple of years have seen many families forced to relocate, and often to smaller places, in order to reduce monthly housing expenses and utility bills. However, this doesn’t mean that there isn’t a lot you can do in the way of affordable small home renovations in order to create a more spacious feel.


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Smart Residential Remodeling for Duplexes

Duplexes make for great first time home buyer investments. With current mortgage interests rates so low, a duplex that could use a little TLC could easily pay for itself by renting out one unit while living in the other. Plus, many residential remodeling projects can improve both sides simultaneously. So, what is different when it comes to renovating a duplex, and what do you need to keep in mind when planning?

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Time to Wake Up to Renovation Realities

Dreams of house extensions, cool upgrades, and new, inspiring decor all seem like fantastic ideas, right?  However, before you start tearing out the walls and forking over money to home improvement contractors, it is smart to wake up and recognize some of the uglier renovation realities so that you aren’t caught off guard.  The last thing you want is to run out of money when your project is half done and end up with a home you can’t live in or invite anyone to.

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Most Profitable Ideas for House Extensions

Taking on a house extension can certainly sound like an inspiring mission that cannot only add value to your home, but also make it more comfortable, especially for those with growing families or those who don’t plan on relocating for a while. However, what is the most profitable way to approach house extensions when keeping future resale value in mind?


Does it Really Make Sense?

How long do you really plan to be in this home? Long enough to really enjoy it, or will it help you sell your home faster? If you are going to sell in the near future, who will be most likely to buy your home: someone who needs more yard space and doesn’t need a bigger house to clean or a homebody who likes to entertain and isn’t likely to have kids or pets who need room to roam outdoors? Is there a way to strike a happy medium with a mixed use space, such as a conservatory that still counts as extra square footage?

If you are just in it for profit and the timeline and cash investment doesn’t promise a big spread, weigh the benefits of other types of home improvements, like indoor upgrades or renovating patio areas with fire-pits and built in BBQs instead.

Most Valuable Types of House Extensions?

While square footage may be one of the biggest factors in determining value, the home appraisal, extra bedrooms, and extra bathrooms will definitely have the biggest impact in the near future. However, make sure this makes sense in terms of alignment with the rest of the neighborhood. If you currently have 2 bedrooms while most neighboring homes have 3 or 4, adding another room should definitely be top priority for your proposed house extension. However, if you are already sporting a 4 bedroom home in a 2-3 bedroom neighborhood, you probably won’t have much to gain by going further over the top. Other good ideas for house extensions include luxury rooms, like home theaters and gyms, or keeping up with current trends, like home offices.

Your Home Renovation Plan

Adding house extensions can be noisy, dusty, and mess with your everyday schedule. Will you need somewhere else to rent during the process? Perhaps the Renovation Domination system is just what you need for keeping your plans on track, on budget, and ensuring it gets done when it is supposed to.

Office Renovation Tips for Maximizing Productivity

Whether you own the building or you are just playing with office renovation ideas in space you are leasing, it is important to recognize the impact of design on productivity. More productive working environments not only mean bigger bottom lines for individual businesses but increasing the value of the real estate as well.

A study on the impact of office design on employees’ productivity released in the Journal of Public Affairs, Administration and Management revealed office renovations could improve productivity by 22%. That’s huge!

So, what type of office renovation ideas should be considered for improving productivity? According to the above mentioned scientific study, there are 5 main variables which come into play:

  1. Noise
  2. Furniture
  3. Temperature (and air quality)
  4. Lighting
  5. Spatial arrangements

Believe it or not, temperature has actually been found to have the biggest impact on productivity, more specifically the consistency of temperature. So, before ripping down walls and bringing in the interior decorator, give some thought to the optimal temperature and how to improve air flow throughout offices. Too warm and workers may fall asleep or pass out, but keeping it too cold may not keep them on their toes either. It could end up being more of a distraction, as they are more concerned about bundling up than the work at hand.

Space and floor plans are a tough issue when it comes to office renovations. Businesses must be far more conservative with their budgets today, and spreading employees farther apart can mean having to take on a more expensive space. Good for building owners in the short term, but possibly limiting the number of potential tenants.

Open spaces, instead of cubicles, may seem trendy, but, in reality, they can also seriously dampen productivity. Consider who will be working and their functions. Knocking down the walls can seem like fun until no one can get any work done because their neighbors are screaming on the phone. What about simply dedicating more space to break areas and making them more comfortable with a part of your office renovation budget?

Apartment & Condo Building Renovation Ideas

With an incredible amount of competition out there for rentals, apartment renovations can be essential for attracting the best tenants and keeping your buildings occupied. So, how can you add a ton of value without killing your cash flow?

What’s Your Renovation Strategy?

The first step, before mapping out any apartment renovation ideas, ought to be to give serious thought to who your ideal tenants are. Who is most likely to want to rent your apartments, what is important to them, and what apartment renovation ideas are most likely to attract them and get them to pay top dollar for your units?


How to Add the Most Value for Money:

Your apartment renovation ideas don’t have to be incredibly expensive in order to draw better tenants who are willing to pay more. Simply updating hardware and adding molding can dramatically increase the perceived value of your units. If that isn’t enough, consider replacing bathroom cabinets, upgrading flooring with Pergo, and resurfacing kitchen counter tops. Updating the appliances can also make a huge difference and are easy to finance.

However, perhaps one of the biggest challenges for apartment building owners and managers today is competing against the large number of homes on the market, which often offer much larger residences for the same money. Recognize this and look for apartment renovation ideas which make spaces feel bigger. Think about the direction flooring is laid, paint colors, or using more mirrors.


Exterior Renovations:

The exterior of your building is what makes the first impression. Will prospective renters even want to look on the inside, and will they be proud to say they live in your complex? Remember vanity and emotions are two factors that really close most deals. Think about exterior apartment renovations including paint, signage, landscaping, and some fancier looking gates.


The Power of Staging:

To avoid putting a big hole in your cash flow, consider simply renovating one apartment at a time as they become vacant. You can keep one as a model, furnish it, and turn it into a dazzling masterpiece, which will convert visitors even

7 Tips for Better Credit & Better Rates on Your Home Remodeling Loan

How good your credit score is will determine your interest rate, and how good your interest rate is will determine how many of your ideas you can actually commission your remodeling contractor to do and how much they will pay off.


So, how can you spruce up your credit and get a better rate for financing your home remodel?



1. Know Your Score


Before even contacting a remodeling contractor or shopping for financing, you need to know your credit score. You won’t know unless you get a copy for yourself. So make this your first step.


2.  Address Negative Items


Erroneous, derogatory items could be getting reported on your credit report for a variety of reasons, from creditor error, having a similar name to someone else, or even identity theft. The good news is they can often be removed, but it can take a month or two to show up correctly, so act now.


3. Pay Down Credit Card Debt


The amount of revolving debt you have often affects your credit score even more than late payments. For a quick boost to your score, pay down your credit cards to 50% of the limits, though 30% is even better.


4. Pay Down Installment Type Loans


One trick of the trade most lenders won’t share with you is that to qualify for many loans, only obligations which have 10 or more months left to pay off will count against you. Therefore, attempt to pay down car and personal loans to the point where you have 9 or less months left in payments.


5. Consider a Full Refinance


Instead of taking out a loan to only cover what your remodeling contractor will charge, analyze whether or not you can benefit from refinancing your current home loan at the same time. Dropping your current home payment could mean your renovation project essentially pays for itself.


6. 203 k & EEM Loans


FHA 203 k and Energy Efficient Mortgages were designed for those doing home improvements, and these loans often carry far lower interest rates than you will find anywhere else.


7. Ask Your Remodeling Contractor


Your remodeling contractor may offer their own financing or be able to refer you to someone else eager to help. After all, if they can’t get you financed, they probably won’t get your much needed business.

Creating a Home Improvement Plan

Just like anything else from starting a business to building a home, before you go out and hire a renovation contractor, you need to have a plan.


A home improvement plan will keep you on track and help you make sure everything runs smoothly from start to finish and gets done on time and on budget. Check out the following 7 steps to creating your own home improvement plan before you pick up the phone and hire the first renovation contractor you find in the Yellow Pages.

1. Working the Numbers


Create a budget, know what you can afford, and set a limit. This is also a good time to start looking at cost saving measures, analyzing whether you need more time to save up before hiring a renovation contractor, or if you will need financing. Don’t forget to get a better picture of the return value your plans will deliver if you plan to sell soon.


2. Get Ideas


Start putting together ideas. Surf the web, visit open houses, check out magazines, and visit home improvement stores. Look at different styles, materials, energy saving ideas, and security features. Be sure to save these ideas somewhere so you can later show your renovation contractor your vision.


3. Sketch Out Your Plan


Draw your plans and design ideas on paper to get a better visual of what things will look like in the end.


4. Renovation Domination System


Investigate the Renovation Domination System to help you discover tricks for saving, get essential forms for keeping the project moving on your terms, and learn how to keep your renovation contractor accountable and honest.


5. Shop Renovation Contractors


Start shopping around for renovation contractors. Don’t just hire the first one you come across. Always get a second opinion or quote, do your own due diligence on them, and make sure to hire someone with a real General Contractor’s License.


6. Financing


Arrange for financing if you need it. Make sure that you read all of the fine print and are fully aware of the consequences of defaulting on any loan you take out.


7. Manage Your Remodel


It would be great if you could just take off on vacation for a few weeks and come home to find your renovation contractor finished and your home ready to lounge in. Unfortunately, you should anticipate actively keeping on top of the process to make sure it runs smoothly and according to your plan.

5 Ways to Finance Your Home Renovation Project

Desperately want to get your remodeling ideas moving but coming up short on funds?


Check out the following 5 options for paying your home renovation contractor…

1. FHA 203 k Loans


An FHA 203 k loan is a great choice for those who can benefit from refinancing their current home loan to a lower rate and who need funds for their home improvement projects. In fact, with today’s low mortgage rates, a 203 k loan could mean the savings from refinancing helps pay for a good portion of your rehab ideas.


2. EEM Loans


Energy Efficient Mortgages can provide funds for energy saving improvements that can actually reduce your monthly housing payments. The best part is this will enable borrowers to qualify with higher debt to income ratios and no appraisal or re-qualifying is required, depending on your current loan and your new lender.


3. Home Equity Lines of Credit


If you have equity in your home, a home equity line of credit, or HELOC, could be the least expensive way to finance your home improvements and pay your home renovation contractor. Less paperwork, low rates and closing costs, and only paying interest on what you are using makes HELOCs very attractive.


4. Signature Loans


Those with little home equity left, but who have a good standing with their local bank, may still be able to obtain a signature or personal loan. Even if you have the cash to pay for your design ideas now, a loan can still be appealing, as it enables you to keep your hard earned savings in the bank.


5. Your Home Renovation Contractor


Many home renovation contractors offering financing options or can hook you up with lenders who specialize in financing home improvements. If they can’t get you all the money you would like, you could cover materials using store cards or in-store credit and break the payments for labor into installments. If you do opt to go down this road, be extra careful to screen potential home renovation contractors, make sure to read the fine print, and consider investing in tools like the Renovation Domination system to maintain better control of the process.