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Thread: Best way to finance home improvements

  1. #1
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    Best way to finance home improvements

    Our bathrooms and kitchens are dated, and it appears that we will need to do some updates in order to sell the home. We're actually fine with the way the house is, but it would probably be a good investment to update the kitchen, floors and baths for re-sale. When we first moved to the house (in the 90's), we put a new kitchen counter in, tiled floors, and painted the existing wood kitchen cabinets white. Now, it looks like we may have to do more extensive renovations. So, what would be the best way to finance these improvements:
    1. Take out a home equity loan for 5 years (current rate = 4%)
    2. Take out a loan from 401K (current rate = 5%)
    3. Withdraw funds from Roth or IRA (spouse is 61 y/o so no penalties) (last year's return on investments was around 9%)

    It seems to me that going for the home equity loan would be the best idea. However, I loathe the idea of being in debt and am almost tempted to withdraw funds from roth or ira, but the opportunity cost would be too great (maybe, we're mostly invested in a target fund with underlying index funds.) On the other hand, we both took a cut in pay recently and it would be tight to have that monthly bill for the home equity loan. Any thoughts or other ideas? What would you do? Thanks!

  2. #2
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    I would bring in an experienced realtor and let that person help you decide if you even need to do improvements. Not everyone will like what you do. My experience has been that painting, cleaning and decluttering are the major things that need to be done. WE did replace a kitchen floor because it was in bad shape before selling. I would ask him what you could get before and after the improvements because it may be a $ loser. I know someone that put in a new kitchen just to have the buyers rip it all out. It was expensive but not to their tastes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Teacher Terry View Post
    I would bring in an experienced realtor and let that person help you decide if you even need to do improvements. Not everyone will like what you do. My experience has been that painting, cleaning and decluttering are the major things that need to be done. WE did replace a kitchen floor because it was in bad shape before selling. I would ask him what you could get before and after the improvements because it may be a $ loser. I know someone that put in a new kitchen just to have the buyers rip it all out. It was expensive but not to their tastes.
    I agree with Teacher Terry 100%!
    If you want to give the buyer an incentive, offer cash back at closing--like "you get 10,000 back to update kitchens and baths" or whatever you were going to spend. That way, they can get what they want, and you are not out the money.

  4. #4
    Moderator Float On's Avatar
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    I like Tybee's idea.

    I see listings all the time that say "great house ready for your personal updates". Spin it and don't waste the money, time, energy.
    Float On: My "Happy Place" is on my little kayak in the coves of Table Rock Lake.

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    These were exactly my thoughts. My heart & wallet are not into doing these renovations. However, our house has been on the market. We've had at least 40 showings. We lowered the price very much below market to entice buyers, but it seems buyers want the house to be in move in condition, and don't want to do any work when they move in. Which is why we're considering doing the updates and then wait a few more years to sell. Boy, things are different than the last time I bought a house. Anyway, thanks for the feedback.

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    Well I would do just enough then to entice a buyer but don't get carried away.

  7. #7
    Senior Member iris lilies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tybee View Post
    I agree with Teacher Terry 100%!
    If you want to give the buyer an incentive, offer cash back at closing--like "you get 10,000 back to update kitchens and baths" or whatever you were going to spend. That way, they can get what they want, and you are not out the money.
    How does this work if someone (the majority of people) is getting a mortgage? If the buyers agree to pay the seller $100,000 with the sellers kicking back $10,000, can that actually take place? Will the house have to appraise at $100,000? Aren't you playing banker by giving construction loans? I don't know how this pans out.

    Anyway, sound like the OP has already had property on the market for a while. Refreshing the listing by taking it off the market, doing some simple cosmetics, then pricing it right, might do the trick.

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    Yes, IL, house has been on the market for 5 months; supposedly it's a seller's market here, but we're not seeing it. I think if we would be making a concession of $10,000, it would just be taken off the proceeds to us at closing. We have an offer on a smaller place (with a contingency based on the sale of our current house that expires in August), that upon inspection needed $3,000 worth of work. If all goes through, we as buyers get that $3,000 at closing. I'm in NY State; don't know if it works differently elsewhere.

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    Quote Originally Posted by iris lilies View Post
    How does this work if someone (the majority of people) is getting a mortgage? If the buyers agree to pay the seller $100,000 with the sellers kicking back $10,000, can that actually take place? Will the house have to appraise at $100,000? Aren't you playing banker by giving construction loans? I don't know how this pans out.

    Anyway, sound like the OP has already had property on the market for a while. Refreshing the listing by taking it off the market, doing some simple cosmetics, then pricing it right, might do the trick.
    I did it with my investment house in SC and it worked fine; gave the buyers 10,000 back at closing because they wanted a new roof and something else, I forget what. There was no problem with the mortgage, and the house appraised out higher than what they were buying it at, and it was going to be insured with a new roof, which helped quite a bit.

    I bought a house with a rebated amount in Illinois; they paid me 2500 back out the cost to do some foundation work, and it worked fine then too.

  10. #10
    Senior Member rosarugosa's Avatar
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    My sister gave the buyers of her condo $1000 towards replacement floors, so I think this is pretty common.

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