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Month: July 2019

The New Rules of Home Improvement

Posted on July 5, 2019 in Uncategorized

Many homeowners are beginning to recognize the higher standards that are being demanded from home improvement contractors.The new rules of certification, accreditation and independent verification have complemented well the old ways of selecting a contractor so that the two establish a benchmark that bodes well for the professional perception of the industry. It is not a coincident that in 2010 credentialing and training organizations have achieved their highest growth rate in recent years.

I believe that a profound shift is taken place in the home improvement industry. This shift has embraced certification, accreditation and independent verification as the new rules of doing business. As a contractor who has been in the business for many years, for me, this shift means one thing – a chance to increase market share by showcasing a brand that understands and welcomes the new reality. Indeed, homeowners are beginning to demand this higher standard of training and perceived credibility to measure value. And, the surest way to achieve this is by checking for the credential of companies and the skill of their people. Now, besides the old ways of relying chiefly on word-of-mouth recommendation, customers will be able to more independently check for and measure the training and professional underpinning of a company. This is quite a significant development in the home improvement business brought on by dramatic emphasis on energy efficiency improvements in building.

The Federal government and large utility companies have contributed to this by providing tax credits and purchase rebates respectively for energy efficiency improvement initiatives. States have seized on these opportunities and have enacted changes to their building codes to encourage higher efficiency standards in building. The State of Massachusetts for example, has adopted the ‘Stretch Energy Code'” which its cities and towns are using to promote energy efficiency improvement to their building stock. The execution of these strategies create jobs, save money on utility bills and decrease the Carbon output to the environment from buildings. The savviest of small home improvement contractors are using these new rules to improve their companies’ image to portray a well trained professional operation. The majority of the buildings in the nation are in need of some sort of energy efficiency improvement, if we are committed to improving our building stock then the adoption of these new rules are just the start of the revolutionizing of the home improvement industry.

To be clear, the changes that are taking root are a result of the budding Home Performance Improvement industry that is taking shape and which is buttress by the Building Performance Institute (BPI), a national credentialing and training organization. Indeed, I believe two things, one, this is setting a new benchmark for the professional assessing of the home remodeling industry. Two, brand recognition will be an important criteria in selecting a home improvement company. The companies that recognize this and make the necessary positioning adjustment will be the winners.

All in all, these new rules that are required to operate a professional home performance improvement entity will no doubt usher in a change in the way the home remodeling industry operates generally.

Home Improvement Loans – 7 Tips You Should Consider When Getting Home Improvement Loans

Posted on July 4, 2019 in Uncategorized

From time to time it becomes necessary to acquire home improvement loans to help you “upgrade” your house. Whether you are renting the house out to tenants or you live in the house yourself, home improvements always add value to the property.

There are many home improvement loans you may decide to go after depending on your circumstances such as your credit score and the amount of down payment you may have. You also need to check on other requirements of the type of loan. Here are 7 practical steps you can take to get a home improvement loan approved.

1. Know How Much Money You Need to Get from Lenders.

Determine which areas of the house need improvements. Get contractors to give you an estimate of what needs to be done and how much it will cost to have them done. This will give you a rough idea of how much you need to borrow.

2. Documentation.

Put all the needed documents that lenders require together. These usually include tax returns, prove of employment, income in the form of bank statements and other data such as your debt-to-income ratio.

3. Know Credit Rating.

You are entitled to a free credit report from the credit reference agencies each year. So request a copy of your report. Go through carefully and if you see any mistakes, file a dispute with the appropriate agency to have the mistake removed. This would improve your credit score.

4. Look for Appropriate Lenders

Look for reputable lenders to borrow from. Know the average interest rates and the rates at which you are being offered the loan. Stay away from lenders whose credibility you cannot establish. If their offer is too good to be true, they probably are. If you make your application online, protect yourself against identity theft.

5. Home equity loan or home equity line of credit?

Each of these are somewhat like a second mortgage. Which one you go for is entirely up to you. A home equity loan is a lump sum of money with a fixed interest rate. It is based on the equity of the home you want to make improvements to. On the other hand, a home equity line of credit has a variable interest rate based on the principal (i.e. loan amount). A home equity line of credit is similar to a credit card, where you pay interest on the amount of money you take from the line of credit, calculated every thirty days. Talk to your banker if you do not understand any of these fully.

6. Understand Everything Before You Sign.

Unfortunately, many people never read the fine print because it is time consuming and boring to read. However, the little time you spend reading the terms of service of the lender is nothing compared to the money you will have to pay if you did not understand something and signed anyway.

7. Create a Budget.

Getting a home improvement loan means you are getting a second mortgage on your house. If you default you stand to lose your home. So create a budget to ensure you make your payments on time without any defaults. It will let you know how much money you can afford to put towards making repayments.

These are some of the best steps you need to consider when you are preparing to get a home loan meant to help yo improve you house.