Kathy Borawski's Blog
Most homeowners would love to be able to pay off their mortgage early. However, few see it as a possibility when they take into account their earnings and other bills.
There are, however, a few ways to pay down your mortgage earlier than planned. But first, let’s talk about when it makes sense to try and pay off your mortgage.
When to consider paying off your mortgage early
If you recently got a promotion, have someone move in with you who contributes to paying the bills, or recently got a secondary form of income, you might want to consider making extra payments on your mortgage.
However, having extra money doesn’t always mean you should spend it immediately on your home loan.
First, consider if you have a large enough emergency savings fund. It might be tempting to try and throw any extra money at your mortgage as soon as possible, but there are other financial commitments you should plan for as well.
If you have kids who will be applying to college soon, remember that student aid takes into account their parents’ finances. If your children plan on applying to institutions with high tuition, then your equity will be counted against you.
Refinancing to pay your mortgage early
Refinancing your home loan is one option if you’re considering increasing the payments on your mortgage. If you can refinance a 30-year loan to a 15-year loan with a lower interest rate, you’ll save money in two ways--your lower interest rate and the fact that you’ll be accruing interest for less time.
There is a downside to refinancing. Once you refinance, you’re locked into your new payment amount. So, if your higher income isn’t dependable, it might not make sense to commit to a higher monthly payment that you aren’t sure you’re going to be able to keep paying.
There’s also the matter of refinancing costs. Just like the costs associated with signing on your mortgage, you’ll have to pay closing costs on refinancing. You’ll need to weigh the cost of refinancing against the amount you’ll save on interest over the term of your mortgage to see if it truly makes sense to go through the refinancing process.
Paying more on your current loan
Even if you aren’t sure that refinancing is the best option, there are other ways you can make payments on your mortgage to pay it off years sooner than your term length.
One of the common methods is to simply make thirteen payments each year instead of twelve. To do this, homeowners often use their tax returns or savings to make the thirteenth payment. Over a thirty year mortgage, this could save you over full two years of added interest.
A second option is to make two bi-weekly payments rather than one monthly payment. By making biweekly payments you have the ability to make 26 payments in a year. If you were to just make two payments per month then you would make 24 total payments. Over time, those two extra payments per year add up.
When selling your home, you want to be able to get the largest return for your investment. And buyers are looking for their next place to call home. They are looking for a place that they can see themselves living and creating a future. And oftentimes, it’s very difficult for buyers to look beyond the cosmetics of a home, especially when viewing online. Therefore, if large investments are not in the cards for you or won’t bring a significant ROI, small home improvements are the way to go. These small improvements can take your home from blah to wow!
Let’s take a look at some of the best small home improvements that will certainly provide you with a return.
1. Fresh coat of paint: A fresh coat of paint can make the world of a difference in a home. It can instantly brighten up a space and make the home look and feel newer—an instant plus for any seller and buyer. But be sure to choose more neutral colors as not everyone will be a fan of bold colors.
2. Adding architectural touches: Architectural features like crown molding and a chair rail can add an elegant upgrade to any home. They can be fairly inexpensive and would only take a weekend to put up.
3. Update front door: Your front door is a large part of your curb appeal. And a home’s curb appeal can leave a substantial impression on buyers. You can go the inexpensive route and add a pop of color that compliments your home’s exterior and landscaping or purchase a new door if a coat of paint won’t do the trick.
4. Add a backsplash: Backsplashes don’t have to break the bank to catch a buyer’s eye. And there are so many options from subway tile to mosaic to antique tin.
5. New hardware: Updating the hardware in your kitchen and bathroom can make the world of a difference. Adding modern hardware to cabinet doors will add a refreshing, simple update.
6. Update fixtures: Replacing old, worn down bathroom and kitchen fixtures is a very simple home improvement. Although not the cheapest of these options, they will definitely make a big difference in those rooms.Think of a home built in the 90s that has brass fixtures. The home looks very outdated and therefore worth less in the eyes of a buyer. If you update these fixtures to pewter or brushed nickel, you are instantly bringing the spaces into the 21st century and catching the appeal of buyers.
The amount of time, effort, and money that you want to put back into your home is a decision that you alone can make. It may seem silly to put more money into the home you are trying to sell, but it’s quite the opposite. Be smart about your updates and improvements. Try to think like a buyer and make updates that the majority will like and want.
55 Winterberry Lane, Northampton, MA 01062
If you've ever wondered about renewing tile in your home wonder no more, it is a process that most of us can accomplish and have a beautiful finished product when done. Following the correct steps ensures lasting beauty and quality.
Cutting it out
To begin with, you will need to cut out the old grout. Removing it can be accomplished with a utility knife if it is a small area. As this can be a complicated method, if the surface is a little larger, there are circular cutting tools that are available to rent or purchase at your local home improvement store.
Match it or go all the way
After you get the old grout cleaned out, you will want to make sure that the grout you are replacing it with is the same color as the existing grout unless you want to cut all of it of the area that you are working. Replacing an entire area (for example a shower or bathroom floor) is something that you may or may not want to do depending on the condition of the existing grout.
Getting it on
When you buy your grout, it will come as a powder that you will mix up and then smooth into the spaces between the tiles. When purchasing it make sure that you have enough to complete your project, better to return some then not have what you need ready to use when you are in the middle of the application. Once you have filled in-between the tiles, take a wet sponge and clean it off of the tile surfaces.
Curing and sealing are essential
Grout typically takes 2-3 days to cure and then it will be necessary to seal it, primarily if it is a surface designed to get wet and used. Once the manufacturer's cure time has been met for the grout apply the sealant. Again this must be allowed to cure which can take another couple of days. Refer to the manufacturer's instructions for cure time as this part is crucial to the quality of the finished product.
Improving the looks of your home
All in all, this may take some time to finish, but you will be delighted once completed correctly, and you have the assurance that it will last for years to come- improving life in your home and its value in the process. If you get into this process and find you don't want to finish it, or don't even want to get started because this already sounds like more than you want to do, contact a local tile professional to come out and take a look at it for you.
You may take your front door for granted. Maybe you only use your front door occasionally when company comes or you have a gathering at your home. It’s amazing how much more curb appeal you can give to your home with a properly lit front door. Below, you’ll find some tips to help you brighten your front door and the overall appeal of your home.
Make Your Front Door Shine Through The Night
If you want your home to have curb appeal, you may think of the daylight hours. Sure, you want your home to look good during the day, but there are 24 hours! You can find plenty of ways that you can add nighttime curb appeal to your home with correct types of landscape lighting. Some ideas to help you highlight your front door can be found below:
Put a spotlight on the entryway
Using bold lighting like this can help you to enhance the features that are already present on the front of your home.
Use sconce lighting
This type of lighting is easily mounted onto the side of walls or the side of your home. You can use these types of lights to add to the style of your home as they come in many different kinds from the stately to the fun and whimsical. These lights also provide quite a welcoming touch to the home.
Consider Lighting Your House Number
Wherever your house number is present, you should try to light it. This way, after daylight hours, guests can clearly see what house number is yours. You can do this with a lamp post or a spotlight depending on where you have your house numbers mounted.
Use Lighting Variations
Just as you would on the inside of your home, the outside of your home should use variations of lighting. Use sconces for overhead lighting. Think of the lighting on the outside of your home based on the main types of lighting: task, decorative, ambient, and accent lighting. Using these basic design principles can help you to find where the need for light is in your yard.
Highlight Your Landscape
Your hard efforts at landscaping aren’t just for the daylight hours. Use lighting in your yard as a way to highlight the beauty of your yard the whole day and night through. If you have particularly unique trees or bushes, or a nice statue in your yard, use lights to brighten the space and show off the best features that your yard has to offer.
When thinking of lighting your yard keep safety as your first priority and design as your second for a great outdoor lighting scheme.