Here’s some good news for veterans: The federal government recently renewed the VA Streamline Loan Program. If you’ve been thinking about making some changes or improvements around the house, this is definitely something to check out.
That’s because the VA Streamline Loan Program is a great way to finance a home improvement project. Otherwise known as the VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL), the program allows you to refinance your current mortgage and take the cash equity out to pay for upgrading your home. On top of that, you can obtain a lower interest rate, a lower monthly payment and there’s no appraisal or out-of-pocket money necessary.
Add Value to your Home
Home improvement projects are a fantastic way to take advantage of the VA’s streamline program because they allow you to pour value back into your house while saving you money on your mortgage payment. And we all have those fantasy, what-if home projects hovering in the back of our minds. It’s a natural progression: You buy a home, settle in for a few years, then you start thinking about what you want to change. A new deck for summer barbecues maybe, or starting over with that old bathroom.
But, before you start knocking down walls, take a step back and consider a few home improvement tips from the pros. The first thing to keep in mind is not to go too big. You want to be able to recoup your investment when you sell the house, and you don’t want to put more into the home than the neighborhood median can support. That means smaller projects and lesser amounts of money are often the best way to go.
Increase Curb Appeal and Be Frugal
Projects that increase your home’s “curb appeal” or general appearance can be some of the least expensive and most effective in terms of increasing your home’s value. These include replacing the front door, the garage door, the home’s siding or even the windows. Adding or trimming back landscaping is another effective, inexpensive improvement. Also think about creating a comfy outdoor space, like a deck or a patio, which can be like adding another room to your home for a fraction of the cost.
If you want to go a little bigger, consider remodeling your kitchen or a bathroom, but try to suppress the urge to add the word “dream” in front of those projects. Be frugal and smart about your improvement decisions, like refurbishing what you have and not spending $10,000 for the pro-style stove you saw in last month’s Architectural Digest, and you’ll come out ahead when it’s time to sell.