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June 12, 2015 | home-renovations

Increasing Your Home's Value One Project at a Time

With the summer months kicking into gear and longer days ahead, it’s the perfect time to tackle home improvement projects that you’ve had on your list. Whether you imagine yourself floating peacefully in a new swimming pool, entertaining friends outside on your patio, or even just fixing the leaky roof that acts up during summer storms—there’s no limit to home improvements that will add to your quality of life now and the value of your home when you sell.

Helping with the financial aspect of these larger projects, Amplify offers Homeowner Express Loans for improvements like new cabinetry or hardwood floors, as well as unexpected surprises like broken air conditioners or pesky termite issues that always seem to pop up at once.

Amplify sat down with financial expert Saundra Latham from The Simple Dollar to gain her insight on how homeowners can take the next step in improving their homes and their resale value.

Below we’ve included an excerpt from our interview with Saundra and the following reflects her opinions regarding home improvement projects and loan options for homeowners.

What is the best way for a homeowner to determine if a project will increase their resale value?

Think like a realtor – and talk to a few, if possible. Look at houses in your area that have recently sold. What features do buyers expect, and what are they paying a premium for? An example might be outdoor living: Maybe that beautiful covered patio would be a major plus for buyers in warm climates, but wouldn't net you the return on investment you're hoping for in a colder one.

What projects should homeowners tackle first?

Start with the basics. If you need to upgrade windows or plumbing or other aging basics, that's almost always going to be a better use for your money than more discretionary projects, like a sunroom or swimming pool. After that, remember to think in terms of mass appeal. An upgraded kitchen is going to please just about every buyer, but sinking a lot of money into a home office or movie room depends on finding a buyer who is going to prioritize that, too, and is willing to pay for it.

What type of loan should homeowners consider?

Home equity loans have a lot of appeal: Your interest rates are typically fairly low since you are using your home as collateral to secure the loan, and you can often access a larger amount than you could with an unsecured personal loan or a credit card, for instance. You typically have the flexibility to use the loan for any purpose.

If you can find an unsecured loan, with favorable terms that don’t require you to use your home or something else of value as collateral, it's always worth a look.

Any parting advice for homeowners interested in taking out a loan to tackle home projects?

I want homeowners to remember that at the end of the day, it’s important to be the most responsible borrower you can be. Ideally you want to make sure you have a shot at boosting the value of your house by at least as much as you're borrowing. So if your roof is crumbling or your kitchen is a relic from the '70s, you're probably going to see a good return on your investment, but the more taste-specific you get, that might not be the case.

Saundra Latham is a writer for The Simple Dollar, one of the web's top personal finance blogs, where she has researched loans, insurance, small-business products, and other financial topics. She has also written in-depth buying guides for A former news editor, she holds a master's in communication from Ohio State University.

What home project would you tackle with a Home Improvement Loan from Amplify? With favorable terms, Amplify’s Homeowner Express Loans are unsecured loans with a low rate that you can use for anything at all. They can be used to finance expenditures like home improvements, moving expenses or even debt consolidation.

Ready to increase your home's value?