Let’s face it; of everything on your to-do list, spring cleaning probably isn’t the most exciting. But with warmer temperatures and a new year ahead of you, spring is a great opportunity to clean up, organize, and refresh your home. Use these spring cleaning tips to get your home looking its best.

Surface Cleaning

Exterior Cleaning


Spring cleaning might seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Take on one project at a time and recruit friends or family members to help you out. We promise it will be worth it once all is said and done!

If you’re thinking about including home renovations in your spring cleaning project, contact one of our licensed Mortgage Loan Originators. If your spring cleaning involves starting fresh in a new home, click here to get started!

This blog was originally published in April 2015 and has been updated to reflect current trends.

Not sure what to do with your tax return? You can use the money to make some much needed upgrades to your home! Whether you are thinking of selling your home or planning on staying for a while, these suggestions for using your tax return for home renovations are sure to add value to your home.

If you have less than $1,000

Focus on the smaller details of yourhome. Change out that mailbox that may have been hit a time or two (we won’t tell). Change the color of your front door, or even upgrade to a brand-new door! Be prepared to pay a little more if you have your eye on a steel front door. Give your home a fresh coat of paint, whether it’s the actual home or just the shutters or trim. Treat yourself to a new lighting fixture in the kitchen. Switch out all light bulbs to more efficient, energy saving bulbs; maybe even upgrade to a few smart light bulbs, like this starter kit for $179.00. You can’t renovate an entire kitchen on this budget, but you can add a nice backsplash, update cabinet hardware, or even get some new energy efficient appliances. You could even hire professionals to come clean the exterior/interior of your home. You’d be surprised the difference clean carpets and power washed driveways can make.

If you have $2,000

You can do a lot with this budget. Pick a nice new color for your interior walls, maybe adding an accent wall here or there. Replace those eye-sore pieces of furniture or rugs. Upgrade your kitchen counters to something more modern. You could install several smart home technology systems, such as smart thermostat, smart doorbell/security cameras, smart shades, and phone or voice controlled light switches. Open some space by knocking down that wall that’s been driving you nuts. If you’re more of a DIY-er, before picking up a sledgehammer be sure to consult with a professional to avoid taking down a load-bearing wall.

If you have over $5,000

Depending on how much you have to spend there is the potential for some pretty big renovations. For lower budgets closer to the $5,000, you could add a deck or front porch. These will not only bring big benefits to you while living in the home but will add value to your home and can be a big selling point when trying to sell. Make some upgrades to a larger bathroom or renovate a smaller one. Sticking to just a few upgrades will keep costs down. If you’re looking to completely revamp a bathroom, it can cost anywhere between $7-10,000 depending on what you want to do. You can change out the flooring in a room or two. Install new windows that are going to help keep costs down.

The kitchen can be a pretty big project but is one of the most used and therefore important rooms in your home. If your budget extends towards $8-10,000, you should be able to afford new countertops, redo cabinets with a fresh paint or stain, add a back splash or new lighting fixtures, and possibly some new EnergyStar kitchen appliances. A kitchen renovation is one that is sure to add value to your home. For more ideas on home renovations that give the most bang for your buck, check out this interview with our Chief Appraiser!

Investing your tax return into home renovations is great way to add value to your home regardless of whether you’re selling soon or not. Use these suggestions to help you decide what you can do within your given budget, or consider other options to help finance renovations. If you are looking to buy a new home, another way to use your tax return is as a down payment.

If you have any questions or want more information about the homebuying process, contact one of our licensed Mortgage Loan Originators. If you are ready to begin the process, click here to get started!

Now that tax season is over, you may be wondering what to do with your tax return. A great way to put your tax return to good use is to invest in home renovations that you may have been putting off. Here are several ways you can get the most out of your tax return and home renovation projects.

Preventative Maintenance
If your house has any safety hazards, address these first. Check your home for anything that could lead to a falling accident, such as broken handrails or cracked walkways. Test your electrical outlets, check your gutters and downspouts, and look for any wear and tear on your water pipes in the kitchen, bathrooms, and laundry room. If you haven’t inspected your roof recently, consider having an inspection done. It costs a few hundred dollars, and can save you thousands in repairs later on.

Renovations under $500
If you’re looking to keep your expenses under $500, consider some of these inexpensive home renovations.

Renovations under $1,000
If you have a $1,000 budget, try these home renovations.

Renovations under $2,500
If you’re looking for a more dramatic change, check out some of these renovations under $2,500.

Spring isn’t just a great time for spring cleaning, but a great time to update and renovate your house. This is especially a good idea if you’re planning to put your house on the market soon. If you’re looking to move or refinance your current home, talk to one of our licensed loan originators today to get started.

Everyone that watches home improvement shows, such as “Flip this House”, “Property Brothers”, or “This Old House”, knows that home improvements can help add value to a home. You see examples where the investor/flipper buys a home for an incredibly low price (because the structure is falling apart, or it needs serious maintenance work, or the house is over 100 years old and everything needs to be updated), they do a 20 minute montage showing the remodels, and suddenly, the house is worth double or triple the price! Sounds amazing, right?

The problem with these shows is that they make viewers think that home improvements will substantially add value to a home, and this is not always the case. Some home improvements may add living space or a special touch, but they may not be budget friendly or increase the value of a home. This is because these improvements often end up costing way more than what the return on investment ends up being (here is a great example by Houselogic).

So which home improvements actually do give you “more bang for your buck”? Here are 6 home improvements that have the highest return of investment.

Replacing Your Front Door

According to Remodel magazine’s 2014 Cost vs. Value Report, a steel entry door replacement has a 96.6% return on investment (based on national averages). This means that this low-cost project not only can help you increase the value of your home, it can also increase dramatically your home’s curve appeal. Check out the designs of these front doors for ideas and inspiration.

Deck Addition

With home owners’ ever-increasing love of outdoor living, wood deck additions have and will continue to be a great investment for a home. Having a deck built creates living area in your back yard, and it also helps increase your home’s value with an 87.4% average return on investment. Here are some before and after deck makeovers to get you inspired.

Attic Bedroom Remodel

Remodeling an attic to turn it into a bedroom is a cost-effective way to add livable square footage and another bedroom to a home. This way you can maximize your home’s living space, and feel great since the average return on investment on these remodels are 84.3%. Get some inspirations with these 16 amazing attic remodels.

Minor Kitchen Remodel

The kitchen is one of the most used places in a home, and no one wants to hang out in a cramped or outdated kitchen. A minor kitchen remodel will create a beautiful and custom space, as well as a return on investment on average of 82.7%. Check out this great kitchen remodeling guide for tips and advice.

Window Replacement

Replacing old windows can help improve the look and feel of a home, as well as save on heating and cooling costs. Window replacements have a high return on investment of 79.3% for wood windows, and 78.7% for vinyl windows. Here is an article on how to choose the right windows for your home.

Vinyl Siding Replacement

Vinyl siding is the face of your home, and it has a huge impact on your home’s curve appeal and the overall value of a home. Clean and well cared for siding shows that the home is well taken care of and in good shape. And replacing old siding can return 78.2% on the initial investment. Here is a great guide on how to choose siding for your home.


Home improvements are a great way to maintain a home and add your personal touch. But remember, just because the changes you’ve always wanted don’t have a high return on investment, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do the project. If you are looking to stay in your home for several years, home improvements should be made for your own benefit. But if you are looking to sell your home soon and/or for ways to add value to your home, then thinking about what home improvements that have the best return on investment might be beneficial.

If you are looking to sell your home soon, click here to contact one of our Licensed Mortgage Loan Originators today to learn about what mortgage loan is right for you.