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10 Ways to Use a HELOC to Customize Your Home

Given tight real estate conditions across much of the country, some homeowners are choosing to upgrade, remodel or spruce up their existing house instead of taking their chances in the market and entering a bidding war. But with the average bathroom update costing homeowners $10,000 and a kitchen update coming in at about $30,000, fixing things up can quickly clean out your bank account. Fortunately, we've got a few ways to help you make improvements with a reasonable budget.

A woman installing kitchen cabinets.
  1. Upgrade your kitchen cabinets and counters.
  2. Few home improvement projects have a higher return when it comes time to resell than kitchens. To keep your costs low, stick to changes that don't require you to add or remove walls or change electrical or water lines. If you don't want to install new cabinetry, a fresh coat of paint can work wonders.

  3. Work on your curb appeal.
  4. Three of the top four projects on Remodeling by JLC's cost vs value report involve improvements to a house's curb-facing facade: adding a stone veneer, replacing a garage door and replacing windows.

  5. Make energy efficient updates.
  6. With the rise in the cost of living a big concern for many families. Many real estate agents report that homebuyers are looking for energy efficient homes more and more to save on utility bills. Although buyers are not necessarily looking for your home to have solar panels, other things like Energy Start qualified windows, lighting, and appliances are attractive features. An Energy Star certified dishwasher, for example, uses soil sensors to assess how dirty the dishes are to minimize water use. As an added bonus, this will save you money every month until you're ready to sell.

  7. Convert and create a bedroom.
  8. What's the first thing most buyers look at when deciding whether to view a particular house? The number of bedrooms. Check your state, county or city requirements to be sure, but most areas only require a room to have an entry door and additional exit (like a window or another door) to be classified as a bedroom.

  9. Update your flooring.
  10. Unlike some other remodeling projects, flooring prices vary greatly. Prices range from $1 a square foot for laminate to $10 a square foot for hardwood floors. If you're thinking of selling in the next few years, then you'll want to think strategically about your home's future buyers. If you think that your neighborhood and house would be popular with young couples and families, then you may want to install hardwood or similar flooring, as these demographics prefer that to carpet.

  11. Spruce up your bathroom.
  12. HGTV reported that a bathroom remodel gave sellers a 102% return on investment. Repainting, replacing a bathroom's caulk or re-glazing an existing tub are easy weekend, DIY projects that can make a big difference.

  13. Swap out your storage.
  14. Most people's attics are full of items that should be donated, tossed or consolidated. Consider clearing yours out and turning it into something useful, like an office, an extra bedroom or den.

  15. Replace windows with French doors.
  16. If you've got a backyard or deck area, then this is a relatively easy way to improve the flow of your home. It can make the room feel bigger and more spacious with a relatively low cost. Before you commit to converting, there are a few things to consider.

  17. Deck out your backyard.
  18. Adding a wood deck can give you a great return on your money when it came time to resell, but it really depends on where you live. In areas with a temperate climate, where you could live outside year-round, a deck will give you a bigger return than areas where it snows a lot and use of the deck would be limited. This could be especially strategic if your home and neighborhood are appealing to families and young buyers.

  19. Think energy efficient.
  20. If you're in need of new appliances, consider investing in energy-efficient models, which could pay off when it comes time to reselland save you money on your energy bills in the meantime.

    WaFd Bank is here to help!

    Contact your local loan officer to find out more about how our home equity line of credit could help you make upgrades for your lifestyle today and improve your home's value when it's time to resell.

Real estate agent and clients looking at paperwork in new home

Check out WaFd Bank's HELOC calculator!

Use your home's equity to finance your next big project. Whether it's to pay for a home renovation or remodel, or pay consolidated bills, a no annual fee HELOC from WaFd Bank is often more affordable than using credit cards or other loans.

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