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Hidden Fire Dangers of Metal Roofing

Tuesday, November 9th, 2021

What’s the better material to use when installing roof shingles: metal or asphalt? When it comes to safety, you might automatically think the metal object is superior, right? The truth might surprise you.

In comparing the advantages and disadvantages of a metal roof vs asphalt, it quickly becomes apparent that metal is actually the WRONG answer. Here’s why…

Reasons to Choose Asphalt Shingles Over Metal Ones 

Age & Reliability

Believe it or not, asphalt shingles have been around since the dawn of the 20th century. Because of that, just about every firefighter in the country has experience fighting fires in homes with asphalt shingle roofing.

When it comes to relatively newer metal shingle roofs, meanwhile, a shockingly large number of fire departments have little to no experience counteracting first major blazes in homes with metal roofs. For example, the fire department in Logansport, Indiana, only experienced its first encounter with a major fire on a metal roof in 2017! 

Slope & Material

Asphalt shingles have built-in traction, even when wet; there is a natural grip to the material, making it safer to navigate atop them. With metal roofing, on the other hand, when the surface gets wet, it becomes extremely dangerous and slippery. Even when wearing rubber-soled shoes, it’s very treacherous. 

Additionally, metal roofs are often constructed with higher slopes than standard asphalt shingle roofs. Combining the steep slope along with the slippery metal makes it tricky for fire departments; in the event of an emergency, they have to rely on ladder trucks and aerial apparatuses in order to safely access your roof.

Ventilation & Accessibility

Simply put, metal roofs impede firefighters’ ability to ventilate the fire. While standard asphalt shingle roofs can be vented of smoke, heat, and flame with an ax or powered saw blade, with metal roofing, the ax does nothing to create ventilation. Likewise, the saw blades that most fire departments use aren’t designed to cut through metal, resulting in the loss of precious time in which a fire can quickly get out of control.

When it comes to smaller or volunteer fire departments, they may not even carry a saw blade with them. In some cases, volunteer fire departments simply do not own this equipment, and instead have to radio for help from larger departments in neighboring cities, literally burning up even more valuable time.  

Construction & Stability

In the case of new construction metal roofs, since metal roofing is often lighter than asphalt, subsequently their supporting materials may also be lighter. This might seem beneficial, but it actually puts the metal roof at greater risk of collapse – further preventing firefighters from being on the roof to save the structure.

Alternatively, in the case of a metal roof replacement, those are often placed over top of an existing asphalt shingle roof. The problem this creates is additional layers – more layers means it takes the firefighters that much longer to break through and ventilate your home; without a way to escape, the smoke, and heat remain trapped in the residence, creating an unsafe environment for the firefighters, and leading to more needless destruction of property. 

Call Homeowner Funding Today

At Homeowner Funding we believe in our roofing. More importantly, we believe in YOUR SAFETY!

So many of the homeowners in our markets are supported by volunteer fire departments – ourselves included. We want to ensure safety for you, your loved ones, and the brave men and women who put their lives on the line for our benefit.

Call us today to schedule a consultation to learn more about our asphalt shingle roofing replacements

How to Create the Perfect Home Office

Thursday, October 28th, 2021

It’s no exaggeration to say that the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way we live and work. Even as more workspaces open up again, working from home continues to remain part of our lives. While it’s convenient, working from home has its challenges, the biggest is balancing home life with work life when work is literally on your doorstep. 

With that in mind, how do you create a home office that increases productivity and provides you with somewhere comfortable to work? Homeowner Funding has some helpful tips to share.

Windows are Crucial

When it comes to creating a work area that enables you to work from home in comfort, natural light matters. That’s because it doesn’t just make a room brighter. Benefits of natural light include:

  • Increasing productivity
  • Improving focus
  • Inspiring creativity

Natural light is an integral part of our circadian rhythm, and exposure to light is what helps you wake up in the morning. So, it makes sense that when you’re working from home, having windows that expose you to natural light is good for you and your work environment.  

Make sure you choose a home office space with windows that allow you to take advantage of those benefits. If you can’t, consider obtaining window funding so you can install some.

Show Personality

Whether you’re converting the guest bedroom or your kitchen table, it’s vital that the work area feels like yours. 

There’s a reason you fill your work desk with sticky notes, potted plants, and photos of the family. It’s difficult to work in an impersonal space. 

That’s also why people suffer when they try to work somewhere like the kitchen table. You can do it, but you’ll struggle because you’re somewhere that emphasizes neither your personality nor productivity. 

Instead, you want to create a space in your home you can retreat to. And, if you are going to be working from home long-term, don’t limit the decorating to plants and photos. 

Find a color palate you find energizing and take a weekend to paint the walls, and choose furniture to go with it. 

Avoid Clutter 

While adding personality to a workspace helps you work from home, don’t overdo it. 

Keeping on task is a significant challenge of working from home, and knickknacks are distracting. 

Not only that, but as platforms like Zoom become an integral part of the work experience, you need to consider how your work area looks on camera. 

Do you have rows of books behind you? Or a blank wall? What about plants and photos? People make snap judgments when they first meet you, and if that’s over the camera, part of that judgment comes from what your colleagues can see behind you. 

Tidy Space, Tidy Mind 

Another important part of creating a home office that facilitates working is keeping a tidy space. 

Think about your normal office environment when you went to work. There were employees whose job was to make sure you entered a neat work environment every morning. 

When you’re working from home, that falls to you. Much like knick-knacks, an untidy work area distracts you from your job. 

However, you have enough to do without taking hours out of your day to clean the house clean. With that in mind, look into storage techniques that help you preserve a tidy workspace without doing double duty as a daily cleaner. Storage options might include:

  • Shelving
  • Baskets
  • Hampers 
  • Bins 

These are all things that keep your desk and work area neat without constantly decluttering. 

Peace and Quiet 

Another part of cultivating a productive work environment at home is quiet. When you’re choosing somewhere for your home office, consider the background noise around you. 

Will there be heavy traffic under the windows? Do people walk by your home office often during the day? 

These questions will help you find the perfect location for the workspace you need to work efficiently from home. 

Quiet is also necessary if you conduct online meetings since background noise distracts colleagues and makes it harder for them to hear you. 

Router Location

Finally, it’s not all about foot traffic. Router traffic matters, especially if you’re not the only person in the house working from home. 

You need a work environment that’s close to the router, as well as a strong internet signal. There might be more frustrating things than losing connection midway through a meeting, but when it happens, it’s hard to think of them. 

Finance Your Dream Office with Homeowner Funding

As you create space in your home for an office, take time to think about what you need to work at your best. Internet connection is vital, but so is having somewhere comfortable and quiet to work. Try and minimize distractions, whether they’re external ones like family members or less obvious ones like favorite photographs. You may even feel the need to build an addition to an existing house

Whatever you choose, don’t forget to let your personality shape your home office. Above all else, you should enjoy spending time in your office. If you need help financing the creation of your perfect office, contact Homeowner Funding today. Your satisfaction is our top priority.

Top Amazing Water Features

Saturday, October 23rd, 2021

With a little bit of planning, some DIY skills, and a relatively small budget, you could add a backyard waterfall to your home. In just a day or so, you could have an attractive water feature in your yard. 

But, if you want a waterfall that’s much more than a simple hole in the ground, it’s complicated enough that it often makes sense just to hire a professional. 

Regardless of the scale of your project, you have to be realistic. If you’re very handy around the house, a simple design is probably something you can handle. But, if you’re talking about a more involved project, maybe with a lot of excavation, boulders, and LED lights, you could get in over your head pretty quickly. 

Keep reading to understand the best choice for you.

Building a Backyard Waterfall

Some backyard waterfalls are complicated and extravagant. Others are simple, with a small pond, a few rocks, and an inexpensive budget. Check your local building codes before beginning work because building a water feature or altering the flow of water runoff sometimes requires a permit. 

If you already feel a bit overwhelmed, now is the time to call a professional for a consultation. Whether you go with a contractor or DIY, this is the essence of a backyard waterfall build. 

Landscape Design 

Find a place in your yard where a waterfall makes sense.

  • Use an existing slope
  • Try to make it visible from inside your home
  • Minimize disruption to hardscaping
  • Integrate the design into what’s already there
  • Stay away from trees that will drop leaves into your waterfall, or upsize your filter

Slope

Create a slope if you don’t already have one. If you’re going for a Niagara Falls kind of look, that might mean building a retaining wall, so you may even want to consult a pro about how to pay for your home project

Basin 

When the water descends your slope, you’ll need someplace for it to collect. Your basin doesn’t have to be a pond. It could just be a chamber filled with gravel if you’d prefer. You should line it with an impermeable layer of plastic before adding rocks and pebbles. Otherwise, you won’t be able to control the water flow. 

The basin is also a great place to add an LED light to show off your backyard water feature.

Collect the Water

Your basin needs to have a drain or a skimmer to collect the water. If you think of your outdoor waterfall basin like a sink, the drain will just be fed by gravity, whereas if you have more of a pond design, you’ll want the basin collection system to be more like a swimming pool’s filter skimmer, drawing the water and any debris toward a mouth on the surface.

Pump and Filter

Wherever the water ends up collecting, you’ll need to filter it first and then pump it back to the top of the waterfall. You can find pond filter kits online, but it isn’t that complicated to build one, especially if you’re handy with PVC pipe or similar simple plumbing materials. 

Your filter doesn’t have to be that complicated either, but consider how much debris, aquatic life, and algae could form in your waterfall without filtering the water. It’s wise to go overboard and keep your waterfall clean. 

Hide the Hardware

Before the job is complete, you’ll need to do your best to hide the plumbing, wiring, liner, and other hardware from your backyard waterfall. This extra finishing touch will create a natural look and add to the overall aesthetic of your design.

Making Your Backyard Landscape Work

If your backyard already features a slope, adding a waterfall is a natural addition. But, keep a few tips in mind.

Big projects need big equipment. Don’t be afraid to bring in a professional to do it right. If adding your waterfall is part of a major upgrade to your home, consider doing all the work at one time. If you want things done quickly, efficiently, and well, you should definitely use an NRIA authorized contractor.

Homeowner Funding Will Beautiful Your Backyard

A water feature in your backyard can be a fun DIY project. But as the scale of your project increases, the need for professional services also grows. 

The bigger the pond, the more material you need. Additionally, chances are you’ll need a permit. Homeowner Funding can help you get the home improvements you need, whether that means installing water features or providing convenient vinyl siding financing.

Let us take the stress and expense out of home improvement. Call Homeowner Funding today!

Top Questions for Contractors

Wednesday, October 20th, 2021

Contractors are extremely helpful professionals who can help you turn your property into the home of your dreams. And while the contractors at Homeowner Funding are among the most experienced and professional in the industry today, there are also some not-so-great contractors you should be wary of.

That’s why it’s incredibly important that you ask all of the right questions when hiring a contractor to get some work done around your home. Nailing down critical information ahead of time is the best way to move forward with any remodeling projects. 

“How Long Have You Been in Business?”

Longevity is a very valuable trait to have in the world of contracting. Time in business usually equates to quality of business. Therefore, the longer a contractor operates, the more successful projects they have under their belts.

A long-standing company also shows you that they have created an efficient system that delivers high-quality work on time, on budget, and within expectations. 

Keep in mind that a contractor may have recently opened their own business, but they have several years of work experience in the industry. Every business has to start somewhere, so hiring a new business is okay – just make sure the owner can back up his knowledge with a strong career history. 

“What Are Your Financing Options?”

The personal financial aspect of a contracting project is of the utmost importance. There are plenty of things to consider under the general umbrella of financing, such as:

  • Does your contractor require a deposit?
  • Are they asking to be paid in full upfront?
  • What are their payment plans like?

Some companies offer some great financing options, such as vinyl siding financing or window funding.

If a contractor doesn’t have a financing option, you can go to your bank to see if they offer home loans for repairs or improvements. You can often find deals with great interest rates to help save money. 

“Is Your Company Fully Insured?”

A reputable contractor should have workers’ compensation and liability insurance to protect both you and their company. In addition, their insurance should be catered towards the type of work they’re completing. 

Not only should you ask if a contracting company is insured, but it’s also a good idea to request a look at their certificates of insurance. Doing so can help eliminate any risk that you’re working with someone who isn’t operating their business lawfully. 

You should only hire a contractor who has insurance and can produce proof of said insurance. 

“What About Your Team?”

Every contractor has a team of employees working on each job they secure, so it’s a good idea to ask some questions about these individuals as well. These are the people who will be in your home and doing the work, so they matter significantly.

Ask whether a contractor’s teams are direct employees or subcontractors. If they’re subcontractors, are they covered under the company’s insurance? And what is the screening process like to ensure they are high-quality employees and reliable workers? Will the same team be on the same project for the duration?

You should also check in on who the project manager is and their relationship with you. Determine whether you can have direct contact with the project manager, what their job entails, and how often they will be on site. 

“What Does the Timeline Look Like?”

Depending on the size of your project, you may be putting your whole life on pause for it. Therefore, it’s important for you as the homeowner to be aware of the timeline for the renovation process. 

When meeting with potential contractors, try to get a clear picture of when a project will start, what the timeline will look like, and when you can expect it to be completed. 

Talk about various factors that could impact the schedule along the way, such as supply shortages, weather, or other projects that the company has taken on. 

This is all information that you, as a paying customer, deserve to have answers to. If a contractor can’t make you feel comfortable about your timeline, it’s a clear red flag. 

A contractor should also be perfectly fine with keeping you in the loop if something changes. Make sure they intend to maintain an open line of communication throughout the project. 

Get Funding For Your Home Project

Paying for an addition to an existing house can be challenging. That’s why Homeowner Funding helps you gain access to the financial assistance programs you need.. Contact us now to apply for funding and speak to one of our highly knowledgeable team members.

Tips for Building Your Backyard Oasis

Friday, October 15th, 2021

Building your backyard oasis is a project you’ve likely thought about for some time! An essential part of any home is a charming, relaxing outdoor space.

From the comfort of the perfect patio swing to the incomparable convenience of an outdoor kitchen, backyards are where millions of us spend so much of our lives. It’s no wonder we want to get that backyard space just right for relaxation.

Building the perfect backyard oasis is all about finding the right balance of style, function, and budget. From outdoor siding options to water features and fire pits, the possibilities are endless; there is no one-size-fits-all way to make a fun, inspiring, or rejuvenating backyard oasis.

Whatever you have in mind, Homeowner Funding can help you make your dream yard a reality. Here are some things to consider when building your backyard oasis.

Outdoor Kitchens and Fire Pits

Fire pits have come a long way from the crude campsite style! They are available in almost any design and use every fuel from natural gas to propane, wood, or pellets. Some fire pits double as grills or stovetops, easily integrating into an outdoor kitchen setup. 

Outdoor kitchens are often one of the most creative components of your backyard oasis. They can be designed to blend with natural surroundings while providing maximum functionality. Supplement permanent fixtures such as a fire pit with bar carts, beverage coolers, or other moveable refreshment stations.

Grants for kitchen renovations make it easy to get the outdoor kitchen you want; whether that means simple or sophisticated is up to you.

Patio Swings and Hammocks

No backyard oasis is complete without plenty of comfortable places to sit! Whether you plan to entertain lots of guests or hang by yourself, the right seating is essential to creating a cozy retreat. Eating family meals, listening to favorite music, or enjoying the gentle breeze all depend on having the perfect place to kick back.

Patio swings and hammocks are two of the most popular options for those looking for some movement while they relax in the shade. Hammocks let you lie down, making them perfect for a lazy afternoon napping or reading a book. If you have a family or love to entertain, a patio swing fits several people, so it is ideal for groups.

Just make sure your seating is protected from the elements to keep it dry and in peak condition. Inclement weather, heat, and sunlight can damage patio furniture over time, significantly reducing its lifespan.

Landscaping and Gardening

Plants have many ornamental and practical uses when it comes to your yard. The right landscaping can provide shelter, beautiful sights and smells, or privacy from neighbors. 

Bigger plants such as bushes and trees not only give you a private spot to relax from prying eyes, but they can also protect your yard from bad weather. Privacy walls are perfect if you prefer something that requires little to no care and remains the same year-round. 

A barrier of thriving plant life will significantly mitigate the effects of strong wind and excess rain. A home sunroom, deck, or patio comes to life with just a few hanging plants or a planter wall. Bright plant life instills an uplifting mood in your backyard oasis by providing visual interest and sweet smells and attracting animal life.

Lighting and Shelter

Proper lighting can perfect the mood in your backyard oasis. String lights are a popular choice because they are inexpensive and easy to move. You can easily mount them with double-sided outdoor tape specifically designed to grip glass, wood, tile, stone, metal, brick, and drywall.

Another great option is solar powered walkway and seating area lighting. These can be as simple as short, discreet bulbs on in-ground spikes to tall poles, decorative statuary, and more. Permanent fixtures such as floodlights can also be solar-activated to brighten up your outdoor space as soon as the sun sets. When the lights come on, you’ll feel practically invited to step outside.

Water Features

Adding water to your yard is an easy way to provide simple beauty and visual interest, adding an oasis in the most literal definition of the term! There are tons of ways to do this, from something as large as a swimming pool to a fountain or a small pond. 

A water feature opens up your options for new plant and animal life. Plant water lilies and other flora that thrive in wet environments, and you might be surprised at how your oasis becomes a shared one for birds, butterflies, bees, and frogs.

Build a Better Backyard with Homeowner Funding

Designing your own private oasis can be as simple or as complex as you desire. Remember ‒ it’s all about making the perfect spot for you to relax and feel at home.

At Homeowner Funding, our priority is making sure you get exactly what you want, from interior maintenance to backyard makeovers and everything in between. Call us today to get started!

Do Pools Really Increase the Value of Your Home?

Wednesday, October 13th, 2021

Installing a pool is an improvement option almost every homeowner has considered, especially during the warm season or when they want to sell their properties. So, do pools increase the value of your home? Yes, they do. However, while it may increase the value of your home, that doesn’t automatically guarantee good returns on your investment.

At Homeowner Funding, we know how important it is to consider every factor before making major renovations to your property. Here are some things you should keep in mind when deciding if a swimming pool is the best way to add value to your home.

Cost of Installation

Installing a pool in your property requires a lot of financial commitment. The installation cost depends on the size of the pool, the designs, and the material used matters.

According to Forbes, inground pools cost around $50 to $125 per square foot. Depending on the size you are going for, the total cost may be around $28,000 to $55,000. If you are doing above-ground pools, you spend a lot more.

Also, HomeAdvisor gives an average cost estimate of installing an inground pool. For a fiberglass pool, you spend  $20,000 to $60,000 on average. For granite or concrete pools, you spend up to $35,000 to $100,000. However, you can get special funding programs for much-needed home improvements from NRIA authorized contractors.

Apart from materials, pool accessories such as diving boards, pool covers, enclosures contribute to cost. Also, installation labor by professionals and other customized luxury features affect the total price of your pool installation.

Cost of Maintenance

Another thing to consider is the cost of maintenance. Just like everything in your home, your pool needs constant maintenance.

The annual maintenance of your pool is not cheap. Firstly, you have to maintain the water flow and quality. Depending on how regularly you plan to use your pool, you must arrange for a constant water supply.

You have to keep the water pure by adding chemicals to kill germs and prevent microbial growth, such as algae. You also have to repair the pool heater, water pumps, and other pool accessories.

Inability to maintain the pool means an automatic waste of the Installation fund. You can perform the maintenance and repairs yourself, or you can hire pool experts. 

Maintaining and repairing yourselves will reduce the maintenance costs. However, you may still need to hire experts to handle certain repairs. You can spend more than a thousand dollars annually on pool maintenance.

Pool Insurance Cost

Pools are fun and beautiful additions to your home. However, they can be dangerous, and they have insurance implications. Once you install a pool in your home, your homeowner’s insurance premiums will increase. 

A lot of home accidents can happen in a pool. There may be cases of falls, drowning, or death. Although your home homeowner’s insurance covers the pool, you are held responsible in the event of a severe occurrence such as serious injuries or death. 

If the investigation concludes that you didn’t provide a safe and accident-free pool environment, or your poor maintenance policy led to the incident. 

On the other hand, you can purchase an individual insurance policy outside your regular homeowner insurance for your pool. This has its own financial implications, but it does provide more risk coverage. That is why you have to factor in risks and insurance costs before you decide to install a pool in your home. 

Location

The area your home is located should also contribute to your decision. The first factor is climate; installing a pool may be a good decision if you are in a warmer environment. You get good use of it, unlike in cold areas where you only use it periodically.

Also, if other homes in your neighborhood have pools, you should consider installing one. It is because your home will have a lesser value if other houses in your area have a pool. Buyers will most likely prefer to buy from them.

In addition, if your pool is located at a separate corner of your property, leaving enough space for other activities, and outdoor siding options, buyers will have more interest. A properly maintained pool will add value to your home.

Get Financial Assistance Through Homeowner Funding 

If you live in a warm climate or a high-end environment, or you just want to make your home more luxurious, a swimming pool is a great addition. Suppose you are installing a pool primarily to increase the value of your home. In that case, you have to compare the installation and maintenance cost with the highest returns you will get after a specific period. 

There are other options for increasing the value of your property, too, such as adding a home sunroom. The expert consultants and contractors at Homeowner Funding can help you to gain more insights and make better decisions, as well as help you find financial assistance so to help pay for your home improvement projects.

Contact Homeowner Funding today for more information.

Your Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

Monday, October 11th, 2021

When fall approaches and the weather begins to change, there are several things homeowners need to address for safety and to ensure homes stay comfortable. The main concern is removing or handling things that could pose a risk to the home or the occupants inside. 

Remember that keeping up with regular seasonal maintenance is essential for anyone who owns a home, and now is the time to take action. If all this seems too overwhelming, Homeowner Funding is here to help. As an NRIA-authored contractor, nothing is more important to us than making sure you and your loved ones are happy and comfortable during the cold winter months. Check out this fall home maintenance checklist to ensure you don’t forget anything important and that your home is ready to withstand the weather.

Get Your Chimney Cleaned

Paying close attention to your chimney is an essential task. If you have a functioning chimney and use it during the cooler months, you’ll want to make sure you give it the routine attention and maintenance it needs. Whether you plan to use it once or several times, it’s critical not to forget these procedures.

You first want to inspect the mechanisms, especially if you have a gas-fueled chimney. Make sure everything is in working order and that there are no leaks or faulty parts. If you have a wood-burning chimney, the most critical task is getting your chimney cleaned. Find and call a chimney cleaner to clear away buildup. Ensure the flu and other parts are structurally sound and in good working order before starting any fires. 

Inspect the Garage Door

Believe it or not, the garage is one of the main culprits for allowing heat to escape from the home. You likely open your door to go outside, and ideally, the garage temperature will be much warmer than outside temperatures. However, if your garage door has leaks and gaps, the heat escapes. 

Before the weather gets cold, check the seal on the garage door and make any necessary repairs. Additionally, if the door doesn’t close all the way or won’t open at all, you should have the repairs done before cold weather or snow sets in so you can park your car in the garage and avoid having to scrape ice and snow daily. This action will also help keep your energy costs down during fall and into winter. 

Check Window and Door Insulation

Gaps and cracks in window and door seals are another cause of higher energy costs in the cold weather months. Before the weather cools down, you’ll want to check for these issues and make the necessary repairs or replacements. If you have cracked windows or doors, this is an especially important task for your fall checklist. Some areas to inspect include the following. 

  • Seals
  • Frames
  • Locks
  • Tracks

If you have old windows that are thinning at the top, now is the time to replace them with modern windows that can increase your home’s value and keep your energy costs to a minimum. Consider getting window funding to cover the costs. 

Routine Maintenance for Your Heating System

Having your heating system inspected and serviced before using it for the upcoming fall is crucial. As mentioned previously, safety is a top concern. When heaters don’t function correctly, they can become a hazard to the home’s occupants. 

Additionally, if you fail to have a heating system serviced, it tends to break down at inopportune times, requiring an expensive emergency service call. Remember, if you live in an area with harsh winter conditions, the technicians might not be able to get to you right away due to weather or an influx of emergency calls from individuals in the same situation. 

Prep Your House for Winter with Homeowner Funding

There are a few key areas where you should focus your attention when making a fall maintenance checklist. Windows and doors are important areas to focus your attention on, but the chimney and heater are the most important things to address for safety. 

For large projects such as windows, insulation, and roofs, having the expert contractors at Homeowner Funding by your side makes all the difference. Apply for roof funding or other projects well in advance of the weather change to get the job done in time for fall. Take the time to knock off all the points on your list; you’ll see that your energy costs stay low, and you have a safe, comfortable home to enjoy when the temperatures drop. 

From big remodel projects to small-scale maintenance and repairs, whatever you need, Homeowner Funding can help you get the home improvements you need. Contact us today to find out how!

Best Ways to Rebuild Credit

Sunday, October 10th, 2021

Bad credit can happen to anyone. Medical bills, unexpected expenses, or job loss can result in unpaid bills or late payments, which can decrease your credit score. A low credit score will make borrowing money impossible or more expensive because of higher interest rates.  

The good news is that there are steps you can take to improve your credit score. Understanding the factors that determine your credit score can help you with rebuilding your credit. 

What Is a Credit Score? 

Your credit score is a measurement of your credit history, determining the risk of whether a debt will be repaid. FICO and VantageScore are two credit score ranges. Both are 300-850, with the higher scores being better. In the FICO range, 580-669 are fair, with below 580 being the poor scores. With the VantageScore rating, poor scores are 600 and below.  

Credit agencies determine these scores by considering a consumer’s credit history, debt-to-income ratio, and the percentage of available credit they have to use. Paying off your debts and paying your bills on time will improve your credit score.

Ways to Improve Your Credit 

While having bad credit can feel awful and can keep you from taking out necessary loans, consumers can improve their credit scores with the following tips. Credit repair won’t happen overnight, but taking this advice and building good credit habits with time will improve your credit score. Here are a few ways to take toward credit repair. 

Make Home Improvements 

If you’re wondering how to pay for a home addition if you have a less-than-perfect credit score, Homeowner Funding can help. As an NRIA authorized contractor, Homeowner Funding helps homeowners find special funding sources for needed home improvements. Best of all, you can make the repairs and renovations you need and rebuild your credit at the same time.

As you pay back your home improvement loan, made at a reasonable interest rate, you’ll see your credit score rise as you enjoy your beautiful home improvements, such as sunrooms, additions, windows, and more. You’ll create a more positive credit history as you pay off loans for a more beautiful home. 

Get a Secured Credit Card 

Secured credit cards can act as an emergency fund and be available for times when you need to use a credit card but don’t want to increase your consumer debt. Secured credit cards hold a deposit of your money, which you can draw from each time you use the card. Many credit card companies offer secured credit cards. 

Pay Each Bill on Time 

Make paying a bill on time a habit, and you’ll see your credit score improve. One way to remember to pay bills on time is to sign up for paperless billing. You’ll likely get a reminder email or text message that your payment due date is coming. Paying online is faster, easier, and, in most cases, free. Another plus to paying each bill on time is that you avoid late fees. 

Review Your Credit History 

If there are errors in your credit history, your credit score might be lower than it should be. Request free credit reports from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion, the three major credit bureaus, and dispute any errors you find. 

Decrease Your Debt-to-Income Ratio 

Since the amount of debt you have compared to your income is a factor in calculating your credit score, you’ll want to decrease the amount of debt you carry, increase your income, or both. Paying down consumer debt with a high interest rate is always a good idea, and increasing your income by picking up a side hustle or part-time job can help you do that.  

Decrease the Percentage of Credit Used 

Another factor in determining your credit score is the percentage of available credit used. You’ll want to keep that percentage below 30%. To get there, pay your credit card bills and only use credit cards when necessary. 

Also, consider opening another credit card account to increase your amount of available credit, which would lower the percentage of credit used. Use that new credit card account sparingly, if at all.  

Get Financial Assistance from Homeowner Funding

Repairing your credit score won’t happen overnight, but if you commit to forming good habits such as paying your bills on time and rebuilding your credit history, including repaying any window funding loans or other home improvement loans, your credit score will rise with time.

Get the home improvements you need and start rebuilding your credit today. Call Homeowner Funding.

Home Addition Ideas for Increasing Square Footage

Saturday, October 9th, 2021

Increasing square footage in your home is a puzzle. Do you rearrange furniture and the layout of existing rooms or move walls around inside your home to increase your square footage? Moving furniture likely won’t result in a massive living space improvement, and moving walls around runs the risk of interfering with local building codes. 

Luckily, a home addition project could provide the perfect solution. In this article, we’ll explore how a home addition can increase your square footage and your property value, three common home additions, and how to pay for home addition projects. 

If you think that a home addition project is out of reach for you—because you think you can’t afford it, if you’re not construction- or design-savvy, or you don’t think you have the property space—you’re probably mistaken. Anyone can turn their dream for more square footage into a reality with a home addition!

What is a Home Addition?

Adding an addition to a house can seem like a complicated proposition. But it’s a lot less complicated than it sounds! A home addition simply involves tacking on more space to your home, whether you choose to finish an unfinished space (like a basement, garage, or carport), expand on a single room, or build a detached space like a garage or a mother-in-law suite. 

A home addition can increase your property value if it’s well-designed, well-priced, and well-built. Before considering a home addition, evaluate the current costs of building materials in your area. In late 2020 and early 2021, for instance, lumber prices were through the roof, rendering framing costs astronomical. 

Evaluate whether or not the cost of materials and contractor services are a wise investment at the time of building. Consider waiting for materials and labor prices to drop, and consult with a contractor to help you determine the best time to tackle a home addition project. Working with a contractor will also ensure that your project follows all applicable building codes. 

What are Some Home Addition Ideas for Increasing Square Footage

While the options aren’t endless for home addition projects, there are certainly numerous choices to consider when planning to add square footage to your home. Some common additions include

  • Detached garages
  • Bump out additions
  • Enclosing garages or carports
  • Finishing basements
  • Adding a story to your home

While this article will only discuss the first three, you can find more information about home additions throughout our blog

Detached Garage

A detached garage is an excellent option to increase the square footage on your property. If you have ample (or simply extra) backyard space on your lot, consider building a detached garage if you don’t already have one. 

A detached garage can provide storage space for your vehicles, tools, lawn maintenance equipment, seasonal clothes, and more. If you have an athletic family and you’re sick of baseball bats, lacrosse sticks, and cleats cluttering your mudroom, a detached garage will be a lifesaver!

Keep in mind that any detached outbuilding on your property will require a permit from your local jurisdiction, and an inspector will come to your property throughout construction to ensure that the outbuilding meets all applicable building codes. Inspectors are there to help you: You don’t want your garage falling in or blowing away, after all!

Bump Out Addition

A bump out addition is simply an addition to one room in your home. If you have a room with an exterior wall and some space between the wall and any of your property’s utility easements, you can add a bump out addition to create more square footage in that room. 

The square footage benefit of a bump out addition depends on the size of the room you’re expanding. If you choose to add a bump out addition to a small bedroom, for instance, you likely won’t be able to add much additional space.

On the other hand, if you add a bump out addition to a large living space like a great room, den, or kitchen, you could significantly increase the size of your home. 

Enclosed Garage or Carport

Enclosing a garage or carport is always a great idea for a home addition. A garage or carport likely already shares a wall or walkway with your home, reducing the number of new walls you’ll need to build. 

Plus, a garage or carport won’t require additional site planning on your lot since these spaces are already accounted for in your building’s footprint. 

Let Homeowner Funding Help You with Your Home Improvement

Nervous that you won’t be able to afford a home addition project? Let Homeowner Funding help you! With our wealth of resources and skilled professionals, we can help you plan, execute, and pay for a successful home addition project.

Looking to add square footage to your home? Contact us to begin the process today!

Financing Energy Efficient Homes

Tuesday, October 5th, 2021

Retrofitting homes to make them energy-efficient is a great way of saving money in the long run, but it can be expensive in the here and now. Fortunately, homeowners who want to upgrade their energy efficiency can do it without emptying their bank accounts. Through Homeowner Funding, many different grants and programs for roof, window, and insulation financing, as well as much, much more.

Energy-Efficiency Loans

The cost of energy-efficient upgrades becomes more manageable with unsecured loan programs that allow homeowners to finance their homes and upgrades. These unsecured loans can be lines of credit or personal loans. 

With an energy-efficiency loan for existing homes, homeowners do not need to use their homes as collateral. While lenders do offer energy-efficient mortgages, these personal loans are popular for people who do not want to refinance with an expensive mortgage. However, an energy-efficiency loan does not have a tax-deductible interest program. 

While mortgage originators require time before they approve borrowers, lenders can immediately approve customers who want an energy-efficiency loan. Borrowers who default on the unsecured loans will see their credit scores drop as collection agencies will come after payment. 

Energy-efficiency financing gives homeowners the power to fund large projects.

  • Installing new insulation
  • Replacement roof funding
  • Adding an energy-efficient HVAC system
  • Installing efficient windows
  • Placing solar panels
  • Putting in a cool or green roof

Lenders do not give loans for small projects like replacing lighting or installing a new refrigerator. 

Energy-Efficient Mortgage

Another option for homebuyers is an energy-efficient home mortgage, which helps people buy a new or existing home as well as refinance or remodel to add upgraded systems. Energy-efficient mortgages let buyers afford more expensive homes because buyers have lower energy costs in their new homes. 

Conventional lenders and government agencies offer energy-efficient mortgages. Buyers can investigate the programs through their state offices. The loans exist for buyers who want to make their new homes more energy-efficient or purchase existing energy-efficient homes. 

Determining an Energy-Efficient Home

Before buyers can qualify for an energy-efficient loan, the lenders need to know the home’s energy rating. The pre-qualification process involves hiring a professional energy rater to assign a value between 0 and 150, with the lowest scores showing the most energy efficiency. 

The rater will look closely at features like the HVAC system, window and door efficiency, insulation, air leaks, and water usage. They can also make recommendations for upgrades to reduce each home’s rating. Most raters also craft reports that include estimated energy costs and the savings from the existing features and the recommended upgrades. 

To qualify for the energy-efficient mortgage with low-interest rates, the homebuyer must show that the home has energy-efficient features. If the home doesn’t have enough features, the homebuyer has to show how the improvements reduce energy costs to cover the additional mortgage expense. 

If the lender sees that the energy costs are low, the homebuyer gets the benefit of an increased debt-to-income ratio to buy the more expensive home. 

Homebuyers Options

When homebuyers want to make their lives more energy-efficient, they can turn to several other financial programs. 

Tax Credits and Savings

The federal government and some states offer tax credits for upgrading a home’s energy efficiency. The government offers tax credits for everything from installing a charger for an electric car to adding solar panels to the roof. 

In some cases, the savings come from utility companies that want homeowners to turn to renewable energy. They reward consumers with outstanding rebates when they add eco-friendly upgrades to their homes. 

Designing an Energy-Efficient Home

Homeowners who want to upgrade their existing homes or build a new one can turn to professional home designers who specialize in energy efficiency. In a pre-existing home, they evaluate the energy efficiency to figure out how to cut costs. With new home builds, the consultants help include energy-efficient systems. 

Home designers look at everything from energy-efficient framing that uses less wood to alternative home designs using hay bales or earth shelters. They also look at other alternatives like cool roofs, passive solar heating, and eco-friendly paint and flooring. 

Whole-House Designs

Homebuyers can also look closely at the entire home and the parts that affect the whole. Architects and energy experts analyze how the conditions of the building site affect the design to decrease energy expenses and create a healthy home. This process can be costly, which is why having access to an energy-efficient mortgage with low-interest rates matters. 

Designers look at the local climate, daylighting, heating, and cooling, as well as air sealing and insulation to craft a home that benefits from a whole-house, eco-friendly system. With thoughtful, environmentally-conscious whole-house designs, homes are more durable and comfortable because they complement the climate rather than withstand it. 

Homebuyers have several tools at their disposal to create and pay for an energy-efficient home. 

Homeowner Funding Helps Finance Energy-Efficient Homes

Roof replacements. Solar panels. Window funding. Loans. Grants. Tax credits.

With all the different options available to those looking to make their homes more energy-efficient it can be hard deciding which possibilities are the best, the most cost-effective, and the most appropriate for your property. Homeowner Funding can help you make the right decision for you and your loved ones.

Contact us today for more information.