Remodeling? How to Pay for It When You Don't Have Home Equity




By Dona DeZube

When your kitchen is screaming for quartz countertops but your wallet is yelling laminate, your home can be a great source for generating the income you need to fund a home renovation you want -- even if you don't qualify for a home equity loan.
To make room in your monthly budget for a remodel, try these 6 ways to use your home to take in more income; some of these ideas help you reduce your home's monthly expenses, too:

1. Take in a lodger.

Getting a roommate for a limited time can help you build the pile of cash you need to remodel. You can find someone by posting a note on the social network sites you use, or go more public by putting an ad on Craigslist or in the local paper.

Investigate the background of anyone you invite to live with you by checking their credit, criminal history and eviction records online for about $30 at TenantCreditChecks.com.

2. Rent your home out while you're on vacation.

When you head out of town for vacation, you can earn rent from someone who'd like to stay where you live -- especially if your home is located somewhere that tourists visit. There are free sites for listing rentals (craigslist.org, forrentbyowner.com) and sites that charge several hundred dollars a year, like VRBO.com.

Check with your insurance agent to see if your homeowners' insurance policy covers you if you rent your home for just a week or two or if you'll need a landlord's policy.

3. Turn your home into a billboard.

The zany marketing team at Brainiacs From Mars is looking for homes to turn into billboards. If you, your homeowners association, and local zoning laws permit them to paint the exterior of your home some crazy colors and add a choice advertising message, Brainiacs will make your mortgage payments for a year. That ought to cover the cost of a new kitchen.

4. Get rid of your private mortgage insurance.

With home values rising again in many real estate markets, it's possible that your home value is now high enough to allow you to cancel your private mortgage insurance. Most mortgage banks let you drop your policy once you have 20 percent equity (for example, your home value is $100,000 and your mortgage is $80,000, leaving you with $20,000 in equity).

Check sites like Realtor.com to find a free value estimate for homes in your neighborhood, or Trulia.com to get an estimated value for your home.

5. File an amended return for a home-related tax deduction or credit that you failed to take.

It's easy to make a common homeowner tax mistake, such as not taking a deduction when you modify your home for medical reasons or when your home was damaged in a disaster. It's quick and easy to amend your return and get a refund to help fund your renovation.

6. If your project is energy-oriented, check with your utility company for rebates or special financing.

Utility companies, under government pressure to reduce energy use, want you to increase your home's energy efficiency. Some will give you rebates on your costs or loan you the money to make energy-efficiency upgrades, then let you pay off the balance of the loan over time as part of your monthly utility bill.

Check the Dsire database for federal, state, local, and utility energy-efficiency incentives, which you may be eligible for.

This article originally appeared on HouseLogic.

See more on HouseLogic:
How to Remodel and Keep Your Marriage Together
Is Your House Sinking? Drought Could be the Cause
10 Great Ways to Avoid Back-to-School Clutter

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