How to Get Tiny House Financing_780x440

How to Get Tiny House Financing

Living in tiny houses is a growing trend across the country for people looking for affordable alternatives to traditional housing and ways to reduce their environmental impact. Financing for tiny homes may be different than securing a traditional mortgage, which may be limited to bigger spaces. As a result, other types of loans might need to be considered as financing for tiny homes. Here’s a guide to tiny houses and how to get them financed.

What Is A Tiny House?

A tiny house is often defined as a home that is between 100 and 400 square feet. In contrast, the median size of a single-family American home completed and sold in 2019 was around 2,300 square feet, according to the U.S. Census Bureau . That’s nearly six times bigger than the biggest tiny home.

Owners live in their tiny homes themselves, rent them out, use them as a small vacation home or even build them as an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) on the same lot as their primary residence. Tiny homes may be on wheels or they may sit on a fixed foundation.

Prefab homes can be delivered complete to the site, or there are kits that require some assembly. Those who would rather build their own house can hire an architect or draw up plans to their own specifications. Local zoning rules will determine whether or not a person can build or move into a tiny home. And building codes will determine things like ceiling height.

Tiny houses may not have good resale appeal since they are such a specific type of home and are often highly customized. Before buying a tiny house as an investment property, it might be wise to consult a real estate investment professional.

Recommended: Is Buying a House a Good Investment?

Tiny House Pricing

In 2019, the average sales price for a single-family home was about $380,000. Tiny homes cost quite a bit less, anywhere from about $30,000 to $100,000. That price can vary up and down depending on the size of the home, materials used, and amenities. The price of the building is not the only thing to consider.

Buyers of tiny homes must factor in the price of buying or leasing land on which to place the home if they don’t already own it, as well as the cost of hooking it up to utilities.

If the tiny home is on a foundation, there may be state and local property taxes to pay. If the tiny house is on wheels, though, there likely won’t be property tax assessed.

Financing the Land

If property needs to be purchased to have a place to put a tiny home, an option for financing is a land loan. There are three types of land loans: raw land loans, unimproved land loans, and improved loans.

•   Raw land loans are for land that’s completely undeveloped with no electricity, roads, or sewer access.
•   Unimproved land loans are for properties that have more access to amenities like utilities, but lack utility meters.
•   Improved land loans are for land with access to roads, water, and electricity.

The size of the down payment and the interest rate of the loan will depend on what type of loan is needed. For example, lenders may consider raw land to be a riskier option than improved land and require a bigger down payment and higher interest rates.

Mortgages for Tiny Homes

Qualifying for a home loan for a tiny home may be tricky. Some lenders may not be willing to offer first or second mortgages for tiny home financing. However, if a tiny home has a foundation and complies with local building codes, it may qualify for certain mortgages.

Tiny homes may also qualify for what is known as a “chattel mortgage,” a mortgage for moveable personal property. The tiny home acts as security for the loan, and the lender effectively becomes the owner of the tiny home until the loan is paid off and ownership is transferred back to the borrower.

This differs from traditional mortgages that are secured by a lien on the property. Because the size of the loans are typically small, chattel mortgages may have relatively short terms, though interest rates may be relatively high.

Personal Loans

A personal loan can allow individuals access to money that they can use for any personal, family, or household purpose, from paying off credit cards to an effective tiny house loan. Depending on the lender, loan amounts can range from $1,000 to $100,000. When the applicant is approved for a personal loan, they’ll receive the loan amount in a lump sum and pay it back in installments with interest.

Personal loans may be secured or unsecured. Unsecured loans are not backed with any collateral, and the interest rates can range from 5% to 36%, depending largely on the borrower’s credit score.

Secured loans are backed by collateral, such as personal savings, a car, or another home owned by the same borrower. They typically come with a lower interest rate than their unsecured counterparts, but if a personal loan is defaulted on, the borrower’s assets can be seized by the lender to repay the debt.

Home Equity Loans

The equity someone may have built up in a home they already own can be tapped to finance a tiny home for use as a vacation home, rental property, or ADU. A home equity loan is a fixed amount of money secured by a borrower’s home.

Usually, up to 85% of the equity accumulated in a home can be borrowed, though actual loan amounts will also depend on the applicant’s income and credit history. The home equity loan is repaid with monthly payments over a fixed term. And if the borrower fails to repay, the lender can foreclose on the house.

A home equity line of credit (HELOC) may be another option to finance a tiny home. HELOCs differ from home equity loans in that the borrower doesn’t receive a single lump-sum payment from the lender.

Rather, a HELOC gives the borrower access to a line of credit that can be drawn down, paid back, and drawn down again, if need be, within a certain time period. The HELOC is secured by the borrower’s home, so as with a home equity loan if the debt is not paid, the lender can use the home as collateral.

Loans From Tiny House Builders

A tiny house builder may be able to help secure financing through unsecured loans based on an applicant’s credit score, or secured loans backed by the value of the tiny home. These tiny-house loans may have longer terms and lower starting interest rates than personal loans, but they may require a downpayment.

RV Loans

If the tiny house has wheels and is certified as an RV by the Recreational Vehicle Industry Association, an RV loan may be another option for financing. Online lenders, banks, and credit unions may all offer RV loans. In many cases, the tiny house will serve as collateral for the loan, the same way a car would serve as collateral in an automobile loan.

Recommended: Guide to Buying, Selling, and Updating Your Home

The Takeaway

If you’re in the market for a tiny house, you may need to think beyond traditional mortgages. Personal loans, unlocking the equity in an existing home, and other forms of financing can set you on your way to owning the tiny house of your dreams.

To explore how personal loans can help you accomplish your real estate and other financial goals, learn more about SoFi personal loans, with competitive interest rates and no fees.



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SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC), and by SoFi Lending Corp. NMLS #1121636 , a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law (License # 6054612) and by other states. For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.

Tax Information: This article provides general background information only and is not intended to serve as legal or tax advice or as a substitute for legal counsel. You should consult your own attorney and/or tax advisor if you have a question requiring legal or tax advice.
Checking Your Rates: To check the rates and terms you may qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.
External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

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The Ultimate Babyproofing Checklist

The Ultimate Babyproofing Checklist

When babies start crawling, they can get into all sorts of trouble. Aside from creating messes, they can hurt themselves. That’s why it’s important to babyproof a home before a child begins to explore.

Coming up with a babyproofing checklist can help parents relax, knowing that their little ones will be able to crawl—and eventually walk—around the home without getting hurt.

A pre-baby financial checklist usually includes budgeting. A babyproofing checklist includes ways to ensure that a home is safe for a child.

Put Up Gates

If parents don’t have doors throughout their home, they can install baby gates.

The best types of baby gates can be screwed into a banister, wall, or door frame because they are the most secure, according to Babylist. Pressure-mounted gates are an option, especially if parents live in a rental and don’t want to put holes in the structure.

Some gates allow parents to step through, while others swing open. When looking for baby gates, parents may want to seek out the ones that are the top-rated for safety and the most convenient for their homes. For instance, they may get frustrated that they have to constantly step over a gate, so a swinging gate could be a better fit.

Buy a Hexagon Playpen

When parents can’t constantly watch their baby, they can put the baby in a hexagon “play yard” with toys and a bottle.

The panels can also be used to block off certain rooms or areas of a room.

However, parents should keep in mind that a toddler may be able to climb out of the panels or push them out of the room.

Cover the Outlets

Another part of a babyproofing checklist is covering all the outlets in the home.

The easiest option is to push heavy furniture in front of outlets so the baby can’t get to them. But if that’s not possible, parents can buy plug-in plastic covers, outlet shields, or sliding plate covers.

Remember to also get power strip covers and cord covers so the baby can’t play with those either.

Babyproof the Doors

Babyproofing doors is important so that babies can’t get into certain rooms or get their fingers jammed in doors.

To babyproof doors, parents can install doorknob covers, which are rounded, plastic covers that are too hard for babies to squeeze in order to turn the knobs.

Parents can also use a door strap, which will keep babies out of a room but allow small pets in.

Put Away Heavy Objects

If young children pick up a heavy object, they could drop it and break it or, worse, hurt themselves.

A major part of a babyproof checklist is putting away heavy objects that could injure a child. These objects could go in a closet or another room. It doesn’t matter where they go, as long as they are out of baby’s reach.

Install Latches on Drawers

One key part of babyproofing a home is to make sure that children can’t get into drawers and cabinets where dangerous objects like knives are stored.

Parents have a few options for babyproofing cabinets and drawers.

According to Babylist, they can use slide locks for double door cabinets, which tie adjacent knobs together, or magnetic locks, which go in drawers and cabinets and require a key to unlock them.

Parents could also purchase adhesive strap locks, which use heavy-duty, removable adhesive, or spring-action locks, which unlock when parents open a drawer and hold down on the lock at the same time.

Remove Choking Hazards

If parents have more than one child, there could be little toys around the house or other objects that are choking hazards for the baby.

Parents could store these objects in a safe spot and instruct their older kids to do the same. For instance, an older child could have a special trunk where they put all their toys when the baby is around.

Keep Chemicals Locked Up

Before having a baby, parents may have kept household cleaners and bug spray underneath the sink.

Now, when babyproofing, they need to put a lock on the cabinet where these chemicals are stored and/or install a gate to keep the baby far away from them.

A number of household substances must, by law, have child-resistant packaging. Still, one look around the average home shows potential dangers, including perhaps colorful single-load laundry detergent units and dishwashing liquid.

Use Corner Guards

Installing corner guards is an essential babyproofing step. Corner guards, which may prevent a bad bruise or eye injury, can be used on sharp corners of wooden desks, glass tables, and metal fireplace hearths.

Some corner guards are made of high-density foam; others from silicone rubber. They come in different colors and may include double-stick tape for easy installation.

Babyproof Window Blinds

Corded blinds are a strangling hazard for babies.

Parents can wrap a blind’s operating cords around cord cleats. Cord cleats should be installed at least 5 feet above a floor, where a baby can’t reach.

Other options are shortening cords and tying on plastic washers (the washer ties to the lift cord, preventing the lift cord from being pulled through the slats on the blind).

Secure Furniture to the Wall

Babies start to become very curious when they roam around the house. They may push furniture and try to move it. This is why all furniture they have access to should be secured to walls.

It’s important to secure furniture not only in the living and dining room but also in the nursery. Pay special attention to the baby’s bookshelf and dresser.

Every year children are injured in tip-overs of TVs, tables, dressers, and bookcases, some fatally.

Secure Rugs

Once babies start to crawl and even walk, they could slip and fall on rugs. Carpet Mill notes that parents can make rugs immovable by placing nonskid rug pads under rugs.

Double-sided carpet tape can also be used to keep down any slight upturns on the edges and corners of the rugs.

Block or Babyproof Stairs

Babies love stairs, but of course stairs can be dangerous. Parents can block stairs off with a baby gate or add carpeting, nonskid step pads, or a carpet runner to make stairs less slippery.

Paying for Babyproofing

First-time parents are prone to making common financial mistakes, but any way you slice it, child rearing is expensive, and that can start with babyproofing a home.

A metal baby play yard alone can cost more than $100, and gates can add up if there are a lot of open entryways to block off from the baby. Parents may also need to buy storage bins, carpeting, or furniture to keep the baby safe.

If they aren’t able to pay for babyproofing out of pocket, they could put the expense on a low- or no-interest credit card, look out for sales on their favorite items, or take out a home improvement loan.

The Takeaway

A babyproof checklist is a must before babies start crawling and then toddling. Adding baby gates, playpens, and gadgets, and modifying furniture and flooring, can add up, but safety is the watchword.

A new child brings joy but, let’s face it, a lot of expenses. If a loan could help, SoFi offers fixed-rate personal loans without fees.

Look into the benefits of a personal loan and find your rate.



SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC), and by SoFi Lending Corp. NMLS #1121636 , a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law (License # 6054612) and by other states. For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

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How to Stage a House: 8 Steps

If you’re ready to sell your house, it’s probably a safe assumption that you want to get an offer quickly and at or above asking price. Staging is one way to maximize your chances of doing just that.

In a nutshell, staging uses design to cater to a larger share of buyers and highlight a home’s assets. When done well, staging makes it easier for buyers to visualize the space as their own.

According to a National Association of Realtors® survey, 82% percent of buyers’ agents said staging a home made it easier for a buyer to visualize the property as a future home .Nearly half of sellers’ agents used a staging service.

Ready to get started? This guide will take the guesswork out of how to stage a house with eight easy steps.

8 Steps to Stage a House for Sellers

1. Take Stock of Needed Fixes

If a house requires considerable repairs, a seller may face a lengthy negotiation process that results in concessions and contingencies. Any issues flagged by an inspection will also need to be addressed with prospective buyers.

Deciding whether to make these fixes beforehand will affect how a home is staged and perceived by buyers. Even relatively small issues like cracks in a ceiling and a dripping faucet can raise concerns and influence a buyer’s impression.

Taking care of these common home repairs before house staging can show buyers that you’ve maintained the property and keep their focus on its strengths.

2. Enhance Curb Appeal

Before buyers walk through the door, they’ll have already formed an impression from the home’s curb appeal, the attractiveness of a property from the sidewalk or street.

Buyers may even do a drive-by before setting up a showing to narrow down their search. Thus, sprucing up a home’s exterior, lawn, and landscaping are essential to any plan for how to stage a house.

Any eyesores, such as chipped paint, cracked windows, or clogged gutters could discourage buyers from taking a closer look. Power-washing any siding and applying a fresh coat of paint where needed are some possible quick improvements.

Thinning out lawn decor, replacing burned-out lights, and tidying up gardens and landscaping are also low-cost ways to increase curb appeal.

For many prospective buyers, their first look into your home will be digital. High-quality photos can be helpful in attracting buyers.

Staying on top of things like lawn care while the home is listed could make a difference in getting more showings and securing a higher offer. In fact, homes with strong curb appeal sell for 7% more on average than their less inviting counterparts, one study showed.

3. Remove Clutter

While working on house staging, you may also be encumbered with the homebuying process or figuring out what to do with all your stuff after it’s sold. In either case, staging is an opportunity to jumpstart the moving process and declutter the house.

Removing clutter is a popular staging tactic to make the interior of a home appear more spacious. A home’s square footage can’t be fabricated, but curating a more open layout can give the impression of a larger space.

Begin by packing away items that you don’t use daily like seasonal clothes, knickknacks, sports equipment, and other odds and ends. This is also a chance to identify anything you want to sell, donate, or dispose of.

Storage space of a home can also be a major selling point. Instead of loading up the basement, garage, and closets, sellers may want to consider asking family members or friends to store their belongings, or renting a storage unit.

Depending on location, a 10-by-20-foot storage unit costs between $120 to $280 a month and can accommodate the contents of a two- to three-bedroom house, HomeAdvisor notes.

4. Depersonalize the Space

Cutting back on personal items is an important step in staging a house. While decluttering the home, stowing away family photos and clothing is a good place to start. Removing subtler items like personal toiletries can further neutralize the space.

That lavender paint in one room, turtle-themed wallpaper in another? It might be best to create a more ordinary canvas.

The point is to show that the home is move-in ready and an open book for buyers to add their personal touches. With just the integral furniture and furnishings remaining, it’s easier for buyers to imagine themselves moving in and living there.

5. Do a Deep Cleaning

Once the decor and furnishings have been minimized, it’s time to get the house squeaky clean. While this is one of the more cost-effective ways to stage a house, it can take significant time and energy.

To streamline the process, consider starting with the highest surfaces and working your way down. Overhead fixtures like lighting and ceiling fans are often overlooked in regular cleaning routines, and thus accumulate lots of dust and grime. It’s likely that cleaning these hard-to-reach places will bring debris down on countertops and floors.

Bathrooms and kitchens are key rooms to focus on. Water stains and mildew in sinks, tubs, and showers are obviously a no-no. Making sure appliances sparkle and that countertops are spotless can give the kitchen a fresh new look.

6. Define Every Space

While the kitchen, bathroom, master bedroom, and garage are straightforward in their purpose, some spaces in a home may not have an obvious use to prospective buyers.

Thinking about how to stage spare rooms and unconventional spaces is important. For example, using an extra room for storage may fit your needs, but that use may not translate as valuable to many buyers. Instead, staging such a space as a home office or workout room could appeal to a larger segment of buyers.

7. Stage Where It Matters Most

Not every room holds equal weight from the homebuyer’s perspective. According to the NAR report, these are the most important rooms in staged houses for sale, according to buyers’ agents:

1. Living room: 46% cited as very important
2. Master bedroom: 43% very important
3. Kitchen: 35% very important
4. Dining room: 27% very important
5. Yard: 23% very important

8. Don’t Forget Outdoor Space

Whereas the front of a house determines curb appeal, the yard, porch, or patio space can sell buyers on the lifestyle that living there provides.

The backyard is a popular place for entertaining and socializing, especially for families with kids. Tidying up the yard and addressing any safety issues like a wobbly porch railing or broken fence could be easy fixes.

Setting up a focal point, such as an outdoor seating area, fire pit, or grill, can make the space more inviting. Even if it’s a limited yard or patio space, brightening it up with flowers and comfy outdoor furniture can change the perception from confined to cozy.

Recommended: Guide to Buying, Selling, and Updating Your Home

The Takeaway

How to stage a house? It can take time and energy, but emphasizing a home’s strengths and creating an inviting atmosphere can be done with some thorough cleaning, decluttering, and rearranging.

If you’re shopping for a new home while selling, financing can be challenging. Getting prequalified for a mortgage loan with SoFi is quick and easy, and no commitment is required.

SoFi offers home loans with competitive rates and as little as 5% down.

What’s more, SoFi’s home loan help center provides resources to help navigate the homebuying process.

Check your rate on a home loan in a few clicks.



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Terms, conditions, and state restrictions apply. Not all products are available in all states. See SoFi.com/eligibility for more information.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands or products mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

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Staircase Remodel Cost & Ideas

Staircase Remodel Cost & Ideas

Outdated stairs are not a lost cause. Before considering a whole staircase remodel or replacement, there may be cosmetic changes that could be made to improve the appearance of the staircase before making structural changes to improve the functionality of the stairs.

Deciding what the ultimate goal is and looking at the costs to complete the staircase remodel will help frame the decision about how to move forward with the project.

How Do You Remodel Stairs?

That’s the million-dollar question, really (and don’t worry, that’s not a budget estimate). Staircases are the sum of their parts, and each of those parts presents an opportunity for a refresh that may help retain the value of your home. Staircases are more than just a large structure used to move from one level of a house to another. They can be a major decorative element in a home.

Your staircase remodel may be superficial, but still visually effective, like painting spindles, re-staining treads, and risers, or adding or removing a carpet runner. It may involve carpentry work, like replacing the handrails, newel posts, and spindles for a different profile or materials upgrade. Or, it may be structural—making major changes to the bones of the staircase and the walls it’s housed within.

Understanding the various project scopes from the outset can help you not take on more than you intend, while also helping ensure that the selected home improvements are worth your time and money.

Recommended: Home Improvement Cost Calculator

Staircase Elements and Materials

Being familiar with essential staircase anatomy can help refine project goals and have productive conversations when getting estimates for the job. The focus here will be on interior stairs, as outdoor staircases materials, pricing, and regulations will differ even though the two share elements.

Treads

The stair tread is the part of the stair that is stepped on and what is likely pictured when thinking of stairs. They’re often made of wood, although they may have another finish layer on top, such as tile or carpet.

Risers

Stair risers are the vertical pieces that connect the treads—the piece of the staircase in front of your toes as you’re walking up. Risers might be made of wood or an engineered wood product for extra strength.

Spindles, aka Balusters

Spindles, a term used interchangeably with balusters, are the parts that go from the stair treads to the handrail to create the side of a stairway where there’s not a wall. There are a variety of materials to use that will suit the style of the home. More traditional staircases might have wooden spindles, while a more modern aesthetic might use metal.

Handrails

This part is simply the rail where you put your hands. There may be more than one handrail piece in staircases with turns or angles. Wood, composite, and metal are all standard, although, like other parts of a staircase, there is room for creativity.

Newel Posts and Post Caps

The heftier vertical posts that go in line with the spindles and create endings to the railing are the newel posts, and the post cap is the decorative element that tops the newel post. If the staircase has an open side with a railing, the newel post will be at the base of the staircase, as well as at any turns or landings along the way, as handrails start and end in newel posts. Materials mirror those of spindles.

Recommended: Guide to Buying, Selling, and Updating Your Home

Estimating Project Scope and Cost

Being familiar with these parts of the staircase, individually or together, can be helpful when deciding on the design and organization of the staircase remodel—even if it’s being done piecemeal. For example, refinishing the stair treads now and replacing the spindles and handrail later, or repainting the whole staircase so it has an updated look until replacing it is affordable might be budget-friendly options.

Painting Stairs

•   Using paint made to withstand the wear and tear this high-traffic area is prone to is essential for the paint job to be long lasting. Look for floor, deck, or heavy-duty paint. Water-based, not oil-based paints, will prevent discoloration, especially on light colors.
•   Other important considerations in painting stairs are proper preparation (cleaning and sanding), protecting neighboring surfaces, and priming the stairs so the paint will adhere correctly.
•   For DIY projects, materials are the main costs and can be between $175 and $350.

◦  An average indoor residential staircase will require one gallon of paint at $30 to $40 per gallon. If the handrail, spindles, and/or newel posts will be a different color than the treads or risers, an additional gallon of paint will be needed. Polyurethane, at about $50 per gallon, will help protect the new paint finish.

◦  Other necessary materials, if they aren’t already owned, are sandpaper, paint rollers or brushes, tape, and drop cloths, costing about $45 to $70.

◦  Priming will add about $25 to $30 dollars to the job, including the cost of additional rollers and brushes.

◦  Depending on the state of the current stairs, allot $25 to $100 for solvents, carpet removal, and cleaning supplies.
•   To hire a professional to complete the work, the cost may range from $350 to $400 and will depend on the finishes chosen.

Refinishing Stairs

•   Another option for changing the color of a staircase, refinishing requires additional time and materials. It might also seem like a more daunting task than painting for some people.
•   Involves stripping off the current finish with solvents and sanding, which is easier to do on flat stair treads than turned spindles or even vertical risers.
•   Refinishing the spindles or handrail won’t involve much extra cost, but will take extra time.
•   Materials will be similar to those required for painting, with some additions.

◦  Use of a chemical solvent ($40 per gallon) and plastic scraper is recommended to strip the original finish. Solvent manufacturers recommend using heavy-duty rubber gloves and a respirator mask in a well-ventilated area when using these products, which might cost approximately $45.

◦  Tack cloth to clean up after sanding.

◦  Staining will show imperfections in the finished product that painting might hide, so preparation is doubly important if going this route. A power sander will make the job easier and faster. This piece of equipment can be rented for about $15 per day or purchased for about $50.
•   Hiring a professional to do this work will range in cost from $60 to $75 per hour, and can take about two hours to complete a staircase with 10 treads.

Replacing Staircase Components

•  Swapping elements like spindles, newel posts and caps, or handrails for a different style can change the overall look of a staircase.
•  Replacing carpet-covered treads with a stained-wood tread, or vice versa, can help rectify an outdated look.
•  If the staircase has historic elements, getting spindles or other pieces to match other elements in the home might require custom work if replacements can’t be found through architectural reuse or salvage sources.
•  Costs to replace parts of a staircase will vary depending on what is being replaced.

◦  Every job will include costs for tools, prep and finish materials, and disposal of old materials.

◦  Hiring a carpenter is approximately $45 per hour.

◦  Midrange costs for unfinished wood replacement parts are approximately $100 per newel post, $7 per spindle, $30 per stair tread, $18 per stair riser, and $8 per foot of handrail.

Total Replacement

•  Completely replacing a staircase is logistically and financially complex.
•  It can be a necessary option when faced with structural changes or a complete design overhaul.
•  Consulting a building or remodeling professional, such as a licensed construction engineer or residential architect, about safety and fire code and potential structural implications for the home is a good step to take.
•  Using midrange materials, the cost of a new staircase averages around $1,800 to $3,500, depending on its location in the house, design specifics, and finishes. Labor would be an additional cost.

Recommended: Average Cost To Remodel A House

The Takeaway

The average cost to remodel a staircase varies greatly according to the scope of the project, from basic repainting to a total replacement. But there are many budget-friendly changes you can make so your staircase will contribute, rather than detract, from your home’s style.

Is your goal to make the space to feel brighter, more open, unique? Making less expensive changes, like fresh paint or new spindles can completely change the feel of a staircase—and the living space that surrounds it, making a house feel like a home.

Simple updates may be manageable using money set aside in a savings account, and avoiding taking on debt to pay for renovations is always ideal. But for larger upgrades to something like a staircase remodel, extra funding might be necessary. A home improvement loan could be the thing that makes it possible for your staircase to become a showcase.

SoFi offers unsecured, fixed-rate personal loans that offer lower interest rates than you’ll typically find with credit cards. Checking your rate takes just 1 minute.

Learn more about loan options from SoFi.



SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC), and by SoFi Lending Corp. NMLS #1121636 , a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law (License # 6054612) and by other states. For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third-party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.

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Four Signs You May Be Ready to Buy

When the rent check is due, does it feel like pouring money down the drain? Are you spending your free time swiping through real estate listings? Do you dream of spending Saturday mornings at the Home Depot?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above, it might be time to stop renting and consider buying a home. Of course, buying a home isn’t as simple as finding a place to rent—it’s a huge investment.

That doesn’t mean it’s a purely financial decision. You may be seeking more space for your growing family or craving the community aspect of living in a suburb. Maybe you want home office space, a better school district, or dog-friendly green space. Or maybe you’re just feeling ready to achieve that major milestone of being a homeowner.

That said, it may be best to remove emotion from the equation to help you answer the question “Am I financially ready to buy?” Your heart might say, “I’m ready for my own backyard,” but your wallet might tell you, “We can’t afford it.”

Here are four signs that you may be financially prepared to be a first-time homebuyer.

1. Your Budget Is Big Enough to Cover the Expenses

Homeownership isn’t all gain, no pain. Expenses may include:

•   Down payment and closing costs
•   Mortgage payments, including property taxes, homeowners insurance, and, if applicable, private mortgage insurance
•   Repair and maintenance costs, including HOA dues, if applicable

How can you budget for these upfront and ongoing expenses? One way is to take a look at the average amount each of these costs in the housing market where you plan to buy a home to get a sense of how home-related expenses may affect your finances in the larger picture.

Doing some crunches with this home affordability calculator may be enlightening. Don’t forget to factor in any estimated cost of repairs, as well as maintaining an emergency fund.

You may get excited about buying a fixer-upper when watching home improvement shows. A common mortgage for such homes is an FHA 203(k), backed by the federal government, which includes money for the purchase price and some repairs and renovations.

Buyers will need to get bids for all the repairs they hope to fund with the loan. For less extensive repairs/improvements, there’s a Limited 203(k) .

If the desired renovation is on the smaller side and you acquire a traditional mortgage, cash or a personal loan are options.

You can get an idea of how much your chosen home repair or improvement costs will be with this home improvement cost calculator.

2. You Plan on Staying Put for a While

Buying a home signals more of a commitment to location than renting.

Sell a place and move out too soon? Depending on market conditions in the area, there’s a chance you’ll barely break even, when additional real estate commissions and other factors come into play. If you can see yourself staying put in your new home for a while, it might be a sign to start shopping.

You may want to check for any future changes in the area, such as corporate layoffs or zoning updates, that may affect future property values. And it’s a good idea to ask your real estate agent about the stability of prices in your chosen area.

Of course, money and home value appreciation aren’t the only reasons you might consider staying put. You may want to take your career trajectory and family planning into account when thinking about tying a chunk of change into a home. You’ll likely want to determine that there isn’t a chance you’ll have to move any time soon. The financial and emotional stress of selling a home soon after buying it probably isn’t worth it.

If you think you won’t be in the same place for a while, you may want to think twice about buying a home or explore how your finances would be affected if you had to move and/or convert the property into a rental.

Searching for other ways to possibly increase the home’s value? Check out this home improvement return on investment estimator to gauge the possible return on your next project.

3. You Have Good Credit

Your good or better credit profile may have been advantageous when applying for a place to rent.

The credit you’ve spent years building will likely pay off in a bigger way once you make the move to own, with improved lending terms such as a lower mortgage rate offered.

What credit score is needed to buy a house? The average American’s credit score remains in the range considered “good.” But applicants with “fair” and even “poor” credit scores can and do secure mortgages.

Here’s how FICO® scores are classified:

•  Exceptional: 800-850
•  Very good: 740-799
•  Good: 670-739
•  Fair: 580-669
•  Very poor: 300-579

If you’ve spent years building your credit and your number reflects that, then you might be financially ready to buy a home.

Credit score requirements for loan program eligibility and pricing can vary from lender to lender, so you may want to shop around.

4. Rents in Your Area Are High

In many markets, the rising price of rent could make buying more enticing than ever, depending on the area you are interested in.

This may be reflected in a good number of major metropolitan areas in the states, and means, over time, it may be a smarter move to invest your money toward home ownership vs rent.

Two big factors to consider are:

•   How long you plan to stay in your home
•   The price-to-rent ratio, which compares the median home price and median annual rent in a given area.

Trulia has a rent vs. buy calculator for comparing the net costs of renting and buying. So does realtor.com.

Zillow has a similar calculator showing how many years it will take before the cost of buying equals the cost of renting—the break-even point.

Estimating your break-even point could be useful when answering the question of whether it’s a good time to buy a home.

It’s best to take the calculations with a grain of salt, though. These are general estimates, and no one can predict the future of housing prices, rents, and taxes.

Now, if the financials make sense for you, you may want to consider the emotional perspective. For example, do you crave the autonomy of owning your own place? Are you dying to have control over paint colors and tile choices? And are you willing to live without your landlords (and their midnight visits to fix your broken heater)?

The Takeaway

Signs that you may be ready to buy a home: You have an adequate budget and good credit profile, a desire to put down stakes, and an understanding of the price-to-rent ratio in your target city.

If you’re ready to take the plunge into homeownership, consider SoFi’s fixed-rate mortgage options, from 10 to 30 years.

SoFi offers competitive rates and as little as 5% down.

Find your rate in two minutes.



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