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What Is a Good Mortgage Interest Rate Right Now?

Most people consider a “good” mortgage rate to be the lowest average current rate available. But here’s what they may not realize: Not everyone will qualify for the best rates out there.

So what is a good mortgage rate? It can be different for every borrower, depending on their financial situation and credit score.

Many factors go into determining the mortgage rate you can get. Once you understand what these variables are, the better equipped you’ll be to navigate the mortgage market and find the best loan for your situation.

This guide will get you on your way.

What Is a Mortgage Interest Rate?

If you’re a first-time home buyer, you may have a lot of questions about mortgage interest rates. The interest rate on a loan is the cost you pay to borrow money. You pay the interest each month as part of your regular payments for your loan.

There are different types of mortgage rates. With a fixed rate mortgage, your interest stays the same over the life of the loan. This means your monthly payment will always be the same.

An adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) changes with the prime interest rate, which is influenced by the federal funds benchmark set by the Federal Reserve (the Fed). An ARM typically starts with a fixed rate for the first five to seven years, and then might fluctuate, based on the prime rate. This could potentially make your payments much higher, depending on the state of the economy.

First-time homebuyers can
prequalify for a SoFi mortgage loan,
with as little as 3% down.


How Do Mortgage Interest Rates Work?

So what is a good mortgage interest rate? Interest rates are always changing. A variety of factors determine mortgage rate changes. Some you have control over, and others you don’t.

One of the critical factors that’s outside your control is what’s happening in the economy. Major economic events have a significant effect on interest rate fluctuations. For instance, if employment rates are high, the interest rate typically rises as well.

Inflation, which limits consumers’ purchasing power, also plays a role. Since 2022, inflation has been on the rise, and the Fed has raised interest rates numerous times to try to tame it.

Your personal financial situation also affects the interest rate you get, as outlined below.

How Lenders Determine Your Mortgage Rate

In addition to the economic factors and the influence of the Fed, your unique financial situation will help determine the mortgage rate you qualify for.

Here are a few key factors lenders typically consider when determining your rate.

Credit Score

Most lenders review your credit history to determine if you’re eligible for a mortgage.

With this in mind, you want to make sure you check your score regularly and that you’re doing everything you can to keep your score as high as possible, like paying your bills on time and keeping your credit balances low.

Credit report agencies will assign you a credit score by evaluating these factors. The most common model is the FICO® credit score, which ranges from 300 to 850.

Usually, if you have a credit score of 800 or higher, it’s considered exceptional, whereas a credit score between 740 and 799 is considered very good.

A credit score of 739 to 670 is good, and a score between 669 and 580 is fair. A score of 579 and lower is considered poor. A low credit score indicates that a borrower represents a higher risk. Borrowers with these credit scores may have trouble getting approved for a loan.

It’s important to note that specific credit score requirements may depend on the loan you apply for.

Income and Assets

Your income is another important factor lenders use to determine if you’re eligible for a mortgage. Lenders prefer borrowers with a steady income. To determine if you qualify, lenders evaluate your income and other assets, such as investments.

Also, your debt-to-income ratio (DTI) is essential information. Your DTI indicates what percentage of your monthly income is used for debt payments. This number gives lenders an idea of how well you’re doing financially.

If your DTI ratio is high, it may show that you’re not in a position to take on more debt. A lender might give you a higher interest rate or deny your mortgage application altogether.

Down Payment Amount

Sometimes your down payment amount can lower your interest rate or even determine what loans you’re eligible for. Lenders may see you as less of a risk if you put more money down.

A good standard tends to be a 20% down payment. A 20% down payment may help you get the most favorable interest rates.

However, if you’re applying for a government-backed loan, you may not need such a big down payment. For example, a Veterans Affairs mortgage requires no money down, and a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan only requires 3.5% down.

Also, some conventional home loans do not require 20% down.

Loan Term and Type

The loan term you select, such as 15 or 30 years, can also make a difference in the interest rate you receive. In general, a shorter-term loan will have a lower interest rate than a longer-term loan. However, your monthly payments will be higher with a shorter-term mortgage.

There are also several types of mortgage loan categories, including conventional, FHA, USDA, and VA loans. Each loan product may have very different rates.

Finally, as discussed, with a fixed-rate mortgage, your interest rate will remain the same for the life of the loan. But if you choose an adjustable-rate mortgage, your interest rate will vary after an initial fixed rate.

Before you take out any loan, it’s important to compare all of your options to make sure you find the best rate available.

Location

Where your property is located can also play a role in the interest rate you receive. Some real estate markets are simply more costly than others. For instance the cost of living in California is higher than it is in some other locations.

You can check the cost of living by state to see how your state ranks.

Other Factors That Determine Your Mortgage Rate

In addition to your financial situation and location, and the type of loan you’re applying for, there are some other things that may influence the mortgage rate you get. They include:

The lender you choose

Different lenders offer different mortgage rates and terms. Shop around to find the best rate you can qualify for.

Housing market conditions

This factor is out of your control, but it’s good to understand how it works. If demand for houses is strong, mortgage rates tend to rise. And the opposite is true: When demand slows, rates tend to decrease. Knowing what the housing market is doing when you’re shopping for a home loan can help prepare you for what to expect.

What Is Considered a Good Mortgage Rate

Currently, in mid-June 2023, the average rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage is 6.67%, according to Freddie Mac. Anything below or close to that number might be considered good.

But again, what’s a good mortgage rate for you depends on your financial situation and many other factors. A good rate is what you can qualify for. Be sure to compare rates from different lenders to get the best deal and the lowest rate you can.

As you’re comparing your options, be sure to look at the loan’s APR (annual percentage rate). An APR gives borrowers a more comprehensive measure of the cost to borrow money than the interest rate alone does.

The APR includes the interest rate, any points, mortgage broker fees, and other charges you pay to borrow money. So when you’re comparing options, you’ll want to review each lender’s APR to indicate the true cost of borrowing.

To get an idea of what your mortgage payments might be, you can use a mortgage calculator.

How to Get a Good Mortgage Rate

Now that you know the answer to the question, what is a good interest rate for a mortgage?, you’ll want to make sure you get the best rate for you. Making sure your finances are in order before you apply for a mortgage will likely help you obtain a better interest rate and loan terms. Here are some ways to do that.

•   Pay off higher-interest debt. If you have debt like credit card debt, you’re likely paying a lot of money in interest. That money could be going toward other things like a mortgage payment. Second, carrying a large amount of debt means you lower your chances of approval for a home loan. Pay off as much of your debt as you reasonably can.

•   Save more for a large down payment. Buyers who put down less than 20% may end up paying for private mortgage insurance (PMI), which typically costs between 0.5% and 1.5% of the loan amount annually.

•   Review your credit history and check for errors. You can get a free copy of your credit report from the three major credit bureaus or from AnnualCreditReport.com. If you spot any errors, be sure to alert the credit bureaus right away. Correcting any mistakes may help improve your ability to get a home loan.

The Takeaway

What is a good interest rate on a mortgage? Your financial health, the health of the economy, the loan type and term, and other factors help determine the actual rates you’re offered. What you can do is work to strengthen your credit and financial situation and pay down debt you have, such as credit card debt.

Looking for an affordable option for a home mortgage loan? SoFi can help: We offer low down payments (as little as 3% - 5%*) with our competitive and flexible home mortgage loans. Plus, applying is extra convenient: It's online, with access to one-on-one help.


SoFi Mortgages: simple, smart, and so affordable.

FAQ

What is the 30 year mortgage rate right now?

Right now, as of mid-June 2023, the average rate for a 30-year mortgage is 6.67%, according to Freddie Mac.

What is a good interest rate for a mortgage now?

A good rate for a mortgage now is anything below the average rate for a 30-year mortgage, which is 6.67% in mid-June 2023. But a good mortgage rate can be different for every borrower, depending on their financial situation and credit score, as well as the type of home loan they’re applying for, among other factors.

Is 4% a good rate for a mortgage?

Currently, in 2023, 4% is considered a good rate for a mortgage, compared to the average rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, which is 6.67%.


Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website .

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.

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.

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


SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.


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7 Ways to Build Equity in Your Home

Homeownership comes with plenty of perks, But one important financial benefit is the opportunity to build home equity, which is considered a common way to generate wealth over time.

Read on to learn how homeowners can help build equity and increase the value of their home.

What Is Home Equity?

In order to understand how building home equity works, it’s important to understand exactly what it is.

Equity is the amount of your home you actually own. More specifically, it’s the difference between how much you owe your lender and how much your home is worth.

To calculate home equity, simply subtract the amount of the outstanding mortgage loan from the price paid for the home. So if a home is worth $350,000, and the homeowner owes $250,000 on their mortgage, they have $100,000 of equity built up in their house. Their mortgage lender still has an interest in the home to the tune of $250,000 and will continue to have an interest in the home until the mortgage is paid off.

7 Smart Ways to Build Your Home Equity

1. Making a Big Down Payment

Homeowners can get a jump on building home equity when they’re buying a home by making a large down payment.

Typically, homebuyers using a conventional loan will put down at least 20% as a down payment to avoid having to pay mortgage insurance. That means that right off the bat, the homeowner has a 20% interest in their home. They can increase this amount by putting even more down. A down payment of 30%, for instance, will increase equity and potentially give the homebuyer more favorable mortgage payments and terms.

If making a large down payment means having less in emergency savings, however, the home buyer may want to use other methods to build equity.

2. Prioritizing Mortgage Payments

Each mortgage payment a homeowner makes increases the amount of equity they have in their home. Making mortgage payments on time will avoid potential late fees.

Keep in mind that a portion of each mortgage payment goes toward interest and sometimes escrow. You’ll want to take these amounts into account when calculating how much equity is accruing.

3. Making Extra Payments

Extra payments chip away at a loan’s principal, help build equity faster, and potentially save thousands of dollars in interest payments. Even if it’s only a little bit each month, paying more than your regular mortgage payment amount can help you increase how much home equity you build.

If adding some extra cash each month isn’t feasible, perhaps making one-time payments whenever possible — when you get a bonus at work, for instance — would be an option.

To ensure those payments are applied correctly, be sure to notify the lender that any extra or lump-sum payments should be put toward the loan’s principal.

Beware that some lenders may charge a prepayment penalty to borrowers who make significantly large payments or completely pay off their mortgage before the end of the term. Before making extra payments, consider asking the lender about a prepayment clause.

4. Refinancing to a Shorter Term

You may also consider refinancing with a loan that offers a shorter term. For example, a homeowner could refinance their 30-year mortgage to a 20-year mortgage, shaving off up to a decade of mortgage payments. However, doing so means they will also be increasing the amount they pay each month.

Still, shorter-terms loans may have the added benefit of lower interest rates, which could soften the blow of higher monthly payments.

Mortgage refinancing is not necessarily a simple process, nor is it guaranteed that a lender will offer a new loan. Homeowners can increase their chances of securing a refinanced mortgage by maintaining healthy credit and a low debt-to-income ratio. It may also help to have equity built up in the home already.

5. Renovating Your Home

Making home improvements typically increases the value of a home, which will likely increase equity. Renovating a home’s interior can be a good place to start.

Minor renovations like updating light fixtures and repainting can add some value to a home. Larger projects such as updating the kitchen, adding bathrooms or finishing the basement may yield good returns on the investment.

Weighing present cost against potential future gain may be a good thing to do before tackling a big project. The idea is that making these improvements now, and then being able to sell at a premium will mean recouping your expenses and then some. An online home improvement project calculator can help you estimate the cost of projects and how much value they could potentially add.

6. Sprucing Up the Outside

Similarly, adding to a home’s curb appeal may also increase its value. A fresh coat of paint, a well-maintained lawn, and tasteful landscaping could help increase a home’s desirability and the amount that buyers are willing to pay.

Mature trees, for example, can potentially add thousands of dollars to a home’s resale value. If you’re thinking of selling in a decade or more, planting a tree now could have a big effect on sale price later.

Increasing usable outdoor space by adding a deck or patio and installing good outdoor lighting may increase the value of your home.

7. Waiting for Home Values to Rise

The real estate market is always evolving, and sometimes, playing the waiting game could help you build equity. For instance, if your neighborhood becomes more popular, home prices could start to rise. If that happens, it may be worth keeping a home there longer to take advantage of the trend. Of course, the flip side is that housing prices may drop over time, which could mean a loss in equity.

Why Build Home Equity?

Building home equity is important because it gives the homeowner the opportunity to convert that equity into cash when the need arises. This is commonly done when a home is sold. But the equity in a home can also be important when taking out a home equity loan, which could allow the homeowner to use the value of their home while still living there.

For a home equity loan, a lender provides a lump-sum payment to the borrower. The amount must be repaid over a fixed time period with a set interest rate. As with a personal loan, home equity loans can be used for a variety of purposes. The loan is backed by the value of the home and typically must be repaid in full if the home is sold.

A home equity line of credit, or HELOC, is a revolving line of credit that uses the value of the home as collateral. Unlike lump-sum loans, a HELOC allows the homeowner to borrow money as needed up to an approved credit limit. That amount is paid back and can be drawn on again throughout the course of the loan’s draw period. While a person’s home is likely to be their most valuable asset, it’s also valuable purely because of its provision of shelter.

Researching and understanding all of the risks involved with loans that use a home as collateral, including that it could be lost if the loan is not paid back, is important before considering this option.

The Takeaway

There are many ways to build equity in a home. Different strategies include making a large down payment or extra monthly mortgage payments, refinancing to a shorter term, renovating your home, or waiting for home values in your area to rise. Whatever your strategy, home equity can provide you with a valuable resource that can be used when a financial need arises. Often this resource is tapped into by means of a loan that is secured by the home. However, this means if the loan is not repaid, a homeowner could lose their home.

If you want to avoid using a home as collateral for a loan, consider a SoFi personal loan instead. SoFi offers competitive fixed rates and same-day funding. And checking your rate takes just a minute.

SoFi’s Personal Loan was named NerdWallet’s 2024 winner for Best Personal Loan overall.


SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.


SoFi Student Loan Refinance
If you are a federal student loan borrower, you should consider all of your repayment opportunities including the opportunity to refinance your student loan debt at a lower APR or to extend your term to achieve a lower monthly payment. Please note that once you refinance federal student loans you will no longer be eligible for current or future flexible payment options available to federal loan borrowers, including but not limited to income-based repayment plans or extended repayment plans.


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.

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What Is Joint Tenancy?

If you’re planning on buying a house with your partner, you need to learn at least the basics of joint tenancy. What is joint tenancy? It’s a common way that couples take title to a property.

The basic definition of joint tenancy is simple: It’s when two or more people buy a property together, and each individual has an undivided interest in the property.

What makes joint tenancy unique in that each owner owns the entirety of the property. This means that if you and a spouse have a joint tenancy in a property you purchased, you both own the whole house versus each owning half.

Joint tenancy also includes what is called a “right of survivorship.” This means that if one of you dies, your co-owner will own the entire home on their own, regardless of whether you had any agreement to leave them the property (other than the recorded title itself).

Learn more about joint tenancy here.

How Does Joint Tenancy Work?

Joint tenancy is controlled by the state where you live, so you’ll need to look to state law to see exactly how to enter into a joint tenancy. The laws about joint tenancy also vary depending on whether you’re talking about real or personal property.

Real property is land and buildings attached to the land, and personal property is everything else, like your car, blender, or bank account.

Joint tenancy can technically be created in any property, so you could theoretically bequeath your blender to your sister and brother-in-law as joint tenants if you really wanted. However, joint tenancy is most often associated with things like real property and however many bank accounts you have.

Worth noting: Another option when buying a house with a partner is to purchase it as a tenancy in common (TIC). The main difference between joint tenancy and TIC is that tenancy in common doesn’t include the right of survivorship.

This means that property won’t automatically be inherited by the co-owner(s) or other tenants in common if the other owner dies — that tenant’s ownership portion goes to the party selected in the deceased owner’s will.

Joint Tenancy in Real Property

Joint tenancy might come up when you’re considering buying a home with another person, like your spouse or partner. When you take ownership of your house, you will normally take title of the home. The deed typically specifies whether you and your co-owner own the home as joint tenants or as tenants in common.

The escrow officer will often supply the buyer with a list of ways the owner(s) can take title to the property and help explain each choice available before the purchaser makes a decision.

There can be different options for right of survivorship depending upon the state the property is located and who is taking the property title. For instance, in the state of California spouses can take title as Community Property with the Right of Survivorship, this allows for tax benefits such as capital gains.

Check out our Home Loan Help Center
for tips on navigating the
home buying process.


Deciding which type of tenancy you’d like the deed to specify is an important choice because there are different rights and responsibilities involved, as well as possible tax implications.

For example, tenants in common only own a designated share of the co-owned property, even if they have the right to occupy the whole house. Also, if one co-owner in a TIC agreement dies, that person’s designated heirs may be the one to inherit their portion of the property instead of the other co-owner (unless that co-owner is the heir).

Tenants in common might also agree to share financial responsibility or costs proportional to the percentage of the property they actually own. Say that you buy a beach house with your friend as tenants in common. You paid for 40% of the house and your friend paid 60%.

Your TIC agreement might specify that your friend owns a three-fifths share in the property and you own a two-fifths share, even though you both will be occupying the whole house.

Because of the different levels of ownership, you may also decide that your friend will pay for three-fifths of the cost of upkeep and home repairs while you only pay for two-fifths. And if your friend passes away, her kids or other heirs might inherit that three-fifths interest in your beach house.

With joint tenancy, you may avoid some of the more complicated ownership questions that can arise with TIC. For example, if you buy a mountaintop vacation cabin with your wife as joint tenants, both of you would have equal ownership of 100% of the cabin.

If one of you were to pass away, the other spouse would simply continue to own 100% of the cabin and the deceased spouse’s co-ownership of the cabin would not pass on to anyone else.

Recommended: How to Buy a Starter Home

Joint Tenancy in a Bank Account

Another situation where joint tenancy might come up is with bank accounts. Although you might not consider yourself a “tenant” of your bank account, a bank account is considered personal property, which means you can own it as a joint tenant with someone else. It is not quite as complicated as it might sound.

Like joint tenancy on a house, a joint bank account allows for both owners to have total ownership of the account and to have a right of survivorship in the account.

This means that either co-owner may be able to withdraw all of the money in the account without the permission or knowledge of the other co-owner.

It also means that if one co-owner of the joint account dies, the other co-owner automatically gets ownership of the account and everything in it. You could also have a tenancy in common agreement for a bank account.

Recommended: Buying a House When Unmarried

Pros and Cons of Joint Tenancy

Many people, particularly married couples and family members choose to own property as joint tenants because it is convenient and can help to ensure that if one co-owner dies, the other co-owner automatically gets full possession of the property.

Of course, because of the right of survivorship inherent in joint tenancies, you are more limited when it comes to making decisions about who to leave your property to in a will as part of your estate planning. If you own your home in joint tenancy with your wife, but you leave the house to your kids in your will, your wife would maintain ownership of the house despite the will.

This could make figuring out the ownership of a property after losing a family member more complicated depending upon whether the state is a community property state or not.

Joint Tenancy and Mortgages

If you’re considering buying a property, it is also important to find the right mortgage loan. This path helps get you and your partner into your dream home without having to save up enough cash to buy a home outright.

For most couples, buying a new home involves saving up for a down payment and then taking out a mortgage to cover the remaining cost. You can take out a joint mortgage as co-borrowers, so both borrowers are equally responsible for the payment.

If you’re shopping for a home mortgage, see what SoFi offers. A SoFi Mortgage can be a great option with competitive rates, flexible terms, and down payments as low as 3% to 5%. Plus, our application process is streamlined and simple.

SoFi: The smart way for you and your partner to buy your new home.


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


SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). 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.

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.

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.

This article is not intended to be legal advice. Please consult an attorney for advice.

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Is It Worth Doing a Laundry Room Remodel?

Laundry rooms are important, but they’re often not the prettiest of rooms. They also tend to be sandwiched into small spaces, or in inconvenient areas of the home. No wonder some homeowners consider remodeling them.

But whether you should undertake a laundry room remodel depends on the size of the space, the kinds of new appliances you want to install, and any special décor touches you’d like to add, among other factors.

A remodel might be worth it if it creates a perky and efficient space or a room that has a dual function.

Before Starting Your Laundry Room Remodel

If you’ve been thinking about giving your laundry room a clean start, you’ve probably got a lot of ideas and inspiration swimming in your head.

Before embarking on your project, think through what you’re hoping to accomplish by asking yourself the following questions.

What’s the Scope of the Project?

Some remodels involve small improvements like new paint and cabinetry, while others call for tearing through walls, moving plumbing, or even relocating your laundry room to another area of the home.

Appliances should also be addressed. Will you need a new washer and dryer, or do you plan on using the ones you currently have?

What Do You Plan to Use Your Laundry Room For?

While most laundry rooms are used solely for handling laundry, others also act as mudrooms and storage for cleaning supplies, sports gear, and bulk shopping items like bottled water, paper products, and pet food.

What your laundry room is used for will affect the laundry room remodel ideas available to you.

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

How Often and When Do You Do Laundry?

If you have a large family and do frequent washing and drying, that will influence the design of your new laundry room. You may need ample counter space for folding, a fold-down ironing board, or bins to hold each person’s clean clothing.

If you tend to do the laundry during the day, you might want to consider adding a window for some natural light. And if you’re more likely to wash clothes in the evening, under-cabinet lighting may help.

What Are Your Must-Haves?

Some homeowners might want bins and baskets to keep things tidy. Others are looking to add features like a sink, or build out their laundry room to accommodate more counter space.

Whatever your desire, it’s a good idea to list what you can’t live without so you can build them into your budget.


💡 Quick Tip: Don’t overpay for your mortgage. Get a great rate by shopping around for a home loan.

How Much Can You Spend?

The scope of your project will dictate your budget and how you plan to pay for your remodel.

Some homeowners could see a laundry room remodel as a way to increase their home’s value, and may opt to borrow to pay for the project. Others might choose to keep things scaled down so they don’t spend beyond what they have on hand. A home improvement cost calculator can help you figure out how much your project might run you.

Laundry Room Remodel Ideas

Now that you’ve got the foundation of your project mapped out, it’s time to envision how your laundry room remodel will take shape. That will depend on the following factors.

If You Have Limited Space

Small laundry rooms can still pack a punch, thanks to creative ways to maximize your available space. You can do that by tucking laundry baskets under counters, adding a rod under cabinets to hang clothes, and using wall space for hooks to hang laundry bags or baskets that can hold clothespins, detergent, and dryer sheets.

Don’t forget that laundry rooms don’t need to be actual rooms; if you’re short on space, consider tucking your washer and dryer into an unused closet and installing a farmhouse door for easy access.

Depending on its size, you can then use the prior laundry room as a guest room, home office, nursery, or kids’ playroom.

Recommended: What Are the Most Common Home Repair Costs

If You’ll Be Using the Room for More Than Cleaning Clothes

The list of ways to use a laundry room is endless, and will largely depend on each household’s needs.

•   Got a large dog? You might consider installing a pet-washing station, especially if you are already planning on undertaking plumbing work.

•   Need a quiet place to conduct conference calls at home? A fold-down workstation meets both needs.

•   Larger families may tuck an additional fridge in the laundry room.

•   People who love to entertain may find storage for plates and glassware in the laundry room.

Your Budget

A laundry room remodel can quickly add up if new plumbing, cabinetry, and construction work are involved.

If you find yourself running beyond what you’re willing to spend, think of creative ways to get the laundry room you want without breaking the bank.

That might entail painting cabinets instead of replacing them, using open shelving instead of custom built-ins, and opting for durable paint in place of tiled backsplashes.


💡 Quick Tip: A home equity line of credit brokered by SoFi gives you the flexibility to spend what you need when you need it — you only pay interest on the amount that you spend. And the interest rate is lower than most credit cards.

DIY vs Calling In an Expert

Many homeowners are comfortable with do-it-yourself projects. In a laundry room remodel, these might include painting, replacing cabinetry, and installing shelving and hanging rods.

Other projects — moving water lines, installing new sinks or drywall, and demolition — require hiring a contractor. Mapping out which projects you will need to outsource will affect your budget and may also affect the scope of your project.

Paying for It

Smaller laundry room remodels, or those that require just a new coat of paint, a new washer and dryer, or a retrofitting of shelving to maximize storage space, can be done with fairly little outlay, especially if you do it yourself or have a friend or family member lend a hand.

Larger ones, or those that call for extensive demolition, architecture work, or the services of a general contractor, will be more expensive, of course.

The size of the project — and therefore how much money you’ll need—matters, as does your timeline for paying back any loan.
Here are some options:

•   Cash

•   A home improvement loan, which is a type of personal loan. Your home isn’t used as collateral to secure the loan.

•   A home equity loan or a revolving home equity line of credit, which do use your home as collateral.

•   Cash-out refinance, which replaces your mortgage with a new loan for more than you owe. The difference goes to you in cash, for home improvements or anything else.

The Takeaway

Laundry room ideas range from DIY tweaks to major overhauls. A laundry room remodel may increase the value of your home or simply make life a little easier. Start by listing what you want to achieve and how you’re going to pay for it.

SoFi offers a range of ways to pay for home improvements like a laundry room makeover, including a cash-out refinance or an unsecured personal loan.

Looking for an affordable option for a home mortgage loan? SoFi can help: We offer low down payments (as little as 3% - 5%*) with our competitive and flexible home mortgage loans. Plus, applying is extra convenient: It's online, with access to one-on-one help.


SoFi Mortgages: simple, smart, and so affordable.


*SoFi requires Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) for conforming home loans with a loan-to-value (LTV) ratio greater than 80%. As little as 3% down payments are for qualifying first-time homebuyers only. 5% minimum applies to other borrowers. Other loan types may require different fees or insurance (e.g., VA funding fee, FHA Mortgage Insurance Premiums, etc.). Loan requirements may vary depending on your down payment amount, and minimum down payment varies by loan type.

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.

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


SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.


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31 Real Estate Listing Terms Decoded: What Does “Cozy” Really Mean?

If you’re house-hunting, you are probably spending a lot of time scrolling through online listings. And you may well wonder what certain terms mean, such as “turn-key” and “as-is.”

To help you be more efficient and less confused by the real estate jargon you will find, read this list of definitions. This intel will help you understand the message a listing is trying to send you and streamline your search.

Key Points

•   Real estate listings often use specific terms that can be confusing, such as “as-is” indicating a property needing repairs.

•   Terms like “cozy” or “charming” often imply smaller spaces or older homes needing updates.

•   “Move-in ready” suggests the home requires no major repairs for immediate occupancy.

•   Descriptors like “good bones” or “great potential” hint at properties that are structurally sound but may need cosmetic updates.

•   “Fixer” or “handyman special” are terms indicating a property will require significant renovations.

Real Estate Listing Terms Decoded

Real estate has a language all its own. To figure out which homes may be worth looking at and which might not, you may want to use this handy real estate translator next time you peruse the listings. Consider this lingo, in alphabetical order:

1. As-is

If you see the words “as-is” in a real estate listing, proceed with some caution: This typically indicates that there are repairs or renovations that need to be done that the current owner is not going to address and is passing the burden off to the buyer. The real estate contract will likely specify this, if you do move forward with buying the home.

2. Built-ins

Built-ins are features like bookshelves, benches, or cabinets that are permanently built into the home itself, and are fairly common in older construction. Built-ins can be charming and convenient, but they can also limit the flexibility you have in arranging and decorating the space as you see fit.

3. Cozy

While this descriptor may bring to mind a comfy armchair and a steaming mug of cocoa, in real estate, “cozy” tends to mean “small.” The home may have minimal square footage, meaning each room may have very limited space.

💡 Quick Tip: Traditionally, mortgage lenders like to see a 20% down payment. But some lenders, such as SoFi, allow home mortgage loans with as little as 3% down for qualifying first-time homebuyers.

4. Charming

“Charming” is often another code word for a house with a small footprint, and may also indicate an older construction — which may, indeed, be charming, but might also end up needing costly repairs and renovations.

5. Cottage

This is yet another word that sounds like it’s invoking a feeling when it may really be describing a size — and that size may be on the smaller side. Cottages tend to be one- to two-bedroom houses and, again, might also be dated.

6. Custom

While “custom” sounds cool, it may or may not be. This term indicates that the property includes some built-to-order features or additions that appealed to the previous owners. These features, however, may or may not be to your taste. Perhaps there’s a wall of windows you’ll love or a tub in the primary bedroom that you’d rather be relocated.

7. Fixer

A listing agent may use this term as a shortening of “fixer-upper.” In other words, major renovations are likely going to be needed.

Recommended: The Cost of Buying a Fixer-Upper

8. Good bones

A home with “good bones” is typically one that needs some renovation and repair, but whose original construction is solid and whose layout is desirable. In other words, the skeleton of a great home is there, but you may need to pay for home repairs and do other work to make it livable.

9. Great potential

In a similar vein to “good bones” or “hidden gem,” a home with “great potential” is typically one that provides an opportunity for the right buyer — but which likely needs some work to get there.

10. Handyman special

This is another term that can indicate that a property needs a lot of work — thus making it a good opportunity for a handy homeowner. The house may be priced lower than other, more fixed-up homes in the area.

Recommended: Home Equity vs. HELOC Loans

11. Hidden gem

These words might indicate a nice home in an out-of-the-way location or a home in a popular and trendy locale that needs some work. Either way, it can indicate that the property offers a great opportunity for the right buyer, though you may have to put in some work or make some sacrifices.

12. Investor special

That sounds like a good thing, right? But a real estate agent might use this phrase to mean that a house is in pretty rough shape. It will likely take significant work to make livable, meaning you may only be able to buy it for cash or with a rehab loan, such as an FHA 203(k) home loan.

13. Lives large

This indicates that the home may appear small in terms of square footage, but, when you are actually in the property and walking around, it feels a lot more spacious.

14. Location, location, location

This is perhaps one of the most common real estate catchphrases. This language in a listing puts a heavy emphasis on a property’s location, which could potentially indicate that the house itself leaves something to be desired.

Recommended: First-Time Homebuyer Guide

15. Loft

“Loft” indicates that the home is large, open, and airy, with high ceilings and few interior walls. The bedroom, for instance, may be situated on an open second-floor landing that looks out directly onto the living room below. This may make for a picturesque living situation, but also one with relatively little privacy.

16. Modern

Here’s a tricky one. Although you might assume “modern” means that a place is newly constructed and contemporary in style, it can also refer to mid-century modern, an era of architecture and design dating to the 1950s and 1960s with a “Mad Men” vibe.

17. Motivated seller

“Motivated seller” means that the seller is motivated to make a deal go through and may be willing to hear lower offers or make concessions to get it to happen.

18. Move-in ready

“Move-in ready” typically means a home doesn’t need any major, mandatory repairs and is ready for you to start living in as soon as you’ve closed on the property. Of course, this term does indicate that the seller probably has a lot of leverage to demand the highest possible offer on the home.

19. Natural landscaping

“Natural landscaping” might indicate that there’s actually very little landscaping at all. Rather, the property might have lots of wild-growing flora that needs to be cleared to create an organized outdoor living space, depending on your taste.

20. Original details

As with “well-maintained,” “original details” suggests that the home has some older features that you may love, but may also require some maintenance/upgrading in the future.

21. Priced to sell

“Priced to sell” often indicates that the seller is pretty set on the price they’ve offered. It may indicate that you probably won’t be able to negotiate it down too far.

22. REALTOR (in all caps)

Although “real estate agent” and “realtor” are often used interchangeably, REALTOR is actually a term trademarked by the National Association of REALTORS (NAR) . Real estate agents can only use the title REALTOR in all caps if they are members of NAR and adhere to the organization’s strict code of ethics.

23. Room to roam

A home with “room to roam” is typically one with a larger-than-average lot with room to create outdoor living/play spaces or grow a garden. Or it may indicate that the house has a rambling layout.

24. Rustic

At its best, “rustic” might mean natural wood fixtures and a kind of casual, barn-inspired style. At its worst, “rustic” might mean old, unprofessionally constructed, or poorly maintained.

25. Serious buyers only

This term is usually meant to keep casual browsers or open-house visitors who are “just-looking” at bay. The seller likely doesn’t want to waste their time with people who aren’t seriously considering making an offer.

26. TLC

Short for “tender loving care,” TLC is yet another term in real estate listings that typically indicates the home in question needs some renovations and repairs before it’s comfortable — or even livable.

27. Turnkey

Basically a synonym for move-in ready; just turn the key, and you set up your home!

28. Unique

“Unique” is another word that can go either way. It could be used to describe a lovely, one-of-a-kind feature, like a rooftop patio. Or it could be used to describe something odd-ball, like a sunroom converted into a photographer’s darkroom.

29. Up-and-coming neighborhood

An up-and-coming location is one that might actively be evolving or drawing new residents. However, it can also indicate that the neighborhood may still contain a fair number of run-down homes and have a way to go before it’s considered a hot housing market.

30. Vintage

“Vintage” is generally code for “really outdated.” Those 1960s appliances might look cute in the pictures, but how much more life do they have in them before they need to be replaced?

31. Well-maintained

This term can act as a yellow light. “Well-maintained” often indicates that a property has some age on it. (After all, if it’s new, there’s nothing that has needed maintenance yet). An older home isn’t automatically a bad thing, but it does mean you may be faced with upgrades or appliance replacements sooner rather than later.

💡 Quick Tip: Lowering your monthly payments with a mortgage refinance from SoFi can help you find money to pay down other debt, build your rainy-day fund, or put more into your 401(k).

The Takeaway

If you feel like property listings are sometimes written in a foreign language, you’re not entirely off-base. Listing agents often use terms that may be well-known in real estate circles, yet are unfamiliar to the average first-time home-buyer.

Agents may also use vague-sounding terms and phrases to make a home’s less-appealing qualities sound more attractive. Knowing how to decode real estate listings can be a great first step toward finding the perfect home.

Looking for an affordable option for a home mortgage loan? SoFi can help: We offer low down payments (as little as 3% - 5%*) with our competitive and flexible home mortgage loans. Plus, applying is extra convenient: It's online, with access to one-on-one help.


SoFi Mortgages: simple, smart, and so affordable.


Photo credit: iStock/irina88w

*SoFi requires Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) for conforming home loans with a loan-to-value (LTV) ratio greater than 80%. As little as 3% down payments are for qualifying first-time homebuyers only. 5% minimum applies to other borrowers. Other loan types may require different fees or insurance (e.g., VA funding fee, FHA Mortgage Insurance Premiums, etc.). Loan requirements may vary depending on your down payment amount, and minimum down payment varies by loan type.

SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Bank, N.A., NMLS #696891 (Member FDIC). For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal. Equal Housing Lender.


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


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.

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.

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, products, or companies 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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