Cool tips for hot summer remodeling ideas

Iris Price | Improvement Center Columnist | June 5, 2014

Memorial Day weekend came early this year, and you might already be looking ahead to your favorite backyard lounge chair and a tall, ice-cold drink, a summer read, and the barbeque going non-stop until Labor Day.

Or not. If you're the type who is energized as the weather improves, you just might be thinking about those summer remodeling ideas you left simmering on a back burner all winter. You might even be thinking about back burners in the backyard, along with a fully-equipped summer kitchen right where your hammock usually swings.

Spring and summer have been known to inspire creativity. If you've got the remodeling bug, here are some tips on how to implement your summer remodeling ideas before the lounge chair seduces you into inactivity.

Gather your summer remodeling ideas

If you haven't been squirreling away pictures of your favorite home remodel ideas all winter and spring, you need to get busy. You can't use the excuse you've been at your computer all day and night: there are an endless number of creative remodeling ideas on the Internet to inspire even the least creative soul.

Back in the old days -- you know, about three or four years ago -- you used to have to subscribe to every home décor magazine published, thumb through them, and clip out pictures of your favorite ideas. Now, we have Pinterest, where you can do the same thing without buying any magazines. The ideas and images are all posted online. All you have to do is copy them to your Pinterest boards -- different boards for all types of home remodel ideas or one for each room in the house -- whatever system of categorization works best for you to organize your planning process.

In addition to plenty of websites now devoted to home remodeling and redecorating, every website remotely related to home ownership has blogs and images to inspire even the most timid would-be remodeler.

Gather your ideas and hire a remodeling contractor, or better yet, a designer who can make sense of your bohemian-industrial-midcentury modern-deco design tastes and meld them into a plan that will satisfy all of your personalities. Either that, or you can consult a therapist, but many designers may charge less. The results of living in an environment that reflects your true inner self may actually prove more therapeutic.

Financing your home remodel ideas

Depending on the scope of your home remodel ideas, you may need to finance your project. Homeowners who have built up equity in their home may be in a position to take out a home equity line of credit (HELOC), but your home must be appraised before you can be approved. Websites such as Zillow.com can give you a rough idea of what your home might be worth, so you can get a ballpark figure. Then, you can calculate 75 percent of the home's current value and subtract what you still owe on your mortgage to calculate approximately how much your line of credit might be.

With interest rates still relatively low, you might consider refinancing, in which case there are mortgages for which you may be eligible that allow you to roll the cost of the home improvements into the financing. Leesa Sandoval, a Mortgage Loan Originator in Dallas, Texas for the past 10 years, recommends a Fannie Mae Homestyle Renovation loan. You'll need to go through the whole mortgage process and have a contractor's estimate of how much your renovations are going to cost. That means you'll need to get a contractor involved before you pursue financing. From the time you initiate a refi until closing may take several weeks, so figure that into the timeline for your remodel project.

From design to execution

Patricia Davis Brown, an award-winning Interior Design professional with 26 years experience generating and executing creative remodeling ideas, recommends choosing a contractor you can trust as your "team" captain. Everyone has to be able to work well together and communicate for your remodel to go smoothly. Choosing a remodeling contractor who already works with designers can typically make for an easier transition from design to execution. Some contractors, such as J Allen Smith Design-Build in Frederick, Md. do it all, from design plans to executing the work.

You can oversee the work yourself, acting as your own general contractor, or you can put the project in the hands of professionals. Just make sure you ask questions and keep a close eye on your budget.

So, what are your hot summer remodeling ideas for this year? Before you get too carried away, it's a good idea to check with local Realtors who know your neighborhood and can advise you about which projects might give you the best return on investment when you eventually sell your home. According to Remodeling Magazine's Cost vs. Value Report for 2014, you probably can't go wrong adding a wood deck, which on average nationwide returns 87.4 percent on your investment.

You and your lounge chair could be reunited sooner that you think.

About the Author

Iris Price is a single Baby Boomer whose antidote to a lack of retirement funds was to launch a long-delayed career as a writer. While others her age concoct bucket lists and travel the world, she bought a new-construction home and obsessively creates lists of must-have home improvements and personal realization goals. She specializes in writing about home services and self-motivation.