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Consumer Corner

Reconsider That Fixer Upper: Financing option makes home improvement more attainable



(Family Features) For younger homeowners and first-time homebuyers in particular, money is likely to be tight. When most available cash is directed to the best possible down payment to secure a home in a desired neighborhood, there’s often little left for improvements.

According to a Profile of Buyers’ Home Feature Preference Report from the National Association of Realtors, 53% of homebuyers took on a home improvement project within three months of buying with kitchen projects being a priority for 47% of those surveyed. However, when buyers finance a home renovation into their mortgage application, they can broaden their options of available properties to include fixer-uppers that can be upgraded prior to move-in.

A finance option like the Guaranteed Rate Home Renovation Loan allows homebuyers to visualize the home they want versus the one that’s listed. By rolling renovation costs into their mortgage, buyers can enjoy a home tailored to their vision while paying a little extra each month for upgraded windows, siding, decks, kitchens, bathrooms or a walk-in closet. In many cases, the project can be completed after closing but prior to moving in with contractor commitments to stay within budget.

If cosmetic or structural improvements are needed when prospective homeowners find a property worth bidding on, they can work with a licensed loan officer to secure a home renovation loan. The borrower’s choice of contractor that meets the lender criteria submits an estimate that’s reviewed and validated by the lender. Once approved and the mortgage is closed, the renovation can begin with costs paid upfront, added to the loan and repaid as part of the mortgage.

Consider renovation projects like these:

Luxury Renovations are geared toward the enjoyment of a home. They might be as easy as updating an entertainment room or reworking existing landscaping or as complex as adding a swimming pool, hot tub, outdoor kitchen or fitness area.

Structural Renovations affect load-bearing elements like posts, beams or even the foundation or walls of the home. Some examples include adding a garage, raising a roof, converting rooms or adding square footage to the house.

Non-Structural Renovations do not affect load-bearing elements and are often more cosmetic, including remodeling kitchens or bathrooms, repainting, replacing siding and upgrading for accessibility.

Consider the out-of-pocket costs of similar non-structural renovation projects according to Remodeling Magazine’s 2023 Cost vs. Value Report when compared with the monthly price of financing via a Guaranteed Rate Home Renovation Loan based a sample mortgage payment of $2,525/month*.

  • Bathroom remodel: $24,606 out of pocket versus $127 per month financed
  • Hardwood flooring: $4,900 out of pocket versus $25 per month financed
  • Finished basement: $18,400 out of pocket versus $95 per month financed
  • Kitchen remodel: $77,939 out of pocket versus $402 per month financed
  • Solar panels: $20,000 out of pocket versus $103 per month financed

Find more solutions to make the home renovation process easier at Rate.com.

Photos courtesy of Getty Images

*Example portions of payments allocated to renovation costs are based on a purchase price of $388,800, down payment of 20%, 30-year [fixed] rate mortgage at a rate of 6.69%/7.364% annual percentage rate (APR) and 360 mortgage payments of $2,525. FICO score and lock days based on 740 FICO and 45-day lock. Advertised rates and APR effective as of 05/25/23 and are subject to change without notice.

Guaranteed Rate

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Alpha Motor Corporation’s Ride-Along Event: Shaping the Future of Electric Vehicles

Alpha Motor Corporation shapes the future of electric vehicles through customer-centric ride-along events. Experience the journey at https://youtu.be/rFkpVdyLqOA.



Alpha Motor Corporation recently celebrated the successful completion of its ride-along event, a pivotal moment in their quest to revolutionize electric vehicles. Guided by valuable feedback from potential customers who experienced the ride, Alpha is dedicated to tailoring electric vehicles to meet consumer needs effectively.

Copyright © 2024 Alpha Motor Corporation. All rights reserved.

This milestone event, captured in all its glory at https://youtu.be/rFkpVdyLqOA, underscores Alpha’s commitment to customer-centric vehicle development. Following the WOLF truck’s impressive performance in the Southern California desert last summer, this ride-along event solidifies Alpha’s dedication to creating vehicles that resonate with the mainstream market.

Alpha’s ride-along event is available for viewing at https://youtu.be/rFkpVdyLqOA.

Amidst varying weather conditions and challenging terrains, the WOLF truck effortlessly navigated a designated course, showcasing its prowess in handling, speed, and efficiency. Impressively, the vehicle utilized only 20% of its battery capacity during the eight-hour event, with a speedy total charge time of just 30 minutes.

Alpha Motor Corporation aims to leverage the insights gleaned from these ride-along events to enhance vehicle development continually. By incorporating feedback from participants and analyzing driving experiences, Alpha ensures that their electric vehicles not only meet but exceed consumer expectations.

Looking ahead, Alpha plans to host more ride-along events to gather valuable feedback, further refining the driving performance of its modular EV platform. This platform, shared by various models like the WOLF+, SUPERWOLF, REX SUV, and JAX Crossover, embodies Alpha’s commitment to delivering high-quality electric vehicles with accessible design, performance, and ownership experience.

As a trailblazing American automobile company based in Irvine, California, Alpha Motor Corporation is devoted to crafting sustainable transportation solutions that benefit both people and the environment. Through cutting-edge technologies and innovative practices, Alpha is reshaping the automotive landscape, one electrifying vehicle at a time.

For more information, visit https://www.alphamotorinc.com or contact pr@alphamotorinc.com.

(Source: Alpha Motor Corporation)

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Consumer Corner

3 Ways to Use Propane in Your Home



(Family Features) A reliable, environmentally friendly energy source, propane can help power key home systems and appliances. Readily available in the United States, the portable, low-carbon energy source is stored on-site, meaning it’s always accessible to help keep homes running regardless of severe weather or other interruptions to the power grid.

Watch this video for helpful tips this season!

Consider these ways to integrate the clean energy source into your home from the experts at the Propane Education & Research Council:

Home Heating
Whether you use a furnace, fireplace or boiler to heat your home, propane can power your heating source in any climate. Propane-powered heating sources are highly efficient, typically cost less overall due to their longer expected lifespans and emit fewer greenhouse gases than electric or wood- or oil-burning alternatives.

Backup Power
When power from the electric grid is interrupted, a propane-powered generator can provide supplemental power in as little as 10 seconds to keep vital systems like smoke and fire detection, refrigeration, heating and cooling, Wi-Fi and other health and safety equipment operational for several days and nights. Plus, propane doesn’t degrade over time, unlike diesel or gasoline, making it an ideal standby power fuel.

Because of their high performance and energy efficiency, propane-powered appliances such as cooking ranges and stoves, clothes dryers and tankless water heaters can increase the value of a home and decrease the strain on the electrical grid. Generating fewer greenhouse gas emissions than their electric counterparts, propane-powered appliances can heat and cool quicker, reduce standby losses and dry clothing faster, reducing energy usage and cost.

Learn more about propane and its benefits at Propane.com/ForMyHome.


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Consumer Corner


Pickle Everything Games introduces new fast-hitting game for pickle lovers, now available at retail



CHICAGO, Feb. 5, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Pickle Everything Games, created by co-founder toy and game industry veterans Jeffrey Breslow and Frank Adler, today introduced a new card game called Pickle Everything, where words meet fun and pickles rule, allowing families and friends to compete against one another in a new, fast-paced and hilarious way. Pickle Everything is now available for purchase for just $9.99 on Amazon and PickleEverything.games.

Together, the partners of Pickle Everything Games have a combined 65 years of toy development experience. Breslow was a founding partner of Big Monster Toys, a role that would lead to his induction in the Toy Manufacturers Hall of Fame in 1988. Games such as Guesstures, Masterpiece, and Ants in the Pants were among the many that he was instrumental in developing. Adler, a seasoned expert in the toy and game industry, was the former president of Uncle Milton, where he took the company from its Ant Farm product line roots to its award-winning Star Wars Science and In My Room brands, which included a full range of Disney Princess and Frozen product lines.

“The rapid growth of pickleball and the cross-generational obsession for pickle-themed everything caught my eye,” said Breslow. “We were inspired by its momentum and wanted to encapsulate that as a card game. Similar to pickleball, Pickle Everything brings people together, sparks laughter, and adds a unique twist to traditional games – all in the comfort of your home.”

Each deck contains 52 clue cards and corresponding answers. The answers to each clue begin with the letter “P” and must be accompanied by the term “pickle.” One player will read the clue card aloud and the first player to shout out the correct answer, followed by the word “pickle,” wins the card. The player with the most cards at the end of the game is crowned the winner.

Pickle Everything is recommended to play alongside three to five players, ages 10 to 110 years old. Instructions, complete with an accompanying link for audio guidance are provided.  Contrary to its name, no prior knowledge of pickleball is required, ensuring accessibility for all players.

“Our intention is for Pickle Everything to spark a Pickle Phenomenon,” stated Adler. “As we continue to literally pickle everything – favorite foods, celebrities, sports, and more – we’re excited to see how the pickle frenzy ensues. This is only the beginning of what to expect from Pickle Everything Games.”

Pickle Everything is now available for purchase on PickleEverything.games and Amazon retailing at $9.99. Visit PickleEverything.games for more information.

Seasoned toy and game industry veterans, Jeffrey Breslow and Frank Adler come together as Pickle Everything Games to create Pickle Everything, the card game where words meet fun and pickles rule. The unique, fast-paced, and hilarious game is designed for players to race against each other to answer the clues. Pickle Everything is a family-friendly game, intended for players ages 10 years and above. Follow Pickle Everything on Instagram (@PickleEverythingGame) and Facebook (PickleEverything). Visit PickleEverything.games to learn more.

SOURCE Pickle Everything Games

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