Factor in The Upgrades Before you Sign a New Mortgage

Factor in The Upgrades Before you Sign a New Mortgage
  • Opening Intro -


    They probably aren't high on your list of priorities when you're sitting down with a loan officer to review a new mortgage - but they should be.


Written By Justin Briggs

If you’re buying a home in Chicago, window replacement might just be one of the best moves you make. New windows are some of the most expensive things to replace in a home. Doors – these might need replacing too.

If the old homeowner never did this, then you have an awesome bargaining chip to work with but you also have some careful negotiations to make with the lender. Don’t let these upgrades fall by the wayside as they can cost a lot of money – money you might not have after taking out a mortgage. Likewise, don’t go overboard with upgrades. It’s easy to spend more than you’ll ever recover when you’re remodeling a new home. Here’s how to determine what upgrades you should consider and how to estimate the costs and benefits.


Exterior doors are one of those things you don’t think about until something catastrophic happens to one. As long as it opens and closes, it’s good right? Wrong. Exterior doors are one of the best upgrades you can make to a home. Doors are like giant holes in your wall. You want to make sure that these things are sealed tightly, and that the door is keeping the heat in during the winter while keeping the heat out during the summer.

In addition to that, doors serve another function: security. A good quality door is your first line of defense against criminals. You’d like to think that you have nothing to fear in your neighborhood, but the truth is that criminals often come from outside of your neighborhood – especially if you live in a nice one.

Bottom line: you need to upgrade the door on your new home if there are any physical signs of damage or if the door is drafty (usually, you can tell by looking at it closed during the day – if you are inside, and can see the outside through the cracks in the door seals, it’s time to consider replacement).


Do you need top of the line windows? Maybe. That depends on where you live in the country and the comps on other homes near you. The most advanced window technology utilizes triple pane glass packs with krypton gas fillings for incredible energy efficiency. These glass packs are also typically shot with titanium dioxide and advanced Low-E coatings to boost efficiency.

If you live in more moderate climate, you can probably get away with double-paned glass as long as the frame is reinforced and insulated. Double-paned glass makes use of argon gas fillings, which aren’t nearly as energy efficient, but do provide additional efficiency compared to no gas fillings. Low-E glass coatings vary depending on how efficient you want your windows to be.

Cost/Benefit Analysis

It all comes down to cost/benefit. Will the new doors and windows pay for themselves and, if so, how long with it take? Most new energy efficient doors and windows come with a "payback period" so you can estimate how long you’d have to live in the home to see any benefit, cost wise.

In general, higher quality windows and doors cost more money, but they also save you more money on your utility bills. Some companies even offer energy-savings guarantees. Researching new windows before you finalize your mortgage is really the only way to tell whether it will be worth the additional expense. Tally up the cost of replacement, estimate the monthly fuel savings, and divide the cost of the replacements by your expected energy savings. That will tell you all you need to know.



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Categories: Doors and Windows
Tags: doors, slider, windows

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