Monthly Archives: October 2016

Boost Your Home’s Resale Value With Do Three Projects

When it comes to remodeling there are a few general rules that apply to every home. One: it never hurts to upgrade your kitchen or bathroom. Two: focus on improving or increasing your home’s livable space. Three: if you’re going to remodel, make sure you spend the money to do it right.

In a perfect world all of us would follow these rules without exception and our homes would always be up-to-date and designed in accordance with the latest styles and trends. The reality is most of us have to strategically choose what projects to tackle. Often times this means postponing big projects in favor of smaller ones. Fortunately, there are a number of minor remodeling projects that can pay major dividends.

Refinish Your Floors

Wood flooring adds a touch of class and elegance to almost any room. And while wood flooring has many upsides – easy to clean, looks great – it can really show its age if not properly maintained. Over time, your once radiant wood floors can start to look dull and scuffed. But unlike worn carpet that needs replacing, worn down wood floors can be brought back to life by refinishing them. What’s more, refinishing them enhances the value of your home.

Now you might be tempted to go the DIY route and refinish them yourself. However, to ensure the best result it is recommended that you contract the job to a pro. While it might be more expensive, you’ll get the peace of mind that comes from knowing that the job was done right. So, how much can you expect to pay? The average reported cost is around $1,800. To view costs for your area, click here.

Reface Your Kitchen Cabinets

We all know that kitchen remodels yield the biggest bang for the buck. Unfortunately, many kitchen remodels cost well over $20,000. If you want to freshen up your kitchen but don’t want to spend a ton of cash to do it, refacing your cabinets might be the answer you’re looking for, especially if your cabinet frames are in good condition.

Unlike simply refinishing your cabinets, cabinet refacing involves replacing the doors and drawer fronts and veneering the cabinet boxes of your existing cabinets. Cheaper than replacing your cabinets, the average cost of cabinet refacing is around $7,400. For local cost information, click here.

Install a Fireplace

A fireplace adds beauty, ambiance, and warmth to your home. It can also add value. While many prospective homebuyers don’t buy a house based on whether or not it has a fireplace, it could help sway their decision. Of course, few folks add a fireplace with resale value in mind. Most of us do so because a fireplace improves the livability of our homes.

Tips to Recoup Remodeling And Addition Investments

When undertaking large remodeling and home addition projects, it is smart to research your local real estate market to find out if your project will return your investment when it is time to sell. Depending on where you live, the right project may return 100% of your investment. That is why research is the smartest way to begin any remodeling project.

Recoup Your Remodeling Investment

Remodeling projects should be done when you are planning to stay in the house for several years, not simply for the sake of trying to increase resale value. Since you can’t guarantee that you will get a decent return, it makes the most sense to remodel when you will be able to enjoy the benefits in the long run. Only minor remodels should be considered if selling is your primary goal.

Here is a sample of returns for some of the most popular home remodeling projects. Statistics are compiled from multiple published surveys and based on major cities within states:

Minor Kitchen Remodel: 125% (Connecticut)
Basement Remodel: 98% (California)
Bathroom Addition: 96% (Missouri)
Major Kitchen Remodel: 92% (Kentucky)
Bathroom Remodel: 90% (Oregon)
Exterior Paint: 90% (Pennsylvania)
Master Bedroom: 86% (Florida)

In general, across many real estate markets, kitchen and bathroom remodeling consistently offer the highest percentage return on your investment (80-100%). Bathroom and family room additions offer a fairly high return also. A master bedroom remodel can potentially get a high return.

Certain projects such as converting a basement or an attic into functional living space varies widely from region to region. The same is true for deck additions.

Remember Curb Appeal

Repainting the exterior of your home also shows decent returns in most markets. When preparing to sell your home, at least sprucing up your exterior paint is important. Without curb appeal, potential buyers will not even stop or get out of their car to give your house a chance.

Repainting is only part of curb appeal, however. A well-manicured lawn and attractive landscaping will grab buyers’ attention as well.

Keep Your Home’s Original Design Intact

When considering a remodeling project or addition, you should not only do research in your local real estate market, but also look around your neighborhood. Any improvement you make should be consistent with other homes on your block.

An elaborate addition in a modest neighborhood will stick out and will not provide the return you are hoping for based on the fact that someone who can afford the extra money to buy your home will most likely search in a more expensive neighborhood.

Along those same lines, keep the original design of your home in mind. Stick with either the same materials or complementing ones. Aim for a flowing congruency so that your home remains tastefully appealing on the inside and out.

Think through color scheme and decor in much the same way. Bold, eccentric color schemes that will stay with the house after you sell can deter potential buyers who lean on the conservative side. Being flamboyant with your remodel is a fine idea for those homeowners who plan to stay in their home for years to come. For those of you looking to move in two to three years, choosing neutral colors for floors and walls will benefit you when it’s time to sell.

Remodel for Your Needs, Not for Resale

When trying to decide whether or not you should take the plunge and remodel, think of your own needs. If you absolutely want to add on a deck, go for it. If you have a spacious basement and could use a children’s play area, don’t hesitate.

By concentrating completely on the return you might get from a home improvement project, you are limiting your options and basing your decision on a factor that is constantly changing.

Depending on the economy and the real estate market in your area, as well as other factors, your remodeling return could be more or less than you expect when it is time to sell.

Just remember that for the immediate future, you will determine the value of a luxurious bathroom remodel or sunroom addition. The enjoyment of improving your home for the rest of your time living in it might far outweigh what money you get back when it is time to sell.

Improve Your Home’s Curb Appeal With This 7 Projects

Given the amount of time we spend inside our homes, it’s no surprise it’s where we spend the bulk of our remodeling dollars. But neglecting your home’s exterior can leave it looking tired and rundown. Here are four projects that will boost your home’s curb appeal and ensure the outside of your home looks as good as the inside.

Liven Up Your Landscaping

Brown spots in your lawn, overgrown shrubs and worn-out mulch do a lot to make your house look more worn down that it actually is. If you’re ready to spruce up your landscaping, you’ll want to do so in the spring or fall when the temps are relatively cool, especially if you’re planning on laying sod or planting new trees or shrubs. While you’re planning your project, be sure to take a look at the grade surrounding your home. Over time, it can become compacted and slope towards your house. If that happens, water will will flow towards your foundation instead from away from it, putting your home’s foundation at risk.

Before you do any planting, take care of those brown spots in your lawn. A lush, green lawn might look simple, but it gives your exterior a clean, attractive appearance. You may want to fertilize or seed your lawn depending on how healthy your grass is already. Total lawn seeding costs, on average, a bit over $700, but if you’re only working on rough patches you won’t spend that much. To do more extensive landscaping, you can expect to spend between $1,600 and $5,000 depending on the total area and whether you want part of it to be covered with grass, which is cheaper.

Touch It Up

Your home’s exterior paint should last about 15 years, but over time, it will begin to chip and peel. Left untouched, your siding could start to rot, mold or warp. Thankfully, a little preventative maintenance can help stave off any costly siding repairs. If you notice chipping or peeling paint, it’s time to breakout the sandpaper, primer, paint and paintbrushes. Most of the time, it’s a project that you can knock out in an afternoon. However, it could be that your project involves more work than you have time to put in. If that’s the case, now is a good time to start talking to pros. Pro Tip: Pressure washing your home each spring removes dirt and can help prevent mold and mildew infestations.

Even if your siding is in need of repair, thankfully it’s not an expensive project. The average homeowner only spends $575 on siding repair, and unless your siding is seriously rotten, you won’t need to replace it entirely. A new coat of paint will freshen up that newly repaired siding, leaving more of your budget for other exterior areas that need attention.

Repair Your Roofing and Gutters

Missing shingles and sagging gutters do more than make your home look shoddy; they can cause seriously spendy problems. Water takes the path of least resistance and exploits any crack, gap or hole it can find. Left unrepaired, the damage can quickly make its way down to your sub roofing, or, in the case of damaged gutters, down to your foundation. If you notice that your gutters are having trouble moving water away from your foundation, or if it’s been a while since you’ve had your roof inspected, it’s a good idea to have a roofing pro stop by for an inspection.

The average cost to have your roof inspected is $230, and if there is damage you can’t see, it’ll be worth every penny. Do it before the damage is too extensive. It’s only about $650 to have your roof repaired, but it can cost $6,500 or more to have a new roof installed.

Fantastic Fencing

Has your fence seen better days? If so, taking the time to fix it now could prevent you from having to replace the whole thing down the road. In many cases, all you’ll need to do is pressure wash it, replace missing or damaged boards, and throw on a fresh coat of stain or paint. Unless it’s really worse for wear, you should be able to tackle the project in a weekend. Don’t have a fence? Now’s the perfect time to start gathering estimates from at least three pros.

If all you’re doing is staining or painting your fence, you probably won’t spend much more than $100 if you do it yourself. When installing a fence, you must take into account the length you need and what materials you’d like. Don’t go for chain link; it won’t do anything to help your curb appeal. Wood and vinyl both look nice, with wood costing an average of $2,500 and vinyl, $3,500.

Dress up Your Windows

Old shutters, metal gratings and decaying flower boxes give your home’s exterior a sad, neglected air. Remove the old window dressings and replace them with something new and stylish. You may prefer wood shutters, stylish awnings or simply a fresh coat of paint. Choose whatever looks nice with the style of your home (for example, the classic look shutters provide doesn’t always match ultra-modern exteriors.)

New exterior shutters will cost you, on average, just under $1,600, though the project can range anywhere from $700 to $2,500. Assuming your windows are a standard size, vinyl shutters will be, on average, $100 to $250 cheaper than wood shutters per window. However, vinyl shutters come in many styles and colors and often look just like wood unless you get very close.

It’s All About Borders

Make your driveway and front path inviting by creating borders up their lengths. Stone edging, flowers and outdoor path lights are all great options. As always, you want to match your borders with the rest of your exterior decor. Path lighting, for example, looks beautiful if you have manicured landscaping, but won’t work if hedges already border your driveway and walkways. Stone borders, on the other hand, look beautiful with concrete driveways but may get lost if you have gravel.

Belgium block is one of the most popular edging materials. A 4x4x4 inch cube usually costs $3, while longer options typically cost between $3 and $7. You’ll have to measure your driveway or garden path to determine how many blocks you need and how much it will cost you. Don’t forget to multiply by two to account for both sides. A project like this will probably cost just under $2,000. Path lights have a greater variation in cost. Small solar-powered lights that you stick into the ground may only cost you $15 a light, while if you install an electric path lighting system, it can reach almost $5,000.

Focus on the Front Door

The front door is the centerpiece of your house’s exterior. A beautiful wood front door with glass paneling and an old-fashioned knocker evokes a welcoming ambience, whereas an old storm door with a torn screen and a broken latch feels dilapidated. Your front door reflects your style as a homeowner; you may go for a boldly painted front door, a glass storm door or a vintage option with beautiful patterned glass.

Since front doors are much heavier than interior doors, unless you’re good at DIY, call a professional to install your front door. A door made of aluminum may cost you as low as $200 while a high-quality front door with patterned glass made of mahogany can run anywhere between $600 and $2,000 or more. Shoot for somewhere in the middle: get a good-quality door with the kind of paneling and windows you want, then paint or refinish it yourself, and dress it up with a stylish knocker and frame it with sconce lights.

Some Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Appraiser

rr3A real estate appraiser can do more than help you determine the value of your home and property. Here are four ways a solid real-estate appraisal can help in other areas:

– Settle your estate. A real estate appraiser can help you valuate your property. A clear understanding of your estate’s worth will help you organize wills and inheritances.
– Purchase insurance. Without a recent appraisal, it’s possible to underinsure your home. Have a real estate appraiser determine the current value of your home before you buy insurance.
– Reduce property taxes. Have your property appraised if you suspect its value has decreased. A lower home value isn’t ideal for selling, but it will save you from paying higher property taxes.
– Determine future improvements. A professional appraiser will highlight the areas of your home that need work. Based on your appraiser’s recommendations, you’ll know where to start your home upgrades.