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Wednesday, May 23 2012
Figuring out home values when the market is in flux is truly a job for experts. We have seen the national real estate market begin to rebound, and expect Evansville home values to soon start to reflect movement as well. Most local homeowners are in the habit of keeping an eye on area home values. But especially for anyone considering buying or selling this spring or summer, estimating their home’s value is one of the first items on the agenda.
 
To get you started, there are a couple of different methods to help establish a ballpark estimate of what your home may currently be worth.
 
Certainly the quickest and easiest tool is the calculator on Bank of America’s website, at http://realestatecenter.bankofamerica.com/tools/marketvalue.aspx. This free online calculator uses accumulated public record data joined with other factors to produce an estimate of home values. All you need to do is enter your address and wait for the magic.
 
I do have to put in a word of caution, though. Like any computer program, it’s fast and precise --but also maddeningly capable of disregarding what we humans think of as ‘common sense.’ So, while it is fun and interesting to get this kind of readout, it’s at best a ballpark estimate (and at worst, downright misleading!).
 
There are many other sites boasting similar tools -- variations of the same idea and pulling from slightly different data sets -- but the approach they use to calculate home values stays the pretty much the same. You only need to enter your address and there you go: instant estimate.
 
While these calculators are great at aggregating data, nothing replaces human input. Real estate is, after all, the very definition of a local occurrence, so if you’re looking for more than an estimate, it’s time to call the pros in.
 
When an experienced agent (someone like yours truly) creates their professional estimate, it not only takes into account the trends for properties closest to yours, but also incorporates real life features -- such as the curb appeal your home and garden offers right now. The better kept your property is at any given time, the greater its estimated value should be. An agent can also suggest the small changes that work best to enhance a property’s value.
 
If you have been considering selling a home and are curious about your home value, call me anytime for a complimentary (and 100% human) consultation! You can reach me on my cell phone 812-499-9234 or email at Rolando@RolandoTrentini.com
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, March 11 2011

A good exterior paint job isn’t cheap, but done right, it can easily last 10 or more years. To get the most for your money, follow these steps.

At first glance, the days of wood home exteriors seem long gone. According to U.S. Census Bureau data, homes with wood siding comprise less than 10% of all new residential construction, the lowest usage of any exterior material.

But if you’ve got wood siding, there’s a solid, money-in-the-bank reason why you’d want to repaint rather than switch to fiber-cement, brick, or vinyl. In the short term, repainting or staining costs less. A midrange vinyl siding replacement project will cost you around $10,000, according to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value report. By comparison, hiring a pro to repaint the same 2,000-square-foot, two-story house costs $4,000 to $6,000.

True, if you’re planning to stay in your house for a long time, you’ll have to spend that money again. But properly applied, exterior paint can easily last 10 years or longer. The key to a successful job is in the preparation. Here are the steps to take to make sure you get perfect results.

Step 1: Check for lead paint

Beginning April 22, 2010, all paint contractors must observe EPA regulations for lead-safe practices and be certified to perform this work. The rule applies to houses built before 1978, when lead paint was banned for residential use, especially those that are occupied by children. (Do-it-yourselfers are exempt.)

To protect against airborne lead particles, contractors must take steps to keep paint dust to a minimum: collecting scrapings, cleaning with a HEPA vacuum, wearing masks and Tyvek suits, and disposing of all materials at an approved hazardous materials site.

The first step is to initiate the process with a lead paint test (homeowner kits are available for $10 to $15 online or at paint and hardware stores). Following the new rules will add as much as 10% to 20% to the cost of a contracted paint job. But since many contractors are still unaware of the regulation, costs will vary widely.

Step 2: Wash the exterior

Pigment won’t adhere well if you don’t wash grime off the house first. A good cleaning agent is water mixed with a phosphate-free cleanser such as Jomax House Cleaner or Green Clean by Sherwin-Williams, which won’t harm plantings. “You want to clean off everything: dust, dirt, and mildew,” says Paul Dixon of Bionic Man Painting, in Asheville, N.C. “A lot of people don’t, and then wonder why the paint comes off.”

Mildew, in particular, thrives under fresh paint. A good wash will kill spores so they don’t proliferate. You can hand-apply the solution with a sponge, but that requires a lot of up-and-down on a ladder. Most contractors simply apply solution with a pressure washer.

Step 3: Scrape off loose paint

Once clapboards are dry, remove loose, flaking paint. A handheld scraper is usually the best tool for the job, though you can also use a hot-air gun or infrared paint stripper. Never use an open-flame torch. They can easily cause a fire and are illegal in most states unless you have a permit. To work lead-safe, you must wear a mask and Tyvek suit, spray water on the paint as you scrape, and collect the debris.

Step 4: Sand rough spots

A pad sander or random-orbit sander fitted with 50- to 80-grit sandpaper will smooth out any remaining rough spots, but take care not to push so hard that you leave sander marks in the wood. As with the previous step, sanding lead-safe means working masked, wetting as you go, and using sanders fitted with HEPA filters.

Step 5: Fill and repair

Inspect what you’ve uncovered and make some decisions. Minor holes or dings in the siding can be easily filled in with a patching putty or compound such as Zinsser’s Ready Patch ($20 per gallon). If you’ve got a major rot problem, summon a carpenter to replace the bad wood.

Step 6: Apply a coat of primer

Apply primer as soon as possible after the previous step. White, gray, or tinted primer provides an even base for topcoats to adhere to, and a uniform canvas from which to survey your work. “Once you get the primer on, now you can see what’s really going on,” says Mario Guertin, a contractor with Painting in Partnership, in Palatine, Ill.

Small gaps in joints and around doors, windows, and other spots where horizontals meet verticals will all stand out in high relief, showing you where you need to fill in with caulk.

If you’re painting over bare wood or existing latex paint, then latex primer is fine. But if you’re painting over multiple coats of oil-based paint, it’s best to stick with a new coat of oil-based primer.

Step 7: Caulk all joints

Siliconized or top-of-the line polyurethane acrylic caulks give paint jobs a smooth, pleasing look. But the benefits aren’t purely aesthetic. Tight joints also prevent air leaks and block water penetration. It’s worth springing for $7-a-tube polyurethane caulks with 55-year warranties, which will stand up to weather better than 35-year caulks costing less than $3. The average house requires about 7 tubes of caulk; contractors buy them in 12-pack cases and use them for several jobs.

Step 8: Choose the right paint

No-brainer here. Painting with water-based acrylic latex is so much easier than dealing with oil-based paints. But choose finishes carefully. As a rule, the higher the sheen, the better the paint is at blocking the sun’s damaging rays. Satin is fine for shingles or clapboards, but you’ll want gloss paint to protect high-traffic parts of a house, such as window casings, porches, and doorframes. A gallon of premium exterior latex costs $35 to $45.

Step 9: Apply top coat(s)

There is such a thing as too much paint. The more layers, the more likely the paint is to flake off years later. Tread lightly. If you’re going from a white house to yellow or cream, you might be able to get by with one coat. Going from a light to a dark house, and vice versa, usually requires two coats.

Step 10: Practice good maintenance

You can extend the life of a good paint job by inspecting the caulk every year, replacing any that’s cracked or missing, and doing minimal touch-up-all easy jobs for homeowners to do themselves.

Joseph D’Agnese is a journalist and book author who has written numerous articles on home improvement. He lives in North Carolina.



Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/articles/10-steps-perfect-exterior-paint-job/#ixzz1G7HzDbwu
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, February 15 2011

February is a great time to accomplish simple tasks that will add to the value and appearance of your home. We hope that you are enjoying the unique experience of being a homeowner! We have done a little research and have compiled a list of quick, easy projects that you might enjoy!

If you need additional tips or advice, please feel free to call us anytime at 812-499-9234 for Rolando and 812-499-0246 for Kathy. We would be happy to hear from you and would love to offer any guidance that we can!

 

FIVE QUICK AND EASY HOME IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS

 

Go green:

A few changes to the landscaping of your home can make a world of difference! You might want to consider planting some fruit trees in the backyard, adding a touch of color with some bright and unusual flowers or perhaps finally starting the vegetable garden you've always dreamed about.

 Add a touch of color:

Feeling creative? Why not give the family room, bedroom or bathroom a whole new look? By focusing on the improvement of one room at a time, you'll find that what can seem like an overwhelming job becomes fun and simple. Repainting a single room can be inexpensively completed over a single weekend.

 Bright and beautiful:

Replacing the light fixtures in your house with personally selected pieces can drastically increase your home's beauty and value. Choose a cohesive look for the entire house, or decorate room by room! The installation of new fixtures is generally a quick do-it-yourself task.

 Tile it up:

While it might seem like a daunting task, installing new tile in a kitchen or bathroom can be easily accomplished with a little know-how and the right supplies. Your local home improvement warehouse will have everything you need to revamp and personalize the flooring of your choice!

 

The beauty beneath:

 Always dreamed of having beautiful hardwood floors? Choose a room, pull up the carpet, and you'll be on your way to accomplishing just that! Repairing, refinishing and staining the floor is a simple step-by-step process that you can achieve without the heavy expense of installing new wood panels.

 

While it might seem like a daunting task, installing new tile in a kitchen or bathroom can be easily accomplished with a little know-how and the right supplies. Your local home improvement warehouse will have everything you need to revamp and personalize the flooring of your choice!Replacing the light fixtures in your house with personally selected pieces can drastically increase your home's beauty and value. Choose a cohesive look for the entire house, or decorate room by room! The installation of new fixtures is generally a quick do-it-yourself task. Feeling creative? Why not give the family room, bedroom or bathroom a whole new look? By focusing on the improvement of one room at a time, you'll find that what can seem like an overwhelming job becomes fun and simple. Repainting a single room can be inexpensively completed over a single weekend.

A few changes to the landscaping of your home can make a world of difference! You might want to consider planting some fruit trees in the backyard, adding a touch of color with some bright and unusual flowers or perhaps finally starting the vegetable garden you've always dreamed about.
Posted by: Roando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, December 22 2010

As part of the 2010-11Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report, REALTORS® recently rated exterior replacement projects among the most cost-effective home improvement projects, demonstrating that curb appeal remains one of the most important aspects of a home at resale time.

“This year’s Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report highlights the importance of exterior projects, which not only provide the most value, but also are among the least expensive improvements for a home,” said National Association of REALTORS® President Ron Phipps, broker-president of Phipps Realty in Warwick, R.I. “Since resale value can vary by region, it’s smart for home owners to work with a REALTOR® through the remodeling and improvement process; they can provide insight into projects in their neighborhoods that will recoup the most when the owners are ready to sell.”

Nine of the top 10 most cost-effective projects nationally in terms of value recouped are exterior replacement projects. The steel entry door replacement remained the project that returned the most money, with an estimated 102.1 percent of cost recouped upon resale; it is also the only project in this year’s report that is expected to return more than the cost. The midrange garage door replacement, a new addition to the report this year, is expected to recoup 83.9 percent of costs. Both projects are small investments that cost little more than $1,200 each, on average. REALTORS® identified these two replacements as projects that can significantly improve a home’s curb appeal.

“Curb appeal remains king – it’s the first thing potential buyers notice when looking for a home, and it also demonstrates pride of ownership,” said Phipps.

The 2010-11Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report compares construction costs with resale values for 35 midrange and upscale remodeling projects comprising additions, remodels and replacements in 80 markets across the country. Data are grouped in nine U.S. regions, following the divisions established by the U.S. Census Bureau. This is the 13th consecutive year that the report, which is produced by Remodeling magazine publisher Hanley Wood, LLC, was completed in cooperation with REALTOR® Magazine.

REALTORS® provided their insight into local markets and buyer home preferences within those markets. Overall, REALTORS® estimated that home owners would recoup an average of 60 percent of their investment in 35 different improvement projects, down from an average of 63.8 percent last year. Remodeling projects, particularly higher cost upscale projects, have been losing resale value in recent years because of weak economic conditions.

According to the report, replacement projects usually outperform remodel and addition projects in resale value because they are among the least expensive and contribute to curb appeal. Various types of siding and window replacement projects were expected to return more than 70 percent of costs. Upscale fiber-cement siding replacement was judged by REALTORS® the most cost effective among siding projects, recouping 80 percent of costs. Among the window replacement projects covered, upscale vinyl window replacements were expected to recoup the most, 72.6 percent upon resale. Another exterior project, a wood deck addition, tied with a minor kitchen remodel for the fourth most profitable project recouping an estimated 72.8 percent of costs.

The top interior projects for resale value included an attic bedroom and a basement remodel. Both add living space without extending the footprint of the house. An attic bedroom addition costs more than $51,000 and recoups an estimated 72.2 percent nationally upon resale; a basement remodel costs more than $64,000 and recoups an estimated 70 percent. Improvement projects that are expected to return the least are a midrange home office remodel, recouping an estimated 45.8 percent; a backup power generator, recouping 48.5 percent; and a sunroom addition, recouping 48.6 percent of costs.

Although most regions followed the national trends, the regions that consistently were estimated to return a higher percentage of remodeling costs upon resale were the Pacific region of Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington; the West South Central region of Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas; the East South Central region of Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee; and the South Atlantic region of the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.

The regions where REALTORS® generally reported the lowest percentage of costs recouped were New England (Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont), East North Central (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin), West North Central (Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota), and Middle Atlantic (New York and Pennsylvania).

“It’s important to remember that the resale value of a particular improvement project depends on several factors,” said Phipps. “Things such as the home’s overall condition, availability and condition of surrounding properties, location and the regional economic climate contribute to an estimated resale value. That’s why it is imperative to work with a REALTOR® who can provide insight and guidance into local market conditions whether you’re buying, selling or improving a home.”

Results of the report are summarized in the January issue of REALTOR® Magazine. To read the full project descriptions, access national and regional project data, and download a free PDF containing data for any of the 80 cities covered by the report, visit www.costvsvalue.com. “Cost vs. Value” is a registered trademark of Hanley Wood, LLC.

Hanley Wood, LLC, is the premier media company serving housing and construction. Through four operating divisions, the company produces award-winning magazines and websites, marquee trade shows and events, rich data, and custom marketing solutions. The company also is North America’s leading provider of home plans. Founded in 1976, Hanley Wood is a $240 million company owned by JPMorgan Partners, LLC, a private equity affiliate of JPMorgan Chase & Co.

REALTOR® Magazine is published by the National Association of REALTORS®, “The Voice for Real Estate” and America’s largest trade association, representing 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

Source:http://www.realtor.org/press_room/news_releases/2010/12/home_owners_recoup

Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 10:32 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, October 21 2010

A new bathroom brings added convenience for your family and can prove to be a valuable asset should you decide to sell your home.

Depending on the size of your family and the number of existing bathrooms in your house, adding a new bathroom may be one of the best home improvement decisions you’ll make. According to Greg Miedema, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders Remodelers (NAHBR), additional bathrooms are highly desirable features. “You can almost never go wrong adding a bathroom,” says Miedema.

This is especially true if an additional bathroom helps relieve congestion at hectic times, or if it provides much-needed convenience for guests—no small considerations.

As an investment, however, a new bathroom should be carefully considered. The cost of a new bathroom ranges from $39,000 to $75,800, but the return on that investment averages a modest 59%, according to Remodeling Magazine’s annual Cost vs. Value Report. That value has been steadily declining over the past several years due to rising construction costs and falling home prices.

Nevertheless, national averages may not be a reliable predictor of value in your particular neighborhood. Before committing to a bathroom addition, call in a real estate agent or professional appraiser to evaluate whether an additional bathroom makes sense in your situation. Buyers tend to prefer houses where the number of bathrooms equals the number of bedrooms, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

NAHB data also suggests that an additional half bath may increases a home’s value by about 10%, while an additional full bath increases the value by 20%. That means spending $1,000 to $2,000 more to add a shower or tub could double the return on your investment.

National and regional data from the Cost vs. Value Report:

National average cost, midrange 6x8-ft. bathroom addition:

Job cost: $39,000

Resale value: $23,200

Cost recoup: 59.5%

National average cost, upscale 10x10-ft. bathroom addition:

Job cost: $75,800

Resale value: $43,900

Cost recoup: 57.9%



Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/articles/bathroom-addition-return-investment/#ixzz12wVxMCfh


Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Friday, May 14 2010
Real estate can be an engine or a brake for the U.S. economy. And today, it's mostly slowing things down.

"The housing market, since it was the epicenter of the crisis, is also central to the feeble recovery," says Ethan Harris, an economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Everything is interconnected: Employment is closely tied to construction spending, which is 25 percent below what it was in 2006. And because property values remain low, many people are mired in debt and can no longer rely on home equity to help them out of it.

The decline in property values is also preventing small businesses from using equity to expand. And lower property values mean lower property taxes, which dents government spending on everything from teachers to police officers.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, Conor Dougherty (05/10/2010) http://www.realtor.org/RMODaily.nsf/pages/News2010051004?OpenDocument
Posted by: Rolando Trentini AT 08:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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The Trentini Team
F.C. Tucker EMGE REALTORS®
7820 Eagle Crest Bvd., Suite 200
Evansville, IN 47715
Office: (812) 479-0801
Cell: (812) 499-9234
Email: Rolando@RolandoTrentini.com


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