Real Estate Blog
Wednesday, May 07 2014
Last week’s Rasmussen Reports survey reported that the majority (52%) of Americans consider their home to be a family’s best investment at the same time that the number of people who are choosing to remodel their home is on the rise. According to the Houzz & Home survey, the number of people who planned improvement projects rose a dynamic 12 % last year. Of those, 40% wanted to remodel their home or build an addition.
While remodeling may be becoming more popular, there are still plenty of advantages to the alternative route: purchasing a new home in. Here are some of the pros and cons of each route:
- Before you start your remodeling project you should take a personal inventory. Do you have the experience and skills to manage the project…and is the prospect appealing? Remodeling your home will require that you deal directly either with tradesmen, contractors, architects— or the whole bunch! It may be the greatest advantage to purchasing a new home: getting the additional space and amenities without the work.
- The loss of privacy during a remodeling project is not something to be underestimated. Depending upon the scope of the project, it may be months before the dust settles and you have the house to yourself again. There is also the inconvenience of not having access to multiple areas of your home while work is proceeding
- For most of us, there really is no place like home. If you’re like me, even when you’ve been on a terrific vacation, eventually you begin to yearn for the comfort and familiarity of your good old home base. Although one or two irksome features of your current house make moving seem like a no-brainer…before you commit to a move, be sure that you really want to leave. History, a sense of community, and the roots you’ve established in your current neighborhood are all reasons to opt for a remodel rather than a new home.
- Selling your existing home and buying a new home is a sizable financial commitment. Moving costs, transaction fees, commissions and taxes are part of the equation to weigh against remodeling costs. A sharp pencil is definitely in order before the dollars and cents can be realistically reckoned—particularly if your finances have improved, and the remodel is meant to bring your home up to an improved standard of living.
The danger lies in overcapitalizing a property in a location where the resale won’t support the expense. Even a great home will still fetch a price that’s relative to other properties in the neighborhood, obliterating the wished-for ‘investment’ value of extensive remodeling.
While it’s important to be informed about the factual tradeoffs of your decision, it’s likely the end choice will also be influenced by what just feels right—as it should be. Whether you’re considering a remodel or a purchase, if you’d like to run some numbers, call me today for a confidential price evaluation! You can reach me on my cell phone 812-499-9234 or email Rolando@RolandoTrentini.com
Tuesday, April 02 2013
More home owners are planning to renovate their houses this year, according to Houzz, a remodeling Web site. The company recently surveyed approximately 100,000 home owners, and 53 percent of them reported that now is a good time to remodel.
More home owners getting motivated to increasing the values of their houses by improving the “look, flow, and layout” of these residences.
The most popular renovation projects were centered around bathrooms and kitchens. Twenty-eight percent said they were planning a bathroom remodel or addition, while 23 percent of those surveyed said they were planning a kitchen remodel or addition in the next two years. Over the last five years, home owners have spent $28,030 on average to remodel their kitchens, according to the Houzz survey.
Source: “Interest in building, remodeling homes picks up,” Inman News (March 28, 2013)
Monday, February 11 2013
Updating the outside of a home pays off, according to this year’s Cost vs. Value Report. Real estate professionals ranked exterior improvement projects as winning the buyers’ eye and providing sellers with the most return on investment.
If your clients are wondering what home improvement projects will give them the best return on the sale of their home, tell them to think “curb appeal.”
When buyers are shopping for a home, the exterior can make (or break) the first impression. According to the 2013 Cost vs. Value Report, exterior replacement projects are among the most valuable home improvements that sellers can currently invest in, starting with the front door.
A steel entry door topped this year’s survey with an estimated 85.6 percent of the costs recouped at resale. The steel door replacement is also the least expensive of the 35 midrange and upscale remodeling projects included in the survey, costing $1,137 on average.
This is the 15th year that Remodeling magazine — in cooperation with REALTOR® Magazine — has released the Cost vs. Value Report. This year’s survey included more than 3,900 appraisers, sales agents, and brokers across the country who provided their opinions and estimates.
Exterior projects dominated the list with six of the top 10 most cost-effective midrange projects and eight of the top 10 upscale projects.
Read more here: http://realtormag.realtor.org/home-and-design/cost-vs-value/article/2013/01/2012-13-cost-vs-value-make-first-impression-count
Thursday, February 16 2012
Improving walls and ceilings is an excellent way to bring back the life of your home and great for maintaining equity on one of the biggest investments in your life.
Many of the wall upgrades can be handled by an experienced do-it-yourselfer with a bit of know-how and the time to undertake the projects.
If you have dents in the walls or ceilings and/or holes, you will need to have scrapers, plaster, knife, spackle, cloth, sandpaper and paint. You may also need the patches that come with plastering kits in the event some of the holes require additional attention.
Before you start with the spackling, make sure the area is clear of dust and other debris. Apply a coat of spackle to the area and wait until it dries. Then sandpaper the area and dust it again to remove any remaining particles.
If you are peeling off old paint, use a putty knife or paint-scraper to remove as much of the material as possible. Spackle around the edge of the chipping paint and then sand down the area and dust it thoroughly before applying new paint.
Removing stains will require solvents; some require nothing more than a damp sponge; you can also try dish soap in small quantity. Tougher stains will obviously require a stronger cleanser. If mildew has collected, particularly mold spores, this should be cleansed with a bleach solution to prevent it from reappearing right away.
A larger quantity of nail holes or other more significant damage may require re-plastering an entire area. Obviously, this is a much larger undertaking, not necessarily beyond your ability to do it, but it’s well worth considering if, at this time, you would be better served by engaging the services of a professional remodeler/repairman.
In any event, maintaining the upkeep and look of your walls and ceilings has more than just cosmetic value; it keeps the integrity of your home at its best, as well.
Friday, February 03 2012
When tackling home remodeling projects, you’ll find some projects pay off more than others at times of resale. Remodeling Magazine, in conjunction with REALTOR® Magazine, recently released findings of its annual Cost vs. Value report for 2011-2012, revealing which remodeling projects offer the biggest bang for your buck.
Overall, the trend right now is replacement over remodeling–swapping out the old for the new rather than doing a total gut job, which can be much more costly.
This year’s Cost vs. Value report found that exterior replacement projects–such as new garage doors and a new entry door–offer some of the best returns at resale, allowing home owners to recoup close to 70 percent or more of the costs of the project at times of resale.
The following are the top, mid-range projects from this year’s report, based on what home owners stand to recoup at time of resale:
1. Replacing the entry door to steel
Estimated cost: $1,238
Cost recouped at resale: 73%
2. Attic bedroom (converting unfinished attic space into a bedroom with bathroom and shower)
Estimated cost: $50,148
Cost recouped at resale: 72.5%
3. Minor kitchen remodel (including new cabinets and drawers, countertops, hardware, and appliances)
Estimated cost: $19,588
Cost recouped at resale: 72.1%
4. Garage door replacement
Estimated cost: $1,512
Cost recouped at resale: 71.9%
5. Deck addition (wood)
Estimated cost: $10,350
Cost recouped at resale: 70.1%
6. Siding replacement (vinyl)
Estimated cost: $11,729
Cost recouped at resale: 69.5%
Wednesday, January 25 2012
To calculate how much remodel you can afford, follow these four steps: Ballpark the cost, establish a spending limit, make a wish list, and set your priorities.
What’s on your remodeling wish list? Maybe you’re longing for a spa-like master bathroom, a new eat-in kitchen, or a garage with space enough to fit your cars and your outdoor gear. Well, when it comes to home improvements, knowing what you want is the easy part. The tougher question is figuring out how much you can afford. Follow this four-step plan to arrive at the answer.
Ballpark the costs
The first step is to get a handle on how much your remodeling dreams will cost. Remodeling Magazine’s 2010-11 Cost vs. Value Report gives national averages for 35 common projects. Or you can use a per-square-foot estimate: In general, major upgrades, such as a bathroom remodel or a family-room addition, run $100 to $200 per square foot. Your local National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) affiliate can help with estimates. At this point, you’re not trying to nail down exact prices, but to get a rough sense of what your project might cost.
Figure out how much you have to spend
Once you have a ballpark cost estimate, the next question is whether you have the money. If you’re paying cash, that’s pretty easy to answer. But if you’re borrowing, you need to assess how much a bank will lend you and what that loan will add to your monthly expenses.
For the vast majority of homeowners, the best way to borrow for a home improvement is a home equity line of credit. A HELOC (pronounced HEE-lock) is a loan that’s secured by your home equity, which means that it qualifies for a lower rate than other loan types, and you can deduct the interest on your taxes. Because a HELOC is a line of credit rather than a lump-sum loan, it comes with a checkbook that you use to withdraw money as needed, up to the maximum amount of the loan. For help shopping for a HELOC, download our free worksheet.
The catch is that the minimum payment on a HELOC is just that month’s interest; you’re not required to pay back any principal. Like only paying the minimum due on a credit card, that’s a recipe for getting stuck in debt. Instead, establish your own repayment schedule. You can do this simply by paying 1/60th of the principal (for a five-year paydown) or 1/120th (for 10 years) in addition to the monthly interest. If you can’t afford that much, then you should reconsider your project.
Get quotes from contractors
Once you have ballpark estimates of what your job might cost and how much you can spend, you know whether it’s feasible to move forward. Assuming the numbers are within shooting range of each other, it’s time to get a nuts-and-bolts assessment of project costs.
Don’t ask contractors for bids yet, though. First, you need to determine exactly what you want, right down to the kitchen countertop material and the type of faucet. By specifying these details up front, you ensure that contractors are all pricing the same things, rather than the countertop and faucet they assume you want. If you’re using an architect or designer, bring them in now to help with these choices. If not, consult magazines, go to showrooms, and visit friends’ houses for ideas.
Next, get recommendations for at least three contractors from friends, neighbors, and other tradesmen that you trust. Give each one your project description and specific product lists and request an itemized bid. To make a final decision, assess some of their previous work, their attitudes, and their references, and then choose the contractor who impresses you most.
Prioritize and phase
Take the winning contractor’s bid and add a 15% to 20% contingency for the unforeseen problems and changes that occur on every project. Is the total still within your ability to pay? If so, you’re ready to get started. If not, it’s time to scale back your plans.
Because you have an itemized bid, you can get a good sense of what you’ll save by eliminating various aspects of the project. Enlist the contractor’s help: Explain that you’ve decided to hire him (and you’re not trying to nickel-and-dime him) but that the bid is over your budget, and ask him to recommend ways to cut costs. He may suggest phasing parts of the job—keeping your old appliances in your new kitchen, for example, because they’re easy to upgrade later—or stealing some underutilized square footage for part of your family room to reduce the size of the addition. He may even suggest waiting until the slow winter season, or letting you do some of the work yourself. Once the bottom line on the bid matches the bottom line on your budget, you’re ready to transform your home.
Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/planning-your-remodel/how-to-budget-for-home-remodel/#ixzz1kU1Kha1p
Monday, August 29 2011
Shopping for wood countertops, cabinets, or doors? FSC and SFI are the two green certifications you need to know.
If sustainability is important to you when you remodel a kitchen or bathroom or build a deck, look for the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification. It’s the best indicator, here in the U.S., that the wood used to make your cabinets, countertops, deck, and more was harvested sustainably.
The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) certification is helpful, too, though less rigorous. It’s a good bet when you can’t find FSC products.
Both certifications tell you whether a wood product comes from a forest that’s managed responsibly.
Responsible forest management
- Protecting fragile ecosystems
- Respecting native cultures and economies
- Preventing illegal logging
- Restricting clear-cutting (removing all trees in a tract) and pesticide use
- Monitoring the “chain of custody,” or ensuring that the wood in the product you’re looking at really came from the forest that was certified.
Where to find certified wood
Ask your retailer or cabinet maker up front about their certified wood options, and whether any are ready made. You can also use FSC or SFI’s online products database to select a retailer that carries certified wood.
Is certified wood more expensive?
The frustrating answer is maybe yes, depending on efficiencies in the supply chain, or maybe no, such as if FSC-certified suppliers, for instance, are competing with wood that’s been harvested irresponsibly. FSC recommends you do comparison shopping among local suppliers and online.
Forest Stewardship Council = the gold standard
FSC is widely considered the best forestry certification program, although industry groups tend to consider it too strict—and environmentalists, too lax. The nonprofit was started by environmental groups in 1993.
Most agree FSC is a stronger certification than SFI, although to what extent is debatable, as both have downsides. FSC has very specific criteria for what constitutes responsible forest management, placing a big emphasis on environmental health. FSC certification is tougher than SFI in several categories, including how much clear-cutting is allowed and how much chemical pesticide can be used.
Downside of FSC: Because it’s harder to achieve, it’s harder to find in the store. But it’s worth the extra effort, because consumer demand can help it spread to a broader audience. Just allow yourself some extra time to locate products, says BuildingGreen, a company that educates building professionals on green certifications.
Sustainable Forestry Initiative less rigorous
SFI has its roots in the logging industry, as an outgrowth of the American Forest and Paper Association, from which it still receives funding despite the fact that it’s now a separate nonprofit. Because it takes money directly from the industry it polices, and because its certification process isn’t as transparent as FSC’s, you could reasonably doubt whose interests come first.
Still, SFI has toughened its standards over the years, including prohibiting logging of old-growth forests and limiting chemical pesticides. BuildingGreen deems it an acceptable solution when you can’t find FSC products.
Caveat about green certifications for wood products
Forestry certifications aren’t the final word on wood. Consider whether the whole package—everything that makes up those cabinets—is really green:
- The distance it has to be shipped to reach you
Alternative idea: Salvaging existing wood or buying products with a large amount of recycled content may be just as green a choice.
Karin Beuerlein has covered home improvement and green living topics extensively for FineLiving.com, FrontDoor.com, and HGTV.com. She and her husband started married life by remodeling the house they were living in. They still have both the marriage and the house, no small feat.
Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/articles/what-is-fsc-certified-wood/#ixzz1VlqPIN31
Tuesday, December 29 2009
Remodeling and decorating trends in 2010 are likely to reflect the fact that many home owners are settling in for the long haul.
Here are some ideas for updating homes and gardens from decorators and leading real estate practitioners:
Source: Orlando Sentinel, Jean Patteson (12/26/2009) and Kansas City Star, Stacy Downs (12/27/2009) http://www.realtor.org/RMODaily.nsf/pages/News2009122805?OpenDocument
- Environmentally sensitive furniture. Natural fibers, sustainable woods, and recycled products are key to attracting environmentally concerned buyers.
- Classic neutral colors. Deep gray browns and gray blues, muted beige, and chalky white will be particularly popular shades, Pittsburgh Paints predicts.
- Backyard gardens. First Lady Michelle Obama led the way in 2009 when she installed one at the White House.
- Backyard living. Wood-deck additions offer an 80.6 percent payback, according to the annual Cost vs. Value Report from Remodeling magazine and REALTOR® magazine. Simple fire pits and outdoor fireplaces also will be popular, trend-watchers say.
- Made in America. As more people feel compelled to support local employment, U.S. manufactured products and antiques will become more popular, says Patricia Shackelford, author of design blog, Mrs. Blandings.