Real Estate Blog
Friday, June 06 2014
Especially when it comes to major decisions like buying or selling your home, human nature seems to tilt toward delaying action until it’s the end result is absolutely certain. After all, nobody wants to make a life-changing move that turns out to be anything short of fantastic!
So even when you’ve outgrown your current home…or found yourself in a daily long-distance commute because work has moved…or any number of other reasons why you know you should be looking for a new house…it can be difficult to commit to such a looming decision. Adding to that is one of the most common assumptions many homeowners believe: that they have to spend a boatload of money to increase their home value.
The truth is: it ain’t so! You can strategically update your house before you put it on the market without depleting your bank account.
Items that only seem to require costly fixes:
· Make it Spacious
Adding space to a room increases any home value. Tearing out walls isn’t necessary when there are so many other ways to achieve the same thing. Simple options include removing built-in shelves, enlarging windows, or (the simplest) just removing “stuff” that’s hogging perceived space.
· Go Green
More and more, you can improve your home value by installing modest “green” upgrades. Today’s buyers may not necessarily be eco-focused—they may simply have a good sense of the increasing cost of water and power. “Going green” as a way to add home value to your area property can be no more costly than switching to low-flow toilets, adding a WiFi thermostat with “smart” technology, or putting in a low cost drip watering system.
· Window Update
Have a room that comes across as outdated…or just plain ‘blah’? Consider how much extra home value a new window treatment might add. It could be as simple as installing a stylish valence over a window or two.
· Change the Doors
Remember your first apartment with its flimsy, hollow doors? A quality door can make a disproportionate difference to a property’s perceived home value. Changing out your front or back doors for more a more weighty or modern selection can be well worth the expense.
Paint is the number one way to alter the look of a room inexpensively. Instead of painting the entire room one color, another option is to make a “statement wall” in its own neutral color that compliments a painting’s or picture frame’s palate.
These are just a few suggestions that can increase the value of your home without a straining the family finances. Even in an older home, many times it’s the little touches that can make the greatest difference.
Looking for specific suggestions to improve the value of your home before listing it for sale? Call me today for an in-home market evaluation! You can reach me on my cell phone
812-499-9234 or email Rolando@RolandoTrentini.com
Wednesday, March 19 2014
Keeping your kitchen looking up-to-date doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. Contemporary home design in is all about knowing what the latest trends are and which to choose when regular maintenance calls for a change in appliances or décor.
This year, eco-friendly appliances are definitely ‘in’—as are the pops of bright color meant to create a vivid and welcoming kitchen. And as convenience features continue to evolve, those are increasingly prominent factors influencing design choices. Especially if you are planning to sell your home in the near future, there are a few home design directions that are most likely to impress prospective buyers who’ve been exploring the latest kitchen trends:
Going green is a pronounced trend, not just in home design. Using renewable, Earth-friendly materials can be a way to update a kitchen while minimizing environmental impact. A sample idea would be a sustainable bamboo parquet butcher block to grace the kitchen counter or table. They come in beautiful, rich wood tones, and when large enough to cover a substantial counter area, can warm the feel of the entire room.
Another (almost diametrically opposed) current direction is to deck the kitchen out with a few of the latest high-tech gadgets. Even if you resist an ultra-modern look, a few chic techie touches can add a dash of luxury to your home. One example: Siemens makes a multimedia ventilation hood that has a 17-inch LCD screen with options for listening to music or watching TV. It’s a creative way to make cooking more entertaining—and one that would certainly help make your listing stand out!
Bright colors have not always been popular in kitchens, but lately, appliance manufacturers have been less shy about offering exuberant finishes. You can find dishwashers, blenders, toasters, microwaves and refrigerators in bright blues, pinks, yellows, greens and oranges. It can be an inexpensive way to add a splash of color to your kitchen…although if you are planning on selling soon, in many instances I’d recommend caution: perhaps confining the color pops to bright accent pillows or colorful floral arrangements.
Copper is also an increasingly popular trend in kitchen design this year. Its natural antibacterial properties make it a practical home design element, and that cool, rustic hue looks great in warm, gold-toned kitchens. Copper sinks and faucets are both practical and stylish (although keeping them bright and shiny can be another story!).
If you are thinking of selling soon, consider incorporating one or two current home design ideas if your kitchen could use a decor infusion. Looking for more ideas? Contact me today to discuss what is making today’s homes S-E-L-L!
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)
Thursday, March 07 2013
Sometimes home values can undergo abrupt changes. One way that can happen is through the ‘Surprise Remodel’ phenomenon. That’s when you wake up one morning to find that your local house grew larger…overnight!
If you are one of the many residents whose children have left for school, the Surprise Remodel is what happened the moment you realized that that you were, in fact, suddenly in possession of an extra room.
Sometimes it takes a few months, but as soon as you conclude that the sentimental value of leaving the high school memorabilia in place is outweighed by the value of transforming the room into more useful space, you have a number of ways to proceed:
Transforming the former kid room into an exercise area is one foolproof way home values can be increased. Remove carpeting and add flooring as needed; place a floor-to-wall mirror to one side; then add any exercise equipment you choose (garage sales can be excellent sources).
Have you always wanted a dedicated home office? Now is the ideal time. Paint the room a rich neutral color, add the desk (freeing up space it used to occupy elsewhere), and then add bookshelves and a guest chair or sofa. Voila!
In the likely event the kids will be back now and then, a subtler changeover to a universal guest room is a good answer. Memorabilia removal will go a long way toward accomplishing that goal, and home values always improve when fancier bedding and pillows are added to any room.
Evansville home values may not seem important until you decide to put your own on the market, but I have often heard clients say they wish they had spruced up the place while they were still living there. Any Surprise Remodel moment is a perfect opportunity to do just that.
Later, when the time comes to list, don’t forget to call me! You can reach me on my cell phone 812-499-9234 or email Rolando@RolandoTrentini.com
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
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
Thursday, March 10 2011
Remodeling kitchen trends are creating stylish kitchens with cleaner lines, built-in dining, and pops of color, according to a recent article in RISMedia.
Here are some recent trends in kitchens across the country.
1. Built-in dining areas. Eat-in kitchens are in high demand as more remodelers are opting for extensions in counters that resemble a table, either in lower or higher height to the countertop. The counter extension is different than bar seating because diners can sit around the edge and face one another, and not just sit in a row. The counter extension saves space, offers an extra buffet service, and more kitchen storage, says Deanna Carleton of Kitchen Design Group.
2. Dressing up the kitchen with lighting. An affordable way to upgrade a kitchen is just by switching out the lights, designers say. For example, hand-blown glass shades on pendant lights, contemporary drum shades, and chandeliers can quickly update a kitchen. Layers of light continue to be popular, such as with a ceiling lighting fixture combined with under-counter lighting as well as ambient lights behind a glass-front door, designers say. LED under-counter lighting and LED recessed ceiling lights are also popular.
3. Pops of color. Neutral colors in the kitchen is the safe preference, but more kitchens are adding bolder pops of color--such as in persimmon or pomegranate--to spice up the kitchen. Colored knobs, kitchen accessories, and even appliances are bringing in these pops of color. Designers say pops of color can also be brought in by the fabric choice in kitchen window seats, the upholstered seats, or window valances.
4. Striving for simplistic luxury. Clean lines and transitional designs are “in” while ornate Tuscan and French country kitchen styles are falling out of favor in the kitchen. Betty Nairn of Cabinet-S-Top in Granger Township, Ohio, says “simplistic luxury” is the kitchen trend nowadays.
Source: "8 Areas to Pay Attention to When Updating Your Kitchen," RISMedia (March 5, 2011)
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.
Monday, October 05 2009
More than 80 percent of new single-family homes have at least two bathrooms, which occupy an average of 300 square feet of floor space, or 12 percent of the total area, according to a study by the National Association of Home Builders.
The home builder’s study reports a major return on value for extra bathrooms: "When the number of bathrooms is approximately equal to the number of bedrooms, an additional half-bath adds about 10 percent to the home's value, and one additional bath adds about 19 percent."
A mid-range bathroom remodel, which costs $10,500 on average nationwide, repays a home buyer at least 100 percent of the outlay when the property is sold, the home buyer study concludes.
Source: Chicago Tribune, Mike McClintock (09/21/2009) http://www.realtor.org/RMODaily.nsf/pages/News2009100503?OpenDocument