5 Ways to Raise the Value of Your Listing

210002339_901_18A seller may be able to boost the value of their home by an additional 12 percent, with just a few smart pre-listing repairs, according to a new survey of 300 residential real estate professionals by the Consumer Reports National Research Center. On a median, single-family home priced at $205,000, that could be a potential gain of $24,600.

Best time to sell: The best single month to sell a home is from April through June, with the best selling month identified as April, according to the Consumer Reports survey of real estate professionals.

“You don’t have to spend a ton of money to increase the value of your home,” says Dan DiClerico, senior editor for Consumer Reports. “Some simple, inexpensive fixes throughout the house can make it more appealing to potential buyers.”

Here are some of the fixes that the Consumer Reports survey of real estate professionals uncovered as being the most important:

1. Declutter

Cost range: $0 (do-it-yourself) to $2,500 (pro)

Potential return: 3% to 5%

Clear away any clutter and depersonalize the space as much as possible.

2. Makeover the kitchen

Cost range: $300 to $5,000

Potential return: 3% to 7%

The kitchen was rated as the most important room to have in top shape before selling, according to the survey. Real estate professionals recommend focusing on minor repairs that center on the function of the kitchen first, such as repairing leaky faucets, loose light fixtures, or blemishes on the countertop. Then, they recommend small enhancements, such as painting the walls, updating the cabinet hardware, adding new curtains, or light fixtures.

3. Freshen up the bathroom

Cost range: $300 to $1,000

Potential return: 2% to 3%

Make simple improvements, such as caulking the tub or re-grouting the floor or adding new bathroom fixtures to brighten up the space. Updating the mirror and lighting also can have a big impact, the real estate professionals surveyed said.

4. Paint

Cost range: $100 (do-it-yourself) to $1,000 (pro)

Potential return: 1% to 3%

Sixteen percent of the real estate professionals surveyed said that interior painting is an important part in bringing about a sale of a home. But the seller likely doesn’t need the entire house repainted, but maybe just a redo of one or two rooms to curb costs. The two prime candidates for being repainted: Kitchens and bathrooms. Paint in whites and off-whites and a neutral palette – such as grays and beiges — help buyers focus on the home’s features more than be distracted by bright colors, agents note.

5. Exterior touch ups

Cost range: $150 to $7,500

Potential return: 2% to 5%

Agents recommend that their clients concentrate on basic maintenance first, such as to mowing the lawn, trimming overgrown shrubs, and applying a fresh layer of mulch to the garden beds. They also recommend making any minor repairs, such as replacing cracked siding boards or repointing brick walls. The real estate professionals also recommended taking careful note of any repairs needed with the roof: 31 percent of agents surveyed said the roof is one of the most important parts of the home to have in good shape.

The latest Cost vs. Value Report, produced by Remodeling Magazine in conjunction with REALTOR® Magazine, uncovered some of the top home remodeling projects that offer some of the largest returns at resale. Many of the biggest payback projects had to do with enhancing the exterior of the home.

The following are the top five projects nationally in terms of cost recouped, according to the Cost vs. Value report:

1. Entry door replacement (101.8%)

2. Manufactured stone veneer (92.2%)

3. Garage door replacement (88.5%)

4. Siding replacement, fiber cement (84.3%)

5. Garage door replacement (82.5%)

Check out the latest Cost vs. Value Report to learn more about the top home remodeling projects for resale. Also, read more about easy enhancements sellers can do to help increase the value of their home in Consumer Report’s full report, “How to Make Your Home More Valuable,” which can be accessed online or found in the March 2015 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.

Source: “Top 5 Ways to Boost the Value of Your Home,” Consumer Reports

Smaller Remodeling Jobs Get Better ROI

WitSONY DSCh home-price gains slowing in most parts of the country, sellers will be looking for ways to get top dollar for their listing. Cleaning and staging make a big difference. But for some sellers — such as investors seeking to bring a property up to neighborhood standards before the sale — remodeling work may be the ticket.

As the 2015 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report makes clear, large-scale jobs aren’t likely to return sellers their full cost. But there are improvements worth doing in anticipation of an upcoming sale. Some will return almost 100 percent of their cost. Others may not have as great a payback, but they can improve the market position of the property in relation to the competition. (Think about the impact of beautiful kitchen photos on online home shoppers.) In addition, several pricier projects can provide owners with a few years of enjoyment while still offering a decent payback down the road.

Find out which remodeling projects get you the most bang for your buck.

More Home Owners Remodel to Raise Home’s Value

Home owners are remodeling their homes to increase the value, but they also are showing more desire to stay and enjoy their remodels before they move on.

Fifty-three percent of U.S. home owners say they are remodeling to increase the resale value of their home, but they have no plans to move in the next five years, according to a new Houzz & Home survey of more than 135,000 respondents. Sixteen percent of remodelers say they plan to sell their home in the next two years.

One in five — or 22 percent — of the remodelers surveyed say they feel home prices are rising too quickly to consider moving yet. Twenty-four percent of respondents say they would prefer to move, but remodeling their home makes more economic sense.

The Millennial generation of home owners seem to be the most apt to move within the next five years, according to the survey. Thirty-six percent of them say they are remodeling to increase their home’s value with the intent to move to their next home soon.

Overall, the most popular renovation projects are bathroom remodels or additions and kitchen remodels. Home owners continue to devote the highest share of dollars to kitchen remodels, spending an average of $26,172.

That can vary drastically by region, however. Home owners in the Northeast and West tend to spend the most on their renovation projects at an average of $32,155 and $29,411, respectively, on their kitchens (compared to $23,946 in the Midwest and $21,894 in the South), according to the survey.

The most popular replacement projects are flooring/paneling/ceiling, followed by windows/doors and roofing.

The top challenges that home owners say they face when renovating are finding the right products, defining their style, making decisions with spouse/partner, and educating themselves.

Source: Houzz

5 Home Remodeling Trends for the New Year

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:
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.
Source: Orlando Sentinel, Jean Patteson (12/26/2009) and Kansas City Star, Stacy Downs (12/27/2009) Photo ©Teresa Butler 2010. All rights reserved.

Bathroom Renovation on a Budget

(ARA) – When giving someone a tour of your home, do you conveniently skip over the bathroom? Does it look better with the lights off and door closed? If your bathroom is outdated, it might be time for a makeover. Small changes can make a big improvement, and even if you have a small budget, there are many ways to make your bathroom shine.

“Updating a bathroom benefits the home’s overall appearance and is something the homeowners can enjoy every day,” says Dan Auer of Faucet.com, a Web site with a vast inventory which includes all the fixtures and accessories needed for bathroom remodels. “Simple updates can have a big impact and can be done in a small amount of time.”

Easy bathroom updates include:

1) The Faucet
The faucet is the focal point of the entire bathroom and should be one of the main considerations when remodeling. If yours looks like it’s from a bygone era, it’s time to consider something new. Fashion and functionality are now available with many styles and finishes to choose from. You might also consider replacing the sink to really freshen up the look. Pedestal bathroom sinks and countertop sinks are easy to replace and can make an immediate improvement.

2) Bathroom Accessories
Updating the hardware and other bathroom accessories can be a fast and affordable way to give the room an instant facelift. Towel rings, vanity shelves and even drawer handles can all make or date a room. New accessories come in variety of finishes, including chrome, brushed nickel and bronze. Looking to add some bath accessories but not sure where to start? Try a towel ring by the sink for a hand towel so guests don’t reach for your bath towels. Sink a little cluttered? A vanity shelf adds stylish extra space; some models even have towel bars built-in. A towel warmer is a great addition to any bathroom and surprisingly affordable. The luxury of a toasty warm towel right outside the shower can’t be beat. These small items, in matching finishes, can add up to one great change to your bathroom’s look and function.

3) Lighting
New light fixtures can update the look of your bathroom as well as ensure safety while in the bathroom. Remember, because you use this room for your daily preparations, you want to have adequate lighting. Choose an overhead light and/or light above the mirror for ease and convenience. Choose from two, three or four bulb fixtures to adequately light the mirror area. Consider adding side sconces and adjustable lighting, so in the mornings you can turn the lights up to get ready and in the evenings, turn them down for a softer illumination during a relaxing hot bath or shower.

4) Showerhead
When updating your bathroom, add something you can enjoy every day. New showerheads come with a variety of options. They can be handheld, adjustable or even massaging. A new showerhead will prove to be a rewarding update to your daily routine. Many people find a custom shower system is a luxurious way to update their bathroom. Try a two-wall diverter system that sprays in several areas for the feeling of a spa shower at home.

5) Paint
The walls of bathrooms get abused with steam, hairspray, perfume and many other items that are involved in a family’s routines throughout the day. A fresh coat of paint will add a new, clean element that will update any room. Integrate fun colors into the bathroom by trying a new shade of paint, or stenciling in details to fit the overall room theme. When buying paint, consider having the paint store stir in a non-mildew additive because of the extra humidity associated with this room.

The best place to start your bathroom makeover is to look at Web sites like Faucet.com. The site offers many ideas and lots of style and finish options. Plus, shopping online can save you money and customer service is easily available for any questions so you are guided as you make your decisions.

“These five steps can be done in a short time for DIYers or within one day for a professional contractor, meaning you can enjoy the updates almost instantly,” adds Auer. “The bathroom is one of the most used rooms in the house. Easy updates will make sure it’s more enjoyable for both you and your guests.”

Courtesy of ARAcontent

Kitchen Updates Worth Every Penny

Mid-range Kitchen Remodels Reap the Rewards for Enjoyment and Resale

(ARA) – In today’s buyer’s market many homeowners are hesitant to put the “for sale” sign in the front yard — even if they are not happy with their current home. Instead, wise homeowners are sinking their dollars into remodeling — to increase their homes’ values and their own enjoyment.

When it comes to remodeling projects that yield high returns, kitchens and bathrooms are king! According to Remodeling magazine’s Cost vs. Value report, a mid-range kitchen remodel ($45,000) will recoup approximately 91 percent of the costs, while an upscale kitchen remodel ($82,000) will recoup about 85 percent.
While this may give you sticker shock, the benefits are priceless, yielding an enjoyable, updated area for your family — and future families to enjoy. What indulgences should you include? For the best return on investment, “Remodeling” magazine recommends these upgrades for a mid-range kitchen remodel.
Cabinets ($10,000 – 15,000)
Semi-custom cabinetry offers you the flexibility to design the kitchen of your dreams, while maintaining an affordable cost. Manufacturers, such as HomeCrest cabinetry offer a wide selection of woods and designs for any kitchen size or style. For added convenience add a kitchen island, which is also a popular selling point in the kitchen. Plus it’ll provide an enjoyable open food prep station or seating area.
Countertops ($3,000 – 4,000)
Laminate countertops used to be the only affordable choice, since solid surface options, like marble or granite, were more expensive. Now options such as Corian or Hi-Macs, provide an affordable, upscale look. You can choose from a variety of patterns or colors to fit every style and budget. Plus, they offer added durability and easy installation — key benefits for any remodeling project.
Stainless Steel Sink and Upscale Faucet ($800 – 1,500)
“It’s all about smart innovation,” says Judy Riley, Moen Incorporated’s vice president of design. “In today’s fast-paced world, homeowners want to add amenities that are not only fashionable, but functional as well.”
For a stylish and functional faucet, try a pullout version. Moen offers a variety of designs, including the new Medora faucet, an elegant single-hole, single-handle high arc pullout kitchen faucet. With its variety of finishes, including Stainless Steel or dramatic Matte Black, it meets most style demands, and features an ergonomically designed pullout wand with a variety of water flow patterns for convenience at the sink.
Speaking of the sink, “undermount sinks, which complement solid surface countertops, are a “must-have” in the kitchen,” says Riley. “They offer an upscale, seamless look and are easy to clean since there are no edges to catch crumbs.” Moen’s new Camelot undermount stainless steel sinks, available in four bowl configurations, blend quality and value to allow you to achieve an upscale look at an affordable price.
Appliances ($5,000 – 7,000)
Choosing energy-efficient appliances increases the functionality and aesthetics of the kitchen while decreasing your overall energy costs. Plus they are a great selling feature. Visit www.energystar.com for listings of energy-efficient models. Energy Star-rated refrigerators use 15 percent less energy than the current federal standards, while Energy Star dishwashers use 41 percent less energy. To round out your purchase, add an in-wall oven, a flush-mount ceramic range and an over-range microwave oven. Choose matching finishes on all appliances for a high-end look.
Custom Lighting ($2,000 – 3,000)
Gone are the days of the lone overhead fluorescent light fixture. Today, custom lighting adds functionality and warmth to your kitchen. Choose a beautiful chandelier over the dining area for a decorative element. Install hidden, recessed cans in the center of the room to create ambient light. Hanging pendant lamps is an ideal way to beautifully illuminate task areas.
Resilient Flooring ($2,500 – 4,000)
Like the name suggests, resilient flooring is a must-have for busy kitchens, withstanding foot traffic and food spills. Plus, today’s choices include a broad range of style, color and performance options to meet your needs and budget. Low price may not mean lower quality, but less style choices or shorter warranties. Expect to pay more for sophisticated styling, like those that mirror the look of ceramic tile or wood, but they will also have better damage resistance and stronger warranties.
Paint and Stain ($200-300)
Unfortunately, there isn’t a one-type-fits-all paint. For the walls, use a latex primer to create a perfect canvas. Next, choose a high-quality washable latex paint so you can easily wash away any food splashes and stains. For wood trim you have two choices: paint or stain. If staining, be sure to test the color to create a close match to your kitchen cabinets for a cohesive look. If painting your trim, choose a high-gloss paint to set it apart from the walls.
So when it comes time to remodel your kitchen, remember smart innovation will pay off. In addition to the enjoyment that it will provide you, it’ll also reduce your energy bills and increase your home’s value when it comes time to sell.
For more information about Moen’s kitchen products, visit www.moen.com or call (800) BUY-MOEN.
Courtesy of ARAcontent