5 Top Home Improvements that Pay Back When You Want to Sell

5 Top Home Improvements that Pay Back When You Want to Sell

When renovating, it’s important to consider resale value. Here are five top home improvements with the highest return on investment according to Renovation Magazine, and where in the country to implement them for the biggest resale boost.

Whether you’re renovating to sell, or plan on enjoying the results for years to come, you may want to consider which upgrades will give you the greatest return in terms of resale value — which may change depending on where you live. Here are five top home improvements with the highest return on investment according to Renovation Magazine, and where in the country to implement them for the biggest resale boost.

1. Attic Insulation

While arguably not the most exciting upgrade on the list, boosting the R-value in your attic through some extra insulation has the potential for a huge return — earning back on average 117 percent of the cost to install across the nation — and who wouldn’t want to be up money at the end of the day?

Attic insulation plays a huge role in your home, from preventing ice dams in the winter to keeping your home cooler in the summer, which is why it can garner up to a whopping 144 percent return in very hot or cold climates (think New England or the Gulf Coast). But, no matter where you live, if you’re looking for a renovation that will impact your comfort and resale value, this is the one.

2. Stone Veneer

Since first impressions are so important in real estate, it’s no surprise that three of the top five renovations on the list have to do with ramping up the curb appeal of your house. Manufactured stone veneer is generally used to replace the bottom third of siding on a home’s exterior to provide an earthy, modern touch. Though it is a good bet no matter where you are, with a 93 percent return on average, homeowners right up the Pacific Coast could make back more than the cost of the renovation come selling time.

3. Garage Door

Whether you’re going for a traditional, carriage house feel, or sleek and modern, a new garage door is a fantastic upgrade, which will garner a nearly 92 percent return on investment nationwide. There is really no area of the country where a new garage door is an ill-advised renovation; however, homes in colder climates would benefit from an insulated door, versus their Southern counterparts.

top home renovation garage door

Image Source: StockSnap.io

4. Steel Entry Door

Upgrading your front door is one of the fastest ways to increase curb appeal and create an inviting entrance to your home. It’s also a great investment with an average return of 91 percent. If your home is already equipped with a steel entry door, consider new hardware and a fresh coat of paint to create a budget-conscious version that will create similar results.

5. Minor Kitchen Remodel

If you were wondering when we’d get to what is widely considered the most important room in the house, you’ll be happy to know that spending money on a minor kitchen remodel will actually produce a bigger return than a major overhaul, with an average return of 83 percent versus only 65 percent for a major upgrade. What’s more, if you live in the Pacific, or South Atlantic regions of the country, you will earn even more for your kitchen reno — up to 103 percent in fact, which will help you enjoy the fruits of your labor even more. Keep in mind, that a minor kitchen remodel is defined as using the existing cabinets, but replacing cabinet fronts and facings, hardware, appliances, sink, and floors.

kitchen renovation

Regardless what you choose, keeping an eye on resale when you renovate, even if you don’t plan on moving, will protect your home as the largest investment you will likely ever make — and ensure that the payback for these top home improvements is there for you when you need it.

The 2017 Housing Market: What Lies Ahead

The 2017 Housing Market: What Lies Ahead

As we look to 2017, Real Estate Market Specialist Les Christie outlines trends and factors that will impact housing and real estate.

The United States is at its strongest economic position in almost a decade. GDP jumped by 3.2% year-over-year in the three months ended September 30. The nation’s unemployment rate skidded to 4.6% in November, its lowest level since August 2007. Hiring is so good that more Americans are quitting their current jobs than at any time since the Great Recession hit.

Most of these workers are leaving their old jobs because they have found or think they can find jobs that pay better. The median weekly wage rose 3% year-over-year in the third quarter of 2016. That may not sound like much, but it clearly outpaces inflation, which hit a two-year high of 1.7% in November.  More people are working and workers have more money in their pockets.

Fed is bullish

The Federal Reserve feels so good about the economy that it raised its benchmark rate on December 14 by a quarter percentage point and vowed it would probably raise it three more times next year.

Fannie Mae, the government-run mortgage giant, forecast in November that the nation’s GDP will grow again in 2017. That momentum will be spurred by consumer spending; personal consumer expenditures will increase a predicted 2.2% and residential fixed investment will go up more than 3%.

That should help keep the nation’s housing markets on an upswing as many of the potential homeowners who have stayed on the sidelines for years due to uncertainty over their jobs or incomes will finally take the home-buying plunge.

According to Duncan, first-time buyers have upped the demand for homes as many more millennials have begun to form households of their own. He expects that investment in new single-family home building will boost the national economy. That follows years of troubles in the industry, which had served as a drag on economic recovery.

Building an industry back up

In past recessions, the construction industry suffered, but it usually led the charge back to normal. Home building still lags the boom year 2005, when nearly 1.3 million new homes were sold.

Building is still being held back by several factors. For one thing, financing is harder to obtain than in the past. Builders can have everything else in place, but fail to find construction loans on reasonable terms. For another, good help has gotten harder to find. Many industry vets aged out of their jobs by the time builders were hiring again. Others found work in different jobs.

Lack of inventory will continue to hold the housing market in check, with demand for homes outpacing supply.

10 Surprising Ways to Find More Space in Your Home

10 Surprising Ways to Find More Space in Your Home

An organized home is a happy home.

By NorthStar Moving Co-Founder Laura McHolm

So real talk…how did your 2016 resolutions go? It’s that time of year again when we break out the running shoes, eat healthier for a couple of weeks and pledge to get our lives more organized. However, how are we supposed to eat healthier if our pantries are over flowing or be inspired to hit the pavement every morning if we are looking at piles of clothes? To lead a more organized and inspired life in 2017 the clutter around you must be cleared. It’s simple, if your home is organized your mindset will be too.

A clean and balanced home is actually a launching pad for all of your other resolutions. So if you are already starting to fail at your self-resolutions try this home resolution – find more space in your home by clearing out the clutter. Follow these ten tips and I promise you it will inspire you to complete your other resolutions and lead you to a more organized, happier year!

1The pantry. Create room by removing the large and awkward food packaging. Purchase clear, air-tight containers, take the box of your food item, and cut out the product name, nutritional facts and expiration date. Tape them to the inside of your clear container and then seal the food.

2. The pantry shelves. Arrange the food on your shelves to help keep your resolutions. Make “first choice” shelves for the food that you want to stay on that diet. Make shelves that are for the kids snacks or foods that you’re just not going to have on a regular basis anymore… You get the idea –some shelves are just for the once a week treat. Some are for every day.

3. The pantry. If you like to buy in bulk, put the bulk of your paper goods in another location, perhaps a closet or the garage, and place only what you need in your pantry— restock as needed.

4. The kitchen. When storing pots, pans and other durable items, stack them on their sides like files. This simple step not only creates more room, it also allows you to see exactly what you need. Caddies or sorters from a shelf or container store are great tools for vertical organizing

5. The dresser. Place clothing in drawers vertically (not the traditional horizontal piles) because it not only maximizes space, it allows you to find items more quickly. You can purchase wooden planks or plastic planks to use as dividers. This way you can see all of your clothes at once when you open the drawer.

6. The closet. If your shoes don’t have a place they end up in a pile taking up valuable space. Place shoes and accessories in clear plastic containers so you can see everything and tape their photo to the inside of their container with photo facing out. This little step gives you triple duty: more space, you can find it easily and better still you can put it away in the exact same spot for next time that hot date rolls around…

7. Use color to keep it straight. Organize your closet and drawers dark to light. It can be great way to find out that you really have way too many black blouses… and you can keep your resolution of being a kinder gentler you by donating the extras!

8. The kids’ rooms. Purchase bed raisers for under-the-bed storage. You can store everything from shoes, laundry basket, books and any bulky items that might otherwise clutter their room.

9. The baby’s closet. Is there room to add another bar? Take advantage of the fact that baby clothing is smaller and if you can, add an additional bar to hang the clothing to maximize space. You can purchase premade closet organizers that you can customize to make the most out of baby’s closet.

10. The best trick to more space in your home, less is more! So if you find you have extra things laying around, throw a reverse housewarming party! You will be starting a new party trend. Set aside your unwanted items and instead of having your friends bring a housewarming gift, they are to pick one of your items and take it home with them. This is a great way to reunite with friends, find your unwanted things a good home, and de-clutter all at the same time!

Now that the clutter around you is cleared your mind will be clearer to meet all those 2017 goals!

Your Home’s January Honey Do List

Your Home’s January Honey Do List

Start 2017 off on the right foot with this list of January resolutions for your home.

Ah, the month of resolutions! Your personal honey do list is sure to be filled with ambitious goals for 2017: get back to the gym, take control of your diet, but what about your home? This month, we’ve rounded up a January to do list to make sure you start the year off on the right foot at home.

1.  Nix Indoor Condensation – Look for indoor condensation on windows and take corrective action. For 7 ways to reduce humidity in your home, check out this great video from Andersen Windows & Doors.

2.  Make a maintenance calendar – Review warranties and product material to check on recommended maintenance for furnace, equipment, appliances, and tools. Mark your calendar to track scheduled upkeep and service.

3.  Accessorize, Accessorize, Accessorize – After the holiday decorations come down, your walls can feel a bit dull and empty. January is a great time to add new home decor accessories, like fresh throw pillows or framed photos of the past year’s activities.

4.  Get ready for the big game – Now’s the time to get ready for the ultimate game day. Here are 5 winning football party ideas that will score big.

5.  Organize your files – While most paperwork is now maintained digitally, it’s still important to make sure you’re organized and backed up. Take an afternoon to sort through online statements, contacts and emails that piled up over the holidays. And after all of that hard work, be sure to back up to a hard drive or cloud service.

6.  Sort and toss – Take time to sort through your toiletry products in the bathroom and food items in the pantry. Toss anything that is old or expired and start fresh for the new year.

7.  Warm up your home – In many parts of the country, we’re dreaming of ways to add a little extra warmth around the house. Whether it’s adding weather stripping or a smart thermostat, these 6 easy ways to make your home warmer and cozier this winter are just the trick!

8.  Ready to Move? Do this first – If you’re thinking of selling your home in 2017, make it a resolution to collect these 10 pieces of valuable information well before the spring real estate rush.

New Year New Home?

New Year New Home?

If buying a house is on your “to do” list this year, now is also the time to begin preparing.

It’s officially 2017 so let me start by wishing you a happy new year.  In early January, many of us are planning and setting goals for everything we want to do and achieve in the year to come.  While many people think of spring as the primetime home buying season, the winter months often offer an even greater selection, and the opportunity to settle into the new home before warmer months arrive.  If buying a house is on your “to do” list this year, now is also the time to begin preparing.

I remember when I bought my home.  There were so many things to get in order– it was confusing to decide where to begin! So, even if you plan to buy in the spring, January is a good time to get ready. Here are some tips to help you get on track to reach your 2017 home buying resolution:

  • Select a qualified and trusted real estate agent: At Coldwell Banker, we have a network of knowledgeable, trustworthy agents.  Agents understand the local market and can help you find all the information and resources you need to get started. Researching on your own is important, and using free online tools is a great way to start, but meeting with an agent will ensure you don’t miss any important steps along the way.  In fact, the next three tips were sourced from the great advice of our agents.
  • Create your “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves” list: Easier said than done, right?  But it’s next to impossible to find a first home with everything.  You’ll need to think about your lifestyle needs and prioritize the non-negotiable home accommodations, such as a bedroom for each family member, over items you may want, but not need, such as a large master suite. Everyone’s list is different, but knowing your “must-haves” in advance will help you stay focused.
  • Determine your budget: Be realistic about what is affordable. An agent can help you find comparable home prices and hone in on approximately how much the payments will be.  You should also plan to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Doing this prior to house hunting will let you know how much money you qualify for, and how much you can afford. You’ll also be able to figure out which mortgage type is best for you.
  • Identify the perfect “location, location, location”: Everyone has heard this phrase before, and while the surrounding neighborhood and home itself may improve over time, the physical location will remain the same. Determine in advance how close you would like to live to work, schools or extended family. A short commute to work, proximity to family or having easy access to highways and mass transit will often be items for your “must-haves” list.

Hope your year is off to a good start. If you’re starting your home search in 2017, we’d love to hear what you’re doing to get the home search process started.

The Smartest Home Improvements for 2017

The Smartest Home Improvements for 2017

Why not add home improvements to your 2017 resolutions?

Guest Post by Andrea Davis

The New Year is a great time to begin thinking about home improvement projects. Here are a few tasks to kick off in 2017.

Replace Your Garage Door
Your garage door is one of the first things visitors and potential buyers will notice about your home. That’s why it’s important to ensure that yours is in great shape. Consider installing a new garage door if yours is damaged or showing its age.

Insulated garage doors will boost the energy savings of your home. Your garage is an open pocket of air attached to your home. As it gets colder outside, an uninsulated garage will trap cold air against your home, forcing you to spend more on energy bills. Insulated models will keep cold air out and help you eliminate extra spending on utilities.

Install Smart Locks
Smart locks allow you to control and monitor the security of your home through your smart phone. The price of smart locks will vary depending on the features. Most models come with Bluetooth connectivity and remote access.

Get a Nest Thermostat
Learning thermostats will improve the environment in your home and save you money. Smart thermostats learn your heating and cooling habits and automatically adjust your HVAC to meet your needs. You can install a smart thermostat yourself or with the help of a pro.

Complete a Minor Kitchen Remodel
Your kitchen is a busy place. Everyone loves to gather around food and enjoy good conversation while keeping the host or hostess company. If you’re dealing with a cramped kitchen, consider a minor kitchen remodel to help open up your space.

Worried about the cost of a remodel? A kitchen remodel will return 83 percent of its cost at the time of resale, making it one of the better ways to spend your money in 2017.

Update Your Bathroom
Your bathrooms are another great location for home improvements. You don’t have to overhaul the entire room to recoup the cost of your upgrades. Head to your local home improvement store and pick up any of the following items to boost the appearance of your bathrooms:

● New faucet and handles
● Modern mirrors
● New towel racks
● Floating shelves

Channel Your Inner Handyman
You can also tackle some home improvements yourself. It’s as simple as focusing on what’s already in your home rather than what it lacks. Go through your home and check for the following:

● Leaks in the shower
● Leaks in the sink
● Knicks in the drywall