Making a Signature Condo My Very Own

I have always enjoyed a more laid back lifestyle than most people. I do like going out with friends and having fun, but given a choice between camping or clubbing, I am always going to choose the great outdoors. That is why it took me so long to find the perfect condo. I am also not so impatient that I would make myself settle for something that is just not the right fit for me. As soon as I saw the Signature EC plan, I knew that my patience was going to be well rewarded.

This executive condo development really does seem like the best of both worlds. While I do prefer nature to urban congestion, I know that I need both to have a good balance in my life. Signature condos allows me the beauty and serenity of nature while also providing quick access to the urban side of things. I looked at the location first, followed by the price and then the layout. Continue reading “Making a Signature Condo My Very Own”

Reasonable Apartment Living in Expensive California

Until I started looking for apartments for Mission Viejo, I spent a few years living well beyond my means out here in California. It’s actually quite easy to do because this is the most expensive state in the country in which to live. It’s really ridiculous how costly living arrangements are in this state. I guess it used to be idyllic back in the 1950s and 1960s. Then everyone started coming out here, even more than before, and the cost of living skyrocketed. It got so bad they had to cap property taxes years ago because no one could afford them.

I got tired of always having to scrimp to make the rent, so I looked around for different accommodations. A friend of mine in Mission Viejo said to come on down and he would show me around town. Continue reading “Reasonable Apartment Living in Expensive California”

Information About Downsize Home

Downsizing isn’t living with less — it’s living with what’s important. In fact, having fewer financial- and maintenance-related responsibilities will allow you to focus more on your happiness and less on your home. Here are a few tips to help you get started:

Size up your downsize

Exactly how small should you go? For starters, think about your current home. Take note of vacant or unused rooms and plan your new home around your must-have spaces (e.g., your gourmet kitchen or comfy home office). If you have lots of family, consider including a guest bedroom/bathroom in your new home. An extra room will make guest stays more convenient for you and your company.

Empty your closets

If you’ve been in your home for a decade or longer, you probably have memories packed into every drawer and closet. As you begin to sort your possessions, divide items into three piles: yes, no and maybe. Parting with memories is tough, but unless an item has specific meaning, let it go.

P.S. Family heirlooms are important. If you don’t have the room in your new home, rent a storage space to house special items.

Choose your neighborhood

Downtown: Many urban or city-center neighborhoods offer condos and townhouses that are smaller than detached homes, but make up for their lack of size with maintenance-free luxury (i.e., no yard). These neighborhoods also tend to be pedestrian-friendly. Groceries, entertainment and shopping are usually just a few blocks away.

Midtown: If you prefer more space, look for neighborhoods that offer small, two-bedroom bungalows. Although these downsized homes sometimes require maintenance, you’ll have the benefits of a stand-alone home with the cultural vibrancy of a downtown neighborhood.

Stay where you are: If moving downtown doesn’t suit your needs, consider downsizing in your current neighborhood. By remaining close, you won’t lose access to the conveniences and amenities that you’ve grown to love.

Retirement communities: Most retirement villages boast impressive amenities, regular social events, a wide variety of accommodations and a high degree of independent living. If you’re active but want to avoid yard and home maintenance, retirement communities are a great way to downsize in style.

Vacation spot: With a few changes, your cabin or beach house could become the perfect downsizing solution. Before moving in, make sure that the surrounding community and home itself are suitable for full-time living (without a gigantic remodel).

Maximize your happiness

It’s important to reward yourself during your downsize. Make sure to set aside money for decor and creature comforts. If you’ve always dreamed of a certain design or entertainment feature, include it in your downsize.

As you treat yourself to a few extras, remember to keep your new space organized. Because you’re living in a smaller home, any kind of additional clutter will be immediately noticeable. Tools like under-stair cubbies, bench shelves, under-bed shelving and organized closets are helpful in keeping an orderly home.

Tips To Create a Welcoming Look

First impressions count for homes as much as they do for people, and your front yard curb appeal is a key factor in making that first impression a good one. If your home lacks curb appeal, you can take several steps to spruce it up; if you plan well, it doesn’t have to cost a fortune, either! Here are a few entryway ideas that will enhance how your home looks to passersby, prospective buyers, and, of course, invited guests.

Entryway Ideas and Front Yard Curb Appeal Enhancements

While your entryway and landscaping are probably the most important areas for creating a good first impression, curb appeal encompasses everything visible from the street in front of your home. Tackling it all at once can be overwhelming, but improving just one of the following areas could boost the appeal of your entire home.

Front Door Choices

Your front door should be both functional and attractive; if your entryway door sticks, doesn’t lock properly, or is simply an eyesore, there’s definitely room for improvement. A good coat of paint is one of the most effective and affordable entryway ideas out there, but if your door isn’t functioning properly, hiring a handyman to improve its swing can do wonders. If you’re considering door replacement, today’s exterior doors can come with energy-efficient windows that allow light in without letting hot or cool air escape. To top off the project, choose an attractive screen or storm door that enhances the entire doorway and allows light and fresh air to enter your home during good weather.

Upgrade Light Fixtures

Outdoor lighting that matches the architectural style of your house will go a long way in increasing your front yard curb appeal. Lights that mount to the house or are fixed underneath the portico make your home inviting for guests; make sure to either light your house number or move your numbers to a well lit area to make finding your home easier for visitors, delivery drivers, and emergency services. Landscape lighting is another important consideration. Here, less is often more as it can detract from your front door. Consider low-voltage landscape lighting; it is easier to install, uses less energy, and often looks better than traditional outdoor lighting fixtures.

Entryway Accessories

Don’t skimp on small items such as doorbells, door knockers, and house numbers. A handsome brass doorbell sells for as little as $10, and is a far better option than plastic. Same goes for doorknockers, house numbers, and mailboxes. Keep the finish on all these accessories consistent with each other and with your lighting fixtures.

Landscaping Ideas

Your front yard curb appeal is not going to shine to its fullest without some good landscaping! A small vegetable garden is a very inexpensive addition that adds a lot; similarly, a few potted plants or flower boxes (real estate experts recommend yellow flowers when trying to sell!) can breathe life and color into a hum-drum entryway. Ideas are everywhere; take a drive around your neighborhood and see what features others have included in front of their homes. Perhaps a brick or stone paved path will be the key to better curb appeal. Maybe a fruit tree or bench will be the element that puts your front yard curb appeal over the top. Keep your eyes open when you travel and you’re sure to find one or two elements that not only work for other, but will work for you, too!

Best Real Estate Tips For 2017

High demand and low interest rates drove housing sales in 2016, and 2017 is shaping up to be another good year, albeit with a few minor caveats.

While home prices for starter-to-midrange homes are pushing upward toward pre-recession peaks, especially in secondary markets, they’re stabilizing in higher-priced areas.

Prognosticators see the robust markets of Seattle, Portland and Denver as 2017’s top performers, with 10 percent to 11 percent price growth. If mortgage rates rise modestly as expected in 2017, sales elsewhere may normalize with smaller price appreciation, especially as housing starts rise to fill the inventory breach.

But it sure looks like another seller’s market again in 2017, and likely in 2018, with a few localized exceptions such as the overwrought Atlantic City, New Jersey and Detroit urban markets.

As we march into the latter part of the decade, homeownership remains a practical long-term hold and self-enforced savings plan.

Here are 10 tips to adapt to the latest market conditions.

1. First-time homebuyers: Get that starter home now

Well, you’d best gyrate into action. And we mean now! More than half of the home sales (52 percent) in 2017 are expected to be to first-time buyers, and mostly to the millennial set (19 to 34 years old), many moving from urban rentals, research by the National Association of Realtors shows. That means competition — and bidding wars — could become fierce in the spring for such “starters” in desirable areas.

While there’ll be less inventory this winter, there’ll also be less competition per unit and a higher percent of motivated sellers.

2. Sellers: Hire the right agent

Oftentimes, the best investment a seller can make is time spent researching agents. A bad hire can cost sellers tens of thousands of dollars and months of worried waiting.

First, look at an agent’s’ online marketing material and listings. Is there good photography or video? Does it “pop”? Are descriptions accurate and complimentary without seeming exaggerated?

Then, look at profiles of the agents on LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media; and be sure to read web reviews. What kind of vibe is an agent sending out?

Narrow your search to three agents and interview each, ideally in person. Ask for sales-activity reports, existing listings and time-on-the-market averages, plus the requisite local comps.

A seasoned listing agent also will know the best times for open houses and how to initiate a price war if the market allows. Never consent to a listing contract of longer than 90 days in a seller’s market. You can always extend.

3. Buyers: There’s more loan money out there

Those who couldn’t get mortgages during the downturn because they didn’t have 20 percent to put down can find affordable financing again.

Borrowers with FICO scores as low as 690 are now getting conforming mortgage loans (those under $417,000).

One telling sign: About two-thirds of mortgage refinancing were getting approved in the fourth quarter of 2016 compared to just one-half of those at the end of 2014.

However, borrowers without a 20 percent down payment will still likely pay private mortgage insurance, or PMI, until they hit the 20 percent to 25 percent equity mark.

The best rates go to those with 800-plus credit scores, though 750-plussers are getting virtually the same terms.

Unfortunately, those seductive interest-only loans are also on the menu again. Avoid them. They’re affordable at first since you’re not paying principal, but then years later, well … see the Great Recession of 2008.

4. Sellers: It may be a seller’s market but …

Home sellers can do several simple things to enhance appearance, increase buyer interest and boost their home’s profile:

  • Renew selectively: Instead of wholesale renovations from which sellers recoup maybe 60 percent on investment, do light makeovers everywhere, with an eye on the kitchen and bathrooms. They’re far more cost-effective.
  • Clean, clean and clean some more: It’s hard for buyers to picture themselves living in a dirty house. Scrub floors, baths, kitchens, windows and walls, and be sure to clean, vacuum and deodorize rugs. This is simple but effective.
  • Depersonalize, declutter: Show the space, not the contents. Box up family photos, kids’ school papers and excess art, and store bulky and worn furniture. Organize your closets to make them look half empty.
  • Illuminate: Think bright and cheery. Open drapes and add brighter light bulbs in dark areas. Repaint where needed but use neutral colors.

5. Renters: It might be time to buy

In many cases, rents are rising faster than home values, yet mortgage rates remain low. That, and the fact that renters now account for 37 percent of households (the highest level in 50 years), seem to indicate an imminent coming-out party for renters-turned-buyers, especially if they plan to stay put for five to 10 years after buying.

There are limitless buy-versus-rent calculators like Bankrate’s calculator for renters to compare affordability. But no gauge accounts for human behavior, such as reluctance of renters to re-invest what they’ve saved from not paying property tax, insurance, upkeep, etc. Homebuying basically enforces that discipline.

6. If you’re a buyer, don’t believe the house is yours

Don’t bank on a done deal or other verbal promises from listing agents until you sign a contract.

In heated markets across the country, sales agents are giving buyers false hope and using their offers to bid up the price for preferred buyers who they think can pay more and close faster. Have other homes in mind.

Strategies such as preapproval (versus prequalification), proof of funding, closing flexibility and the always-risky practice of waiving inspection and repair contingencies can help sway buyers.

For added clout, tell sellers you’re willing to “escalate,” or exceed all offers to a certain limit. Some agents even advise buyers to write so-called “love letters” to sellers, telling them how much the home will mean to their families.

7. Sellers: The grass is always greener …

… in yards with a “sold” sign. Major presale upgrades typically aren’t needed, but a little greening outdoors is a must.

Surveys show that strong curb appeal can increase prices by 10 percent or more. Greener grass, whether derived from new sod or fertilizer and water, is a must.

New shrubs, plantings and flowers also project a welcoming feel. Sellers typically enjoy a 100 percent return on the money they put into curb appeal.

Another form of green, sustainable landscaping has become a value-add for buyers. Native plants, native grasses and perennials that require less water and attention fill that bill.

Do some local research or ask your local home-and-garden pro for simple “greening” tips.

FREE TOOL: Looking to buy a house? First, check your credit score for free at myBankrate today.

8. Sellers and buyers: Know the state of your market

A balanced housing market is defined as one with an average inventory of 6.5 months, according to Texas A&M University Real Estate Center research. When inventory remains below equilibrium, sellers enjoy more control over prices and terms, and the area becomes a seller’s market.

When inventory lingers well above stasis, you have a buyer’s market where sellers must get more serious about price reductions, credits and throw-ins. Of course, these averages don’t necessarily reflect demand in certain desirable and undesirable submarkets.

Go to Realtor.org for such market home sales data by state or to a local agent, business journal and daily newspaper you can read online. In 2016, the U.S. housing inventory average was under five months.

9. Sellers: House going on sale in the spring?

Do some prep work now. First, grab your camera or smartphone and do an exterior autumn photo shoot, with the leaves changing colors.

It’s a much better way to showcase your home than to wait until late winter when everything is still dead and brown and mucky. Also take some landscape shots after the first snow, ideally on a sunny day, to show how cozy your place looks in winter.

Take a preliminary inventory, too. Look through your attic, closets, basement and garage to see what stored items you’ll want to keep, give away or sell in the spring. This will help you determine whether you’ll need a storage unit when your home is on the market and if there are any problem areas that need repairs or attention.

It’s also a good time to start discussing financing options with a local lender and interview prospective listing agents who also might provide additional preparation tips.

10. Buyers: Relocating near a waterfront?

You’d best consider weather and insurance realities. Major hurricanes and floods of the past dozen years, particularly Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy, have pushed the National Flood Insurance Program into a $23 billion hole, forcing flood-insurance rates to spiral.

FEMA flood-map changes are aggressively expanding flood zones, especially along the East Coast and Gulf Coast, forcing hundreds of thousands of homeowners to buy flood insurance for the first time and others to pay thousands more annually.

Parts of Florida saw 20 percent increases in 2016 and will likely see similar hikes in 2017. Insurers also are imposing coverage caps so there’s no guarantee you’ll be made whole post-catastrophe.

Know More About Curb Appeal

What do people think of your house when they drive by? If you’re unsure, your curb appeal could probably use a quick overhaul. Fortunately, giving your home an outdoor update doesn’t have to require thousands of dollars and a professional landscaping crew. Here’s a quick checklist to help you improve your home’s curb appeal.

☐ Paint your front door. An alluring front door will light up your porch and give your home a stylish flair. Use leftover paint from another outdoor accent piece or choose a bright, new color. (Be sure to use outdoor paint.)

☐ Touch up your paint. If you haven’t repainted your home recently, it may be time for a refurbishment. If you don’t have the time or budget to repaint your entire home, just touch up the spots that need it most. Peeling paint, rotted boards and stained or moldy siding can ruin your home’s curb appeal.

☐ Repair your railing. If the railing lining your walk is leaning, damaged or looking bad, give it a quick update. For a leaning railing, reset the posts with a little quickset concrete. If your railing is rusted or peeling, sand it down and add a new finish or coat of paint.

☐ Replace your window frames. Replace your rotten or dated window frames with energy-efficient vinyl or wood models. New window frames will save you money and boost your curb appeal.

☐ Clean your windows. Dirty windows can make even a new home look rundown. Depending on the size of your home, you can have your windows looking spick-and-span in an afternoon.

☐ Straighten your gutters. Loose or bent gutters detract major points from your home’s curb appeal. Reattach loose gutters and replace any bent or damaged portions. If you’re not sure about tackling this project on your own, call a pro.

☐ Replace your house numbers. Are your house numbers missing or hard to read? Replace your dated or missing numbers with a new, tasteful set that’s visible from the street.

☐ Repaint or replace your mailbox. A dented or scratched mailbox is a surefire way to ruin your curb appeal. If your mailbox’s paint is scratched, give it a new coat. Visit your local hardware store to find a replacement for a dented or damaged mailbox.

☐ Clean up your yard. Place new mulch in your flowerbeds, cut the grass and sculpt (or just prune) your hedges and bushes to give your yard a fresh look.

☐ Add some lighting. Make sure your porch light works. If the fixture is broken, install an eye-catching replacement. Add some small lights along your front walkway as a finishing touch.

Steps to a Resale-Ready Home

If you’re selling your home, you’re probably hoping to sell it as quickly as possible — and to get top dollar for it too. Usually, it takes a little prep work to make that happen. Use this checklist to ensure that you’ve taken every step necessary to ready your home for resale. As they say in the realty business: The best-prepped homes yield the best returns!

  1. Cut the Clutter: Clutter makes it hard for potential buyers to envision themselves in your home, and it also detracts from some of your home’s best selling points — its square footage and storage space. Clear shelves, countertops, closets, garage space and storage areas prior to showing your home. Also, remove any bulky or distressed furniture and simplify any over-furnished areas. Be ruthless. Donate your infrequently used items or hold a yard sale. And, if necessary, keep overflow items in a storage area or a friend’s garage until you’ve sold your home.
  1. Perform Small Repairs: Now is the time to make the small repairs you’ve been putting off. Fix leaky faucets and broken appliances, repair holes in drywall, apply touch-up paint where needed, and attend to any creaky doors or stairs. If you’re pressed for time, hire a handyman. A good handyman should be able to perform any small repairs necessary to prepare your home for market, and it will cost less to hire a handyman than it will cost to hire multiple specialists for multiple small projects. According to HomeAdvisor’s True Cost Guide, the average national cost to hire a handyman is $387.
  1. Do a Deep Clean: Dirty homes send buyers running, so clean your house deeply and thoroughly before you sell. In addition to performing your usual cleaning routine, vacuum in hard-to-reach places, dust ceiling fans and light fixtures, and wash the walls and windowsills. If you haven’t done so recently, consider having your carpets, windows/window treatments, and kitchen and bathroom grout professionally cleaned. Potential buyers will absolutely take notice of your immaculate home. In fact, a number of buyers have put “clean” at the top of their wish lists.
  1. Kick Up the Curb Appeal: Your home’s exterior is the first thing potential buyers will see. So, it’s important to do what you can to make a good first impression. Clear junk and clutter from the yard, remove faded or broken lawn furniture, and ensure that walkways and driveways are weed-free and clean. Touch up exterior paint, repair broken screen doors, and replace missing light fixtures or bulbs as necessary. Finally, spruce up your lawn and landscape; and use potted plants and flowers, seasonal wreaths, and other tasteful accessories to welcome your guests at the door.
  1. Stay On Top of Maintenance: It’s crucial that you stay on top of home maintenance once you’ve listed and started showing your home. Vacuum and dust daily, keep laundry and clutter out of sight, and be on the lookout for problems and unexpected repairs. If you don’t have time to stay on top of the cleaning, consider hiring a cleaning service. According to HomeAdvisor’s True Cost Guide, most maid services charge $25 and $35 per hour — money well spent when it helps to sell your home.

Know More About New Homeowner

When Carly Schuffler bought a charming, well-worn home in 2007, she had no idea what she had actually purchased: a money pit that forced her to take on some serious debt.

According to Carly, before she could even move in, she needed to rewire the house, replace the furnace and remove a tree from the roof. And that wasn’t all. Nearly everything leaked at one point or another — a sink, the basement, the roof — you name it.

“Of the thousands of things that could go wrong with a house, a great many things did go wrong with my house,” said Schuffler.

The truth is that when you’re buying a home, you often have to consider more than just the purchase price. Fortunately, if you’re a new homeowner there’s plenty you can do to stop a fixer-upper from becoming a house of horrors.

Prioritize

Before embarking on major renovations, make a list of what needs to be fixed and rank items by urgency. It can be tempting to prioritize renovations by cost or difficulty, but you’ll be better able to handle smaller issues once the big ones are out of the way. If you’re not sure what to tackle first, home experts from sites such as HomeAdvisor can tell you what needs to be repaired immediately, and what can wait until later.

Make a Budget

Once you’ve decided what needs to be done, create a budget to guide your renovations. Construction can sometimes seem daunting, but planning and communication can help you manage the project. If you’re unsure how to budget, seek out multiple bids from different contractors. There’s no downside to shopping around — most renovation experts say you should collect at least three bids for any new project.

Read Reviews

Reviews are the gold standard in home construction — they’re a solid indicator of whether a contractor will get the job done within your budget and timeframe. In addition to reviews, word-of-mouth references can help you identify the right person for your project. If a contractor doesn’t have reviews online, or if they can’t offer any references, think twice about working with them. Although it’s tempting to let price color your decision, the cheapest bid for your project may not be the best one.

Get the Funds You Need

If you haven’t saved enough for your renovations, or if you’re wary about taking on significant credit card debt, a remodeling loan through a peer-to-peer platform like Prosper Marketplace could be the best way to fund your project. Marketplace loans offer a speedy way to get going on your project, and it’s easy to get started online. You may even be able to secure an interest rate lower than what you’d find at a traditional bank.

Some Reasons Your House Isn’t Selling

It’s heading towards late summer and your house still has that “For Sale” sign out in the front yard. Remember, it’s not your house anymore, so you may have rearrange a few things in order to make it seem like somebody else’s dream home. Here are the top five reasons houses don’t sell, and how to go about addressing these particular predicaments.

It’s a Buyer’s Market

All real estate is local. So depending on what part of the country your house is in, it could be that the buyer’s have the leverage in that area or neighborhood. A high price can quickly turn off a buyer and prevent them from entering the door. It’s the hardest thing you’ll have to ever do but don’t be afraid to lower the asking price. You or your realtor will need to check what recent, comparable homes have sold for in the last few months to get an accurate picture of what buyers will pay for your home. In areas where it’s a buyer’s market, you will need to aggressively price your home in order to catch the eye of the limited amount of buyers. Keep in mind that it is the market and facts that dictate how much your home is worth, not what you think it should sell for based on the money you’ve invested in it.

Adverse Investments

You’ve spent a lot of time fixing your home, but did the money go to the right places? For example, there’s nothing wrong with sprucing up your landscaping, but if you have a backyard full of decks, fountains, and streams, yet your kitchen is dated and falling apart, you may be not be getting the proper mileage out of your remodel. Even an outdoor pool isn’t a great bargaining chip since only 20% of buyers (aside from the Southwest) look for this in a house. So if you’re struggling to sell and still have equity built up, think about renovating a few key areas. The biggest sellers are kitchens and bathrooms. Other rooms may take a fresh coat, but these two areas are crucial. And don’t get crazy with granite counters or hardwood floors (this could actually inflate the price, making it less marketable). Instead, refinish the cabinets. Replace a vanity with a pedestal sink. Get a couple new appliances. These small investments instantly double the appeal of a room.

Don’t Live in the Dark

You have a great house but can anyone see it? It’s amazing how sellers spend time and money on renovations only to not highlight these selling points. What’s even more remarkable is what a little light can do to a room. Open up the space by adding natural light or larger windows (even if this means just opening the drapes). Take down the dark, busy wallpaper and wood paneling: not only is this stuff probably outdated, it can make a room feel claustrophobic. Repaint the walls a lighter shade and install light fixtures (or add more if needed). Install spotlights in your yard or track lighting under the cabinets to highlight counter space. Buyers want their future house to be open, airy, and inviting, so just a few brightening installations can help a small room become roomier.

That Is So You!

Two words you never want to hear at an open house: “That’s . . . interesting!” Yes, you’ve made your house a home. You’ve made it part of your personality. That’s great, but when you’re selling it’s not about you. Therefore you have to remove your life from the space and allow the buyer to imagine their life moving in. It’s hard to cut the apron strings, but keep your as home neutral as possible. This doesn’t mean you have to paint every wall white (this sterile remodel can actually decrease its value), but strange never sells. Take down the animal heads from the study. Remove the keg fridge from the kitchen. Most people don’t own a ping pong table, so get it out of the living room and into the garage. Get rid of the leopard-print rugs. Take down the “interesting” art pieces. Eliminate anything that appears unusual to the rest of the general population.

You’re On Stage

Staging is important to conceal the blemishes and highlight the features. It’s not unethical to put your best foot forward. You’re just trying to get buyers interested; inspections and negotiations come later. So hide the eyesores: put a slip cover over an old couch, cover the A/C unit with a window treatment, or place a rug over a stain. Then enhance the selling points: clean the windows, cut the grass, set out flowers in the kitchen, and light candles in the bathroom. And if you’re already moved out, rent furniture for the open house: a furnished home always looks bigger and better than an empty space.

7 Remodeling Tips

When it comes to home renovations, the money that you put in cannot always be recouped when it comes time to sell. Most people want to get the best value for their dollar when doing home renovations and there are some important things to keep in mind. Before you decide on a remodel, consider the cost versus the value, and decide if the remodel you want to do is a worthy investment. Ultimately, you want to improve your home and then when it comes time to sell, you can command a higher price. The following remodel ideas may help you add some value to your home.

1. Increase Light and Space

Dark, cramped rooms are no good when it comes to real estate. One thing that homeowners can do to increase the appeal of their property is open up the house to create more of a flow of natural light. Consider knocking down some walls to brighten up a space. An open floor plan will also make a home feel much larger and is better for entertaining. Vaulted ceilings are another idea that can help create the illusion of more space. Skylights can help flood your home in natural light. There are several options when it comes to brightening up your home with natural light and these options have a range of prices.

2. Landscape & Curb Appeal

The curb appeal of your home is incredibly important when it comes time to sell. The first impression of a home that someone will have is from the look of the exterior. It is said that a good first impression of a home can add five percent to its value. Make sure your exterior paint and details are up to par. The driveway should be paved properly, and any lawn space should be properly maintained. Consider drought tolerant plants if you are not great at gardening. If you have a deck, add some nice furniture, or create a colorful garden in some extra space.

3. Create a Home Office

With more companies giving employees the option to telecommute, a home office can really add some value to a home. If you have some extra space in your home, consider converting it into a home office. Make sure there is plenty of work space, and remember to have grounded outlets installed as well as data ports and possibly an extra phone line.

4. Consider Adding a Deck

It has been determined that when you spend the money to add a deck onto your home, you will likely be able to recoup more than eighty percent of its cost at sale time. If you choose to install a deck, take some time to plan it out and come up with unique features such as built in benches or a fire pit if your city or town allows them. Use higher grade materials to increase the life of the deck.

5. Finish Your Basement

If you don’t have enough space to add a room to your home, consider finishing your basement. A basement space can easily be turned into a playroom for the kids, a bar, or media room, relatively easily. Consider adding a bathroom if you do remodel the basement, as this can increase the value of the remodel even more. Try to keep the space as open as possible so it does not feel dark and cramped.

6. Update or Add Bathrooms

Bathrooms are an important part of a home. If there are not enough bathrooms or if they are very outdated, it will be a big turn off to potential buyers. Updating bathroom amenities and fixtures or adding an additional bathroom if you have the space can really increase a home’s sale appeal.

7. Update Your Kitchen

Kitchen remodels can really add value to your home but it is also important to be careful. When planning a kitchen remodel it is really important to consider the cost of your materials versus the value. Based on the cost of your home, if you choose to install granite or marble counter tops, will you be able to recoup that money? Take a close look at costs when remodeling kitchens. Things such as updated appliances or a window over the sink can add a lot of appeal.

There are tons of different projects that can be done around the home to increase value in addition to the ones listed above. As long as you take the time to really plan accordingly, and don’t overspend, you can make some really nice upgrades to your home. For some more remodeling ideas, take a look at the following pages.

  • The Top 10 Ways To Add Value To Your Home
  • Broker’s Tell All: 10 Ways To Boost House Value
  • 10 Investments To Boost Your Home’s Value
  • The Value of Home Improvements
  • Which Home Improvements Pay Off?
  • Remodeling Projects That Add Big Value
  • Which Remodeling Projects Are Worth Your Money?
  • Cost Versus Value For A Major Kitchen Remodel
  • Home Upgrades: Cost vs. Value
  • 3 Home Renovation Projects That Don’t Pay Off