Monthly Archives: December 2017

Value Through Home Improvements

There are many home improvements you can do to boost your property value. Though not every homeowner agrees with the value of home improvements, most agree that you will get a better price for your home, in the event of a sale, if you make a few changes.

Home improvements will not only get you a better resale value, but will give you a more pleasant living environment while you are there. So don’t underestimate the value of making a few improvements to your home.

Making improvements to your home can also increase your homes overall safety. This is considered a big benefit. There are many factors to consider when deciding what improvements to make.

First, plan your budget and decide what you want to do. Having a clear plan before you get started can make the process go much smoother. If you are making big home improvements and upgrades, hiring a contractor may be your best bet.

As a tenant, you may or may not have the right to make improvements to the property so check with your landlord. If you own the property and are unsure where to begin, there are professionals that you can hire to help you decide what improvements to make to get the most for your money.

Making outdoor improvements may require that you check with your homeowner’s association, if you have one, and your local governments to ensure your improvements are allowed. Some improvements may require special permits so be sure to file the necessary paperwork ahead of time.

If you have a limited budget and can only concentrate on one area, renovate your kitchen. Replacing old countertops and floors can make a drastic change and be relatively inexpensive. You can also consider upgrading your appliances or adding a splash-guard.

There are many improvements that you can make to your house that will increase its value. So make a clear budget, develop a plan, and get started. You won’t be disappointed in any improvement you make.

The New Rules of Home Improvement

Many homeowners are beginning to recognize the higher standards that are being demanded from home improvement contractors.The new rules of certification, accreditation and independent verification have complemented well the old ways of selecting a contractor so that the two establish a benchmark that bodes well for the professional perception of the industry. It is not a coincident that in 2010 credentialing and training organizations have achieved their highest growth rate in recent years.

I believe that a profound shift is taken place in the home improvement industry. This shift has embraced certification, accreditation and independent verification as the new rules of doing business. As a contractor who has been in the business for many years, for me, this shift means one thing – a chance to increase market share by showcasing a brand that understands and welcomes the new reality. Indeed, homeowners are beginning to demand this higher standard of training and perceived credibility to measure value. And, the surest way to achieve this is by checking for the credential of companies and the skill of their people. Now, besides the old ways of relying chiefly on word-of-mouth recommendation, customers will be able to more independently check for and measure the training and professional underpinning of a company. This is quite a significant development in the home improvement business brought on by dramatic emphasis on energy efficiency improvements in building.

The Federal government and large utility companies have contributed to this by providing tax credits and purchase rebates respectively for energy efficiency improvement initiatives. States have seized on these opportunities and have enacted changes to their building codes to encourage higher efficiency standards in building. The State of Massachusetts for example, has adopted the ‘Stretch Energy Code'” which its cities and towns are using to promote energy efficiency improvement to their building stock. The execution of these strategies create jobs, save money on utility bills and decrease the Carbon output to the environment from buildings. The savviest of small home improvement contractors are using these new rules to improve their companies’ image to portray a well trained professional operation. The majority of the buildings in the nation are in need of some sort of energy efficiency improvement, if we are committed to improving our building stock then the adoption of these new rules are just the start of the revolutionizing of the home improvement industry.

To be clear, the changes that are taking root are a result of the budding Home Performance Improvement industry that is taking shape and which is buttress by the Building Performance Institute (BPI), a national credentialing and training organization. Indeed, I believe two things, one, this is setting a new benchmark for the professional assessing of the home remodeling industry. Two, brand recognition will be an important criteria in selecting a home improvement company. The companies that recognize this and make the necessary positioning adjustment will be the winners.

All in all, these new rules that are required to operate a professional home performance improvement entity will no doubt usher in a change in the way the home remodeling industry operates generally.

Four Popular Home Improvement Loan

There are several reasons why you should renovate your home. However, you may not know how you can finance the home remodeling process. Keep in mind that home renovations are a great way to breathe new life into an old setting.

Remember that a new bathroom or kitchen can add value to a home and upgrade your life. If you want to add beauty to your home, you can include a new roof, have a paint job or do some deck repairs. All these things can protect your most expensive investment. If you want to save money every month, you can put in energy efficient windows and doors and install a new HVAC system.

Most folks find these things cost prohibitive, which is why many folks look to a home improvement loan to help them out. Before you get all excited about getting a home improvement loan, you need to understand right now that there is no such thing as a home improvement loan. The term is overused and generally describes the various loans that one can put toward a home improvement project.

Four Popular Home Improvement Loans To Check Out For Your Next Home Improvement Project

1 – Home Equity Loan

This kind of loan means the borrower uses the home’s equity for collateral, which is the loan amount in which you’ve paid off and can call your own. These loans are looked at as second mortgages since they’re taking out on top of the first mortgage. They’re also paid off in a shorter amount of time than the main mortgage loan. The loan comes to the borrower as a lump payment and is paid off in a fixed rate setting at regular times.

2 – Home Equity Line Of Credit

This is very similar to the home equity loan in regards to borrowing equity in your home. Rather than a lump sum, the money is giving in waves like a credit card. You qualify for a certain amount based on the home’s equity. You can take amounts out up to the limit and then as you pay on the principal loan, you can take out more “credit”. The reason this is so popular is that you borrow only the amount you need.

Something To Consider – Of course, both loans have a negative aspect to them, which is that you’re using your home as collateral. If you default on it, you could lose the home. Most people use the loans for home improvements, although some folks use it for other expenses such as a new vehicle or college.

3 – Energy Efficient Mortgages

There are times that home improvements are not about getting new kitchen or bathroom cabinets but rather up-keeping the home and lowering the monthly utility bills. This may mean replacing the HVAC system, which can save you money in the long run on your utility bills. The Energy Efficient Mortgage is similar to a second mortgage and can be rolled into the main mortgage. It can also be given when you first get the initial mortgage… for a new home. You can use this loan for an existing home by having it added during the refinance process. If you receive funds, then you’ll have to use it for the purpose asked for.

4 – Cash Out Refinance

This type of mortgage refinance is done when you refinance your home for over the outstanding balance on the loan you already have. This strategy is used when properties have boosted in value. Say you purchased your home for $200,000 about 10 years ago. You’ve paid on it $90,000 and owe $110,000 on the loan. The home’s value has doubled since purchasing it and it’s now worth about $400,000. You can opt for a cash-out refinance for $250,000 and use the money to pay off the outstanding loan of $110,000 and use the remaining amount for the home renovations.

If you want to make some home improvements and don’t think you can afford it, it’s time you look into a home improvement loan. Don’t forget that the above four are just some of the money options you have at your disposal to make those home improvements you’ve always wanted to do but never thought you could.

Making Home Improvements That Add Value

You watch that TV channel. The one with all the stories about real estate and what improvements you can make to your home to increase its value. It all sounds great — simple even. Add a room, get better counters, slap down some hardwood, command top dollar at closing. Sorry to have to say this, but slow down. It’s not that simple.

Do Home Improvements Really Increase the Sale Value

The average return on home improvements will, of course, follow the ups and downs of the real estate market itself. In 2006, for instance, every dollar spent on improvements raised the value of the home by 76.1 cents. In 2007, the figure was 70 cents, and by 2008 it fell to just 67.3 cents.

Looked at in terms of recouping the expense of the improvement itself, the ratio is rarely 1 to 1. You’re not going to get $20,000 more for a home you’ve put $20,000 into. There are, however, regional exceptions to that rule. In San Francisco, the addition of a deck, the number-one-rated improvement for that city, often returns more than 100 percent the cost of the work. This raises an extremely salient point.

If you are making improvements specifically to increase the value of your home before selling it, talk to a real estate professional first and find out what upgrades the local market values. Even if you’re thinking of selling within five years, take the time to visit with a real estate agent. Some improvements are widely accepted as being of higher value than others, but each market may put a different emphasis on what constitutes “value” and what does not.

Kitchen Renovations Are Always a Winner

It’s difficult to go wrong with kitchen improvements since, for most people, especially families, that’s the room that is the heart of the house. At minimum, fresh paint, new or refreshed cabinets, and new flooring will go a long way. Higher end improvements might include granite counters or stainless steel appliances. On average, kitchen remodels return 75 percent of the amount invested.

Bathroom Makeovers Are a Close Second

Let’s face it. No room in a house has the potential for a bigger “ick” factor than the bathroom. No one wants to buy someone else’s dirt. Even the cleanest tub in the world is going to look dirty with peeling, moldy grout or rust stains around the drain. Most of us never look twice at our own bathrooms, but will recoil in horror at one in a listing we’re viewing.

At the very least, a bathroom in a home for sale should be so clean it sparkles. If there’s no way to get sparkle, then get new tile, a molded sink, marble vanity, and nice fixtures. So whatever you have to do to make the bathroom look pristine. You’ll easily see 75 to 80 percent of the cost coming back to you at the time of sale.

New Emphasis on Green, Energy Efficient Improvements

Especially in Texas and the Southwest where brutal summer heat saddles residential customers with astronomical electric bills, green improvements to a home can significantly add value to a property. This could be anything from insulating doors and windows to a roof with a radiant barrier, high-performance insulation, and potentially alternative energy systems. The latter are most likely to be solar panels or small, residential wind turbines. At present, these sorts of modifications appeal to a highly select clientele, but such additions are likely to grow in acceptance and value rapidly over the next decade.

Upgrades that Generally Don’t Add Value

Not all home upgrades are created equal. In picking things like counter tops, cabinets, and fixtures, try to match the overall “quality” or “range” of the home. Ultra high-quality upgrades in a fairly “normal” or “modest” home stick out like the proverbial sore thumb.

Avoid adding rooms that make no sense in terms of the basic floor plan. Always preserve the flow from one room to the next, and don’t do things like adding on a family room only to cut off any view from the dining room. Worse yet, don’t add on a room that can only be accessed by going through the master bathroom! You get the idea. If it feels “tacked on” to you, the potential buyer will experience that same feeling to the tenth power.

Finally, it’s best to avoid pools. Once seen as a premium enhancement to value, most buyers now perceive a pool as a home maintenance albatross. This is especially true in climates where the pool is only usable a few months out of the year. You might be able to make a case for a pool being a selling point in Florida. That likely won’t fly in South Dakota.

Always Understand the Local Market for Upgrades

These are the kinds of factors that make a consultation with a real estate professional essential before you start knocking out walls. Find out which upgrades sell in your area and try to match a dollar figure to what “sell” means. Only undertake the improvements that make the most sense for your property and the ones that will largely pay for themselves when you sell the home.