14 Remodeling Projects That Increase the Value of Your Home

14 Remodeling Projects That Increase the Value of Your HomeYour home is likely your largest investment. Beyond repairs and regular maintenance to keep it clean, comfortable, and safe, there are a number of projects that can increase the resale value of your property. These renovations top the list of changes you can make that positively impact your home’s value.

Kitchen

With the right strategy, your kitchen remodel could return up to 92.9% of your construction investment. The trick is to not overdo it. You don’t need to gut and rebuild the entire room. Instead, make strategic upgrades that increase the comfort and usability of the room.

    • Paint wooden cabinets or install new doors and fixtures.
    • Install track lighting or LED features.
    • Refresh or change countertops.
    • Refurbish flooring and spruce up walls with warm, neutral colors that are easy to clean.

Invest in new appliances right before you put your home on the market to catch the eye of potential buyers and pull them in.

Odd Spaces

Older homes with distinctive architecture stand out from the crowd of cookie-cutter residences. However, these unique buildings often hide a lot of unused space. Make the most of every inch of your home to entice buyers to place a bid.

    • Convert a basement into a bonus room.
    • Turn the space underneath a staircase into a storage closet.
    • Divide oversized dining rooms to create a small home office.

Most buyers aren’t looking for a long-term project. Instead of pointing out the potential of your property, make it easy to see by getting creative with odd spaces.

Increase Energy Efficiency

The average monthly utility bill can easily cost a homeowner $200 per month. Help potential buyers lower their monthly costs by installing energy-efficient options throughout the home.

    • Install a solar water heater.
    • Change the windows to more energy-efficient models.
    • Add extra insulation to outer rooms and around doors and windows.
    • Use LED lighting outdoors and throughout the home.

You may be able to get some help paying for your earth-friendly upgrades with state and federal incentives.

Bathrooms

After the kitchen, bathrooms are the most scrutinized feature of homes for sale. Once again, a little goes a long way in these rooms.

    • Update fixtures with shiny metals for a modern look.
    • Change out the toilet seat.
    • Fix up the shower tiles and head.

These projects don’t take a lot of time. However, they can offer a big payoff when you decide to sell your home.

If you are looking for a new home or interested in refinancing your current property, contact your trusted home mortgage professional to discuss current financing options.

Inexpensive Updates That Will Appeal To Buyers

Inexpensive Updates That Will Appeal To BuyersWhile you could spend tens of thousands of dollars or more completing a home makeover, there are more than a few budget-minded ideas that you may consider.

Add Color To Molding And Trim

One cool idea in home décor and interior design is to get rid of the standard white trim and molding and to add color to these areas. Neutral hues like grays and browns have universal appeal, or you can give your space a more contemporary look by adding black to these areas. Generally, you will want a more neutral color like a creamy beige on the walls when executing a look with colored trim.

Another idea is utilizing a color consistent with your wall color as opposed to a contrasting or complimentary color. This helps the trim blend in and almost disappear. This is an especially effective concept when used in small rooms, narrow halls with several doorways or in rooms with low ceilings.

Update Light Fixtures

If you have a little more money to spend, you may consider updating your light fixtures. There are rather affordable yet stylish fixtures available in a wide range of finishes. When your rooms are empty or staged to perfection, the light fixtures can easily set the tone of the room and may be focal points. Outdated fixtures may have limited appeal to buyers who are looking for a home that is modern and current with today’s trends.

When thinking about lighting, don’t forget to consider updating your outdoor lighting. The right fixtures may add an additional element of curb appeal that many buyers appreciate.

Redefine Outdated Spaces

In some older homes, some of the rooms may have originally been built with outdated uses in mind. Today’s savvy buyers may be looking for a home with an exercise room, a media room or a study rather than a formal living or dining area. With this in mind, you may consider how you can stage your home to show that it can be used for modern purposes.

This may simply mean moving your formal dining room set into storage, adding French doors and investing in an affordable desk and side chairs for staging purposes. Murphy beds that offer space for guests that can be hidden away when not in use are a clever way to show dual purpose. Turning a closet or the area under the stairs into a small office is also a clever use of space.

Whether you are interested in refinancing your current property or purchasing a new property, be sure to contact your trusted home mortgage professional for the most current financing options.

5 Home Renovations That Really Raise Values

5 Home Renovations That Really Raise ValuesThere are many home renovation projects that can increase the comfort and visual appeal of a dwelling. Owners who plan to sell their home in the future, however, prefer to focus on projects that will return a healthy profit at closing.

Here are 5 renovation projects that positively impact a home’s resale value.

Conversions

It’s easy for real estate agents to convince buyers to bid higher on properties with more bedrooms. Redesign the attic to easily add an extra bedroom without committing to a major construction project. This strategy works well for smaller homes or those in neighborhoods with multiple homes for sale. Converting a basement into a bonus room or den is another way to use extra storage spaces to increase property value.

Floors

Outdated, stained, or damaged flooring repels potential buyers. High-quality, stain-resistant carpets in neutral colors are the best options for those looking to sell. Other alternatives include hardwood floors and easy-to-clean laminates. Avoid shag carpets, bright colors, or unusual patterns so the property appeals to a wide variety of potential buyers.

Kitchens

For real estate agents, kitchens rank high on the list of value-building remodeling projects. Most home shoppers base their decision on the condition of the kitchen. Update stale or out-of-fashion paint, install new cabinet doors, refresh countertops, and replace old appliances to encourage a higher sale price. Renovators with limited funds should focus the majority of their dollars on kitchen projects.

Bathrooms

After the kitchen, bathrooms have the greatest impact on home values. As long as the plumbing is in working condition, bathroom renovations don’t require a large investment to add value to the home. Refurbish dingy sinks and bathtubs, refresh existing grout, and update fixtures for a quick boost before putting a home up for sale.

Landscape

The exterior of a home is just as important as the inside. Investing in landscaping increases curb appeal and can make a home more interesting to certain buyers. For example, adding a dog run in the backyard is an excellent perk for pet parents. In neighborhoods with older residents, a small deck or hot tub can be an eye-catching extra.

Strategic use of home renovations can improve living conditions and increase property values. Your trusted mortgage professional is ready to help you if you want to access some of the equity in your home for more costly home improvements.

Complete These Repairs Before You List Your Home

Complete These Repairs Before You List Your HomeThere are several things to do when you prepare to list your home for sale. One of the projects you’ll need to do is complete certain repairs. Your home should be in the best possible condition before your real estate agent shows it to potential buyers.

While your home doesn’t need to be perfect, here is a list of repairs you should strive to get done before you open your home to showings.

Front Steps And Deck Issues

The front entrance and back deck should be in good shape for curb appeal and safety. Replace or repair wooden steps that pose a danger or feel unstable. Hammer down any nails on the deck that have popped up over the years. Reinforce loose railings and hand rails. Refinish decking that has dried, cracked or peeling paint.

Sticking Or Noisy Hinges And Sliders

Buyers will likely be opening doors, drawers, windows and cupboards. Don’t let them be disappointed. Go through your home and identify doors, windows and drawers that don’t open and close smoothly. Lubricate hinges, drawer sliders or window sashes as necessary. Tighten loose screws on door hinges to ensure the door swings easily.

Cracked Or Broken Window Panes

Windows in disrepair often signal that the home hasn’t been well-maintained. Replace or repair cracked or broken windows or window glass that’s clouded over from loss of insulation.

Stained Carpets

Buyers’ eyes may instantly be drawn to visible stains on your carpet. Have carpets professionally cleaned with added stain removal services. Camouflage any stains that won’t come out with an area rug or a piece of furniture. Alternatively, consider replacing carpets that are in extremely poor condition.

Broken Tiles And Peeling Flooring

Flooring in poor condition often ruins the look of the room and is a safety hazard. Replace chipped or cracked floor tiles. Repair any corners where the flooring has begun to peel up.

Electrical Issues

Go through your home and make sure all the sockets, outlets and wall switches are in proper working order. Have a certified electrical technician do the work; otherwise the work may not be approved on home inspection report.

First impressions are extremely important when it comes to selling your home. Don’t assume that buyers will be able to look past needed repairs. Instead, take care of these issues before your agent shows your home.

Your trusted real estate agent is available to help you prioritize the home repairs that really matter to buyers. Your trusted home mortgage professional is ready to assist you with your financing for your next home. Be sure to get pre-approved before you start your new home search.

4 House “Flaws” You Can Safely Disregard

4 House Flaws You Can Safely DisregardWhen you walk through a house with your real estate agent, you’re seeing if you and your family would be happy living there. But you’re also probably looking for signs of trouble that might spell big expenses later on. Be careful, though. It’s important to see the “bones” of the house rather than focusing on minor issues.

Here are four flaws you can safely disregard.

1. Stained Carpet

Stained carpet is more an indication of the owner’s poor cleaning habits than of any real problems with the house. It’s so easy to replace carpeting that it’s not worth even paying attention to when you’re viewing a house for sale. In fact, once you pull up that carpeting, you could discover beautiful hardwood flooring!

2. Funky Paint Colors

They say that there’s no accounting for bad taste. If you’ve seen enough houses with your real estate agent, you’re bound to encounter some less than traditional paint colors. However, paint can easily be painted over. You can safely ignore the flamingo pink bathroom walls or the putrid brown bedroom color.

3. Lack Of Curb Appeal

Every homebuyer wants to pull up to a house for sale and think, “How charming!” Unfortunately, a lack of curb appeal gives a sour first impression. However, don’t let that deter you from see the house for its true value. The inside might be magnificent. You can always add your own curb appeal later with pretty landscaping, shutters or window boxes.

4. Outdated Kitchen

If the kitchen is a little dated but the rest of the house meets your expectations, it’s okay to overlook this “flaw.” It’s fairly easy to update a kitchen with new or refinished cabinets, new appliances and a fresh coat of paint. Yes, it will cost a bit, but the outdated kitchen might be reflected in a lower selling price. Ask your real estate agent for their recommendation in this regard.

Sometimes it’s challenging to find the right house in the right location. When you do find one that checks all the boxes, don’t let any of these minor “flaws” deter you from making an offer. The little things won’t keep you from enjoying your new home, and you’ll be glad you focused on the things that really matter!

Your trusted home mortgage professional is available to help you secure your financing for your new home. Be sure to make an appointment to get your pre-approval so you can be ready to make an offer as soon as you find the home of your dreams.

4 Ways to Improve Your Curb Appeal

4 Ways to Improve Your Curb AppealYou have about five minutes to impress (or not) prospective buyers at a showing. For curb appeal, you get about five seconds for buyers to decide whether they want to go inside.

Here are four tips to help you get the wow factor from your home’s street-facing views.

Update Entryway Hardware

A wall-mounted mailbox, chic house numbers and a pretty porch light add interest to your entryway. However, dated and dinged hardware impress no one. In a perfect world, all your hardware matches in style, color and finish. Of course, it should also tie-in to the style of your house. Brushed nickel house numbers look fabulous on a modern home but might clash with your Victorian-style house.

Splash On The Color

A gallon of high-quality paint costs about $25 and should cover the front door, trim and shutters. This simple upgrade gives the whole property a fresh look. Of course, if the street-facing side of your home has peeling or faded paint, you’ll have to paint that too. If you end up painting the facade, it’s best to do the entire house at the same time to maintain color conformity.

Plant Power

A walkway trimmed in plants and flowers creates an inviting look. You can buy pre-planted greenery at your local home and garden center for an easy makeover of your walkway. For a less labor-intensive effect, install window boxes to add color and perk up your home’s exterior. Be careful to maintain them, since dying plants don’t increase curb appeal.

Create An Outdoor Living Space

If you have plenty of space on your patio or porch, use it to create a comfortable seating area. An outdoor rug, loveseat, chair and small table give buyers the idea that they could relax and entertain in this space. Colorful cushions in outdoor fabrics provide durable color and long-lasting wear the new owners can also enjoy. Make sure existing furniture is clean and maintained since moldy cushions and broken lawn chairs are not the upscale look you’re going for.

The main point of curb appeal is to attract prospective buyers who can’t resist the charm of your home. This makes it far more likely they’ll like what the see on the inside.

Whether you are interested in buying a new home or refinancing your current property, your trusted home mortgage professional is available to help.

Guide to Quartz, Granite and Laminate Countertops

Guide to Quartz, Granite and Laminate CountertopsIt can be confusing choosing the right countertop material for your kitchen. Here is a list of some common countertop materials along with their pros and cons. Knowing the differences will help you choose the right material to serve your needs.

Quartz Countertops

Quartz is available in different colors and can have a luxurious appearance because it is a manufactured product. It is durable, which means it will not chip or crack as easily as natural stones. Quartz countertops have a non-porous surface which makes it easy to maintain by being stain resistant and it not harboring bacteria or viruses. Some may decide to stay away from Quartz since the price tag will be similar to natural stones while having a more contemporary look and not being as heat resistant as natural stones.

Granite Countertops

Granite is a natural stone product. It is most often chosen for its ability to deliver a luxurious look to any kitchen. Granite is able to withstand hard use and will not scratch even when cutting directly on it with a sharp knife. It is heat resistant, which means placing a hot pot from the stove onto the counter will not damage the stone. However, since Granite is porous, it can absorb liquids such as wine, juice, or oil that will create a permanent stain. The key to avoiding such stains is maintenance, the Granite countertop will need to be sealed once a year or depending on usage to cover the pores. A poorly sealed surface can also harbour bacteria in the pores.

Laminate Countertops

One of the biggest advantages of laminate countertops is that it can look like a natural stone countertop at only a fraction of the price. Laminate does not require any special products or maintenance such as sealing; it can withstand everyday use, and be replaced at a low cost. On the other hand, you need to be cautious with laminate. These countertops can be easily cut or scratched and they are not resistant to heat, placing a hot pot directly onto it can lead to a burn mark or discoloration.

With many countertop materials to choose from, it can be difficult to make a decision. Some of the more important questions to consider are porous or non-porous, durability, and price. At the end of the day you should chose something that fits your needs.

If you would like to purchase a new home or to refinance your current property, be sure to contact your trusted mortgage professional.

Fall Outdoor Lighting Tips

Fall Outdoor Lighting TipsMany people associate the fall months with cooler temperatures and changing colors. But another defining characteristic of fall is that the days become shorter. Yes, there’s limited daylight, as the sun rises later and sets earlier.

Noting this, it’s important to take any exterior lighting into consideration if you’re listing your home this fall. It’s important because you want your home to have a welcoming vibe to it, but with the potential for showings to occur in limited daylight, some modifications and new light installations may be necessary in order for it to stand out. What’s more is that exterior lighting can serve as a theft deterrent.

Here’s a closer look at some fall outdoor lighting tips to enhance the appeal of your home this fall:

Go Solar

Solar lighting is an effective, sustainable way to highlight the landscape of your yard, and illuminate paths and walkways. Just make sure that you’re placing solar lights in areas that receive lots of sunlight during the day so that they have plenty of energy after the sun goes down.

Border Patios, Decks

If your backyard features a patio, deck or gathering space away from the home, don’t miss an opportunity to border it with lights to better highlight said features. If your deck or patio has railing, consider stringing lights throughout it.

Here’s another neat idea: If you have a patio umbrella, consider purchasing lights that fit within it. You should be able to purchase an umbrella solar light set from your local hardware store, which does wonders in providing accent lighting for this area. Even if the umbrella isn’t staying with the house, it can still make for a nice touch.

Don’t Shine Lights On Windows

Any lights that shine on windows will only hinder your home’s appearance. That’s because they’re likely to create a glare. Make sure that any lighting that you incorporate is well balanced and only goes to help the home’s overall appearance. On a similar note, make sure that any lighting doesn’t clash with each other.

Consider Uplighting

Uplighting, or shining lights so that they are hitting your home at an upward angle, is a creative way to make your home appear larger. Additionally, uplighting can help accentuate unique architectural features. Be sure to uplight from each side of the house for the best overall look.

Light For Safety

Finally, you should also be arranging lights in a way that promotes safety on your property. For instance, if there are any steps or inclines, make sure that the areas are well lit to avoid the potential for injury.

Be sure to contact us if you are considering buying a new home or refinancing your current property.

Creative Storage Tips When Downsizing Your Home

Creative Storage Tips When Downsizing Your HomeDownsizing at any stage of life can offer multiple benefits. Less square footage may come with a smaller price tag and usually means less space to clean. However, when downsizing a home, there’s usually the question of what to do with everything. That’s when creative storage ideas become essential.

Before Downsizing, Take Stock

Before selecting the best storage options, it’s important to first take stock of all personal items, from furniture to clothing, kitchen gadgets, and keepsakes. Sort into items to keep, donate, discard, and place in long-term storage. Long-term storage may mean investing in a self-storage unit to hold things like seasonal decor. Less stuff can mean less storage space needed in a smaller home.

Maximize Closet Space

It doesn’t need to be a walk-in closet to have the capacity to store an array of personal items. Maximize any closet’s storage space with a few tricks. Install a second tier hanging rod and rely on an expandable shoe rack to keep the floor clutter-free. Reduce the number of hangers used by layering outfits on a single hanger — blouse, sweater, and necklace or dress shirt, tie, and jacket. Store seasonal clothing, linens, and pillows in space-saver bags that remove bulk.

Rely On Under-the-Bed Storage

Even in homes with expansive square footage, under the bed often is an under-utilized space. Shoes, books, and other items are shoved out-of-sight, collecting dust and remaining unorganized. When downsizing, every space should have a purpose. Depending on the bed height, consider flat storage boxes ideal for clothing, blankets, and other items. Storage boxes with rollers can make it easy to access and act like an additional set of drawers.

Choose Space-Saving Furniture

The popularity of tiny houses and the number of people downsizing has created a boom of innovative space-saving furniture options. For the living room there are ottomans that open to reveal storage space for pillows, blankets, or video cases. Consider a couch with built-in drawers that slide out. In the bedroom, there are multiple bed choices that have built-in drawers and storage, perfect if the room doesn’t have dresser space.

Open Shelves Provide Functionality Plus Style

Whether in the kitchen, bedroom, or main living area, open shelves offer great functionality in a smaller space while providing style to the home’s decor. Use them as storage for books, collections, and artwork. They’re ideal when there isn’t space for large bookcases or a coffee table. In the kitchen, open shelves can hold everything from dishes to glassware and potted herbs.

Whether you are looking to buy a smaller home or make modifications to your current home, your trusted home mortgage professional can help you navigate all of your financing opportunities.

 

Plant Now For Spring Beauty

Plant Now For Spring BeautyWhile the weather is still pleasant this fall, it can be a good idea to plan ahead for early spring blooms. Trim shrubbery, plant bulbs, install new edging or add whimsical garden accessories to assure that when spring rolls around you’ll have something attractive to look at. Getting creative now will boost your spirits when winter seems to last longer than it should!

Whether you want to beautify for your own enjoyment or spruce up your yard with the intention of listing a home for sale come spring, get a headstart on your goals by taking time now to plan for spring.

Plant Early Spring Flowering Bulbs

If you want a profusion of color in your early spring garden, now is the time to plan for it. Most flowering bulbs require ample in-ground time in order to thrive, so it’s always wise to check with a local nursery before purchasing specific varieties of bulbs. Gardening success depends on adapting to local conditions.

Seek out a qualified expert if you have little experience, and then plan to experiment until your garden grows just the way you want it to. In most areas, the first flowers to bloom include crocus and daffodils, as well as some varieties of tulips.

Plan Your Planting Beds

Depending on your locale, fall can also be a good time to plant new trees and and perennial shrubs. Again, it pays to ask questions and to plan ahead. Even if it’s not the optimal planting season, direct your efforts towards defining planting beds, soil preparation, and various hardscape elements.

Cooler weather brings with it the chance to do some of the “heavy lifting” of landscape design: install brick or stone walkways, dry riverbeds, low stone walls, or decks and patios. By completing these tasks now, when spring arrives you’ll be able to concentrate on the fun parts of landscaping.

Plant an Edible Garden

Growing edible plants is a new trend: Not only are they generally easy to maintain, but the “fruits of your labor” are just as good to eat as they are to look at. A simple 4×4 raised bed garden can supply a wonderful variety of produce throughout the growing season and you’d be surprised as how they help create unique landscape appeal.

Some of the best crops for fall planting include cabbage, kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts and carrots. Even if you don’t eat them, they add a unique dimension to the landscape. Use showy cabbage along a garden path, and plant some carrots among heavier shrubs to create a lighter border.

Just remember that all growing things need a bit of tending to look their best. So be willing to spend a bit of time regularly in the garden — your plants will benefit from the attention, and you’re sure to enjoy it as well!

If you are interested in refinancing your current home or buying a new home, be sure to contact your trusted mortgage professional to discuss financing options.