Basement Remodeling Ideas for the Most Return

A basement can be a valuable asset for a homeowner, and as it turns out it’s also one of the areas of your home where you can often make the most return on remodeling.

Remodeling your basement yields an average ROI of about 70%, so you will typically get $700 back for every $1,000 spent. But not all remodels are created equal, so what options make the most sense?

Here’s some ideas to help you get the most out of your basement while you live in your home as well as when it’s time to move.

Keep It Clean
More than anything cleanliness is most important. In fact, a finished but minimal basement is often the most recommended option for the most return. Give the new owners a blank slate to create their own space.

Avoid Permanent Personalizations
While you live there, hey, go nuts. Paint the walls with your visions of space viking warlords riding dragons across a rainbow sea of kaleidoscope gumdrops – after all you can paint over that when you get ready to move. You might want to avoid more permanent changes like built-in bars, hot tubs, and other things that will potentially change the structure of the house and cause a remodeling nightmare for the new owner when they claim their dream home.

Wired and Plumbed
It’s one of the bigger things you can do but adding all the connections for your basement to easily become a media room, or having light plumbing added so you have an accessible bar sink or half-bath can really take your value for space over the top. Not everyone has this in the budget, but if you do it’s one of the upgrades that will almost make you reconsider selling.

Speaking of Paint
Even if you’re happy with the color of your walls in the basement it might not be a bad idea to give it a fresh coat – even if it’s just to touch up dings. Try to keep things neutral but don’t be afraid to follow up on current trends as well.

Improve the Lighting
One of the best things to invest a little time and money in is lighting. Adding a few lights, or half-windows can really brighten what can be an otherwise dark and confining basement space.

Still not sure? Need to sell and want to get the most value for your home?
Talk with a qualified REALTOR® to find out what the market is doing as well as to get great ideas on what you can do to maximize your returns.

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Home Improvements To Reconsider

It’s natural to think about upgrading your home, especially if you’ve lived in it for some time or are thinking about selling in the near future.

While updates can be good, and cleanliness is a must above all else, there are some upgrades that can actually hurt your home value rather than help it.

We’ve put together a quick list of these possible improvements gone wrong that can have a negative impact when it comes time to move.

Wall to Wall Carpeting
Believe it or not flooring is a very personal thing. While some love the plush, soft feel of carpet others recognize it can be a cleaning nightmare to keep up with, or simply just don’t prefer it. Regardless, installing new carpeting throughout the house may be a costly investment that could be better applied elsewhere.

High End Landscaping
While curb appeal is very important and you want your yard to look it’s best going overboard with exotic plants and waterfalls may be a bit much. Your potential buyers taste might not match yours, or they simply might not want to inherit all that upkeep, so keep your yard simple and trim.

Built In Electronics
Home automation is all the rage these days. Set your thermostat from your phone, have your house ask how your day was when you walk in the door – if you can imagine it they are finding a way to make it possible. Some people don’t want all this technology however; some in fact out right oppose it. Beyond that it may be too complex for them to even figure out and no one wants to be stuck in a home with a thermostat set for “Arizona Summer” year round.

Wild Quirky Colors
Chartreuse is trending! And it’s fine to stay up on trends, or to even paint the kids rooms in a fun way, but you may want to keep from applying huge swaths of unconventional colors to rooms. Yes, potential buyers can always re-paint them later, but a big part of the sale comes from them being able to picture themselves in the home and that’s hard to do with bright yellow and pink stripes on all the walls.

Live in your home, make it your own and love every single minute of it, but when it comes time to find your next place keep in mind these things to help make the transition as easy as it can be. The new owners will appreciate your consideration and you’ll have a whole new house to transform into your dream home.

 

How To Maintain A Clean House Before Your Move

Keeping a spotless house is an impossible task at the best of times, much less when you’re trying to sell your home and get ready to move. Unfortunately, having your home look presentable can play a big part in attracting buyers to get you moving into your new place.

Don’t fret! We’ve put together some great tips to help you get your place looking great and keep it that way until the closing papers are signed!

Clean As You Go
This is the biggest simultaneously easiest and hardest thing to do! Good news is if you can get it down as routine you’ll save a lot of time cleaning. Start with putting things away in their place when you’re done with them rather than leave them out. Make a mess, clean it then, don’t wait to come back to it later.

Make Time
Set aside a little time every day to clean. Just pick an hour or so at whatever point in your day that fits best, this might be after the kids are off to school, or at night when everyone is asleep.  We’re not talking about taking on major remodeling projects here, just take a few minutes each day to hit some of the smaller day to day items – picking up stray laundry, wiping down the counters, and other quick items.

Recruit the Troops!
If you’ve got kids, or a spouse, or room mates there’s no reason you have to do it all yourself. They share the space they can help clean it! In the case of kids, make cleaning a sort of game and reward help with fun time. In the case of roomie’s and spouses you may have to get creative with incentives but stick to your guns – you don’t have to go it alone!

It doesn’t have to be hard, and with even just these three simple steps you can tame the clutter and get on to having a home that’s easier to maintain while you live there and easier to sell when the time comes!

 

Tips On Surviving Moving Day

homeraceOh day of days at last! MOVING DAY!

If the thought of that leaves you aghast, don’t worry you’re in good company. Moving day, while one of the most exciting parts of realizing the transition is actually happening can also be completely terrifying – but it doesn’t have to be!

We’ve put together some great tips to help you tame the fear and get through moving day like a seasoned pro!

This guide is more for the key survival items you’ll need other than all of the things in your home you are moving, so first: PACK!

Yes, you should in all hopes have everything actually in boxes and somewhat prepared to be moved from one place to the next before the day itself arrives. Haste makes waste, and waiting til the last minute amplifies chaos. Just taking the time well in advance to be ready for the day itself will make things move much much smoother; if you’re stuffing coats into boxes while the movers are hauling them out it’s a sure bet something is getting forgotten somewhere.

Build Your Moving Survival Pack:

Medicine
There’s nothing that makes a medical emergency even more difficult than not being able to find the first aid. This proves doubly so if the emergency is the simple fact that you can’t find your prescriptions in the hundreds of boxes that now occupy your living room. Be sure to pack essential medicines and a basic first aid kit separately from everything else so it’s easy to find.

Tools
Moving into the new place there will be any number of things that may need fixing, or things that may have gotten broken in the transition that need attention. Even if it’s just hanging pictures you’re going to need a few primary tools that will make your life easier: two kinds of screw driver, a hammer, a wrench or socket set, and some duct tape are recommended. Remember to include a flashlight!

Trash Bags
Whether it’s cleaning up the old place or throwing away the packaging from moving into the new one there is going to be trash. Having a box of trash bags on hand will save you a trip to the store; they can even be used as padding for some of your items during packing so that they’ll be right there when you unpack.

Snack Pack
Chances are most of your perishables aren’t going with you and when you get in the last thing you want to think about is cooking on top of all the insanity going on. Make sure you have some ready to go snacks in your supplies to keep energy levels up and cranky levels down. Think granola, fruit roll ups, juices and of course plenty of water.

Blankets and Comfort
If the beds aren’t going to be setup right away consider a family camp out in the living room the first night. Pack sleeping bags or comforters close to the back so you can build your blanket fort! If you’ve got little ones it’s especially important to keep woobee’s and snuggle animals nearby!

These tips for your moving day survival kit should help you navigate those first crazy few days! Remember, if you’re feeling overwhelmed reach out to your agent – they are generally an endless source of assistance and may be able to recommend services in the area to help.

Home Tips For Fall!

homeleavesThe embers of Summer time are slowly cooling and fading to memories as the golden leaves of Fall explode into color.

All that flowery talk doesn’t change the fact that Fall time means the list of home improvement projects exponentially increases as the days get shorter and shorter! To aid in your progress from crunching leaves to crunching chips on the couch we’ve put together this great checklist of home improvement tips for Fall.

Start At The Top
Examine your roof. Roof woes are bad any time of year but you definitely don’t want to have issues when old man Winter comes a howling down the pass in mid-December. If you roof is in poor shape talk to a professional to see what needs to be done in order to get it in tip-top shape.

Get Your Mind In The Gutter
This is the old tried and true has to be done every year task that most people know about, even if they don’t remember it. Truth is it’s not something to overlook! Leaves and gunk can clog up your gutters leading to overflow and possible water damage.

Stop The Draft
Go from window to window with a lit candle and hold it around the edges of your windows – doors are much the same way also. If you see more than a little flickering chance are you have drafty windows and could be losing heat from your home – increasing energy costs over the long months. You can easily buy caulking or other products to seal windows yourself, or talk with a professional handyman to get it done up fast.

Spend Time In The Yard
Running over the yard for that last of the season trim isn’t where it ends! Take a little extra time in the yard to cut back overgrowth, tidy up fallen leaves, or even to re-mulch the beds. Don’t forget about removing outside hoses from the house and closing foundation vents if you have a crawlspace. Taking a few minutes now can save you time when Spring comes!

Home ownership means continually maintaining your home. Cooler temperatures and the change of seasons make a great reminder that it’s time to evaluate and make any needed repairs – or desired upgrades! – before the snow flies. Being a great REALTOR® means more than just shuffling paperwork – we strive to build relationships that will last long after the signatures dry. Contact me today to find out how I can help your house feel more like home!

Best Kept Home Buyer Secrets

home buyer helpEverybody loves a good secret, a little wink wink inside tip, that in itself is no hidden knowledge.

Buying your first home can be really intimidating and first time home buyers are often full of questions, never having experienced real estate from the inside before; whether your new to the process or an old buying pro we’ve put together some good insight and guidelines to help you get the most for your dollar.

Keep It In Your Pocket
One of the worst things you can do when you’re considering buying a home is to start spending money. In fact, it’s likely wise to put a hold on big expenditures before you even begin looking for a home. Not only will you need all those funds for closing costs, moving, and other things but large purchases – specifically with credit can reflect poorly when it comes time to qualify for a home loan.

Get Pre-Qualified
Boom! Biggest, likely best thing you can do. Talk to a lender – your agent should be able to recommend a few – and see what you’ve got going on in the finance department and see what you still need to take care of. Getting pre-qualified for that home loan will take a lot of the hassle and waiting out of the first part of your home purchase; also keeps you from running around looking at houses that aren’t within your price range.

Don’t Play Romeo
It’s easy to get excited and emotional about the idea of a new home – especially when you find one that is just THE perfect one – but check your emotions at the door. Emotional buying at the market is bad, emotional buying a home can be devastating. Emotions change, your lifestyle will change, and so it’s important to look at your potential new home with a practical eye.

Always Get An Inspection
No, really. ALWAYS. Not having the home inspected is akin to buying a car site unseen without even sitting behind the wheel – much less taking it for a test drive. A home inspection can help you spot major issues as well as minor ones and will save you a lot of pain in the pocketbook.

Bid Boldly, But Be Smart
This isn’t a market for the feint of heart! Big boldly but understand your bid should be based on two things: how much you think the home is worth and how much home you can actually afford. Look at what other homes in the area that are similar have gone for and use that as your metering stick. Don’t be afraid to give a non-round number as a bid either, whether it’s a Jedi mind trick or just science, for some reason sellers often like an odd number as it stands out from all the typical offers they’ve received.

The best advice that’s no secret at all of course is to work with a qualified real estate professional who puts your needs first and listens to what you’ve got in mind. Haven’t found on yet? Get in touch!

Tips to Maintain Your New Homes Value

dollasMany first time home buyers get a big surprise when their home values are different than what they thought they might be; unfortunately it’s rare to buy a home and have it’s value automatically climb with inflation or the market itself.

This is not to say that your home value cannot appreciate, but rather that it doesn’t generally happen overnight. Thankfully there are a few things you can do to help your new home hold it’s value over time – here are some tips to get you on the right path!

Fix Drafts
A drafty house is an inefficient house! Whether it’s Summer or Winter having your HVAC working double time just to keep up with temperature leaks can be a real money drain – when you live there and when it’s time to sell. Find and fix drafts throughout your home to insure that you’re not spending too much on energy costs and to help keep that home value stable.

Regular Ole Maintenance
It seems mundane and ordinary but the run of the mill stuff – that a lot of people just don’t pay attention to – are most often the things that can end up leading to costly repairs if not properly managed. This includes cleaning gutters, changing air filters, and having the furnace serviced – all common things to make sure you keep tabs on.

Landscaping and Curb Appeal
It’s easy to overlook the lawn, even though you walk by it every day, and believe it or not your yard plays a big role in your resale value. Many would-be buyers can be turned off and turned away if the curb appeal isn’t up to snuff. Turns out landscaping is one of the updates you can make to your home with the most return on investment.

Don’t Skimp On The Big Stuff
Need a new furnace? New roof? New Floor? Chances are unless you’re a contractor you don’t have the skill set needed to truly to those big jobs right; doing them wrong can be absolutely disastrous and cost you even more money by needing to have someone come back in and do it right. So don’t skimp! Hire a professional, chances are your agent knows several they can recommend.

Leary about selling? Not sure if the market is ready? Not sure if YOU are ready? Good news – we can help! Get in touch today to find out how a qualified real estate professional can help you avoid pitfalls and make the right choices throughout your next move!

Rent VS Buying

Inman News recently published research they analyzed from Trulia regarding which major metropolitan areas had more affordable homes for purchase than for rent.

It really wasn’t surprising to find that in 98 out of 100 U.S. cities buying a home was the better decision between the two. Low home prices and mortgage rates are the largest contributing factor to this on-going trend, but the simultaneous rise in rent prices in many cities pushed the rent over buy index to new lows.

East coast and west coast giants California and New York had some of the highest priced-to-rent ratios in the country, with lower ratios were to be found in the Midwest. Northwest mecca Seattle came in at #81 with a somewhat higher than average ratio, but still within the bounds of a city where it is better to buy.

This could be a very nice turn for the real estate market as the economy struggles to rebound; doubtlessly this sort of news will spur home prices to begin to rise. NOW may be the best time to buy a home!