Real Estate Information Archive

Blog

Displaying blog entries 1-2 of 2

Dreaming of stainless this and marble that, with a dash of hip color? Sloooow down. See what your wallet has to say first. Some projects will protect your dollars more than others, especially if you’re planning to sell in a few years.

Low-maintenanceHow do we know? Since 2002, a trade magazine for contractors and builders called “Remodeling” has been tracking common home improvement projects and how much of the cost of each project is recouped when the home sells.

We sifted through years of past results and aggregated the numbers to get an idea of what projects made the most of your dollars year after year. Then we overlayed that background with the data from the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®’ “2015 Remodeling Impact Report” to determine current project costs and the cost recovery percentage, and to get some other fun facts, such as how satisfied homeowners are with the projects when finished.

They also have a few things in common. The projects are:

  • Good — but not necessarily the highest — quality
  • Energy-efficient
  • Not too costly

These projects are the best long-term remodeling investments you can make:

1.  Replacing Your Front Door

Your faithful front door works tirelessly — day in and day out — to usher in you and your guests, and to seal your house up tight. But when Old Faithful gets tired and worn out, don’t hesitate to call in a replacement. Year in and year out, replacing your old front door with a new steel door is a project that kicks up curb appeal and yields the best payback.

“It gives you the best bang for your buck in terms of transforming the look and feel of your home,” says Brandon Erdmann, president of the remodeling firm HomeSealed Exteriors in Milwaukee. “Plus, old exterior doors can be a huge source of energy loss. So you’re improving the look of your house, improving energy efficiency, and you’re able to do it without breaking the bank.”

It’s also a relatively low-cost project. According to the “2015 Remodeling Impact Report,” a new steel front entry door has a national median cost of $2,000 installed, and can recover 75% of that cost at resale.


2.  New Siding

Old, worn siding, along with generally sad curb appeal, can contribute to a loss of up to 10% of your home’s value, according to some appraisers. New siding, on the other hand, practically screams “my owner takes care of me.” 


What to choose? Both vinyl and fiber-cement siding are good replacement options.

Vinyl siding is low-cost, durable, and easy to install, and it hits all the right notes when it comes to getting a return on your home improvement dollars. Best of all: It’s a low-maintenance feature that frees up your time. 

Today’s vinyl siding includes fade-resistant finishes and transferrable lifetime warranties that are much better than the 10-year guarantees of just two decades ago. There’s good payback, too. According to the “2015 Remodeling Impact Report,” the $12,000 national median cost of a vinyl siding replacement job returns a solid 83% if you should decide to sell your home.

Fiber-cement siding also shows a strong payback of 79% in the “2015 Remodeling Impact Report.” Although its national median cost of $19,100 makes it the pricier option, it has one thing vinyl still lacks — the perception of quality.

And quality matters. In a survey from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), “quality” was the one of the most important traits that home buyers focused on when shopping for a house. A final word: 100% of homeowners responding to the “Report” said they were happy or satisfied with the result of their fiber-cement siding replacement project.

3.  Kitchen Upgrade

We’re not talking about the dream kitchen remodels that are plastered on Pinterest and Houzz. But a minor kitchen remodel — one that keeps a lid on costs by refacing instead of replacing cabinets, and includes new flooring, countertops, and modestly priced appliances — is an ever-popular project. 


“People are always willing to update their kitchens,” says Dale Contant, 2016 president of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) and owner of Atlanta Build and Design. “It’s the hub of the home.”

Although the ROI on a kitchen update is relatively modest — the “2015 Remodeling Impact Report” says you can expect a return of 67% on the $30,000 national median cost of a kitchen upgrade — you’ll get lasting satisfaction. Eighty-two percent of homeowners said their updated kitchen gave them a greater desire to be at home, and 95% were happy or satisfied with the result.


4.  Deck and Patio Additions

Like alfresco living? You’re in good company. According to a 2014 Home Trends Survey from the American Institute of Architects, our love of outdoor living spaces — especially decks and patios — is on the rise.


One big reason is that decks and patios are a sweet way to expand living space at a low cost of $8 to $35 per square foot — a bargain compared to the $150-and-up per-square-foot cost of a new addition.

5.  Turning an Attic into a Bedroom

When it comes to romantic rooms, a bedroom retreat is hard to beat. But a treetop boudoir is much more than a daydream — it’s a good investment. You’ll gain living space without having to add on to your home’s footprint — the walls, floor, and ceiling already exist. That helps keep remodeling costs under control.

There are code restrictions you’ll have to navigate when converting an attic to a bedroom, but if your house qualifies and you can cover the cost (about $65,000 says the “2015 Remodeling Impact Report”), chances are you won’t regret your decision. Some 94% of homeowners responding to the “Report” said they were happy or satisfied with their new attic space.


6.  New Garage Door

No surprise that a garage door replacement project made it onto our list of all-time winners — a new garage door provides a big boost for your home’s curb appeal at a relatively modest cost. That’s especially good news if you’re thinking about selling your house.

A project that replaces an older, two-car, embossed steel door has a current cost of about $2,300, according to the “2015 Remodeling Impact Report.” If you sell, you can expect a healthy ROI of 87% on your investment.

There are options galore, too. A host of factory-finish colors, wood-look embossed steel, and glass window insets are just some of the possibilities that’ll give your doors bankable personality.

 


Touring prospective houses can feel like wandering through an infinite, imaginary desert: You’re tired, you’re cranky, and you’re not sure if the experience is EVER. GOING. TO. END. 

So when you’ve finally found “The One,” it’s an amazing feeling. You can already see your family celebrating holidays by your dream home’s stately fireplace and savoring countless brunches in its adorable breakfast nook.

But wait. Before you summon the moving truck, your dream home’s seller has to pick you, too. Luckily, the key to locking down your ideal abode doesn’t always mean offering the most cash. Here are five ways to tip the odds in your favor.

1.  Negotiate with a Smile

Unlike most commercial real estate transactions, the buying and selling of a home is complicated by all kinds of emotions, explains Sara Benson of Benson Stanley Realty in Chicago. Often, how the seller feels about you can be more important than your money.

“People tend to do business with those they like and trust,” she says.

One of Benson’s favorite examples of this phenomenon occurred when one of her clients was second in line for a home. While the first-place bidders were negotiating their contract, they whipped out a long list of unreasonable demands for the seller.

“This infuriated the homeowner, who finally told them, ‘My property isn’t for sale to you at any price!’” Benson recalls. The seller ended up offering Benson’s clients the house, even though their bid was $10,000 below that of the first buyers.

Lesson learned? “Don’t nitpick over items that are insubstantial, like a torn window screen or a $50 valve on a hot water heater,” says Benson. “This will anger a seller more than anything.” And that, she says, could be a deal breaker.

2.  Get Personal

Bruce Ailion, an agent with RE/MAX in Woodstock, Ga., agrees that profit isn’t always the seller’s primary motivation. He recalls a recent deal in which he was representing an older couple selling their long-time family home.

“We had two offers: one from an investor paying cash, the second from financed first-time buyers.”

Despite Ailion’s recommendations, the sellers chose the first-time buyers, even though the cash offer was higher and would have been a much simpler transaction. Ultimately, what mattered most for Ailion’s clients was to pass their beloved home on to a deserving young family.

3.  Figure Out the Seller’s Unique Motivation

Understanding why the sellers have put their home on the market is yet another powerful tool a buyer can bring to the negotiating table, says Ailion.

“Some sellers want a quick sale; others need time to find a home. Some are focused on price, others on certainty,” he says. “There are so many intangibles. It takes a deep understanding to make a good deal for everyone.”

See what information you can glean about the seller — from your agent or even from the seller’s neighbors — to arm yourself with as much information as possible.

“The more flexible a buyer can be on closing and possession, the more likely they’ll be able to negotiate a lower price,” agrees Benson. “They’re giving the seller peace of mind and the comfort of not having to rush out.”

4.  Write a Love Letter

Sometimes, a heartfelt note from a potential buyer can make all the difference, even when the chances seem pretty slim.

Darcey Regan, a Chicago-based HR executive, had already bid on another home when she and her husband stumbled upon a gorgeous old Victorian. Instantly, they were smitten. “I grew up in an old house, and the sellers had done a really great job of maintaining and renovating this one,” she says.

Unfortunately, multiple people had already placed offers on the house, including several developers who were planning to demolish the property. Regan felt her only hope was to write the sellers a letter. In it, she talked about growing up in a similar house, and how much she respected the owners’ efforts to preserve their home.

Within 24 hours, the sellers told her the house was hers. “It turns out they really wanted someone who would keep the house rather than tear it down,” she says.

Though it felt like a long shot, Regan believes her note was successful because it was genuine. Her advice? “Write a letter only if you’re really in love with the house, not because someone told you to.”

5.  Work With a Pro

It also helps to have a knowledgeable, well-respected pro on your side — someone who understands market realities and who will work well with the seller’s agent.

How do you find that seasoned pro with the sterling reputation? “Ask for referrals from your personal and professional network, and interview at least three different [agents] before you choose the one you feel most comfortable working with,” advises Benson. 

Residential real estate is a game of both head and heart. Smart buyers who employ both are the ones most likely to win the home of their dreams.

Displaying blog entries 1-2 of 2

Contact Information

Photo of David DiGioia Real Estate
David DiGioia
Realty Executives Unlimited
17718 Kings Point Dr, Suite B
Cornelius NC 28031
704-506-6434
Fax: (866)476-8652