Pump Up Property Value With Exterior Renovations

Not every renovation you do on your house will bring you the best return on investment if you’re intention is to sell sometime in the near future. Although practical renovations – like fixing the roof, replacing windows or solidifying the foundation – are the right thing to do to improve the structural integrity of your home, a lot of home buyers don’t get overly excited about these types of renovations.

It’s cosmetic features like new granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, lavish landscaping and impressive stucco work that gets their attention. For this reason, exterior renovations are a great way to give the outside of your home a complete over-haul, both for your own purposes as well as attracting and impressing home buyers.

Before you tackle an exterior renovation, you need to be careful where you put your dollars. It’s one thing if you’re project is being done simply to please your tastes, and if your plans on relocating won’t be happening for many years to come – if ever. But if your intentions are to sell some time within the next couple of years, it’s best to spend your money sparingly on exterior renovations. You can completely transform the outside of your home and improve its aesthetics with minimal cost, but these prices can easily creep up if you’re not conscious about what you’re doing.

Exterior renovations make up about 40% of all home projects, and can include improvements such as replacing siding, adding a layer of stucco, landscaping, decking, fencing, driveway interlocking, replacing the front door and garage doors, and even replacing the eavestrough. Such blatantly noticeable cosmetic improvements will certainly grab the attention of homebuyers looking to purchase a property in your area. The first thing people will notice before they ever step food in your home is the exterior, so improving your home’s curb appeal is essential.

Of course, what money you make back when you sell will all depend on if the job was done properly by a skilled contractor, using good quality materials and quality craftsmanship. If the job clearly looks like it was done by an amateur who cut corners, this could actually have the opposite effect on the value of your home.

In general, you can expect to get back an average of 95.5% return on investment at resale. Once again, this all depends on if the project you undertake is called for within your neighborhood. For example, if the typical home is worth $400,000 and is generally modest, spending thousands of dollars on lavish features like a wrought-iron terrace, gates to get into the driveway, copper roofing, and other luxuries that you only see in million-dollar neighborhoods most likely won’t give you back nearly what you spent at the point of resale.

The following exterior projects are some of the best ways to dramatically improve the look of your home to increase its appeal and value:

Replacing Vinyl Siding – This is a project you should consider only if all other homes on the street are also covered in siding. You’re obviously not going to place siding on a home that has a brick exterior. But for those homes that have deteriorating siding, replacing it can make a huge difference on the look, and doesn’t necessarily cost a great deal.

Adding a Layer of Stucco – You don’t necessarily have to do your entire home, but even just adding a layer of stucco to the front of the house can make a major difference on the home’s aesthetics. One wall shouldn’t be terribly expensive, especially if your home is small.

Update Your Front Door and Garage Doors – Most likely your front door and garage doors are clearly visible to passersby, so don’t ignore them. Choose a style and color that reflects the rest of the house to compliment it’s current style. It doesn’t cost a great deal to replace these, so it’s an investment you should consider making if the need is there.

Paint Your House’s Exterior – A quick coat of paint can do wonders for a home’s exterior. Simply repainting the doors, shutters, trim and eavestroughs can give your home a renewed appearance, and is one of the cheapest ways to make improvements.

Do Some Landscaping – The simple addition of flowers, bushes and trees can really go a long way in improving the look of your home’s exterior. You don’t have to go crazy with the stones, interlocking or mature trees. Just the simple addition of some greenery will do, as long as you have a clean plan set out before you start planting.

Exterior renovations can certainly go a long way in appealing home buyers and increasing your home’s value. The goal is to invest in the key projects that are affordable yet provide a big aesthetic improvement.

Add Liveable Space and Increased Value to Your Home With a Finished Basement

If you want to dramatically increase your liveable space within your home, without actually adding any square footage, then you might want to seriously consider finishing your basement for extra living area to enjoy. The extent of the remodeling and the amount of money that you pour into this type of project will depend largely on how long you plan on staying in your house, as well as the type of usage you would be getting out of your basement. Obviously, the more intricate and detailed you get, the more expensive the project will be. If done properly and wisely, finishing your basement can provide you with about 90% of an average return at resale.

The average basement remodeling job costs generally around $51,000, with an average return of about $46,000. Although it’s not a 100%+ return of the money invested, it is still one of the best ways to add value to your property. The longer you stay in the home before selling, the more you’ll get out of the investment made. Not only that, but home buyers are more attracted to homes with a finished basement, which can give your home a hot selling feature should you decide to sell some time in the future. Even though you may not necessarily get 100% of the funds returned through this type of investment, a shorter time on the market due to increased appeal to home buyers can translate into money saved through a shortened sale period.

Extent of Your Basement Remodeling Project

The type of design that you decide to carry out on your lower level will make a huge impact on the cost of the project. Simply finishing the area with drywall, flooring, a rec room and a bathroom will cost a minimal amount, while an elaborate project involving a full kitchen, bedrooms, bathroom and living area will be on the opposite end of the cost spectrum. What you decide to do will depend largely on your needs and how long you plan on living in that house.

If you are planning on staying in your home for many years, and have a specific need for your basement floor, then spending a little more to finish the project may be worthwhile. For example, if you have in-laws or other extended family living with you, you may decide to create an entire basement apartment equipped with a kitchen, bedroom and bathroom to accommodate their needs. Or perhaps you are interested in renting out your basement in order to help pay for the mortgage. In this case, a separate entity will be well worth the investment. Not only that, but advertising your home with a “basement apartment” is a huge selling feature for home buyers who are looking to rent out this space to help with mortgage payments.

If, however, you plan on putting your home up on the market within a year or so, you would be wise to invest as little as possible so as to not lose more money than necessary upon resale. If your neighborhood happens to be one where the average home buyer prefers a home with a finished basement than one without, then you might want to consider doing the basics in order to be able to attract these buyers. In such a case, simply finishing the basement with flooring, drywall, trim, a bathroom and rec room will suffice. Sometimes home buyers like to have a clean slate in order for them to be able to finish the area to their tastes and liking.

Before You Start Your Project

Before you add flooring and put up drywall, there are a few things you should check on first. If your basement has been prone to moisture problems, these issues should be addressed first or else any materials laid on top could be ruined. Not only that, but mould can develop from such moisture, causing a health hazard in addition to unsightly moisture stains. Also make sure that any drains or flooding issues have been resolved before starting a basement remodeling job.

Obviously, a plan or blueprint of your basement is a must before you start adding finishes. Plan out where you intend on putting your bathroom, sink, or any other type of system that requires a water source so you can rough-in the plumbing as necessary. In such cases, be prepared to break some concrete in order to accommodate for such fixtures.

Add Value to Your Property

There really is no good reason not to finish your basement. This type of remodeling job most definitely adds value to a property. How much you recoup from the resale will all depend on how much you poured into the project. If you’re selling in the near future, just make sure that the finishes you put in your basement are what the general home buyers in the area tend to look for. Spending any more for finishes that are not required is simply a waste of money.

Increase Your Property Value With Landscaping

There are seemingly endless improvements that you can make on your home that will make it look more aesthetically pleasing, create more flow and functionality, and make it more structurally sound. Yet many of these improvements won’t necessarily bring you enough of a return on investment to make it worth your while if adding enough property value is your goal. One of the best improvements that brings a great value to a home while providing a high return on investment is landscaping.

Proper landscaping can literally add tens of thousands of dollars to the value of your home, making this type of improvement a sound investment. Many other types of improvements will simply go out of style after a while and start breaking down after years of wear and tear. Such is the opposite with landscaping – trees grow taller and bushes grow fuller, continuously adding more aesthetic value to a home year after year.

Significance of the Value of Landscaping

Studies have shown that homes that are well-landscaped have a significant price benefit over homes that have little or no landscaping. These numbers range from about 5.5% to 12.7%, which means a $300,000 home can realize an extra $16,500 to $38,100 in property value because of it’s landscaping additions.

According to the American Nursery and Landscape Association, the average homeowner spends about $3,500 on landscaping materials and labor and an additional $1,500 on a landscaping designer. After spending about $5,000 on your landscaping project, you can potentially add triple that amount in property value to your home. Landscaping – when done properly and the right amount spent – is clearly a smart investment when it comes to building value and equity in your home.

Factors to Consider

Landscaping is more than just planting a few flowers or sticking a few bushes in front of your home. Potential home buyers look for a well-designed layout when they are comparing homes to purchase. The design itself is equally as important as the actual shrubbery and greenery that you plant, and the stonework you lay out. Of course, the plant size and maturity is also highly important to home owners and buyers alike, as well as the diversity of plant life that is used in the landscaping design.

Planning Your Landscaping Project

The biggest mistake that homeowners make when they are landscaping is not having a well thought-out plan first before starting. Many homeowners simply go out and buy a few trees, plants or flowers, and just randomly place them wherever they see a void. Perhaps they’ll only do a portion one year, then each subsequent year, they add a little here and there. This type of work makes the landscaping look highly disorganized, and actually turns home buyers off.

The key is to come up with a solid blueprint of the look and layout of your greenery before you even pick them out at the nursery. You can even come up with the design yourself and save some money that you would otherwise pay a landscape designer. Even an amateur in the landscaping realm can create a professional look for $500 to $3,000 worth of plants and materials with a little work and imagination.

Maturity of Your Greenery and Flowers

The more mature your trees, bushes and shrubs are, the more value it gives to a property. Home owners that care for their gardens send out signals to potential homebuyers that the property has been well cared-for, and thus automatically adds value to the home.

Time Frame

The amount of money and effort that you invest in your landscaping job will depend on how long you plan on staying in your home. If you plan on the long-term, than it makes sense to invest a little more into your plan. However, if you plan to sell within a year or two, then don’t over-do it with your landscaping budget. A simple, affordable plan can be completed to dress up your home enough to boost its appeal and selling price. Having well-defined shrubs, sharp, clean grass, and some well-cared for flower beds can do enough to provide a professional look to your home to attract buyers.

With a well thought-out plan to decorate your exterior with landscaping, you can potentially add thousands of dollars to the value of your home, and command more money upon selling your property to interested buyers.

Bathroom Renovation Tips to Increase Your Home’s Value

Remodeling a bathroom or adding another bathroom are counted as one of the top changes to make in a home to increase value in comparison to the amount of money it costs to complete the project. In fact, remodeling a bathroom can have just as much of a positive effect as a kitchen remodeling job, but costs much less to do.

Simply adding a new bathroom makes a huge difference on the value of a home. A mid-range bathroom addition can cost somewhere around $10,000, depending on some of the finishes you put in there. But you can actually get back 102% return on investment if you were to sell your home if done properly. Because of this, a bathroom addition or remodeling job might be a good idea to tackle.

At some point in the life of your bathroom, you’ll most likely have to do some replacing and refacing anyway, especially after years of wear and tear. Perhaps the dusty rose wall tiles or the fur-covered toilet seat isn’t “doing” it for you anymore, or your guests! It might be time to hit the drawing board and figure out how to go about making some drastic changes to your bathroom to both give your loo a more aesthetic appeal while improving the value of the home. Here are some ways to add aesthetic appeal and modernize your bathroom affordably while making the biggest impact on resale value.

Replacing the Floor and Wall Tiles

One of the first things people will notice when they walk into a bathroom is the tiling on the floor and walls. Tiles are the perfect surface for a bathroom considering all the moisture and water that accumulates in this room. They’re obviously functional and easy to clean and wipe moisture off without getting ruined, but they are also a prefect opportunity to create a trendy, modern, clean and crisp space that simply sets the tone for rest of the room. Depending on the type of tiling you are considering placing, this can be a relatively affordable project to start re-vamping your bathroom space, and make a major difference on its aesthetics, especially if the current tiling is cracking and chipping, and simply looking withered.

The great advantage here is that there are so many different types and styles of bathroom tiles. Colors, shapes, sizes and materials are available for you to really make the bathroom your own. Not only that, but laying tiles isn’t a terribly complicated process. If you are a little handy, and get the tools and tips necessary to get the job done properly, you can save even more with this particular job.

Replace Your Vanity

Replacing the vanity is one of the easiest, quickest, and most affordable way to really make a massive difference on the look of your bathroom. By simply getting rid of a standard pedestal, or an outdated vanity, and replacing it with a gorgeous vanity that you literally can pick up at any hardwood store, you can really make a big difference on the appeal of the bathroom. Of course, some vanities are more elaborate and expensive than others, but you can probably find a really good quality, gorgeous vanity equipped with a granite countertop for less than $1,000.

Double Up on Your Vanity

If space permits, consider installing a vanity that allows for two sinks instead of one, especially if installing it in an ensuite or a shared bathroom. Adding a double basin can instantly double its effect. Both people using the same bathroom at the same time every morning will find that having their very own basin is a great advantage, and is something that potential home buyers will appreciate.

Replace Your Tub With a Stand-Up Shower

If your tub is too old and is suffering from those nasty rings that simply can’t be cleaned or scrubbed off, consider ripping it out and replacing it with either a newer tub model, or else replace it completely with a modern stand-up shower with glass doors. This seemingly simple change will make a big difference to the look of the room, and will really bring a sense of elegance and sophistication to the room. The glass door itself is a huge step up from the typical plastic curtain shower.

If you still like the idea of your tub, then simply re-glaze it for a brand new finish for a price of about $300 to $400, then change the shower curtain to something a little more attractive. This will certainly cost a lot less that the shower installation, but won’t make nearly as much of an impact.

The bathroom is somewhat of a mini version of what a kitchen remodeling job would entail – it’s just one of those rooms in a home that people notice, and that home owners want to be highly functional, convenient and clean. If you’re looking to revamp a part of your home at a certain price-point, yet want to ensure that you’ll be able to recoup that money spent if you should sell your home some time in the future, then try a minor bathroom remodeling job.

Increase the Appeal and Value of Your Home With a Minor Kitchen Facelift

Over time, your kitchen will become outdated, and will have succumbed to a lot of wear and tear over the years. Maybe there are parts of the space that just don’t meet your tastes anymore. If you’re eager to renovate your kitchen, you should consider if the project will make economic sense before you start the demolition process. Certain remodeling jobs are highly personal, and are done to meet specific needs or desires of the homeowner. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that this would be an attractive selling feature to potential buyers in the future should you decide to sell your house. By the same token, certain projects may cost a great deal of money, which won’t necessarily provide you with the greatest return on investment.

One of the biggest selling features of a home is the kitchen. It is the kitchen that people really gravitate to, whether for entertaining purposes, or just to gather for a family meal together. Having a kitchen that is highly functional, up-to-date and finished with top quality features can really make the house quite appealing to the masses. In fact, kitchen remodels are up 17% from 2012, according to a 2012 survey by the National Organization of Home Builders.

It’s important to keep in mind how extensive the kitchen renovation is in order to make sure to don’t spend a lot more than you would otherwise get back should you decide to put your home on the market some time in the future. It’s important to know how to go about your renovation project in order to get the most bang for your buck.

Completely ripping out cabinets and walls and starting from the ground up can be quite an expensive project – one that might cost you more than you’ll probably get back. But that doesn’t mean that a facelift in the kitchen can’t be done on a budget. Consider the following tasks to truly transform your old, drab kitchen into a clean, modern one that will be sure to impress any potential homebuyer:

Refinishing Cabinet Doors

If you’re a little confused about where to start with your kitchen remodeling job, consider re-doing your cabinets first. The reason for this is simple – it’s the cabinets that are a major focal point for everyone who steps in this room.

Before you start ripping things down, you should consider the steep cost of kitchen cabinets, which can run anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000 or more for a completely new set of cabinets. In order to drastically cut costs, consider just replacing the cabinet doors. Replacing the doors with new ones that have additional features, such as beveled corners or quiet-closing drawers can be quite appealing. Doors such as these can add almost as much value as some of the more high-end cabinets.

To cut down costs even further, you can simply sand down and refinish the surface of the cabinets and doors if the cabinets are in good condition. You can even just add a matching veneer to the cabinet boxes to make a big decorative change. This is a fabulous way to save money if they are in good condition.

Changing the Countertops

The right material used for your countertops can really make them the star of the room. In fact, you can find affordable slabs of granite or quartz that can give that certain ‘wow’ factor that is sure to impress. Expert kitchen contractors often recommend stone as a replacement for your countertops in order to provide both a highly aesthetic appeal as well as good quality surfacing. Imagine your kitchen going from a dull, scuffed-up laminate countertop to a fabulous granite countertop with an amazing sheen and pattern! It will be sure to make a huge impact, despite such a relatively low cost and simple task.

In order to add value to your home, stick to the more affordable granite and quartz. Prices range anywhere from about $40 to $120 per square foot, so choose the product that matches your budget. Keep in mind that stone with an elaborate grain tends to be a bit on the pricier end of the cost spectrum, while darker granite with a more consistent pattern tends to cost less. The latter is often the best choice for those looking to add value to their home without spending more than necessary. These darker stones are often stronger too, giving you the added benefit of extra durability.

Changing the Backsplash

Much like a brand new countertop, a new backsplash can really make a kitchen pop. Adding tiles to the backsplash can make a huge difference on the appeal of the entire kitchen. Tiles come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, colours, textures and materials, and can give the homeowner a little wiggle room to really make it unique to match their taste and personality. There are plenty of hot backsplash trends right now, including glass tiles, small square tiles, subway-style patterns, and even old-world looking stone tiles to bring a little nostalgia back into the home.

One of the great things about these tile backslashes is that if you’re handy enough, you can even tackle the installation on your own, which can certainly cut down on the overall expense and keep more money in your pocket. But just make sure you gather all the tips, information and tools you need before you start the process.

Open Floor Plan

The hot trend these days is to have an open concept. This type of floor plan is much more functional, and provides a lot more air and space in a home, not to mention that it just looks brighter and more spacious. If you need more proof that an airy design is the “in” way to go consider that recent data¬†confirms that “open design” is one of the most searched terms when people are designing a new kitchen. If you live in an older home that has the typical separation of little rooms with full dividing walls, you might want to consider taking a wall down and opening up the kitchen.

An open concept is highly attractive to home buyers, who will notice right away any floor plan that is set up this way. It might be worth considering tearing down a wall to open up the kitchen. You’d be surprised at how affordable it can be. About $2,000 to $4,000 should do the job, between the tearing down of the wall and the cleaning up of the space afterwards. Just make sure that it’s not a load-bearing wall that you’re ripping down.

Making a few minor changes to your kitchen can really make a big impact on the look of the space as well as increase the home’s value. Be smart about the type of work you are doing, and how much you are spending to do it.

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