Remodels that Pay

July 6, 2018

Steel Doors
You don’t want to go cheap on a standard front door. At roughly $1,000, steel doors are comparatively affordable, durable, low maintenance and burglar resistant. As an added bonus, the National Association of Realtors® reports that steel door upgrades show the highest return on investment of any home remodel, at over 100 percent of the cost.

Solar Panels
As the price of solar panels continues to drop, the energy payback on installing them is becoming greater and greater. The average rooftop solar system is now paid off in seven and a half years. After that, panels are a big money-saving asset. A study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory notes that homebuyers “consistently have been willing to pay more for a property” with solar panels—a premium of around $4 per installed watt, on average.

Related: Will Your Homeowners Insurance Cover Solar Panels?

New Siding
The exterior of your house is the first thing potential homebuyers see when they come to your home, and you want to make the best first impression. This is part of the reason redoing your siding is so profitable. New siding recoups around 80 percent of the initial cost, according to the National Association of Realtors®, thanks largely to the increased curb appeal and improved energy efficiency it provides.

Broadband Access
Access to broadband speeds is considered an essential utility for today’s connected homebuyer. Research shows that faster internet speeds increase your home value by as much as 3 percent. Homeowners can prepare their homes for higher broadband connectivity by working with area providers to install requisite equipment and wiring. Building out wall ports and cable-hiding baseboards is a good move to attract buyers, too.

Even if you’re not considering selling your home just yet, keep potential selling benefits in mind. Intrepid homeowners know that the best remodels will increase both quality of life and listing price, so take care to invest in projects that will net the biggest returns.


Owning beats Renting in Florida

July 28, 2017

LOS ANGELES – July 27, 2017 – Arizona, Nevada and Washington, D.C. are among the 11 states where it’s more affordable to rent than it is to buy a home. But owning a home still beats renting in Florida, according to a study by website GOBankingRates.

GoBankingRates surveyed all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and identified which states are best for buying a home and which are better suited for renting. For the cost of owning, the study assumed a 20-percent downpayment on a 30-year fixed loan.

In Florida, homeowners have the advantage. They GOBankingRates study found that the average monthly rent of $1,543 is $167 higher than the cost of an average monthly mortgage of $1,376. The difference amounts to about $2,000 per year that the average Florida family would save by owning rather than renting, though actual savings would differ by metro area and other variables.

 


The best states–and the worst ones–for higher education, according to US News

March 10, 2017

Florida takes the top spot

U.S. News & World Report recently partnered with McKinsey & Company to rank the 50 states by how well they serve their citizens in seven categories, including higher education.

U.S. News assigned each state a higher education score based on metrics that included:

  • Share of citizens in the state who hold degrees;
  • Percent of students who graduate on time;
  • Average cost of tuition and fees; and
  • Average student loan debt per graduate.

The top 10 states for higher education, according to U.S. News, are:

  1. Florida;
  2. Utah;
  3. California;
  4. Wyoming;
  5. Washington;
  6. North Dakota;
  7. South Dakota;
  8. Colorado;
  9. Nebraska; and
  10. Virginia.

The 10 states at the bottom of U.S. News‘ list are:

  1. Kentucky;
  2. Arkansas;
  3. Ohio;
  4. South Carolina;
  5. Michigan;
  6. Rhode Island;
  7. Indiana;
  8. West Virginia;
  9. Alabama; and
  10. Pennsylvania.

In a related survey, respondents chose education as the No. 2 factor that mattered most to them about their state.

The higher education rankings are part of U.S. News‘ broader ranking of all 50 states according to a wide variety of metrics grouped into seven categories. Each state’s score on higher education factored into its score in a broader education category and ultimately into an overall ranking.

Assistant Managing Editor Mark Silva explains that the publication undertook the ranking to better understand and compare state performance at a time when “many balances of power [are shifting] from Washington, D.C., to the states.”

It may not be surprising to see California ranked near the top, as the New York Times praised the University of California in 2015 for contributing to economic mobility in the state (Silva, U.S. News & World Report, 2/28; Cook, U.S. News & World Report, 2/28; U.S. News & World Report rankings, accessed 3/2).


86% of buyers don’t know what a CLUE report is. Do you??

November 21, 2016

WASHINGTON – Nov. 16, 2016 ­– Homebuyers often shop around for the best rate on a homeowners insurance policy, but 86 percent of Americans don’t realize that the policy amount is based, in part, on the home’s claim history.

Sellers who make too many property insurance claims could harm future buyers, yet most buyers are unaware that actions take by a home’s previous owners may be considered when an insurance company sets a premium under their new policy.

Many insurers use CLUE – an acronym for Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange – to report and check the claims history of homes. Yet, only 12 percent of buyers say they ask for a CLUE report before buying their current home, according to a new survey of more than 1,000 adults by InsuranceQuotes.

“Consumers of all ages, from millennials to seniors, are almost entirely unaware of how the CLUE database affects their insurance rates,” says Laura Adams, senior insurance analyst at InsuranceQuotes. “In most states, an inquiry about property damage can be added to your CLUE report and used against you, even if you never file a claim.”

Only the owner of a property can request a CLUE report. Homebuyers, therefore, need to ask sellers to obtain a copy on their own behalf.

“The CLUE report, which maintains data up to seven years, is a valuable tool for homebuyers because it reveals prior claims and potential risks,” Adams says. “It also helps home sellers provide full disclosure about their property’s condition.”

Homeowners can get a CLUE report free once every 12 months.

Source: InsuranceQuotes

© Copyright 2016 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD


Is Your Home a Smart Home?

October 8, 2016

The term “smart house” was coined in the 1980s to refer to a home with integrated telephones, lighting, audio and security.

Today, a smart home is defined as equipped with network-connected products…connected via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or similar protocols for controlling, automating and optimizing functions of the home.

This definition stipulates that the home has internet access, a smart security or temperature system and at least two other smart features, such as appliances, entertainment devices, cooling or heating equipment, lighting, landscaping elements, air quality monitors or thermostats.

Anything mentioned above that you can add to your home will increase your home’s value.


Fast Internet Access Drives Up Home Values

July 11, 2015

Did you know?

More home buyers are choosing where to live based on the availability of high-speed networks.

A nationwide study released recently by researchers at the University of Colorado and Carnegie Mellon University finds fiber-optic connections, the fastest type of high-speed interned available, can add $5,437 to the price of a $175,000 home.