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.


Home Improvement: Cost vs. Value

January 19, 2018

Nationally, when it comes to renovation ROI, curb appeal still wins out. Here are the top five projects with the greatest ROI in the report’s “midrange” cost category:

Manufactured Stone Veneer (97.1% ROI)

  • Average Cost: $8,221
  • Average Resale Value: $7,986

Entry Door Replacement (Steel) (91.3% ROI)

  • Average Cost: $1,471
  • Average Resale Value: $1,344

Deck Addition (Wood) (82.8% ROI)

  • Average Cost: $10,950
  • Average Resale Value: $9,065

Minor Kitchen Remodel (81.1% ROI)

  • Average Cost: $21,198
  • Average Resale Value: $17,193

Siding Replacement (76.7% ROI)

  • Average Cost: $15,072
  • Average Resale Value: $11,554

The top five projects with the greatest ROI in the report’s “upscale” cost category are:

Garage Door Replacement (98.3% ROI)

  • Average Cost: $3,470
  • Average Resale Value: $3,411

Window Replacement (Vinyl) (74.3% ROI)

  • Average Cost: $15,955
  • Average Resale Value: $11,855

Window Replacement (Wood) (69.5% ROI)

  • Average Cost: $19,391
  • Average Resale Value: $13,468

Grand Entrance (Fiberglass) (67.6% ROI)

  • Average Cost: $8,591
  • Average Resale Value: $5,809

Bathroom Remodel (56.2% ROI)

  • Average Cost: $61,662
  • Average Resale Value: $34,633

Nationally—and on the complete other end of the spectrum—here are the five projects with the lowest ROI in the “midrange” cost category:

Backyard Patio (47.6% ROI)

  • Average Cost: $54,130
  • Average Resale Value: $25,769

Master Suite Addition (56.6% ROI)

  • Average Cost: $123,420
  • Average Resale Value: $69,807

Major Kitchen Remodel (59% ROI)

  • Average Cost: $63,829
  • Average Resale Value: $37,637

Bathroom Addition (59.9% ROI)

  • Average Cost: $44,717
  • Average Resale Value: $26,769

Deck Addition (Composite) (63.6% ROI)

  • Average Cost: $17,668
  • Average Resale Value: $11,239

The five projects with the lowest ROI in the “upscale” cost category are:

Master Suite Addition (48.3% ROI)

  • Average Cost: $256,229
  • Average Resale Value: $123,797

Major Kitchen Remodel (53.5% ROI)

  • Average Cost: $125,721
  • Average Resale Value: $67,212

Bathroom Addition (54.6% ROI)

  • Average Cost: $83,869
  • Average Resale Value: $45,752

Bathroom Remodel (56.2% ROI)

  • Average Cost: $61,662
  • Average Resale Value: $34,633

Grand Entrance (Fiberglass) (67.6% ROI)

  • Average Cost: $8,591
  • Average Resale Value: $5,809

The 2018 Cost vs. Value Report compares, across 149 markets, the average cost of 21 popular remodeling projects with their average value at resale one year later. Average resale value is calculated based on estimates provided by real estate professionals. View the full report, including project descriptions and city-level data, by clicking the link below.

http://www.remodeling.hw.net/cost-vs-value/2018/


Celebration is a Walkable Town

January 4, 2018

Millennials are not the only generation preferring proximity to restaurants and retail.

Americans born between the mid-1920s up until 1945—the “Silent Generation”—are also on the lookout for walkability. Fifty-five percent of members of the Silent Generation recently surveyed by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) favor neighborhoods close for commuting and/or walkability—not far off from the 62 percent of millennials surveyed who prefer the same. Both generations would live in an apartment or townhouse if it meant a closer commute and/or walkability, according to findings from the survey. Fifty-one percent of all of the adults surveyed, regardless of generation, believe quality of life is impacted by walkability.

The generations between millennials and the Silent Generation, however—baby boomers and Generation X—are partial to the suburbs. Fifty-five percent of both boomers and Gen Xers are okay with the trade-off: driving to establishments, recreation and work for a single-family home.

There are age- and gender-based interests, as well. When buying a home, younger women look for public transit and walkability more so than younger men, but both younger men and younger women seek short commute times, according to the survey.

All told, 60 percent of all of the adults surveyed would rather reside in a single-family home. Another 60 percent, though, would spend more to live in an area with greater walkability. The majority of adults with children (another 60 percent, still) are interested in the acreage and square footage of the suburbs.

Infrastructure plays a role, according to the survey. Eighty-six percent of all of the adults surveyed perceive sidewalks positively, and 73 percent believe road maintenance and repair is important.

“REALTORS® understand that when people buy a home, they are not just looking at the house; they are looking at the neighborhood and the community,” says NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall. “While the idea of the ‘perfect neighborhood’ is different for every homeowner, more Americans are expressing a desire to live in communities with access to public transit, shorter commutes and greater walkability.”

Helping the movement are real estate professionals, Mendenhall says.

“REALTORS® work tirelessly at improving their communities through smart growth initiatives that help transform public spaces into these walkable community centers.”


Did You Know???

November 1, 2017

Did you know that keeping a bar of Ivory Soap under your bottom sheet can help to reduce leg cramps?

Soap under the bottom sheet may not work for all cases of restless leg syndrome, but many people find it helpful.

Although it has not been studied for RLS, the scent of Ivory soap is effective against the pain of menstrual cramps (Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare, Sept. 1, 2008).

It is suspected that soap fragrance works by calming hyperexcitable nerves (European Jounal of Applied Physiology, August 2017).


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.

 


Windsor at Celebration

June 2, 2017
Office Located at 715 Bloom St., #140
Celebration
Developer/Owner Big Rock Partners announced that preleasing of its 239 independent living, assisted living and memory care residences began on June 1st.
Windsor at Celebration is on track to open in Spring, 2018.
Resort-style amenities will consist of the building’s rooftop sky bar to enjoy views of Disney fireworks nightly and first-run movies in the community’s state-of-the-art, stadium style Screening Room.
As a rental alternative to traditional continuing care retirement communities, Windsor at Celebration does not require an up-front entrance fee.
Life Care Services, an LSC Company, is manager of the new community.
Designed by global architectural firm Gensler, the community’s plan promotes an engaged lifestyle and offers an array of choices for dining and entertainment.

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


Understanding Florida’s Homestead Rules

November 12, 2016

The rules governing HOMESTEAD Protection or Exemption apply in three contexts:

  1. Real Estate Tax Exemption
    • The list of exemptions includes among others, a cap on assessments called Save Our Homes and exemptions for widows, veterans and the blind.
    • The exemptions may give you significant savings on your real estate taxes.
  2. Creditor Protection
    • Florida prohibits creditor judgments from attaching to your homestead, keeping the creditor from forcing you to sell your home to pay off a judgment.
    • However, there are certain creditor claims that can still attach to your homestead such as IRS liens, foreclosures, past-due homeowner association fees and contractors’ liens.
  3. Transfer at Death
    • The laws governing transfers of homestead at the owner’s death will depend on whether or not you were married at the time of your death and if your heirs are minor children.
      1. If you have no spouse and no minor children, then you can leave the homestead to whomever you want.
      2. If you have a minor child and are married with your homestead titled in joint names with your spouse, then your protected homestead goes to your spouse by right of survivorship. However, if the property is in your name only, your spouse has two options: take a life estate (right to live in the property for his or her remaining lifetime) with the home passing to your children at his or her death, or take a half ownership interest and the children will receive the other half.
  • Specific rules govern the transfer of your home if you have a spouse and adult children.

The laws benefit you during your lifetime, but the transfer of your property at your death can affect your survivors and lead to disappointment and division. To ensure that you understand all aspects of the Florida homestead laws, consider consulting an experienced estate planning and probate attorney to help you plan appropriately and avoid family setbacks, hardships and discontent after you have passed.

To qualify for Homestead Exemption:

  • You must be a permanent resident of Florida residing on the property as your primary residence as of January 1st.
  • The deadline to submit the application for exemption is March 1st (for the year in which you wish to qualify)

For more information, visit  http://floridarevenue.com or http://www.property-appraiser.org.

 


Five fixes that can raise a home’s value

September 9, 2016

STAMFORD, Conn. – Sept. 8, 2016 – For homeowners looking to spruce up their home before listing it, there’s plenty they can do to attract more buyers and potentially boost the value of their home too.

Veteran real estate professionals recently weighed in at This Old House on some of the best home improvement projects they believe can help a home show better. Here are a few of their ideas:

1. Open up the space.

Create more space, whether that’s even removing a kitchen island or knocking out a non-structural wall. “Right now buyers want a wide open floor plan, the living room right off the kitchen.

2. Light it up.

Keep the home bright: Have windows open to let the natural light flow in, consider lights that use motion detectors to turn themselves off, or install sun tubes, a reflective material that funnels natural light from a hole cut in a rooftop down through a ceiling fixture in a room.

3. Enhance the front door.

“Don’t underestimate the power of a front door,” Willens says. “People make up their minds in the first seven seconds of entering a house.”

Remember to follow the guidelines of your HOA!

4. Pay attention to the floors.

Spend some money on the floors, suggests the real estate professionals surveyed by This Old House. Get a carpenter or handyman to eliminate distracting squeaks from floors, repair any broken tiles, patch damaged floorboards, and remove wall-to-wall carpeting, they suggest.

5. Tackle easy bathroom upgrades.

Bathroom upgrades can quickly get pricey but a few upgrades can still make a big difference. For example, swap frosted glass for clear glass, remove any rust stains, apply fresh caulk, update doorknobs and cabinet pulls, replace faucets, buy a new toilet seat, or install a low-flush toilet.

Source: “Brokers Tell All: 10 Ways to Boost Home Value,” This Old House (September 2016)

© Copyright 2016 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD