Our Real Estate Blog
Not everything you’ve heard over the years about home improvements actually “improves” your return on investment. In fact, there are some myths that continue to crop up that surprise homeowners when they price their homes to sell them on the market. Learning the difference between a change you make for your family to enjoy versus an improvement that raises your home’s value can be a painful lesson if you wait until requesting a market evaluation from your real estate agent.
- Every renovation adds value to the home. Splitting a large master bedroom to create a guest room or add a bathroom to your home might increase your asking price, but that doesn’t mean an underwriting evaluation determines it the same way. And while combining two smaller rooms into one or removing a wall could increase the room’s usefulness, on paper, the decrease in bedrooms might lower the valuation amount. If improving livability for your family is the goal, do what works best for you. But, if you’re renovating so that you can sell for a higher price, talk to a home valuation expert, such as a licensed appraiser, to see what really gives you a return for your home.
- Completing the project yourself saves money. This myth only holds true if you’re a qualified contractor. Sometimes, in an effort to save money, you end up spending more to correct errors you didn’t know not to make. Hiring qualified professionals nearly always pays off as compared to doing it yourself.
- Pools add sales value. Many homeowners believe that installing a hot tub or pool makes their home more attractive. While in some locations this indeed is true, if your home is located in a climate with variable seasons, a pool requiring maintenance can be off-putting to many buyers. Putting in a pool should be for the sake of those living in the home. When it comes time to sell, your experienced real estate agent can help you market it with a pool even if that’s not a big seller in your location.
- Improvements should be trendy. Despite what you see on television, not all design trends improve your bottom line. Trading out your bathroom door for a barn door might satisfy your need to update your home, but not all buyers appreciate the lack of privacy a barn door offers. And, while shiplap might be popular when promoted by a well-known designer, homebuyers often prefer less textured walls on which to make their own mark.
The bottom line is that to improve your bottom line, stick with upgrades to appliances, a new roof, replacing that garage door and upgrading the landscaping. Your real estate professional can clue you in on which improvements increase the price and which promote a speedier sale. When you’re ready to sell, ask for a market evaluation on your house.
Having your own home fitness center provides a convenient place to work out. You don’t have to worry about fitting in exercise during gym hours or having to wait your turn to use the treadmill or rowing machine. With your own gym, you can work out whenever you want and use your fitness equipment as needed. The following tips can help you design an upscale fitness center that allows you to exercise in the comfort of your own home.
The first decision to make is where to put your fitness center, which depends in part on the layout of your home. You can put your home gym in your basement or a back area of your home if you prefer having it in an out-of-the-way place where your workouts won’t disturb family members. If your home is surrounded by nature, consider putting your home fitness center in an upper part of your home that provides inspiring views while you work out.
The flooring in your home gym should provide shock absorbency and durability for safe workouts. Rubber tiles or rolls are highly shock-absorbent and durable, making them a common choice for home fitness centers. Foam tiles and soft PVC tiles are more comfortable to stand and move around on, but they do not offer as much shock absorbency to protect you from injuries if you do high-impact exercises.
Choosing equipment for your home gym depends on the kinds of exercises you like to do. You can include larger pieces of equipment, such as rowing machines, treadmills, elliptical machines and exercise bikes. Other types of equipment to consider include a weight bench and weights, a yoga mat, a balance ball and resistance bands. Keep in mind that there are many brands of luxury home fitness equipment available.
Adding a state-of-the-art sound system to your fitness center can provide you with an easy way to listen to music that helps you stay motivated during your workouts. For lighting, consider using a mixture of natural lighting from windows or skylights and artificial lighting, such as recessed lights or light fixtures with ceiling fans to improve air circulation in your home gym.
Your home fitness center doesn’t only have to include traditional gym equipment. If you enjoy swimming as a form of exercise, consider adding an indoor pool to your gym. You can include an indoor pool that’s specially designed for doing laps and add features to it, such as a heating system for comfort or underwater LED lighting for swimming at night without having to put overhead lights on.
Starting a new renovation project can be overwhelming. Of course, there are tons of details to consider, so you might find yourself at a loss when it comes to visualizing your end product. Before you begin your remodeling project, you need to have an idea of how you want the result to look. To make it easy for you to articulate your vision for your project, here are some remodeling questions to ask yourself.
What do I want to change about the space?
Start by thinking about pain points in the room as it is presently. Perhaps you don't have enough storage in your bathroom to handle your belongings, or there isn't enough counter space in your kitchen when you bake cookies. Then try to visualize what you would love to see instead. Maybe you’ve always wished for built-in cabinets to store your grooming products or a kitchen island to cook and entertain the family.
What do I love about my space?
Next, you will need to think about what you like about your current space. Some people believe this is not important, but it is. It gives you an idea of what can stay during your renovation. It will also give you an idea of your overall budget. For example, the price for a bathroom renovation with modern fixtures in a new layout will be different from simply replacing the vanity.
How much can I truly afford?
Now to the finance aspect. Start by determining how you intend to pay for the project. Are you using your savings? Will you be financing the project through a home equity loan? Next, develop a budget based on your available funds. Sticking to your budget gives you and your contractor a clear picture of what you want and what materials to purchase.
What colors do I like?
Ensure that your designer knows about your color preferences from the beginning. Do you like a warm palette or muted tones? Are you more comfortable with bold and bright hues? Do you want the furniture to speak louder than the walls, or do you enjoy seeing a lot of color on each surface?
What style do I like?
The last box to check is your taste. There are tons of options to choose from when it comes to interior design. Do you love transitional, traditional, or modern? Browse the Internet or home magazines to get design inspiration or request a photo book from your interior designer.
Need a design professional? Contact me for a few recommendations!
Smart lighting comes in intriguing varieties, adding a touch of luxury and personality to homes where they are found. It is fascinating to note that smart lighting has a broad range of applications and so is open to your spark of creativity.
While the technology serves one major purpose, illuminating homes, it can other applications as well to change certain conventional ways of doing things. This article will look at a few of these creative applications.
Give your home its own mind
Have you ever wanted a nice welcome into your home immediately that you open the door? With smart lighting options, you can customize the light fixtures to turn on when you get home and literally 'welcome you.’
Flaunt your favorite art collection
If you are a lover of the aesthetics of paintings, drawings or sculpture, you can focus your bulbs on your favorite art pieces and present them clearly whenever you have visitors or just for your own viewing.
Give the children's room a different look
Smart lighting can do a lot of good in your kids' room. Combining the color-changing and relaxing features of smart light fixtures can never go wrong in a zone where the energy level is always high.
Increase your home security with smart lighting
Most break-ins occur when homeowners are away. Smart lighting can serve as a deterrent to intruders. A good scheduling feature will convince an intruder that someone's home and deter them from seeing the house as an easy target.
Take your home parties to the top
Are you planning on throwing a party? Housewarming or, maybe, a small get-together?Smart lighting definitely has a role to play here. With a variety of colorful LED bulbs, you can set up a dance floor in no time. Also, some areas can take on other forms of illumination depending on how you want your needs met.
Smart lights can suit your mood
At some point, it becomes boring to have just one type and color of lighting looking down on you when you feel energetic and even when you're not. Smart lighting allows you to customize light fixtures and have them complement your mood at any time.
Whether to flaunt your art pieces or to bring life to a party, smart lighting is exciting and filled with plenty of potential. Let your creativity on some freedom and order some smart lights today.
Want to expand the square footage of your home without moving to a new house? Consider all of the changes you can make to your garage to add a den or playroom, home gym, workshop, or a combination of any these to enjoy a larger living space.
First, to determine what area(s) of your garage are flexible, consider your vehicle needs. Do you have only one car, but a two-car garage. Do you need to park your vehicle inside year-round? If you can allocate some of your vehicle parking space for other uses, measure the available area and see what expansions fit. If you need to park your cars in the garage, maybe you can arrange vertical storage in such a way that a small workshop set up or home gym fits nicely, leaving your office to be well, your office. If you don’t park vehicles in your garage and currently unpacked boxes, miscellaneous tools, bikes, and other objects take up that space, sort through your belongings, put indoor items away, and see what’s left that needs to stay in the garage.
If you can transform your garage into an additional living space, you'll want to consider your insulation and electric needs. A garage door threshold seal can make a huge difference in the usability of your garage. If rainwater, dust, animals, and pests can easily enter your garage add the seal protect your space and make it habitable.
Consider using vertical storage to free up floor space. Most garages have high ceilings, so add high shelving for holiday decorations, suitcases, and long-term storage. Install lift systems for bicycles and other gear and narrow/vertical storage units for your tools. Opening up your floor space allows room to set up exercise equipment, activity tables (pool or ping-pong anyone?), or simply to throw down a rug, set up that extra TV and plug in your Wii.
To turn your garage into a living space, for a den, or man cave you'll need to figure out a climate control solution. If your home's system can handle the extra square feet, you can work with your contractor to expand your heating and air conditioning system to the garage. Make sure you check all wall seams, weather stripping, and possible leaks to ensure you don't experience higher energy usage to maintain the space. If your garage is yet unfinished, you’ll need to take the extra steps to insulate, if not completely finish the walls so that you don't see a significant upward creep in your electricity costs.
TIP #1: If you intend to make the extra living space permanent, check your city's regulations to make sure you acquire the appropriate, necessary permits.
TIP #2: If you think you might resell your home in the future, speak with your real estate agent to determine the best way to create the added living space without losing resale value. That is, you may want to lay down your flooring on top of the cement garage floor. To ensure a future buyer can use the garage for their vehicles, you may need to make specific choices on easily removable flooring.
Expanding the use of your garage is a great and affordable way to create space in your home. Speak with your real estate professional about any changes you're considering to determine best how to add to or maintain the most value to your home while adding the most significant value to your current lifestyle.