Remodel or sell?

You’re probably aware that we are smack dab in the middle of a strong sellers’ market, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good time for you to sell.

If you’ve concluded that it’s best for you to stay put right now, despite the high prices that many homes are commanding, you may be interested in doing some remodeling. If so, the next question is what project to tackle first? Perhaps you want to find a happy medium between making improvements that will increase your home value and those that will increase your home enjoyment.

Remodeling Magazine conducts an annual survey of home remodeling costs, and shares the results in their Cost Vs. Value report, which is available online for free download. To take advantage of this valuable info, go to www.remodeling.hw.net and click the “COST vs VALUE” tab at the top of the page.

You may be surprised to hear that projects involving replacement are generally less expensive and more apt to recoup their cost than remodeling projects. These smaller jobs are most impactful when they involve exterior features because first impressions are extremely powerful. For this reason, the top projects (nationally) with the best record for recouping their costs are:

1) Entry door replacement (101.8%)

2) Manufactured stone veneer (92.2%)

3) Garage door replacement (88.5% – 82.5%)

4) Siding replacement, fiber cement (84.3%)

Read the report for more specific information about the Seattle area and low, moderate, and high end price tiers.

Posted November 4, 2015

Should you move or improve?

Should you move or improve your home? If you are a typical home owner, you probably ask yourself this question every few years. The answer is seldom obvious or simple.

The are basically two reasons to take on home improvement projects. The first is for your own enjoyment. The second is to increase the re-sale value.  Believe it or not, it can be easier to calculate the value of your enjoyment than the value of a remodel.

Remodeling Magazine conducts an annual survey providing insight into the relative recapture value of various home improvement projects. You can download the 2014 report for free from their website:

http://www.remodeling.hw.net/cost-vs-value/2014/

Kitchen and bathroom remodels tend to provide the best return on investment both in terms of re-sale and personal comfort, but they don’t come cheap. You should anticipate an average price tag  of $30-40K to re-do your kitchen, and $20-30K for a full bathroom (i.e. neither high-end nor low-end).

Financial considerations aside, the question of whether  to move or improve should be decided by the things you cannot change about your current home: the school district, commute/transportation options, lot size, neighbors, neighborhood. If you love your location, then improvements make sense, but if a different location is the biggest improvement you can make, then trading up may be the way to go.

Posted by Alice Kuder on April 19, 2014

Have you spotted new home design trends for 2013?

home design trends

Home design trends come and go — that’s why they’re called trends — and it can be fun to see how quickly you recognize their arrival.

Here are a few home design trends that author, Barbara Ballinger, believes will be coming into vogue this year.

  1. Automated control systems for the various electronics in your home. Systems are becoming easier to use and more affordable all the time. You can remotely turn on your furnace, security system, lights, media, etc. with a press of a button or two.
  2. Outdoor living spaces such as kitchens and living rooms. In days gone by, screened porches were quite common. Then they went out of style in favor of decks and patios. Now they are having a come-back and are much more comfortable and versatile. The outdoor bbq grill is getting an upgrade, too, often under cover or screened in with comfortable tables and seating.
  3. While not exactly a home design trend (more like a backyard design trend), home farming gives new accessibility to organic foods. Small, raised backyard garden beds require less stooping and bending, are more manageable with limited time, and are often more attractive than traditional gardens. Watch for the emergence of backyard ponds, as well, for raising fish fit for the dinner table. (I’m not sure what animal rights activists will have to say about this, however.)
  4. As fewer homebuyers see a need for formal living rooms, “TV rooms” are re-emerging. Less dark and less stark than the media rooms of recent years, this newer style of “family room” provides comfortable, casual space for a variety of activities.
  5. Tinted neutral paint shades are replacing whites and beiges. Accent walls are more muted, while still providing a pop of color.
  6. Dual-purpose furnishings are becoming popular both for economic and space reasons. As MacMansions become less common and baby boomers start downsizing, use of living space becomes a bigger priority. Sofa beds, ottomans that double as storage space, tables with drop leaves and kitchen islands on wheels can all save space and money. Clunky, chunky, overstuffed furnishings are likely to be disappearing as well.
  7. Remodeling has become more common than room additions since the economic downturn of the past few years. Kitchens and bathrooms remain the favorite spaces for updates and face lifts. When planning the remodel, homeowners are more likely than ever to favor the use of sustainable products and materials for countertops and flooring. Low VOC paint products are also in demand, as they emit fewer harmful fumes and are considered less harmful to the environment. The website http://HealthyHomePlans.com can be a helpful resource in this regard.
  8. Efficient systems for managing water and energy are also on the top of many lists as a means of stretching the household budget. Low-flow shower heads, dual-flush toilets, solar panels and gray-water systems can all translate into worthy investments.
  9. Lastly, architectural designs are beginning to take into account a wider age-range of homeowners. Forward-thinking home designs incorporate wider doorways for wheelchairs and walkers, low counter heights in some bathrooms and higher counter tops in others, grab bars that double as towel racks, and even elevators in multi-level homes. All are features that will help homes remain suitable for occupants of varying generations.

How many of these home design trends appeal to you? Have you spotted some we’ve missed?