Home Renovation Makes Pre-Recession Gains

Houzz.com | More than two-thirds of home renovation firms are reporting that 2015 year-to-date revenues and profits are at or above pre-recession levels. What’s more, one in five firms are reporting revenues and profits are significantly higher, according to the second quarter Houzz Renovation Barometer, which tracks confidence in the home renovation market among 5,000 industry professionals.

Landscape and outdoor specialty firms are notably the most positive about year-over-year gains, according to the barometer. Also, architects in the West and South are most confident in year-over-year improvements in the home renovation industry.

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Maximizing Your Home’s Interior Appeal

Once you have committed to selling your home, there are a number of things you can do to help get the best possible price in the shortest amount of time.

I am an expert in marketing homes. However, selling your home is a joint effort with you playing an important role in the final results. Your major role is to make your home as attractive as possible to potential buyers.

Remember that first impressions count. You should do everything you can to make that first impression a positive one. People who consider buying your home will be as critical as you are in searching for your new home.

Take an inspection tour of your home, observing it as a potential buyer would. Take note of any minor repairs and painting that need to be done.

Here are some tips which have proven valuable to homeowners in preparing their homes for showing.

Interior
Start with a full housecleaning from top to bottom. Don’t let dirt & clutter obscure your home’s good points. Discard unused & unnecessary items in storage areas & closets. Eliminating clutter will give your home a more spacious look.

  • Walls should be clean & free of smudges, fingerprints, & dents. Consider a fresh coat of paint. Inspect woodwork & wallpaper for problems.
  • Arrange furniture to make each room appear more spacious. Store badly worn furniture.
  • Wash windows & sills. Launder curtains & drapes.
  • Shampoo rugs and carpets. Floors should be waxed.
  • Repair loose doorknobs, sticking doors & windows, & warped drawers.
  • Fix leaky faucets and eliminate discoloration in sinks.
  • Tighten loose stair banisters, & be sure steps are free of objects.
  • Light fixtures should be in good repair. Replace discolored or cracked switch plates.
  • Clean out closets to display their roominess. Be sure clothes are hung neatly other objects tidily arranged.
  • Bathrooms should be sparkling clean. Repair caulking in tubs & showers.
  • Bedrooms should be neat with attractive spreads & curtains.
  • Clean & organize the basement, attic, & garage.

Save For A Downpayment With These Tips

For most Americans, a down payment is the only thing standing between renting and owning a home. Although it may seem like a daunting task to save enough to get out of the renting cycle, there are some tricks to saving money quickly. Here are a few:

Develop a budget & timeline.
Start by determining how much you’ll need for a down payment. Create a budget and calculate how much you can realistically save each month – that will help you gauge when you’ll be ready to transition from renter to homeowner.

Establish a separate savings account.
Set up a separate savings account exclusively for your down payment and make your monthly contributions automatic. By keeping this money separate, you’ll be less likely to tap into it when you’re tight on cash.

Shop around to reduce major monthly expenses.
It’s a good idea to check rates for your car insurance, renter’s insurance, health insurance, cable, Internet or cell phone plan. There may be deals or promotions available that allow you to save hundreds of dollars by adjusting your contracts.

Monitor your spending.
With online banking, keeping an eye on your spending is easier than ever. Track where most of your discretionary income is going. Identify areas where you could cut back (e.g. nice meals out, vacations, etc.) and instead put that money into savings.

Look into state and local home-buying programs.
Many states, counties and local governments operate programs for first-time home buyers. Some programs offer housing discounts, while others provide down payment loans or grants.

These Products Will Make Your Home Smarter

REALTORMag.com | Check out the latest smart-home products helping home owners step into the future of real estate.

Lose the Keys

This lock may look like any other deadbolt lock, but it doesn’t require a key – just a touch of your finger to unlock. This smart lock also allows owners to assign virtual keys permanently or temporarily, monitor entrances and exits remotely, and receive activity alerts, 

Lightbulbs With a Camera

sengledsnapholdingstill.jpg

This bulb offers more than just light. The Sengled Snap LED lightbulb features a wireless video camera built inside for security monitoring. Place the bulb outside and the camera uses facial recognition to sort the difference between a family member and an intruder.

Text Your Fridge

LG’s Smart Refrigerator features a wide-angle camera that takes a photo each time the door is opened so that you can pull up the image from your mobile device to see what food you have inside when grocery shopping.

Maximizing Your Home’s Exterior Appeal

Once you have committed to selling your home, there are a number of things you can do to help get the best possible price in the shortest amount of time.

I am an expert in marketing homes. However, selling your home is a joint effort with you playing an important role in the final results. Your major role is to make your home as attractive as possible to potential buyers.

Remember that first impressions count. You should do everything you can to make that first impression a positive one. People who consider buying your home will be as critical as you are in searching for your new home.

Take an inspection tour of your home, observing it as a potential buyer would. Take note of any minor repairs and painting that need to be done.

Here are some tips which have proven valuable to homeowners in preparing their homes for showing.

Exterior
Since the exterior of your home will be the first thing a prospective buyer sees, it is very important to create a good first impression.

  • Keep the lawn trimmed & edged. Weed & cultivate flower gardens. Trim shrubs & eliminate dead trees or branches. Pick up any debris, toys, & lawn equipment.
  • Repair any fences or gates. Give them a fresh coat of paint, if necessary.
  • Is the exterior well painted & the roof in good repair? Are gutters and down spouts in good working order?
  • Wash down driveways and sidewalks. Check them for cracking and crumbling.
  • Replace any cracked windows and torn screens.
  • The entrance should be clean and in good repair. The doorbell and front light must be in good working order.

Buying a home? Here are tips to get you started

Homeadvisor.comGet pre-approved for a mortgage before you make an offer. When you are trying to buy a house in a competitive market, your offer to purchase should contain as few conditions as possible. An offer that is conditional on obtaining financing is often a deal killer. The seller may accept a competing offer for less money rather than take the risk that you won’t be able to raise mortgage money. A pre-approval letter from your lender tells the seller you are ready and able to commit.

Know when to quit. When you act on emotion, rather than reason, you may end up paying too much money. This can happen when you fall in love with a particular house and start fantasizing about how great it will be to live there. Another reason you may be driven to pay too much is that a bidding war triggers your competitive instincts and you must buy the house at all costs which you will regret later.

Set enough money aside to cover closing costs without having to forgo eating for a couple of months. You’ve put together a down payment. Be aware that there is also a long list of expenses you may have to pay at closing, depending on where you live and who your lender is. “Closing costs can add up to between two and six percent of your loan,” says LendingTree’s Chief Consumer Officer, Ed Powell. He advises you to ask your lender or mortgage broker to give you a Good Faith Estimate of the loan-related fees you’ll have to pay. Get your real estate agent to compile a list of other expenses.

Try to coordinate the date you take possession of your new home and your moving date. If possible, avoid a situation where you’ve got to camp out with relatives or find a short-term rental because you must vacate your old house or apartment before you can move into your new digs. Moving once is enough.

Insist on a home inspection. The first really cold day you spend in your new house is way too late to find out that the furnace doesn’t work. The one condition you should always include in an offer to purchase is a home inspection. Find out how much it will cost to fix any defects and have the seller fix them before you agree to buy or deduct the estimated cost from the final price you offer. If the seller won’t help bear the costs and you want to go ahead with the purchase, make sure you can afford the necessary repairs on top of your mortgage.

Shopping for fixtures & appliances? Try these tips

ZILLOW | Los Angeles celebrity interior designer Michelle Workman heads down South for a simpler life in Chattanooga, TN. Watch Michelle build her design business in a new setting and completely redesign her southern farmhouse, all while adjusting to the slower-paced life with her once city-dwelling family. New episodes of “Glamour Goes South” will air exclusively on Zillow Blog the first Thursday of every month.Shopping for fixtures (lighting, plumbing, etc.) and appliances can be exhausting and confusing, especially if you have a spouse or significant other to take into consideration when choosing. Often times my husband doesn’t get much say in the overall design choices in our home, but when it comes to certain things like plumbing, fixtures and appliances, he wants his voice heard —loud and clear!

Here are my three biggest tips for homeowners about to embark on a fixture or appliance shopping excursion:

1. FIND A COMMON GROUND

If you and your significant other disagree on style, start by collecting photo examples of what each of you like. I’ve learned when my clients approach style disagreements this way, they often find considerable crossover in their design aesthetics that makes selecting fixtures and appliances as a team much smoother. When there isn’t crossover, I suggest selecting the style that is least objectionable to you both. To get started, try browsing for inspiration online. Zillow Digs is a great resource for design ideas as you can find and save your favorite photos all in one place, and you can easily revisit your favorites when you’re on the go.

2. EXPERIMENT WITH SOMETHING UNUSUAL

I always suggest my clients try at least one design element that is uncommon or out of their comfort zone. I try to do this in my own home as well. One of the best ways to experiment is with fixture and appliance finish colors. Right now I’m very into burnished bronze or copper finishes for both lighting and faucets. I also have a thing for exposed plumbing. It feels very Victorian and “proper” to me, which is always a fun element to add a home.

3. VISIT BOUTIQUE SHOWROOMS VS. BIG-BOX STORES

It can be very challenging and overwhelming starting your search at large warehouse home stores. That’s why I’m a huge fan of the smaller specialized showroom, like Ferguson. I feel that most people are intimidated by boutique showrooms as they think their products will be too expensive or there won’t be enough selection. I often recommend trying these stores first, as boutique showrooms have expert salespeople who can answer your questions, educate you about your options and help you remember your selections for next time. They can help you make the hard decisions with no mistakes. This personal touch coupled with a variety of price points to choose from make this the best and only choice for me as a homeowner and as a designer.

Shopping Sears? Here is the right way.

Sears has changed over the years. The catalog is gone and much of its “inventory” is only available online. Still, if you know what you’re looking for, Sears can still be a great place to find a bargain. Here are some tips to get the best deal.

Back before computerized cash registers, the last two digits of a price spelled out the status of an item. Today, you can still use this method to figure out what kind of a deal you’re getting.

A price that ends in 99 cents is either not on sale or a planned, advertised sale price. You can still get good discounts on these items, but these prices are planned by the retailer to last through certain sale days.

A price that ends in 88 cents is harder to find, but usually a better deal. It signifies a closeout item and usually a price that’s lower than it’s ever been on sale. If you see an 88-cent price, don’t wait for it to go any lower. It’ll stay that cheap until it sells out.

A price that ends in 97 cents means the item is clearance merchandise. It’s the lowest price you’ll ever see, but keep in mind that it’s likely on clearance because it’s old stock or discontinued. Popular, big-ticket items rarely go on clearance. It’s more common on smaller items, like odd-size clothing and unique tools.

Finally, a price that ends in 98 centsis an indicator that an item isn’t eligible for additional discounts. Often, this is due to a marketing agreement with the manufacturer, requiring retailers to agree to a lowest advertised sale price.

Selling a home? Here are tips to get into the market and sold pronto!

1. Why DIY when help is around the corner?

Did you know 1/3 of sellers don’t use a traditional agent? Using Professional help will expand your reach and create awareness. Cutting costs in this department is not always the best approach. Realtors have access to online sites, marketing tools and a network that will increase your reach dramatically. TIP: Always interview a couple Real Estate Agents to make sure the fit is right for you and your home. This Agent will be representing you and experience is very valuable. 

2. First Impression Counts!

With 9 out of 10 buyers starting their search online, photos are the first impression they will have. Allocating funds to a professional photographer or videographer and taking time to clean up your home for the photo shoot is very important. The photos must draw buyers in and peek their interest. Stand out amongst all the clutter of homes for sale with beautiful photos. TIP: Stage your home, move furniture around even if its not how you use it everyday. De-personalize your home so it is versatile for the buyer to imagine how they would live there. Most importantly, GET RID OF CLUTTER! 

3. Light it up!

Buyers love brightly lit and cheery homes. It makes them happy as they tour your home with wide open windows and a warm sun peeking in making it bright. Maximize the light in your home even during the day. Open the blinds, change your curtains to lighter shades for example creams or whites, clean the windows, lampshades and blinds. Open it up, light it up!

4. Sell the Kitchen!

“You’re not actually selling your house, you’re selling your kitchen – that’s how important it is. The benefits of remodeling your kitchen are endless, and the best part of it is that you’ll probably get 85% of your money back. It may be a few thousand dollars to replace countertops where a buyer may knock $10,000 off the asking price if your kitchen looks dated. The fastest, most inexpensive kitchen updates include painting and new cabinet hardware. Use a neutral-color paint so you can present buyers with a blank canvas where they can start envisioning their own style. If you have a little money to spend, buy one fancy stainless steel appliance. Why one? Because when people see one high-end appliance they think all the rest are expensive too and it updates the kitchen.” via HGTV continue reading the 10 best kept secrets to selling your home fast. 

5. Say goodbye to extra stuff!

Distinguish your home from others by leaving some enticing items behind. What can distinguish your home is leaving behind some of your property, ideally items that are above and beyond what the average homebuyer in your home’s price range would be able to afford. Item ideas: Fridge, Plasma TV, Garage cabinets, Kitchen Updates, etc.

Now hop onto social media and start sharing your professional photos with friends, family and the world.


Presented by
Larry Cirnigliaro
Real Estate Broker CRIA President CEO
Coastland Realty, Inc., California
714-394-6649 | EMAIL | WEBSITE | CA# 01186227

The Most Financially Savvy Home Improvements You Can Make

Sell your home for the most value tomorrow with these financially savvy home improvement projects you can do today. Here are affordable (under $5,000) home improvement projects that’ll help you enjoy your home more today and provide excellent financial return in the future:

UPGRADE TO ENERGY EFFICIENT

Energy-efficient houses value keeps increasing year by year.  A UCLA study examined the sales prices of 1.6 million California homes from 2007 to 2012 and found that homes with Energy Star, LEED, or GreenPoint certification had, on average, a 9% higher price.

That finding is echoed in NAHB’s report that surveyed homebuyers across the nation: Nine out of 10 potential buyers would select an efficient home with lower utility bills over a less efficient home priced 2% to 3% less.

“In fact, 39% of homebuyers say a gas fireplace is an essential or desirable feature of the next home they purchase. So when it comes time to sell your home, more than one-third of potential buyers will be looking for a gas fireplace.” – Houselogic.com

CEILING FANS:

ceiling-fans-bedroom

Ceiling fans have come along way from their old reputation of being a nuisance. They are now considered a luxury in a home and can give your room a refreshing update while saving money. When setting up a ceiling fan make sure they hang at least 7 to 8 feet above the floor. If you have a low ceiling, buy a hugger cueling fan that’s flush mounted. 

INSTALL A PATIO:

exterior-beautiful-outdoor-living-areas-blend-into-one-multi-use-hardscape-patio-retaining-wall-pergola-with-flagstone-patio-also-backyard-landscaping-idea-with-porch-and-nice-garden-with-deck-design

A great cost effective way to increase your homes living space is to install a patio. The good news is this will not break the bank and most likely you will recover 30% to 60% of your investment.

When planning a patio, set a budget and stick with it. Be careful to not purchasing too high-end amenities, like an outdoor kitchen – you wont get much back for it when you sell. Another tip is to spend a little when it comes to outdoor lighting. It can make a huge visual difference. 

Presented by
Larry Cirnigliaro
Real Estate Broker CRIA President CEO
Coastland Realty, Inc., California
714-394-6649 | EMAIL | WEBSITE | CA# 01186227