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PROFARM Neighborhood Advocates
Remodeling ROI (September 2017)

Whether you’re thinking about modernizing a room in your home or rehabbing an entire house, you’ll want to make sure the money you invest in the project has a positive effect on your home’s value. Before you start tearing up tile, ripping out old plaster or buying that “handyman’s special” you’ve had your eye on, consider consulting a professional real estate appraiser about the economics of your proposed project.

You may receive good advice on questions such as:

  • Is the improvement feasible and marketable?
  • Are neighborhood trends pointing to an upward cycle?
  • How to go about it

When it comes to improving your home, don’t count on a dollar-for-dollar return on every improvement. For example, real estate appraisers have found that remodeling a kitchen or bathroom or adding a room may bring the greatest return on a homeowner’s investment. Some custom installations can actually detract from value, which appraisers call “overimprovements.”

“The latest research shows that home improvements with a relatively low cost are most likely to generate a positive cost-to-value ratio,” says Appraisal Institute President Jim Amorin. “Spending big dollars on major renovations doesn’t necessarily equate to a dollar-for-dollar return. In short: cost doesn’t necessarily equal value.”

Amorin encouraged homeowners contemplating renovation projects to compare the planned improvement to what’s standard in the community. “Projects that move a home well beyond community norms are typically not worth the cost when the owner sells the property,” he says.

Make sure essential repairs are completed before you start improving — a posh sauna won’t make up for a leaky roof. In fact, simple and relatively inexpensive repairs such as plastering and painting could earn a better return on your investment than some major improvement projects. Many buyers can’t overlook tacky paint colors, old or dirty carpet and ugly kitchen cabinets. Start with freshening up what you already have before adding new features to your home.

When deciding what to improve first, take a look around and find out what other homebuyers want. That way, you’ll select those improvements for which the market is willing to pay. Beware of overimproving.

If you do it yourself, do it right. Keep your improvements consistent with the quality of your home and the character of the neighborhood. If you decide that you can’t do the job yourself, be sure to contact a reputable contractor. Pay a fair price for improvements, not an inflated price.

Also be sure to consider energy-efficient improvements. While they may not save you a great deal of money now, as energy costs increase, so will your savings. Many buyers are looking for “green” and “smart” features in homes these days. Even something as simple as installing a smart thermostat can be an attractive bonus to buyers.

Most importantly, obtain any necessary permits to make sure your improvements are legal. Illegal improvements might not add value. In fact, work done without the necessary permits can create problems for you and the new buyer when it comes time to finalize a sales transaction.

I would be happy to discuss ideas and a strategy with you that would be appealing to buyers. Let me know how I can assist you! Thank you.

AnnalisaWeller1@gmail.com, 727-804-6566

 

Sources:

The Appraisal Institute, “Remodeling & Rehabbing: Some Valuable Hints for Homeowners,” © 2014 (http://www.appraisalinstitute.org/assets/1/7/remodeling_rehabbing_web.pdf)

Florida Realtors News, “Top return on investment? Smaller remodeling projects,” April 20, 2017 (http://www.floridarealtors.org/NewsAndEvents/article.cfm?id=351064)

REALTOR Magazine, “Ugly Home Features Buyers Can’t Overlook, “ August 3, 2017

(http://realtormag.realtor.org/daily-news/2017/08/03/ugly-home-features-buyers-cant-overlook)

© 2017 Pinellas Realtor® Organization

These are some of the best “Smart Home” devices that may help to sell your home or increase the selling price of your home. Some may even help to lower the cost of your homeowner’s insurance. Worth checking out. Let me know what you think or which ones you’ve utilized.

 

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Energy-efficient upgrades not only shrink your utility bill, they can increase the value of your home.

http://www.floridarealtors.org/NewsAndEvents  Nov 2016

Homebuyers are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of energy-efficient homes. In fact, they’re often willing to pay more for homes with “green” upgrades, says Sandra Adomatis, a specialist in green valuation with Adomatis Appraisal Service in Punta Gorda, Florida.

Just how much your home will increase in value depends on a number of factors, Adomatis says, like where you live, which upgrades you’ve made and how your home is marketed at sale time. The length of time to recoup the costs of green upgrades also depends on the energy costs in your area.

In 2014, upgraded homes in Los Angeles County saw a 6 percent increase in value, according to a study from Build It Green, a nonprofit based in Oakland, California, that works with home professionals. Upgraded homes in Washington, D.C., saw a 2 percent to 5 percent increase in 2015, according to a study Adomatis authored.

Consumer Reports suggests that upgrades like a gleaming new kitchen or a finished basement may give you more bang for your buck than energy-saving features. But if going green appeals more than adding quartz countertops, here’s where you can begin.

Find out how much energy your home uses

Getting a quick energy assessment or a more thorough energy audit can determine how much energy your home uses, as well as which upgrades would make the most sense for your home and finances. An audit may include an energy rating, a number that indicates how energy-efficient your home is and how much it will increase if you make recommended upgrades.

The Department of Energy (DOE) website lists ways to find assessors in your area. The Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program offers assessor and advisory services to help you determine what to upgrade. Your utility provider may also offer energy audits.

The cost varies depending on location and who’s providing the service. Your utility company may offer an assessment for free or at a discount. A full audit may run $300 to $500 depending on the complexity, according to Don Knapp, senior marketing manager with Build It Green. You may not want to foot the bill for a full audit unless you’re planning to take advantage of it with major upgrades.

Once you know where you can improve your energy use, begin by making the changes that are most affordable and have a quicker payoff, Adomatis advises. Then consider whether the costlier ones are worth the investment. Keep in mind that a variety of tax credits and financing options are available for energy-efficient improvements.

Common energy upgrades, from least expensive to most

1. Insulation. A 2016 Cost vs. Value report from Remodeling magazine found that the average attic air-seal and fiberglass insulation job costs $1,268, with an added value to the home at resale within a year of completion of $1,482. That amounts to a 116 percent return on investment. And according to Energy Star, homeowners can save $200 a year in heating and cooling costs by making air sealing and insulation improvements.

2. Appliances. Your appliances account for about 15 percent of your home’s energy consumption, the DOE says. Certified clothes dryers can save you $245 over the life of the machine, according to Energy Star. A certified dryer from General Electric can run from $649 to $1,399.

When upgrading, look at the kilowatt-hour usage of a new appliance and compare it to your current one — a good Energy Star rating doesn’t necessarily mean it will use less energy than your existing appliance, Adomatis says.

3. Heating and cooling systems. These systems account for about 43 percent of your energy bill, according to the DOE. Replacement costs for an entire HVAC system — heating, ventilation and air conditioning — vary widely depending on equipment brands and sizing, but may run several thousand dollars. Energy Star estimates that you can save 30 percent on cooling costs by replacing your central air conditioning unit if it’s more than 12 years old.

According to Energy Star, a certified heat pump water heater has a payback time of two years and can save a four-person home $3,400 over its lifetime. A 50-gallon Geospring hybrid electric water heater from General Electric costs $1,399, plus installation.

While addressing your home’s heating and cooling systems, bear in the mind that leaky duct systems can be the biggest wasters of energy in your home, according to Charley Cormany, executive director of Efficiency First California, a nonprofit trade organization that represents energy-efficient contractors. The cost of a professional duct test typically runs $325 to $350 in California, he says.

4. Windows. Replacing the windows in your home may cost $8,000 to $24,000, and it could take decades to pay off, according to Consumer Reports. You can recoup some of that in resale value and energy savings. Remodeling’s Cost vs. Value report found that installing 10 vinyl replacement windows, at a cost of $14,725, can add $10,794 in resale value. Energy Star estimates that certified windows, doors and skylights can reduce your energy bill by up to 15 percent. If you’ve already tightened the shell of your home, installing a set of new windows may not be worth the cost. But the upgrade may be worth considering if you live in a colder climate.

5. Solar panels. EnergySage, a company offering an online marketplace for purchasing and installing solar panels, says the average cost of a solar panel system is $12,500. The payoff time and the amount you’ll save will vary depending on where you live. Estimated savings over a 20-year period in Philadelphia, for example, amount to $17,985, while it’s more than twice that amount in Seattle: $39,452, according to EnergySage.

Last: Let buyers know

When it comes time to sell, your real estate agent can help you market your home as energy efficient. Provide your agent with utility bills or your energy rating, if you received one with your audit, to include when describing the house on a multiple listing service, or MLS. There’s a growing trend in the real estate industry to make energy upgrades visible, Knapp says; energy disclosures are now a common practice in cities like Berkeley, California, and Chicago.

“If it’s reflected on the MLS, “it’s more likely to be reflected in the resale value,” Knapp said.

Bottom line: If you weigh the costs and savings carefully, going green can be worth the investment.

http://www.floridarealtors.org/NewsAndEvents  Nov 2016

 

This weekend I came across these 6 videos that I though might be useful for others to see too. There are great ideas for kitchens, backsplashes, front doors and outdoor rooms. Please let me know what you think or if you have other home ideas that you would like to share.

Get Retro Inspiration   Seaside Design: Beautiful Backsplash Ideas for Your Kitchen    http://bcove.me/esqpdti3

Seaside Design: Paint Ideas for Kitchen Cabinets   http://bcove.me/kml6ew86

Seaside Design: Create a Relaxing Outdoor Living Room    http://bcove.me/imjlt9h3

Seaside Design: Paint Color Ideas for Your Front Door    http://bcove.me/wgws12c1   Entryway with aqua front door

Coastal Colors: Beachy Neutrals    http://bcove.me/4gf5vg8u

Brightly decorated porch   Coastal Colors: Tropical Brights.  A bright, tropical palette brings vibrancy to any space.   http://bcove.me/w30gnqup

 

From Forbes.com, Lifestyle 7/03/2014

You want to buy a home, but you don’t want to pay 20% more for a brand new home with all the bells and whistles already built in. It just so happens that you’re pretty handy and are willing to trade in some ‘sweat equity’ for a great deal on a house that just needs a little TLC. Buying a place that needs some upgrades is a tried and true formula for getting more house for your money. However, not all “fixers” are the same, and not all of them are going to be right one for you.

There are houses for sale and in need of repair on every other block. How do you know which one is a potential money maker for you? Most properties that are fixers generally fall into one of these three categories- including the one you want to run far, far away from:

1. THE COSMETIC FIXER

This is the house that just needs a bit of clean up. The sale price is discounted slightly because the sellers and their agent know that there is work to be done. For whatever reason, the sellers didn’t want to invest anymore time or money in the house prior to sale. Things like new paint, carpet, countertops, lighting, landscaping and a few new appliances will give this cosmetic fixer the face lift it needs. A few dozen trips to the home improvement store should do it!

2. THE DOWNRIGHT UGLY FIXER

fixeruppers

It may be downright ugly, but it is beautiful to you! It has all the right things wrong with it. This is the fixer that needs more extensive repair and remodeling work than the ‘Cosmetic Fixer’ mentioned above. If you can see its potential beauty, and are willing to commit to the work, you will get the deal that others miss.

Some hallmarks of a ‘downright ugly fixer:’

  • No Current Curb Appeal: It’s easy to create with fresh front door paint, new house numbers, mailbox, flowering plants and fresh landscaping
  • Great Bones In Bad Shape: Good construction and architectural lines that have been underutilized or un-accentuated
  • Dark Interiors Cloaked In Ugly Decor: These turn off other buyers, but this is gone as soon as the moving vans pull away with the seller’s possessions
  • Outdated Kitchens: Upgrading your kitchen will be one of the biggest expenses, however, it gives you the biggest return on your dollar
  • Outdated Bathrooms: There are so many great options for bathroom upgrades now at your local home improvement store. You may need to bring in a plumber and tile guy but it will be worth the effort.
  • A House With Pets, Smokers Or Other Bad Smells: Nasty smells aplenty turn off other home shoppers, but a revamp of carpets and drapes and new paint will usually take care of that smelly issue.
  • Leaks In The Roof & A Water-Stained Ceiling: These can really turn away potential buyers – but you will most likely be putting on a new roof, so that will usually eliminate the source of the problem
  • Lots Of Small Rooms, Creating A Choppy Or Claustrophobic Feeling: Look for potential to remove a non-load bearing wall that could open up a kitchen to a living room or den, giving you that all desirable open floor plan.

3. THE FIXER TEAR DOWN

When I say ‘a house with the wrong things wrong’, this is the one I mean. This “tear down” house with “broken bones” is the money pit you must run from. If a house has major structural, geological, or severe foundation or environmental problems, you don’t want it. I repeat – you don’t want it. Even if you get the house on the cheap, some problems never go away and are sometimes impossible to fix, no matter how much money you throw at them. This is a Pandora’s Box you do not want to open, because you will never see that money back.

Some telltale signs of a ‘tear down:’

  • Structural Problems That Are Beyond Repair Economically
  • Major shifting due to poor foundation work
  • Unsolvable drainage issues and flooding of the basement
  • Illegal room additions that appear to be not to code, especially bathrooms
  • Major fire, earthquake or flood damage
  • An unstable hillside near the house or slipping or shifting due to soil erosion or flooding
  • Overwhelming asbestos or severe mold issues

BUYERS: What’s a deal breaker for you in a fixer-upper house?

From Forbes.com, Lifestyle 7/03/2014

 

 

Metal edging around grass in yard

Metal edging around grass in yard
Rigid metal edging creates a crisp barrier between grass and flower beds. Image: Jonica Designs

Ramp up your curb appeal with cool landscaping projects you can easily pull off in a weekend.

Project #1: Install Rigid Flower Bed Edging

The setup: A crisp edge where the lawn meets the flower beds looks great and eases mowing. Opt for rigid edging — the flexible plastic stuff looks amateurish from day one.

Use a charged garden hose to lay out a smooth curve.

Tip: A “charged” garden hose full of water makes for a smoother, kink-free curve; charge up by turning on the spigot but leaving the sprayer off.

With the hose as your guide, use a lawn edger or spade to cut away excess sod and make an incision for the edging. Tap in the edging with a rubber mallet and add the stakes. Trim the edging with a hacksaw, using a speed square to mark for cuts.

Specs and cost: Steel — $1.25 per lineal foot; aluminum — $2.25 plf; rigid plastic or fiberglass — $1.65 plf.

Tools: Garden hose, flour or powdered chalk, lawn edger or spade, shovel, speed square, hacksaw, rubber mallet, hammer.

Time: 1 day to edge a typical yard.

Read more: http://www.houselogic.com/home-advice/landscaping-gardening/easy-landscaping-projects/#ixzz318NAe2jY
Follow us: @houselogic on Twitter | houselogic on Facebook

 

by John Riha in Houselogic

The retailer plans to sell solar panel systems at its U.K. stores. Is the U.S next?

IKEA is now selling residential solar panel

The forecast for energy savings is bright in Britain: Bargain furnishings giant Ikea announced it will start selling solar panels at its U.K. stores. Image: IKEA

When you pop over to Ikea to get your akurum kitchen cabinets, an ullgump rug, or a plate of Swedish meatballs, you can pick up a couple of solar panels, too. At least in the U.K.

I guess Britain isn’t as overcast as it’s reputed to be!

Ikea just announced it’ll begin selling photovoltaic (PV) solar panels at its stores across the pond. A 3.36kW system to power a medium-size, three-bedroom home will cost about £5,700 ($9,200). If you don’t have the up-front cash, the bargain furnishings store will offer a financial package.

Will Ikea panels come to the U.S.? It’s likely. Major retailers such as Home Depot and Lowe’s already offer panels, and many solar companies are offering financial incentives, such as lease options.

Plus, there’s a glut of PVs in China manufacturing plants, which has helped drive down the cost of panels by some 60% over the past three years and helped bring about the Ikea deal, according to news reports.

How Does the Ikea Price Compare?

Prices in the U.S. vary depending on system size, but we found one quote for a 4kW “medium-sized system” for a three-bedroom home estimated at about $17,000, after rebates and tax credits.

Does Solar Make Sense Now?

Maybe. If you get at least five hours a day of sunlight, you’re trying to reduce your energy bills, you can handle the cost, and you think it could be a marketable feature when you go to sell (check with a REALTOR® in your market about that), this might be the time.

In the U.S., the feds are offering an energy tax credit on solar for 30% of its cost through 2016. You also might find rebates from your state or utility from the DSIRE database.

By the way, in the U.K., the government pays homeowners for the electricity they generate from solar PV systems.

What’s Included in the British Ikea Price?

  • Consultation
  • Installation
  • Ongoing service by Chinese energy giant and Ikea’s solar partner, Hanergy Holdings Group

IKEA predicts that energy savings will allow the panels to pay for themselves in about seven years. So if you’re saving money on energy, you can buy more lansas. (That means drawer handles in Ikea.)

John Riha has written seven books on home improvement and hundreds of articles on home-related topics. He’s been a residential builder, the editorial director of the Black & Decker Home Improvement Library, and the executive editor of Better Homes and Gardens magazine.

 

 

I recently read several articles on buyers and what they think is important when purchasing a home. Most consider energy efficiency as an important factor, especially  with those who are 40 and under.

Here a few things that you can do if you plan on selling or staying put that will help with your energy bill & the environment. Some are easy and inexpensive to implement, while others take more time and money. When buyers see 2 homes that are similar, energy efficiency just may just tip the scales in your favor.

1. Set up an appointment with a Home Energy Auditor. Start with contacting your utility company because many will do an free audit. I do this every time I move & then a few years later. They point out where you are loosing heat or cool air via windows, doors, attic, fire places, etc. and if you need to replace heating/air conditioning systems (HVAC), appliances or water heaters.

2. Have your HVAC systems serviced twice a year and ask them to check its efficiency and when it might need replacing.

3. Replace your appliances with energy-efficient appliances. This will help your monthly energy bill and may be very attractive to  future buyer.  For more info visit  www.energystar.gov.

4. Think about buying a tank less water heater.  In Europe these have been in use for many years. When I was a kid in Germany, we had one & that’s long time ago!! You can save a great deal.

5. Install ceiling fans. They can help reduce your energy bill both in summer & winter. I keep my fans on year round.  Installing one at the top of the stairs helps too.

6. Replace or add insulation and make sure that it is at recommended numbers or higher for your area. It will be mentioned in your audit.

7. Think about replacing your windows with double pane. It does cost a lot, which is why I put this at the end of this list. Maybe do some of them at a time or see if your window installer will set up an interest free payment plan. I know that Home Depot & Lowes do this from time to time. Also check with IRS for possible tax credits.

By the way, I have used these and other energy & water saving items for many years. I also have my GREEN (Environmental Real Estate designation) from the National Association of Realtors.

By: Dona DeZube

As long as you’re remodeling, why not cut your utility bill and make your home a bit healthier?

Saving energy wasn’t on the list of reasons we’re finally ripping out the kitchen in our mid-century home (green-veined, imitation marble laminate countertops figured much more prominently). But, a session at the recent 2012 Remodeling Show in Baltimore clued me in as to why adding a few simple tasks to our remodeling plan could lower our home’s energy bill, get rid of some of the annoying hot and cold spots in our house, and make our home less hospitable to mold and other allergens.

Carl Seville, author of Green Building: Principles and Practices in Residential Construction, shared some simple, inexpensive ways to make remodels and additions more energy efficient from the standpoint of energy usage and conservation of resources.

Try these eight tips from Seville:

1. Check for water intrusion, condensation, and excess moisture before you begin the project. Fixing those issues during remodeling can improve your home’s indoor air quality (excess moisture encourages mold).

2. Use the least amount of framing allowed by your building code when adding walls. Not only will you have to pay for less lumber and fewer nails, the contractor will have more room to put insulation in your walls, making your home more energy efficient.

3. Resist the urge to splurge on multiple shower heads. Opt for a single low-flow shower head rather than installing a car wash-style plethora of shower heads.

4. If possible, add new HVAC ducts to parts of your home that are heated and cooled, rather than placing them in a space with unconditioned air (like the attic). If that’s not possible, insulate the ducts. Have an HVAC diagnostician analyze your system to make sure it’s sized correctly and balanced to properly exchange old and new air.

5. Be sure to insulate around recessed lights that protrude into un-insulated attic spaces — these are major sources of air leaks.

6. If you’re wasting water, you’re wasting energy. Look at high-efficiency or solar water heaters, and insulate your water pipes. If you want hot water faster, move the water heater closer to the faucet or install demand pumps to drive hot water to the fixture.

7. Install wall-mounted efficiency toggle switch plates for the outlets where you plug in your televisions and computers to make it easy to cut off the power to electronics you’re not using.

8. A humidistat that automatically turns on the bathroom fan when moisture rises beats depending on teenagers or tenants remembering to use the fan. Reducing bathroom moisture reduces the chances you’ll have mold.

When I pull the kitchen cabinets off the wall, I’m going to use caulk to seal between the wallboards and the floorboards before I put down new flooring and install the new cabinets. And since I’ll have the caulk out, I’m going to seal the top of window trim, something my home’s builder didn’t do.

What are your tips for smart energy savings during a remodel?

I think that this is the home that I’ve been looking for.

NEW YORK – Aug. 15, 2012 – The HGTV cable channel will construct its first HGTV Smart Home in Paradise Key South Beach in Jacksonville Beach, Fla. Designed to fit into the coastal Northeast Florida architecture, the home will feature the latest technology and incorporate many of energy-saving features.
HGTV viewers can enter for a chance to win the home next spring when the HGTV Smart Home Giveaway opens for entries in April 2013. They can follow construction progress at www.hgtv.com/smarthome.
Smart home technology connects many appliances and devices, and allows homeowners to monitor energy use and control systems such as security, interior climate, lighting and other electronics.
Designed by architect Mike Stauffer, AIA, and constructed by Glenn Layton Homes, the HGTV Smart Home will measure about 2,400 square feet with over 1,000 square feet of covered porches, decks and a pool. The project will use primarily local labor and materials.
“This community’s thoughtful design vision and refreshing coastal architecture make Paradise Key a remarkable place to live and a wonderful setting to showcase the first HGTV Smart Home,” says developer Lon Walton. “We have an outstanding beach community, and we are very excited about teaming with HGTV and having the First Coast as the first location for the HGTV Smart Home.”
© 2012 Florida Realtors®

also see:     http://www.hgtv.com/video/the-hgtv-smart-home-2013-video/index.html

Annalisa Weller, Realtor®, Certified International Property Specialist

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