HOME IMPROVEMENTS THAT IMPROVE VALUES
Published by Authorify Publishing Copyright © 2019 Authorify Publishing
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law. DISCLAIMER AND/OR LEGAL NOTICES: While all attempts have been made to verify information provided in this publication, neither the Author nor the Publisher assumes any responsibility for errors, inaccuracies, or omissions. Any slights of people or organizations are unintentional. This publication is not intended for use as a source of legal or accounting advice. The Publisher wants to stress that the information contained herein may be subject to varying state and/ or local laws or regulations. The reader of this publication assumes responsibility for the use of these materials and information. Adherence to all applicable laws and regulations, including advertising and all other aspects of doing business in the United States or any other jurisdiction is the sole responsibility of the reader. The Author and publisher assume no responsibility or liability whatsoever on behalf of any reader of these materials. If your property is currently listed with a Realtor, please disregard this notice. It is not our intention to solicit the offerings of other brokers. Printed in the United States of America
Table Of Contents
1. Remodeling - Is It Worth It?
2. Where To Spend The Money
3. Improvements That Cost More Than Their ROI 4. Design & Feature Trends To Avoid; Improvements That Add Value 5. Don't Overdo It: Keeping Your Market Area In Mind
6. Outdoor Improvements
7. Flooring, Walls And Lighting
8. Cooking Up A New Kitchen
9. Living Room Upgrades And Renovations
10. Bedroom And Attic Renovations
11. Bathroom Renovations And ROI
12. Remodeling, Additions And ROI
13. Tips For Increasing Your Home's Value Via Improvements
When I first ventured into the real estate industry years ago, I did so with the hopes of helping sellers like you avoid the headaches often associated with the home-selling process. In my years of experience, not only have I helped alleviate the stress of selling for numerous clients, but I’ve also accumulated years of knowledge to help them get more money for their homes in the least amount of time. I decided to share all of my expertise in one place with potential clients. And that’s why you’re receiving this book. I want to help you have the best possible home-selling experience. And by that, I mean I want you to 1. Get the most money possible for your home, 2. Sell in the least amount of time, and 3. Avoid the headaches most commonly associated with the home-selling process. Think of this book as my gift to you. It contains insider advice on the home-selling process to help you achieve your ultimate real estate goals, including: • Secret strategies to sell your home for more money • Marketing techniques employed by top agents • Advice on how to appeal to today’s buyers • And much, much more If, after reading through it, you want to hire me to help you sell your home, I’d be more than happy to meet with you to discuss a specific plan to sell your home. Happy reading!
AGENT was raised in CITY with X siblings. As a child, AGENT had aspirations of being a OCCUPATION. Never in a million years did he think he’d stumble into the real estate industry, but you can’t always predict where or when you’ll discover what you’re meant to do in life. AGENT was taught at a young age that if you want something in life, you have to work for it. So that’s what he did. And he worked hard. As the years went by, AGENT worked his way from FIRST JOB to LATER JOB, never wavering in his resolve to become the best version of himself with each career move. AGENT got into the real estate industry X years ago when STORY ABOUT HOW YOU GOT INTO REAL ESTATE/WHY. He set out to LIST ASPIRATIONS FROM WHEN YOU STARTED OUT IN REAL ESTATE. As his career advanced, AGENT found his stride working with NICHE MARKET/SPECIFIC MARKET AREA/TYPE. He’s an expert in LIST AREAS OF EXPERTISE/SKILLS THAT SET YOU APART FROM OTHER AGENTS.
Throughout his career, AGENT has earned numerous accolades, including:
• LIST ACCOMPLISHMENTS • LIST SALES STATS ix
• ANY OTHER IMPRESSIVE INFO YOU’D LIKE TO INCLUDE
AGENT aims to provide the highest level of service to his clients and takes deep pride in helping them achieve their real estate goals. AGENT aims to provide the highest level of service to his clients and takes deep pride in helping them achieve their real estate goals.
Testimonials & Reviews for Agent Name
Here’s a list of people whom I have helped buy or sell a home, and what they said about working with me:
Agent-Name had a tough job, but she did it!
We were tough clients! We were moving to City and didn’t have a lot of time to look at houses, having to deal with our employer’s relocation, and all of the other challenges that came along. But, Agent-Name went above and beyond to help us. Even now, one year after the sale closed, I can still call her for business and service recommendations in the area — she knows just about everyone, and is very happy to help.
Agent-Name is the best agent in City!
I’ve used Agent-Name twice so far, and I was impressed both times. I bought my dream home with AGENT a year ago. She worked long and hard to find me the perfect home. And she just recently sold another property of mine. Everything went quickly and smoothly. Both of my real estate deals were done very quickly and professionally. Agent is honestly the BEST in her business. I would highly recommend her.
Agent-Name perseverance got me the house
My experience with Agent-Name during the entire home- buying process, from start to finish, has been nothing short of exceptional. I have a unique work structure, and because of this, it was very difficult to find mortgage lenders that would approve me for a home. I was very frustrated and on the verge of giving up, but Agent-Name insisted that we continue searching. Not only did we find a mortgage lender but also a mortgage that I felt great about. His perseverance is the reason I am now a homeowner. He is professional, punctual, knowledgeable, and very easy to work with. With the highest regard, I will recommend Agent-Name to all my friends and family.
Very attentive to concerns, details, and negotiations
Agent-Name helped me find a house by literally picking it out for me. Every house I wanted to go to, I got there and didn’t love it. Agent-Name was busy taking note of the likes and dislikes I was stating and said “I have a house that you’re going to love”.... AND I DID! I went back 4 or 5 times to show other members of my family, and she accommodated me without complaint. I was a first-time homebuyer, and she walked me through the steps of everything, gave me advice, and constantly followed up to make sure I was doing OK. With her help, I was able to close on the house early, right before I started my new job. I would recommend Agent-Name to EVERYONE, buying or selling. Agent-Name made it so so easy. She guided us through the entire process. She recommended great people to work with
every step of the way. She was available 24/7 to answer any questions we may have had. With her high standards, expertise in the industry, and patience, we would recommend her as a Realtor to anyone looking! She was amazing!
Agent-Name even advised me on how to prepare my house
Agent-Name was a gem. In addition to being highly knowledgeable about the real estate market, with many years of experience, he is a consummate professional. He was extremely easy to work with, gave me very good advice about preparing my house for sale and was very responsive during the entire process of receiving offers, selling and closing. I would work with him again in a heartbeat. He’s that good.
Agent-Name is the first agent I would call
Agent-Name and his team were able to rapidly list, show and sell my property. Being an expert in real estate, he was spot on in his pricing of my property and getting this deal completed. Overall, I highly recommend him and his team. If I want to buy real estate, AGENT would be the first person I’d call.
Agent-Name got us an offer in three days!
Agent-Name was the consummate professional during our stressful and difficult process. In the midst of juggling a ‘failed’ marketing effort with another agent, she presented a
well thought out plan and strategy to sell our home in short order. We needed to move quickly due to a growing family and another baby on the way. She helped alleviate that pressure by securing an acceptable offer with 3 days of listing. We put pressure on her, and she delivered. We couldn’t thank her enough.
Agent-Name kept us calm throughout the process!
Agent-Name always made herself available to answer questions. She worked hard to sell our home and find the best fit for our new home. She and her team worked with us through the entire process and kept us calm when we got anxious.
I am 100 percent satisfied!!
Agent-Name is professional and knowledgeable about everything. She is also always available. I would definitely recommend her to anyone. Very smooth transaction from start to finish. I felt confident with her experience.
Agent-Name found us our dream home
Agent-Name was very efficient and helped us find our dream home within a few short months. She was able to negotiate the price that we wanted for the house. Overall, I would look for her again to help us look for a house if need be in the future. Thank you so much!
Efficient communication and service
Agent-Name and his staff were very helpful in selling our condo. They kept me informed frequently with email, sending reports on showings, offers, and feedback from potential buyers. We are very satisfied.
Agent-Name will get your house sold fast!
Agent-Name is great and has the expertise to get your house sold. The communications throughout our sale (from beginning to end) has been outstanding. Agent-Name understands the stress involved in selling your house, and she updated our family consistently! This made us feel we were in good hands. I have worked with numerous agents, and I highly recommend her to represent you when it comes time to sell your home.
Excellent experience topped with a personal touch
Excellent experience all around, not only knowledgeable but Agent-Name and team have a very personal touch I felt like family throughout the entire process. He always took his time; we never felt rushed or like “just a number.” I sold my home and bought with him. We had lots of questions he gladly answered them with no problem and guided us through the entire process, eliminating lots of stress. I truly appreciate that and would recommend him and his team to family and friends.
CHAPTER 1 Remodeling - Is It Worth It?
Remodeling. You’ve been thinking about it for a while now. That choke point in the kitchen is maddening, the wallpaper in the bathroom is a crime against good taste, and the basement has looked like a dungeon for years. Not to mention the upgrades to the doors, windows, and landscaping that have been the subject of so many dinner table discussions. It crosses your mind that maybe it would be better to just move and leave all the home’s faults for someone else to figure out. Then again, your job isn’t going to last forever and you may have to move in five or six years anyway. Maybe it would just be best to tough it out until then. After all, no one gets their money back on remodeling projects at the time of sale anyway, right? The truth is that deciding to remodel can be an extremely stressful decision. It affects your savings, your enjoyment of the home, and the property’s potential resale value. Yet, since the housing bubble burst and the Great Recession came along, more and more people have decided to take on the task of remodeling, frequently attempting the projects themselves to save money. According to the National Association of Home Builders, homeowners spent $152 billion on improvements to their
homes in 2017. NAHB predicts remodeling spending for owner-occupied single-family homes will increase 4.9 percent in 2018 over 2017 and an additional 0.6 percent in 2019. That trend has only grown since. The home improvement industry was estimated to be worth well over $600 billion by 2015. While that number likely includes routine maintenance, that still represents only one year. This has been driven largely by the effects of the recession, which led many people to try to cut costs where they could and take on projects themselves rather than hiring costly contractors. Even in the current market, with home prices going back up and homes moving off the market quickly in many places, remodeling can still be a wise decision. The improvements may help set your home apart from the pack if and when you choose to sell. Or you may find that while your home will already sell quickly and for a good price, you still can’t quite afford the upgrade home you want, and it would help both your current standard of living and the future resale value to improve the property. It makes sense that if your home is increasing in value, the values of the homes you are looking at will also be rising; you are not alone in deciding to remodel. However, then comes the hard part — deciding what to do and how much to spend. There are myriad factors to consider. How long do you plan on staying in the house? What is your budget? What kind of projects do you need done the most? Or
rather, what about your house drives you the craziest?
How long you plan to remain in the house is perhaps the most important of those questions. The less time you expect to spend there, the less time you have to spend enjoying the fruits of your hard work. It also means that you are going to need to have some money left over when the time comes to move. In such a case, you are going to want to focus on the projects that give you the biggest Return on Investment (ROI). For example, simple and relatively inexpensive things like replacing old doors and windows can have a return of 100% or more in the right market. A major remodel of a kitchen or basement will generally bring less than a 100% ROI. The goal of this book is to show you that it is possible to remodel for both personal satisfaction in your home and for increased value should you decide to sell, and to help you decide where and how to best spend your money so that you get the most out of your hard work. Now, before you go off and start planning that $20,000-bathroom renovation, it is important that you do your research beforehand to make sure that you are going to get the best possible results. The single best thing you can do to help direct your home renovation project toward improving its sale value is to contact a real estate agent, especially if you are planning on selling within the next few years.
While we will be going over several examples of where to spend your money that transcend markets, each market is different in important ways. An agent will know your specific market and what sort of improvements, colors, and styles are most sought-after in your area. A real estate agent will also be able to suggest simple fixes with low costs, as well as contractors who are able to perform the work. Another simple rule to follow is to make sure you get whatever permits your municipality requires. Trying to skirt the permit system may seem like a good idea in the short term, but it can lead to far more anxiety and expense in the long run. With all of this in mind, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of home remodeling, beginning with a more detailed look at where you should spend your money and how much you should expect back from your investment.
CHAPTER 2 Where to Spend the Money
Full-scale remodeling projects don’t generally offer the best ROI. Rather, the best approach to getting full value for your expense and effort is to refresh or replace existing items like windows and doors, usually with a mid-range upgrade. We are going to take a quick look at several of the best places to spend your money for the greatest return. We’ll also dive into details of where and how much you can expect to recoup when you decide to place your home on the market. Let us begin by going over some of those replacement projects and continue with an overview of some of the other big-hitters, particularly the kitchen and bathroom remodel.
These projects are relatively simple and low-cost, placing them within the reach of most homeowners. The top four improvement projects in terms of ROI, according to Remodeling magazine, are the following:
• Garage door replacement: 98.3% • Manufactured stone veneer: 97.1% • Deck addition (wood): 82.8% percent • Minor kitchen remodel: 81.1%
As you can see, these are not sweeping, spectacular changes. So why are they so valuable? You should first consider where all these changes are. Every one of these changes is on the visible exterior of the home, creating a positive first impression in the minds of potential buyers — an impression that helps set the value of the home in their minds. Other replacement projects with a good return include replacing old windows with new vinyl or wood window frames and trim and installing a new roof, with returns of 71% and 62%, respectively. It is also worth noting that the ROI numbers will vary depending on what market you are in. The Pacific Northwest (including Alaska and Hawaii) tends to show the best return on home remodeling and home improvement projects, with Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee also showing strong returns according to the 2015 Cost vs. Value report from Remodeling magazine.
Much can be gained from work on the inside of the home as well. One chief benefit of redoing a room or two inside the home is that it will increase your own enjoyment of your home. Another benefit is that if you are selling, it is important to carry that good impression from the exterior through to the interior with further improvements.
As with all other aspects of home improvement, there are better and worse ways to spend your money. And, as the adage goes, kitchens sell houses. Citing Remodeling magazine, kitchen remodels average a return of 79.3% nationwide, making it the best investment for a total remodeling project.
Other good remodel projects to consider include:
• Attic bedroom: 53% • Bathroom: 62% • Basement: 63%
Be warned that these projects can prove costly, with the national average cost for jobs on this scale running in the tens of thousands of dollars. Be sure to carefully consider just how much you are willing to spend and what is in demand in your market to maximize the return on such a large investment.
Another consideration when looking to add value to your home, as well as make it more functional for yourself, is to add entirely new rooms. Clearly, this is a large step with an even larger investment involved in nearly every possible case. Room additions are not cost-effective if you are planning to sell within the next few years. That said, if you plan on
staying where you are for a while to enjoy your additions, they can result in a reasonable ROI. Some are more financially worthwhile than others, as below:
• Master suite: 52% • Deck: 70% • Bathroom: 62%
As you can see, there is a fairly large range in the ROI involved, though not as large as a less ambitious remodel. A careful reading of the data shows that some of the most expensive projects (a sunroom addition averaged over $72,000 nationwide) provide the lowest returns. Of course, there is wide variance in building costs. According to Remodeling magazine, a 200-square foot sunroom addition with footings and slabs-on-grade foundation can cost up to $70,000, while a survey conducted on HomeAdvisor.com found the average cost on sunroom additions ran around $16,315. You must also take into consideration that buyers may not have the same taste as you — and even if they do, they only see the finished product and will have little understanding of or interest in what went into creating it. That brings out the need for a slightly deeper understanding of the way these statistics play out in real life. For example, a roof replacement is often cited as having a high ROI. While this can be true, it is important to understand this in context. After all, others assert that a new
roof does nothing to add market value to a home. How do you square these seemingly contradictory statements? A roof is a bit like a bass player in a rock band; you should only really notice it when it isn’t doing its job. That is, a roof is not something you think about unless it is leaking or has a colony of moss growing on it. Therefore, while a bad roof can certainly detract from a home’s value, a solid, trouble-free roof is simply expected. Its chief value as a seller is how it may favorably compare with other, similar homes with older roofs that are showing clear signs of wear. Do not replace your roof with an eye toward selling unless your home clearly needs it. One caveat to include is that roofing items like energy- efficient architectural shingles with a transferable warranty may be highly attractive to the right buyer. Also remember that more money spent does not necessarily mean a bigger return. Going back to the kitchen example, a relatively minor remodel of $20,000 yields a much higher ROI than a $55,000 remodel. While buyers certainly love a large kitchen complete with island and shiny stainless-steel appliances, they won’t be as quick to assign significant value to whether it has the best hinges, custom stained cupboards, and imported Wolf appliances that money can buy. At some point, very high- end appliances can even be a turn-off either because the buyer is not familiar with them, or is too familiar and
knows just how hard it is to get parts when they fail.
Basements are also tricky. A nice big recreation room is certainly a draw, but often will not be counted as living space in an appraisal, nor in the square footage when the home is listed. People also tend to have their own ideas of exactly what a rec room should be. If you have not finished your basement already or are planning on leaving in less than five years, it is best to either leave it alone or to put up walls along the outside of the basement and install cheap but decently attractive carpet and inexpensive drop ceilings, allowing the buyer to customize to his own tastes. It is also important that you not overlook the basic systems. When people are looking at a home, they do not expect to find leaky pipes, a non-working furnace, or electrical outlets that pop a breaker as soon as something is plugged into an outlet. These and other issues like mold, a leaky roof, or stained and damaged carpet will generally turn off a buyer, regardless of how amazing the kitchen and bathrooms may be. Some of these, especially less visible issues like an aging furnace or water heater, may seem like a waste of money if you are planning on selling soon but are actually of critical importance. A buyer may not notice such issues on an initial walk- through. But even if an offer is made and accepted, that is not necessarily the end of the story. Appraisers and inspectors will almost certainly be coming through the
home as part of the process and either of these can derail a sale. An appraiser will notice such aging equipment and other factors like old carpet and flooring and adjust the home’s value based on the current market. Home inspectors are less concerned with market value but they will point out that even if it is running flawlessly now, a 25-year-old furnace can give out at any time, often leading a buyer to want the value of a new one subtracted from the sale price of the home. Even if you are intending to move in the near future, it is worth the cost to replace or repair the basic systems of your home. These systems do provide a good ROI, at least in terms of salability, and at the end of the day will at least make your remaining time there more comfortable. The furnace and air conditioning units can be a selling point if they are the new, energy efficient models. An additional bonus here is that there are often tax credits associated with such models, lessening your initial investment. Do not forget that even if some of these repairs do not add additional value in the eyes of a buyer, they do not subtract value either and will help your home sell faster than it would without them.
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