Raise the Home Value with those Home Improvement Projects

The value you have in your home is the number one reason why you didn’t choose to rent, but instead purchased one. Since the economy is not what it was before the recession and real estate prices continue to fluctuate, you should take a step back in order to think about some of the things you could do in order to increase your home’s value.

Even though by making a few improvements doesn’t mean you’re going to greatly improve your property’s value, it’s certainly going to help you stay competitive. There are many things that can be done, some that require smaller or no investment like organizing your garage, you can basically do it yourself. There are also much larger projects that might require hiring a contractor like for a new window installation in your home.

  1. Update your kitchen appliances

Update your kitchen appliancesUndoubtedly, the kitchen is by far one of the most sought after rooms in your house and that is why you must make sure that it look simply amazing if you want it to appeal to prospective buyers. Therefore, if you have appliances that are more than three to five years old, you should update them with the best models you can afford. By doing so, buyers are certainly going to be more enticed to purchase your home.

  1. Completely usable garage

Completely usable garageThe garage is a great area that can be used as either storage space, but also to park your car in a tidy and clean space. Therefore, if you want to increase the likeliness of selling your house, make sure the garage looks clean, is well organized and has plenty of vertical storage space.

  1. The master bedroom should be cozy

The master bedroom should be cozyThe flat ceilings should be upgraded to raised tray ceilings and don’t forget about the lighting as well. In this regard, you could consider using wall sconces or recessed lighting with dimmers.

  1. Upgrade your countertops

Upgrade your countertopsIf you want to make sure that your kitchen and any other room where you have countertops installed looks amazing, you should go for either granite or concrete. Overlay countertops made from resin combinations or composite grant are a great choice in this regard.

  1. Don’t forget about the flooring

Don't forget about the flooringMost people forget about upgrading their flooring which can make a big difference in the overall look of the house and the likeliness of closing a sale. Go for natural stone, tile or wood, since this adds a lot of value to your property.

  1. Add more value by repairing/upgrading your roof

Add more value by repairing or upgrading your roofThe entire home is made to look more beautiful, but is also protected by the roof. Because of that, you need to make sure that you have someone over who can inspect it to confirm it’s in good working condition and that there are no damaged shingles that have to be replaced or that may fall off and injure someone.

  1. Kitchen cabinets

Kitchen cabinetsThe first thing you see when walking into a kitchen are the cabinets. Therefore, to make a good impression, it’s recommended that you opt for wood instead of laminate surfaces, but also add custom features like custom woodworking, glazing, wine racks and crown molding in order to stand out of the crowd. For less costlier updating though, you should add drawer and door hardware, but also reface cabinets.

  1. Ensure the irrigation system functions perfectly

Ensure the irrigation system functions perfectlyDid you know that you can add a lot of appeal to your home by making sure the irrigation system works flawlessly? By making sure the system covers the entire yard and therefore can water your lawn so it doesn’t wither, potential buyers will definitely be impressed by this, since most of the times the irrigations systems are left out by property owners. Just make sure though that you call a professional over to take a look at it before any potential buyer comes to take a tour of your house. This way, if there are any potential problems, he’ll be able to fix them.

  1. Add spa like features to the master bathroom

Add spa like features to the master bathroomThe master bedroom needs to absolutely feature a large garden tub and spa features as well. Upgraded showers and tiled floors are going to add a lot of value to your home and the same can be said about multi-sprayer showers and jetted soaking tubs.

  1. More and more closets

More and more closetsStorage is always important for potential buyers and this means that you need to focus on this aspect very much. Check to see if your closets all work properly and that the shelves and doors work well and aren’t damaged in any way. When upgrading a home, most people completely forget about storage which is essential when trying to close a sale.

  1. Hi-Fi sound and audio

Hi-Fi sound and audioTo be a step ahead of your competition, consider investing in high quality sound for your bedroom and master bedroom areas. Flat screen TVs (OLED for instance) are certainly going to add a lot of value to your home, but don’t forget to add theater sound and seating areas for multiple screen viewing as well.

  1. Curb appeal is important

Curb appeal is importantCurb appeal is essential if you want to impress any potential buyer that comes to take a tour of your house. A clean drive, clean sidewalks, but also trimmed landscapes and a well manicured lawn make your property look simply amazing and greatly increase the chances of making a sale.

  1. More value from environmentally friendly homes

More value from environmentally friendly homesSince we live in a modern age, a lot of people value eco friendly homes a lot since they bring a high ROI. From tankless hot water heaters to water saving plumbing, but also renewable resources like bamboo flooring, potential buyers can save a lot of money on the overall maintenance of the house, but also on their energy bills.

  1. Plumbing fixtures in the bathrooms and kitchen should be upgraded

Plumbing fixtures in the bathrooms and kitchen should be upgradedIf you have plumbing fixtures that are older than ten years, you should replace them. Brass, antique copper and brushed nickel fixtures are certainly good choice to consider. For the bathroom and kitchen, go for collections offering matching sink sprayers, control, bathtub and faucets.

  1. The windows should never be left out

The windows should never be left outLast but not least, you should know that windows are not only used for viewing, but are basically the source for conditioned air loss and gain. Therefore, it’s recommended that you consider upgrading them with windows that feature higher R values and can easily resist cold and heat transfer from the outdoors. All in all, by considering these tips when planning to sell your house, you can have the peace of mind that you’ll be able to increase its appeal and find buyers sooner than you’ve imagined!

How to Prepare for the Construction of your Custom Home

Many of us dreamed as a child to someday own a big house that has a cinema room, a swimming pool and even a dance studio. The good news is that if you’re currently thinking about building your own house because you can afford it and because you also want to realize your childhood dream, then the best way to go is custom.

How to Prepare for the Construction of your Custom Home

While buying a home is one of the greatest purchases you make in life, building a custom home that looks exactly the way you want to certainly elevates the experience. However, before you go ahead and start working on this project, it’s best that you spend some time in order to learn about what it takes to build your first custom home.

Organize Your Financing

Financing your home constructionYou should know that if you want to build a custom home, the difference in price compared to buying a ready-made home is not going to be astronomical, but it’s certainly not negligible. That’s because a large part of your time is going to be spent sourcing the required materials on an individual basis and if you’ve done something similar in the past, then you probably know that you have to be patient about it.

Also, if you don’t buy the materials in bulk, the price will increase quite a bit, so make sure that you look for a supplier that has all the materials you need for building your home. It’s very important to understand that your decision concerning the land you’re going to purchase, but also the quality and design of the construction are going to directly influence the final price.

This is a very interesting article covering construction loans – Click Here

If you want to finance a custom home, then you’ll need to get a construction loan and this is something that not all lenders are happy to offer. Also, if you don’t own a patch of land already, you’re going to need to buy one which furthermore increases the price of your custom home. Most of the times, you’re going to have 2 closings and each of them incurs settlement fees.

Excellent Credit Report

Credit report significance for house loanMost lenders consider building custom homes to be risky and that is why if you want to take out a loan, you’re going to need to have an excellent credit history and also be able to pay a down payment of a minimum twenty to twenty five percent to qualify for it.

On top of that, a lot of lenders require extra money reserves for borrowers who plan to build a custom home and that is to ensure that they do have enough money in place to cover for the glitches that can lengthen the construction period. Checking the appropriate insurance is also recommended, so don’t forget about it.

Interview Builders and Architects

Interviewing buildersIf you have an idea of the way your home would like to look, then you should start looking for architects or builders in your area who’ve built similar properties. Most people though are going to focus on finding a builder first, since they know a lot of architects and can certainly recommend them an experienced and reliable one. Regardless of the route you want to take, make sure that you always interview potential partners, check references and visit examples of their work to assess the quality.

Start With Land and a Plan

Land and plan for your house constructionMeet up with potential architects and builders at the site if you already own land and talk about potential plans and issues. In case you don’t have land yet, you can get some recommendations from the builders or they can also put you in touch with a realtor who can help you with this. However, keep in mind that it’s vital that your land plan and home design match. It would be quite disappointing to buy a patch of land and then realize that it cannot accommodate your property.

Consider the Neighborhood

A lot of people who plan on building a custom home think that they’re never going to sell it, but life is unpredictable and you may never know how you change 5 or maybe 10 years from now. Therefore, make sure to also consider the resale value when building a custom home.

Avoid Cost Overruns and Delays

When building a custom home, it’s recommended that you plan your home from the foundation to the roof and also any other item in-between. Everything has to be planned property in order to save money and avoid any kind of delays. You can plan accordingly by hiring an experienced team who can help you at every step of the way and ensure that the process of building your dream home is going to be smooth and fast.

Home Addition vs New Home Building Project

Home Addition vs New Home Building Project

Do you have space issues and you want to do something about it as soon as possible? Are you thinking about remodeling your bathroom, your kitchen or maybe building a pool? Well, most of the times though it seems that such additions may warrant the purchase of a new house, but the truth is that you can save a lot of stress and money in the process by building an addition or renovating your house. If you’re having trouble deciding on the best way to go about this, then here are some factors that you certainly need to consider.

Cost

Home building costIt’s obvious that when you want to add an extra room to your house or maybe remodel a room it’s going to cost a lot less than building a new home. What this means is that if you don’t have the money for this, then you can rest assured, since securing financing is going to be a lot easier and the closing costs are also going to be much lower.

However, there are also a few cons to this and the most important one is the fact that you’re going to have to pay more money per square foot for adding a new room to your property compared to the cost per square foot when building a home. On top of that, the mortgage is also going to have a higher interest rate and the monthly payments will be higher.

For more information check this article about the cost of building a custom home – Link

The Return

Return on home building investmentIt’s very important that you think well about the return on your investment and whether it’s a feasible choice to consider or not. An addition, remodel or renovation need to increase the cost of your house, so no matter how you look at it, it’s an investment that needs to pay off somehow.

No matter why you’re considering it, it’s wise that you make sure it’s going to increase your property’s cost if you plan on selling it in the future. Things can change pretty rapidly in one’s life and that’s why making a poor decision now could possibly affect you negatively in the future if you don’t think it through.

Take a look at the other properties in your neighborhood as well and make sure that yours is not the least expensive or the priciest of them all.

Convenience and Time

Time and convenience when building a houseNo matter the direction you choose to consider, it’s certainly going to take some time to complete and no matter if you like it or not, there are going to be some challenges along the way as well.

  • For example, if you want to build yourself a new property, do you need to sell your current house in order to afford this project?
  • If the answer is yes, then where are you going to live until the project is completed? Do you need to relocate your furniture as well?
  • By taking these things into consideration, you’ll be able to get a realistic idea of how much this project is going to cost you.

Functionality and Appearance

When planning to adding a new room to your house, you should make sure that it’s not going to look like a room addition from the outside or inside the house. You should also give some thought on the way the new roof is going to tie in with the old one. The goal here is to make sure that the new addition looks like it was part of the house and that there are signs which indicate it was added later on.

To make sure the project is going to be completed on time and to a high standard, it’s always a good idea to consider using an experienced and well reputed contractor to do this. If you don’t, then the new addition is generally going to look out of place and it would be a better idea to actually build a new house from the ground up. For instance, it would be unwise to construct a guest room in a location that is 30 feet away from the nearest bathroom.

Other Things To Consider

1. Will you be able to sell your current property for a good price?

2. Can this be fixed by building an addition or renovating?

3. What are the specific things you dislike and like about your current home?

Be Careful with Removing Walls Inside Your House

Unsafe building signGiven the fact that these days open floor plans are the craze everyone seems to fully embrace, if you are someone who has an older looking home then it’s time that you start tearing down your interior walls in order to bring it in line with today’s interior design trends.

However, before you start knocking them down, you need to make sure that none of them are load bearing, since this is not only going to make the project dangerous, but also illegal. To avoid such dangerous and unpleasant surprises, you may want to consider getting in touch with an experienced structural engineer prior to starting work on the project. He’s going to confirm whether the walls you want to knock down are indeed load bearing or not.

Also, keep in mind that homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover a roof or a second floor collapse because of the homeowner’s desire to remove walls that basically hold up the house.

Non-load vs. load bearing walls

Be Careful with Removing Walls Inside Your HouseIf you don’t know what these walls actually are, well, you should know that they are the ones that hold up the home’s upper floors and are vital horizontal bracing members.

A non load bearing wall on the other hand is meant to either design a division or create privacy in a room. Keep in mind that while some walls may not be load bearing, they could be hiding HVAC vents, plumbing, or electrical cables and removing them would be very hard if you don’t are-route these elements.

Click for explanation on: “Non-load bearing wall

Wall removal considerations

Most of the times, if you want to remove non-structural walls, this can be easily done without having to worry about reinforcing the building’s roof or floors in any way. On the other hand, if you want to make a hole in a load bearing wall, then you need to make sure that the load is going to be transferred around the proposed gap. How can you do this? Well, you can install a header below the roof structure or below the joists and make sure to also run supports on both ends of the header down to the load bearing member.

There are cases when having a header at the top of the doorway can be easily avoided if you go ahead and use joist hangers in order to install the header in-line with the joists. This type of installation though is a bit more difficult to consider and it’s going to work only if the rim joist that you have to install is smaller than the lumber used for the joists. These modifications are not recommended to be performed by homeowners due to obvious reasons and that is why you need to make sure you hire an experienced and licensed contractor to handle it.

Collapsed building

How to verify if a wall is load bearing?

Before removing a wall, you need to properly assess whether it’s load bearing or not by contacting a structural engineer. Keep in mind that even if you have walls that were not meant to be load bearing, they could become load bearing by removing other walls in your house. Below you’ll find a few steps you can consider in order to assess whether a wall is load bearing or not. As a tip, remember that none of these are universally valid, so proper structural assessment is vital.

Click for explanation on: “How to spot load bearing wall

Signs the wall is load bearing:

  1. Openings in the wall or doorways feature large headers that support the gap over the door.
  2. There’s a big wood top frame member on the wall.
  3. The wall is perpendicular to the floor joists.
  4. The wall sits on a steel beam.
  5. The wall was once an external wall, but by addition, it was turned into an interior wall.
  6. The wall is an external wall of your property.

Signs the wall isn’t load bearing:

  1. You notice no mechanism on the wall that would transfer weight to the structure beneath.
  2. The wall is a half wall.
  3. It runs parallel to the floor joists.

Given the fact that you now know how to identify whether a wall is load bearing or not, what do you think about your project? Would you still want to remove the walls from your house in order to redistribute the space or not?

 

Custom Home Building Process, Choosing a Contractor

Whether you’re building a starter home or the house of your dreams, your new life wouldn’t be complete without a home as individual as you. From lot selection to floor plan layout, the building process should be always fun while staying on time and in budget. Remember to always research your contractor before hiring him to transform your dreams into reality.

Choosing your custom home builder

Here are the main variables that should be taken into consideration before making such decision and help you while researching:

Experience:

Look for a contractor with several years of home building expertise. That usually guarantees ability to assemble a superior group of home building specialists. Good company keeps their talented employees who help them preserve quality performance and maintain satisfied customers.
Teamwork:
It takes a team approach to achieve unique results. That’s why each custom construction project should be considered as a collaboration of individual skills and talents. For each home, the contractor should select a team of experts to oversee every aspect of construction, including the architecture, cabinetry, lighting, pool, landscaping and interior design work. Further, they should have a list of suppliers, installers and craftsmen that are the best in their respective fields. The contractor should provide the game plan and strategy, have its team put it in motion in order to achieve desired results. Ask you contractor about his approach.

Quality:

Quality is the cornerstone of a successful custom home builder. Without quality management and continuous incremental improvements in systems and techniques the quality might have a hard time to reach the top of the industry. From designing a home to selecting premium building materials, and finally assembling them into the final product the most rigorous requirements should be implemented. This is the only way to exceed customer expectations and deliver a product that is superlative, not merely acceptable.

You can ask your contractor a few important questions based just on that “Quality” paragraph.

Integrity:

Upholding the reputation by any construction company is another extremely important subject. They should be able to always provide their interested clients with subcontractor and bank references. Assuming they have an impressive record in the home building industry there should be nothing to hide.

Value:

There are two main aspects of “Value”:
• Providing the best materials for the construction process
• Providing workmanship at fair prices
The customer should be made aware of both of them ahead of the construction process. There are various methods of estimating job cost, some do it by square foot, other offer approximate projections. There must be room for adjustments but your price at a time of signing a contract should be based on fixed prices for supplies, materials, and labor.

Design:

Outstanding design is the foundation of a full-service home builder. Ask for references and take your time to examine previous projects on current still under construction. Research architects and interior designers recommended by the contractor and make sure he’ll accept your own crew. Whether he builds based on original design or yours, the finished product should be an appropriate reflection of your individual lifestyle and impeccable taste.

Custom Finishing:

Considering all of the things you do that reflect your lifestyle – shouldn’t your home do it best, reflect who you are and how you live?
Unless you bring your own, the process should start with a wide selection of plans that can be modified to fit your particular lifestyle needs. Your personal choices should continue as you personalize your home from flooring and appliances, to countertops, trim, lighting and bathroom fixture selections. When completed, you’ll be rewarded with a home designed for you, filled with your design ideas, and custom tailored to the way your family lives.

Watch this innovative custom home builder developing high tech homes