Jeannette Myles - CENTURY 21 Bond Realty, Inc.



 Photo by bidvine via Pixabay

Some home projects and improvements can't wait - a leaking hot water heater or a water damaged floor need to be replaced right away. Other, planned renovations and upgrades are optional. Consider not only your current needs, but the potential impact of any large planned upgrade on your home's value before you proceed. If you are upgrading your home to sell it soon, the improvements you make should add value to your home and be recouped when you are ready to sell. 

4 Home Improvements that Add the Most Value to your Home (and 3 That Don't)

Some upgrades enhance the overall value of your home, while others allow you to improve the look of your home, and recover the majority of your costs when you sell. According to Bankrate.com, the best places to invest your upgrade dollars include: 

A new garage door: It may not be fancy or a feature you notice, but replacing a sagging, out of date or ailing garage door with a newer, more secure model is a money savvy upgrade. The average garage upgrade costs about $3,600 -- and adds about $3,500 to the selling price of the home, making this a renovation that (almost) pays for itself. 

Kitchen Update: Bringing a dated or worn kitchen up to current day standards -- a makeover that usually costs about $22,000 for the average home -- can improve the selling price of your home by thousands of dollars. The average kitchen update boosts the value of a home by up to $18,000.

Enhance your yard with a deck: According to the Balance, adding a deck in your backyard expands your living space and allows you to add value to your home. The average cost of a wood deck is $10,000 -- and that deck adds an average of $9000 to your home's value, making it easy to add space without a huge investment. 

Replace siding: The curb appeal of your home has a significant impact on your ability to sell it and on the price you receive. According to the Balance, replacing aging siding with a similar quality new version allows you to recover about 75% of your investment. It will also make your home more appealing to buyers. 

Projects that Don't Add Value to your Home

You should not take on these projects if you truly want to enjoy the results for a while, as they won't have much of an impact on the selling price or value of your home. Some, like swimming pools, can even scare away buyers that would otherwise be interested in your property. According to the Balance, the worst home upgrades include swimming pools of all types, interior painting (because buyers may prefer different colors) and whole roof replacement (except in emergencies).  

 


When you decide to make an offer on a home, your mind may be flooded with dozens of questions and concerns -- several of which may involve money matters, while others are about the condition of the house.

However, if you've had the house professionally inspected and made sure your income is sufficient to absorb monthly expenses, than you've already taken steps to prevent or at least minimize future challenges.

Since buying a home is such a big investment and there are so many emotional factors that could influence your decision, it's essential to stay focused, adhere to a budget, and be aware of what you need in order to be satisfied with your purchase.

The Financial Side of Things: Even though a mortgage broker or loan officer may approve you for a large mortgage, only you can determine whether you'd be comfortable making those monthly payments. In  addition to the cost of your mortgage, property taxes, and school taxes, there are also other expenses to consider and include in the equation. If you're moving into a larger house, for example, the cost of heating and/or cooling your home may be higher than you're used to. Poorly insulated houses can also have a negative impact on home energy costs.

Another key factor to think about when you're figuring out the affordability of a potential new home is property maintenance, the cost of HVAC service, and miscellaneous expenses, such as appliance repairs, plumbing leaks, and electrical services. Some neighborhoods, residential developments, and condos also require a monthly Homeowner Association (HOA) fee, which can potentially put a burden on your cash flow situation. A good rule of thumb, of course, is to avoid spending beyond your means. While nobody would dispute the logic of that advice, it's often a lot easier said than done -- especially on an ongoing, consistent basis.

Non-Financial Priorities: The only way to know what you truly want and need in a new home is to clarify your goals, requirements, and wishes. Making lists, discussing it with your partner, and visiting lots of homes for sale will help give you the ideas, the inspiration, and helpful points of comparison you need. Online real estate listings and home improvement websites can also provide a wealth of practical ideas.

In addition to having enough bedrooms and bathrooms to meet your family's needs, it's also important to feel comfortable with the quality of the school district, the amount of noise in the neighborhood, and the traffic level on nearby streets. Proximity to recreation, shopping, and other amenities can also make the difference between your ideal home and one which doesn't quite make the grade. Privacy (or the lack, thereof) is also a major issue which can impact your satisfaction with a real estate purchase. While it's good to approach home buying with a sense of optimism, the best time to weigh all the pros and cons is before you sign the final papers at the closing table!


Photo by Edgardo Lagmay on Unsplash

Nothing dates a bathroom like an old toilet. Not only have toilets advanced significantly in the past 10-15 years. Older toilets often develop hard water stains and porcelain scratches that show their age.

Fortunately, replacing a toilet is one of the most straightforward home improvement projects you can do. And it's relatively inexpensive for a DIY toilet replacement. Here's how it's done.

What You'll Need

  • A new toilet. *Pro tip* Read reviews and find one with the feature you like. Toilets are similar sizes, but you should measure from the wall to the bolt to ensure the bolts are in the right place for your new toilet.
  • Rubber work gloves
  • Putty knife
  • Sponge
  • Hacksaw 
  • Wrenches
  • Towel
  • Nuts/Bolts
  • Closet flange
  • Washers
  • Wax ring
  • Garbage bag
  • Some of these items will come with a toilet. So see what's in the box before you buy separately.

    Remove the Old Toilet

    Before you do, turn off the water supply on the wall behind the toilet. Flush the toilet to empty the remaining water. Then while wearing gloves, use your sponge and towel to sop up any liquid left behind in the bowl and the tank behind the bowl.

    If the toilet's tank can separate from the bowl, remove it first for a lighter lift. You only need the hack saw if the bolts are rusted solid. Otherwise, you just need a wrench. 

    Put the dirty toilet in a big plastic bag and take it outside for now.

    Remove Old Wax

    Stick an old hand towel gently into the mouth of the hole left behind to block sewer gasses floating into your house. *Pro tip* Don't use a washcloth. You may lose it. If it falls down your drain, you may need a plumber to get it out.

    Next, use your putty knife to carve out the old wax around the hole in the floor. It's soft, so this is easy on the hands, but it may take a little while to dig it all out.

    Remove the old closet bolts and the flange if needed. They're cheap to replace.

    Install the New Flange, Bolts & Wax Ring

    Lay down your new flange and place your bolts pointing up. These will secure the base of your toilet. Tightening down washers over the bolts holds the bolts in place, so it will be easier to slide your toilet over the top.

    Next, soften the wax ring with warm water. And then fit it around the drain on the underside of the toilet. Don't forget to remove the towel from the pipe before going further.

    Lower Your Toilet into Place

    Carefully lower the bowl of the toilet over the bolts. Press down firmly to strengthen the wax seal. Then fasten the bolts on the bowl and tank. Hook up the water, tighten, and watch as the tank fills ready to shut it off the hose leaks. Tighten it.

    And you've just replaced your toilet. Don't forget to follow our blog for more helpful home tips.


    Photo by JamesDeMers via Pixabay

    Having a well-organized bathroom is a homeowner’s dream. To get your bathroom organized you just need a little time and effort, and the will to rid yourself of a few unnecessary items. 

    Purge — Everyone has a tendency to over-purchase and overstock on bathroom products every once in a while. In order to really organize your bathroom items in a useable way you’ll need to pair-down to what you actually use. If you can’t make yourself give away the items you don’t really use, gather them in a storage container and put them in the back of the cabinet until you’re ready to purge them. Once you have all the items you use set aside you can further divide them to begin organizing. 

    Organizers and Containers — When you know how much space and the type of items you need to store, you can determine what organizers to buy. Decide what items need to live on the counter or vanity and what items are best placed in drawers and cabinets.

    With a couple simple steps, you can keep your products clean, organized, easy to use and put away again. Enjoy getting ready for work or to go out while saving on time and stress.


    For home sellers, renting a storage unit may prove to be a great idea, and perhaps it is easy to understand why.

    A storage unit will make it simple to keep personal belongings like artwork and photographs out of sight while you sell your house. Plus, a storage unit offers a secure space for your personal belongings, one that you can quickly and effortlessly access at any time.

    Although there are many wonderful reasons to rent a storage unit, choosing the right-size unit can be difficult, particularly for a first-time home seller. Lucky for you, we're here to help take the guesswork out of selecting a storage unit that suits you perfectly.

    Now, let's take a look at three tips to help a home seller choose the right-size storage unit.

    1. Take a Look at the Items That You Need to Store

    A home seller must do everything possible to remove clutter before listing a house. And with a storage unit at your disposal, you should have no trouble keeping excess items outside your residence.

    Ultimately, it is important to make a list of the items that you want to place in storage before you rent a storage unit. This will help you determine exactly how much space you'll need based on the items on your list.

    For example, if you need to store a bicycle, treadmill or other large items, you may want to choose a 10' x 15' storage unit. Or, if you need to store boxes of kitchen utensils, bathroom supplies and various small items, a 5' x 5' storage unit may prove to be the ideal choice.

    2. Consider How Long You'll Need a Storage Unit

    With the right-size storage unit, you can protect various personal belongings until a homebuyer purchases your residence.

    As you explore your storage unit options, it often helps to create a budget. That way, you can ensure that you'll have sufficient finances available to cover the costs of a storage unit for an extended period of time.

    If you are unsure about your long-term finances, you may want to rent a small storage unit, thereby resulting in affordable monthly storage unit rental costs. On the other hand, if you feel comfortable with your financial situation, you may be better equipped than others to select a large storage unit.

    3. Consult with a Real Estate Agent

    Determining how much space you'll need in a storage unit can challenge even the most diligent home seller. Thankfully, a real estate agent can help you prepare your residence for the housing market as well as make it easy to decide how much storage space you'll need.

    A real estate agent can put you in touch with storage unit providers in your city or town. In addition, he or she can offer home decluttering tips and help you get excess items into the right-size storage unit in no time at all.

    Ready to rent a storage unit? With the aforementioned tips, you can select the right-size storage unit to safeguard myriad personal belongings while you sell your house.




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