Our Real Estate Blog
Fireplaces are often seen as a necessity for homebuyers. It adds charm and decorative as well as physical warmth to a home. More than half of new homes have a fireplace. If your home doesn’t have a fireplace, you may wonder if installing and maintaining a fireplace is worth it. Will it add value to your home? There are a few things you need to consider before you decide to take on this project.
Keep in mind that fireplaces are not directly accounted for during a home appraisal. Yet, they add value to a home. Home buyers will pay more for homes that have fireplaces. Depending on the location of your home, a fireplace can increase the value of the property by a significant amount- up to thousands of dollars.
The location of a home really has a direct effect on how much value it adds it a home. When added to other amenities in your home, a fireplace can compound to make the home appear more luxurious. A fireplace is a must in a higher end home.
On the flip side, more modest homes may not need fireplaces. If a home needs many other improvements, a fireplace may not add much to the property. The amount of value a fireplace adds is very much dependent on the type of property it’s being added to.
It’s possible to add a fireplace to just about any home. The cost will vary by a large amount ranging anywhere from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. Specific requirements may exist within your city dictating how fireplaces must be installed. Keep in mind that everything from the type of fireplace that’s being installed to the height of the chimney must be considered. Look into things like:
- Emission limits
- Chimney height
- Construction requirements
- Type of installation
Each requirement will add a bit more cost to the project, so it’s best to do some research beforehand.
Getting The Maximum Value
If you decide that adding a fireplace is the right decision for your property, there are a few ways to get the maximum return on your investment. First, you should build the fireplace in the room of your home that’s most used. This space would most likely be the living room or family room in most cases. Keep in mind that adding a fireplace can drastically change the look of a room.
Whether you’re adding a fireplace or putting in an initial one, you can be sure that it will add value to your home in the form of attraction and home price.
The bad news about selling your home is that there are dozens of mistakes you might make that could result in a lost sale, unnecessary price reductions, and delays in finding a buyer.
The good news is that the vast majority of seller mistakes are completely avoidable -- especially when you have an experienced real estate agent guiding you through the process and providing you with ongoing advice and marketing assistance.
Pricing and Perception
Setting too high of a price for your home is a common mistake -- one that's often difficult to recover from. Since "the clock is ticking" from the moment your home officially goes on the market, it's important to make the most of those first few weeks.
House hunters are often strongly attracted to homes that are advertised as being "just on the market." Those words can be very compelling because they imply newness, a limited opportunity, and scarcity. As the advertising industry has known for generations, consumers are drawn to products and services that are new, fresh, and in demand. However, just like yesterday's news or day-old bread, the longer a house is on the market, the less appealing it becomes.
According to a Zillow study, homes for sale priced around or slightly below market value are almost 50 percent more likely to sell within 60 days than those priced 12 percent or more above market value.
Working with a knowledgeable real estate professional can help make sure you don't lose that initial out-of-the-gate momentum by pricing yourself out of the market. They'll base their recommendations on a number of factors, including a comparative analysis of recently sold homes in your neighborhood .
Here's a house-selling mistake that most people probably don't know about: You might be losing potential buyers because you've chosen an "odd selling price." The National Association of Realtors points out that listings may sometimes be excluded from Internet search results if the asking price is just a few thousand dollars above a typical pricing range. "Buyers search real estate websites for price ranges, such as 'homes between $250,000- $300,000.' If you set an odd price to make your listing stand out, say $302,499, you may miss some of your best potential customers."
If you realize after a few weeks that you've incorrectly priced your house, it not only becomes necessary to lower the price, but you also have to contend with a lower perceived value among prospective buyers.
A few other words and phrases that tend to whet the appetites of prospects searching for their next home include "move-in condition," "landscaped," and "updated." Many people also like the sound of granite countertops, maple hardwood floors, and gourmet kitchens.
While it pays to know a little about pricing, home staging, and buyer psychology, getting advice and guidance from a seasoned real estate agent is usually your best bet for producing the fastest and most satisfying results in selling your house.
If you’re considering making an investment in real estate, you already know some risks you may encounter. While most people talk about how to invest and where you may want to invest, have you thought about what makes a good investment? Here are a few suggestions:
Investing in real estate is not cheap. You’re essentially taking money you have (liquid assets) and putting them into an asset that you can’t liquidate within a day or two. If those liquid assets were earning interest, your goal should be to earn a fair cash-on-cash rate of return on the investment. Look for properties that are cash flow positive to get a modest return.
Any time you get into real estate investing it’s high risk, but there are things you can do to reduce the risk such as being diligent in analyzing, testing, and reviewing information on the property to ensure it has low risk. Another alternative would be having fee simple title ownership, which makes things very easy.
The perfect scenario would be having a real estate investment property that doesn’t take up too much time in managing it. College rentals, vacation rentals and other properties in this scope that allow you to rent as long as you can to one tenant with decent credit is ideal. When you have a property like this, have a good rapport with your tenants and quickly address issues, you’re in a great space.
These are just three examples of great real estate investments that can give you a return on your investment and pose the least risk. To be successful at finding great real estate investments, you must have knowledge of the industry, the ability to recognize an under-valued property, patience, a working knowledge of how to estimate rehab costs, a vision of how you want the property to look, the ability to build relationships with others, money and opportunity.
It’s easy to think you can get things accomplished fairly quickly, but it’s very important to have a good grasp of what to expect, anticipate problems, and be able to pivot when you need to. A good realtor will be able to advise you on upcoming properties and provide insight where you have questions. The bright side? The more rehabs you do, the more knowledge you will gain and you’ll become familiar with other investors who know the ropes. Real estate investing is nothing new - it’s all about being able to spot the jewel in the sand. With a little time and effort, you'll be well on your way to investing like a pro!
Most Americans dream of owning their own home. The size of that pictured house is often spacious. As the housing market gets tighter, the prices of homes go up. The bigger the home you wish to buy, the larger the price tag. Keep in mind that the bigger the house you buy is, the more everything else will cost. That means you have to look deep into your budget and far beyond the list price of a home to understand what you have to work with financially. Some things that a more prominent home might bring are:
Higher utility bills due to more space that you have to heat and cool
Increased property tax
Higher insurance premiums
More expensive repairs
More expensive renovations
Bigger yard to landscape
These are all additional costs that you should consider before you take the plunge to buy a larger home. The longer you live in the house, the more these expenses can add up. Many things like flooring, carpet, concrete, and roofing materials are priced by the square foot. While living large can be a great decision, the additional expenses can really add up.
If You Have Kids, Reconsider
Raising children is expensive. While you may want your child to have a large room and a lot of amenities right inside their home, there are so many other things that kids need. Consider your child’s hobbies. How much of your budget do you devote to those? Do your kids hope to attend college? How much extra money in your budget do you have for vacations and other activities that you may want to do as a family? Buying a bigger house could mean that you have less money in your budget for these things. Understand all the ways that you need to stretch your money before you have your eyes set on a larger home.
Consider The Rest Of Your Needs
A more massive home means a more substantial monthly mortgage payment. That leaves less for you to save for things like retirement, rainy day funds, and other financial goals. Don’t let the fact that you have your eyes set on a big house shadow the rest of your life and your needs. A large part of buying a home is planning ahead. It will be a smart decision all around for you and your family to buy a home that’s affordable.
Buying a larger home fulfills a dream for many homebuyers, but don’t let that idea become a singular goal.
With spring just around the corner, your thoughts may turn to enjoying the great outdoors. By making a few improvements, you can create your own restful, outdoor oasis even as you add value to your home.
Research has found that homeowners often gain the most value by improving backyards and investing in outdoor upgrades. Among enhancements you can make outside your four walls, kitchens and living rooms rank as the most popular — and they allow you to move your entertaining outside, where you can enjoy seasonal beauty.
What are some steps you can take to create an appealing outdoor living space?
Upgrade an Existing Patio
Before you begin creating your outdoor common area, consider your goals. Do you prefer a place to entertain or a serene, private retreat — or a combination of both? Your intended use of the space will guide you in choices for design, landscaping and furnishings.
Take a look at your patio or deck structure. Is it stable, sturdy and in good shape? Could it use a comprehensive refurbishment or at least a new coat of paint?
You may want to take some measurements to ensure that everything you plan to include in your outdoor retreat will fit in the intended space. If you come up a little short, consider working with a contractor to expand or rework your existing patio. Alternatively, you may opt to build a completely new home base for your outdoor living space.
In addition, take a look at the areas surrounding your patio or deck. Are the walkways in good shape? Is there direct access from parking areas to the yard so that guests need not come through your house to join the party? Does the path for foot traffic keep people off your lawn? If you’d prefer a different traffic pattern, now is the time to make changes.
Add Some Personal Touches
Once you’ve created the basic footprint for your new outdoor living area, it’s time to start making the space your own with some personal touches. Start by considering comfortable seating options to accommodate your maximum number of guests.
Beyond seating, the sky is the limit when it comes to appointing your outdoor space. If you love to cook outside, consider adding a full kitchen setup with grilling station to your entertaining area. Enjoy the warmth of a cozy fire on chilly nights? Add a fireplace — complete with pizza oven. Meanwhile, landscaping details such as water features enhance the natural beauty of your outdoor area.
With a little creativity, you can create an outdoor living space that adds value and enjoyment to your home for many years to come.