Category: Trends

Courtni Wisenbaker-Scheel

 

A recent study by the National Association of Home Builders concluded that the typical homeowner stays in their house for only 13 years before selling, as opposed to the 30+ years from decades past. That’s why we at Home Improvement Leads know that it’s important to consider how each renovation will impact your home’s value and resale potential, in addition to your personal style, before the first hammer is swung. With these six renovation projects, though, you are sure to have both.

 

Increasing Energy Efficiency

In previous years, energy efficiency wasn’t a top priority for homeowners. Thankfully, that’s no longer the case, and any realtor will tell you that most potential buyers are willing to pay more for a home that touts exceptional energy savings. These renovations can be as simple as laying fiberglass attic insulation or as innovative as installing solar panels. No idea what improvements your home needs? A certified energy auditor can help you determine which upgrades will give you the best savings possible.

 

Window Replacements

Get the comfort you want by replacing worn-out windows with replacements that are approved by Energy Star. In most cases, any expense isn’t recouped through increased property value gets made up for in energy savings, making this renovation a double win.

 

Kitchen Upgrades

For most families, the kitchen is the heart of the home. If yours does little to inspire creativity, consider opting for a minor kitchen update rather than a full renovation—it’ll save both time and money while still yielding a strong ROI. Simply reface your cabinetry, upgrade modestly with your appliances, and replace your flooring and countertops to make your kitchen feel like new again.

 

Outdoor Living

Our homes are so much more than what exists under one roof. Beautiful landscaping and the addition of a backyard deck will not only yield your family hours of enjoyment, but an impressive ROI, too. The national average for new construction costs are more than $85 per square foot. Depending on the materials you choose, a new deck can run you as little as $15 per square foot while boosting your property value by close to $9,000.

 

Attic Conversions

Little does more to make your home more appealing to potential buyers than by having ample bedrooms. Converting unused attic space into a sophisticated bedroom will increase the available living space within your home without having to take on the financial burden that comes with building a new addition. Though this renovation has the potential to run close to $65,000, you can expect to recoup more than 60 percent of that whenever you choose to sell.

 

Smaller Projects with Big Returns

A bigger budget doesn’t always translate into a higher ROI. In fact, smaller projects like replacing your garage doors or your front door have the potential to recoup more than 90 percent of the renovation expense in increased property value. Plus, projects like these are relatively easy to DIY and can be completed in a weekend, which saves you labor costs, too.

 

By thinking of the future when you make your home renovation plans, you’ll get the home of your dreams now and an ROI that will keep you smiling for years to come.

Getting ready to put your house on the market in 2017? Or are you just getting ready for spring in general? I can’t write this article any better…check out http://embracinghomemaking.net/2015/04/200-things-to-throw-away/.

Although a single late payment can lower your credit score—since payment history is 35 percent of your FICO credit score—how much it affects your score will depend on a lot of different factors. For example, making a payment one day late on a low-limit department store credit card may not be as detrimental to your credit as being 60 days overdue on your mortgage. Some of the factors that will determine the impact on your score include the type of account that it is, how late the payment is, if you’ve had other late payments, and what your credit score currently is. The important thing is to make the payment and get your account back in good standing, which you’ve done. Being late is one thing, but not making the payment at all is another thing altogether. Generally, if the late payment is your only late payment in the last several years, you shouldn’t worry too much about it. Also, keep in mind that a lender may choose to overlook a single late payment if the rest of your credit is very good. In the end, it’s not always about your credit score, but rather your creditworthiness in a lender’s eyes.

 

© Left Field Media

The day has finally arrived: you survived the recession by heading to grad school, you’ve been steadily working for a few years at XYZ Consulting Art History PR and Travel Blogging Firm (a nonprofit) to balance out your debt ratio, you’re in a committed relationship with your cat (so you think), and you’ve been roommate-free for two years and counting. Whew. It’s time to embrace that final mantle of adulthood by saying goodbye to your tiny rental/room in mom’s basement. Now, now, calm down—you know you’re ready! Let’s take a look at the number of factors to consider now that you’ve decided to adult.

First, the scary stuff: Consider your finances.
Buying a home is a great option if (1) your job is stable, (2) you don’t plan on moving soon (it’s the worst, anyway), and (3) rents are increasing. Take a look at your credit history and score, and figure out what available resources you can dedicate to a down payment and a monthly payment. The total amount you’ll need for a conventional loan is 20% of the home value plus closing costs. While this number may seem scary, there are multiple government programs and options for lower down payments. Typically, first-time homebuyers can put down 0-5%. Next, you’ll need to find a lender to pre-qualify you for a home loan at an affordable rate. Getting pre-approved for a loan will help expedite the closing process

Now the fun stuff: Finding the best fit. Looking for that perfect, two-bedroom downtown loft accessible to hiking trails, Trader Joe’s, and your favorite pub crawl will be a majorly fun timesuck. There are multiple online sites and apps to browse while commuting to work, being at work, coming home from work, and lying in bed before tucking your phone under the pillow. But before you jump online and start searching willy-nilly, decide what’s important to you. How far is your commute? How walkable is the community? How accessible are you to main roads and retail amenities? How many hipsters per square mile? How easy is it to find a bar? Are there Uber drivers always at ready? Is the neighborhood mostly families, older couples, young professionals, or a mixture? Narrow down your search to a specific geographic region in order to find what will fit you the best, as well as influence the outcome of your first major investment. It’s also important to remember that different kinds of homes have different expenses. For example, single-family homes don’t the same expenses for landscaping, HOA fees, and community amenities as townhomes and condos.

The dealmakers: Can I do this by myself? The short answer is no. I know, I know. You were raised on the internet, and therefore you can lifehack your way through any process. While this may be true when changing your timing belt or getting the best deal on a flatscreen TV, you’ll receive invaluable guidance and information by working with a licensed real estate agent. While the vast majority of inventory is accessible online with photos, video tours, and detailed information, agents specialize in specific market areas and have access to information about the homes and communities that you can’t find anywhere else. Additionally, their expertise is invaluable when touring a home. Licensed, experienced agents (read: not your friend’s friend’s brother or your goddaughter’s uncle) can look for potential issues and problems on house walkthroughs. While major issues are usually uncovered during inspections, an agent can save you a lot of heartache by offering their experienced-backed opinions before you make it to the inspection stage. If only Grey’s Anatomy had come with some kind of initial walkthrough…

So. Now you’ve found the house, you’ve selected an agent, and it’s time to submit your offer. An agent will be very useful—especially in competitive markets—in negotiating an appropriate price. The offer is put in writing (again, an agent will navigate you through this maze of paperwork), you’ll submit a “good faith” deposit, and you’ll finalize your purchase contract. Don’t panic! This is just the housing version of “You want to like, date seriously, like only me?” Yes, I want to date, like, only you.” It basically means that you’re committed, they’re committed.

Last steps: Closing. This is an entirely other blog post by itself, but never fear. With the right agent, it’s only a waiting game.

Congratulations! You’ve successfully become the kind of person who can read an entire article (with no GIFs or videos, mind you) about adulting without falling into a full-blown panic attack! While buying your first home may seem like a daunting task, with the right mindset and preparation, you’ll soon be moving your childhood paraphernalia from Mom and Dad’s into your new home and taking daily trips to IKEA—and don’t forget to bring the cat!

TransUnion recently released the results of a new study titled The Bubble, the Burst and Now – What Happened to the Consumer? The study revealed that 1.5 million homeowners that were negatively impacted by the housing crisis could re-enter the housing market in the next three years.

TransUnion defined “negatively impacted” as…

“…those who were 60+ days past due on a mortgage loan, lost their mortgage through foreclosure, short sale or other non-satisfactory closure, or had a mortgage loan modification between the Bubble and Burst.”

Other interesting findings in the study:

  • During the mortgage bubble in 2006, 78 million consumers, or 43% of credit-active consumers in the U.S., had a mortgage
  • More than 8% of these consumers were “impacted”
  • 5 Million consumers will again be eligible for a mortgage in the next four years

Here are the numbers of consumers who will meet mortgage guidelines over the next four years:

Boomerang Buyers Re-Entering The Market | Keeping Current Matters

Bottom Line

If you are a family that experienced the impact of the last housing crisis, now may be the right time to again buy your own home.

Thank you to Keeping Current Matters for this article.

Selling your Naperville area home during the holiday season may sound like a less than ideal game plan, but there are some advantages now present only at this time of year. It’s true that some extra effort may be called for, but it can be worth the endeavor: there are several factors that make showings at this time of year particularly promising.

The first advantage is the flip side of the greatest disadvantage: the slowdown in real estate activity we usually expect over the holidays. That relative scarcity of active prospects means fewer showings, so the number of times you’ll be called upon to put your area property in peak condition will be smaller. The other side of that disadvantage? The showings we do expect will be to particularly motivated buyers. If they are interrupting their own Christmas and New Year’s activities to go house hunting, they probably mean business. And it’s also likely that they are motivated by a timing deadline. This makes those showings especially promising.

Another positive aspect to selling your home at this time of year is how appealing the staging possibilities become—and with little extra effort. Your regular holiday decorations make the place festive and cheerful every year, anyway—usually little else will be needed to bring those enhancements into play for prospective buyers. Yuletide décor is automatically a kind of natural staging that brings out the cheeriest side of any home…and who doesn’t respond favorably to the scent of cookies in the oven or cider bubbling on the stove?

Along with those automatic holiday positives, owners selling their home in the western suburbs do need to be careful to avoid some built-in potential downsides. Right now the sun stays lower—even at noon—than at other times of the year, so it’s important to make the most of the light that is available. Keep rooms well-lit and window drapes pulled back to allow as much sunlight as possible. Even during daylight hours, most rooms show their best with all lamps and ceiling fixtures turned on. Fireplaces are sought-after features—and this is the best time of year to make the most of yours by keeping a cheery fire blazing.

When you are selling your home during the holiday season you should also make the effort to keep your own schedule as flexible as you can—even more so than would ordinarily be called for. Potential buyers will have their own holiday obligations to attend to, and are often forced to jam showings into tight spaces. It can be worth it, though, when you keep in mind that holiday home shoppers are motivated prospects.

If this December and January look like opportune times to be selling your own home in town, it’s not too late to give me a call. I will be active throughout the season, helping area prospects find the home of their dreams—the home they will be making holiday memories in for many years to come!

Let us put a “Sale Agreed®” on your new home this holiday season!

Spring is definitely an inspirational time of the year. After a long, wet Winter, we Midwesterners are looking forward to some renewed energy and sunshine! With a change of pace we can’t wait to experience what Mother Nature has to offer. Bringing all that fresh energy inside couldn’t be easier with the crisp and homey color selections for 2015. Pantone always presents a true change in color and this year was no different with their regal red called “Marsala”. If that is too bold, Sherwin-William’s color of the year is Coral Reef which definitely adds a bit of spice to a room. In our case, we like a touch of green and that was satisfied by Benjamin Moore’s color of the year Guilford Green. It is a great choice to bring the outside in with a calming green that would be an excellent choice for welcoming family and friends in the entryway. Of course, neutrals always provide an extended scale of whites, browns, grays, blacks, and blues that allow for something new without going overboard.

How will you incorporate these colors into your Spring and Summer updates? Are you envisioning a Coral Reef accent wall or a Guilford Green backsplash in the kitchen?