Remodeling For Better Value – Living Rooms

The main living area is the central core space in your home. It is both public and private – a space that you share with family members and with guests. From the main living room, one should be able to connect easily with dining areas, kitchen, and hallways to bedrooms. The living area should be given top priority in the hierarchy of rooms. Often it is not.

Sometimes the front door opens right into the living room, and the passage deeper into the house cuts right through it. Please! Before you go a step further, stop to imagine how you will furnish and enjoy sitting in a room like this. If you home has this layout, consider some serious surgery to correct this problem. Never allow walkways to cross through the middle of living areas. This creates a division within the space which no amount of furniture placement will help. If you have this floor plan, face up to it, and make the necessary changes before moving on.  

Most buyers today prefer two or more living areas. These may include a main living room, plus a family room or den, a study, and a game room. Keep in mind that the trend today is to avoid wasted space. Rooms that are used primarily for display have very little real use and value. Consider converting an unused formal living room to a study. Sometimes a wall can be opened up to bring a seldom used room into a real relationship with the house. This is much cheaper than adding on more space. Remodeling tip: Make better use of the space that you have.    

The “greatroom” is a popular layout that combines the living-dining-kitchen space. This open style is efficient in its use of space, combining multiple uses. The house seems bigger than it would if divided into small rooms. People are able to work in the kitchen and talk with family members or guests in the living area. If you can open a kitchen wall to allow a connection between spaces, you will be making a change that most buyers prefer. 

If budget allows, a gameroom is a space that serves a multitude of functions. It is a more private living area that is often used for TV watching, computers, pool table, or children’s toys. It is often an upstairs common area that connects to bedrooms. Special media rooms are sometimes added, although the trend today away from little used spaces.  

You cannot talk about living areas without considering the flow through rooms. A natural and logical flow will guide people from the front door into the heart of the home – the main living area. The pathway should not wind through the middle of rooms, or make you skirt around furniture. Visitors should not be confused as to where to go. A logical floor plan is crucial to making visitors feel welcome and comfortable in your home. A great living area draws people into it in a natural way, and provides a center for common activities. Remodeling decisions that place great value on this space add value to the home

Ten Steps to a Sold Home

When selling a house, homeowners want to know the secret to a quick sale and money in their pocket. The secret is simply creating the best possible first impression. In today’s competitive real estate market, it is important to prepare your house so it stands out from the competition. Spending a little time and money to prepare it can help you sell your house quicker and for top dollar.

Before you put your house on the market, consider the following steps to a sold house:

1. Hire a Home Inspector: A competent home inspector will thoroughly inspect your house for possible repairs that you may need to fix when preparing your home for the market. In most cases, buyers do not want to move in and make repairs and improvements. They want “model-ready” and the items that need fixing, they will want an allowance. In the long run, it pays to know what to expect and rectify the problems that potential buyers will want repaired before signing on the dotted line.

2. Update & Make Improvements: Updating your house could be as simple as changing the light fixtures to remodeling a kitchen or bath. Improvements will give your house an updated appearance that potential buyers look for when purchasing a home.

3. Replace Carpeting: Replacing worn-out carpeting is very important for the overall appearance. When buyers walk through a home for sale, they will immediately start deducting every item that needs replaced from the price of the house. A lot of home sellers believe that giving an allowance for items that need to be replaced will be an added incentive. However, the negative impact of worn-out, dated items could be the cause of a lost sale.

4. Rent a Storage Unit or Use a Friend’s Garage: Most sellers will need to remove about half of their furnishings and accessories. The goal is to increase the appearance of square footage by removing these pieces. A room with fewer items will appear larger.

5. Fresh Paint: One of the least expensive ways to get a fresh, clean, up-dated look is to paint. Home buyers want a home that is in “move-in ready” condition. To make the rooms appear larger and appealing to most, use neutral color paint such as sand or taupe.

6. Update the Front Door: The front entrance to your house should look as inviting as possible. Your goal, of course, is for the potential buyers to make it passed the front door and into the house. This means that the front door should either be replaced or freshly painted depending on its condition. You may want to also consider replacing the handle if necessary.

7. Curb Appeal: Apply fresh mulch, trim all bushes and add colorful flowers in the front beds and beside the front door.

8. Clean, Clean, Clean and Then Clean Some More: If you do nothing to prepare your house for the market, at least make sure it is squeaky clean. Hire a professional cleaning service, do whatever is takes to work top to bottom, inside and out cleaning things you never knew were there. The windows need to sparkle, the floor needs to shine, carpets and drapery should be spotless or replaced.

9. De-clutter & De-personalize: Staging your house to sell is completely different than decorating your home in which to live. This step is where your storage unit will come in handy. Remove unnecessary furniture and accessories that cause clutter or make the room appear smaller. Remove all personal items such as family photos, awards or personal collections. Potential buyers need to be able to visualize their family living in the home and not be distracted by the current seller’s personal belongings.

10. Sell your House: This is, of course, the most important step. If you have followed all of the preceding steps, you have just maximized the potential of a sold house and money in your pocket.

While Media Coverage Of The National Housing Market Swings, New Home Buying Goes On

Recent news coverage given to the national housing market may cause many individuals to feel unsure of their base understanding concerning the ins-and-outs of home buying in their area. What the average new home shopper must realize is that a “truly good time to buy” is far more dependent upon individual circumstances, and not quite so tethered to temporary market conditions as he or she might think.

Economists may treat residential real estate like a science, but there is no one definitive timetable or price guide for buying that is applicable to everyone shopping for a new home – nor are there any hard-and-fast rules as to what constitutes a buyers’ or sellers’ market. Generally, cities like Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania demonstrate much greater stability than similarly sized cities in the Northeast or out West. Likewise, the housing markets of cities such as Orlando, Florida might be considered to flux in hot and cold cycles. Nonetheless, Florida’s population grows year in and year out, so the market will continue to be strong.

Some might also try to predict new home buying and selling activity by season, but there actually is no right or wrong season to be on either end of the transaction. Everything depends upon what works best for the individual buyer. While all markets appear cyclical on a macro-level, prospective home owners tend to feel that on a micro-level, the intrinsic value of the four-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath structure they wish to call home has the greatest influence on their buying decision. When a change in your personal circumstances also affects your housing needs, it really doesn’t matter what time of year it may be.

The fact that there is no right or wrong market or season for buying is great news. However, you, the buyer, should never make any new home deal without doing your homework first.

The number-one rule of home buying: Do your research

Home buyers will get a head start securing the best value on their new home if they thoroughly research the area in which they wish to live. While everyone expects to do a fair amount of research prior to relocating, you should not underestimate the value of research even if you’re moving down the street. Even if you’ve lived in just one place all of your life, you may be unfamiliar with the specifics of its real estate market. Lifelong renters, while being up on the market rental rates in their area, might be unfamiliar with the wide range of prices for which houses sell in that very same area. While the Internet and local newspapers might come to mind as the first places to begin research on recent home selling prices, you may also want to contact real estate professionals such as homebuilders and land developers prior to contemplating a contract with a real estate broker.

The costs of owning a home, be it a vintage Victorian or state-of-the-art new construction, must also be thoroughly researched prior to buying, if you want to make the most educated decision. For example, when renting, you do not usually think about the costs of property maintenance, water and sewage, home remodeling, or termite and wasp extermination. That is because your landlord has taken care of these costs for you. Start by creating a sheet that itemizes the possible costs of the home you wish to buy, including utilities, taxes, furnishings and maintenance – and be sure to include those estimates in your projected monthly budget.

Before buying a new home, you must consider the affordability of your monthly mortgage payments – or else, your mortgage loan underwriter will do it for you. You should not have any problem finding multiple home loan specialists to assist you with the budgeting process. As with any exchange of knowledge, ask these professionals plenty of questions, and make sure their advice makes sense to you. You will find the home buying process to offer you many more options if you can make a significant down payment on your mortgage, so it’s wise to start considering a sincere saving plan months in advance of your purchase. The more money you have saved before you embark upon the process of buying a house, the more comfortable you will feel along the way.

Make sure to keep your dream of home ownership a priority, as any additional credit you take on after the loan application may adversely affect the loan closing. Select a mortgage carefully, as there are many different options available. Be it a traditional fixed-rate mortgage or an adjustable rate mortgage, do not sign on the dotted line until you understand every aspect of the loan.

Most importantly, tailor your personal circumstances to fit your decision to buy. Start making these changes early, well before you settle on any one definite home. If you owe major payments on another item, such as an automobile, catch up on these payments as soon as possible. If your credit score is borderline or could use a boost, begin working on it by paying off debts and paying all of your bills on schedule. Examine your current monthly budget and look for areas in which you can save or cut back. Owning a home can involve making financial sacrifices in other areas of spending. For example, in order to meet your mortgage payments, you might have to pare down your entertainment budget, or spend less on monthly transportation expenses. But the tax savings on a new home is substantial, so you may want to speak to a tax professional as well to see how the investment balances out.

Finally, never be lured by housing “bells and whistles” that do not add lasting value to your home. Never settle for the first house you see, either. You will be surprised how well you will be able to develop your own sense of housing value by simply visiting a few different homes. Competitive shopping will allow you to find the most house for your money. Location, construction quality, and energy efficiency are the key components that determine a new home’s value. Fancy fixtures or wall coverings are nice, but they won’t stand up to the lasting value of efficient home design or a strong foundation.

Conservative thinking and conservative spending are your best friends during the home buying process. Take your time; shop around, talk to home builders and mortgage lenders, and get some quotes. The most important aspect of home buying is that you feel 100 percent comfortable with your decision in all aspects of the deal – from the mortgage, to the location, to the closing price – now, and for years to come.