3 Easy Ways
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Word of Mouth

by Ivan Misner

How to Close A Deal
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Affordable Green
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Things To Avoid
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by Tony Delano

Planning Your
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Removing the Fog
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by Daniel W. Aston


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Recoup Remodeling and Addition Investments
From heated floors to soaking tubs to flat-screen TVs, the emphasis today is on luxury and comfort

by HomeAdvisor  

  Addition perfectly matches original design of the house

When undertaking large remodeling and home addition projects, it is smart to research your local real estate market to find out if your project will return your investment when it is time to sell. Depending on where you live, the right project may return 100% of your investment. That is why research is the smartest way to begin any remodeling project.

Recoup Your Remodeling Investment Remodeling projects should be done when you are planning to stay in the house for several years, not simply for the sake of trying to increase resale value. Since you can't guarantee that you will get a decent return, it makes the most sense to remodel when you will be able to enjoy the benefits in the long run. Only minor remodels should be considered if selling is your primary goal.

Here is a sample of returns for some of the most popular home remodeling projects. Statistics are compiled from multiple published surveys and based on major cities within states:

- Minor Kitchen Remodel: 125% (Connecticut)
- Basement Remodel: 98% (California)
- Bathroom Addition: 96% (Missouri)
- Major Kitchen Remodel: 92% (Kentucky)
- Bathroom Remodel: 90% (Oregon)
- Exterior Paint: 90% (Pennsylvania)
- Master Bedroom: 86% (Florida)

In general, across many real estate markets, kitchen and bathroom remodeling consistently offer the highest percentage return on your investment (80-100%). Bathroom and family room additions offer a fairly high return also. A master bedroom remodel can potentially get a high return.

Certain projects such as converting a basement or an attic into functional living space varies widely from region to region. The same is true for deck additions.

Remember Curb Appeal Repainting the exterior of your home also shows decent returns in most markets. When preparing to sell your home, at least sprucing up your exterior paint is important. Without curb appeal, potential buyers will not even stop or get out of their car to give your house a chance. Repainting is only part of curb appeal, however. A well-manicured lawn and attractive landscaping will grab buyers' attention as well.

Keep Your Home's Original Design Intact When considering a remodeling project or addition, you should not only do research in your local real estate market, but also look around your neighborhood. Any improvement you make should be consistent with other homes on your block.

An elaborate addition in a modest neighborhood will stick out and will not provide the return you are hoping for based on the fact that someone who can afford the extra money to buy your home will most likely search in a more expensive neighborhood.

Along those same lines, keep the original design of your home in mind. Stick with either the same materials or complementing ones. Aim for a flowing congruency so that your home remains tastefully appealing on the inside and out.

Think through color scheme and decor in much the same way. Bold, eccentric color schemes that will stay with the house after you sell can deter potential buyers who lean on the conservative side. Being flamboyant with your remodel is a fine idea for those homeowners who plan to stay in their home for years to come. For those of you looking to move in two to three years, choosing neutral colors for floors and walls will benefit you when it's time to sell.

Remodel for Your Needs, Not for Resale When trying to decide whether or not you should take the plunge and remodel, think of your own needs. If you absolutely want to add on a deck, go for it. If you have a spacious basement and could use a children's play area, don't hesitate.

By concentrating completely on the return you might get from a home improvement project, you are limiting your options and basing your decision on a factor that is constantly changing. Depending on the economy and the real estate market in your area, as well as other factors, your remodeling return could be more or less than you expect when it is time to sell.

Just remember that for the immediate future, you will determine the value of a luxurious bathroom remodel or sunroom addition. The enjoyment of improving your home for the rest of your time living in it might far outweigh what money you get back when it is time to sell.

For more information about remodeling your bathroom, including ordering a free workbook, visit the National Kitchen and Bath Association.

Estimates For Home Remodels and Additions

by Matt Goering

  New sunroom
Home addition estimates are tricky business. Truth be told, there are too many variables involved in a major remodeling project or room addition for any contractor to provide a specific square foot price ahead of time, and all free estimates should be considered just that: estimates. Not only must your contractor consider structural aspects, such as load-bearing walls, location of plumbing and wiring, and possible changes to the roof line, but estimating home remodeling costs also depends on what kind of materials you want: custom or pre-manufactured cabinets? Carpet, hardwood, or laminate floors? A whirlpool tub or an economy model? Contractors may be able to give you a ballpark bid based on what you think you want, but no one can give you a firm bid without working from a specific set of plans and specifications.

Talk to the Pros for Quality Home Addition Estimates If you decide that you'd like something more precise than a general estimate, consider hiring a building designer, residential designer, or architect who specializes in residential remodels/additions to draw up plans for you. These specialists are trained to discuss your priorities and budget and to develop a detailed plan for your project that includes a detailed list of specifications and the materials you want (by brand name and model number if possible). They will also contact other professionals, such as structural engineers and subcontractors, as needed, to draw up plans that will meet building codes, and to figure out ahead of time which building permits are going to be necessary to obtain.

With Home Addition Estimates, Nothing Is Set in Stone Even if you pay for design specifications up front, prepare to be flexible when it comes to the final cost of your addition. Estimating remodeling costs can never account for the unexpected, and the unexpected is the rule, not the exception, when it comes to major addition or remodeling projects. That being the case, it's also a good idea to get at least three bids on your project from different contractors based on the plans you have drawn up. Talking to more than one contractor allows you to compare costs and services, and to weed out home addition estimates that are far higher, or lower, than the competition.

Some More Home Additions Tips

by Duane Craig

The main home-addition tip is to know what you want. Go into a home-addition project without a clear plan and you end up building on-the-fly, and that gets expensive and troubling. Follow these tips on doing thorough research and planning in the early stages so you understand exactly what you are getting into and what the rewards will be.

Check with local Realtors and appraisers to find out if the size and style of home addition you are considering makes good economic sense. They will be able to advise you about home values nearby, the market value of your home and how the addition will add to the value. In some cases you may find out the cost of the addition will not raise the home's value significantly enough to justify it. This is not as important of a consideration if you just want the addition to increase the livability of the home for yourself. In this case, make a pros-and-cons list to help you visualize the positives and negatives you will get from the addition, compared to its cost.

Costs go hand-in-hand with value since it is possible to spend so much on an addition that you cannot recoup the cost when you sell. Check with local builders to find out what a typical square-foot cost is for the kind of addition you want. Additions that require much structural work where load-bearing walls and roofs have to be removed or moved add to the costs. The type of addition is also cost-specific. The amenities for a master bedroom are fewer, and of lower cost, than those required for a kitchen or master bath addition. Additions that need extensive rework of the heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems are also more expensive. Now, begin balancing the costs with the size and style of the addition. You are looking for a starting point that is not too big and expensive, but also not too small and cheap. Evaluate your financial picture and decide just how much you can spend.

Once you know your budget and have an idea of what you want to accomplish with your addition, it's time to get some plans. Find floor plans and pictures that express the look and design you are going for. Then invite at least three contractors over to see what you want and to look at the scope of the work needed to deliver it. Most contractors have relationships with architects and designers, and once you select a contractor you can work the plan details with their contacts. You can also work your project the other way: You can select an architect or designer who will then recommend a contractor, or provide the plans to you so you can find a contractor on your own.




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