Top 5 Home Improvement Projects for the Most Payback

HGTV considers the following home-enhancements to be among top-tier choices for regaining the most pay-back. Though not exhaustive, this list includes some of the most popular home-improvements as well as some of the most enjoyable, once renovation is complete.

PictureImprove curb appeal by landscaping and maintaining sidewalks

1. Modernized Kitchens

A state-of-the-art kitchen is a very coveted renovation for earning back most of the monetary investment. Even if you were to not gut the entire kitchen, there are certain upgrades that are zealously prized by potential buyers: granite counter-tops, hardwood or stone (not tile) floors, premium appliances, islands, and under-mount sinks.

RECOUP:

A kitchen remodel can return more than 100%.

2. New or Renewed Hardwood Flooring

Hardwood floors are a favorite with discriminating buyers. If your older home has original hardwood floors and they are in decent shape, you are in luck! Have them lightly sanded, stained and resealed-you would be amazed at how stunning they can appear, once again, at a fraction of the cost of new hardwood flooring. Wood floors in pristine condition add that ‘wow’ factor that can, if missing, be a deal-breaker for home-buyers.

RECOUP:

Hardwood floors can bring back 2-times their cost! Conservatively, hardwood floors will bring in 100-150% return on investment.

3. Additional Square Footage

For every 1,000 square feet of actual living space that are added onto a home, the sale price can be boosted by more than 30%, according to the National Association of Realtors. Whether it is a spacious attic bedroom or a dedicated entertainment space, the ROI is quite impressive.

RECOUP:

Attic bedrooms and family/entertainment rooms can recoup between 70% and 80%.

4. Optimized Curb Appeal

If people drive by your home and are not impressed with what their eyes immediately see, chances are they may never give the inside of your home a single opportunity to strut its stuff. Curb appeal is synonymous with ‘first impression’. Make your home’s curb appeal eye-catching enough that it actually makes a statement that conveys a warm sense of ‘welcome’! That message draws people in, both, physically and psychologically.

Add beautiful beds of flowers, potted plants and trees to your property, and have them positioned in strategic locations to transform your home’s exterior from ‘frumpy’ to ‘fabulous’. Group plants by height; and layer the groupings for visual appeal. Your grassy areas should be lush and thick, and investing in a good edger to keep your property looking exquisitely manicured will impress even the most-persnickety buyers.

Curb appeal is not limited to vegetation. Equally important is making sure your driveway and sidewalks are in good shape. If your concrete areas have seen better days, and if any cracks, bulging or separation is apparent, consider replacement or professional repair. If sidewalks and the driveway are in good shape and just need a facelift, staining or painting those areas with highly durable, concrete-specific products will do wonders to add a fresh, renewed look! Also, tasteful outside lighting “paints” your home at night, and retaining walls add color and texture to wide stretches of green and give any property a very fortified appearance. Curb appeal can make the difference between a home that sells quickly at top dollar and one that languishes for months.

RECOUP:

Clean and classy curb appeal can contribute a whopping 20% to the total property value of a home. If done right, the ROI with curb appeal can be double the initial, total expense.

5. New Windows

The energy efficiency of installing higher-end windows is an unarguable benefit. Replacement costs will be determined by the number of windows being replaced as well as the type. This is one home improvement that home-buyers place a high premium on.

RECOUP:

A return of investment of at least 79% is very realistic.

There are certain improvements that are definitely worth the investment when it comes to helping you attract more buyers, sell your home quicker, retrieve most or all of your investment, and optimize your home’s true market value. It is vital, however, not to over-improve out of your particular neighborhood, since in that case reclaiming your investment will likely not materialize. You don’t want to fall into the trap of pricing your home a wide margin above other homes in your area.

What you get back on your investment will depend on the value of your home, the value of homes in your immediate area, the housing market where you live, how soon you sell after making home-improvements, and the quality of each project involved.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/9329363

How can I help you achieve your real estate goals?
About Carol Juntunen: I'm a Realtor® with Baird & Warner in the Chicago northwest suburbs. My intention is to provide insights and information to empower you to make confident, informed real estate choices and decisions, and guide you through the home buying, selling or renting process.

Ready to buy or sell? Call or text me today:
Cell:    224-523-2217
Website: www.caroljuntunen.com
Email:   carol.juntunen@bairdwarner.com

 

If You’re Thinking About Selling, Now is the Time!

Getting an early start

If you thought about selling your house this year, now may be the time to do it. The inventory of homes for sale is well below historic norms and buyer demand is skyrocketing. We were still in high school when we learned the concept of supply and demand: the best time to sell something is when supply of that item is low and demand for that item is high. That defines today’s real estate market.

Jonathan Smoke, the Chief Economist of realtor.com, in a recent article revealed that:

“Would-be buyers face a dilemma: There will be more homes on the market over each week of the next three to four months, but there will also be even more prospective buyers. We are entering the busiest season of home buying with the lowest amount of inventory in three years. To be competitive, buyers should get pre-approved for a mortgage and be ready to act quickly if they find a home that meets their needs.”

Smoke goes on to say:

“Listings are growing as they normally do this time of the year, but because demand has been growing faster than supply, homes are selling faster. So the monthly trend is the normal seasonal pattern, but the year-over-year decline is reflective of demand being stronger than supply for more than a year, which is resulting in fewer homes available and faster-moving inventory.”

In this type of market, a seller may hold a major negotiating advantage when it comes to price and other aspects of the real estate transaction including the inspection, appraisal and financing contingencies.

Bottom Line

As a potential seller, you are in the driver’s seat right now. It might be time to hit the gas.

How can I help you achieve your real estate goals?

About Carol Juntunen: I'm a Realtor® with Baird & Warner in the Chicago Northwest suburbs. My intention is to provide insights and information to empower you to make informed real estate choices and decisions, and guide you through the home buying, selling or renting process.

Ready to sell your house? Contact me:
Website: www.caroljuntunen.com
Email:   carol.juntunen@bairdwarner.com
Cell:    224-523-2217

 

Top Three Reasons To Make Your Move

spring season

The spring season has kicked off, and we are full steam ahead into the strongest real estate market in nearly a decade. If you have been on the fence about buying or selling your home, here are some important points to consider:

For Buyers

1. Increasing Prices. Home prices in Illinois have increased steadily every month for the past 41 months, and experts expect this trend to continue for the rest of 2016.

2. Historically Low Rates. Mortgage rates are around four percent right now, providing buyers with an incredible opportunity to keep monthly payments to a minimum.

3. Rents are Rising. RealtyTrac’s 2016 Rental Affordability Analysis found that buying is more affordable than renting in Cook County. The higher rents go, the more difficult it becomes to save for a down payment.

For Sellers

1. Less Competition. The number of homes for sale in Illinois in January declined 12.6 percent from January 2015, meaning there are even fewer homes to meet the incredible demand.

2. Shorter Market Time. Because demand is so high, available properties are seeing multiple offers after spending fewer days on the market.

3. Positive Price Appreciation. Homeowner equity, generally your largest source of wealth, has increased across Chicagoland due to the consistent increase in home prices.

If you are considering buying or selling in 2016, let’s set up a time to meet. We can discuss your specific needs and the conditions in your local market to develop a plan that’s right for you.

How can I help you achieve your real estate goals so that you can live YOUR life?

About Carol Juntunen: I’m a Realtor® with Baird & Warner in the Chicago northwest suburbs. My intention is to provide insights and information to empower you to make informed real estate choices and decisions, and guide you through the home buying, selling or renting process.

Ready to buy, sell or rent? Contact me:
Website: www.caroljuntunen.com
Email:   carol.juntunen@bairdwarner.com
Cell:    224-523-2217

 

The Top Reasons Why Americans Buy Homes

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Last week, the inaugural “Homebuyer Insights Report” was released by the Bank of America. The report revealed the reasons why consumers purchase homes and what their feelings are regarding homeownership.

Consumer Lending Executive, D. Steve Boland, explained:

“Homebuyers today are motivated by both emotional and practical reasons. Nearly all want more space, but a majority of homebuyers, especially those purchasing their first home, are also looking for a place to call their own, put down roots and make memories. They value the emotional benefits of owning a home as much as the financial ones.”

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Boland went on to say:

“The path to homeownership is a journey and can be as overwhelming as it is exciting. For many people, this is the single most significant financial transaction they will ever make.”

This was evidenced in the report when they asked today’s homebuyers to define homeownership. Their answers tell the whole story:

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Bottom Line

Homeownership has always been a part of the American Dream and survey after survey confirms this will always be the case.

How can I help you achieve your real estate goals so that you can live YOUR life?

About Carol Juntunen: I’m a Realtor® with Baird & Warner in the Chicago northwest suburbs. My intention is to provide insights and information to empower you to make informed real estate choice and decisions, and guide you your through the home buying, selling or renting process.

Are you ready to buy, sell or rent? Contact me:
Website: www.caroljuntunen.com
Email:   carol.juntunen@bairdwarner.com
Cell:    224-523-2217

 

 

You Can Save for a Down Payment Faster Than You Think

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In a study conducted by Builder.com, researchers determined that nationwide, it would take “nearly eight years” for a first-time buyer to save enough for a down payment on their dream home.

Depending on where you live, median rents, incomes and home prices all vary. By determining the percentage of income a renter spends on housing in each state, and the amount needed for a 10% down payment, they were able to establish how long (in years) it would take for an average resident to save.

According to the study, residents in South Dakota are able to save for a down payment the quickest in just under 3.5 years. Below is a map created using the data for each state:

Years-To-Save-10-KCM-768x576

What if you only needed to save 3%?

What if you were able to take advantage of one of the Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae 3% down programs? Suddenly saving for a down payment no longer takes 5 or 10 years, but becomes attainable in under two years in many states as shown in the map below.

Years-To-Save-3-KCM-768x576

Bottom Line

Whether you have just started to save for a down payment, or have been for years, you may be closer to your dream home than you think! Let me help you evaluate your ability to buy today.

How can I help you achieve your real estate goals so that you can live YOUR life?

About Carol Juntunen:
I’m a Realtor® with Baird & Warner in the Chicago northwest suburbs. My intention is to provide insights and information to empower you to make informed real estate choices and decisions, and guide you through the home buying, selling or renting process.

Ready to buy or sell? Contact me:
Website: www.caroljuntunen.com 
Email:   carol.juntunen@bairdwarner.com
Cell:    224-523-2217

Building Wealth: First Rung on the Ladder is Housing

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How Housing Matters is a joint project of the Urban Land Institute and the MacArthur Foundation. It is “an online resource for the most rigorous research and practical information on how a quality, stable, affordable home in a vibrant community contributes to individual and community success”.

A recent story they published, The First Rung on the Ladder to Economic Opportunity Is Housing, discussed the importance of having affordable housing available to as many families as possible because:

“The ladder to economic success can stretch only so high without the asset-building power of homeownership.

Home equity provides Americans with the ability to send their children to college with less student loan debt and is the primary source of funds for retirement. Half of the assets of Americans over age 55 are in their home.”

Bottom Line

I have often posted that the net worth of a family owning a home is 45 times greater than that of a family that rents. That is not a coincidence.

How can I help you achieve your real estate goals so that you can live YOUR life?

About Carol Juntunen:
I'm a Realtor® with Baird & Warner in the Chicago northwest suburbs. My intention is to provide insights and information to empower you to make informed real estate choices and decisions, and guide you through the home buying, selling or renting process.

Ready to buy, sell or rent? Contact me:
Website: www.caroljuntunen.com
Email:   carol.juntunen@bairdwarner.com
Cell:    224-523-2217

 

 

 

Rent or Buy: Either Way You’re Paying A Mortgage

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There are some renters that have not yet purchased a home because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that, unless you are living with your parents rent free, you are paying a mortgage – either your mortgage or your landlord’s.

As The Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University explains:

“Households must consume housing whether they own or rent. Not even accounting for more favorable tax treatment of owning, homeowners pay debt service to pay down their own principal while households that rent pay down the principal of a landlord plus a rate of return.  

That’s yet another reason owning often does—as Americans intuit—end up making more financial sense than renting.”

Christina Boyle, a Senior Vice President, Head of Single-Family Sales & Relationship Management at Freddie Mac, explains another benefit of securing a mortgage vs. paying rent:

“With a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, you’ll have the certainty & stability of knowing what your mortgage payment will be for the next 30 years – unlike rents which will continue to rise over the next three decades.”

As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ that allows you to have equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee your landlord is the person with that equity.

The graph below shows the widening gap in net worth between a homeowner and a renter:

Net-Worth-KCM (1)

Bottom Line

Whether you are looking for a primary residence for the first time or are considering a vacation home on the shore, owning might make more sense than renting with home values and interest rates projected to climb.

How can I help you achieve your real estate goals so that you can live YOUR life?

About Carol Juntunen:
My name is Carol Juntunen and I’m a Realtor® with Baird & Warner in the Chicago northwest suburbs. My intention is to provide insights and information to empower you to make informed real estate choices and decisions, and guide you through the home buying, selling or renting process.

Ready to buy, sell or rent? Contact me:
Website: www.caroljuntunen.com
Email:   carol.juntunen@bairdwarner.com
Cell:    224-523-2217 

 

Don’t Wait! Move Up To Your Dream Home Now!

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Now that the housing market has stabilized, more and more homeowners are considering moving up to the home they have always dreamed of. Prices are still below those of a few years ago and interest rates have stayed near historic lows.

Sellers should realize that waiting to make the move when mortgage rates are projected to increase probably doesn’t make sense. As rates increase, the price of the house you can afford will decrease if you plan to stay within a certain budget for your monthly housing costs. 

Here is a chart detailing this point:

BuyersPurchasingPowerKCM-768x576

According to Freddie Mac, the current 30-year fixed rate is currently around 3.75%.With each quarter of a percent increase in interest rate, the value of the home you can afford decreases by 2.5% (in this example, by $10,000).

Freddie Mac predicts that mortgage rates will be closer to 4.7% by this time next year.

Act now to get the most house for your hard-earned money.

How can I help you achieve your real estate goals so that you can live YOUR life?

About Carol Juntunen:
My name is Carol Juntunen and I'm a Realtor® with Baird & Warner in the Chicago northwest suburbs. My intention is to provide insights and information to empower you to make informed real estate choices and decisions, and guide you through the home buying, selling or renting process.

Ready to buy, sell or rent? Contact me:
Website:  www.caroljuntunen.com
Email:    carol.juntunen@bairdwarner.com
Cell:     224-523-2217  

 

Don’t Be Fooled… Homeownership Is A Great Investment!

Dont-Be-Fooled

Highlights

  • Harvard University’s Joint Center of Housing Studies recently released the top financial & emotional reasons to own a home.
  • Owning is a good way to build up wealth that can be passed along to your family as it is usually a form of “forced savings.”
  • You’re paying for a house whether you own or rent, but owning gives you control over your living space.

Let’s discuss your options!

How can I help you achieve your real estate goals so that you can live YOUR life?

About Carol Juntunen:
My name is Carol Juntunen and I’m a Realtor® with Baird & Warner in the Chicago northwest suburbs. My intention is to provide insights and information to empower you to make informed real estate choices and decisions, and guide you through the home buying, selling or renting process.

Ready to buy, sell or rent? Contact me:
Website:  www.caroljuntunen.com
Email:    carol.juntunen@bairdwarner.com
Cell:     224-523-2217

The Importance of Using an Agent to Sell Your House

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When a homeowner decides to sell their house, they obviously want the best possible price with the least amount of hassles. However, for the vast majority of sellers, the most important result is to actually get the home sold.

In order to accomplish all three goals, a seller should realize the importance of using a real estate professional. We realize that technology has changed the purchaser’s behavior during the home buying process. For the past three years, 92% of all buyers have used the internet in their home search according to the National Association of Realtors’ most recent Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers.

However, the report also revealed that 95% percent of buyers that used the internet when searching for a home purchased their home through either a real estate agent/broker or from a builder or builder’s agent. Only 2% purchased their home directly from a seller whom the buyer didn’t know.

Buyers search for a home online, but then depend on an agent to find the actual home they will buy (53%), or to negotiate the terms of the sale & price (48%), or to help understand the process (60%).

The plethora of information now available has resulted in an increase in the percentage of buyers that reach out to real estate professionals to “connect the dots”. This is obvious, as the percentage of overall buyers who used an agent to buy their home has steadily increased from 69% in 2001.

Bottom Line

If you are thinking of selling your home, don’t underestimate the role a real estate professional can play in the process.

How can I help you achieve your real estate goals?

About Carol Juntunen:
My name is Carol Juntunen and I’m a Realtor® with the Baird & Warner in the Chicago northwest suburbs. My intention is to proved insights and information to empower you to make informed real estate choices and decisions, and guide you through the home buying, selling, or renting process.

Contact Me:
Website: www.caroljuntunen.com
Email: carol.juntunen@bairdwarner.com
Cell: 224-523-2217