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A new edition every month! October 2014 Electronic Real Estate Newsletter
Get The Most Bang For Your Remodeling Bucks
Building Permits Save Problems Now and Later
Money Matters
Bright Ideas For Reducing Your Mortgage Costs
Design A Home Office That Really Works For You
Get Everything Up And Running Quickly In Your New Home
Kitchen Countertops Set A Whole New Style
Fixtures Can Add Beauty Value And Convenience To Your Home
  HOME IMPROVEMENTS
 
 
Get The Most Bang For Your Remodeling Bucks
Thinking about making a change to your home? Be sure your remodeling dollars are well spent.

You certainly should focus on making your home a place you (rather than some future buyer) will enjoy living in. Still, it makes sense to remodel with an eye to maximizing the return you'll get on your remodeling costs when the time does come to sell.

Consider the following suggestions:

1. Try To Fit In
Make sure your changes are consistent with the neighborhood. Don't improve your home's value more than 20% above the average value of homes in your area. If three bedrooms are standard and you are adding two more, you are not likely to get a very good return on your investment. Consider moving to a larger home rather than over-improving your current one.

2. Take The Middle Path
Shy away from highly decorative (or expensive) fixtures and designs. While a black-onyx wet bar and a mirrored wall might suit your fancy, it may make your home harder to sell later on. Remember, trendy colors and styles become stale all too soon (remember "harvest gold"?). Classic styles and neutral colors, on the other hand, stand the test of time. Express your individual taste with furnishings that you can take with you when you go.

3. Invest In Popular Improvements
Renovations with the best return include changes in the kitchen or bathrooms and room additions accomplished by adding on or enclosing a porch or garage. Tour similar homes that are for sale to see what kind of renovations your neighbors have made. Take a look inside some new homes, too. Builders know what today's buyers are looking for; you may want to incorporate a few of the latest features in your home remodeling project.

4. Look At Your Moving Timetable
Will you be moving in a year or two? If so, shy away from major projects or personalized "luxury" updates such as saunas or art studios. You could end up spending extra money to reconvert the space if your buyers don't like the results. Don't start renovating if you expect a short-term stay, because long-term remodeling loans will deduct cash from your equity when you sell.

5. Find A Reputable Contractor
Look for a contractor with a solid track record doing the kind of work you're looking for. Check for proof of insurance, licensing and bonding. Ask for references and contact several. Make sure you have a contract that spells out all of the details and possible scenarios -- materials, periodic payments based on progress, completion dates, etc.

 
 
 
 SEEKING APPROVAL
 
Building Permits Save Problems Now, Later
If you're considering adding on to your home or remodeling instead of moving up, be sure to acquire the appropriate building permits before you start construction. While you may be tempted to bypass this layer of bureaucracy, when it comes time to sell your home it will be a lot easier with permits in hand.

Some buyers will ask to see permits that prove the work was done properly. There's also a risk that buyers could sue you after the sale if something goes wrong with your addition or remodeling project -- e.g., a sinking foundation or electrical problem -- and you can't provide permits showing the job met local codes.

If you've already made alterations without a proper building permit, you can seek an "as-built permit" from your local building inspector or permits office. This permit forgives your short-sightedness, approving the site as it stands.

Take note, though, the inspector may want to take a look at infrastructure before awarding the as-built permit. This could mean checking for code compliance by excavating the foundation; opening the walls, ceiling and roof; and pulling out insulation. Once you apply for an as-built permit, there's usually no backing out.

 
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Get The Most Bang For Your Remodeling Bucks
Building Permits Save Problems Now and Later
Money Matters
Bright Ideas For Reducing Your Mortgage Costs
Design A Home Office That Really Works For You
Get Everything Up And Running Quickly In Your New Home
Kitchen Countertops Set A Whole New Style
Fixtures Can Add Beauty Value And Convenience To Your Home

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