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Improve Your Home With a Split Air Conditioning System With the phase out of the R-22 systems it is more than likely getting close to r...
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Friday, February 25, 2011
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Saturday, February 12, 2011
The Worst Home Improvements For The Money
Not long ago a new bathroom paid for itself when a home was sold. Not anymore.
Like many people, you might be under the impression that home improvements are good investments that pay for themselves when you sell your house. You'd be wrong in most cases. Except for steel entry doors, that is.
Such doors tend to recoup 102% of the construction cost when a home is sold. A front door made of fiberglass--which actually costs more to buy and install--won't pay off nearly as well. It only pulls in 60% of its original cost.
The sad truth is that most home improvements are like fiberglass doors, and won't come close to paying for themselves. Some projects--namely room additions and upscale remodeling--are just plain dollar drains, according to the 2010-2011 Cost Vs. Value report.
The annual survey, conducted by Remodeling magazine in collaboration with the National Association of Realtors, compares construction cost estimates (provided by HomeTech Information Systems) with resale value estimates (provided by members of NAR) across the country for 35 mid-range and upscale home remodeling projects.
In 2005 renovations would, at the very least, recoup their costs on resale. Nowadays almost none do. With home prices tanking the past several years, the return on renovations has suffered, especially when it comes to high-end jobs.
"The first projects to start losing value were the bigger-ticket ones, and even now, when people are doing larger-volume projects, they still don't spend what they used to," explains Sal Alfano, editorial director of Remodeling magazine.
"You're competing against the prospective owner's opportunity to build it [an addition or upscale remodeling] themselves," seconds Elizabeth Mendenhall, vice president of committees for the National Association of Realtors. When it comes to renovations, it's vital to keep potential buyers' tastes in mind, not just your own, she says.
Obviously a homeowner with long-term plans to settle down should remodel however he or she sees fit. Construction costs are still down, and if you want to build that bright pink dream kitchen, have at it. After all, many homeowners are now opting to stay put and update their current homes to better fit their lifestyles.
Just be aware that that decadent kitchen will only retrieve $597 of every $1,000 spent if you decide to list. Other projects sure to lighten your wallet: Home office remodeling, which redeem a measly $458 of every $1,000 spent, sun room additions only $486 and bathroom additions at $533.
These numbers, based on a national average of local comparisons gleaned from across the country, vary relative to each market's values and demands. If you want to know how a project will specifically affect your property's value within your neighborhood, query a local Realtor, urges Mendenhall.
If you're going to shell out money on improvements, focus on your home's exterior. Windows offer relatively decent returns, as do garage door replacements and siding replacements. Still nothing, save that steel entry door, refills the home improvement coffers 100%--or even as much as 85%. The bright side is these fixes can boost energy efficiency, offer potential tax savings and, when the time does come to sell, add ever-vital curb appeal to your home.
Aspiring sellers would do well to make some basic fixes as well. Forbes reported last year that sellers could improve their homes for buyers more efficiently--and more cheaply--by simply tidying up the rooms and slapping a fresh coat of paint on the walls. Steve Domber, president of Prudential Serls Prime Properties, a real estate brokerage operating across New York state and Connecticut, also suggests replacing old carpets, using neutral colors and bringing more light into the home.
Sunday, February 6, 2011
Improve Your Home With a Split Air Conditioning System
With the phase out of the R-22 systems it is more than likely getting close to replace your split air conditioning system. With all of the air conditioning and heating companies that are out there it can be tough to make a choice on what kind of system it is that you will need. For instance should you get a split unit with an electric heater? Or should you get a split air conditioning system with an electric heater and a heat pump? The answer to these questions will actually depend on where you are living geographically.
But the real reason that you should think about a new air conditioning installation in your home is the money you will save in the long run. First off, all of the new air conditioning systems that are manufactured these days come with an energy efficiency rating of at least 13, which is also known as a SEER rating. This is something that you should take into account if you are thinking about a new air conditioning installation for your home.
The higher the SEER rating on your air conditioning system is the less energy that the unit is going to use. Also you are going to see that the higher the SEER rating is on your AC unit is the quieter the unit is going to be also. With that said the units are actually a lot bigger as they go up in SEER ratings. This is something that you are going to have to consider if you have limited space where your old condensing unit is. This usually will have a problem in places such as condos.
When upgrading your air conditioning system make sure that the installers or engineers also replace your duct work and make sure that it is properly sized for the home. You also have to make sure the engineer sizes the unit right for your home. This is a lot more than guessing a tonnage based on just square footage for your home. A lot of this has to do with what type of insulation you have in your attics, what type of roof you have, and what type of material your home is built from. All of this comes into effect when properly sizing your new air conditioning system for your home.
Depending on where you live new air conditioning and heating installations can range anywhere from $4,000 and up. This all depends on how much modification will have to be done to the duct work, if not a complete re-haul of the duct work. For instance if your old unit is an 8 seer, and you get a16 seer air conditioning system installed you are not going to get anywhere near the maximum efficiency of the rated capacity for the new air conditioning system unless you modify the duct work so that you get the proper air flow.
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Americans Choose Remodeling Over Moving
For millions of Americans, the economy of recent years has forced a hold on the dream of moving to a larger house, relocating to a different area or building a new home. Some homeowners have beenunable to sell their current property. Others have been unable to secure a new mortgage due to tighter regulations. As a result, many homeowners have sought to remodel their current properties – either to suit their own changing needs, or to attract the buyer and price they want.
Ever wonder what your fellow countrymen and women and doing to their homes? It used to be that residential remodeling activity was reported by the U.S. Census Bureau, but the Census discontinued that survey at the end of 2007. To fill the gap left by the Census, BuildFax, a division of BUILDERadius, has created the BuildFax Residential Remodeling Index (BFRRI), the only source directly reporting residential remodeling activity across the nation.
The information in the BFRRI is derived from relatedbuilding permit activity filed with 4,000+ cities and counties throughout the country. Local building departments inspect construction to make sure it meets quality and safety standards; BuildFax is then able to consolidate this information into a central database, which is a tremendous asset to buyers and sellers of property.
The BFRRI reports trends in remodeling activity for the entire United States, as well as for the four major regions of the country: Northeast, South, Midwest and West. Updates to the index will be released in the middle of each month, on the day preceding the Census’s release of new housing starts.
The very first BFRRI, released on January 18, 2011, indicated that remodeling activity has returned to pre-recession levels. Combined with the depressed number of new housing starts, a significant increase in remodeling activity may indicate a more substantial shift toward reinvesting in existing homes over building new ones.
On a regional basis, the South and the Northeast continue to lag behind the Midwest and West. According to the BFRRI:
- The Northeast was down 1.7 points (2%) month-over-month and down 4.9 points (6%) year-over-year.
- The South was down 4.0 points (5%) month-over-month but up 6.5 points (8%) year-over-year.
- The Midwest was down 3.0 points (3%) month-over-month but up 3.9 points (4%) year-over-year.
- The West was down 1.1 points (1%) month-over-month but up 4.6 points (5%) year-over-year.
Find out how to continue snooping on national and regional remodeling stats at BuildFax.