Monthly Archives: April, 2006

Considering a Home Remodel? Make Sure It Will Pay Off

If your family has to wait in line to take a shower, or if you’re storing pots and pans in the laundry room due to lack of cabinet space, it could be time to consider a home remodeling project. Not only will an updated space make your house more pleasant for you and your family, it can pay off in higher resale value.

To find out if your project will add to the resale value of your home, take stock of other houses in your neighborhood. Have many of them been upgraded in the past few years? If everyone on the block has added a bathroom or upgraded their master suite, these projects would be worth considering. On the other hand, you may not want to price your house out of the market by adding a third or fourth garage if that’s not the standard in your area.

Remodeling Magazine conducts an annual survey that compares construction costs with resale values. Over the past four years, bathroom and kitchen remodeling have consistently shown good returns on investment. In 2005, a kitchen remodel that included updating cabinet fronts; replacing the oven, stove, sink and faucet; adding new paint or wall coverings; and replacing existing flooring recouped 98.5 percent of the job cost at resale time as a national average.

Bathroom remodels pay off even better. Updating a bathroom that is 25 years old with new fixtures, tub, and toilet; adding new tile, a solid surface vanity counter, ceramic floor and wallpaper recoups on average 102.2 percent.

Of course, you won’t want to tackle a home improvement project solely for the resale value, especially if you intend to stay put for a while. A remodel can contribute to a better quality of living for your family while your house increases in value. “Choose an improvement that makes sense for you and your family and one that you can afford,” says Maxine Sweet, vice president of public education for Experian, a global information solutions company.

To decide if a home remodeling project is right for you, make a list of features that you would like in the room to be renovated, taking into account how you and your family use the space. Consider traffic patterns, lighting and special features you’d like, such as a wet bar or walk-in shower.

Next, figure out how much you can spend on the project. You might want to consider taking out a home equity loan to finance the remodel. Because the loan is secured by your home, it will likely have a lower annual percentage rate, and you may get some tax breaks, too. The amount you can borrow is limited by the equity you have in your home. Other factors that may influence the amount you can borrow include your credit history, income and current financial responsibilities. Also, be sure to have a plan for how you will repay the loan. You don’t want to put your home at risk or add too much stress to the family budget.

To make sure your financing is ready when you are, visit a credit reporting company online such as www.experian.com to quickly and easily access your credit report. “If you notice anything questionable, such as accounts you don’t recognize, or payment disputes, deal with those issues before applying for a home equity loan,” says Sweet. “It can also be helpful to have your credit score which will tell you specifically the factors in your credit history that could be considered risky by lenders.”

Finally, get bids from several contractors to see how your budget and the cost of your dream remodel compare. Ask friends, neighbors and co-workers for recommendations, or ask your lender if they’re familiar with the contractors you’re considering. Another great way to check out a company is SmartBusinessReports, also available through Experian. These business credit reports provide consumers with background information, comprehensive financial information and credit risk facts about the business they are considering using in an easy-to-read, online format.

As with any big project, you’ll need to be flexible and not let the inevitable glitches get in the way of the big picture – when you’re done, you’ll have a beautiful new space for you and your family to enjoy for years to come. (ARA)

If you would like input from a real estate professional as to whether or not your home improvement project will add resale value to your home or if you are over-improving for the neighborhood, just give me a call at 802-226-8022. I am glad to help.

BIG RIVER DAY Saturday June 10, 2006 Come and Join the FUN!!!

BIG RIVER DAY Saturday June 10, 2006 Come and Join the FUN!!!

Featuring:
Canoeing, Fishing Derbies,
River Clean-ups, Storm Drain Marking & More!
Marine City Fishing Fun Day: (10am – 1pm) Free fishing at Broadway Park on the corners of Water and Broadway streets. Fishing poles, tackle, and bait provided. Informational literature on Michigan’s fish and reptiles available. Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Contact: Marine City Recreation at (810) 765-8094 or mailto:lzyrowski@marinecitymich.org?subject=Marine .
Marine City: Wastewater Plant Tours (8am – 11am) Have you ever given thought to where your dirty water goes after it leaves your house? How does it get cleaned? Find out during this unforgettable tour. Located at 1696 South Parker Street (M-29). Contact: Jeff Wren at (810) 765-9011 or mailto:jwren@marinecitymich.org?subject=Waste

Visit My Web site, http://www.wynnea.com/, for more information or Call Wynne on cell 586-260-7653

Vermont Real Estate Bursts Into Spring

The National Association Of Realtors predictions that the housing market will remain on a high plateau (see previous post) is holding true for Central/Southern Vermont.

The March real estate sales report is in and though March 2006 is not quite what March 2005 was, the market remains strong.

The number of New Listings for March 2006 is down by 17% from the March 2005 numbers. The Sold Listings in March 2006, however, are up 67% over the same time period in 2005. The Average Sales Price is also up by 5%.

What does this mean for Vermont buyers and sellers?

For buyers, it means there is less inventory or less homes to choose from. There is stiff competition among buyers for the good properties. This is a market that you want to have an experienced Realtor representing you who knows the nuances of a competitive market.

For sellers, it means you need the advice and counsel of a Realtor who is knowledgeable and the has experience needed help you price your home neither too high or nor too low.

I have earned my CRS (Certified Residential Specialist) designation. This is the highest designation in the real estate industry. The CRS is held by only 2% of all real estate agents nation-wide. This designation is held by the best!

So choose the best to represent you in your next real estate transaction. Give me a call, 802-226-8022. Don’t settle for anything less!

Housing Market To Stay on High Plateau

Home sales should remain strong this year according to a report just released from the National Association of Realtors. The association expects sales to move up and down somewhat over for the rest of the year, but are predicting 2006 as being the third strongest year in history.

NAR President Thomas M. Stevens from Vienna, Va., said home prices are expected to cool, but not as much as in earlier projections. Click here to read the full report.

So if you were waiting for the real estate market to go bust before you buy, you probably shouldn’t hesitate any longer. Visit my website, www.ISellVermontRealEstate.com, or contact me by phone, 802-226-8022, or e-mail. I will show you how you can take advantage of this strong market and low interest rates.

Important Tax Information for Vermont Home Owners

Important Tax Information for Vermont Home Owners
(In Vermont the deadline is April 18 this year)

The April 18 tax deadline is only a few days away and hopefully you are well on your way to completing your tax return and you won’t be one of those people in line at the post office late at night on April 17!

If you purchased a home in 2005, you will need the HUD-1 Statement from the closing on your new home, when calculating your taxes. This is the document itemizing the monies at closing. Your accountant or tax advisor will be able to tell you which of your closing costs are tax deductible.

The mortgage interest that is reflected on the HUD-1 is not calculated in the interest reflected on your year end statement that you will receive from your mortgage company. So, be sure to add the interest in the HUD-1 to other interest paid for the year.

If I can help with any other questions concerning the purchase of your home last year or if you are considering buying a home this year, give me a call, 802-226-8022. I’m glad to help. Or visit my website, www.ISellVermontRealEstate.com. You will find a wealth of information there.