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Posts Tagged home seller

How to Renovate Your Home without Exceeding Neighborhood Value

by Courtney Soinski

Before you decide to renovate your home, it’s important to understand that not all renovations will increase the value. It is certainly possible to over-remodel, and you don’t want it to exceed the value of your neighbors’ homes. Here are some ways to get the highest return on investment (ROI) possible when the time comes to sell your home.

Projects always worth your while

shutterstock_138891047There are specific renovation projects that can deliver the greatest effect on your ROI, regardless of the real estate market’s current state or the value of surrounding homes. According to real estate expert Robert Stammers in a recent article in Investopedia, these can be projects such as an addition of a wood deck, kitchen and bathroom upgrades as well as window replacements.

shutterstock_117312145Factor in location

A common mistake that homeowner tend to make is renovating their homes to the point where it exceeds the value of surrounding homes. The fact of the matter is that people look in a specific neighborhood because of its proximity to nearby businesses or recreation and it’s in their price range. If improvements done to your home are much higher than homes around you, it’s unlikely that they’ll want to pay more for those improvements, even if they’re interested.

Make improvements that will add value over time

Some home improvements, like upgrading the technological features of a home, will not have a lasting impact, and may even bring down the home value. These types of renovations are at a higher risk of becoming obsolete and outdated as years pass. Technology and styles change all the time, so focus on improvements that are less likely to be impacted by time and are worth your investment.

Renovations that will pay you back


Regardless of whether a homeowner is planning to sell or not, the ultimate objective of taking on a renovation is to revel in the enjoyment you get from living in an updated home while gaining considerable profit from that investment. There are many tools out there that show the kind of profit you can expect from specific home remodels. A perfect example of this is Remodeling magazine’s “Cost vs. Value” annual report.

Here are some of the findings from the 2015 Remodeling Cost Vs. Value report:

Projects that deliver the highest percentage of return on investment

  • Entry door replacement (steel): 101.8%
  • Garage door replacement: 88.4%
  • Siding replacement (fiber-cement): 84.3%
  • Siding replacement (vinyl): 80.7%
  • Deck addition (wood): 80.5%

Renovation projects that deliver the lowest percentage of return on investment 

  • Sunroom addition: 48.5%
  • Home office remodel: 48.7%
  • Master suite addition: 53.7%
  • Garage addition: 54.7%
  • Bathroom addition: 57.8%


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Neighborhood Details to Consider When Buying a Home

by Courtney Soinski

shutterstock_21959743When it comes to investing in real estate, it’s not only the house that should be considered, but also the location, neighborhood, and everything in its proximity. Buying your first home can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be.

Before finalizing the exact home to buy, here are some helpful tips to determine if that home’s neighborhood is the right one for you and your family.

Every neighborhood has rules.

Depending on your lifestyle now, your next home may be in a neighborhood with laws that you’re completely not accustomed to. According to a recent article by real estate expert Bill Gassett, there may be restrictions on where you can park (some neighborhoods do not allow parking on the street) as well as which outdoor renovations that are allowed or prohibited on the land you own. These rules are referred to as “restrictive covenants” and can put a damper on your daily life in the new house. Learn them before you move in.

Do you have easy access to your favorite hobbies?

Another huge factor that comes into play is your new home’s proximity to favorite activities or hobbies. Many people tend to overlook what they’ll do in their downtime because they’re busy looking for a place that’s close to work or school. Don’t you want to live in a home that’s convenient for both business and pleasure? Having fun is just as important!

Know the HOA or Property Manager.

Before a decision is made, gain an understanding of the type of neighborhood you’re getting yourself into. Is it owned by a Homeowner’s Association or property manager? What are their rules? What about reviews? According to Forbes Magazine, you may be able to find reliable ratings online if it’s managed by a large company. Do your research, talk to neighbors, and read up on local news stories to determine if it’s the right neighborhood for you.

The noise factor.

If interested in a home whose neighborhood is right near a busy road, keep in mind how noisy it’ll be. There are a number of things that can cause noise around your home, such as nearby event centers, stadiums, pedestrian traffic, and crowded streets. Some people are okay with a little noise if that means they’re closer to the hustle and bustle of the city. If that’s not you, then you should probably re-think the location of your home and neighborhood.

Changes in property taxes & insurance rates.

It’s important to know that taxes and insurance can vary according to the area or county. Learn how your area handles taxes before you move in. Otherwise, it will come as an unpleasant surprise when you discover that you actually owe much more than expected. Living in this new area may also have an impact on your car insurance rates.

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5 Reasons Why Blog Readers Make the Best Real Estate Clients

shutterstock_85655536By Karen Highland

Keeping a consistent real estate blog is a lot of work. On top of the actual job of being a REALTOR®, a blog requires a layer of technical knowledge and writing skill, and demands some artistic and creative talent as well. Successful blogging also requires continued learning; as search and web technologies change, a blogger must keep up with the changes. Let’s face it, blogging for your real estate business is like another part time job. It takes continued investment of time and creative energy. Is it worth the effort?

There are millions of pages of information available to Internet searchers. When I searched for the term “real estate blog” I was offered 389 million results. That’s a lot! But the truth is much of that information is generic, 10-point, rehashed compost.

There are ways of standing out in the crowd by mastering the blog, and blog leads are often the best online leads a real estate agent can get. Here are five reasons to master the blog and get those great leads:

1. Blog readers value education.

Clients who contact us through our blog tend to be more educated and tend to have a higher income. We can include the purchasers of a $1.55 million farm, the high end for our small market, and we can include first-time buyers as well. With an average sales price of $300,000 in our market, the average home purchase for our blog readers is $450,000.

People who read blogs are generally looking for detailed information. They want in-depth explanations as well as niche neighborhood information. They want to understand as much of the process as they can before they contact an agent. If your blog content provides that information, you will be the one they contact when they are ready to act. You will stand a good chance at becoming their trusted adviser.

An example: Two of our blog readers, a doctor and an aeronautical engineer, were considering buying a farm that was a short sale, and reasoned that they ought to have a short sale expert as a buyer’s agent. They did a search and found our blog, contacted us and we showed them an $800,000 farm. They decided that it wasn’t for them, but we had won them over with our blog content and local knowledge. We showed them two more houses and they ended up buying the $1.55 million home, and not a short sale.

2. Blog readers are usually methodical and patient.

shutterstock_191532938Many of the buyers and sellers who will contact you from your blog have probably been reading your content for a while, typically for six months or more. This is why consistency is the key to successful blogging. As you write week after week, explaining terms and concepts, and sharing stories and tips, you can trust that your readers are taking it in and educating themselves – or even better, both.

An example: We just closed with a client last week who first contacted us from our blog four years ago! He’s a software engineer who’s been analyzing the market and waiting for the right time to buy. The greatest thing about these clients is we don’t have to work anxiously on staying in touch. Our blog content does the work for us. When it comes to nurturing a contact, consistent blogging really works. The beautiful thing is your blog content is keeping you in front of clients you haven’t even met yet!

3. Blog readers are usually already sold on you before you even meet them.

They have been reading your content, watching your videos and absorbing your expertise for a few months, sometimes longer. Most often, you don’t have to do a song-and-dance presentation to win them over when you meet them the first time; they already consider you a local expert. They often even feel like they know you.

4. Blog readers want granular, nuanced information.

They are looking for neighborhood information and expertise. They don’t take it for granted that just because agents market themselves as a neighborhood expert that they really are. Readers are looking for online proof. By providing information about all the aspects of living in a community, and by using local geo-tagged photos of the neighborhoods and the amenities, you will prove to be the neighborhood expert your readers are looking for.

5. Blog readers are Internet savvy.

It makes sense; they are familiar with searching, and reading blogs and websites. They appreciate a good web presence, so make sure that yours is the best it can be. It’s a good idea to check your links regularly to fix broken links and 404 errors. (By the way, I love it when my fellow bloggers alert me to errors on my blog pages.) Again, the best thing about this kind of lead is that they know what they are looking for, and if you’re the one to provide it, you’ll be the one they contact!

Karen and Chris Highland are real estate agents in Central Maryland. You can find Chris and Karen on Twitter, Google+, and Facebook.

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2015. All rights reserved.

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