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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 These types of renovations are at a higher risk of becoming obsolete and outdated as years pass.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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Want to Generate More Referrals? Plan a Client Party!

By the experts at Buffini & Co.

shutterstock_69309796When you work by referral, your relationships drive your business. In order to build lasting relationships with your clients, it’s important to maintain consistent contact with them. How can you do this? Get face-to-face and voice-to-voice with them! However, communication goes beyond a few phone calls and a Pop-By a month; client parties are a fun way to catch up with several of your favorite clients at once, thank them for their business and ask for referrals.

Show your appreciation

Everyone wants to feel appreciated and your clients are no different. After all, their business and referrals keep you in business! While saying “thank you” is certainly an effective way to express gratitude, it’s important to show them how much they mean to you.

Client parties are an opportunity to express gratitude beyond the spoken word. For Dan and Maria O’Dell, real estate agents from Kansas City, Missouri, client parties have helped them show their appreciation to their existing clients while they grow their database. “We do the events to show our commitment to our clientele,” says Dan.

According to Maria, they started throwing high-end, larger scale client parties a few years ago. “People love them!” says Dan. “We do them well.”

Don’t forget to ask for referrals

While you’re thanking your clients for their business, remember to ask them for referrals. When is the best time to ask? When you’re chatting with them, of course! Take a page from the O’Dells: “We ask for business,” says Dan. “We ask them to connect us with people that they love and care for. The more you receive, the more you can give away, and that’s what we’re about.”

What if you’re an introvert?

Do large groups of people make you break out in hives? You can still host a client party; the key is to keep it small. If you’re more introverted, you may prefer to connect with people one-on-one.  Small parties allow you to focus your attention on your clients, while avoiding the noise and distractions that come with large parties. So, while your extroverted peers are hosting a 500-person bash, invite a few of your top referrers over for an intimate dinner party. You’ll enjoy all of the benefits of a larger party without the stress of entertaining a big group of people.

Now is the time to start planning

Inspired to start planning your next client party? Autumn is the perfect time to host one. Plan a hayride with your favorite clients and their families, an afternoon at a winery with your A+ clients or go all-out with a Halloween-themed party. It doesn’t matter what you do; just make sure it’s fun!

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

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Success Tips for the Self-Employed

Being self-employed is the ultimate freedom. You get to be your own boss, set your own schedule and enjoy unlimited income potential. But this sort of flexibility also comes with real risk. With so much responsibility to juggle, how can you stay on track, build your business, and fulfill your potential?


Here are six tips that will help you lay the foundation for a profitable and rewarding business for years to come, while simultaneously enjoying all the benefits of working for yourself:

Take a Risk and Do it Now

Have you been putting off a project or venture until you have all the answers? The truth is, you will never have all the answers. As inspirational author and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar once said, ‘You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.’ What really matters is moving forward so be brave, take that one step that’s required, and start now. It doesn’t have to work out perfectly – you can always refine later.

Create and Stick to your To-Do List

Daily habits are critical to financial success, most especially in how we manage our time. It’s all too easy for hours to slip by answering emails and becoming distracted by social media. To keep on track, create and diligently stick to a to-do list. Schedule appointments and build time blocks for high-priority activities in your daily planner. If you make these tasks non-negotiable, you will consistently achieve your priorities.

Track and Measure

If you have no formula to measure your success then you will have nothing by which to track your progress – or lack of. Write down your business goals, determine what you have to accomplish every day to reach them, and then start consistently tracking. If you don’t then you can easily drift off course.

Get Checks Ahead

In the real estate industry, income can ebb and flow. Bearing this in mind, make it a goal to have three months of business expenses in reserve to give your company some breathing room – and give yourself some peace of mind. By consistently saving, you will always have the resources to hand to navigate the inevitable valleys.

Invest in Yourself

shutterstock_129217481Long-life educational self improvement is critical to success – after all, it’s your skills that pay the bills so it’s important to keep them up to date and fresh. To achieve this, always allocate ten percent of your income to growth opportunities such as business conferences, training programs, business books, etc. This isn’t a waste of valuable resources – it’s a long-term investment in the health of your business.

Pay Yourself a Salary

No one should work for free. Determine what your monthly expenses are and then cut yourself a check for that amount every month. Anything that’s left over should go back into your business.

Follow this step by step plan and working for yourself will no longer be a chore – it will be everything that you ever dreamed it could be!

Download and print the Success Tips for the Self-Employed infographic as a reminder to stay on track with your business goals.

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

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