If you’re considering selling your house or a rental property, you may be asking what you can do to increase its value before it goes on the market. Even if selling is not in the cards right now but you are thinking about making home improvements, it is always a good idea to ensure you are getting the most bang for your money.
With that in mind, let us look at five ways to add significant value to your property. Then you can decide which upgrades will be most beneficial for you and your family while also boosting your home value significantly.
1. Spruce up the entrance
When it comes to drawing buyer interest, curbe appeal is crucial, but it doesn’t have to stop at a lovely lawn and garden. Replacing or simply repainting your front door can increase the value of your home.
According to Remodeling’s Cost vs. Value Report, a new steel door can return 65% of its cost, while a fiberglass door can reclaim 60.9%. Even a fresh coat of paint on an old door may make a difference. According to a Zillow poll, painting your front door black can improve the value of your home by 2.9%.
2. Replace some windows
Homeowners frequently get shivers up their spines, whether from drafty windows or the prospect of changing them. While replacing all the windows will surely increase the worth of your home, it does result in a significant expense, which may be less than ideal if you are selling the home soon.
However, you can replace specific windows, such as those on the lowest floor or the front-facing windows. Buyers prefer to know that new items are not just installed but can also save them money, and new energy-efficient windows can reduce heatinting and cooling bills.
3. Update the kitchen and bath
Your kitchen and bathrooms may need to be updated if you live in an older home. While this can be costly, you will see a return on your investment when you sell your property. If remodeling the entire kitchen and bathrooms proves too costly, consider some little changes.
You can, for example, replace all the kitchen and bathroom hardware. It will not only quickly brighten up your home, but it is also quite inexpensive. You may also replace your flooring and add decorative components to bring in pops of color. As a result, even simple improvements to your home will help raise its market worth.
4. Install energy-efficient appliances
As a homeowner, making your home more energy efficient and eco-friendly can help you save money while increasing its value. In addition, these improvements, like many others, can be done without breaking the bank.
For example, switching to LEDs, compact fluorescent lightbulbs, or upgrading to energy-efficient appliances is one of the many ways to make your home energy-efficient and increase its value. You can also put household solar panels on your roof, smart thermostats, or low-flow showerheads in your bathroom. To select the most efficient appliances for your home, look for those with the Energy Star label.
5. Add square footage
The square footage of a home has a significant impact on its value. It can also significantly improve your personal home experience. If you already live in a smaller home, you can increase the value of your property and create additonal space by adding on to the existing structure.
Larger properties frequently sell for a higher price. Consider adding a deck to the rear of your house, extra rooms above the garage, or a tiny guest house or office in your backyard to increase the value of your property.
Aside from extensions, increasing the usable space within your home’s current structure can significantly increase its value. For example, you can enhance the amount of usable square footage in your home by finishing your basement or tearing down non-load-bearing walls to create a more open-concept living space.
6. Clear up clutter
Before beginning any home renovation improvements, ensure your home is in the best shape. Cleaning your living area will significantly improve its appearance and storage capacity and resolve minor issues that may have been detracting from the value of your property, such as foul odors or mold growth.
It is important to declutter to boost the homes appeal to potential buyers. If you want to sell quickly, get rid of all the clutter, box it up, and store it properly. If you intend to stay in your current house, you may want to consider installing a cabinet or closet to increase storage.
There is no doubt that the tips above will assist you in improving the market value of your home. Remember that you do not have to spend much money to improve and update your living spaces. However, every investment is equivalent to putting money in the bank. Your home is your savings account, and it is time to start planning for its future.
Energy Saving Upgrades for Summer
(Published on - 5/15/2023 3:38:42 PM)
Realty Executives International
When temperatures rise this summer, trying to keep your energy bills low can feel like a challenging task. From smaller, practical upgrades to utilizing technology to help you use less energy, there are countless ways you can keep your home cool and save money this summer.
If you’re considering upgrading your home this summer, consider these energy-saving options. Even minor upgrades can add up to a big difference!
1. Run a routine check on your air conditioner
If your air conditioner is more than a few years old, it is important to run routine maintenance to ensure it runs smoothly and efficiently. Before summer, have an HVAC technician run a regular maintenance check and ensure your system is in proper order. They will ensure all coils, coolants, and engines are running as they should, and raise any flags about potential maintenance issues in the future.
If your air conditioner is over 15 years old, it might be time to invest in a newer, energy-efficient model that will use less electricity. There have been extensive improvements made to heating and cooling units over the last two decades, making them more efficient while using less energy.
2. Replace your air filters
The air filters in your house help keep your air conditioner running smoothly and efficiently month after month. By replacing your home’s air filters every few months, you can ensure the airflow is smoothly getting to the air conditioner unit. If your A/C is heavily used or you have shedding pets or dust in your home, consider replacing it more frequently to ensure nothing is clogged.
3. Upgrade to a programmable thermostat
Aside from the automation and convenience of a programmable or smart thermostat, it’s a simple way to save money. By upgrading your traditional thermostats, you can set a customizable schedule that reflects your routine and use of your home. This is especially helpful for the next long summer vacation you take. Set your thermostat when you head out and program it to kick back on when you’re coming back, saving you energy and money while you’re out of town. You will find the ability to control your home’s temperature from afar will preserve your energy cost, keep your home comfortable, and save you money in the process.
4. Install ceiling fans
Installing or utilizing ceiling fans is one way to keep your home cool and circulated this summer. The airflow created by the ceiling fans can help keep the cool air moving and minimize the amount of work your air conditioner unit needs to put out to cool the house. Make sure your ceiling blades are spinning counterclockwise, which will push cool air down and increase circulation. When fall and winter come, switch the direction of the blades to push the warmer air down.
5. Add blackout blinds to your sun-drenched southern rooms
Believe it or not, something as simple as adding dark curtains or blackout blinds can help keep your house cool, saving you money on your electric bill. While you don’t have to worry about north-facing windows, homes with a southern exposure can get increasingly warm in the summer thanks to the sun’s direct rays. Keeping blinds or curtains closed when you’re not in the room can keep your house cool and protected from direct rays.
6. Swap lights for energy-efficient bulbs
A low-cost and easy way to save money on your energy bills is by swapping older incandescent lights for energy-efficient LED models. Older incandescent light bulbs only convert 10 to 15 percent of the electricity they consume into light. The rest is emitted as heat, which wastes energy and keeps your house warmer than necessary. You can also purchase programmable light bulbs, ensuring your lights don’t stay on when you’re not home. These smart light bulbs have become more cost-efficient and easier to use, making them a no-brainer for easy energy savings.
7. Check your insulation
Your home’s insulation isn’t just for keeping you warm in the winter. It also keeps the cool air in your home while preventing hot air from entering. One way to invest in your home’s energy efficiency is to ensure appropriate insulation. Consider adding more insulation if you have an attic that is not insulated or has a lower-than-recommended R-value.
8. Replace old windows
One of the highest returns on investment upgrades you can make to your home is replacing old, drafty windows with a new energy-efficient option. Installing vinyl windows is expected to recoup about 68% of their value and will also save you regularly on your energy bills. While this can be a larger investment, you will notice an immediate difference in your home’s energy usage.
Before summer arrives, consider making a few upgrades in the name of energy efficiency. Even minor upgrades can help keep you cool and save some money during the warmer months!
What Homeowners Need to Know About Real Estate and Debt
(Published on - 5/10/2023 2:03:59 PM)
Realty Executives International
Investments can help you earn lots of money. If you can invest your money judiciously, you can get a good return. There are various kinds of investment vehicles through which you can earn extra dollars. Real estate finances and investment is a good and profitable investment vehicle. If you can profit from your investment, you can use that money to pay off debt.
Why is real estate investment profitable?
There are various reasons why real estate investment is considered to be quite a good investment vehicle:
Property appreciation – Properties generally appreciate during inflation. So, if you now invest in real estate, you may be able to sell it later at an appreciated value, thereby earning money. Later you can use this money to pay off debt.
Supply and demand – The American population is increasing. Thus, as per the rules of supply and demand, the constant need for housing will also increase. However, the demand for housing may not be the same every year.
Correct pricing mechanism – The real estate market is not governed by the parameters that generally control the other types of investment, such as stocks or Forex. The pricing mechanism depends on the decision of the buyer and the seller. Therefore, an investor having excellent negotiation skills may be able to make more profits in real estate investment.
Rent-friendly inflation – Property rents generally increase with inflation. So, if you invest in rental property, you may get higher rents even if your mortgage payments remain the same in case you had taken out a Fixed Rate Mortgage (FRM) against your property. Inflation increases the demand for properties, increasing the rent on properties.
Equity build-up – You can also get money from your property if you make regular mortgage payments on time. If you make regular payments, the loan amount decreases, and your property’s equity accumulates. You can use this money to pay off debt and use it for other purposes like home improvements.
You can finance your property by taking out a mortgage loan. However, this is not possible in other investments like stocks or bonds.
Know about real estate equity and real estate debt risk.
Real estate investment is undoubtedly an excellent option for investing money as you can make a massive profit, but it involves certain risks. Over a certain period, you can either build equity in your house or take on too much debt and lose significant money.
Equity is the residual claim or interest of the investors in assets after all liabilities are paid. It is the difference between how much you owe on loan and how much your house is worth. You will be left with negative equity if the penalty exceeds the asset.
Real estate investment needs a considerable amount of money which people often cannot afford to pay. So, what real estate investors do is they use debt to purchase real estate. Debt here is referred to as a mortgage or loan. People can obtain this loan by making a down payment on the property. However, the drawback of using debt to purchase a house is that you must repay the debt before realizing any profit.
Equity and debt have specific benefits to investors. If you have equity in a house, you can use it for many reasons. If you sell the property, you will get immediate access to the equity in your property. You can also access the equity without selling your house if you take out a home equity loan on the property. The benefit of using debt in real estate investment is that you can leverage your available capital while enjoying all the profits from the investment.
Real estate investment has its own risk. If the property’s value declines after investing a large amount of money and borrowing a hefty amount from the lender, you will be in an upside-down position. You will owe more money on a house than it is worth.
Before investing in real estate, consider each investment to determine if it is good. Try to buy a cheap property as it involves less risk. Real estate investment is only for some, but many investors have been successful with this type of investment.
How would real estate help to pay off debt?
If you are suffering under the burden of debt, being constantly harassed by creditor calls, then it is time to consider all options for paying off debt. Cash-out refinancing can be the best way to finance your debt repayment process if you own a home. Cash-out refinancing is a process by which you can refinance your mortgage to have some extra cash to use.
In cash-out mortgage refinancing, you apply for a new mortgage more significant than the current mortgage plus the costs incurred due to loan settlement. The idea of cash-out refinancing is to extract equity that you have built on your home.
Why should you opt for a cash-out refinance?
There are various advantages of cash-out refinance. These are listed below.
A large amount of cash – Cash-out refinance can provide you with a lump sum amount of money which you can use to pay off debt or other financial purposes.
Easier to obtain – Cash-out refinancing is easy to qualify as you already own the home against which you are taking money. In most cases, you owe less than the actual worth of the house.
Entitled to tax benefits – Cash-out refinancing can entail significant tax benefits if you use the loan to pay off your other debts on which interest is not tax deductible.
Lower interest rate – Most of the time, when you are refinancing, you tend to opt for a more significant loan amount on which you can get a lower interest rate. Thus, you get cash in hand and pay lower interest payments on your mortgage.
Can you consolidate debt with the help of a cash-out refinance?
Debt consolidation is a method to pay off your debts that is more accessible and faster. In this method, you take out a loan at a lower interest rate to repay your debts. Then you can pay back this single loan with time. You can consolidate your debts into single monthly payments.
You can use the cash from a cash-out refinance to consolidate your debts. Since the interest rate on cash-out refinances is lower than other unsecured loans, you save a lot of money in the long-run on interest payments.
Homeowners should clearly understand their real estate and debt situation to make informed decisions to help them achieve their financial goals. They should be aware of their monthly mortgage payments, interest rates, and the impact of additional debt (credit card balances or personal loans) on their overall financial health.
Homeowners should also regularly review their home value and equity to ensure they are on track with their long-term financial plans. It is crucial to seek professional advice from financial advisors, real estate agents, or mortgage lenders to understand the complexities of real estate and debt management. By staying informed and making proactive decisions, homeowners can protect their financial well-being and achieve long-term financial stability.
About the Author: Lyle Solomon has extensive legal experience, in-depth knowledge, and experience in consumer finance and writing. He has been a member of the California State Bar since 2003. He graduated from the University of the Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, California, in 1998 and currently works for the Oak View Law Group in California as a principal attorney.
How to Prepare Your Home and Garden for Spring
(Published on - 4/25/2023 12:10:36 PM)
Realty Executives International, Alysia Heun
With the arrival of spring, it’s time to prepare your home and garden for the coming season. It’s essential to prepare your outdoor space for the change in weather and make sure everything is in good condition so you can enjoy it! In this article, you’ll find tips on how to prepare for spring weather, whether you are remodeling your garden or beautifying your home.
1. Clean outdoor spaces
The first step to preparing for spring is cleaning up your outdoor areas like your garden, patio, and deck. To protect your plants and improve the appearance of your yard, start by clearing the lawn and garden of debris, such as fallen leaves and branches. To remove dirt and grime accumulated over the winter, you should clean your patio and deck with a pressure washer. Your outdoor space will look cleaner and will be safer for you and your family.
2. Add new plants and flowers
Your yard would benefit significantly from new plants and flowers in the spring. Not only will they bring life and color to your garden, but they will also help it look cozy and peaceful. When choosing new plants, pay attention to the sunlight and shade in your garden and the soil conditions.
To help your plants grow, add some compost to your garden. Not only will this make your existing plants healthier, but it will also encourage the growth of your new plants.
3. Freshen up your patio furniture
If your patio furniture is old and worn out, it is time to give it a new look. To create a warm and inviting outdoor environment, update chairs, tables, and cushions and add fresh accents like rugs and outdoor lamps.
4. Restore and repaint the exterior of your home
Now is the perfect time to repaint the exterior of your home if it’s already looking a little drab. Not only will this protect your home from the elements, but it will also make it more attractive overall. To achieve a warm and inviting look, choose a bright color inspired by spring.
Although a pricier update, consider fixing your windows and doors if they appear a bit worn. Not only will it make a better impression, but it will also increase security and energy efficiency.
5. Improve your outdoor lighting
Lighting can play a significant role in creating a cozy and tranquil outdoor space. Consider illuminating your yard with new lights, such as lanterns or string lights, to create a comfortable and inviting ambiance. You could also strategically place lights on your patio or deck to make it more attractive and safer to use in the evenings.
6. Beautify your lawn
Your lawn should be in good condition in the spring, as it is an integral part of your landscape. Mow your lawn first and then remove the dead grass. You can add some fertilizer to make your lawn more robust and healthier. Could you consider sprinkling some lawn seed on bare spots to replenish them?
7. Add new accents to your outdoor space
Sprucing up your outdoor space can go beyond basic lawn maintenance. This can include the installation of a new pond or other water features, a garden, a patio, or a deck. These new elements will provide you with new and fascinating places to enjoy with your family and friends and will aesthetically enhance your garden.
8. Construct an irrigation system
Watering your garden will be much easier and more effective if you install an irrigation system. This system will allow you to water your plants at the correct times and amounts, giving them the moisture they need to thrive. Various irrigation systems are available, ranging from simple hose and sprinkler systems to sophisticated automatic systems. You can choose the best option for your watering and gardening needs.
The best way to beautify your outdoor space and make it more enjoyable for you and your family is to prepare your home and yard for spring weather. There are many things you can do to prepare for spring, such as cleaning up your outdoor areas, planting new plants and flowers, updating your outdoor furniture, repainting the exterior of your home, improving the lighting in your yard, beautifying your lawn, adding new garden features, and building an irrigation system. So, take advantage of the warmer weather while it is here! With a bit of work, you can create an outdoor space that you and your family will enjoy for many years.
5 Simple Ways to Keep Pest Out of Your Home
(Published on - 4/17/2023 2:09:41 PM)
Realty Executives International
No one likes dealing with pests in their home. They can be a nuisance, damaging your belongings and bringing in germs and bacteria. Fortunately, there are simple steps you can take to keep them away.
What Are Some Common Pests You Might Find in Your Home?
Some of us may have heard scratching or scurrying noises coming from within our walls, but few of us know what kind of pests we’re dealing with. Some common household pests are ants, cockroaches, rodents, and termites. While some may be harmless nuisances, others can wreak havoc on furniture and foundations and even spread germs.
Ants are one of the most common pests that invade homes due to their small size and ability to enter through tiny cracks in doors or windows. Ants are attracted by food sources such as sugar and grease; they will often travel long distances in search of food.
Cockroaches are much more than just unsightly bugs; they can also spread germs and contaminate food sources. They can enter your home through tiny cracks around windows or doors, so it’s important to make sure any gaps are sealed tightly.
Rodents like mice and rats can enter your home through small holes or cracks in the walls or floors; these rodents can damage furniture, chew through wiring, contaminate food sources, and spread disease-causing bacteria throughout your home.
And finally, there are termites. Termites are wood-destroying insects that live underground in moist areas; they feed on wood that has been weakened by moisture which can cause serious damage to a structure’s foundation if left untreated.
5 Methods You Can Employ to Keep Your Home Pest-Free
Let’s explore five easy ways to protect your home against all kinds of different pests.
1. Look for Any Cracks or Openings That Pests Might Be Using to Get Inside
It is no secret that pests, like ants or mice, can be a nuisance in the home. To keep them from wreaking havoc in your space, it is important to remember to check for any possible entrances that they might be using to enter.
Even the tiniest cracks are at their disposal for entry, so it is important to inspect your home carefully in areas where there may be small openings, such as windowsills or crevices surrounding doors. Once these potential problem areas are identified, you will be able to properly seal them up, effectively keeping out unwanted pests.
2. Keep Your Home Clean and Free from Clutter
Keeping your home clean and free from clutter is one of the most effective ways to keep pests away. By making sure that there is no food waste, crumbs, moisture, or mess on surfaces, the chance of pests such as rodents or bugs invading your home will be drastically reduced.
By minimizing clutter, you are also making it much harder for insects and animals to hide. In general, a neat and tidy house eliminates potential nesting sites and reduces the attractiveness of a home as a food source to pests.
3. Be Mindful of Plants and Mulch
Planting and mulching your garden can not only add beauty to your home, but also help keep pests at bay.
Mulch ensures better soil for the plants in your garden, as it helps keep moisture in the ground and prevents weed growth.
You may also want to plant pest-deterrent plants around the perimeter of your home, such as marigolds, which contain a compound that repels certain types of insects.
4. Use the Right Light Bulbs
One simple method of pest control is making sure you are using the right light bulbs. You can attract fewer bugs by replacing bright, white incandescent or fluorescent lights with yellow, sodium vapor or LED bulbs. They emit light that is less attractive to pests.
An added bonus to this switch is that you will also save energy and money by opting for these energy-efficient bulbs. If you need some extra help keeping pests out of your house, using the right light bulbs could be one effective way to start.
5. Call a Pest Control Service to Help
One effective way to combat an infestation of unwanted critters is to call on a professional pest control service to help. Not only are they experts in this area, but they can provide accurate diagnoses and perform services that can help keep the problem under control – safely and efficiently.
Depending on the severity of the issue, they may also be able to provide advice on additional changes you could make around your home, such as better sealing entry points or making sure food storage areas are kept clean, which will further minimize any potential return trips by unwanted guests.
Keeping pests out of your home doesn’t need to be complicated; there are many simple steps you can take to prevent them from entering in the first place. With these simple tips in mind, you should have no problem keeping pests away from your beloved abode!
About the Author: Amber has been in the pest control industry for 18 years now…13 of them have been with Reliant Pest Management. She is a licensed certified commercial applicator in the state of Texas. Amber’s background is mostly in office management and administration, but she enjoys going out in the field from time to time and serving customers by protecting their homes. Amber loves people and bugs… and pest management has them both!
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