Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Five Tips to Make Summer Home Renovations Pay Off

NEW YORK (MainStreet)—Younger homeowners are likely planning renovations this summer, according to a new study, with some improvements benefiting property values more than others.
The Zillow Digs Summer Home Improvement Trend and Spending survey found that 71% of those aged 18 to 34 plan a home improvement or addition compared to 51% of homeowners 55 and older.

The survey found that 40% plan to work on their outdoor spaces while 17 percent plan to improve their bathrooms.

"As we head into the long days of summer, we are seeing increased interest in outdoor spaces with very natural elements such as stone fireplaces as well as bringing more light into bathrooms with clear glass on the walls and shower enclosures," said Cynthia Nowak, a trend expert with Zillow Digs.

Overall, 60% of American homeowners plan renovations and expect to spend $1,200 with 65% of homes housing children planning three or more home improvements compared to 57% of homes without children.

But not all home improvements pay off and positively impact property values, according to the Appraisal Institute, a professional association of real estate appraisers.

Siding replacement, entry door replacement, attic bedroom addition, minor kitchen remodel and garage door replacement rank among the projects with the highest expected return on investment, according to Remodeling magazine's most recent Cost vs. Value report.

"Projects that take a home significantly beyond community norms are often not worth the cost when the owner sells the home," said Appraisal Institute President Richard L. Borges. "If they don't match what's standard in a community, they're considered excessive."

Other renovations with high expected pay-offs include basement remodel, deck addition and window replacement.

"Consumers should be aware that cost does not necessarily equal value," Borges said.

Below are 5 tips to consider before launching home renovations:
  • 1. Arrange a feasibility study for an unbiased evaluation. "During a feasibility study, a professional real estate appraiser will analyze the homeowner's property, weigh the cost of rehabilitation and provide an estimate of the property's value before and after the improvement," said Borges.
  • 2. Add green and energy-efficient renovations. "Adding Energy Star appliances and extra insulation are likely to pay the homeowner back in lowered utility bills relatively quickly. Lower utility costs also are a draw for potential homebuyers," said Borges.
  • 3. The longer a homeowner stays in a property, the greater the opportunity for a return on investment. As a result, Borges advises holding off on big renovations when a homeowner isn't sure how long they will be in their home.
  • 4. Check online for home renovation ideas. About 37 percent of homeowners look to the internet for home improvement ideas and inspiration, according to the Zillow Digs survey., Pinterest and Zillow Digs were among the most common online sources for inspiration.
  • 5. Download the Appraisal Institute's free Remodeling & Rehabbing brochure at
 *article source

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