Are You Going to Run Out of Money in Retirement?

You just left a meeting with your financial adviser, and your nest egg is looking bulletproof, with a projected worth of well over $1 million at age 95. But wait a second, are you sure about that?

If your financial projections look too good to be true, they might well be, for a variety of reasons.

When the pandemic hit home in March 2020, the stock market crumbled and many people saw their investment portfolios drop. Fortunately, the markets eventually recovered; but the sudden drop caused many people to review their investments and projections.

While reviewing a new client’s portfolio at that time, we learned that his previous adviser projected his net worth as double our estimate by age 70. Naturally, the client was confused by the different scenarios. We discovered that the underlying growth assumptions the former adviser used were far too optimistic, giving the client an unrealistic view of his financial future. 

With Stress Tests, You’re Planning for the Worst

It’s easy for any adviser to make a financial plan look unbreakable when using unrealistic assumptions. The true value of a financial plan comes from testing its resistance under difficult conditions.

To do this, financial advisers typically conduct a “stress test.” The test typically examines how a financial plan will fare during a future unexpected event, such as a recession or major geopolitical event, and allows you to adjust accordingly. For example, if you are near retirement and your portfolio is heavily weighted in stocks, an unexpected recession may send it plummeting by double digits. Although there may be no recession in sight, stress testing would allow you to adjust your portfolio in advance to safeguard it from potential future harm.

It’s a good idea to consider asking your financial adviser to conduct this test.  Here are four areas to discuss to ensure your plan will hold up:

What’s the Growth Rate You’re Using in My Stress Test?

Most financial advisers build a conservative growth rate into their projections — 5% annual growth is a common rate.  While changing the growth by even a couple of percentage points may seem irrelevant, it can monumentally alter the trajectory of your projection.

Take this scenario:  A 45-year-old has $1 million in investments and saves $20,000 annually. If we omit taxes and assume a realistic 5% annual rate of return, his portfolio will grow to around $4.3 million by age 70. However, if this person’s adviser assumes a higher return, the projections show a scenario that is likely unrealistic:  For example, at a 9% annual growth rate, his investments at age 70 to be valued at $10.3 million. Our research shows that the average investor loses 4% of their annual returns from simple mistakes stemming from investment selection, fee management and emotional trading. Not accounting for this principle in your plan’s growth rate assumptions may inflate your projected future assets.

Our advice: Lean toward conservative growth assumptions to ensure your financial plan can withstand the unpredictability of future market returns.

How Are You Accounting for Inflation?

It’s not surprising $100,000 had greater spending power in 1950 than it does today. This can be seen in something as simple as the price of milk, which in 1950 was 83 cents. Today, the average price per gallon is around $3.60.

As we know, some expenses can have higher cost-of-living adjustments than others, such as health care or even education costs. Due to the ever-growing cost of living, accurately depicting inflation is necessary when developing your financial projections. Otherwise, your projections may misrepresent your future reality.

Our advice: Since the cost of living will rise in the future, make sure your account for this growth in your financial projections. For most general living expenses, we typically like to assume an inflation rate of 2.5%.

Are My Annual Spending Plans in Retirement Accurate?

While working on a plan with another client, she reported she was spending around $120,000 annually, or about $10,000 per month. When asked to map her annual expenses for one year, she realized she was spending closer to $140,000. We discovered that the additional $20,000 primarily came from home improvement costs, roughly $500 a month on takeout/Amazon orders, and other miscellaneous one-off expenses that tend to go overlooked.

This difference is significant. Compounded over time, this spending rate will affect her income in retirement. Rather than lasting through age 95, her assets would be depleted at around age 80. Using this information, we were able to get her back on track toward meeting her financial goals. 

While taking the time to monitor your annual expenses is important, even with a budget in place, unaccounted-for expenses are bound to appear. The stress test can account for additional expenses that are typically overlooked, such as home upgrades, car repairs or any other unanticipated one-off costs.

Our advice: It’s a good idea to partially overstate annual spending level to account for future, unknown costs. While everyone’s spending situation is different, grossing up annual expenses anywhere from 5% to 10% allows the plan to account for future unknown costs.

A Whole Array of Other Uncertainties

Whether it’s a forced early retirement or a bear market, stress testing your financial plan will help account for other uncertainties in the future. It will not only test the plan’s strength, but also your individual financial flexibility.

Knowing a plan can withstand a 30% market dip provides peace of mind. A test can also simulate the financial impact of taking a dream vacation or providing gifts to your favorite charity, giving you more freedom to spend your money in retirement. Navigating from your expected financial plan to these “Plan B” scenarios can display the robustness of your financial plan against unforeseeable risks. 

Our advice: While it’s fine to look at the most likely financial scenario, consider a worst-case scenario, too. People often make their best financial decisions when they understand the potential consequences of when a plan doesn’t work out.

There is no doubt that future events will have an impact on our financial future.  It could be an unexpected job loss or even another pandemic. By using realistic assumptions and mapping out all relevant scenarios, you can help make certain your plan can still deliver on your goals once these difficult conditions occur.

Wealth Planner, McGill Advisors, a division of Brightworth

Andrew Kobylski is a wealth planner with McGill Advisors, a division of Brightworth. He joined McGill Advisors after graduating Summa Cum Laude from Virginia Tech with a degree in Finance under the CFP® Certification Education Option. His primary responsibility is to help develop financial strategies and recommendations for a wide assortment of high-net-worth clients around the country.

Wealth Planner, McGill Advisors

Caroline W. Huggins (“Callie”) is a wealth planner with McGill Advisors, a division of Brightworth.  She is based in Charlotte, N.C. Prior to joining the firm, she received a master’s degree in financial planning in 2020 from the University of Georgia (UGA) and a B.S. in psychology/minor in sports management. Callie works closely with the firm’s partners and wealth advisers to develop financial plans for professionals and corporate executives seeking to grow and maintain their wealth.

Source: kiplinger.com

15 Simple Ideas to Make a House a Home – Redfin

Your house should make you feel welcomed as soon as you step through the door, but this feeling isn’t something that always happens on its own. Once the movers have left, and the chaos of moving has calmed down, it’s time to start focusing on putting down roots in your new space to help make your new house a home.

There are many ways to invoke the cozy, warm feeling that makes a house a home without a complete remodel or shopping spree. So, whether you just moved into your new home in Boston, MA, or need to personalize your studio in Albany, NY, here are 15 simple ideas you can use so your house can start feeling like a proper home.

Entryway

Entryway

1) Create an inviting entryway 

The front door and entryway can set the mood of your entire home. After all, it’s the first thing you see when you and your guests first step into your space. Make your front entrance more inviting by keeping it clear of leaves and debris and accessorize with a welcome mat and a few potted plants. Adding a bench or a clothes rack will also help keep your entryway neat and tidy, plus it makes a great first impression. Equally, painting the front door can give your house a fresh, new look in one afternoon. Feel free to choose a fun, contrasting color that aligns with your style.

2) Make your home more zen

Turning your house into a home starts with ensuring that you feel instantly at peace when you enter a room. But if you’re having difficulty feeling relaxed, there may be particular reasons why. If the sight of a messy, disorganized room is causing you stress, you might want to start decluttering and letting go of items that don’t bring you joy. Choosing random decor items to fill up empty spaces in your home can make a space feel cramped, and can add too many contrasts between your wall colors or furnishings. When choosing decor, artwork, or pictures, be sure to pick items that have special meaning to you. By identifying the areas in your home causing you stress, you can begin making your home a more zen space.

Brightly lit kitchen

Brightly lit kitchen

3) Improve your living space with home upgrades

Upgrading spaces in your home can go a long way in making you feel more settled. Bathrooms and kitchens are high-traffic areas in a home, so prioritizing home upgrades in these areas can ensure that you’re tackling the places that make the biggest impact. Installing new appliances can give your kitchen a facelift, but if you’re working with a smaller budget, select the most outdated or worn-looking one and replace it. Likewise, swapping out an old showerhead with one that has better water pressure can instantly elevate space and improve the quality of life in your home.

4) Use cozy area rugs to help make a house feel like home

An area rug can instantly warm up a space and make it more inviting. Area rugs can help ground furniture, and an artistically designed rug can also add more interest to a space. When selecting a rug, take the room’s size and arrangement into account. Ensure all of your furniture is on the area rug or at least touching a portion of the rug to give the space a cohesive look.

5) Dressing up empty walls with artwork

Blank walls can add an unfinished element to your house, preventing your house from feeling truly lived in. Displaying your favorite pieces of art can act as the finishing element to pull a space together and make a house a home. And the best part is that it’s a budget-friendly way to complete a room. When selecting your artwork, keep the room’s function, size, and decor style in mind. After that, you have the freedom to choose artwork that you love and will be happily displayed in your home.

For living rooms and areas where guests spend the most time, choose a large-scale piece as a focal point or incorporate multiple art pieces into a gallery wall. Pieces with soothing, cool-toned colors and abstract prints are great additions for areas for relaxation like a den or bedroom.

Dining area

Dining area

6) Bring nature inside with indoor plants

Indoor plants don’t just add a pop of greenery to a space, they can also breathe life into a dull room. Houseplants help us feel more relaxed and can even improve our home’s indoor air quality. They come in various shapes, colors, and sizes, so if you live in a shady studio in Portland, OR with only a few windows, or a home with lots of natural light in Seattle, Washington, you can still find ways to incorporate plants into your decor.  

For home offices or areas with low light in your home, stick to low-maintenance plants like lucky bamboo or succulents. These plants are compact enough to keep on a desk or side table and thrive in shaded areas. To add drama to larger rooms, such as living or dining rooms, money trees or fiddle leaf figs are great statement plant options. Plus, the right planter can add another design element to your home.

7) Keep the clutter to a minimum

Identifying the key areas in your space that you’ll keep tidy will make life in your home more pleasant. It’s easy to believe in the “out of sight, out of mind” mentality when decluttering, but actively keeping your living area clean will allow you to fully relax in your space without being constantly stressed by the sight of messy areas. Instead of stowing items that are no longer used in designated “junk drawers,” take the time to go through and pick out items that no longer have sentimental value, use, or have similar functions to items you already have. And if the thought of decluttering your home is too daunting, consider hiring a professional organizing service to help you get your space in order.

8) Add scented candles or diffusers

A house filled with inviting smells can instantly make a house feel like home. With various candles, diffusers, and scent plug-ins available on the market, there’s no shortage of ways to make your home smell good. Choose your favorite and fill your home with the aroma of sweet vanilla, sharp citrus, or fresh linens in minutes. For more natural smelling scents, you can opt for essential oils, such as lavender or jasmine, which comes with the benefits of being natural stress relievers.

Layer lighting

Layer lighting

9) Make a house a home by layering the lighting

Lighting plays a significant role in affecting a room’s mood and is an essential design element when making a house feel like a home. If your house feels dark and cramped, you can switch up your lighting by adding and layering light sources to make it feel more warm and welcoming. While brighter lights are needed to illuminate kitchens and workspaces, using fluorescent overhead lighting in living rooms or dens can make the space appear harsh. Instead, opt for ambient light sources that use mellower, warmer lighting. Wall sconces, table, or floor lamps are excellent ambient lighting sources that can cast a warm, cozy glow on any room. 

10) Frame your windows with curtains

Window curtains are great accent pieces in a room. Replacing them is an easy way to switch up the room’s look and add a lived-in look to any space in one easy step. Personalize your windows by adding new window dressings to instantly warm up your home and showcase your style. Not only does adding beautiful curtains or shades improve your home’s appearance, they can also decorate blank walls, separate a room into sections, or even create fun little reading nooks in children’s bedrooms.

11) Showcase family mementos or antiques

Make your house feel like home by incorporating sentimental pieces in your decor, such as family mementos or antiques, to personalize your space. As you plan the display locations for your keepsakes, group related items together to help create a cohesive look in your home design. Items such as wedding photos, important documents, or certificates can be grouped in a gallery wall, while trophies or souvenirs can be displayed on a shelf together.

When displaying sentimental photos, pick frames that can protect the paper from damage or fading from ultraviolet (UV) rays over time. If you’re planning on including antiques or other precious items as decor, consider purchasing shadow boxes or display cases for them. Cases will protect the objects from harm and prevent dust or grime from settling on the fragile objects.

Dining room

Dining room

12) Freshen up your home with a coat of paint

Painting your walls can give your space an instant facelift and can go a long way in refreshing a home. Plus, it’s a great way to customize your home and make it your own. If you’re not ready to undertake an entire painting project, you can pick smaller areas in your home, like a bedroom or powder room. You can even opt to paint a few accent walls throughout your home to warm up the space and give it pops of color.

Living room bookshelf

Living room bookshelf

13) Personalize your shelves with books

A stack of well-loved paperbacks or a decorative coffee table book is a great way to bring personal touches into your home. Books are an easy and budget-friendly way to embellish your decor and can be used as statement accessories to pull a space together. And, the sight of a filled bookshelf can instantly give a room a homey feel. If you have an extensive book collection, use a blank wall in your home to create a book wall by displaying them in a floor-to-ceiling bookshelf. You can also choose books with decorative covers or colorful spines to brighten up your decor.

Bedroom

Bedroom

14) Add warmth with comfy bedding

The right bedding can instantly make your room look decorated and homey if you can’t decorate the whole room right away. If your room has a bold paint color, using neutral-colored bedding can add texture while also creating depth and interest to your space. Alternatively, if your room has a neutral color palette, you can play around with different colors or patterns in your bedding.

When creating the ultimate comfy bedroom, one can’t forget the textiles to transform a bare bedroom. Adorning your bedroom with soft throws- chenille or faux fur are great options – and fluffy pillows can instantly add a cozy touch to any space, making your bedroom feel more welcoming.

15) Finally, make a house a home by setting up a hobby area

Whether your hobby is painting, reading, or even solving puzzles, make room for it. Dedicating a space in your home, like a nook or bonus room, for your hobbies will not only make it easier to do what you love, but it allows your personality and interests to shine throughout your home. Not to mention, having an area to yourself can allow you to concentrate on doing what you love all while making your house feel more like a home. 

Source: redfin.com

15 Simple Ideas to Make a House a Home

Your house should make you feel welcomed as soon as you step through the door, but this feeling isn’t something that always happens on its own. Once the movers have left, and the chaos of moving has calmed down, it’s time to start focusing on putting down roots in your new space to help make your new house a home.

There are many ways to invoke the cozy, warm feeling that makes a house a home without a complete remodel or shopping spree. So, whether you just moved into your new home in Boston, MA, or need to personalize your studio in Albany, NY, here are 15 simple ideas you can use so your house can start feeling like a proper home.

Entryway

Entryway

1) Create an inviting entryway 

The front door and entryway can set the mood of your entire home. After all, it’s the first thing you see when you and your guests first step into your space. Make your front entrance more inviting by keeping it clear of leaves and debris and accessorize with a welcome mat and a few potted plants. Adding a bench or a clothes rack will also help keep your entryway neat and tidy, plus it makes a great first impression. Equally, painting the front door can give your house a fresh, new look in one afternoon. Feel free to choose a fun, contrasting color that aligns with your style.

2) Make your home more zen

Turning your house into a home starts with ensuring that you feel instantly at peace when you enter a room. But if you’re having difficulty feeling relaxed, there may be particular reasons why. If the sight of a messy, disorganized room is causing you stress, you might want to start decluttering and letting go of items that don’t bring you joy. Choosing random decor items to fill up empty spaces in your home can make a space feel cramped, and can add too many contrasts between your wall colors or furnishings. When choosing decor, artwork, or pictures, be sure to pick items that have special meaning to you. By identifying the areas in your home causing you stress, you can begin making your home a more zen space.

Brightly lit kitchen

Brightly lit kitchen

3) Improve your living space with home upgrades

Upgrading spaces in your home can go a long way in making you feel more settled. Bathrooms and kitchens are high-traffic areas in a home, so prioritizing home upgrades in these areas can ensure that you’re tackling the places that make the biggest impact. Installing new appliances can give your kitchen a facelift, but if you’re working with a smaller budget, select the most outdated or worn-looking one and replace it. Likewise, swapping out an old showerhead with one that has better water pressure can instantly elevate space and improve the quality of life in your home.

4) Use cozy area rugs to help make a house feel like home

An area rug can instantly warm up a space and make it more inviting. Area rugs can help ground furniture, and an artistically designed rug can also add more interest to a space. When selecting a rug, take the room’s size and arrangement into account. Ensure all of your furniture is on the area rug or at least touching a portion of the rug to give the space a cohesive look.

5) Dressing up empty walls with artwork

Blank walls can add an unfinished element to your house, preventing your house from feeling truly lived in. Displaying your favorite pieces of art can act as the finishing element to pull a space together and make a house a home. And the best part is that it’s a budget-friendly way to complete a room. When selecting your artwork, keep the room’s function, size, and decor style in mind. After that, you have the freedom to choose artwork that you love and will be happily displayed in your home.

For living rooms and areas where guests spend the most time, choose a large-scale piece as a focal point or incorporate multiple art pieces into a gallery wall. Pieces with soothing, cool-toned colors and abstract prints are great additions for areas for relaxation like a den or bedroom.

Dining area

Dining area

6) Bring nature inside with indoor plants

Indoor plants don’t just add a pop of greenery to a space, they can also breathe life into a dull room. Houseplants help us feel more relaxed and can even improve our home’s indoor air quality. They come in various shapes, colors, and sizes, so if you live in a shady studio in Portland, OR with only a few windows, or a home with lots of natural light in Seattle, Washington, you can still find ways to incorporate plants into your decor.  

For home offices or areas with low light in your home, stick to low-maintenance plants like lucky bamboo or succulents. These plants are compact enough to keep on a desk or side table and thrive in shaded areas. To add drama to larger rooms, such as living or dining rooms, money trees or fiddle leaf figs are great statement plant options. Plus, the right planter can add another design element to your home.

7) Keep the clutter to a minimum

Identifying the key areas in your space that you’ll keep tidy will make life in your home more pleasant. It’s easy to believe in the “out of sight, out of mind” mentality when decluttering, but actively keeping your living area clean will allow you to fully relax in your space without being constantly stressed by the sight of messy areas. Instead of stowing items that are no longer used in designated “junk drawers,” take the time to go through and pick out items that no longer have sentimental value, use, or have similar functions to items you already have. And if the thought of decluttering your home is too daunting, consider hiring a professional organizing service to help you get your space in order.

8) Add scented candles or diffusers

A house filled with inviting smells can instantly make a house feel like home. With various candles, diffusers, and scent plug-ins available on the market, there’s no shortage of ways to make your home smell good. Choose your favorite and fill your home with the aroma of sweet vanilla, sharp citrus, or fresh linens in minutes. For more natural smelling scents, you can opt for essential oils, such as lavender or jasmine, which comes with the benefits of being natural stress relievers.

Layer lighting

Layer lighting

9) Make a house a home by layering the lighting

Lighting plays a significant role in affecting a room’s mood and is an essential design element when making a house feel like a home. If your house feels dark and cramped, you can switch up your lighting by adding and layering light sources to make it feel more warm and welcoming. While brighter lights are needed to illuminate kitchens and workspaces, using fluorescent overhead lighting in living rooms or dens can make the space appear harsh. Instead, opt for ambient light sources that use mellower, warmer lighting. Wall sconces, table, or floor lamps are excellent ambient lighting sources that can cast a warm, cozy glow on any room. 

10) Frame your windows with curtains

Window curtains are great accent pieces in a room. Replacing them is an easy way to switch up the room’s look and add a lived-in look to any space in one easy step. Personalize your windows by adding new window dressings to instantly warm up your home and showcase your style. Not only does adding beautiful curtains or shades improve your home’s appearance, they can also decorate blank walls, separate a room into sections, or even create fun little reading nooks in children’s bedrooms.

11) Showcase family mementos or antiques

Make your house feel like home by incorporating sentimental pieces in your decor, such as family mementos or antiques, to personalize your space. As you plan the display locations for your keepsakes, group related items together to help create a cohesive look in your home design. Items such as wedding photos, important documents, or certificates can be grouped in a gallery wall, while trophies or souvenirs can be displayed on a shelf together.

When displaying sentimental photos, pick frames that can protect the paper from damage or fading from ultraviolet (UV) rays over time. If you’re planning on including antiques or other precious items as decor, consider purchasing shadow boxes or display cases for them. Cases will protect the objects from harm and prevent dust or grime from settling on the fragile objects.

Dining room

Dining room

12) Freshen up your home with a coat of paint

Painting your walls can give your space an instant facelift and can go a long way in refreshing a home. Plus, it’s a great way to customize your home and make it your own. If you’re not ready to undertake an entire painting project, you can pick smaller areas in your home, like a bedroom or powder room. You can even opt to paint a few accent walls throughout your home to warm up the space and give it pops of color.

Living room bookshelf

Living room bookshelf

13) Personalize your shelves with books

A stack of well-loved paperbacks or a decorative coffee table book is a great way to bring personal touches into your home. Books are an easy and budget-friendly way to embellish your decor and can be used as statement accessories to pull a space together. And, the sight of a filled bookshelf can instantly give a room a homey feel. If you have an extensive book collection, use a blank wall in your home to create a book wall by displaying them in a floor-to-ceiling bookshelf. You can also choose books with decorative covers or colorful spines to brighten up your decor.

Bedroom

Bedroom

14) Add warmth with comfy bedding

The right bedding can instantly make your room look decorated and homey if you can’t decorate the whole room right away. If your room has a bold paint color, using neutral-colored bedding can add texture while also creating depth and interest to your space. Alternatively, if your room has a neutral color palette, you can play around with different colors or patterns in your bedding.

When creating the ultimate comfy bedroom, one can’t forget the textiles to transform a bare bedroom. Adorning your bedroom with soft throws- chenille or faux fur are great options – and fluffy pillows can instantly add a cozy touch to any space, making your bedroom feel more welcoming.

15) Finally, make a house a home by setting up a hobby area

Whether your hobby is painting, reading, or even solving puzzles, make room for it. Dedicating a space in your home, like a nook or bonus room, for your hobbies will not only make it easier to do what you love, but it allows your personality and interests to shine throughout your home. Not to mention, having an area to yourself can allow you to concentrate on doing what you love all while making your house feel more like a home. 

Source: redfin.com

Popular 2021 Home Upgrades — and How to Pay for Them

Staying at home during the pandemic has changed the way homeowners renovate, but not always in ways you might expect.

You could assume, for example, that homeowners are desperate for privacy and therefore adding more walls.

But interior designer Max Humphrey says rumors of the open floor plan’s death, which bubble up every year, are exaggerated.

“I think middle America still loves their open floor plans,” says Humphrey, who is based in Portland, Oregon. “Designers are talking about how open floor plans are over, but believe me, they’re not.”

Instead, homeowners are creating spaces they’d want to visit if they didn’t live there. Home kitchens have replaced restaurants, and your favorite outdoor bar is now your patio.

Many homeowners paid for their upgrades with savings last year, according to NerdWallet’s 2020 Home Improvement Report. Indeed, if the economic impact of the pandemic hasn’t hit your own finances, cash is the cheapest way to cover home renovations.

But there are also affordable financing options, including cash-out refinancing and personal loans, for those who don’t have or want to use savings.

Here are projects interior designers expect to see more of as the pandemic stretches into 2021, plus financing options to make them a reality.

Whole house renovations

Stephanie Sullivan is busier now than at any time since she became a full-time interior designer in 2014.

Her clients are seeing again the things in their homes they wanted to change when they bought the house but stayed busy enough over the years to ignore.

“It’s amazing how we don’t notice stuff until we’re stuck at home going, ‘hmm, really,’” she says. “So they’ve been walking past it for years, and now everybody’s home and they’re going, ‘Wait, I can’t do this.’”

A homeowner asking her to redesign the entire house is common these days, says Sullivan, who is based in Austin, Texas.

She says multiple clients in the last year have said, “I just need you to start at the front door.”

Fully remodeling most or all of the rooms in your house is likely an expensive endeavor.

If your project is $50,000 or more, certified financial planner Sarah Ponder recommends a cash-out refinance, which involves replacing your existing mortgage with a larger one and using the extra money to renovate.

Cash-out refinance is a good option only if you have enough home equity to match the project cost and if you get a low interest rate — a real possibility given today’s low mortgage rates, says Ponder, whose company, Real Estate Wealth Planning, is based near Austin.

It’ll take patience, too. The refinance process used to take about a month, Ponder says, but lately, it can take two or three months.

Room conversions

Another common request Sullivan says she receives from homeowners: Turn a master bathroom into an at-home spa.

“Since they can’t go to the spa, they’re creating spa retreats in their bathrooms,” she says.

They’re redoing their kitchens as places to connect with family, she says, but they also want their own getaway, even if it’s just upstairs.

Homeowners are also transforming basements and spare rooms into home offices and study rooms, or gyms and playrooms, Humphrey says.

He says his clients are looking for ways to sprawl out.

For midsized projects like one- or two-room renovations, refinancing your mortgage may not be worth the time and effort.

San Antonio-based CFP Tess Downing says a personal loan could work for projects around $20,000. These loans don’t use your home as collateral, and qualifying is based on your creditworthiness and finances. Good credit and little existing debt are must-haves to get a low rate.

Consumers who qualified for a personal loan in 2020 with excellent credit (720 or higher FICO) typically were approved for rates between 10.7% and 12.5%, according to NerdWallet marketplace data.

DIY projects

There are also affordable ways to get a fresh look in your home on a budget.

Replacing light fixtures can make a big difference, says Humphrey, and first-timers can get help from YouTube.

“It’s things that you notice every day, you know, that’s the light in your house,” he says. “Even as a renter, I would swap light fixtures.”

Homeowners can also add a roll of stick-on wallpaper, he says, or a fresh coat of paint. Even new towels, lightbulbs and bedsheets can change the look of a room.

If the cost of your project is below $10,000, a zero-interest credit could be a good pick, Ponder says. If you can pay the balance during the card’s promotional period (often 12 to 18 months) you’ll finish your project interest-free.

More traditional credit cards and store rewards cards can also help you cover purchases on these projects, especially if you have a card with a hardware or furniture store. Be sure you can pay the balance in full each month to avoid interest.

Resale considerations

It’s probably not worth your time and money to go all-out renovating a home you’re going to sell in a couple of years because you won’t make that money back, Humphrey says.

He cautions his clients against overpersonalizing a home they don’t plan to stay in long-term.

“I don’t love to think about resale when I’m designing for somebody, but the pandemic isn’t going to be forever,” he says. “So I do encourage people to think a little bit about resale.”

But for as long as home remains a restaurant, spa, gym, school and office, go ahead and make some changes you can afford just because they make you happy.

Source: nerdwallet.com

To List Your Home for More, Consider a Kitchen Remodel

January 20, 2021 February 4, 2021 by Lexi Klinkenberg

Updated on February 4th, 2021

The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in a home, serving as both a central meeting place for family and a functional area necessary for preparing meals. So it’s easy to understand why a state-of-the-art kitchen is a must-have for millions of homeowners from coast to coast. For those considering home upgrades, the kitchen is a great place to start. A kitchen remodel can add value for current homeowners, and appeal to homebuyers if you’re looking to sell in the near future.

Modern kitchen with breakfast bar

Modern kitchen with breakfast bar

A kitchen remodel can increase your home value

For homeowners who plan to sell their homes any time in the future, value is an important point of consideration. A new kitchen can play a significant role in higher than average list price, while an outdated kitchen that doesn’t meet functional needs can deter buyers in any housing market.

Think renovating a kitchen isn’t a big deal for prospective homebuyers? It is. It’s possible to recoup virtually the entire cost of a kitchen upgrade in the purchase price, giving you the opportunity to remodel your kitchen from top to bottom, with less concern for expenses.

Homes with new kitchens are rated number 1 for most valuable home improvement trends. The median list price on homes that have a new kitchen is $14,500 more than the national median, and on average, these homes sell for above their list price.

When planning a kitchen remodel, be sure to consider both what makes the most sense to you as well as what will appeal to most homebuyers in your area. For example, if you live in Atlanta, GA, and want to upgrade your countertops, opting for the most valuable trend, quartz, is probably a better option than granite. Someone who specializes in kitchen remodeling can also help you identify regional trends to ensure you make the best possible choice for your home.

In addition to increasing the value of your home, here are 5 other reasons you should consider remodeling your kitchen.

1. Improved lifestyle and convenience

For most homeowners who are planning on remodeling their kitchen space, convenience can be a primary motivator. If your kitchen can’t meet all of your needs, whether it’s too small or situated in an inconvenient manner, an upgrade is a great decision.

As you move forward with your kitchen remodel, determine what you need out of your kitchen and what is required to fulfill those needs. For example, if you need more space to prep and cook, extending your counter or adding an island might be the ideal solution. On the other hand, if you need more storage, an island or hanging cabinets could help you get the extra room to store your pots, pans, and dry goods. If you’re not sure where to start, speak with local kitchen renovation pros to identify the available options for your current kitchen space.

2. Better design and appearance

Kitchen remodels are often functional, but they can be beautiful, too. Upgrading your kitchen can both expand the area you have for food prep and can become a space you enjoy spending more time in.

If you don’t like the look or feel of your kitchen, a kitchen upgrade can bring your home into the twenty-first century. From counter materials to new cabinets, there are tons of ways to improve the space in your home. Some of the most popular kitchen features we are seeing nationwide include, granite countertops, an eat-in area, stainless steel appliances, and hardwood floors. You can definitely follow your own tastes to create the kitchen of your dreams or enlist the help of a pro to recommend more current trends. Regardless, the right approach to a remodel can guarantee a room that looks amazing and feels great, too.

kitchen lighting

kitchen lighting

3. Create additional space

If you’re tired of cooking and cleaning in a small, cramped space, a new kitchen can make all the difference. Renovating your kitchen can maximize the space you have available, making it much easier to cook meals and spend time with family.

Even small homes can be improved with remodeling opportunities. This can include adding things like extra cabinets or even kitchen islands. If space is really tight, taking down walls or expanding storage – like adding a new pantry or cabinets – into bordering rooms can free up storage options in your kitchen in a way that maximizes functionality.

4. Improved technology options

Kitchen technology isn’t a one size fits all option. If your 1980s fridge and old school oven can’t meet your needs, it may be time to upgrade. A customized kitchen remodel can also focus on technology. If you’re looking for higher-tech kitchen solutions, upgrading might be required.

Kitchen appliances come in all shapes and sizes, from fridges with Wi-Fi capabilities to ovens that provide quick preheat functionality and will have you ready to cook within minutes. Upgrading your kitchen with the latest and greatest technology can make cooking and preparing meals faster and easier. Start trawling home improvement stores and working with a kitchen renovation contractor that is knowledgeable in high tech options to help you weigh the pros and cons of each new kitchen appliance. No matter what you have in mind, there’s an option out there ideal for you.

5. Eco-Friendly Upgrades

If climate change or saving money on utilities are concerns for you, your kitchen remodel may be focused on implementing eco-friendly options for more sustainable living.

Appliances that offer great functionality while also reducing waste are available in countless forms, from low-energy refrigerators to microwaves with convection options. Those who want to truly maximize eco-friendly home upgrades may want to go beyond the kitchen alone, but Energy Star appliances can make it much easier to minimize your impact on the environment – and save money.

Remodeling a kitchen is never a requirement, but if you plan to sell soon or aren’t completely satisfied with the cooking space in your current home, a remodel is a great opportunity. Partnering with a kitchen remodeling company can ensure you tick every box, giving you access to pros who can identify needs and provide solutions that meet both functional and fashionable options within your budget. Whether you want more space, better tech, or to sell for more, it’s never too late to upgrade your kitchen.

Source: redfin.com

33 Home Upgrades That Cost Less Than $100

Woman painting her home
Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com

Sometimes home improvements are out of reach for the moment. A kitchen upgrade can cost tens of thousands of dollars you might not have to spend right now.

Other improvements are unavoidable, but also expensive and unsatisfying at the same time — take a roof replacement for one example.

But if you’re in the mood to spruce up your home, there are plenty of doable projects that make a real difference and won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

The following improvements should run you less than $100 but will help make your home look and feel like a million bucks.

1. Paint the front door

Front door on old brick home
1000 Words / Shutterstock.com

Painting your whole house? That’s an expensive project that takes time. On the other hand, painting the front door gives the front of your house a fresh, new look in an afternoon. It can also increase your home value, as we explain in “Painting With This Color Can Boost Your Home’s Sale Price by $6,000.”

2. Add a bird feeder

Perky-Pet bird feeder on Amazon
Perky-Pet / Amazon

Add a bird feeder for your feathered friends to visit near a kitchen or living room window, and you’ll draw a bit of natural beauty and song to your yard. A feeder needn’t be fancy — you will find a range of options and price points.

The one pictured above, by Perky-Pet, promises anti-squirrel features — and that is key. If left to their own devices, squirrels will consume all your bird feed.

3. Add path lighting

Enchanted Spaces solar yard lights.
Enchanted Spaces / Amazon

Add a little romance to your sidewalk or garden path with solar-powered lights, and you’ll also add curb appeal and safe stepping for guests in the evenings.

The lights shown here, by Enchanted Spaces, cost well under $100 for a set of six.

4. Paint the porch floor

Porch with rocking chairs
Christopher Edwin Nuzzaco / Shutterstock.com

Painting the front porch floor is an easy, cheap way to improve curb appeal.

Depending on the size of your porch, it should only take a gallon or two of paint plus the cost of a roller and pan. You can use a pressure washer to prep the surface. Choose a paint or stain that’s tough enough for use underfoot and that’s meant to be used outdoors.

5. Paint the garage door

Garage doors on town homes
Elena Elisseeva / Shutterstock.com

As with the front door and the porch floor, the garage door is a good place to make a difference with a fresh coat of paint or stain.

Once again, make certain to ask your paint store professional to sell you a product made for the purpose and material you have in mind.

6. Add mulch

Garden bed with mulch
Ozgur Coskun / Shutterstock.com

Laying down mulch on your garden beds or around the base of trees can quickly make your yard look tidier. It can also spare you a lot of weeding, prevent erosion, save water and, depending on what material you use, improve the soil.

Mulch comes in a variety of colors, textures and materials. Check out Home Depot’s buying guide to learn more. Unless your yard is massive, you can get plenty of mulch to go around for less than $100.

7. Update a light fixture

Woman changing light bulbs
YuryRyzhenko / Shutterstock.com

You can run up a big bill with fancy track lighting and other expensive fixtures, but there are plenty of less costly pendant lights and lanterns available to hang over a kitchen table or spruce up a hallway.

A great place to search for fun household items like fixtures is Cost Plus World Market, which sells this pendant lamp for well under $100. For hundreds of styles and ideas, check out the offerings on a home renovation site like Houzz.com.

8. Replace the porch light

Olga Steckel / Shutterstock.com

Has your affection dimmed for the porch light that came with the house? Or, maybe you think it’s wise to install an additional exterior light out by the back door or garage.

This sconce on Houzz costs right around $50. If you are handy and install it yourself, you could add two for just under $100.

9. Make a chalkboard wall

Chalkboard wall in kitchen
Photographee.eu / Shutterstock.com

Chalkboard paint can transform a kitchen wall into a place to keep a grocery or chores list, and an art spot where family and guests can doodle. In a child’s room, a chalkboard wall is a pallet for art that changes as the occupant grows up. In a home office … well, it just looks hipper than a whiteboard.

Chalkboard paint is usually available at home improvement stores like Home Depot. If you want to get really crafty, make your own chalkboard paint using latex paint and grout. Doing so is certainly cheaper, and allows you to choose any color you like.

10. Add a fire pit

Teens roasting marshmallows around a firepit
Monkey Business Images / Shutterstock.com

You can make a fire pit in your backyard with simple pavers or bricks, buy a smaller, tasteful one from Amazon for under $100, or spend thousands of dollars on a gas-fed designer fire pit for your elegant poolside patio.

Whatever your budget, it’s nice to gather around a fire in the backyard and chat.

11. Seal or stain your wood deck

Person staining a wooden deck.
Dagmara_K / Shutterstock.com

Wood decks don’t last forever. But they will last a lot longer and look better if you stain or seal them every couple of years.

The cost of stains or sealants will vary depending on the size and surface of your deck. Ask a paint store expert for help choosing the right product.

Whatever you spend, it will be far less than the deck replacement that will be required if you neglect the original deck for too long. But it may require some serious elbow grease. Take a look at this Lowe’s guide to preparing your deck and apply stain or sealant.

12. Insulate water pipes

Pipe insulation
Wichien Tepsuttinun / Shutterstock.com

Admittedly, this upgrade is boring. But it’s easy, and it will save you money.

You can insulate pipes that carry hot water through a cold basement or crawl space with foam pipe insulation, pre-slit, hollow-core, flexible “sleeves” made of polyethylene or neoprene foam.

Before shopping, make sure you know the diameter of the pipes you are insulating.

13. Paint anything

Syda Productions / Shutterstock.com
Syda Productions / Shutterstock.com

There’s no quicker fix than a can of fresh paint.

Use it to give new life to dingy wood furniture. Try a new color in your bedroom or bathroom. Or paint the ceiling a soft sky blue.

HGTV has 50 ideas for projects requiring a single can of paint.

14. Update a bathroom faucet

Lucien Milasan / Shutterstock.com
Lucien Milasan / Shutterstock.com

This Old House says replacing an old faucet with a shiny new one is an easy project that takes about two hours, and the site gives step-by-step instructions.

Tip: Find a new faucet with the same finish as your other bathroom fixtures. Although prices range widely, you’ll find plenty of choices under $100.

15. Dress up an old sofa

Andreas G. Karelias / Shutterstock.com
Andreas G. Karelias / Shutterstock.com

Give the couch new life by pulling a slipcover over its tired old self.

Amazon has dozens of inexpensive slipcovers in solid colors and floral prints.

With any remaining cash, jazz up your “new” couch with some new throw pillows.

16. Update cabinet hardware

Ceramic cabinet pulls
Wings of Twisted Tapestry / Amazon

If your kitchen and bathroom look dated but you can’t replace the cabinets, replacing the cabinet hardware gives rooms a new look.

Shopping tips:

  • Remove one handle or drawer pull to see the number of screws and spacing required. Your new hardware will need to have the same configuration.
  • Before shopping, take stock of your room’s style and browse home decorating magazines to identify the look of the hardware you want. For example, do you want pulls or handles? Sleek and modern? Old world? Recycled and eclectic?

There is a huge selection of pulls and knobs on Amazon — including the ceramic pulls pictured above — and also on Houzz. If you are looking for a vintage look or trying to match the hardware on an older house, check out building salvage stores in your area.

17. Create order with pegboard storage

Galushko Sergey / Shutterstock.com

The old-fashioned workshop staple of pegboard storage is still a great system for bringing order to any room.

You can purchase and assemble the components individually. Or use a kit, like this kitchen organizing system. You’ll find many variations to suit different size spaces and needs — whether it’s a garage organizing system or a setup for garden tools.

18. Tackle carpet stains

Dragon Images / Shutterstock.com
Dragon Images / Shutterstock.com

Take a Saturday morning and give your carpets some TLC at virtually no cost, using a solution of white vinegar and water to tackle stains. Or read consumers’ reviews to find carpet cleaning products you want to try.

For carpets stained beyond your powers of restoration, consider using a professional carpet cleaning service. Have only the most heavily trafficked room done if you need to keep costs low.

When looking for a professional service, make sure you’re comparing apples with apples: Some services charge by the room, others by the square foot.

19. Reupholster an ottoman

Oleksandr Berevsky / Shutterstock.com
Oleksandr Berevsky / Shutterstock.com

Grab a staple gun, a little fabric and a simple piece of furniture — like an ottoman — and give it new life.

Brooke Ulrich, DIY blogger at All Things Thrifty, explains how to tackle reupholstering. Here’s a quick video with a genius trick for removing old fabric from furniture, which she says is one of the hardest parts of the job.

Shop for fabric and a piece of furniture with simple lines at a Habitat for Humanity ReStore, a thrift shop or Craigslist. Or search online for “fabric outlet” and “discount upholstery fabric.”

Another source: JoAnn fabrics and craft stores’ frequent sales, discounts and coupons allow for big savings.

20. String fairy lights

indoor fairy lights coffee tablet sweater interior
Alena Ozerova / Shutterstock.com

Having trouble letting go of your holiday lights? No worries. String up some lights indoors to cheer you up when the nights are long. Here’s an example, at Amazon, of copper wire string lights that you can shape as desired.

Caution: Read all instructions carefully and make certain that, if they’re going outdoors, you’ve chosen waterproof products designed for outside use.

21. Make a faux tile backsplash

NantukelPhotography / Shutterstock.com
NantukelPhotography / Shutterstock.com

This is more than a simple painting job but offers amazing results. A painted kitchen backsplash mimics the contemporary look of stone and glass tiles, minus the costly tile. The project requires a lot of preparatory taping.

For instructions and photos, check out those of the blog Reality Daydream.

22. Make a Mason jar lamp

Ezume Images / Shutterstock.com
Ezume Images / Shutterstock.com

Mason jar lamps are trendy. A YouTube video by TheSorryGirls takes you step by step through the process of making one.

If a single-jar lamp isn’t enough of a challenge, and you have plenty of Mason canning jars, look for instructions online for making a Mason jar chandelier. Stick to using found materials to keep your costs down.

23. Swap out your shower curtain, bath mat and towels

Bathroom with colorful shower curtain
Artazum / Shutterstock.com

There are so many beautiful shower curtains to choose from on Amazon and Overstock — functional bathroom art!

With this inexpensive upgrade, you might also consider replacing those threadbare towels with new bath towels. These few changes will improve the look of your bathroom.

24. Install a front door kick plate

Bobkeenan Photography / Shutterstock.com
Bobkeenan Photography / Shutterstock.com

A kick plate is a broad strip of polished metal used horizontally along the bottom edge of a front door to protect it from scratches, kicks and dog paws. Kick plates are decorative as well as functional.

Change your old kick plate for a new one, or install a kick plate if you haven’t used one before. Choose one with a finish that meshes with the finish on your existing exterior hardware.

25. Paint exterior shutters and trim

Serenethos / Shutterstock.com
Serenethos / Shutterstock.com

A fresh coat of paint or two on shutters and trim provides a quick, easy shot in the arm for your home’s exterior. Paint all of the trim or just the window trim. If you are short on time or materials, repaint only the front-facing trim. It’s safest to use an exterior paint color that’s already part of your home’s exterior color scheme.

26. Install new door handles

Door handle
Titikul_B / Shutterstock.com

Put attractive new knobs or handles on interior doors and closets. For family members who are aging, arthritic or disabled, make life easier by replacing knobs with easier-to-grasp door levers like these at Home Depot.

27. Make a new headboard

Everything / Shutterstock.com
Everything / Shutterstock.com

Craft a new headboard or refurbish your old one. If you scrounge for free and cheap materials, you can do it for less than $50.

DIY Network has 15 ideas and photos for upgrading headboards. This Old House shows how to make an upholstered headboard in eight steps.

28. Rearrange bookshelves

Evgeny Karandaev / Shutterstock.com
Evgeny Karandaev / Shutterstock.com

“Style” the contents of your bookshelves with artistic flair. Better Home & Gardens has inspiration and tips. This is a fun, creative project, so spend some time and enjoy it.

Among BHG’s tips:

  • Treat each shelf as a display, and then stand back and make sure all the shelves work well together.
  • Position some items off-center on a shelf.
  • Place some books in horizontal stacks and use the stacks as bookends for books shelved vertically.
  • For a designer look, cover the inside of a bookcase with fabric or wallpaper.
  • Don’t pack treasures and collections on every shelf.
  • Pieces of pottery make nice, solid bookends.
  • Stack a pyramid of books and put one of your favorite objects atop the stack.
  • Use bookshelves as a gallery for framed photos or art.

29. Rearrange furniture

Alex_Po / Shutterstock.com
Alex_Po / Shutterstock.com

Ask someone whose home styling skills you admire to help you see your home and possessions in a new light. Stay open to change and new ideas.

30. Add container plants

photoiconix / Shutterstock.com
photoiconix / Shutterstock.com

New plants dress up your home’s porch and garden and create great curb appeal. You can start plants from seed or relocate existing plans into pots to save money.

If you want to buy plants, your local garden store or nursery may have a half-price area from which it sells cast-offs. Often, watering and care is all they need.

31. Install new house numbers

Frontier Sights / Shutterstock.com
Frontier Sights / Shutterstock.com

Change out your old house numbers. Find new ones with an online search or at hardware stores. Or, shop for handmade house numbers at Etsy.

32. Give light-switch covers new life

A man flips a light switch
SpeedKingz / Shutterstock.com

Give those grimy old light-switch covers new life: Toss them out and treat yourself to new ones. Or, for a fun project that will save money, cover your existing plates with decoupage.

33. Give your home a deep cleaning

Yuganov Konstantin / Shutterstock.com
Yuganov Konstantin / Shutterstock.com

If you’re stuck in a rut, try using Oprah.com’s checklist, timeline and instructions for deeply, thoroughly cleaning your home in eight hours. Oprah.com calls it “spring cleaning,” but don’t let that stop you from doing it in any season. You’ll feel wonderfully virtuous for doing it.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Source: moneytalksnews.com

6 Coronavirus-Friendly Home Upgrades That Cost Less Than $10K—and Will Bring In Offers

Getting a home improvement project to pay off is notoriously tricky. There’s no guarantee you’ll recoup the money you pour into a bathroom remodel or an outdoor kitchen. Plus, the COVID-19 pandemic has made completing even minor projects more difficult, as many nonessential construction projects have been halted.

And while it might seem crazy to take on a big-ticket project in a time of economic uncertainty, many home buyers are still looking for turnkey properties with attractive amenities. So if you’re a seller with a house in need of a little TLC, you should focus on relatively low-budget upgrades that will seriously juice your home’s value.

Below, our experts spill on the improvements under $10,000 that buyers are perennially interested in, plus the trending ones whose popularity is likely to last.

Deep cleaning: $500 or less

Scuffs on doors, counters, cabinets, and walls; a ring of scum around a drain; cobwebs in basement corners; toys or tools peppering lawns and patios—these all look bad in the eyes of potential buyers. Luckily, eradicating these blemishes doesn’t take much.

“Deep cleaning is one of the most important things you can do for a little money that dramatically increases your value in the market,” says Heather Wendlandt, a real estate agent with the San Diego-based Team Kolker. “The Magic Eraser and elbow grease can go a long way.”

She says deep cleaning, plus basic paint touch-ups, can increase home values by thousands.

Front-door upgrade: $2,000 or less

Thee front door is the first part of a home that a potential buyer will interact with, so it’s worth lavishing attention on every detail. A fresh coat of paint, new hardware, or updated accessories like house numbers, door knockers, and attractive lighting are all easy and relatively inexpensive to obtain.

Wilmington, NC–based real estate agent-turned-blogger Rebecca Fernandez says that when she was given a listing that sat on the market without activity for months, a front-door upgrade helped make a difference.

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Watch: 5 Smart Upgrades To Help Coronavirus-Proof Your Home

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“I convinced the homeowners to provide me with a budget of $500,” Fernandez says. “It was a very small Cape Cod home, painted dark beige, with an unflattering wood front door. To add contrast, I purchased black vinyl shutters and painted the door a dark red. Next, we cleaned up the front lawn and purchased a door mat, flowerpots, and mums, since it was autumn, and we wanted it to have a fresh, seasonal look. After those minor tweaks, with new pictures online and the added curb appeal, we drew multiple buyers and sold the property quickly.”

Touchless fixtures and fresh-air systems: $200 to $5,000

During the pandemic, certain fixtures have become more relevant—and coveted—than ever.

What buyers want right now are touchless fixtures like sinks and toilets that eliminate your need to come into contact with a germ-filled surface, says Scott Campbell, team leader at Cedarburg, WI’s Re/Max. Both of these upgrades cost a few hundred dollars to install around the house.

Another pandemic must-have is excellent airflow.

“Updating mechanical systems and adding a RenewAire system that pulls fresh air into the home every few hours is a huge plus for buyers,” Campbell says. “Ultraviolet air exchanges that help kill viruses are also smart investments and very practical for home showings during the pandemic.”

Better kitchens and bathrooms: $9,000 or less

Kitchens and bathrooms that look outdated or cheap can sink the value of an entire home.

Tracy Jones, an associate with Re/Max Platinum Realty, witnessed firsthand how a kitchen face-lift boosted her home’s value.

“During the years we’ve done some hefty renos, but resurfacing our kitchen cabinets cost less than $4,000. We replaced the cheap-looking plywood cabinets with white doors and custom-built drawer fronts with soft-pull hardware,” she says. “We also upgraded the 1990s Formica countertops with granite for $4,000, creating a modern look.”

Jones believes these upgrades helped them bring in a profit. They bought the home for $189,000 in 2006 and sold it for $425,000 in 2020.

Bathrooms can also make or break a deal.

Erik Wright, owner of New Horizon Home Buyers in Chattanooga, TN, says he helped renovate and flip a home that cost him $80,000 and was sold for $140,000. Of the $15,000 he invested in home improvement, Wright put $9,000 toward upgrades on the kitchen and bathroom, including light fixtures, new cabinets and counters, fresh towels, and new vanities and faucets. All told, he cleared $45,000, primarily through minor tweaks.

Backyard upgrades: $500 to $10,000

Backyards are now thought of as an extension of the home.

“For those in the suburbs, pools, koi ponds, and fountains are newfound hot-selling items,” says Neal Clayton, licensed partner at Engel & Völkers in Nashville, TN. A small water feature that makes a soothing impression can be purchased and installed for as little as $500.

“Fire pits and outdoor kitchens with basic cabinetry are also frequently requested as people find creative ways to expand their living spaces,” Clayton says.

Home office: $10,000 or less

Home offices were on their way out before the pandemic, but they are all the rage now. Converting a room and buying all of the furniture, accoutrements, and shelving cost well under $10,000, experts say.

If you’re on the fence about carving out a home office space, consider this: Many buyers won’t consider a home these days if it doesn’t have a place where working or schooling from home is feasible.

Source: realtor.com

Don’t Skip These 7 Home Projects Before Selling Your House – Redfin

January 19, 2021 January 21, 2021 by Mekaila Oaks

Updated on January 21st, 2021

Maybe you’ve decided it’s time to leave your condo in New York City for a more spacious house in Dallas now that you can work from home. Or, maybe your family is growing and you’re looking for a house with a larger yard or in a different school district. Whatever your reason is, you’ve decided it’s time to sell your current home. Whether this is your first time or you have experience, selling your home can be a big task. So, unless you’re in a major time-crunch or on a tight budget, it’s best to put a little work into your home before listing it for sale so you can sell your home quickly, and possibly for more money. 

From installing new flooring to making eco-friendly upgrades, there’s a lot of home improvements you can – and should – do to make your home stand out when it hits the market. But with so many potential home upgrades, it may feel overwhelming to know where to start. Luckily, we’ve listed out the top 7 home projects to consider if you’re selling your home this year.

high ceilings living room

high ceilings living room

1) Update your flooring

If the floors in your home are worn out or outdated, it can be a huge turnoff to potential buyers. Even if you’ve grown used to the stains on the carpet or you no longer notice the divet in the kitchen floor, you’ll want to have your flooring updated before listing your home for sale. 

There are many types of flooring and the right choice will depend on your home. However, you can never go wrong with hardwood. In fact, hardwood is the most popular and valuable type of flooring to potential homebuyers in the US. Laminate and ceramic are also great flooring options to consider. To be sure you’re choosing the right type and style for your home, it’s best to talk with a flooring professional in your area. 

designer bathroom wood cabinetry circle mirrors

designer bathroom wood cabinetry circle mirrors

2) Freshen up your paint 

Are your walls scuffed, scraped, or just an unappealing color? A fresh coat of paint is a simple yet effective home update, allowing you to maximize the look and feel of your space in next to no time. As people tour your home, online or virtually, they’ll notice the small details. You won’t want a poor paint job or an outdated, dark orange kitchen wall to be an influencing factor on their decision. Instead, opt for neutral paint colors to appeal to a wide range of buyers. 

Keep in mind that painting isn’t just for the inside, either. A fresh coat of exterior paint can do wonders for your home’s appearance and curb appeal.  If you’re crunched for time or this home project is too big of an undertaking, hire a professional painter so that your home is looking its best when it hits the housing market.

dark contrast cabinetry sleek kitchen

dark contrast cabinetry sleek kitchen

3) Give your kitchen a face-lift

The kitchen is the heart of the home and it’s often one of the top priorities for buyers. So a kitchen in need of a lot of work can be all it takes to turn a buyer off for good. With stylish, designer kitchens as one of the major home design trends this year, you’ll want to prioritize this home project to help your house stand out against the competition.

If a complete remodel doesn’t fit within your budget, don’t worry. Upgrading your kitchen doesn’t mean you need to go all out and buy brand new appliances – a few little cosmetic touches can go a long way. Things like new cabinet faces, drawer pulls or, if necessary, a new counter, can completely turn a kitchen around. Even adding a new backsplash or going bold with contrast cabinetry can make all the difference. If you’re not sure which upgrades are necessary, consider speaking with a contractor or real estate professional about current trends in your area. 

backyard oasis home projects

backyard oasis home projects

4) Enhance your landscaping: curb appeal is key

Many homebuyers want the complete package – inside and out. A beautiful home is only made better by a beautiful yard, so if your property is a little bland on the outside, the right finishing touches can spark buyer interest. That’s why landscaping is one of the most important home projects to complete before you sell your house.

Landscaping can be comprehensive – things like koi ponds and expansive patios – but can also be straightforward and simple. Planting shrubs along a sidewalk, adding a small flower garden, or even putting fresh mulch around trees can be affordable and easy ways to create eye-catching curb appeal. Whether you want to completely upgrade your outdoor space with an intricate landscape design, or your front yard just needs a well-manicured lawn with some fresh flowers, a landscaper can help you tackle this home project.

5) Replace your windows

Depending on the age and condition of your home, it might be time to replace your windows. Even if you’ve only lived in your home for 5 years, you should ask yourself how long the previous owners were living there and if they ever had them replaced? If your windows have minor damages, then they may just need a simple repair. But if the frames are worn, there’s leaking when it rains, it’s difficult to open or close, or there’s just visible damage – you’ll want to hire a professional to replace them.

contemporary home

contemporary home

6) Repair your garage door

Does your garage door squeak and squeal, or is it full of dings and scrapes? Then this is one of the home projects you’ll want to stop pushing off. If your garage door no longer looks or acts up to par, then a replacement is probably necessary – especially if it’s seen years of use with little to no maintenance. Potential homebuyers will notice these issues and may request that you repair them as part of the purchase agreement. That’s why it’s a good idea to get ahead of home projects like this before listing your home. And even if your garage door is functioning as it should, this can be a great cosmetic update to freshen up your home’s exterior.

open concept kitchen wood dining table

open concept kitchen wood dining table

7) “Green” home projects for an eco-friendly home

These days many buyers are looking for homes with eco-friendly features so taking the time to add some “green” upgrades to your home can be well worth it. And, luckily, there’s a handful of ways you can make your home more green. If your budget allows, then installing solar panels is the ultimate eco-friendly upgrade you could make. Solar panels can reduce the overall cost of electricity and energy bills, are a more environmentally-friendly energy solution, and can even increase the value of your home.  And if you live in a city like San Diego or Honolulu where it’s become a popular home feature, you’ll want to invest in this eco-friendly upgrade. 

If you’re unable to take on a larger home project like this, consider investing in other eco-friendly and energy-saving features like a smart thermostat, an ENERGY STAR certified washer and dryer, or installing a high-efficiency faucet aerator in your shower and on your taps.

Source: redfin.com

Homes With a New Kitchen List for More and Often Sell Above List Price

January 20, 2021 January 21, 2021 by Lexi Klinkenberg

Updated on January 21st, 2021

The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in a home, serving as both a central meeting place for family and a functional area necessary for preparing meals. So it’s easy to understand why a state-of-the-art kitchen is a must-have for millions of homeowners from coast to coast. For those considering home upgrades, the kitchen is a great place to start. A kitchen remodel can add value for current homeowners, and appeal to homebuyers if you’re looking to sell in the near future.

Modern kitchen with breakfast bar

Modern kitchen with breakfast bar

A kitchen remodel can increase your home value

For homeowners who plan to sell their homes any time in the future, value is an important point of consideration. A new kitchen can play a significant role in higher than average list price, while an outdated kitchen that doesn’t meet functional needs can deter buyers in any housing market.

Think renovating a kitchen isn’t a big deal for prospective homebuyers? It is. It’s possible to recoup virtually the entire cost of a kitchen upgrade in the purchase price, giving you the opportunity to remodel your kitchen from top to bottom, with less concern for expenses.

Homes with new kitchens are rated number 1 for most valuable home improvement trends. The median list price on homes that have a new kitchen is $14,500 more than the national median, and on average, these homes sell for above their list price.

When planning a kitchen remodel, be sure to consider both what makes the most sense to you as well as what will appeal to most homebuyers in your area. For example, if you live in Atlanta, GA, and want to upgrade your countertops, opting for the most valuable trend, quartz, is probably a better option than granite. Someone who specializes in kitchen remodeling can also help you identify regional trends to ensure you make the best possible choice for your home.

In addition to increasing the value of your home, here are 5 other reasons you should consider remodeling your kitchen.

1. Improved lifestyle and convenience

For most homeowners who are planning on remodeling their kitchen space, convenience can be a primary motivator. If your kitchen can’t meet all of your needs, whether it’s too small or situated in an inconvenient manner, an upgrade is a great decision.

As you move forward with your kitchen remodel, determine what you need out of your kitchen and what is required to fulfill those needs. For example, if you need more space to prep and cook, extending your counter or adding an island might be the ideal solution. On the other hand, if you need more storage, an island or hanging cabinets could help you get the extra room to store your pots, pans, and dry goods. If you’re not sure where to start, speak with local kitchen renovation pros to identify the available options for your current kitchen space.

2. Better design and appearance

Kitchen remodels are often functional, but they can be beautiful, too. Upgrading your kitchen can both expand the area you have for food prep and can become a space you enjoy spending more time in.

If you don’t like the look or feel of your kitchen, a kitchen upgrade can bring your home into the twenty-first century. From counter materials to new cabinets, there are tons of ways to improve the space in your home. Some of the most popular kitchen features we are seeing nationwide include, granite countertops, an eat-in area, stainless steel appliances, and hardwood floors. You can definitely follow your own tastes to create the kitchen of your dreams or enlist the help of a pro to recommend more current trends. Regardless, the right approach to a remodel can guarantee a room that looks amazing and feels great, too.

kitchen lighting

kitchen lighting

3. Create additional space

If you’re tired of cooking and cleaning in a small, cramped space, a new kitchen can make all the difference. Renovating your kitchen can maximize the space you have available, making it much easier to cook meals and spend time with family.

Even small homes can be improved with remodeling opportunities. This can include adding things like extra cabinets or even kitchen islands. If space is really tight, taking down walls or expanding storage – like adding a new pantry or cabinets – into bordering rooms can free up storage options in your kitchen in a way that maximizes functionality.

4. Improved technology options

Kitchen technology isn’t a one size fits all option. If your 1980s fridge and old school oven can’t meet your needs, it may be time to upgrade. A customized kitchen remodel can also focus on technology. If you’re looking for higher-tech kitchen solutions, upgrading might be required.

Kitchen appliances come in all shapes and sizes, from fridges with Wi-Fi capabilities to ovens that provide quick preheat functionality and will have you ready to cook within minutes. Upgrading your kitchen with the latest and greatest technology can make cooking and preparing meals faster and easier. Start trawling home improvement stores and working with a kitchen renovation contractor that is knowledgeable in high tech options to help you weigh the pros and cons of each new kitchen appliance. No matter what you have in mind, there’s an option out there ideal for you.

5. Eco-Friendly Upgrades

If climate change or saving money on utilities are concerns for you, your kitchen remodel may be focused on implementing eco-friendly options for more sustainable living.

Appliances that offer great functionality while also reducing waste are available in countless forms, from low-energy refrigerators to microwaves with convection options. Those who want to truly maximize eco-friendly home upgrades may want to go beyond the kitchen alone, but Energy Star appliances can make it much easier to minimize your impact on the environment – and save money.

Remodeling a kitchen is never a requirement, but if you plan to sell soon or aren’t completely satisfied with the cooking space in your current home, a remodel is a great opportunity. Partnering with a kitchen remodeling company can ensure you tick every box, giving you access to pros who can identify needs and provide solutions that meet both functional and fashionable options within your budget. Whether you want more space, better tech, or to sell for more, it’s never too late to upgrade your kitchen.

Source: redfin.com