Marilyn Barnes' Blog
Many hopeful homebuyers seek to save money by buying a fixer-upper and doing most of the renovations themselves. This is a proven method for those who have a knack for home improvement and aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty.
However, estimating the cost of a remodel can be difficult. There are many costs you may not be aware of, and others that are easy to go over budget on.
In this article, we’re going to talk about the cost of an average remodel, and some lesser-known costs that you might be forgetting to factor into your budget.
Average remodeling costs
As you might guess, the cost of a remodel can vary greatly. Things like the size of the home, the number of rooms you’re remodeling, and the type of repairs you’ll be making all factor into the equation.
Some repairs can be quite costly. Septic system replacements can cost several thousands of dollars depending on the type of system you need. And, if you’re buying an old home, you’ll need to look out for expensive fixes like asbestos removal and foundation damage.
According to one report, most Americans spent between $17,000 and $61,000 on their remodel, with the average renovation cost being around $37,000.
If you’re hiring a contractor for the bulk of your remodel, expect them to charge between 10% and 15% of the total cost.
Lesser known costs of a home renovation
Remodeling a home isn’t as simple as looking up a contractor and telling them to give you the bill once it’s finished, and that’s probably a good thing because odds are you would be shocked by the cost.
First, you’ll pay a contractor to do a walkthrough and estimate costs. Next, you’ll need to get any permits that are required for your renovations.
If you plan on doing the renovations yourself, there are a few costs you’ll need to consider. First, understand that you likely won’t be able to take advantage of all of the discounts that contractors can, meaning your building materials may be more expensive than expected. Similarly, the cost of tools for the project adds up quickly. And, when you make mistakes--we all do, we’re only human--you’ll be paying for it out of pocket.
Knowing your long term goals
An important consideration for a remodel is to look toward the future. Do you want to sell your home within the next few years? If so, you might consider going with less expensive materials--such as generic kitchen cabinets rather than custom-built--to save money while still increasing the value of the home.
However, if you plan on being in this home for decades or more, it may be worth the extra money now to make sure you are happy with your home for years to come.
Remodeling a home can be a memorable and rewarding endeavor. You get the chance to take a house that you see potential in and make it truly your own. Now that you know the costs, you’ll be better prepared for planning your home renovation.
In a high competition market, you may be tempted to do whatever you can to entice the seller to accept your offer. Buyers write offer letters, provide large down payments, or waive the inspection. Sometimes, this strategy includes removing contingencies from your contract.
Beware. Removing contingencies can easily become a nightmare for you as a buyer. Certain contingencies should be kept no matter how much you think you should waive them for enticement.
The Home Inspection Contingency
This contingency is basically universally recommended by realtors everywhere. This contingency allows you to get a licensed home inspector who will check the property. The inspection typically should be done about 7 days from the time you sign the purchase agreement for the home.
Following the inspection, you as the buyer can request that the seller make certain repairs. The seller can either make the repairs or provide a counter offer. If you’re not satisfied or cannot reach an agreement, you can back out of the deal and still get your money back.
Without this contingency, you’ll never know what’s wrong with the home until you move in it. It’s a huge risk to take to move into a home without understanding all of its moving parts. Is the roof stable? Has the basement flooded? Will the appliances last? There are plenty of questions that you might have about a home that can be answered simply through an inspection.
This is an important contingency. Your offer on the property will depend on being able to get the financing you need to purchase the home. With this protection in place, in the event that you can’t get a loan, you’ll get your deposit on the home back. Be sure that the clause specifies the number of days that would be recommended by your lender to have the mortgage approved.
This could be the most important contingency of all. This protection could possibly save you thousands of dollars of a headache. Once an offer is accepted on a home, you’re far from done. The lender will typically order an appraisal. If the appraisal comes in lower than the offer you made on the home and agreed to pay, you may have some problems.
The lender will only lend you what the house is worth. If the appraisal comes in lower, you’ll need to make up for tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket. Make sure you have an appraisal contingency included in your contracts!
As you buy a home, remember how important contingencies can be in the process.
If you intend to sell your house, it generally helps to allocate time and resources to improve your home's condition. That way, you can impress potential buyers as soon as they see your residence.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to ensure you can bolster your house's condition before you list your home.
1. Install Energy-Efficient Fixtures
Updating fixtures usually is quick and easy. Plus, if you install energy-efficient fixtures, you may be able to reduce your home energy consumption while you sell your house.
Energy-efficient fixtures use a fraction of the energy of traditional fixtures. Meanwhile, energy-efficient fixtures may prove to be a key differentiator for your house, one that is sure to garner homebuyers' attention.
2. Revamp Your Bathroom
Believe it or not, the appearance of your bathroom can make a world of difference in the eyes of homebuyers. If your bathroom looks modern and beautiful, it may help your house stand out to potential buyers. Conversely, if your bathroom appears small and outdated, it is unlikely to do you any favors as you try to sell your house.
To renovate your bathroom, you may want to replace the vanity, old plumbing and lighting fixtures. In addition, it may be beneficial to install a new tile floor that will help you transform your bathroom from drab to fab.
It also is important to keep in mind that bathroom renovations may prove to be less expensive than renovations in other areas of your house. Thus, if you complete assorted bathroom renovations, you may be able to increase your house's value without a significant time and resource investment.
3. Enhance Your Lawn
If you've failed to maintain your lawn over the years, there is no need to worry. In fact, you can replace patchy weeds and grass with fresh new sod to improve your house's condition and curb appeal.
Oftentimes, you can perform lawn care and maintenance on your own. But if you want expert help, you can always hire a professional landscaping company. Because with a team of professional landscapers at your side, you can quickly and effortlessly enhance your lawn.
For home sellers who want extra assistance as they get ready to list their houses, real estate agents are available to provide expert support as well.
A real estate agent understands the challenges associated with selling a house and can help a seller identify and address such issues. Furthermore, a real estate agent will provide a home seller with recommendations and suggestions about how to improve a house's condition.
Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent will offer assistance at each stage of the home selling journey. From the moment a house is listed to closing day, a real estate agent will do whatever it takes to guide a seller along the home selling process.
Ready to add your house to the real estate market? Use the aforementioned tips, and you should have no trouble beating the home selling competition thanks to the condition of your house.
We live in the 21st century and the age of technology, this we know. But, what some sellers still do not realize is the importance of properly staged and well taken photos. The photos that you place online with your home’s listing can make or break a buyer’s interest. If you do not feel confident in your own ability to take the photos then you may want to consider hiring a photographer. However, if you feel capable of taking the photos that will be a buyer’s first look, then review the pointers below.
1. Proper lighting: Proper lighting when taking photos is essential. The lighting can completely alter the look of a home; a poorly lit room can look older and smaller than it actually is. To avoid this, try taking photos during the daytime when there is plenty of natural light, but when the sun is not beating into the room as it can cause shadows. The natural light is an ideal situation, as different lightbulbs give off different levels and color of light.
2. Avoid blurry photos: Posting out of focus photos to your listing is asking for a buyer to overlook your home. They are not only uncomplimentary but detrimental to a buyer’s interest. Make sure to keep the camera or phone (only high-end phones) steady and have proper lighting when taking the photos. It would be best to utilize a tripod or a stabilizer, if you have access to one.
3. Choose your angles wisely: All too often photos are shot up close on a feature in the room. This does not give the buyer an accurate depiction of what the room truly looks like. It’s hard to tell its size and its shape. Try standing in a doorway or inside of a closet, so you are able to photograph most of the room. But, be sure not to use a wide-angle camera lens, as it can distort the room and give buyers a false pretense of its size.
4. Remove clutter: Taking photos of your home for your online listing while there is clutter all over is not the best way to showcase your home. It will make your rooms look smaller and be harder for one to visualize his/her belongings in that space.
5. Remove personal items: When selling your home, you want buyers to be able to envision themselves living there. It’s important to remove overly personal items for open houses and it’s also important to do so when taking photographs of your home.
These are just a couple pointers for taking photos that peak buyers’ interests in your home. If you are very inexperienced in photography,be sure to do additional research, so you are taking the best photos possible.And again, if you’re unsure of your ability, it might be best to leave it to the professional—as a first impression is everything.
If you’re in the process of selling your home, your agent will most likely be making calls to you relating that she will be showing your home to potential buyers. While you’re probably excited to sell your home, there’s no doubt that home showings can happen at the worst possible times! Here’s some tips to help you prepare for any home showing in a hurry:
Sweep up your kitchen and bathrooms Spot clean in any necessary areas to remove stains.
Get Out Your Duster
Quickly wipe down any of your furniture, televisions, screens and other objects that really show dust in your home. You don’t need to go crazy, just make sure that everything is clean.
Don’t leave tons of stuff hanging around on your counters. Your counters should be wiped down and clear of clutter for your home showing.
Make Your Bed
Heed your mother’s advice and make your bed. There’s nothing more unattractive at a home showing than beds that haven’t been made or items strewn across the bedroom. If you have some time, take a look at your bedding and see if it looks presentable, as in free from rips and stains. If not, consider replacing the existing bedding for an even better impression.
Give your carpets a once over with the vacuum cleaner. This will pick up any surface dirt and make the carpets look, smell and feel fresher.
Empty The Trash
Empty all of your trash cans. Spray them down with a disinfectant spray so that there’s no lingering odors.
Brighten It Up
When your home is being shown, the lights should be on. A bright home is an attractive home!
Clean Your Dishes
Put all of your dirty dishes in the dishwasher. There shouldn’t be any dirty dishes left out and around during a home showing. Also, you don’t want any of your appliances running while potential buyers are visiting.
Put Clothes Away
Your clothes should be loaded into the washer and dryer as well. No dirty (or clean) clothes should be lingering around the house. Potential buyers don’t need to see the latest styles that you’re wearing!
Put Your Stuff Away
Every room should be given a once over. Everything should be off of the floors, counters and furniture. This will make your home look very presentable and attractive to buyers.
Although a home showing may seem overwhelming, buyers like to picture what your home will look like once they’re the new occupants. The short amount of time that you spend on making your home look tidy can make a big difference in finding the right buyer for your property.