There are so many things that you can do to update your home – where do you start? What gives you the best bang for your buck? Do I need a designer or permits? Start inside or outside?
Lots of good questions. Here are your best answers:
The first rule of thumb:
Use the 10% rule: Ensure that your home is not too terribly different from the rest of the homes in the neighborhood. If hardly anyone else in your neighborhood has new cabinets and granite, then adding that won’t give you as much of a return. Don’t add that 3rd garage bay if less than 10% of the homes in the neighborhood have one. Reason? The other homes in the neighborhood have a direct impact on the value of your home.
Therefore, if everyone else in the neighborhood is updated, do not expect to get as much for your home, but the overall value of your home may be increased by the higher values around you.
Rule of thumb #2:
Do not overdo one area such that you won’t have money for the other areas. Your kitchen is fabulous with new granite, sink, paints, appliances and lighting but the rest of the house is still stuck in the 80’s. Not a good recipe. Instead, go more moderate in several rooms.
Start with Kitchens and Baths, first repairing any deficiencies. Turn that 1.5 bath into a 2 full bath before you go for all new tile or updated items. Start with easiest items after that: Removal of old wallpaper and fresh paint in neutral colors go a long way. Remove and replace outdated tile colors, old sinks and appliances.
Mortgage Market Report - Weeks Wrap Up
Not much news this week, aside from the Lebron James announcement...he's
going to Miami if anyone cares...
The biggest news this week was the Initial Jobless Claims report on
Thursday which was a little better than expected. "Just" 454,000 people
filing first time unemployment benefits . But that was a bit better
than the expected 465,000 and somewhat better than last weeks 472,000
first time filings. And with tensions simmering down overseas, the
stock market mustered a rally and has closed today above 10,000 again,
settling at 10,198 ( DOW Index ).
Boosting stocks were also comments coming from the Wall Street Journal
that chances of a double dip recession are "exaggerated. Normally,
soaring stock prices are a damper for bonds and mortgage rates, but
mortgage bonds held their own. The employment market is still vastly
week and still no real signs of economic improvement which is keeping
bonds favorable and rates low. However, these ultra low rates will not
last forever and any catalyst seen with economic improvement will send
rates upward and possibly in a hurry.
I expect to see a continuing see-saw with stocks and bond prices in
coming weeks which should keep mortgage rates at bay. The markets are
itching for any reason to rejoice and just a glimmer of hope will send
stocks higher as we saw this week. But until we see data that shows
sustained improvement, bonds and mortgage rates will benefit.
The Obama Adminstration lost its bid to reinstate the moratorium on
offshore drilling in Federal Appeals court. However, Interior Secretary
Kenneth Salazar, plans on coming up with a new plan and issue a new
moratorium. While the 33 exploratory wells could resume drilling,
companies may not bother with the expense of start up costs with the
future still in limbo. As such, the threat of additional lawsuits to
reinstate the moratorium is effectively establishing a de facto
Stay tuned, next week we have Retail Sales Report and the Consumer and
Producer Price Index which are always tide changers. Plus, the reality
is that Europe still has a long way to go and now whispers that Italy
may be the next European country to announce debt problems.