Renovate or Change?

How to Renovate a House on a Budget: The Best Tips

A complete home renovation can cost anywhere from $40,000 to $60,000! So, if you’re a new homeowner, you likely don’t have the budget to tackle that kind of a renovation.

Thankfully, you can put together a fully renovated home for much cheaper. Here are some great tips to show you exactly how to renovate a house on a budget. Your dream home is right around the corner.

Make A Budget

The saying goes that a project will take as much time as you allot for it. The same thing goes with your home improvement projects.

If you don’t decide your budget before you start, your renovation will take up as much as it needs to. This can end up being much more than you can afford.

So, before you even start putting together plans, put together a budget. Make a list of the renovations you want in your home and do some market research. Figure out how much those renovations typically cost.

Once you have a budget in place, you can move forward with the rest of your renovation.

Plan, Plan, Plan

Before you renovate anything, you should have an idea of exactly what you want your new space to look like. This will help you maintain your focus.

It will help you identify weak spots in your renovation plan before you even start. Maybe you hang a color palette for your kitchen, then a month later you realize you don’t really like those colors. At least you determined that before you bought the paint and other items in those colors.

A solid plan will keep you from getting distracted by the latest fads and trends. You know exactly what you want. Maybe you have decided that you want a sleek kitchen. So, when wicker trends come into style, even though you love the look, that means you won’t be using any wicker in your new kitchen.

Paint Is Your Best Friend

Often, a new coat of paint goes a long way when it comes to giving your home a new feel. As often as possible, repaint instead of replacing. This applies to cabinets, walls, doorframes, and even doorknobs.

Doorknobs themselves can cost anywhere from $10 to $60 each! A can of metallic spray paint will run about $8.

If you can upgrade it with a new coat of paint, and it already functions well, then there’s no need to replace it. This alone can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

Repainting walls can give rooms a brand-new feel, and it doesn’t cost much. You can opt for classic styles or look online at samples of rooms you like or search for a color palette that you think would look wonderful in your home.

Focus On Your ROI

If you plan to sell your home in the next few years, focus on renovations that are likely to have the highest ROI. Of course, this is your home too. So, if there’s something you would love in your renovation, add it.

Kitchen remodels, decks, and improving your curb appeal typically see the biggest ROI. Replacing the garage door is expected to provide a return of 97.5%.

Different projects have different rates of return. As you renovate your house, keep in mind three things.

Why Do You Want This Renovation?

If your home wishes involve big bay windows and a little breakfast nook, then go for it.

But remember that the reason you’re adding this renovation is that you want it. Don’t expect a return on investment, and seriously consider if the cost will be worth it.

Is The ROI Worth It Right Now?

If you’re doing a renovation for the ROI, hopefully, you plan to sell your house soon. If not, it may not be worth it right now. The newer the renovation, the better the ROI. People like to know they won’t have to fix something for a long while.

If you don’t plan to sell your home soon, and your current appliances still work, postpone it. This will help spread out your expenses so you can handle them better.

Is It Good Enough Right Now?

Consider if you need a full renovation. Is an appliance functionally sound, and just needs some cosmetic improvement? If that’s the case, you can save big bucks by holding on to functioning appliances longer.

Upcycle And Recycle As Much As Possible

Habitat for Humanity ReStore sells excess building materials. You can save money by shopping there instead of Home Depot.

Where possible (and practical) look to use recycled materials as much as possible. Not only will this help your bottom line, but it’s also better for the environment too.

Upcycling old decor can add a lot to your home’s personality as well. For instance, if your bathroom needs a new mirror, consider shopping at thrift stores. A beautiful antique mirror will do a lot more for your space than a slab of glass from Wal-Mart.

Pay Attention To The Pay Off

Especially when you renovate and update appliances, pay attention to the cost-saving value. Sure, an eco-friendly fridge might be more expensive initially. But by replacing it, it will save an average of $270 over the next five years.

The more you do this throughout your home, the bigger your annual savings. One of the best places to focus on eco-friendly choices is actually with your lighting.

Switching to eco-friendly bulbs or adding dimmer switches can give you a bigger pay back. Plus, the mood lighting in your home can make the environment more vibrant or cozy, depending on your design.

Don’t Forget Landscaping

A dead yellow lawn takes away a lot from an otherwise beautiful home.

When you’re planning your landscaping, consider what you predominantly use the space for.

If you love reading in a hammock, you can fill your lawn with bushes, tall flowers, and decorative stones. Then add a little end table next to your hammock for an umbrella and a book.

But if you have three active boys, you will probably want to invest in the turf that can withstand a lot of wear and tear. Don’t skimp on your lawn if it’s going to have to handle a lot of activity. If you skimp it could be destroyed within a year.

Another good idea is turning some of your outdoor space into a garden. If your HOA allows, you might be able to do this with both your back and front yard. This gives you much better use of the space than an empty lawn. It’s decorative, beautiful, and good for the environment.

Plus, you’ll have healthy homegrown vegetables all year round. This, in turn, can cut down on your grocery expenses.

Most importantly, focus on sustainability in your yard. Try to incorporate the natural landscape around you. Decorate with plants local to the area. They’ll last longer and grow healthier. They’ll also be less of a drain on your water supply and require less attention.

Even if you live in a desert, you can have stunning landscaping that fits the place you live in.

Final Tips

You’re a frugal person who knows how to make a dollar stretch. Don’t forget to use the money-saving hacks you already know when it comes to a renovation.

Take advantage of deals and DIY where you can. But don’t be afraid to pay for a professional on hard issues like electric and plumbing.

Focus on big impact renovations first, like flooring, lighting, and paint. Then pay attention to your small impact renovations.

Remember, little details have a big impact. This is your space, so create it the way you want.

Focus On Interior Design

If your home feels outdated, the issue might not be your home. It could be your furniture that’s the problem. These days, people are focusing on designing cozy, chic, and eco-friendly interiors.

Consider trading in your furniture for something that better suits your space. Put in the effort to make it feel exactly the way you want. Pretty paint won’t help much if your couch still looks like it comes from the seventies.

Look for ideas to decorate your home online. Pinterest and other site have thousands of ideas that you can look at to glean details that will make your space just the way you want it. You can also get inspiration from magazines or googling ideas for remodels.

Focus on how much space you have. For example, if you live in a tiny home, you don’t want to look up remodels for gorgeous huge kitchens. You want something that fits the space you have. This will make it practical, and more fitting for you.

Now You Know Exactly How To Renovate A House On A Budget

These tips show you exactly how to renovate a house on a budget. It takes a bit more creativity, but it’s not hard. Often, you can get an entirely new feel for your home by painting or upgrading your furniture.

With these tips, your dream home renovation is right around the corner.

Looking to sell your current home or buy a new one? Call me 732.245.4031

Home ownership Will Always Be a Part of the American Dream

Home ownership Will Always Be a Part of the American Dream

Homeownership Will Always Be a Part of the American Dream | MyKCM

On Labor Day we celebrate the hard work that helps us achieve the American Dream.

Growing up, many of us thought about our future lives with great ambition. We drew pictures of what jobs we wanted to have and where we would live as a representation of a secure life for ourselves and our families. Today we celebrate the workers that make this country a place where those dreams can become a reality.

According to Wikipedia,

Labor Day honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the development, growth, endurance, strength, security, prosperity, productivity, laws, sustainability, persistence, structure, and well-being of the country.”

The hard work that happens every day across this country allows so many to achieve the American Dream. The 2019 Aspiring Home Buyers Profile by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) says,

“Approximately 75% of non-homeowners believe homeownership is part of their American Dream, while 9 in 10 current homeowners said the same.”

Looking at the number of non-owners, you may wonder, ‘If they believe in homeownership, why haven’t they bought a home yet?’. Well, increasing home prices and low inventory can be part of the reason why some haven’t jumped in, but that does not mean there is a lack of interest. The same report shows the increase in the desire to buy in the last year (as shown in the graph below):Homeownership Will Always Be a Part of the American Dream | MyKCMAs we can see, there are more and more people each quarter who want to buy a home. The good news is, as more inventory comes to the market, more non-homeowners will be able to fulfill their dreams. Finally, they’ll be able to move into that home they drew when they were little kids!

Bottom Line

If you’re a homeowner considering selling, this fall might be the right time, as there are buyers in the market ready to buy. Let’s get together to determine how you can benefit from the pent-up housing demand.

5 Real Estate Reality TV Myths Explained

5 Real Estate Reality TV Myths Explained

5 Real Estate Reality TV Myths Explained | MyKCM

Have you ever been flipping through the channels, only to find yourself glued to the couch in an HGTV binge session? We’ve all been there, watching entire seasons of shows like “Property Brothers,” “Fixer Upper,” and “Love It or List It,” all in one sitting.

When you’re in the middle of your real estate-themed TV show marathon, you might start to think everything you see on the screen must be how it works in real life. However, you may need a reality check.

Reality TV Show Myths vs. Real Life:

Myth #1: Buyers look at 3 homes and decide to purchase one of them.
Truth: There may be buyers who fall in love and buy the first home they see, but according to the National Association of Realtors, the average homebuyer tours 10 homes as a part of their search.  

Myth #2: The houses the buyers are touring are still for sale.
Truth: Everything is staged for TV. Many of the homes shown are already sold and are off the market. 

Myth #3: The buyers haven’t made a purchase decision yet.
Truth: Since there is no way to show the entire buying process in a 30-minute show, TV producers often choose buyers who are further along in the process and have already chosen a home to buy. 

Myth #4: If you list your home for sale, it will ALWAYS sell at the open house.
Truth: Of course, this would be great! Open houses are important to guarantee the most exposure to buyers in your area, but they are only one piece of the overall marketing of your home. Keep in mind, many homes are sold during regular showing appointments as well. 

Myth #5: Homeowners decide to sell their homes after a 5-minute conversation.
Truth: Similar to the buyers portrayed on the shows, many of the sellers have already spent hours deliberating the decision to list their homes and move on with their lives and goals.

Bottom Line

Having an experienced professional on your side while navigating the real estate market is the best way to guarantee you can make the home of your dreams a true reality.

Top 5 Reasons You Should NOT FSBO

Top 5 Reasons You Should NOT FSBO | MyKCM

Rising home prices coupled with a lack of inventory in today’s market may cause some homeowners to consider selling their home on their own (known in the industry as a For Sale By Owner). However, a FSBO might not be a good idea for the vast majority of sellers.

The top 5 reasons are listed below:

1. Online Strategy for Prospective Purchasers

Recent studies have shown that 95% of buyers search online for a home. In comparison, only 13% use print newspaper ads. Most real estate agents have an Internet strategy to promote the sale of your home. Do you?

2. Results Come from the Internet

Where did buyers find the home they actually purchased?

  • 50% on the Internet
  • 7% from a yard sign
  • 28% from a Real Estate Agent
  • 1% from newspapers

The days of selling your house by putting up a sign and listing it in the paper are long gone. Having a strong Internet strategy is crucial.

3. There Are Too Many People to Negotiate With

Here is a list of some of the people with whom you must be prepared to negotiate if you decide to For Sale By Owner:

  • The buyer who wants the best deal possible
  • The buyer’s agent, who solely represents the best interest of the buyer
  • The buyer’s attorney (in some parts of the country)
  • The home inspection companies, which work for the buyer and will almost always find some problems with the house
  • The appraiser, if there is a question of value

4. FSBOing Has Become Increasingly Difficult

The paperwork involved in the process has increased dramatically as industry disclosures and regulations have become mandatory. This is one of the reasons that the percentage of people FSBOing has dropped from 19% to 7% over the last 20+ years.

5. You Net More Money When Using an Agent

Many homeowners believe that they will save the real estate commission by selling on their own. Realize that the main reason buyers look at FSBOs is because they also believe they can save the real estate agent’s commission. The seller and buyer can’t both save the commission.

A study by Collateral Analytics revealed that FSBOs don’t actually save anything by forgoing the help of an agent. In some cases, they may actually cost themselves more. One of the main reasons for the price difference at the time of sale is:

“Properties listed with a broker that is a member of the local MLS will be listed online with all other participating broker websites, marketing the home to a much larger buyer population. And those MLS properties generally offer compensation to agents who represent buyers, incentivizing them to show and sell the property and again potentially enlarging the buyer pool.”

The more buyers that view a home, the greater the chance of a bidding war for the property. The study found the difference in price between comparable homes of size and location is currently at an average of 6%.

Listing on your own leaves you to manage the entire transaction yourself. Why do that when you can hire an agent without additional cost?

Bottom Line

Before you decide to take on the challenge of selling your house on your own, let’s get together to discuss your needs.

4 DIY Things You Can Do to Lower Your Energy Bill This Summer

If you live in a place where summer heat is an issue, this time of year can mean substantially higher energy costs. Here are four low-cost, high-impact changes you can make on your own to save money and keep your home more comfortable this summer.

Clean your window sills
A few seasons worth of dirt and soot can prevent your windows from closing all the way. Even a little air getting in can make your AC less efficient and raise your electric bill. Drafty windows are the top energy leak in a typical home, accounting for up to 25% of a home’s energy loss.
Cost: $0-5 (cleaning spray and paper towels)
DIY level: Easy. You can even make this a chore for the kids!

Install a door sweep
“A common place where air leaks occur is under the door leading from the house to the garage because they are often not as well sealed as doors leading directly to the outside,” says Energy Star. Install a door sweep to seal the gap between the bottom of your door and the threshold to prevent cold air from escaping your home.
Cost: $10-15 (per door)
DIY level: Easy. Use a drill to make holes in the door and screws to attach the sweep.

Caulking Window Frame

Caulk your windows
Window air leakage can be reduced by applying a continuous bead of caulk around the window trim where it meets the wall, at the mitered joints of the trim, and between the trim and the frame. Make sure the caulk is intended for indoor use and can be painted. Using Charlotte, NC as an example, the Department of Energy estimated that the average homeowner could save 14% on heating and cooling costs each year with proper air sealing and insulation.
Cost: $3-5 (caulk)
DIY level: Medium. Caulk can get messy, so go slow.

Check your ducts
Ducts are used to distribute AC and heat throughout houses with forced-air systems “In typical houses, about 20% of the air that moves through the duct system is lost due to leaks, holes and poorly connected ducts.” says Energy Star. “The result is an inefficient HVAC system, high utility bills, and difficulty keeping the house comfortable, no matter how the thermostat is set.” You can check all the ducts you can access, such as those in the attic, crawlspace, or garage. Look for holes and tears, and seal them using mastic or metal tape.
Cost: $5-10 (roll of tape)
DIY level: Medium. It’s just taping, but you’ll likely be dealing with tight spaces and a few creepy-crawlies.

Know What to Expect at Your Home Inspection

Know What to Expect at Your Home Inspection | MyKCM

So you made an offer and it was accepted. Now, your next task is to have the home inspected prior to closing. Agents oftentimes make your offer contingent on a clean home inspection.

This contingency allows you to renegotiate the price you paid for the home, ask the sellers to cover repairs, or in some cases, to walk away. Your agent can advise you on the best course of action once the report is filed.

How to Choose an Inspector

Your agent will most likely have a short list of inspectors that they have worked with in the past that they can recommend to you. HGTV recommends that you consider the following five areas when choosing the right home inspector for you:

1. Qualifications – find out what’s included in your inspection and if the age or location of your home may warrant specific certifications or specialties.

2. Sample Reports – ask for a sample inspection report so you can review how thoroughly they will be inspecting your dream home. In most cases, the more detailed the report, the better.

3. References – do your homework – ask for phone numbers and names of past clients who you can call to ask about their experiences.

4. Memberships – Not all inspectors belong to a national or state association of home inspectors, and membership in one of these groups should not be the only way to evaluate your choice. Membership in one of these organizations often means that continued training and education are provided.

5. Errors & Omission Insurance – Find out what the liability of the inspector or inspection company is once the inspection is over. The inspector is only human, after all, and it is possible that they might have missed something they should have seen.

Ask your inspector if it’s okay for you to tag along during the inspection. That way they can point out anything that should be addressed or fixed.

Don’t be surprised to see your inspector climbing on the roof or crawling around in the attic and on the floors. The job of the inspector is to protect your investment and find any issues with the home, including but not limited to: the roof, plumbing, electrical components, appliances, heating & air conditioning systems, ventilation, windows, the fireplace and chimney, the foundation, and so much more!

Bottom Line

They say, ‘ignorance is bliss,’ but not when investing your hard-earned money into a home of your own. Work with a professional who you can trust to give you the most information possible about your new home so that you can make the most educated decision about your purchase.

The Right Dimensions for Your Porch

Here’s Why Kitchen and Bath Renovations Are Costing More

Top Days to List Your Home for Sale [INFOGRAPHIC]

Top Days to List Your Home for Sale [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • ATTOM Data Solutions conducted an analysis of more than 29 million single family home and condo sales over the past eight years to determine the top days to list your home for sale.
  • The top five days to list your home brought in a 10% premium over market value and are all in either May or June!
  • “Families start their home search when they know their kids will be out of school and when the weather is ideal for home viewing and moving, giving home sellers an upper hand in price negotiations.”
  • There is still time to list your home before these dates pass you by!

The Impact Staging Your Home Has On Your Sale Price [INFOGRAPHIC]

The Impact Staging Your Home Has On Your Sale Price [INFOGRAPHIC] | MyKCM

Some Highlights:

  • The National Association of Realtors surveyed their members & released the findings of their Profile of Home Staging.
  • 62% of seller’s agents say that staging a home decreases the amount of time a home spends on the market.
  • 50% of staged homes saw a 1-10% increase in dollar-value offers from buyers.
  • 77% of buyer’s agents said staging made it easier for buyers to visualize the home as their own.
  • The top rooms to stage in order to attract more buyers are the living room, master bedroom, kitchen, and dining room.
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