- Materials matter over brand or price: Tests have found that stainless steel is the toughest sink material and the more expensive thicker gauge stainless steel sinks aren’t necessarily better than thinner less expensive sinks. When looking at sound absorption, pads on the bottom of the sink’s exterior worked better than spray-on coatings. As far as scratches go, matte finishes do a better job at hiding the damage than polished surfaces do.
- Go with an undermount sink: These are only appropriate for waterproof countertops; they create a clean look and also make for easy cleanup since spills and crumbs can be wiped right into the sink.
- Don’t spend a lot on a faucet: Pick the style that you like since most faucets (except for the absolute cheapest) come with a lifetime warranty against leaks and stains. Ensure the faucet you choose is proportionate to the size of your sink.
Are you ready to sell or just want more information about what your home is worth? You may be surprised at the equity in your home due to the improving housing market! Call the Dawn Dause Group today! (815) 954-5050
- Super Kitchens: Kitchens are no longer just for cooking; they are an entertainment space and the center of the home. Kitchens are now being built open to other rooms and islands are being used as a divider between rooms instead of walls. As kitchens are becoming more open, pantries are getting bigger to provide more storage.
- Outdoor/Indoor spaces merge: Indoor spaces are built to flow into outdoor areas so that homeowners can easily go between both spaces. Another note about outdoor areas; the once traditional public backyard is becoming less popular. Having a private backyard oasis is becoming more important to homeowners so builders are starting to position homes so that the backyard is more private.
- Bigger garages: Not only do homeowners want more space for their cars, they also want to be able to use their garage for hobbies, work spaces, and more storage.
- Home office: Home office spaces are increasingly in demand and they may not be placed off of the entry of the home like many have been. Many people want their office to be closer to both the kitchen and the family room.
- Tech spaces: Technology use is widespread so builders are beginning to build small “server” rooms since many homes are now using smart technology.
- Dual homes: More people are living under one roof due to adults living with their parents longer, older parents moving in, and cultural preferences. Multi-generational homes are emerging that offer features such as separate main entrances and attached suites that serve as private residences.
Curious about ways to add value to your home or are you getting ready to sell? When thinking about home improvements, it’s crucial to think in terms of getting the most return from your investment. Here are ten projects you can do that will add to your home without taking too much out of your pocket in the long run.
1. Replace your front door: Putting in a new steel front door goes a long way for the first impression your home makes. If you don’t want to invest in a new door, simply spruce up your old one with a new paint job and brand new hardware.
2. Add a deck or a patio: Buyers are always looking for outdoor living space so adding that patio or deck will make your home that much more appealing.
3. Add new living space: If your budget allows, adding extra bedrooms, bathrooms, or expanding a living space is a great return on your investment. For example, you can get 84% back on your investment by putting in an attic bedroom.
4. Add a new garage door: Manufacturers offer a wide range of styles and colors for garage doors. Adding a new garage door will give your home an instant face lift.
5. Remodel the kitchen: Kitchens are the center of a house so buyers look carefully at them. If you are looking to sell soon, don’t do a major remodel but instead do minor fixes to update the look and feel of your kitchen. When doing a minor remodel you can expect to get back 82% of your investment and when doing a major remodel you can see around 74% of your investment returned to you.
6. Replace your windows: Buyers care about how your windows look as well as whether or not they are energy efficient. If you do replace your windows and are selling your home, be sure to highlight your new windows as they are a highlight of your home.
7. Replace your siding: If the exterior of your home is worn and in need of updating/replacing, getting new vinyl or fiber-cement mix siding is a great idea. You can expect to receive 78% back on your investment for using vinyl siding or 87% back for fiber-cement siding!
8. Finish your basement: Nowadays many buyers are looking for space to entertain. A remodeled basement is a very attractive asset and you can potentially get back 78% of your investment when creating a basement to entertain.
9. Update your bathrooms: While a major bathroom remodel can cost upwards of $50,000 and only add about $32,000 worth of value to your home, you can make minor changes to the space and still achieve added value. Small changes such as replacing fixtures and faucets, painting the walls, re caulking the tub, or adding crown molding will go a long way.
10. Two-Story Addition: Adding an extension on to your family room or adding a new bedroom and bathroom upstairs will hugely increase the value of your home. No matter what project(s) you choose to do, here is a word of caution: be careful not to over-improve your home for the neighborhood.
- Screwdrivers (Flat head and Phillips)
- Tape measure
- Power drill
- Vise grips
- Staple gun
These projects usually require a permit, but be sure to check with your local jurisdiction to be sure!
- Putting in a gas stove
- Replacing windows or doors
- Building a deck
- Putting in a fence
- Creating a safe room or storm shelter
- Remodeling a bathroom or kitchen
- Installing new electrical wiring
- Replacing a gas water heater
- Freshen up paint, front door, and hardware: Painting a room is an inexpensive way to instantly update the space. Even if you don’t repaint your entire house, painting trim, especially around the front door and windows, will make a big difference. If your front door has seen better days, consider replacing it or giving it a fresh coat of paint. Pay attention to the doorknob as well; clean it so it shines or replace a brass doorknob with a more contemporary brushed nickel one. Replacing switch plates and outlet covers can also do wonders.
- Let the light in: It’s important to let as much light as possible in to your home. Add lamps and make sure that they are on when your house is shown. Make sure that blinds are open and that your home is light and airy. If you have dated light fixtures or old fans, consider investing in new ones. Big box stores offer many well priced options that will have a huge visual impact in your home.
- Invest in the kitchen and bathrooms: For many buyers, an updated or at least a very clean kitchen and bathrooms are important. If your bathrooms’ tile floors need replacing but you can’t afford to, consider digging out the old grout and replacing it with new grout. This can really transform a dated floor into something new. Caulk the shower and the tub; if your bathtub is scratched or chipped you can get it reglazed for under $500. Installing new faucets in the kitchen and bathrooms either yourself or by a professional can really update the room as well.
- Curb appeal: No matter what season you are selling your home in, it’s important to pull weeds, mulch, and add colorful plants or flowers (bushes with berries are a good option for the winter). The exterior of your home is the first impression that a buyer gets so make it count!
- Better efficiency can mean longer wash times: The most efficient washing machines save about $1,400 over a 10 year span and use approximately 110,000 fewer gallons of water than a 10 year old top loader with a center agitator. Another plus to these new machines is that they are better at extracting water so drying time is reduced as are electrical costs. Although these machines clean very well, they typically have longer wash cycles ranging from 65-115 minutes on average, with front-loaders taking longer than top loaders. Washers are increasingly offering ‘quick cycles’ for smaller loads or lightly soiled loads. Consumer Reports tests found that Kenmore’s Accela-Wash, LG’s TurboWash, and Samsung’s SuperSpeed shaved off about 15-20 minutes from a normal load while still cleaning well.
- Washers are deeper and/or wider: Many manufacturers are making an effort to cut down on the amount of time consumers spend doing laundry by making the washers taller and deeper to increase capacity. This can be a problem for people on the shorter side because it may make getting loads out of the washer a difficult task. When shopping, be sure to reach into the washer; if you can’t reach the bottom consider investing in a different model. Also, many washers are now wider than before so if your laundry room is tight, be sure to measure before you buy.
- Waterproof items can create problems: High efficiency top loaders spin quicker and extract more water than regular top loaders, however, water can become trapped in rain coats and other waterproof items, causing the load to become unbalanced. When this happens, the machine can shake too much which can cause damage to the washer and laundry area. Some brands (Maytag and Whirlpool) say their machines can safely handle waterproof items while others (LG) warn against washing these items. Be sure to check the owner’s manual before buying.
- No high efficiency dryers yet: Dissimilar to washers, dryers have typically used similar amounts of energy, even the HE dryers, according to Energy Star. Although not here yet, Energy Star-qualified dryers may hit stores soon.
- Maybe you don’t need a new dryer afterall… Although they look different, new dryers and old dryers pretty much still work the same way. They both use moisture sensors to determine how damp the laundry is and it adjusts the drying time accordingly. If your current dryer has a sensor and you don’t mind having a washer and dryer that don’t match, you can save money and keep your existing dryer until it breaks.Here’s a tip though: dryers with sensors are meant to handle full loads. When you dry just a few items at a time, the dryer may shut off before things are dry because the items didn’t touch the sensor frequently enough. To avoid this problem, use a timed cycle for smaller loads. Also, dryers with thermostats are not efficient since they dry for a set amount of time, even if the clothes are dry before the timer is up.