Not every renovation is going to make your house attractive to buyers. Here are four types of home improvements that may be detrimental.
1. Pool installation
Unless you live in an area where pools are expected, adding one won’t do much to increase the value of your home. In addition, many buyers are put off by the required maintenance and additional insurance costs that come with owning a property with a pool.
2. Room conversions
The number of bedrooms in a home is an almost universal consideration for buyers. Converting one into a gym or home office, especially if it entails removing closets and storage space, is likely to make your home a lot less attractive.
3. Wall-to-wall carpeting
If you’re going to replace the flooring, it’s best to choose a material that’s likely to increase the value of your home, like hardwood or something similar. Typically, carpeting isn’t a very popular feature among modern home buyers.
4. Excessive upgrades
Any major renovation that bumps up your home’s worth to more than a quarter of its original value is likely to result in your home being priced out of the market. This happens when the home’s value ends up being too high for the area, which in turn makes it less attractive to buyers.
Resale value shouldn’t be the only criterion when deciding what to renovate, but it’s definitely something to keep in mind.
Did you know?
Most municipalities require you to obtain a permit before doing any kind of major renovation. This legality ensures that the new construction will be up to code.
How to use architectural lighting to revamp your home
Architectural lighting enhances the structure of the space to create a cohesive experience. It’s something to be considered during every building and renovation project, and the earlier the better. This is because this type of lighting is integrated directly into space, blending in with the features of your home. Here are some ways architectural lighting is used.
To emphasize ceilings
If you have architectural ceilings, rather than installing pot lights consider adopting lighting that blends into the millwork and molding. This could work well on a beamed, coffered, coved, or tray ceiling.
To set the mood with wall wash lighting
To light your way
Illuminate stairways by adding pot lights on both sides of the bottom step, either on the lowest riser or the wall. Alternatively, add lighting within each riser. Uplighting can create height and drama, and when used to illuminate staircases, it also focuses light where it’s most needed.
There are many other possibilities when it comes to architectural lighting, from illuminating the underside of kitchen counters and cabinets, to lighting up built-in shelving and other custom features. For the best possible results, make sure to speak with an architect before you start your renovation or building project.
3 smart home features that buyers want
One of the best ways to gain an edge in the real estate market is with smart technologies that provide improvements in comfort, convenience, and security. Here are three smart home features that home buyers are increasingly interested in.
1. Smart home security
Smart security systems provide robust all-round protection. They consolidate various security tools — burglar alarms, fire alarms, locks, surveillance cameras, and lighting — in one wall-mounted touch panel and smartphone app, allowing you to fine-tune your home security and manage and monitor your system from a distance.
2. Smart thermostats
3. Smart appliances
Homebuyers appreciate that smart fridges, washers, dryers, stoves, and other appliances are generally more energy-efficient and offer various useful features. For example, a smart stove allows users to preheat the oven from their smartphone and receive alerts when the cooking has finished. Additionally, certain smart washer and dryer units use artificial intelligence to determine the weight and fabric softness of each load in order to select the optimal wash cycle.
If you have any of these home technologies, flaunt them when selling your house. If not, consider upgrading your home to make it “smarter.”
How to spot a bike-friendly neighborhood
Are you buying a new home? If your main mode of transportation is a bicycle, it’s a good idea to determine how bike-friendly a neighborhood is before you decide to live there. Here are five factors to consider.
1. Designated bike lanes
It’s safer to ride in designated bike lanes than on the road. The ideal neighborhood for cycling has bike lanes separated from roads with a barrier. Conversely, the most unsafe routes for cyclists are those where riders are sandwiched between moving traffic and parked cars.
2. Road conditions
3. Traffic volume
It can be unpleasant to bike in heavy traffic. In addition to being less safe, busy roads are noisy and more polluted.
4. Speed limits
Residential streets with low vehicle speed limits are ideal for cyclists, especially if they must share the road with drivers.
5. Flat terrain
If you use your bike for long commutes, a hilly neighborhood could be a problem, as it can make your daily ride excessively grueling.
Lastly, if you love to bike in nature, choose a neighborhood with bike paths that pass through parks, waterfronts, and other scenic areas.
5 DIY painting projects to refresh your home
It’s amazing what a little paint can do. Here are five fun and easy projects that can have a major impact on the look and feel of your home.
1. Garage. Elevate your home’s curb appeal by giving the garage doors a facelift. Choose a color that matches the trim and shutters and complements the house’s other exterior features.
2. Dresser. If you have a dingy old set of drawers or want to give a boring room a boost, consider refurbishing your wooden dresser. Use a punchy color if you want to create interest, but opt for a neutral if you prefer the piece to blend in.
3. Front door. First impressions matter. Make a great one by choosing a bright, welcoming color for your front door.
4. Cabinets. In a kitchen, painting the cabinets can completely redefine the look and feel of the space. When choosing a color, consider the hues in your backsplash, countertop, floor, and walls.
5. Shelves. If you have built-in shelves, consider painting them a bold color to draw attention to your collections, photographs, and books.
To find paint and brushes, visit your local hardware and paint stores. For bigger painting projects in your home, consider hiring a professional.
Virginia’s housing market off to a strong start in 2021
According to the January 2021 Home Sales Report released by Virginia REALTORS®, strong demand and low mortgage rates led to a strong start to Virginia’s housing market in 2021. While home sales typically slow in the winter months, the COVID-19 pandemic has upended the traditional seasonality of the home buying market.
There were 8,806 home sales in Virginia in January, which is more than 2,000 more sales than January 2020, an increase of 31.1%. The median home sales price statewide was $315,000 in January, up 12.5% from a year ago. This is the 6th consecutive month of double-digit price increases, a trend that has occurred across most regions in Virginia.
The greatest challenge for buyers continues to be the shrinking levels of available inventory. While the inventory has been on a downward trajectory for years, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused more would-be sellers to delay selling their homes. At the end of January, there were just 16,280 active listings across Virginia, which is 12,259 fewer active listings than there were at the end of January 2020, a 43% drop. Inventory declined by 7.2% between December and January alone.
Due to the dwindling inventory, homes are selling quickly, and multiple offers and bidding wars are increasingly common. “It’s a challenging market for buyers in Virginia right now,” says Virginia REALTORS® Chief Economist Lisa Sturtevant, PhD. “Some would-be buyers have put their home buying on hold or have decided to remain renters. Sales activity could slow in the months ahead, not because of a softening of demand, but rather as a result of insufficient inventory.”
The Virginia Home Sales Report is published by Virginia REALTORS®. Click here to view the full January 2021 Home Sales Report.
Home prices up on surging demand
The housing market is booming and experts predict further growth in 2021 and continued record home price increases.
According to Forbes, surging buyer demand, lagging supply, the ongoing economic recovery, and low mortgage interest rates will continue to push home prices higher. Danielle Hale, the chief economist for realtor.com, notes that price growth will likely slow during 2021 as mortgage rates and continued price increases make homes less affordable for prospective buyers.
Even in COVID-19 hot spots, housing markets are sizzling. According to the Alexandria Echo Press, a Minnesota publication, home sales, and home values increased substantially in the hard-hit upper Midwest. Regional experts credit historically low-interest rates for the increases.
Some Americans also seek more space as work styles continue to be redefined. Remote work is the new norm for many, and according to ABC News, the change leads more people to seek out homes with more office space, bigger kitchens, and room for recreational activities.
The shine is at least temporarily off city condos, according to Crain’s Business as COVID-19 restrictions close down restaurants, parks, and entertainment. Violence in the cities earlier in 2019 has left many urban shopping areas boarded up, if not closed. Craig Lazzara, Managing Director at S&P Dow Jones Indices, told ABC News these factors have prompted buyers to move from urban condos to suburban homes.
According to Bloomberg, the competitive market and lean supply pushed home prices up for their biggest gain since 2014. The October S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller index of property values, which measures home prices in 20 U.S. cities, showed property value increases of 7.95 percent from the same month the previous year. The same report showed that the cities that experienced the highest price gains were Phoenix, Seattle, and San Diego.
Price increases aren’t limited to the existing housing stock. New home construction is also competitive, as land becomes more valuable and the home construction industry faces higher costs, longer delivery times, and labor shortages due to the pandemic, according to Forbes.