Monday, July 7, 2008

Staging for Living

So many people these days fall into the trap of over spending on remodels and over personalizing their construction decisions because it seems like the thing to do at the time. I am here to tell you - in order to have a fighting chance at getting that remodeling money back when you sell - make choices that will hold value and think of budget saving choices everyday!

I watch too many remodeling shows and see too many displays at home improvement stores that seem to express that everyone should spend at least $15,000 remodeling their kitchen. I am not sure where all those statistics come from, but in a declining market $15,000 is a lot of money to spend out of pocket on any house, even the very best neighborhoods should check all of the numbers before spending that kind of money.

Here are some easy steps to insure success:
1. Evaluate!!! Check the values in you neighborhood before you start any home improvement project. There are lots of places to estimate home values these days, 2 good options are local Realtors and zillow.com. Make sure that your updated value after the price of your remodel is still at least 10% more than you owe plus what you have spent!!
2. Check the neighbors! Look at the houses in your neighborhood, is yours already the nicest? If that is the case then spend very cautiously! If yours has room for improvement to catch up to the neighborhood, you have a little more room to spend, but in today's market, spend cautiously.
3. Paint!!! Remember that paint is something that many home owners can do themselves and it can make big changes without much expense.
4. Do-it-yourself... If you can. But keep in mind that if you don't have the time, patience or know how to make it look professionally done, you might be wasting your time and money. You can really save on labor costs by doing some of the hard work yourself, but a poorly done remodel is worse than an outdated house!
5. Always get at least 3 quotes!! And always get referrals from happy customers!! You are the only one who will keep your budget in mind! Most contractors get paid a percentage of how much you spend, so keep in mind that the more you spend, the more they make. They have a vested interest in getting you to spend top dollar, whether its right for you and your home or not.
6. Stick to your budget! Most importantly make a realistic budget from the beginning! Make sure budget at least 10% over what you expect to spend, because there are always items that will come up that were not accounted for. That doesn't mean find something on the first day to spend that extra money on because its in the budget!!
7. Neutral, timeless choices are best! Keep the materials and colors modest and timeless. Don't spend over the top or on ultra personal touches unless money is NO object and you know that you are for sure going to live there for a VERY long time. Odds are high that your job could change or you will need to move for some reason and ultra custom touches cost a fortune and don't always help you on the resale. Too custom can narrow your marketability when selling or become a sticking point that buyers see as an expense because they will need to change it out.

Good luck with your property remodeling on a budget! If you would like to contact us for more info or specific questions or to view photo examples of remodeling on a budget please visit our website @ http://www.lightbrightandairy.com/ or if you live in our area: Paso Robles, Templeton, Atascadero or San Luis Obispo county please feel free to have us out for an evaluation of your project.

1 comment:

Hayley Townley, Breast Cancer Survivor Extraordinaire said...

Spectacular advice, Light, Bright and Airy.

It's so nice to be able to have my clients use you to help them get the most bang for their buck.

You are always one of my first phone calls when a home I am listing needs help.