5 Ways to Increase Value to Your Home

Dec 14, 2015

increase value homeFor most homeowners, their home is their single largest investment. So it only makes sense that the items you put into it not only increase your standard of living, but also give you some return on investment (ROI) by increasing the value of your home.

There are numerous things that you could do to make your home more presentable and possibly increase its value, but they may not necessarily give you the most impact. Here are a few things that prospective buyers regard as the most important improvements when shopping for a home to buy:

How to Increase Value to Your Home

1. Kitchen Remodeling

You can ask the best realtors; as well as interior designers and both would agree that a kitchen remodel gives the greatest return. There are a number of things you can do to improve the look and feel of your kitchen, including installing a new backsplash; giving your cabinets a faux-wood finish painting; opting for stainless steel appliances, which can be done gradually as the ones you have wear out; installing an island work space; and hanging a rack for pots and pans.

2. Bathroom Remodeling

The bathroom sees a lot of wear and tear, so you should consider beautifying it and keeping it functional with upgrades, like under-mount sinks, marble or granite counter-tops, wall lighting with no shade around the mirrors, and installing a shower with body sprays (as well as stone surround tile). It also needs to be clean and free of dirt and grime.

3. Improved Hardwood Flooring

Refurbishing your hardwood floors, or replacing them if they’re worn or stained, will enhance both the look and value of your home. You may consider an extravagant display of wide-plank hardware floors in your living room and foyer, and a lighter touch in the bedrooms.

Learn How Hardwood Floors Add Value to Homes

4. Fresh Paint

Consider changing the paint on your kitchen, front door, and other areas to make your home more attractive & appealing. Even consider repainting the exterior of your home.

5. Lighting

Well-placed pools of warm light will make your home inviting and user-friendly.
A recent survey revealed that home buyers were prepared to pay an average of 16 percent more on a property if it had the improvement that they valued the most; plus 73 percent prefer to buy a home where all improvements have been made for them.

Whichever improvements you decide to make, it is important that you don’t forget the simple things, such as de-cluttering, cleaning, and staging your home, as they can impact on your selling price, as well.

Recent Report Finds Buyers Staying in Homes Longer

Dec 7, 2015

home buyerGood news for hardwood floor owners – home buyers are deciding to stay in their homes longer. Home buyers prefer hardwood floors to carpet & other sources of flooring for a variety of reasons, one of them being because of increased value! And the best part is that today’s hardwood floors are built to last several years and are covered by extended warranties.

The Home Buyer Report Findings

Following the Great Recession – towards the end of the first decade of the 21st century – the state’s housing market has been struggling to recover from the market meltdown, slowly but progressively.

The 2015 Survey of California Home Buyers report released by the California Association of Realtors revealed that people who lost their home between 2008 and 2009 are looking to buy again.

Additionally, home buyers, including younger wage earners forming households and other buyers have expressed that they intend to live in their homes for an average of 20 years.

This is a big change compared to earlier years here buyers preferred to scale in terms of their home purchases. A survey conducted in 2013 showed that home buyers stayed in their homes for an average of six years before moving-up. This indicates a three-fold increase in the number of years preferred for home retention.

Comparison to the Rest of the Country

These findings suggest a drastic change in the average length of home ownership in California, which has always been in the single-digit years. This is much lower compared to the national average, which according to the American Housing Survey (AHS), has averaged 13 years between 1987 and 2011, with trade-up buyers consistently staying longer than first-time buyers. A 2013 report by the AHS suggested that single-family home buyers stayed for 11.5 years while buyers who have owned a home before stayed for 15 years.

The Trend in California

It is possible that the drastic preference to own a home for longer is due to rising home prices, which has resulted in affordability problems across a considerable market segment. Affordability has always been a concern for first-time buyers, but it is rarely considered when it comes to trade-up buyers.

The new trend is attributed to household formation, with 12 percent of the buyers having previously lived with their parents before buying the home; the desire to buy a home instead of paying rent for 15 percent; reasonable home pricing, with 85 percent of buyers claiming that their home is worth what they paid for it; and lower down-payment on the total value of the home (24 percent) compared to 28 percent in 2014.

Fall/Autumn Cleaning Checklist to Prepare for Winter (2015)

Nov 20, 2015

fall cleaning checklist prepare for winterGlowing pumpkin vines, leaves turning yellow and falling, crisp mornings, and shorter days signal winter’s approach. This is the time to clean up summer’s outdoor lifestyle and check on your winter linens in storage, prepare your spaces for a long winter’s nap, and get your garden ready for a freeze.

Autumn’s brisk and windy days present the ideal time to tend to winter preparation chores and repairs before the first frost.

Indoor Cleaning

  • It will soon be very cold outside so you will naturally want to stay indoors. Here are some things to make your indoors warm and cozy.
  • Get a professional technician to inspect your furnaces and recommend specific cleaning and maintenance steps.
  • Get a professional sweep company to clean the chimney, vents, and filters (can also be replaced).
  • Clean and sort through the pantry, discarding anything that has gone bad or is unlikely to be used.
  • Free up space in your closet for tweed pants, cozy sweaters, socks, etc. by packing up your summer items – bathing suits, sandals, etc.
  • Place a sturdy mat inside and outside every entrance and ask people to remove their shoes upon entering the house to prevent damage of your hardwood floors.
  • Get your winter gear primed & ready.
  • Send your holiday outfits or fancy tablecloths to the cleaners.
  • Clean out your junk drawer.
  • Clean your computer.
  • Get a few more festive teas.
  • Vacuum the mattress, box springs and flip it.

Outdoor Cleaning

  • Clean patio furniture and cover it with a heavy tarp. You can also store it in your garage or shed where it is shielded from the elements.
  • Clean dirt, leaves, and pine needles between the boards of your wooden deck to discourage the growth of mold and mildew.
  • Inspect the deck for decay, insect damage, or splintering and treat as needed to avoid further deterioration over winter.
  • Clean soil from your planters and place pots made from fragile materials, like clay, indoors to prevent cracking.
  • Clean leaves and rubble from the drains to prevent blockages.
  • Clean the gutters and ensure they’re properly fastened; and extend downspouts 5 feet away from the walls to prevent flooding of the foundation.

You will also want to keep the thermostat setting consistent, as fluctuations in temperature and humidity can make the floor boards swell and shrink, causing them to warp and buckle.

Understanding Moisture and Hardwood Floors

Why Engineered Hardwood Floors Are More Popular Than Solid Flooring

Nov 2, 2015

engineered vs solid floors

An example of an engineered hardwood floor.

When you compare the two, most will have difficulty spotting the differences on the outside with engineered and solid hardwood floors. Other than being beautiful flooring choices, there are fundamental differences that make engineered floors a more popular choice than solid wood floors.

3 Reasons Engineered Hardwood Floors Are More Popular

1. Environmentally Friendly

Many people love supporting products and services that keep an environmentally friendly approach in mind and engineered hardwood floors – by default – are more environmentally friendly than solid wood.

Take a maple tree for example. With solid wood flooring, a whole chunk of this tree will be processed into one board. That is what makes it a “solid” floor. With engineered flooring, the same chunk may be able to be engineered for up to 10 boards.

Read about eco-friendly hardwood floors.

2. Price

Engineered hardwood floors naturally will be more cost-effective than solid hardwood. Engineered hardwoods feature a top part known as a veneer, which features the hardwood of your choice (i.e. maple, hickory, oak).The difference is that beneath this veneer are less expensive, yet stronger layers of wood.

3. Performance

Engineered hardwood floors have increased resistance to rooms or areas that contain high moisture levels. Solid hardwood floors are more susceptible to rippling or buckling in high moisture areas, resulting in a thwarted appearance.

Understanding moisture and hardwood floors.

However, engineered wood floors do not respond this way under similar circumstances. They are “engineered” specifically for this reason. As such, engineered floors may be able to be installed in basements, kitchens, bathrooms, and any other high moisture areas.

Solid Hardwood Flooring Advantages

The only advantage solid hardwood flooring offers over engineered floors are the fact that they can be sanded and refinished multiple times. Although it is a very dusty process, it is considered the only benefit of solid flooring.

There are pros and cons to both types of hardwood flooring, but engineered hardwood floors remain the most popular choice by homeowners for the reasons listed above.

Tips on How to Choose Hardwood Floors

Oct 16, 2015

choosing hardwood floors tipsChoosing the perfect hardwood floor for your home is often a very exciting time. Being experts in hardwood flooring, we wanted to offer you a simple guide to keep in mind when considering what hardwood floor is best for your home.

Hardwood Flooring Factors to Consider

1. Solid or Engineered

First, you are going to want to find out whether or not you want engineered floors or solid hardwood floors in your home. Both options have their pros and cons.

You have to ask yourself where the hardwood will be placed. Certain areas such as basements have only one option to select from: engineered. You want to make sure this is considered first.

Engineered Wood Flooring and Its Benefits

2. Species

There are differences in the species of wood such as grain patterns, hardness, durability, color, and style. Oak, maple, and hickory are popular choices that all contain many features homeowners enjoy. Compare sample boards side by side so you can zero in on the details they offer.

3. Color

Next, you’ll want to decide what type of colors you believe will match your home décor the best. This is often purely a subjective matter but many homeowners love lighter, neutral colors because they have a tendency to blend well with just about anything.

4. Width of Boards

Are you going for the illusion of more space? Then you’ll want to consider a flooring option that features wider board widths.

5. Warranty

Hardwood floors are essentially an investment into your home. As a consumer, you want to know your investment is protected. That’s where the warranty comes in. Make sure the hardwood floors you are interested in come with a great warranty to keep you covered for several years.

Urban Floor’s Warranty

6. Reputation of Manufacturer

How long has the manufacturer been in business? Are they new to the industry? Do they offer a lot of variety? Do they have excellent, trustworthy reviews? Are there any awards they have won for various areas of performance? These are the kinds of questions you should be thinking of before making a decision.

Don’t let it be a daunting task, either. Selecting new hardwood floors is very exciting. The best part is being able to show off the choice you made to family and friends! Just make sure you have asked all of the right questions to ensure you’ve made the best possible decision.

What Questions to Ask a Hardwood Floor Salesman?

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