Curb appeal still ranks as the initial number one factor in the WOW factor for any home. Buyers may be initially seduced by the exterior of your property, but condition and location still are the most important factors.
Curb appeal has and will always play a strong role in a property’s resale value. Exterior improvements engage the eye because they imply multiple messages to anyone who is enjoying the view. Whether you are looking to sell, rent or just to impress your neighbors, curb appeal sends a message. The underlying message of curb appeal can be positive or negative, and clearly impact a potential buyer’s first impression and, consequently, a home’s resale value.
We’ve often heard that real estate is valued by price, condition and location, which still holds true, but in a different way. Today’s GenX and GenY buyers are more interested in the community and the lifestyle of that community, as well as whether or not the home will serve their needs. It’s important to note that this age group contributes to a significant percentage of the buying market, and survey’s indicated that they prefer to stay in a property for a longer period of time. That means that although curb appeal can snag their attention, the condition of a property will play a bigger part in the decision making process, along with the lifestyle of the community where the property is located. With a longer ownership span, these buyers want to know what it will cost to bring the level of condition up to par to make a buying decision and if the property will serve their longer term needs.
No one wants to make a mistake when investing money into a property. According to About.com, home improvement and remodeling constitute a $230 billion industry is because people are finding value in home improvement projects, or have lifestyle changes. Studies show that it may make better financial sense to remain in a property, rather than to go through the misery and costs of moving and finding another one.
That said, improvements won’t return your full investment dollars, or at least, not often and not right away. Reports indicate that you can typically expect between somewhere in the range of 80% to 90% return on your home improvement investment dollar within the first 12-24 months.
When you choose the right remodeling upgrades, depending on how long you remain in the property, you have a better than average chance to re-coop a good portion of your investment.
Smart considerations when planning your improvements should consider how long you plan on remaining in the property, how the improvements might impact the home’s appraised value and if they are appropriate for the location of the property.
Important factors include:
• Condition is always paramount, as most new buyers will resist having to do a full remodeling initiative, when there are so many newer houses on the market.
• Updated kitchens, bathrooms and flooring score high on the investment return list
The most expensive improvement is typically made to the kitchen – it’s pretty easy to spend $25,000 for a small remodeling project. Even so, many sellers come out ahead with this type of project, because kitchens are such a pivotal space in the living space of a home. (Source: www. 2010–11 Cost vs. Value Report)
• Sellers may also find some extra value in remodeling unused attic or basement space. These areas represent a good value to homeowners looking for additional room. These improvements can often be made without adding to the existing footprint of the home.
• The old standbys are always smart investments : updated appliances, updated HVAC systems, newer roofs and newer windows still reign as top smart investments
As a homebuilder and remodeling expert for over 30 years, the one trend that has become increasingly apparent is that today’s buyers are seeking more than the “right” property. Although curb appeal will always be the first step, today’s GenX/Y buyers are placing a higher premium on the lifestyle of the community where the house is located. Lifestyle considerations include proximity to shopping, transportation, cultural activities and ease of commuting by car. (Source: Realtor Magazine)
So before investing any dollars in remodeling, looking to build a new property or to update a future purchase, consult with a dependable contractor and homebuilder to get the best information for smart home investing.
For a FREE report on the top trends for 2011 in home buying: visit: www.FrankGuidoConstruction.com
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