5 Remodeling Projects with the Lowest Paybacks at Resale

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By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

file000667043960If you want to get the biggest bang for your remodeling buck, replace the entry door to steel, according to the 2014 Cost vs. Value Report, produced by Remodeling Magazine in conjunction with REALTOR® Magazine. The entry door may cost about $1,162 but home owners could potentially recoup 96.6 percent of that at resale, according to the report.

However, not all remodeling projects offer big paybacks at resale. Remodeling Magazine evaluated 35 of the most popular remodeling projects and the potential payback throughout 101 U.S. cities. Check out our prior blog post to view the projects that topped the list: 5 Mid-Range Remodeling Projects That Offer the Biggest Returns. But how about the projects that came in at the bottom of that list of 35 remodeling projects?

While all of these remodeling projects may be nice to have, home owners may not want to expect as big as of returns from their remodeling dollars with the following:

1. Home office remodel

Estimated job cost: $28,000

Estimated cost recouped at resale: 48.9%

2. Sunroom addition

Estimated job cost: $73,546

Estimated cost recouped at resale: 51.7%

3. Bathroom addition

Estimated job cost: $38,186

Estimated cost recouped at resale: 60.1%

4. Backup power generator

Estimated job cost: $11,742

Estimated cost recouped at resale: 67.5%

5. Master suite addition

Estimated job cost: $103,844

Estimated cost recouped at resale: 67.5%

Stylish Staging That Has Comfort in Mind

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By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

Nearly 70 percent of about 6,000 home owners surveyed by the remodeling website Houzz said they’re happiest in rooms that are comfortable. If you’re trying to hook a buyer, you may want to make sure your listings not only are stylish, but also show off some comfort too.

Popular furnishings today are modern with straight lines, which don’t always project the look of comfort. Luckily, it’s also trendy to be eclectic in mixing an oversized, statement piece — which can look comfortable.

That statement piece can add visual interest to the room too. It can be anything from a nail-trimmed, wingback chair to patterned club chair, says Audra Slinkey of Home Staging Resource, a national staging and redesign training company. Slinkey singled out the oversized statement piece as one of the top 10 staging trends for this year.

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Photo credit: Kristine Ginsberg, Elite Staging and Redesign LLC, elitestagingandredesignmorriscountynewjersey.com

No room for an oversized chair? Go for an overall chic, comfort “Pottery Barn”-inspired look by using white slipcovers over the owner’s dated furnishings — a quick, budget-friendly transformation, Slinkey suggests.

Accepting the Best Offer: What’s Important to You?

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Choosing the best home offer is a cinch for sellers who know what terms are their deal-breakers. Planning ahead can get your clients the most out of their home sale.

Help sellers have a seamless sale by sharing “6 Tips for Choosing the Best Offer for Your Home,” a free article from the REALTOR® Content Resource. It’s one of five articles now available in the “Sell Before Snow Hits” article package.

Visit houselogic.com for more articles like this.

Copyright 2014 NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®

REALTOR® Content Resource is brought to you by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. With it, you can download free homeownership content from HouseLogic to your marketing materials.

Start the Conversation: Turn Your Sellers on to Staging

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Photo Credit: PJ & Co. Staging and Interior Decorating

By Patti Stern, Principal PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating

Staging is no longer optional for sellers who want to get the most value from their home. Many sellers are still reluctant to stage, making it a tough sell for their real estate agent. Several key points can help overcome skepticism and convince sellers to stage first if they want to sell.

1. Explain the difference between decorating and staging.

The saying — “Your Home is Your Castle” — often rings true with today’s sellers. Most believe their home is decorated beautifully, usually with their favorite colors and personal décor. But there is a big difference between decorating and staging to appeal to a large pool of buyers.

Décor choices are personal and most buyers can’t envision how a home may look if the seller doesn’t remove their personality.

Sotheby’s Julia B Fee REALTOR®, Megan Stilwell-Posner, a recent PJ & Co. client, often walks buyers through a property and they’ll comment that they don’t like an area rug or paint color, which even influences their decision on whether to purchase the home. “Explaining how we market your property versus how you decorate your property is very important,” she says.

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Photo Credit: PJ & Co. Staging and Interior Decorating

2. Talk staging versus a possible price reduction.

Staging sets a home apart from the competition. Updating decor, particularly in key rooms such as kitchens and baths, can mean the difference between selling quickly and for top dollar or facing a price reduction if a home sits on the market for too long.

Busy, cluttered decor or outdated styles will distract buyers who won’t be able to envision living in the home. For many sellers, staging and low-cost renovations preserve valuable equity and can even boost a home’s selling price. For example, after PJ & Co. staged a property for real estate agent Rich Walker with Century 21, he decided to list the property for $20,000 higher than he originally planned. The property sold in 15 days at the asking price.

3. NOT selling a home is stressful.

We’ve all heard it – sellers who want to “test the market before staging” but months later haven’t received an offer.

Selling a home is difficult both emotionally and physically. Each day without an offer is stressful. Ultimately, I believe staging brings offers in quicker and makes the entire process easier.

In controlled tests conducted by the Real Estate Staging Association that compared identical homes, the non-staged houses sold in 102 days, while the professionally staged properties sold in 45 days.

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Photo Credit: PJ & Co. Staging and Interior Decorating

4. The stager is going to do the dirty work.

Many real estate professionals we talk to are hesitant to discuss staging with their clients, unsure of how to tactfully approach necessary updates without offending their client. Enlisting a professional stager as a third-party expert and part of the selling plan provides tremendous value to both the real estate agent and seller. A professional stager takes the burden off of you, and can make recommendations without treading on the real estate agent/client relationship.

5. Execution will be key.

Hiring a stager who has a full team on standby to manage the entire process and deliver the home ready for market is key.

Some staging companies can be hired to just offer recommendations. For example, one client received a seven- page recommendation from a stager, but shopping for updated décor and managing the updates were up to the seller. It became overwhelming for the couple. They weren’t comfortable choosing the paint colors, picking lighting fixtures, or incorporating the right style trends to make a space vibrant and engaging to today’s younger buyer.

Other staging companies can offer the client one-stop shopping, from selecting the paint colors to coordinating the painter, carpenter, and selecting all of the materials needed to stage the property.
PattiABOUT THE AUTHOR: Patti Stern is a principal of PJ & Company Staging and Interior Decorating, and an interior decorator and accredited home stager. She and her team offer decorating and home staging services for individuals, real estate professionals, builders, and others in the industry. For more information visit www.pjstagingdecorating.com or www.facebook.com/pjandcompanystaginganddecorating

4 Tips for Furniture Arrangement

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You step into a room and you know something is off but you can’t pinpoint it. Could it be the furniture arrangement?

Home design writer Fred Albert with the Houzz editorial staff offers up several tips on proper furniture arrangement. Here are four of his tips, along with some tips from HGTV.com, on finding the right balance when furnishing a space.

1. Pinpoint a focal point: What do you want to highlight in the room? A fireplace or the beautiful view it offers to the outside? Arrange the furniture to highlight the focal point. Have the largest piece of furniture, such as the sofa, pointed toward the room’s focal point.

2. Create balance: You can achieve balance by using symmetrical or even asymmetrical arrangements, depending on the feel you want to create in the room. In formal areas, symmetrical tends to work best, such as two alike sofas across from one another. If you want a room to feel more casual, you might do an asymmetrical arrangement, such as a sectional across from two small arm chairs.

Symmetrical arrangement:

Asymmetrical arrangement:

3. Good flow: Consider how traffic will walk through the room. You’ll want to be sure to keep a path between doorways. Albert recommends allowing 30 to 48 inches of width for major traffic routes and a minimum of 24 inches of width for minor ones.

4. Mix in some contrast: Consider combining straight and curved lines in furnishings. For example, Albert notes that if the furniture is modern and linear, you might consider throwing in a round table for greater contrast. If the furniture is curvy, add in an angular piece.