Improvements That Increase Home Value

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Improvements That Increase Your Home’s Value
This year, if you’re looking to increase the value of your home but are unsure what home improvements to make, think curb appeal.

According to a recent report from Remodeling magazine, curb appeal projects, such as changes to windows, siding, and doors, lead to a higher return on investment (ROI) than interior improvements.

Over the past 30 years, Remodeling has compared the average cost of improvement projects with their value at resale, based on the experience of real estate professionals. The magazine’s 2017 Cost vs. Value Report supports the generally held opinion that today’s home buyers, while still enthusiastic about the bells and whistles, want to ensure their homes are structurally sound with all systems functioning efficiently.

Remodeling’s projects include a basement remodel, an entry door that was replaced with 20 gauge steel, and the addition of stone veneer. All of the 29 projects tracked returned on average 64.3 cents per dollar spent.

Among the trends, the higher return of curb appeal projects and projects that required the replacing of windows, doors, etc. Replacement projects generally scored higher than remodeling projects; the ROI of replacement was 74% and of remodels was 63.7%.

As in the previous year, adding loose fill insulation to the attic returned 107.7% and was the only project on the list whose value exceeded its cost. Steel door replacement and addition of stone veneer also paid off, at 90.7% and 89.4% respectively. Interestingly, these are among the cheapest projects, although their costs were up over the previous year.

Those who want to tackle an interior project might do well to consider a basement remodel, providing it’s done well; a high-end basement remodel was perceived as high value, returning 7.4% more than the same project last year, while a mid-range basement remodeling project only increased in value by 3.3% over the previous year.

Something to consider when you’re planning your next home improvement project.


Was This Year’s April Fools’ Day as Cyber-Pranky as Last’s?
April fools

While April Fools’ Day has always been a day dedicated to prank-playing, it was verging on an old, tired event for kids who pranked their parents. But with the Internet came new ways to prank – some good, some maybe not so good.

The jury’s out on whether this April Fools’ Day was better (worse?) than last year’s. In the meantime, we revisit some of 2016’s crazy cyber pranks:

Google mic drop

This “joke” was a mistake. Google celebrated the day by adding a working feature to Gmail that allowed users to end an e-mail thread with an instant GIF of a Minion character dropping a microphone. But people reported that, due to the button’s proximity to “Send,” they accidentally used the prank GIF for work e-mails. Google pulled it shortly after.

Netflix’s John Stamos documentary

Netflix partnered with the stars of TV’s Full House on this prank, which saw the entertainment company tweet about a trailer for an upcoming John Stamos documentary. The doc was supposed to highlight the actor’s other career as a musician, and was complemented by a video of a fake Stamos meltdown when he realizes Netflix was joking about the documentary. Or was the meltdown fake?

Trader Joe’s closes

The day before April Fools’, Yahoo ran a fake news article with a headline that read “Trader Joe’s to Close All Stores by 2017; Plans to Discontinue Products.” Fans were up in arms until the foodie grocery store denied involvement. Yahoo had to delete the item.

So, how did 2017 compare?


Winning Friends & Influencing People the 21st-Century Way
Handshake

Dale Carnegie’s classic how-to book still makes a lot of sense: even in the 21st century, it’s human nature to want (and need) friends.

In a recent FastCompany article, Stephanie Vozza points to a Harvard University study that indicates making friends is important for good health: “A lack of strong relationships increases your risk of premature death from all causes by 50%.”

But finding new friends can be tricky.

Of course, we live in a digital world, and if making online friends is your goal, it’s a cinch. Mind you, some of those new digital friends may turn out to be bots or algorithms, but they can give the impression of friendship.

It’s different with real people. And if you want to know who would make a good friend and who would not, there’s lots of advice available. Notes Jon Levy in Speed, a pop-up blog from New York Magazine, “Don’t invest too much time engaging with the wrong people. When approaching someone, begin with a litmus test.” For example, “If you wave at someone from across the room and they wave back, they’re friendly, you can approach.”

Levy also says we are more likely to connect with someone with whom we have something in common. Just find out what, and connect.

Vozza, too, has suggestions for making new friends, including not waiting for others to make the first move, and following up on their overtures.

It seems the basic tenets of Dale Carnegie’s system still work. You can make real friends. Even in 2017.


Wondering How Much Your Home Is Worth?
How has the price of your home changed in today’s market? How much are other homes in your neighborhood selling for?

If you’re wondering what’s happening to prices in your area, or you’re thinking about selling your house, I’ll be able to help.

Click the market report below or select San Antonio Real Estate Market and complete the requested information about your home!


Small Homes Are Trending with First-Time Buyers
According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), first-time homes are coming in smaller packages.

The Association recently released the NAHB Home Builder Preferences Survey indicating that smaller homes are selling well, primarily to first-time buyers, such as the latest cohort – the millennials. The home builders interviewed for the report suggest that many people now prefer to purchase small. And U.S. Census Bureau figures support that position: the average home built in 2016 was 2,634 sq. ft., down from 2,689 sq. ft. in 2015.

Says Rose Quint, NAHB’s assistant vice president of survey research: “2016 marked the end of an era that began in 2009, when homes got bigger and bigger with more amenities. I expect the size of homes to continue to decline as demand increases from first-time buyers.” Smaller homes are finding favor with other groups as well. Retirees who enjoy traveling find that smaller, lock-and-leave residences fit their on-the-go lifestyles, and economic realities mean that they now have to think small.

While both the downsizing and millennial buyers are comfortable with less space (and the resulting savings on utility bills), they still expect the luxurious finishes and modern amenities available in larger homes. Millennials, because that’s what’s trendy now, and retirees, because they don’t want to feel they’re settling for less.

As a result, home décor magazines and TV network programs are touting the benefits of small homes and showcasing elegant space-saving solutions designed for those who want to scale down their homes without changing their lifestyles. Because they won’t.

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Salted Chocolate Pecan Pie Bars
Happy National Pecan Month!
Makes 15 to 20 bars
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
2 cups pecan halves
1 teaspoon flaked sea salt
Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9 x 13 in. baking pan with parchment paper, leaving a 2 in. overhang on two sides.

In a mixer, cream butter and sugar for 2 minutes. At low speed, add flour and salt until combined. Press dough evenly into pan. Bake 30-35 minutes until slightly browned. Remove and cool. Meanwhile, whisk eggs, syrup, sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Fold in chocolate and pecans. Pour filling over crust. Bake 30-40 minutes until the center is set. Remove and sprinkle with salt. Cool completely before cutting into bars.


Ask the Agent: This Month’s Question
What is a CMA?

If you want to sell your home, here’s a fact: you don’t set the selling price of your home, the market does.

A comparative market analysis (CMA), as prepared by your real estate listing agent, takes the emotion out of deciding on the asking price. It’s based on fact, not how you feel about your home, and it helps determine how much you can sell your home for. A CMA uses comparables (similar homes previously sold in the area). It will look at their sales prices, how long they were on the market, and the difference between their selling and listing prices.

This analysis should be complete before you set your asking price. Depending on many factors, including the CMA, you may decide on an asking price within a $10,000 to $25,000 range of your home’s value. Here you’ll need your agent’s best advice – based, of course, on the CMA as well as your agent’s knowledge of the market.

This newsletter and any information contained herein are intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, financial or medical advice. The publisher takes great efforts to ensure the accuracy of information contained in this newsletter. However, we will not be responsible at any time for any errors or omissions or any damages, howsoever caused, that result from its use. Seek competent professional advice and/or legal counsel with respect to any matter discussed or published in this newsletter. This newsletter is not intended to solicit properties currently for sale.
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