Wednesday, August 16, 2017

4 Home Projects That Add Instant Value

Do you have a list of changes you'd like to make to your home this year? Completing cosmetic updates is easiest when the weather's in your favor. In honor of May's National Home Improvement Month, here are four upgrades ranging from curb appeal projects to large-scale expansions that often yield high returns.
  1. Replacing doors and windows: Homeowners are often encouraged to consider projects that boost overall curb appeal. Swapping out a wooden front door for a steel model or replacing front-facing windows can pack more of an ROI punch than renovations made inside the home.
  2. Constructing a deck: Create a beautiful transition from your back door to the outdoors by building a deck. The update turns into a major selling point that can recoup your initial investment when it's time to move on.
  3. Adding insulation: Of all the projects listed in Remodeling magazine's 2017 Cost vs. Value Report, adding loose-fill insulation to your attic is the only one with returns that exceed 100 percent of the cost. It can also help reduce year-round heating and cooling costs.
  4. Building a second-story addition: Even with a slight increase in construction costs, completing a significant two-story addition resulted in a substantial year-over-year increase in value from 2016 to 2017. Adding the extra space will likely catch the attention of buyers.
Home renovations and repairs are on the rise and expected to peak this year. Now's the time to start planning your investment-savvy home improvements. 

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Housing Market Trends and Perceptions

Whether you're interested in buying or selling a home this year, there's reason to be optimistic. See how a healthy real estate market and positive consumer sentiments are contributing to a buoyant housing sector.
Real Estate Trends
The U.S. housing market continues its recovery as home prices gradually increase, interest rates remain low and millennials represent the largest group of homebuyers for the fourth year in a row. There's been a slight increase in historically low interest rates, but that's an indication of an improving economy. Single women homebuyersexceed single men buyers in the U.S. by more than double, accounting for 17 percent of homebuyers (compared to single men at 7 percent). U.S. home values are expected to keep inching up while the inventory of available homes continues to decline.
According to the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA), there is considerable divergence among regions. Tighter federal regulations have reduced affordability and access to financing for potential homebuyers, sales are down and prices are trending soft. National sales activity is forecast to decrease 1.5 percent in 2017 and 0.8 percent in 2018.
Consumer Sentiments
The 2017 Q1 Housing Opportunities and Market Experience report published by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows favorable sentiments among American consumers. Seventy-two percent of those surveyed thought it was a good time to buy, and 69 percent felt it was a good time to sell. More than half said they believed home prices in their community had increased over the previous 12 months. And renters and suburban homeowners, in particular, felt that prices would continue to rise in the second half of the year.
In another NAR report, the Aspiring Home Buyer Profile, nine in 10 nonhomeowners in the U.S. expressed a desire to own a home. Fortunately, if the market trends and consumer perceptions are any indications, 2017 could very well be the year many renters realize their dream of homeownership.