Does walking into your kitchen make you want to walk right back out? A kitchen that’s outdated or just plain drab can be depressing, but so can the realization of how much it will cost to renovate it. The good news is that you don't need to do a complete overhaul to get happy in your space again. Little changes can actually make a big impact, and many of them can be done inexpensively, easily, and without having to hire someone.
It’s amazing how a little thing like a new faucet can change how you feel about doing dishes. Especially if your existing faucet doesn’t have a modern design or is lacking features like a sprayer, a new version will be much appreciated. Go crazy and get a touchless faucet for some cool technology the whole family will love.
A new backsplash can make your whole kitchen look fresh, and it’s generally an inexpensive update (unless you pick some kind of super-fancy, limited edition, hand-forged, imported tiles).
Anyone who’s even painted their own kitchen cabinets will tell you it’s not an easy or pleasant job. But, in the end, it’s worth it to have a kitchen that looks brand new - not to mention the savings. Opt for a professional paint job, and you can be looking at spending several thousand dollars!
If you’re going for it, make sure you do your research, and your prep work. You don’t want to spend all that time only to end up with a splotchy, streaky, or uneven finish.
"Think of hardware as kitchen jewelry - add new metal or glass knobs for an easy kitchen cabinet update," said Better Homes and Gardens. If you're using metal hardware, choose one finish for the scheme. Be sure to count the number of doorknobs, handles, or drawer pulls before heading out to stores, garage sales, or flea markets. And if the new hardware doesn't fit the old holes, simply buy some backplates to cover the gaps and then drill new holes.
Get new lighting
If you have an island or breakfast bar, consider hanging pendant lighting. A series of three pendants gives you sufficient lighting and is also in line with today's trends.
Modern kitchens are a place for family to gather, and designating a space for young kids to have some fun is an easy way to foster that togetherness. "Chalkboard paint inexpensively turns a ho-hum kitchen into a hip family-friendly hangout," said HGTV. "Simply paint a wall or section of smooth cabinet doors, then tell your family they can write on the walls." We love the fact that chalkboard paint comes in all sorts of colors now, and you can also get whiteboard paint and magnetized paint.
New cabinets are expensive! You can lighten up the look of your cabinets without changing them out completely by popping out the panels and replacing them with glass; this will give you a more updated look and also bring more light into the space. "Replacing existing doors with glass-paneled ones looks like a major upgrade," HGTV's Scott McGillivray told Good Housekeeping. "Opt for frosted glass, if you feel like your shelves aren't display-worthy."
Create your own unique open shelving
You’ve seen it all over TV. Open shelving is a kitchen trend, and it’s one you can easily create without much fuss by completely removing a cabinet or two from the walls. Or, you can create this unique look that’s even easier to accomplish. "Create the look of a built-in china cabinet by simply removing a set of cabinet doors and filling the space with shelves displaying your favorite dishes," said HGTV. "For added pop, line the back of the cabinet with wallpaper or paint it in a complementary color."
When searching for a new place to live, don’t feel confined to your current location. Yes, buying a home is a big commitment, but it’s also an opportunity to make a change and venture out into a new neighborhood or a new town altogether. But how will you know if a new area is really for you or if you’ll end up with buyers’ remorse soon after closing the deal? With a little bit of forethought and exploration, it’s easy to feel confident about your potential new neighborhood. Here’s where to start.
Yoga studio owner Annalisa Berns moved from Los Angeles to Big Bear, California, four years ago because she had an epiphany during her housing search—not only did she want to live in the mountains, but she also wanted a community that came equipped with a health food store and other yogis. “Those two things were critical to me,” she says.
Think about your day-to-day life, brainstorm the things that are important to you, then make a list of the amenities that you can’t do without. If living near a yoga studio or specific type of food store is a must-have, drive around the areas closest to those businesses to find pockets of neighborhoods that meet your needs.
For a lot of people, not having stores or eateries within convenient walking distance is a definite no-go, so you should consider if it’s one for you, too. When scoping out at a potential new address, be sure to check Trulia’s amenity maps which pinpoint grocery stores, cafes, salons, and more to get the lay of the land.
“Walkability index is a biggie for me and my husband,” says avid sailor Dana Greyson. She and her husband factor in commutes when they search for housing back on dry land. “We want to have a place where, when we get home, we don’t have to get back into our car to live our life.”
You may love to hang out and party with friends in a certain bustling neighborhood every weekend, but would you want to buy a home there? Maybe not. Portland, Oregon, resident and realtor Jenelle Isaacson sees a lot of folks in the young, hipster city drawn to the most happening areas, only to find out they don’t exactly match their priorities—or noise-level preference.
“I’ve worked with many clients who are lured to a neighborhood by popular restaurants and coffee shops,” she says. “They want to hang their hats where they hang out on weekends, but when it comes to living in these areas, they suddenly find they don’t like the nuisance of so many other people coming to their neighborhood parking, making noise at night. Being in the middle of the party isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.”
The takeaway here? Reconcile the fact that if you love an area for its lively atmosphere, lots of others probably do too. Weigh the importance of having hot spots nearby with the importance of a good night’s sleep.
Whether your besties are already in the neighborhood or you want to chum it up with your new neighbors, you should take into account the kind of social life you hope to have in your brand new home base. Atlanta, Georgia, veteran Carol Gee knew her new community was the one when a neighbor waved to her from across the street as Gee and her husband moved boxes—and they became longtime friends.
Think about how your new home is situated. If you’re on a cul-de-sac or across the courtyard from another neighbor, there’s going to be some required water cooler talk chat. “Some people really like to be in an area where their friends are nearby or at least close enough so they’ll come visit,” says real estate specialist Kathleen Perkins. Others not so much.
Once you’ve done your due diligence, visiting your potential neighborhood during different hours of the day to get a real sense of it and checking to ensure all the boxes are checked on your must-have list, trust your gut.
Some say intuition is a gift, so go with it. If a neighborhood just feels right, it probably is. On the flip side, if anything gives you pause—hit the pause button. It may be time to try and reach out to residents (or realtors) who actually live there to get a first-hand perspective of what everyday life is like, or it may be time to move on.
For most Americans, their home is their most important financial asset. But in the past, homeowners only knew how much it was worth when they bought or sold their home. Zillow was founded to democratize this sort of information — starting with the Zestimate, Zillow’s estimated market valuation tool.
To understand how much your home is worth, it’s important to understand the variety of factors that go into assessing the value, both existing (assessed and appraised) value, as well as potential real value on the market. The Zestimate is Zillow’s tool for extrapolating real market value of your home based on existing home-related data and actual sales prices in your area.
Thousands of data points correlate with home values and sale prices — some of which are obvious (like the condition of the home), and some that aren’t so obvious.
Here are several surprising things that can affect either the existing value of your home or the price someone is willing to pay for it, all based on data.
How far do you have to drive to get a Frappuccino? If the answer is “not that far,” you’re in luck.
A 2015 Zillow report found that, between 1997 and 2014, homes within a quarter-mile of a Starbucks increased in value by 96 percent, on average, compared with 65 percent for all U.S. homes, based on a comparison of Zillow Home Value Index data with a database of Starbucks locations.
To evaluate if this effect is isolated to Starbucks, or if it extends to other caffeine purveyors, the research team also looked at another coffee hot spot (one with particular pull on the East Coast): Dunkin’ Donuts.
The analysis of that data showed that homes near Dunkin’ Donuts locations appreciated 80 percent, on average, during the same 17-year period — not quite as high as homes near a Starbucks, but still significantly above the 65 percent increase in value for all U.S. homes.
Beyond America’s obsession with lawns and all-around “curb appeal,” what’s inside your house counts a lot, too — especially the colors you’ve painted the rooms (particularly the kitchen).
According to Zillow’s 2017 Paint Color Analysis, which examined more than 32,000 photos from sold homes around the country, homes with blue kitchens sold for a $1,809 premium, compared to similar homes with white kitchens.
Blue is also a popular bathroom shade. The same analysis found that homes with light pale blue to soft periwinkle blue bathrooms sold for a whopping $5,440 more.
Walls painted in cool neutrals like blue or gray can be signals that the home is well cared for or has other desirable features.
Joanna Gaines’ aesthetic is permeating more than just your YouTube search history. Zillow listings mentioning some of the shiplap queen’s favorite features — keywords like “barn door” and “farmhouse sink” — sell faster and for a premium, according to a 2016 Zillow analysis of descriptions of more than 2 million homes sold nationwide.
Listings with “barn door” in the description sold for 13.4 percent more than expected, and 57 days faster than comparable homes without the keyword.
Meanwhile, listings touting “farmhouse sink” led to a nearly 8-percent sales premium. This “barn door” effect doesn’t seem to increase the value of the home off the market, but is seemingly due to the popularity of this style at the time of the analysis. Sellers can use the listing descriptions to highlight trendy details and features that might not be noticeable in the photos.
If you own a home in a major metropolitan area in America, you’re most likely sitting on a significant (and rapidly appreciating) financial asset. Case in point: Home values in the New York, NY metro area are worth $2.6 trillion, per a recent Zillow analysis — which is more than the value of the entire French economy.
The average urban home is now worth 35 percent more than the average suburban home. Since 2012, the median home value in urban areas have increased by 54 percent, while in suburban areas the median home value is up 38 percent.
Buyers making a cash offer on a house are active in many markets, and they can strike fear in new buyers who are bidding on a home. Cash home buyers can perform and close quickly and provide sellers with a sense of comfort.
But does this mean a solid buyer putting down 20 percent or more shouldn’t attempt to compete with cash home buyers? Absolutely not.
The truth is, a buyer getting a mortgage can still compete against cash home buyers and win.
These are the questions that can make the difference:
If you answered yes to most or all of these questions, your purchase should be as bulletproof as a cash home buyer’s.
Do the best you can and be realistic. Make sure your financial “‘house” is in order. Work with a good local real estate agent, and start working with a local mortgage professional well in advance. Structure your offer to show that you’re ready to roll.
If you sold your home at a good price, you’d be thrilled, right? But what if, a year or two later, you check in on your old home by idly punching your former address into realtor.com ... and discover that its value has shot up even higher? In other words, had you only held onto this property a little longer, you could have made a real killing?
Welcome to home seller's remorse—a rampant affliction among home sellers across the country. It can hit at any point after a home sale, where, akin to tossing a winning lottery ticket, home sellers torture themselves with fears that they've sold their home too soon, thus losing out on tens of thousands of dollars. Home seller's remorse can even kick in before a sale, stressing out homeowners who are thinking of selling but are worrying that they could be pulling the trigger too early ... and missing out on the windfall their home could become.
Sound painfully familiar? In the strong seller's market we have now, where prices are rising across the country, it's understandable.
“Sellers tend to think that if they just wait a little longer, they can sell for more,” says Boris Sharapan Fabrikant, a real estate agent at Triplemint in New York. (Of course, he adds, the same is true of buyers: “They tend to think they could have bought for less earlier.”)
Yet real estate experts insist that home sellers should stop second-guessing themselves and make peace with when they sell, and for how much. Here are some reasons you should never worry whether you're selling your home too soon.
Have you ever heard how you can't time the stock market? Pretty much the same thing goes for selling a house. Clairvoyant powers or a fully functional Magic-8 ball would be needed to know exactly what home prices will do next; even economists and real estate agents wouldn't dare make predictions with any level of certainty.
So as a home seller, you shouldn't beat yourself up; hindsight, as they always say, is 20/20.
To snap yourself out of this mindset, remind yourself that home prices could also drop—in which case you will be thanking your lucky stars that you sold when you did. Or, if home prices do indeed rise a year or two later, it can help to take a step back and consider the long-term perspective.
“When you look back 10 years from now, it is unlikely that you will be as upset about the marginal difference," Fabrikant says. "What looms large today will likely seem insignificant several years and several other curveballs later in life."
It also helps to see the trade-offs, says Shannon Boudreau, sales director at a new development in New York City. Some of her clients are downsizing from a large house to an apartment in the city.
“Sure, potentially, if these home sellers held onto their house another year, they would have possibly gotten a higher return on their investment,” she concedes. But at the same time, the prices of homes they were buying would have risen, too.
“The likelihood of values increasing elsewhere, in a nearby neighborhood, is also high," says Boudreau.
So it's a wash. As such, “I would never advise someone to wait, because values are increasing everywhere," says Boudreau. "The more you make on your home sale, the more you'll probably have to pay for whatever you buy."
Last but not least, homes aren't abstract, tradable commodities like stocks, where the only thing that matters is the stock's price. Homes are homes, and as such, have to fit your life circumstances—meaning that they need to be large enough to raise your family, to offer a convenient commute to your office, to be situated in a good school district, and more.
So if you've changed jobs, or are expecting a new family member, or your eldest just got accepted to the top magnet school across town, then the question of when to sell your home may not truly be an option. You really can't wait!
“Sometimes, sellers have to sell immediately," says Triplemint agent Gina Ko. So when clients fret that they might be selling their property too soon, Ko reminds them of the big picture.
“Whether it’s to be closer to family in another area, preparing for a baby to arrive, or setting themselves up for a better job opportunity, these life shifts are opportunities for bigger and better things to come," she says.
So you can stop worrying and torturing yourself. Trust that, in the long run, you'll sell at just the right time.
If you are ready to start your buying or selling process
give me a call at 248-225-0789 - I´m happy to answer all your questions.