renovations http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/6678/all en-US 6 Tips to Sell Your Condo Fast http://www.wisebread.com/6-tips-to-sell-your-condo-fast <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-tips-to-sell-your-condo-fast" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/real_estate_agent_with_couple_in_luxury_home.jpg" alt="Real estate agent with couple in luxury home" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>This year is turning out to be a great market for home and condo owners. Despite the consistent rise in home prices across the nation (prices saw a 5.8 percent increase in 2017), buyers are still rushing to take advantage of the lowest mortgage rates in history.</p> <p>If you have been thinking about selling your condo, now may be the one of the best times. Take it from me; I was able to get the right offer for my apartment in just 21 days. Here are the key strategies to keep in mind when selling your condo.</p> <h2>1. Review the DOM range for comparable condos</h2> <p>Short for &quot;days-on-market,&quot; DOM measure the days that a real estate property is on the market before a seller accepts an offer from a buyer, or the agreement between real estate broker and seller ends. Search online for real estate agents specializing in your building and look for a listing of the units that have been sold and are currently in escrow. That list will include the DOM for each unit.</p> <p>Look at comparable condos to yours (similar square footage, floor location, and type of unit) to determine a reasonable time frame for your condo to sell. The definition of<em> fast sale</em> varies from property to property, but this range will provide you a better benchmark.</p> <h2>2. Decide what improvements are worthwhile</h2> <p>It takes money to make money. Before officially listing your condo, you'll need to prep it. Depending on the condition of your unit, it may just need a fresh coat of paint, or it may need a total makeover. There are several ways that you can go about deciding how much money to put into renovations.</p> <p>First, attend open houses of comparable units, also known as &quot;comps,&quot; currently listed in your building and review the listing pictures of comps currently in escrow. This will give you a sense of what caught the eyes of buyers and what type of inventory you're competing against. Put yourself in the eyes of potential buyers and think of improvements that will make your unit stand out from the competition or compensate for less desirable features (perhaps there's no ocean view, but your unit is the only one with new cabinets).</p> <p>Second, review the <a href="http://www.remodeling.hw.net/cost-vs-value/2017/" target="_blank">2017 Remodeling Cost vs. Value report</a> from the National Association of Realtors to find out the average value that a renovation project adds to properties in your region. In 2017, a minor kitchen remodel recouped a national average of 80.2 percent of its cost while a bathroom addition only recouped 53.9 percent. Choose projects that don't break your budget and have a higher chance of boosting your asking price. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-are-pricey-home-upgrades-really-worth?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How Much Are Pricey Home Upgrades Really Worth?</a>)</p> <h2>3. Gather documentation and review any HOA rules</h2> <p>The more you know about your condo, the more prepared you'll be to address questions from buyers. For example, the presence of asbestos in the popcorn ceilings in older buildings can be more common than you think. However, your building's homeowner association (HOA) may have already done a study to find out the percentage of actual asbestos in the ceiling. If the survey reveals that the actual percentage of asbestos in the ceiling falls within acceptable standards, you don't necessarily have to remove it and can include the survey in your disclosure statement to the buyer.</p> <p>Also, HOA rules can help you determine what improvements are worthwhile. Let's imagine that you have a wooden floor with partial water damage due to an open window during a storm. You're trying to decide whether to replace the floor entirely, lay down additional flooring on top, or leave the floor as is. Depending on the rules of your building, you may or may not be required to also soundproof your wood floor, which can add hundreds to thousands to your quote. Always check with your HOA before starting any work on your unit.</p> <h2>4. Look for ways to minimize listing costs</h2> <p>Skipping the standard real estate agent's commission of 5 to 6 percent sounds like an awesome idea in theory. While pocketing an extra $15,000 to $18,000 on a $300,000 condo is enticing, make sure to understand just how much easier a real estate agent can make the selling process. Even worse, you may dramatically reduce the number of potential buyers by going the &quot;for sale by owner&quot; (FSBO) route. Many buyer's agents won't show your property to their clients at all or strongly discourage those clients from making an offer, citing the risks of closing without a professional representing you.</p> <p>Still, there are plenty of ways that you can save on listing costs while working with a real estate agent.</p> <ul> <li> <p>Ask if the commission is negotiable. Don't assume that a 6 percent commission is the default. With the rise of low-fee real estate brokerages, such as Redfin charging only a 1 to 1.5 percent listing fee, some agents are more open to negotiation in some markets.</p> </li> <li> <p>Stage your home yourself. According to Realtor.com, a staged property sells an average 88 percent faster and for 20 percent more than one that hasn't been staged. But professional staging can be expensive: Realtor.com estimates an initial design consultation with a professional stager ranges from $300 to $600, and actual staging ranges from $500 to $600 per month per room. Staging is one area in which going DIY can help you keep costs down. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-stage-your-home-without-hiring-a-pro?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Ways to Stage Your Home Without Hiring a Pro</a>)</p> </li> <li> <p>Your real estate agent can be a useful resource to shop around for contractors for small fixes. In case a buyer were to ask for proper grounding of electrical outlets, replacement of broken faceplates, or other type of work, your agent may be able to hire a contractor at a much lower rate than one you'd find on your own.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>5. Screen the clauses in your buyer's initial offer</h2> <p>Receiving your first offer is very exciting! Still, take a step back and thoroughly review the clauses included in that buyer's offer. Here are some things to keep an eye on. (See also: 9 Things Sellers Should Watch Out During Escrow)</p> <ul> <li> <p>&quot;Acceptable to buyer&quot; prorations and closing adjustments. If you were to submit a counteroffer, request to delete such verbiage from the offer. &quot;Acceptable to buyer&quot; adjustments are subjective and can open the door for a buyer to include unnecessary items or requests.</p> </li> <li> <p>Tighten the time frames for any buyer's obligations. The longer that an escrow process takes, the higher the chance of the sale not going through. So, shorten review times, such as review of seller's disclosure and inspection after completing buyer's contingencies requests, whenever possible.</p> </li> <li> <p>Watch out for additional addendums. Here's where knowing your HOA rules comes in handy. Depending on when certain work was completed on your unit, some work may not have required a permit or certain additional requirements. Going back to the example of the wooden floor, if the floor was installed before the year in which the soundproofing requirement went into effect, you wouldn't have to remedy the situation. Pay close attention to addendums requesting to remedy unpermitted work or allowing the buyer to submit a repair or credit request for repairs.</p> </li> </ul> <h2>6. Understand your BATNA</h2> <p>Short for Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement, BATNA is a key concept in any negotiation. Here's why: This is the price point at which you can't do better than accepting your buyer's offer. When listing your home, you'll have to decide on the initial price. Most of the time, you want that first price to be above the lowest price that you'll accept for your condo. That way, you'll be more willing to lower the price to make a sale happen.</p> <p>Pricing your home too close or exactly at your BATNA will work against you because you won't have any wiggle room to work with a buyer. Unless you're in a red-hot seller's market, you can't take an all-or-nothing approach to your condo sale. Would you be willing to go down $1,000 in price to sell your condo today, or stick to your guns and wait an extra three months? Once your condo has been on the market for a few months, your agent may ask you to lower the price. Knowing your BATNA will help you negotiate your condo sale more efficiently and potentially lower the DOM of your unit.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-tips-to-sell-your-condo-fast&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Tips%2520to%2520Sell%2520Your%2520Condo%2520Fast.jpg&amp;description=6%20Tips%20to%20Sell%20Your%20Condo%20Fast"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Tips%20to%20Sell%20Your%20Condo%20Fast.jpg" alt="6 Tips to Sell Your Condo Fast" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tips-to-sell-your-condo-fast">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-sellers-should-watch-out-for-during-escrow">9 Things Sellers Should Watch Out for During Escrow</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-real-estate-agents-hear-most-often">8 Questions Real Estate Agents Hear Most Often</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-unexpected-costs-of-selling-a-home">8 Unexpected Costs of Selling a Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sell-your-house-faster-with-these-6-house-flipping-tricks">Sell Your House Faster With These 6 House Flipping Tricks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-homebuying-questions-youre-embarrassed-to-ask">5 Homebuying Questions You&#039;re Embarrassed to Ask</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing apartments clauses condos escrow homeowners association listing costs real estate agents renovations repairs selling a home Wed, 01 Nov 2017 08:30:09 +0000 Damian Davila 2045381 at http://www.wisebread.com Sell Your House Faster With These 6 House Flipping Tricks http://www.wisebread.com/sell-your-house-faster-with-these-6-house-flipping-tricks <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sell-your-house-faster-with-these-6-house-flipping-tricks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-177709534.jpg" alt="use pro flipper tips to sell a house fast" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you're ready to sell your home, there's no reason you can't sell like a professional. People who flip homes for a living know what makes a difference for a quick sale at a great price. Take advantage of their insight and tips for a better home-selling experience.</p> <h2>1. Invest in your curb appeal</h2> <p>You might be super-proud of your hardwood flooring or custom cabinetry, but what's the first thing a potential buyer sees? Your lawn. Those scraggly trees. The flower beds, or lack thereof. The front door with its faded coat of paint. All these outdoor elements create a first impression, and a good first impression sets the selling stage.</p> <p>House-flipping pros know a fresh coat of paint on the doors, shutters, and exterior trim can have a much better impact on potential buyers. It's a good idea, too, to invest in a new, stylish mailbox that matches your home's exterior.</p> <p>Other curb appeal updates can be accomplished with a little spare time and hard work. Clear out any outdoor clutter; ensure that the roof, entry, and sidewalks are clean. Clean outdoor lighting and replace any burned-out bulbs or broken fixtures. Update the landscaping by trimming trees, adding in some annuals for a punch of color, and putting down fresh mulch over all beds. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-improve-your-curb-appeal-for-next-to-nothing?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Ways to Improve Your Curb Appeal for Next to Nothing</a>)</p> <h2>2. Know your neighborhood</h2> <p>Pro flippers know how important it is to make sure a home for sale fits well into its surroundings. If your home is noticeably shabbier than its neighbors, it will stand out, and not in a good way. You run the risk of people seeing it as rundown or neglected.</p> <p>Conversely, if your home has too many luxury upgrades to fit into the price point of the surrounding area, you might price yourself right out of a sale. Potential buyers want to know they'll be able to resell the house in the future; if it stands out as too costly in an area that doesn't match, you're likely to scare them away.</p> <h2>3. Do renovations right &mdash; and highlight them</h2> <p>The 2016 <a href="https://www.zillow.com/research/zillow-group-report-2016-13279/#execsum" target="_blank">Zillow Group Report on Consumer Housing Trends</a> found that homeowners who tackled a major renovation before selling their home tended to sell for up to 2 percent above the asking price. So if there's a big, obvious project you need to take care of, whether it's a dated bathroom or a sagging roof, it's worth the time and cash to do it.</p> <p>Just make sure you do the renovations right! Skimping on materials or trying to DIY a project that's beyond your capability can reduce your home's value, not increase it. Hire the professionals you need and pay for good materials. Then highlight the work you've had done, so potential buyers see the care, thought, and cost that's gone into it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-home-renovations-that-almost-pay-for-themselves?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Home Renovations That Almost Pay for Themselves</a>)</p> <h2>4. Make minor upgrades for a major difference</h2> <p>Experienced house flippers know that minor upgrades can make a huge difference in how a home's value is perceived. For example, replacing contractor-standard light fixtures, cabinet hardware, and faucets with premium and custom fixtures can make your home stand out. The custom upgrades are noticeable and differentiate your home from comparable ones on the market.</p> <p>Consider replacing kitchen appliances with used, high-end models, as well. You can score great deals on a used stove or refrigerator. Homebuyers don't know or care that it's been used by someone other than you; they just notice and appreciate the quality.</p> <h2>5. Stage for a quicker sale</h2> <p>You can <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-stage-your-home-without-hiring-a-pro?ref=internal" target="_blank">stage a house yourself</a>, or you can hire a professional stager. Since staging is somewhat of an art form, it can be worth the price to hire an experienced pro. It's hard for some potential buyers to picture themselves in a home that's already lived in. The magic of staging is that the home looks just lived in enough; it's appealing, stylish, and comfortable, but not too personal.</p> <p>Professional staging is a relatively small investment, typically costing around 1 percent of the home's listing price. You might be able to pay a little less for a one-time consultation with a professional stager who will give you ideas you can implement yourself.</p> <p>You might think that staging isn't really necessary, but you'd be surprised by the difference it can make in your home sale. According to a 2015 profile by the National Association of Realtors, many realtors have found that staging can raise a home's value by up to 10 percent. And according to the Real Estate Staging Association, staged houses sell 73 percent faster than non-staged homes.</p> <h2>6. Do some modern marketing</h2> <p>The final expert tip is to use technology to put out some great marketing for your home. Social media is easy to use, and you can approach your ideal buyers as a group instead of waiting for them to come find you. Take (or hire someone to take) great photos of your house, write up a smart description, and spend a little money on targeted advertising on Facebook or Twitter.</p> <p>Social media advertising can be very inexpensive. Even a couple of dollars a day will put your ad in front of several thousand people in a targeted group. After they see that curb appeal, upgrades, and staging, you'll be selling like a pro flipper in no time.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fsell-your-house-faster-with-these-6-house-flipping-tricks&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FSell%2520Your%2520House%2520Faster%2520With%2520These%25206%2520House%2520Flipping%2520Tricks.jpg&amp;description=Sell%20Your%20House%20Faster%20With%20These%206%20House%20Flipping%20Tricks"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Sell%20Your%20House%20Faster%20With%20These%206%20House%20Flipping%20Tricks.jpg" alt="Sell Your House Faster With These 6 House Flipping Tricks" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sell-your-house-faster-with-these-6-house-flipping-tricks">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-stage-your-home-without-hiring-a-pro">8 Ways to Stage Your Home Without Hiring a Pro</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-unexpected-costs-of-selling-a-home">8 Unexpected Costs of Selling a Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tips-to-sell-your-condo-fast">6 Tips to Sell Your Condo Fast</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-real-estate-agents-hear-most-often">8 Questions Real Estate Agents Hear Most Often</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-improve-your-curb-appeal-for-next-to-nothing">6 Ways to Improve Your Curb Appeal for Next to Nothing</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing advice curb appeal experts flipping homebuyers list price marketing professionals remodeling renovations selling a home staging Mon, 21 Aug 2017 09:01:06 +0000 Annie Mueller 2005874 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Questions Real Estate Agents Hear Most Often http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-real-estate-agents-hear-most-often <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-questions-real-estate-agents-hear-most-often" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/real_estate_agent_showing_a_family_a_house_closer_in.jpg" alt="Real estate agent showing a family a house, closer in" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As a first-time homebuyer or seller, you'll probably have a lot of questions. This is par for the course, especially if you have zero knowledge of the real estate process. More than likely, you'll drill your real estate agent with queries as you navigate the buying or selling of your home. And, one of these common questions is bound to come up. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-things-your-real-estate-agent-wishes-you-knew?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Things Your Real Estate Agent Wishes You Knew</a>)</p> <h2>Buyers</h2> <p>As a buyer, you are probably most interested in what you're getting yourself into.</p> <h3>1. Is the neighborhood safe?</h3> <p>It's an interesting question, because we all have different thresholds for safety. Your licensed real estate agent is not allowed, however, to comment on the safety of the neighborhood. If you want a better understanding of the actual criminal activity in the area, you'll need to do your own research. You can use online tools to <a href="http://www.bestplaces.net/crime/" target="_blank">compare crime statistics</a> between cities for a more accurate outlook.</p> <p>Emile L'Eplattenier, real estate marketing and sales analyst for Fit Small Business, makes another solid point: &quot;Always remember that crime can happen anywhere, and there is a very big difference between feeling safe and actually being safe.&quot;</p> <h3>2. How much will the house cost to renovate?</h3> <p>Your real estate agent can't give you a roundabout number on what your fixer-upper will cost to renovate, because they're not a contractor and they have no idea how expensive or inexpensive your taste may be. Joan Kagan, sales manager of a real estate listing site, often suggests to clients that they bring along a trusted contractor to help find a ballpark for this figure. Your agent may know someone who fits the bill, or, if you have a handy person in your own circle, invite them on your next walk-through to discuss your vision. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-home-renovations-that-could-hurt-your-homes-value?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Home Renovations That Could Hurt Your Home's Value</a>)</p> <h3>3. What do you think this will be worth in five to 10 years?</h3> <p>When Kagan is asked this question, she provides a democratic response: &quot;The best way of predicting the future is to look at the past. History repeats itself. I can show you data on the average prices for over the past 10 years. Would that be helpful?&quot;</p> <p>It may be helpful, but as we all know, real estate is up and down and in between more than ever. It's probably best not to worry about the resale value in a specific time frame as much as getting the best deal you can right now.</p> <h2>Sellers</h2> <p>Sellers are most likely interested in what they can get out of it.</p> <h3>4. What is my home worth?</h3> <p>If you've decided to put your home on the market, the first question you'll have is, how much is the house worth? Unless you're being forced out by circumstance, your main goal should be to make a bit of money off your investment or at least break even.</p> <p>&quot;Before determining a listing price, sellers should take the time to go online to research local comps to help gain an understanding of their property's market value,&quot; says Michael Lissack, a Massachusetts real estate agent for Owners.com. &quot;In addition, it's important to reach out to a trusted real estate agent who can help sellers understand their market and evaluate their home and what is it worth. For example, if a seller remodels their kitchen or adds a bedroom, agents can account for that when they are evaluating the home's value.&quot;</p> <p>A good initial resource for you to size up what your home is worth is the real estate site Zillow. It allows you to search addresses in your neighborhood to see the &quot;Zestimated&quot; value of the homes. This can give you a head start, especially if you're comparing similar houses, both inside and out, to yours.</p> <h3>5. Why can't I just sell my house on my own?</h3> <p>Selling your own house may seem like an ideal solution to those trying to avoid commission fees and other associated expenses, but some things aren't worth the trouble. Realtor and attorney Sammi Massie points out we pay for lots of professional services. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/fsbo-how-to-sell-your-home-on-your-own?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Sell Your Home on Your Own</a>)</p> <p>&quot;Would you cut your own hair, fix your own car, argue your own case in court, or anything else that there are professionals for?&quot; she asks. &quot;Let the professional handle the sale of the most valuable possession you have; that's what they do best.&quot;</p> <h3>6. Why do agents get paid so much money?</h3> <p>It can be a tough pill to swallow when you consider how much of your home's sale price will go toward paying your real estate agent. Most agents take a 5 percent to 6 percent commission from a home's sale: So if your home sells for $200,000, you can expect to pay your agent between $10,000 and $12,000.</p> <p>Still, Massie makes a good case for why agents get paid as much as they do.</p> <p>&quot;With the amount of driving, marketing, and other fees that we have to pay in order to be agents and to sell real estate, the commission is not as much as it appears,&quot; she says. &quot;Especially if we, as agents, are still paying into our company; they take a portion of our commission with each sale.&quot;</p> <p>Also consider that your home may not sell right away. If an agent spends weeks (sometimes months!) trying to find the perfect buyer, they deserve to be compensated fairly for finally making the transaction happen.</p> <h3>7. How's the market?</h3> <p>In many markets, there's a shortage of inventory and rising home prices, making it a great time to sell. But most people who sell also want to buy, and they have to be realistic.</p> <p>&quot;The same conditions that make it a great time to sell may also make it difficult to buy,&quot; Lissack explains. &quot;And with the competitive market conditions, both buyers and sellers are seeking opportunities to save money. Consumers should look toward online brokerages that can help sellers save thousands in traditional agent commissions through flexible listing packages, and in select markets, provide a buyer's rebate of up to 1.5 percent at closing.&quot;</p> <h3>8. How do I know if my timing is right?</h3> <p>You can keep an eye on local home prices, mortgage rates, and other factors to can help you decide when the time is right to sell your home, but often sellers can't wait for everything to fall perfectly in line. For many, there is no &quot;right time.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;Timing is determined by what is happening in that person's life &mdash; if they need a new home right away, the timing is right regardless of the market,&quot; Lissack says. &quot;The agent's job is to build a relationship, help them understand what's happening in their market, and support their client through one of the largest transactions they'll ever make.&quot;</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F8-questions-real-estate-agents-hear-most-often&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F8%2520Questions%2520Real%2520Estate%2520Agents%2520Hear%2520Most%2520Often.jpg&amp;description=8%20Questions%20Real%20Estate%20Agents%20Hear%20Most%20Often"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/8%20Questions%20Real%20Estate%20Agents%20Hear%20Most%20Often.jpg" alt="8 Questions Real Estate Agents Hear Most Often" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-real-estate-agents-hear-most-often">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tips-to-sell-your-condo-fast">6 Tips to Sell Your Condo Fast</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-questions-to-ask-before-selling-your-house">6 Questions to Ask Before Selling Your House</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-sellers-should-watch-out-for-during-escrow">9 Things Sellers Should Watch Out for During Escrow</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-5-rules-of-home-buying-you-need-to-know">The Only 5 Rules of Home Buying You Need to Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-unexpected-costs-of-selling-a-home">8 Unexpected Costs of Selling a Home</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing commissions home buying housing market neighborhoods real estate agents realtors renovations selling a home Fri, 11 Aug 2017 09:00:06 +0000 Mikey Rox 1999912 at http://www.wisebread.com 20+ Questions to Ask During an Open House http://www.wisebread.com/20-questions-to-ask-during-an-open-house <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/20-questions-to-ask-during-an-open-house" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/showing_room.jpg" alt="Showing room" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Shopping for real estate can be daunting. It takes time and discernment to know which house is right for you. To avoid wasting time on open house visits, be prepared with these key questions. If you find a house that matches your wish list, chat with the listing agent to find out all the details you don't want to overlook.</p> <h2>Before you start asking questions</h2> <p>First things first: Pick up a copy of the property information. These are often on the kitchen counter or near the entry during open houses. Many people view the house, and then look over the information. But the disclosure statements often reveal things you'll want to see while on site; maybe there was water damage, or the carpets were recently replaced. Spend five minutes reviewing the property information so you can eyeball the improvements or issues as you move from room to room.</p> <p>Some listing agents will wait near the information sheets, ready to talk to prospective buyers. If you're not ready to chat yet, say so; the agent should accommodate your desire to view the house and review the information before either of you starts asking questions.</p> <h2>General questions</h2> <p>Ask these questions to get an idea of the overall condition of the house and area.</p> <h3>What's the reason for the sale?</h3> <p>This may seem like a personal question, but it's a valid one. If the house is being sold because the owners are unhappy with its condition, need for repairs, the safety of the area, or the feel of the neighborhood, you want to know. Your goal is to understand if the reason for the sale is personal or due to an issue with the house or area.</p> <p>Don't press for personal information about the owners, of course; the agent should protect their confidentiality while giving you a top-level answer. If the agent is very hesitant, or unable to provide even a generic or partial answer, note that. If you're interested in the house, you can have your own real estate agent follow up with the listing agent.</p> <h3>What are the biggest problems with the house?</h3> <p>If you ask, &quot;Are there any major problems with the house?&quot; then the agent may say, &quot;No, it's in great shape.&quot; Phrasing matters. Every house has problems. This is the time to find out what those problems are. The listing agent wants to sell the property, of course, but they want the sale to be a satisfactory one.</p> <p>In many states a seller's disclosure is required, and should be included with the property information. You can ask for more details on any issues disclosed:</p> <ul> <li> <p>Have there been any more water problems since the sump pump was replaced?</p> </li> <li> <p>How extensive was the termite damage listed on the disclosure?</p> </li> <li> <p>Have the owners done any further mold testing?</p> </li> </ul> <p>Asking for more information will help you determine if the issues have been resolved or would require additional repair or maintenance.</p> <h3>What are the average utility costs?</h3> <p>Older houses tend to be less energy efficient, and can come with heftier utility bills than you'd expect. On the other hand, the owners may have a installed top-of-the-line HVAC system, put in double-paned windows, and invested in other energy-saving upgrades. The listing agent will know, or be able to find out, the average monthly cost for utilities. It's a good idea to ask for a typical monthly cost in the winter and in the summer, so you can compare how much the energy use might fluctuate seasonally.</p> <h3>Has the price changed at all?</h3> <p>The listing agent will know the history of the house, if the listing price has dropped or increased, and the reasons for any change in price. A lower listing price can be great news for you, but multiple drops in price should be a red flag. Was the house listed much too high for the area? Or are there major issues that are keeping buyers away?</p> <p>In your discussion on price, you can ask other questions to get an idea of the urgency of the sellers:</p> <ul> <li> <p>How long has the house been on the market?</p> </li> <li> <p>Have there been other offers on the house?</p> </li> <li> <p>Are the sellers eager to negotiate?</p> </li> <li> <p>Are the sellers in a hurry to sell?</p> </li> </ul> <p>You may not get direct answers to all these questions, but they're still worth asking. If you are genuinely interested in the property, talking with the agent can give you insight on what matters most to the sellers. If they're in a hurry to move, for example, they might accept a lower offer with a rushed closing date.</p> <h3>Is this a good neighborhood for families?</h3> <p>Maybe you don't have a family; this is still a good question to ask, because &quot;family-friendly&quot; is often code for safe, clean, and welcoming. Are there community events nearby? Is there a neighborhood association? Ask the agent about the nearest places for shopping, entertainment, and dining out. If the nearest grocery store is 10 miles away but the nearest bar is just around the corner, it may not be so family-friendly, after all.</p> <p>A discussion about the neighborhood is a good time to ask about area resources and attractions, as well as cost of living:</p> <ul> <li> <p>Are there any parks or natural attractions nearby?</p> </li> <li> <p>What do people in this area like to do for fun?</p> </li> <li> <p>What's the best restaurant nearby?</p> </li> <li> <p>Do you know what the average income is for this area?</p> </li> <li> <p>Where is the nearest hospital?</p> </li> </ul> <h2>Room by room questions</h2> <p>Some questions are room-specific. Ask the agent to walk through the house with you and discuss as you go.</p> <h3>Kitchen<strong> </strong></h3> <ul> <li> <p>Which appliances are included? How old are they?</p> </li> <li> <p>Have there been any major updates or renovations in the kitchen?</p> </li> <li> <p>Are there any water issues in the kitchen?</p> </li> <li> <p>Have there been any major repairs in the kitchen?</p> </li> </ul> <h3>Basement</h3> <ul> <li> <p>Are there any water issues in the basement?</p> </li> <li> <p>Is there a sump pump installed?</p> </li> <li> <p>Have there been any issues with mold?</p> </li> </ul> <h3>Living rooms and bedrooms</h3> <ul> <li> <p>How old is the carpet?</p> </li> <li> <p>What's underneath the carpet?</p> </li> <li> <p>Have the rooms been recently painted?</p> </li> <li> <p>Are the window treatments included?</p> </li> <li> <p>Have there been any renovations or updates done lately?</p> </li> </ul> <h3>Bathrooms</h3> <ul> <li> <p>Are there any water issues in the bathrooms?</p> </li> <li> <p>How is the water pressure? (Ask if you can check it.)</p> </li> <li> <p>How recently have the bathroom fixtures been updated?</p> </li> </ul> <h3>Yard</h3> <ul> <li> <p>Does the landscaping allow water to flow away from the house?</p> </li> <li> <p>Are there any wet or soggy areas in the yard?</p> </li> <li> <p>Have the owners done regular pest control?</p> </li> <li> <p>Are there any issues with the yard or garden?</p> </li> </ul> <h2>Open house etiquette</h2> <p>Open houses vary, but there are some common etiquette rules to follow. Don't forget to sign in; leave your name only if you prefer not to include your contact information. Be sure to greet the listing agent. Let the agent know you have questions, but don't keep them from being able to interact with other visitors. Discuss, don't dominate.</p> <p>Expect to answer a few questions about yourself, such as &quot;How long have you been looking?&quot; A good listing agent will be trying to determine who's a serious buyer and who's there for the free mints.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F20-questions-to-ask-during-an-open-house&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F20%252B%2520Questions%2520to%2520Ask%2520During%2520an%2520Open%2520House.jpg&amp;description=20%20plus%20Questions%20to%20Ask%20During%20an%20Open%20House"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/20%2B%20Questions%20to%20Ask%20During%20an%20Open%20House.jpg" alt="20+ Questions to Ask During an Open House" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-questions-to-ask-during-an-open-house">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-mortgage-details-you-should-know-before-you-sign">5 Mortgage Details You Should Know Before You Sign</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-moves-that-will-ruin-your-mortgage-application">5 Money Moves That Will Ruin Your Mortgage Application</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-you-need-to-downsize">7 Reasons You Need to Downsize</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-questions-to-ask-before-signing-a-lease">10 Questions to Ask Before Signing a Lease</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-buy-a-house-with-a-pool-until-you-can-answer-these-7-questions">Don&#039;t Buy a House With a Pool Until You Can Answer These 7 Questions</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing damage home buying homeownership listing agents maintenance open houses pests problems questions renovations utilities Thu, 20 Jul 2017 08:30:14 +0000 Annie Mueller 1986643 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Unexpected Costs of Selling a Home http://www.wisebread.com/8-unexpected-costs-of-selling-a-home <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-unexpected-costs-of-selling-a-home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-505602452.jpg" alt="Finding out the unexpected costs of selling a home" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Getting ready to sell your house? You may be itching to pocket all those dollars you think are headed your way, but don't get too excited just yet. More factors go into selling a home than you might realize. Unfortunately, hidden expenses are one of those factors. Brush up on these eight surprising costs ahead of time to lessen the blow.</p> <h2>1. Utilities</h2> <p>It's a good idea to keep the utilities running until the very last day before closing on the sale. Not only will it help your real estate broker to demonstrate that the home is fully operational, but it can also help you prevent other issues.</p> <p>For example, keeping some lights and A/C on during the summer or highly humid days can help your home stay mold-free. Molds thrive when the humidity levels exceed 70 percent. A running A/C cools the home, removes moisture from the air, and keeps the air inside circulated and filtered. Keeping mold in check will help you pass the home inspection and prevent additional fees. Another example would be turning off the water and ending up with an unappealing (and dead!) lawn, which sends potential buyers the wrong message about your property.</p> <p>You also want to make sure that utilities are still on for your buyer's final walk through. Consult with your broker for the right time (generally closing day or the day after) to turn off the utilities and settle those bills.</p> <h2>2. Repair and renovation costs</h2> <p>A fresh coat of paint, a thorough carpet steam clean, or a new toilet in the master bathroom can go a long way in increasing the appeal of your home. Budget for the cost of hiring a contractor or doing these necessary repairs yourself before putting your home on the market. Addressing repairs early can save you money in the long run and increase your chances of passing a home inspection on the first try. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-are-pricey-home-upgrades-really-worth?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How Much Are Pricey Home Upgrades Really Worth?</a>)</p> <h2>3. Seller credits to buyer</h2> <p>In the event that you are against dealing with repairs or renovations, you could extend to a buyer a seller credit to make up for the costs of fixing up the property. However, lenders cap the credit amount that a seller can extend to a buyer at 3 percent to 6 percent of the total mortgage.</p> <p>Since the majority of buyers will ask for one, most real estate agents recommend that you budget for a range that you would be comfortable with in extending as a seller credit. This is in case your property stays on the market for far too many days. Cash-strapped buyers may request seller credits to cover additional expenses, such as closing costs, or escrow fees. In 2016, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) estimated that 37 percent of sellers offered incentives, such as seller credits, toward remodeling or repairs to attract buyers.</p> <h2>4. Digital staging costs</h2> <p>To maximize the exposure of your property to potential buyers, you need not only to stage your home, but make great photos and descriptions available online.</p> <p>Keep in mind that your agent may outsource digital staging services to a third party, which may or may not be the same one staging your home. According to Kiplinger, home sellers spend on <a href="http://www.kiplinger.com/article/real-estate/T029-C000-S001-6-ways-to-stage-your-home-for-less-than-1-000.html" target="_blank">average $1,800</a> to stage a home, but costs can range from a couple of hundred dollars to $5,000 or more. The more bells and whistles that you request (say a 360-degree picture or video walk-through), the more that you pay.</p> <h2>5. Agent commissions</h2> <p>Real estate agents are paid on commission &mdash; typically 5 to 6 percent of the home's agreed upon selling price. The commission is generally split between the seller's agent and the buyer's agent. On a $300,000 home, a 6 percent commission works out to $18,000, all of which comes out of the seller's side of the deal. Agent commissions are negotiable, although a seller who pushes too hard on this point may make their home unattractive to buyer's <em>agents</em>, ultimately reducing traffic and potential buyers.</p> <h2>6. Capital gains taxes</h2> <p>While owning real estate can give you plenty of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-surprising-ways-real-estate-cuts-your-taxes?ref=internal" target="_blank">surprising ways to cut down your tax bill</a>, you may still have to pay Uncle Sam a share from your home sale under certain circumstances.</p> <p>As long as you've owned the home for at least 24 months and used it as your primary residence during the last five years leading up to the date of closing, you may receive an exemption up to $250,000 ($500,00 if married filing jointly) of the gain from your home sale. If you were in the lucky position that your capital gains exceeds those limits due to a &quot;hot market,&quot; then you would need to pay applicable taxes</p> <h2>7. Title insurance</h2> <p>This type of insurance protects real estate owners and lenders against loss or damage that can occur due to defects in the title on a property.</p> <p>While typically included in the closing costs covered by the buyer, some states may require the seller to pay for title insurance or allow for negotiation of this cost between buyer and seller. The cost of title insurance can range from a few hundred dollars to more than $2,000. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/yes-you-need-home-title-insurance-heres-why?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Yes, You Need Home Title Insurance &mdash; Here's Why</a>)</p> <h2>8. Moving costs</h2> <p>Now, you wouldn't expect all of your belongings to move themselves, would you? Whether it's with time or cash, you'll need to pony up moving expenses, which can run well into the thousands depending on the size of your property and the distance of your move.</p> <p>If you're moving at least 50 miles due to a new job location, you can deduct reasonable expenses for moving your belongings and traveling to your new home. Hiring a professional moving company would help you provide proof to the IRS that your moving expenses are valued at a fair market price. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-you-should-always-hire-a-moving-company?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Reasons You Should Always Hire a Moving Company</a>)</p> <h2>The bottom line: Account for all home sale costs</h2> <p>It's easy to fall for the trap of thinking that you're making more money on your home sale than you really are.</p> <p>Let's run some numbers. If you were to close at a price of $300,000 for your home and still owe $160,000 on your mortgage, you'd think that you made $140,000 in profit. Assuming that you paid 8 percent of your sales price in total costs for your home sale, you would have coughed up $24,000 and brought down your net profit to $116,000 (a 17.14 percent drop!).</p> <p>The smaller the gap between your sale price and remaining mortgage, the more critical that unexpected costs of selling a home become.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-unexpected-costs-of-selling-a-home">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sell-your-house-faster-with-these-6-house-flipping-tricks">Sell Your House Faster With These 6 House Flipping Tricks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tips-to-sell-your-condo-fast">6 Tips to Sell Your Condo Fast</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-stage-your-home-without-hiring-a-pro">8 Ways to Stage Your Home Without Hiring a Pro</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-real-estate-agents-hear-most-often">8 Questions Real Estate Agents Hear Most Often</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-questions-to-ask-during-an-open-house">20+ Questions to Ask During an Open House</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing capital gains closing renovations seller credits selling a home staging title insurance utilities Thu, 06 Apr 2017 08:00:09 +0000 Damian Davila 1921685 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Keep DIY Projects From Ruining Your Life http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-keep-diy-projects-from-ruining-your-life <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-keep-diy-projects-from-ruining-your-life" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_wires_electrocuted_000087920375.jpg" alt="Man trying to keep DIY projects from ruining his life" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In the face of the current crappy economy, more people are willing to try to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-cool-diy-home-improvements-for-50-or-less" target="_blank">save money on home improvement projects</a> by doing their own repairs&hellip;at their peril.</p> <p>With time, persistence, and attention to detail, the average non-klutz homeowner can learn to be handy. But how do you determine which projects are worth doing yourself, and which projects require an expert? Consider the following factors before you roll up your sleeves.</p> <h2>Assess the Time Commitment &mdash; And the Cost</h2> <p>While home improvement stores like Home Depot adjust their DIY project schedules according to the level of expertise, those schedules still assume that the project will be completed without a hitch. Whether you are learning a new skill or trying to level up on an existing ability, make sure to pad your time estimate to give yourself enough wiggle room to fix mistakes. Often, an overly optimistic schedule is not only frustrating but costly, too.</p> <p>For example, painting your own home is often touted as an excellent beginner DIY project. Yes, painting your own house can save you a lot of money. But when budgeting out the cost of your painting project, make sure to include the external costs. Will you have to pay to keep your furniture in storage while you paint? Will repainting your new apartment delay your move from your old apartment? You can (and should) wear a ventilator mask to avoid huffing paint fumes, but what about your pets? Can your dog go to grandma's house while the paint cures, or will you have to pay kennel costs?</p> <h2>Do You Have What It Takes to Get the Job Done?</h2> <p>No. Not mentally. Do you have the right tools for the job? My neighbor spent over two hours on a wet bathroom floor trying to tighten the leaky connection behind her toilet with a pair of pliers. Damp and tearful, she finally went to the hardware store for advice. Although she was offered no counsel for her plumbing aggravation, the store clerk did send her home with a $6.00 basin wrench. Armed with the proper tool, my neighbor was able to tighten the hard-to-reach nut in less than 10 seconds.</p> <p>Although my neighbor only lost 300 minutes of her life and $6.00 to her broken toilet, many projects require more costly, and high-tech equipment. There is a steep learning curve for many power tools. If you don't know how to use a floor sander, you might permanently damage the hardwood floors you are trying to salvage. Even worse, if you are a newbie to home repair, you might not think to buy ear protection. An expert might be able to repair a bad sanding job, but no one can repair your hearing.</p> <h2>Can You Afford to Make a Mistake?</h2> <p>I bought a well-reviewed tankless water heater that my plumber then nixed because he'd seen that model fail too many customers. Even though I returned the water heater in its factory sealed, unopened box, I was still charged a restocking fee by the store. Custom items like granite countertops are not returnable, so one wrong measurement can be very costly.</p> <h2>Trimming Trees Can May Mean Big Fines</h2> <p>Beyond the obvious extreme height + chainsaw = danger involved in tree trimming, amateur lumberjacking carries huge fines in many municipalities. The average cost of tree removal in Los Angeles is <a href="http://www.treeremoval.com/us/los-angeles/#.VvlZO_krJaR">$779 per tree</a>. That's expensive! But the fine for chopping down an oak tree, even on your own property, starts at $6,000 and can include jail time. Homeowners in other cities who only trim heritage trees such as oaks and sycamores without the proper permits can be charged <a href="http://la.curbed.com/archives/2007/11/a_375000_treetr.php">hundreds of thousands</a> of dollars in fines.</p> <h2>DIY Demolition Disaster</h2> <p>When I remodeled my bathroom, I saved $300 by doing my own demolition. In addition to getting a solid workout by swinging a sledgehammer, knocking out three layers of old tile and lathe was weirdly stress relieving. One of my neighbors also loved doing demolition. That is, he loved doing demolition until he knocked out a load-bearing wall while renovating his kitchen without a permit. His kitchen is now renovated, but not how he envisioned it. He blew his entire renovation budget on a very expensive and hideous support beam to keep his house from collapsing.</p> <p>I should also note that before I began my bathroom demolition, my contractor physically outlined the electrical and plumbing lines on my bathroom walls with a Sharpie before I ever picked up the sledgehammer. Replacing accidentally broken plumbing is one of the least sexy ways to spend money.</p> <h2>Play It Safe With Roof Repair</h2> <p>Reconsider doing your own roof repair for safety reasons alone. Likewise, if your home is over one story tall, consider getting a professional to clean your gutters. Or, at least, use a <a href="http://amzn.to/1Urt0yS">shop vac</a> or <a href="http://rochesterguttercleaning.com/tophat/aboutus.html">gutter vacuum</a> that you can operate from ground level.</p> <h2>Don't Blow Your Budget on Rental Renovations</h2> <p>I always rented places that I could repaint to my liking. Of course, using your own money to spiff up a rented space isn't smart financially. It's not your house. You just live there.</p> <p>If you are like me, then a little money is worth the price of turning another person's house into your home. However, if you are saving up to buy your own home, or just want to sock away more cash for retirement, education, or travel, it's smarter to treat your rented house as a crash pad where you sleep and store your things. Any DIY projects you do to improve your rented space is money and time you will never recover.</p> <h2>Death by DIY Pest Control</h2> <p>As a beekeeper, I am always getting calls from hysterical homeowners about &quot;Angry Killer Bees.&quot; When I arrive at a client's house to do live bee removal, I always ask diagnostic questions so I can assess the safety situation for the client and their neighbors. Here is a sample diagnostic question: &quot;Were the bees angrily chasing you around the backyard before you sprayed their hive with hairspray and then tried to light it on fire with a tiki torch?&quot;</p> <p>Many over-the-counter <a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052970204563304574318231044370704">pesticides for home use</a> are also effective pet and people killers. Before laying down any kind of poison in your home, do some research and follow safety protocols to the letter. Although it seems counter-intuitive, professional exterminators have safer, less toxic methods of pest control at their disposal than consumers.</p> <h2>Leave Utilities to the Professionals</h2> <p>Doing your own gas, water, and power work is a really good way to damage you and your home. Even the smallest gas leak can lead to an explosion or carbon monoxide poisoning. Each year, thousands of people are injured or killed due to electrocution or electrical fires. Leaky plumbing can cause water damage and mold, potentially making your home unlivable and unsellable.</p> <h2>Beware Those Nine Dreaded Words</h2> <p>&quot;While we are at it, we might as well&hellip;&quot;</p> <p><em>Mission creep</em> is the super villain of DIY. Replacing the disgusting, damaged vinyl flooring in my kitchen with new linoleum will take me two days total. I've replaced two kitchen floors already, so I know I can do this job, over a weekend, all by my lonesome. Of course, this two-day schedule does not include moving out all the appliances, transferring my frozen foods to a neighbor's freezer for safe-keeping, or repairing the baseboards. Nor does it include the time and money involved in repainting the kitchen walls &mdash; a project that can only be done with the appliances removed &mdash; that's also on my to-do list.</p> <h2>Just Because You Can, Doesn't Mean You Should</h2> <p>I know how to hot wire a 1965 Nova using just a flat head screwdriver. But, just because I know how to rip an old car, does not mean that I should take the Chevy to the levee &mdash; even though the levee is dry &mdash; at every opportunity.</p> <p>According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, there are <a href="http://www.esfi.org/resource/do-it-yourself-diy-electrical-safety-216">37,000 nail gun injuries</a> every year in the United States. If the thought, &quot;Maybe this is beyond my skill level&quot; flickers through your mind even once, you should consider consulting an expert.</p> <h2>Losing Frugal Credibility Has a High Cost</h2> <p>It's 11 p.m. and I am painting my dining room, myself. I am an excellent painter. Martha Stewart would hire me. Painting my own dining room cost me just $100 in supplies.</p> <p>Unfortunately, I have had to work the dining room redo around my actual paying job schedule, so it's taken me six months of intermittently stripping paint, sanding, caulking, priming, painting, painting, and repainting to almost finish my newly spectacular dining room. My ceiling is silver leafed. Guests gasp when they behold the decorative finish on my china cabinets. I am so pleased with my work. My husband, however, could care less how magazine-ready the dining room looks. After months of eating off a drop cloth-covered dining room table, he's tired of painting without ever picking up a brush.</p> <p>So, while I won a frugal remodeling battle by renovating my own dining room, I have lost the frugal war. My husband now doubts that we can scrape, repair, and paint the exterior of our house in one month. He wants to pay a professional painting contractor $17,000 to do this job.</p> <p>The true cost of painting the dining room myself: $16,900.</p> <p>Don't be me.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/max-wong">Max Wong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-keep-diy-projects-from-ruining-your-life">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-home-improvements-you-should-always-negotiate">9 Home Improvements You Should Always Negotiate</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-cool-diy-home-improvements-for-50-or-less">15 Cool DIY Home Improvements for $50 or Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-paint-the-exterior-of-your-home">How to Paint the Exterior of Your Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-cheap-and-easy-diy-kitchen-improvements">20 Cheap and Easy DIY Kitchen Improvements</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-improve-your-curb-appeal-for-next-to-nothing">6 Ways to Improve Your Curb Appeal for Next to Nothing</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Home contractors Do It Yourself fixing home improvements painting renovations Wed, 06 Apr 2016 10:30:07 +0000 Max Wong 1682552 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways to Improve Your Curb Appeal for Next to Nothing http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-improve-your-curb-appeal-for-next-to-nothing <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-to-improve-your-curb-appeal-for-next-to-nothing" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_sitting_outside_000066201595.jpg" alt="Couple finding ways to improve curb appeal for almost nothing" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Whether you're selling your home, or simply looking to spruce it up, improving your curb appeal is a great way to increase value. But it can be really expensive if you head off to your local home improvement warehouse and buy items at full retail. That said, with a little bit of planning and forethought, improving your curb appeal can be done for next to nothing. Here are six ways to make it happen.</p> <h2>1. Score Free Mulch</h2> <p>Having a fresh layer of mulch or bark in your flower and planting beds is a fantastic way to improve your curb appeal. But buying individual bags can be darn expensive, especially if you're doing a large area. So instead, try calling a local tree trimming service and ask if they have any free mulch available. After all, many such businesses have excess woods chips available and are happy to find ways to get rid of it. Often they'll even deliver a truck load to your home if they happen to be doing a job in your general vicinity.</p> <p>Worst case scenario, you might have to swing by their work yard and shovel up a truck load. But you can't beat the free price tag, and your plants and flowers will thrive with the new mulch. Plus, it will help keep down weeds and give your yard a fresh new look.</p> <h2>2. Find Great Deals on Paint</h2> <p>Another cheap way to effectively spruce up the front of your home is with a fresh coat of paint on your front door, shutters, or moldings. While the job itself can be fairly inexpensive if you can tackle it yourself, a great way to save even more is to look for &quot;whoops&quot; paint at Home Depot, Lowe's, or even from your local paint store. These are the paints that were either incorrectly tinted or were rejected by the customer and are being sold at a big discount.</p> <p>Simply ask an employee where their &quot;whoops&quot; shelf is located and check out the colors they currently have available. You can typically get paint for 50%&ndash;75% off the original price. Surprisingly, many of the colors you'll find are quite neutral in color and would look beautiful on your home as either a main or accent color.</p> <h2>3. Hide Garbage Cans and A/C Unit</h2> <p>If you have garbage cans or an A/C unit that can be seen from your front yard, consider building an inexpensive <a href="http://www.popularmechanics.com/home/outdoor-projects/how-to/a9248/hide-those-ugly-garbage-cans-with-a-diy-privacy-screen-15710370/">lattice screen</a> to hide them. In a few short hours, you can hide these big eye sores. Lattice screens can be made of either wood or vinyl. The vinyl option will cost more upfront but will require less maintenance in the long-run.</p> <h2>4. Big Discounts on Plants</h2> <p>Surprisingly, one of the single best ways to score deals on plants, shrubs, and flowers to beautify your front yard is at your local nursery &mdash; but only on specific days. Almost every nursery across the country has two big sales per year. One is in the fall when they clear out a large chunk of their inventory before winter, and the other is in early spring when they offer discounts to entice shoppers to start planting for the warmer months. These two sales often see discounts in the 50% off range making them no-brainers for those looking to improve their home's curb appeal.</p> <p>Be on the lookout for sales flyers from local nurseries and score savings that will typically beat the big-box stores, plus the quality of the plants and trees is typically much higher.</p> <h2>5. Add Garage Door Hardware for Updated Look</h2> <p>A really cheap way to spruce up an otherwise ordinary garage door is to add new hardware to give it a terrific new look. For less than $35, and 30 minutes of your time, you can upgrade your door with inexpensive hardware. The new hardware will really make your garage door a focal point rather than an eyesore.</p> <h2>6. Find Deals on Exterior Lighting</h2> <p>New exterior lights can really improve the look of your home, but if you've ever priced them, you know they can be expensive. But having worked at The Home Depot, I have a tip that can save you a lot of money &mdash; they almost always have floor model light fixtures for sale at a steep discount.</p> <p>Due to a large and ever-changing inventory, they're constantly updating their stock with new lighting fixtures, which gives you ample opportunity to save on floor models. Simply ask an employee what floor models they are trying to get rid of and they'll point you to the best deals &mdash; deals that can light up the front of your home, and beautify it in the process, at 50% to 75% off the original price.</p> <p><em>How do you improve your home's curb appeal without breaking the bank?</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-ways-to-improve-your-curb-appeal-for-next-to-nothing&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Ways%2520to%2520Improve%2520Your%2520Curb%2520Appeal%2520for%2520Next%2520to%2520Nothing.jpg&amp;description=6%20Ways%20to%20Improve%20Your%20Curb%20Appeal%20for%20Next%20to%20Nothing"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Ways%20to%20Improve%20Your%20Curb%20Appeal%20for%20Next%20to%20Nothing.jpg" alt="6 Ways to Improve Your Curb Appeal for Next to Nothing" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kyle-james">Kyle James</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-improve-your-curb-appeal-for-next-to-nothing">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-cool-diy-home-improvements-for-50-or-less">15 Cool DIY Home Improvements for $50 or Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-easy-home-improvements-that-add-thousands-to-your-listing">9 Easy Home Improvements That Add Thousands to Your Listing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-to-stage-your-home-without-hiring-a-pro">8 Ways to Stage Your Home Without Hiring a Pro</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cool-diy-home-improvements-for-20-or-less">10 Cool DIY Home Improvements for $20 or Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/home-details-i-overlooked-the-first-time">Home Details I Overlooked the First Time</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Home Real Estate and Housing cheap fixes curb appeal home improvement landscaping painting renovations Tue, 22 Mar 2016 09:30:35 +0000 Kyle James 1677207 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Home Renovations That Could Hurt Your Home's Value http://www.wisebread.com/5-home-renovations-that-could-hurt-your-homes-value <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-home-renovations-that-could-hurt-your-homes-value" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_home_improvements_000059660490.jpg" alt="Man making home renovations that can hurt his home&#039;s value" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Planning a big home renovation? Sure, you want to enjoy that new family room or home office. But before taking on a costly remodeling project, you need to consider how the improvements you are planning could hurt your home's resale value.</p> <p>It's true, certain home improvements will actually make it more difficult to sell your home. And when it's more challenging to move your home, you'll most likely have to reduce your asking price.</p> <p>Of course, if you don't plan on selling for years, you might not care about resale value. But if you don't see yourself living in your home for 10 or 15 more years, think carefully before adding that in-ground swimming pool or creating the ultimate home office.</p> <h2>Don't Expect to Make Your Money Back</h2> <p>Each year, Remodeling Magazine and the National Association of Realtors publishes their Remodeling Costs vs. Value Report, which looks at 36 midrange or upscale <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-cool-diy-home-improvements-for-50-or-less">home improvement projects</a>. The report estimates the percentage of their dollars that homeowners who make these improvements can expect to recover when they sell their homes.</p> <p>Here's the sad truth: You probably won't recover all the money you've spent on any home improvement project &mdash; unless you are replacing your front door.</p> <p>The 2015 Remodeling Costs vs. Value Report says that homeowners who replaced their front door tended to earn back 101.8% of their costs. Coming in second? Homeowners who added a manufactured stone veneer to their homes earned back 92.2% of their costs, while garage door replacement projects ranked third, returning 88.5% of the money owners spent on them.</p> <p>But what are some of the worst improvements owners can make?</p> <h2>1. Pools</h2> <p>Let's start with swimming pools. You might think that an in-ground swimming pool is a great addition to your home &mdash; and you might get plenty of enjoyment out of it. But many buyers won't purchase a home with a swimming pool. Pools require a ton of upkeep. And they're potentially dangerous, scaring away many buyers with younger children.</p> <p>If you must have a pool, it makes more sense to purchase a traditional above-ground model. Then you can remove it when it's time to sell.</p> <h2>2. A Permanent Home Office</h2> <p>If you work from home, having a permanent home office will make life easier. But this space could hurt your sales price when it's time to move.</p> <p>Most buyers would prefer an extra bedroom instead of a home office. Yes, more people are working at least part of the time from home. But many more still do not. A home office fitted with permanent shelving units and built-in cabinets might turn off buyers looking instead for an extra bedroom for their children.</p> <h2>3. Turning That Garage Into a Bedroom</h2> <p>You might want more space for your growing family, and turning a garage into an extra bedroom might seem like an affordable way to do it, especially if you have a large driveway for your cars. But resist the temptation.</p> <p>Many buyers demand a garage when purchasing a home. If you can't offer them one, you might drastically reduce the number of potential buyers for your residence, forcing you to reduce your asking price.</p> <h2>4. Too Much Landscaping</h2> <p>A garden overflowing with flowers, bushes, ponds, and fountains might be a relaxing oasis, but buyers might instead see long spring and summer afternoons spent weeding and trimming. An overly landscaped backyard requires a lot of upkeep, and many buyers don't want to spend their weekends in the dirt.</p> <h2>5. Too Much Color</h2> <p>Those bright red walls add excitement to your bedroom, while the golden yellow walls of your kitchen are soothing. But here's the unfortunate news: Most buyers would prefer your home's walls to be a neutral white. That blander color scheme makes it easier for buyers to picture their own family, with their own tastes, in your home.</p> <p>So while painting various rooms in your home doesn't cost a ton of money, the bright walls could turn off many potential buyers, costing you, perhaps, a lucrative sale. Before listing your home, mute those bright colors.</p> <p><em>Have you harmed your home's value with any of these &mdash; or other &mdash; improvements?</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-home-renovations-that-could-hurt-your-homes-value&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Home%2520Renovations%2520That%2520Could%2520Hurt%2520Your%2520Home%2527s%2520Value.jpg&amp;description=5%20Home%20Renovations%20That%20Could%20Hurt%20Your%20Home's%20Value"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Home%20Renovations%20That%20Could%20Hurt%20Your%20Home%27s%20Value.jpg" alt="5 Home Renovations That Could Hurt Your Home's Value" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-home-renovations-that-could-hurt-your-homes-value">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-unexpected-costs-of-living-in-a-tiny-house">5 Unexpected Costs of Living in a Tiny House</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-reasons-you-need-to-downsize">7 Reasons You Need to Downsize</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-dumb-ways-to-scare-off-potential-homebuyers">10 Dumb Ways to Scare Off Potential Homebuyers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tips-to-sell-your-condo-fast">6 Tips to Sell Your Condo Fast</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-unexpected-costs-of-selling-a-home">8 Unexpected Costs of Selling a Home</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing home improvements renovations resale value selling home Fri, 19 Feb 2016 11:30:04 +0000 Dan Rafter 1656436 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Cool DIY Home Improvements for $50 or Less http://www.wisebread.com/15-cool-diy-home-improvements-for-50-or-less <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-cool-diy-home-improvements-for-50-or-less" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_painting_000023944106.jpg" alt="Couple doing cool diy home improvements for $50 or less" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Not all great home improvement projects cost an arm and a leg. In fact, there are lots of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cool-diy-home-improvements-for-20-or-less">cool DIY home improvements</a> that you can do for under $50. None of these jobs requires serious craftsperson skills, nor do they require specialized tools homeowners are unlikely to have in their garages.</p> <h2>1. Free Yard Makeover</h2> <p>Pick up trash, remove clutter, trim overgrown bushes, weed flower beds, edge your driveway and sidewalks, and generally get your yard in shape. It doesn't cost anything to do this if you already have the tools, and it can make your yard look a lot nicer and you'll feel better every time you come home.</p> <p>Tools required: <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00004R9YE/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00004R9YE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=6J5D7JK7U3HEFEO6">Saw</a>, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00002N66H/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00002N66H&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=GNDD6QTMKD6EEBFD">hand pruner</a>, and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00U2KFXAK/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00U2KFXAK&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=SK2UHJY7AJO4DWRI">manual edging tool</a>.</p> <p>Cost: Free!</p> <p>Time: One day.</p> <h2>2. Remove Worn Out Carpet</h2> <p>If you pull back your old, worn out carpet in a corner of a room to see what is underneath, you may be surprised to find a hardwood floor. Even if the floor under the carpet is not in great condition, a hardwood floor may be an improvement over ugly, distressed carpet.</p> <p>Tools required: <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000CRBHJE/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000CRBHJE&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=I3YZZTIQNS4DZ2BP">Carpet knife</a> and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00002N5VN/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00002N5VN&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=MOFSLIPMVF6FTNXA">pry bar</a>.</p> <p>Cost: Free!</p> <p>Time: One day.</p> <h2>3. Replace Old Outlets and Light Switches</h2> <p>It is cheap and easy to replace worn out light switches and electrical outlets with brand new ones. Check local building codes to make sure this is considered a DIY project and turn off the circuit breaker before touching the wiring. You can even get replacement electrical outlets that have built-in USB ports for charging your phone.</p> <p>Tools required: <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00CDIY3HS/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00CDIY3HS&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=BVMD2IFAEWKZZLUX">Screwdriver</a>.</p> <p>Cost: Roughly $3 per switch/outlet.</p> <p>Time: 30 minutes.</p> <h2>4. Paint Your Front Door</h2> <p>This small project can make a big impact on your home's curb appeal. New paint can make an old door look new again. Choose a color that matches your siding, but makes your door stand out.</p> <p>For any painting project, save money by getting &quot;mistint&quot; paint at the paint counter of your home improvement store. If you are flexible on the color, you can get a $40 gallon of paint for $10 or less. You can even mix mistint paints together to adjust the color &mdash; for example, mixing in some lighter paint to make a lighter color.</p> <p>Tools required: <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002YC6FNS/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B002YC6FNS&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=5ZTCXWFNDD7DGS5I">Paint roller</a>, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00002N6HD/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00002N6HD&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=MWYJSWWSEVD7KOVF">paint brush</a>, and a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004HW7GMC/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B004HW7GMC&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=N7BQDSB5U6U77BSE">paint can opener</a> (or screwdriver).</p> <p>Cost: Around $20.</p> <p>Time: Two hours.</p> <h2>5. Paint Your Shutters</h2> <p>You can easily remove your shutters and paint them a different color. If you have a second story, you'll need a ladder to unscrew your shutters. Paint your shutters, allow them to dry for a few hours, and screw them back in place for an immediate, cheap upgrade to your home's exterior.</p> <p>Tools required: Paintbrush, paint can opener, and a ladder.</p> <p>Cost: Around $20.</p> <p>Time: One day.</p> <h2>6. Install Built-In Bookshelves</h2> <p>Create some built-in storage and a display area in your living room by installing built-in bookshelves. Locate the studs in your wall and install rails to hold metal shelf brackets. Place wood shelves in the shelf brackets and you'll be ready to load it up.</p> <p>Tools required: <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000IKK0OI/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000IKK0OI&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=3H4U6W7BTTNSLZ2C">Stud finder</a>, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005LTNLDI/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B005LTNLDI&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=5C7WYCE2F7JUUWQB">drill</a>, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000BQR7TU/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000BQR7TU&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=3NP3IMIR5LJACOUI">level</a>, and a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B009CMV9D4/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B009CMV9D4&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=RQRJM5DNRTIYRGX3">saw</a>.</p> <p>Cost: $35.</p> <p>Time: One hour.</p> <h2>7. Update Your Porch Light</h2> <p>Does your front porch light look like something out of the 1970s? Mine was literally from the 1970s, and I replaced it with a brand new one. This simple upgrade made the entry to my house look decades newer.</p> <p>Tools required: Screwdriver.</p> <p>Cost: $35.</p> <p>Time: One hour.</p> <h2>8. Garage Threshold Kit</h2> <p>I had water and leaves coming in under my garage door and decided to do something about it. Installing a garage threshold helped keep my garage dryer and cleaner. You'll need to clean the garage floor and let the adhesive for the threshold cure for a few days before driving on it, so remember to park outside when you start this project!</p> <p>Tools required: <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0001N9YD0/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0001N9YD0&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=YI2UDNZCEO6MTBPU">Caulk gun</a>, <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00002X204/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00002X204&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=U36OKRYWNSHOEK4N">utility knife</a>.</p> <p>Cost: $35.</p> <p>Time: One hour.</p> <h2>9. Paint a Room</h2> <p>If your walls are standard white, almost any other color would be a dramatic improvement! You'll need to move furniture away from the walls and put down drop cloths to protect your floor during painting.</p> <p>Tools required: Paint roller, paint brush, paint can opener, and a ladder.</p> <p>Cost: $40.</p> <p>Time: One day.</p> <h2>10. Mount Your TV</h2> <p>Installing a wall mount for your flat screen TV will free up space and is less expensive than buying a furniture stand. Make sure to choose a wall mount that is rated to handle the weight of your TV.</p> <p>Tools required: Stud finder, drill, and a level.</p> <p>Cost: $40.</p> <p>Time: Two hours.</p> <h2>11. Install a Clothesline</h2> <p>This is one of my favorite projects since it will save money on electricity, and save wear and tear on your dryer. In most yards, you will want to set a couple of 4x4 posts in concrete, screw 2x4 cross bars onto the posts, and install eye hooks onto the crossbars. Next, tie clothesline string between the eye hooks. If you are lucky, you can find a couple trees that can handle a clothesline instead of installing posts.</p> <p>Tools required: <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005Q7CFGO/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B005Q7CFGO&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=FLG3LT7IM4PTXF77">Manual post hole digger</a>, level, drill, and a saw.</p> <p>Cost: $50.</p> <p>Time: Three hours.</p> <h2>12. Install a Workbench in Your Garage or Basement</h2> <p>Install a built-in workbench in your garage or basement to make a work surface and storage area for your tools and project materials. I found used countertops and kitchen base cabinets for free. You can also use 2x4 boards and 3/4 inch plywood to build a workbench from scratch and anchor it to the wall. Put up some pegboard on the wall over the workbench for handy tool storage.</p> <p>Tools required: <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000P9H4VO/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000P9H4VO&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=EDP7B47N6VX5SLBO">Circular saw</a>, drill, stud finder, and a level.</p> <p>Cost: $50.</p> <p>Time: Three hours.</p> <h2>13. Install a Countertop Over Your Washer/Dryer</h2> <p>Install a countertop over your washer and dryer to make a surface for folding clothes and handy storage, as well. You will need to install 1x2 inch wood strips into studs to support the countertop which can be a sheet of 3/4 inch plywood cut to size. I had a 4x8 sheet of plywood cut at the home improvement store to save time and so it would fit in my car for the trip home.</p> <p>Tools required: Level, stud finder, drill, and a saw.</p> <p>Cost: $50.</p> <p>Time: Three hours.</p> <h2>14. Build Up Soil Around Your Foundation</h2> <p>The easiest way to keep water out of your basement is to build up soil around your foundation so that water will flow away. You can buy 50 pound bags of soil for a few dollars each, or bring in a truckload of soil for a larger project.</p> <p>Tools required: <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000B6Q6BA/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B000B6Q6BA&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=2IYBSCNO2MYZDQUM">Shovel</a> and a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00004S1YK/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B00004S1YK&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=RCSGVDBXA37NJKNL">rake</a>.</p> <p>Cost: $50.</p> <p>Time: Four hours.</p> <h2>15. Install a Programmable Thermostat</h2> <p>If your home has an older thermostat, you are missing out on energy savings and convenience. A programmable thermostat can automatically adjust the temperature setting when no one is home and at night to save money. You can easily replace your old thermostat with a basic <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0088A5X5G/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=B0088A5X5G&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;tag=wisbre03-20&amp;linkId=SX32K6QSUJGH7XNR">programmable thermostat</a> for $50 or less.</p> <p>Tools required: Screwdriver.</p> <p>Cost: $50.</p> <p>Time: Two hours.</p> <p><em>There are a lot of cool DIY projects you can complete for under $50 to make your home a place you will be proud of. What is your favorite cheap home improvement project?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dr-penny-pincher">Dr Penny Pincher</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-cool-diy-home-improvements-for-50-or-less">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-improve-your-curb-appeal-for-next-to-nothing">6 Ways to Improve Your Curb Appeal for Next to Nothing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-keep-diy-projects-from-ruining-your-life">How to Keep DIY Projects From Ruining Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-paint-the-exterior-of-your-home">How to Paint the Exterior of Your Home</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cool-diy-home-improvements-for-20-or-less">10 Cool DIY Home Improvements for $20 or Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-diy-home-renovating-for-you">Is DIY Home Renovating for You?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Home curb appeal improvements maintenance painting renovations Mon, 19 Oct 2015 15:17:56 +0000 Dr Penny Pincher 1593635 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Green Home Rebates That Save You Big in 2015 http://www.wisebread.com/4-green-home-rebates-that-save-you-big-in-2015 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-green-home-rebates-that-save-you-big-in-2015" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/solar_panels_000016723163_0.jpg" alt="Solar panels are green energy option for home rebate" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For the first time, I'm beginning to seriously consider buying a home and I'm deep into the research and learning phase. One of the aspects I'm most intrigued by these days is how to perform a &quot;green&quot; renovation on an existing home. I've been happy to learn that there are multiple green rebates and credits that you can use in 2015 toward specific green improvements.</p> <h2>1. Geothermal Heat Pumps</h2> <p>Not surprisingly, energy consumption is one of the key areas that benefit from tax credits. <a href="http://www.energystar.gov/about/federal_tax_credits/geothermal_heat_pumps">Geothermal heat pumps</a> are renewable energy appliances that are not only good for the environment, but also an incredibly comfortable way to heat and cool your home. These heat pumps utilize the ground to generate hot water, heat, and air conditioning, unlike traditional heat pumps which utilize air. Geothermal heat pumps are more efficient &mdash; and therefore less expensive &mdash; to run than traditional heat pumps.</p> <h2>2. Small Wind Turbines</h2> <p>Windmills may conjure visions of Holland or Don Quixote. But they should also give you visions of green, as in green energy and green back in your pocket. <a href="http://www.energystar.gov/about/federal_tax_credits/small_wind_turbines">Small wind turbines</a> convert kinetic wind energy into electricity that connects to your home's electrical system, and homeowners enjoy significant tax credits for their implementation</p> <h2>3. Solar Energy Systems</h2> <p>Solar energy systems have undergone significant innovation over the years, making them more efficient and less expensive than when they first appeared on the residential energy scene. In terms of tax rebates, there are two types of <a href="http://www.energystar.gov/about/federal_tax_credits/solar_energy_systems">solar energy systems</a> that qualify: solar water heaters and solar panels that convert sunlight into electricity. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cut-your-electric-bill-with-solar-panels?ref=seealso">Cut Your Electric Bill With Solar Panels</a>)</p> <h2>4. Fuel Cells</h2> <p>Of all of the green home rebates, the <a href="http://www.energystar.gov/about/federal_tax_credits/fuel_cells">fuel cell</a> is the newest kid on the block. Fuel cells take advantage of the emerging hydrogen economy to power cars and other consumer goods that have traditionally been powered by fossil fuels. They offer a much cleaner alternative to fossil fuels.</p> <p>While these are the formal green home rebates offered by the federal government, there are plenty of other ways to save money (and the environment) with improvements to your home. ENERGY STAR offers an online <a href="https://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=HOME_ENERGY_YARDSTICK.showGetStarted">Home Energy Yardstick</a> that will help you determine the energy efficiency of your home as it currently stands, and will make suggestions for ways to improve it.</p> <p>These improvements include better insulation and sealing, ENERGY STAR appliances and proper use of light fixtures, and even changes as simple as installing drapes, storm windows, and programmable thermostats. While these improvements don't carry tax rebates, they will help lower your energy costs without compromising your comfort. Good for you, good for the planet.</p> <p><em>How have you made your home more &quot;green&quot;? </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-green-home-rebates-that-save-you-big-in-2015">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-frugal-ways-to-keep-your-home-warm-this-winter">10 Frugal Ways to Keep Your Home Warm This Winter</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-the-greenest-lawn-on-the-block-naturally">How to Get the Greenest Lawn on the Block — Naturally</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-green-living-habits-thatll-save-you-every-month">12 Green Living Habits That&#039;ll Save You Every Month</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stay-warm-without-burning-a-hole-in-your-pocket">Stay Warm Without Burning a Hole in Your Pocket</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-simple-ways-to-make-your-refrigerator-more-efficient">8 Simple Ways to Make Your Refrigerator More Efficient</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Green Living Home Taxes eco friendly energy efficiency rebates renovations solar tax credits wind Wed, 22 Apr 2015 17:00:09 +0000 Christa Avampato 1392475 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Paint the Exterior of Your Home http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-paint-the-exterior-of-your-home <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-paint-the-exterior-of-your-home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/43214834_4e0c661809_z.jpg" alt="painting house" title="painting house" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Even the nicest, most expensive homes are protected by a skin less than a millimeter thick. Ah, the miracle of paint. If you keep your home's exterior paint in good condition, it can actually save you thousands in home repairs (as well as keep neighbors from gathering in your yard with pitchforks and torches, eager to rid the block of an unsightly blight).</p> <p>Repainting your house is not a casual, finish-in-a-day project, though, especially if you're going to do it right. Here are the steps you must take and the tools you should have at hand to give your home a facelift.</p> <h3>For the Best Results, Do Your Prep Homework</h3> <p>Painting a house is an exercise in patience and preparation, and any painter will tell you that proper prep work is three-quarters of the battle (and yes, about three-quarters of this feature).</p> <p>First, you'll need to start with an honest inspection of your home's exterior. Are the gutters leaking? Do you have rotten wood under the downspouts? Are shingles split? Is mildew building up behind an overgrown foundation planting? Is ivy eating your home? Before you begin to prep your house for painting, you'll want to address any and all of these issues. Only then can you scrub-a-dub your house, since paint won't adhere well to dirt.</p> <p>There are a couple of ways to accomplish this cleaning. You could use your hose and pick up a washer wand attachment meant for cars, or with a stiff push broom. This Old House <a href="http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/photos/0,,20180479_20399507,00.html">recommends using a cleaning mixture</a> of one gallon of water to one cup of bleach and one cup of a phosphate-free cleaner like a TSP substitute. Once you've washed, remember to thoroughly hose down your siding.</p> <p>If this job is a really big one, or you're a particularly impatient homeowner, you might consider using a power washer. You probably can rent one locally, or you can buy one like the <a href="http://www.fleetfarm.com/catalog/product_detail/tools/power-tools/pressure-washers-accessories/powerboss-3000-psi-pressure-washer-20309">PowerBoss 3,000-PSI Pressure Washer</a>, which has a 25-foot hose, a 1-gallon detergent tank, 4 quick-connect spray tips, and delivers up to 3,000psi. Take care with a pressure washer, though; they have been known to break glass, drive water under siding, or even strip siding off of a house when used improperly. You've also got to wear goggles and protective clothing when operating a power washer.</p> <h3>Get Ready to Paint...With Even More Prep Work!</h3> <p>Next, you'll need to...continue to prep your house's siding for painting. It's time to replace any damaged shingles (from power washing!), patch any noticible holes, adjust popped nail heads, treat mildew, sand rust stains, re-caulk joints, reglaze windows, and generally make sure the you have a clean surface that is water- and air-tight. Now's also the time to trim shrubs and trees away from the house.</p> <p>Of course, the most time-consuming task to prepping your house for a new coat of paint involves the laborious scraping away of <em>old</em> paint. There are a variety of tools and methods you can use to get a smooth, uniform surface. But, before you begin scraping, consider the risk of lead paint. If your house was built before 1978, you might want to take a paint sample to a local lab for testing. If the test comes back positive, you should absolutely hire professionals to scrape your house; they know how to do it without spreading the toxic material.</p> <p>If the results come back negative, consider then how you want to proceed. For those who aren't afraid of working up a sweat, a wire brush, putty knife, and a pull scraper are the right tools for scraping off old paint. The wire brush can easily remove very loose paint. The putty knife will handle more reluctant paint chips, and the pull scraper will attack larger areas of loose paint. The <a href="http://www.buy.com/pr/product.aspx?sku=227415370">Allway 2-1/2&quot; 4-Edge Extendable Pull/Push Scraper</a> has a blade that retracts to access the scraper with chisel blade. It's also threaded to allow use of an extension pole, and features a soft grip.</p> <p>For paint that doesn't come off easily, a heat gun can help break the bond between the wood and the paint. The <a href="http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0025ZA76A">Pit Bull 1200-Watt Electric Heat Gun and Paint Stripper</a> puts out hot air at 570 or 900 degrees, and includes four heat gun nozzles. Another way to remove paint is with an electric paint stripper, which grinds paint off. The <a href="http://www.buy.com/prod/wagner-paint-eater/223014378.html">Wagner PaintEater</a> is a great tool to have, although you'll need to buy replacement disks with use.</p> <p>After scraping the majority of the surface area you'll paint, you'll have to tackle the borders between the remaining paint and the bare wood with an orbital sander in order to eliminate lines in the final paint coat. The <a href="http://www.acehardware.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3371389">Skil 7492 Random Orbit Sander</a> has a 5&quot; sanding surface, micro-filtration, and will warn you if you are applying too much pressure.</p> <p>Finally, if you're considering using a paint sprayer for the job, you'll need to carefully mask off any spaces you don't want to paint, including windows and door knobs. But be careful with a spray gun: in the hands of the inexperienced, it can lead to uneven coverage, thin spots, drips, and overspray. The extra prep work associated with a paint prayer often eats into the time savings, and of course the equipment isn't free. The&nbsp;<a href="http://www.landmsupply.com/product-templates/featured-products-all/wagner-procoat-airless-sprayer-2800-psi">Wagner ProCoat Airless Sprayer</a> has a 2,800psi electric sprayer with a 1/2 horsepower motor, capable of spraying .24 gallons per minutes. It has a 25-foot hose and commercial-grade spray can.</p> <h3>Take Paint and Application Tools Into Consideration</h3> <p>Once the prep work is done, it's time to select your paint and equipment. Almost all house paint today is acrylic latex, which, in modern formulations has excellent durability and is easily cleaned with water. It's versatile in that it also adheres to both latex or oil-based primers. However, if you're painting cedar or redwood shingles, you'll want an oil-based paint. The same applies to high-traffic areas such as steps, porch floors, and cast-iron ornamentation.</p> <p>Now comes the question of how much paint you will need. You'll first want to prime your house, especially if you have a significant amount of raw wood showing. Once that is dry, two coats of finish paint will usually give you the most long-lived protection. To determine the precise quantity you'll need, simply calculate the square footage of the surfaces and compare it to the manufacturer's coverage claim. If you're using a different color for trim, you can estimate you'll need a gallon for every six gallons of your primary color. A pro tip is to, once you've bought your paint, pour all of it into a larger vessel and mix all the gallons together before beginning the job. By mixing it together you'll eliminate the slight differences in tint.</p> <p>While paint can be expensive, don't be afraid to invest some money on your brushes, either. The right brush can make big difference in the smoothness of your coat, and properly maintained, brushes can last for many years. If you're using an acrylic latex paint, you'll want a brush with nylon and polyester filaments. The bristles should be of uneven lengths in order to maximize paint holding. The bristles should also be chiseled &mdash; the bristles on the inside of the brush are longer than those on the outside. A 5&quot; straight brush and an angled trim or sash brush for borders and edgings should see you through painting your house. If you have to paint ornate metal work or porch railings, consider a lamb's wool glove applicator.</p> <p>You'll also probably <a href="http://dealnews.com/features/Reach-New-Heights-and-Save-Money-How-to-Select-a-Ladder-to-Last-a-Lifetime/547405.html?eref=wisebread">need a ladder</a>, like the <a href="http://www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?productId=100658955">Werner 22-Foot Telescoping Ladder</a> which features slip-resistant rungs, numerous configurations, and support for up to 300 lbs.</p> <p>When you're painting, try to work in the shade as much as possible; it's just more comfortable! Expert painters tackle their projects by painting a stripe the width of the surface (in this case, your house), then move down and paint a strip beneath that one and work their way to the ground. It's important to paint the trim after painting the body of the house. And to paint doors, it's best to remove all hardware, remove them from their mounts, and paint them horizontally.</p> <p>Painting a house can be a time intensive and laborious process, but it's one that rewards patience and persistence. You'll be living with the new color and the quality of work you've put in for at least 10 years, so make it count. If you do it right, those neighbors won't be rioting on your front lawn; they'll be looking to your home as the local standard of excellence.</p> <p><em>This is a guest post by </em><a href="http://dealnews.com"><em>Dealnews</em></a><em>.</em></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> A DIY exterior paint job can save you a lot of money, but it&#039;s not a casual, finish-in-a-day project. Here are the steps and tools you&#039;ll need to do it right. </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dealnews">Dealnews</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-paint-the-exterior-of-your-home">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-cool-diy-home-improvements-for-50-or-less">15 Cool DIY Home Improvements for $50 or Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-keep-diy-projects-from-ruining-your-life">How to Keep DIY Projects From Ruining Your Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-your-own-curtains">How to Make Your Own Curtains</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-improve-your-curb-appeal-for-next-to-nothing">6 Ways to Improve Your Curb Appeal for Next to Nothing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-cool-diy-home-improvements-for-20-or-less">10 Cool DIY Home Improvements for $20 or Less</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> DIY Home budget home projects painting renovations Thu, 21 Jun 2012 10:24:34 +0000 Dealnews 935294 at http://www.wisebread.com Are Capital Improvements Required By Law Tax Deductible? http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/are-capital-improvements-required-by-law-tax-deductible <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/are-capital-improvements-required-by-law-tax-deductible" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/are-capital-improvements-required-by-law-tax-d...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/are-capital-improvements-required-by-law-tax-deductible" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000012068272Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="182" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>From time to time, the government may step in to tell you what to do about your facilities, such as <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/5-things-to-know-about-the-ada">improvements required by the American with Disabilities Act</a> (ADA). You have little choice about compliance; make the changes that the government wants or pay penalties. What <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/31-small-business-tax-deductions-1" target="_blank">tax relief can you claim</a> for compliance with the improvements you have to make?</p> <p><strong>General Rules</strong></p> <p>Usually, the costs of capital construction and improvements are not immediately deductible. The costs are added to the basis of property and recovered through depreciation. This can be a long process, giving little tax relief upfront when you incur the costs.</p> <p>If you are forced to pay penalties for noncompliance or law violations, the penalties are <i>not </i>tax deductible. The tax law specifically denies deductions for fines and penalties paid to government for violating the law.</p> <p>Thus, you have little choice but to comply with government-ordered improvements, and do it as quickly as possible, to minimize or avoid penalties. Special rules may help you accelerate your write-offs for making certain improvements.</p> <p><strong>ADA Compliance</strong></p> <p>If you have to make changes to your facilities to accommodate the handicapped and elderly in order to be in compliance with the ADA, such as adding ramps and railings, you may be in line for a tax break. There are two options that could apply to your situation:</p> <ul> <li><i>Disabled access credit</i>. You can claim a tax credit of 50% of the cost of expenditures over $250 and up to $10,500 a year, for a top tax credit of $5,000. This credit applies only for small businesses, defined as those with gross receipts of $1 million or less, <i>or</i> fewer than 30 employees in the preceding year. Details about the type of improvements eligible for the credit are explained in the instructions to <a href="http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f8826.pdf" target="_blank">IRS Form 8826</a>.</li> <li><i>Deduction for costs of removing barriers to the disabled and the elderly</i><b><i>. </i></b>The deduction is capped at $15,000 per year. If costs are greater, the amount over $15,000 can be capitalized and recovered through depreciation.</li> </ul> <p>You can only use a cost once (you can&rsquo;t use it for both a credit and a deduction), so decide how to maximize your write-offs from ADA-related improvements.</p> <p><strong>OSHA Compliance</strong></p> <p>The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is concerned with safety for employees in the workplace. There are no special tax breaks immediately tied to OSHA-ordered changes or improvements. Depending on the type of changes required, the costs may be immediately deductible or will have to be capitalized.</p> <p><i>Examples</i><b><i>: </i></b>Personal safety equipment you buy for workers, such as goggles and protective gloves, may be immediately deductible as an ordinary and necessary business expense, or if expected to last more than one year, as an immediate write-off under <a href="http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p946.pdf" target="_blank">first-year expensing or bonus depreciation rules</a> for 2011. Re-wiring, constructing exit overhead protection, or other capital improvements to a facility may have to be capitalized. However, for a limited time, special rules may help leaseholds, restaurants, and retail establishments write-off improvements more quickly than over lengthy depreciation.</p> <p>You may want to consider <a href="http://www.osha.gov/dcsp/smallbusiness/consult.html" target="_blank">OSHA&rsquo;s free on-site consultation</a>. The program does not entail penalties or citations; it merely makes recommendations for improvements to be a safer workplace. This can help you prevent penalties that could result from inspections down the road.</p> <p><strong>Environmental Remediation Costs</strong></p> <p>The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may require you to take certain actions, such as encapsulating or removing asbestos. You may be eligible for accelerated write-offs for doing so. As long as the cost merely restores property to its pre-contamination condition and does not improve the value or extend the life of the property, the costs can be immediately deducted.</p> <p><i>Examples</i><b><i>: </i></b>One nursing home that replaced mold-contaminated drywall could immediately deduct the cost as an ordinary and necessary business expense. The cost of encapsulating asbestos is deductible, while the cost of removing it must be capitalized.</p> <p>Even if costs to clean up contaminated soil and groundwater and removing hazardous waste would normally have to be capitalized, there is a special rule for remediation costs related to so-called &ldquo;brownfields.&rdquo; These costs are immediately deductible; there is no annual dollar limit. However, this special break is set to expire at the end of 2011, unless Congress extends it. There is <a href="http://www.epa.gov/brownfields/tax/index.htm" target="_blank">EPA guidance</a> on this tax break.</p> <p>Check state-level tax breaks that can be helpful in paying for the cost of cleanup. These can include:</p> <ul> <li>A current deduction for capitalizable remediation costs;</li> <li>Income tax credits;</li> <li>Property tax abatements and exemptions;</li> <li>Special financing.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Bottom Line</strong></p> <p>Before undertaking any improvement program for your facilities, talk with your tax adviser. You may be able to plan out the changes to maximize upfront write-offs.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/barbara-weltman">Barbara Weltman</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/are-capital-improvements-required-by-law-tax-deductible">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/20-amazing-outrageous-and-just-plain-weird-tax-deductions">20 amazing, outrageous and just plain weird tax deductions</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-cool-diy-home-improvements-for-50-or-less">15 Cool DIY Home Improvements for $50 or Less</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-common-tax-mistakes-we-need-to-stop-making">5 Common Tax Mistakes We Need to Stop Making</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easiest-way-to-avoid-a-tax-audit">The Easiest Way to Avoid a Tax Audit</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-most-common-tax-mistakes-made-by-college-grads">5 Most Common Tax Mistakes Made by College Grads</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center ADA building improvements compliance deductions epa improvements IRS OSHA renovations small business tax deductions Tue, 15 Nov 2011 23:26:15 +0000 Barbara Weltman 781124 at http://www.wisebread.com Home Details I Overlooked the First Time http://www.wisebread.com/home-details-i-overlooked-the-first-time <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/home-details-i-overlooked-the-first-time" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/home_improvement_disaster.jpg" alt="home improvement disaster" title="home improvement disaster" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you&#39;re in the market for a new home (new to you or new period), make sure you aren&#39;t paying premium prices for so-so materials, and don&#39;t underestimate the expenses and headaches associated with making what seem to be minor improvements.</p> <p>I&#39;ve been visiting new homes in my area, just checking out what&#39;s available. The high-end homes feature high-end materials with accompanying price tags and, it seems, the moderate homes feature moderate materials also with high price tags. Just because a home is new and everything looks good now, most materials will not last or look good forever, especially the cheaper ones. Though there is absolutely nothing wrong with buying a house with less-than-luxury materials or less-than-perfect design, you can still do some homework to make sure you are paying a fair price. </p> <p>First, how do you learn about materials? </p> <ul> <li>Visit your favorite home-improvement center and/or specialty store. See and feel countertops (such as granite, solid surface, ceramic tile), kitchen cabinets (oak, cherry, maple, hickory woods and wood veneers in a variety of finishes as well as thermofoil), flooring (ceramic tile, carpeting, engineered wood, solid wood, bamboo, linoleum), and more.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Mix in some Internet research; you can start with <a href="http://www.hometips.com/index.html" target="_blank" title="http://www.hometips.com/index.html">Home Tips</a> and vendor websites, then move on to home-improvement forums if you have an interest in learning about project experiences.</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Take a Parade of Homes&#39; tour. </li> </ul> <ul> <li>Ask home-improvement pros a few questions about the best materials and though you won&#39;t get a straight answer, you will most likely get insight into appropriate applications. (That is, if you have young children, get really strong or inexpensive, easily replaceable flooring. And you may discover a ceramic tile that can withstand the pressure of an automobile, explaining the price differential between two tiles I was considering for a kitchen backsplash). </li> </ul> <p>I wished I had paid more attention to materials when my husband and I selected our current home. It was in a neighborhood we liked, had plenty of indoor and outdoor space, and was very affordable. The mortgage payments have been easily made, which is good since we needed money to make functional repairs and fashion improvements. </p> <p>As far as major projects, I learn best from experience so I&#39;ll tell you about some of my adventures. You should know that I am not (typically) a DIYer but have located, hired, and worked with contractors, getting their advice and trying to make sure they did what they were supposed to do. In many cases, there were some underlying problems (either in the original construction or some that arose due to repair needs and/or aging materials) that I could not have diagnosed or fixed myself easily or quickly. </p> <p>Here&#39;s a rundown on the scope and cost of our home-improvement projects: </p> <p><strong>HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning)</strong></p> <p>Our house had ceiling heat, which, for a time, was promoted as an energy-efficient method of heating, defying basic principles that heat rises and therefore doesn&#39;t warm the people who are paying the electricity bill. (Now you see why I held <a href="/slow-drip-into-investing" target="_blank" title="http://www.wisebread.com/slow-drip-into-investing">Duke Power in my portfolio</a>). On the upside, during the short time that we tolerated the ceiling heat (before our first child was born), the dough that I brought home from my bread-baking class at the community college always rose and the bread baked perfectly. </p> <p>When natural gas became available in our neighborhood, we had a gas heating system installed and expanded the HVAC capabilities to include the master bathroom and sunroom addition. </p> <p>Approximate cost of $6,000 in 1994 dollars.</p> <p><strong>Kitchen</strong></p> <p>Cheap everything was the hallmark of the kitchen: oak-like paperboard for the cabinets, flourescent lighting, laminate countertops, and linoleum flooring that dented every time anyone in the house dropped something (at least a couple times a week). </p> <p>We&#39;ve replaced everything with ceramic tile flooring, maple cabinetry, granite countertops, and stainless steel appliances. I had a huge debate with myself about adding ceramic tile flooring but opted for it because 1) it doesn&#39;t show dirt easily (at least the color I selected doesn&#39;t); 2) it doesn&#39;t dent (though I have to be careful about dropping anything on it, easier now that my kids are older and I have slightly fewer distractions) and 3) I overheard two ladies at the gym discuss how putting tile in their kitchens was one of the best home-improvement decisions they&#39;ve ever made. My biggest regret/didn&#39;t-know item is that magnets do not stick to stainless steel so I had to get a bulletin board to place important notices. </p> <p>Cost of slightly less than $29,000 including ceramic tile in the sunroom attached to the kitchen. </p> <p><strong>Bathrooms</strong></p> <p>I&#39;ll hit the highlights (or rather low points) of my master and guest bathrooms, previously decorated with the least expensive products available on the market right down to wooden towel rods. </p> <p>The tub in the master bathroom had a few holes (I know this is odd) that were unattractive but did not impact the function of the bath. I didn&#39;t realize that replacing the tub meant possibly tearing down walls to make way for a new tub; my contractor recommended, and we agreed to, replacing the tub with a walk-in, ceramic-tiled shower. The guest bathroom had cabinet drawers that sagged and a stark, commercial-like mirror. We&#39;ve replaced the flooring that was rotting due to water damage, brought the sink placement up to current building code, put in exhaust fans, and added decorative lighting and mirrors. </p> <p>Cost for both bathrooms of approximately $15,000.</p> <p><strong>Doors</strong></p> <p>Fixing the main entry door was much more complicated than I imagined. I wanted to replace an oak door that was cracked, which seemed like a pretty simple thing to do. Also, I wanted to replace a storm door, which was easily done. First I learned (through a series of trips to the hardware store and varied conversations with door/millwork pros) that I didn&#39;t want to replace the door but the <em>slab</em>. Replacing the entire door involves replacing the <em>door unit</em>, which can run thousands of dollars with decorative sidelights, etc. I was looking for a less expensive option. </p> <p>I liked solid oak doors and picked one out. Then I read all about the finishing process. Apparently if I did not finish the door to precise specifications and if I let heat trap between the oak door and storm door (by closing the doors during the day, a common practice), then the warranty was void. Imprecise finishing and heat build-up would cause the door to crack, which was the reason I was replacing the door. So, after more interaction with the millwork pros, and consultation with my husband who was familiar with the difficulties of applying finishes, I opted for a fiberglass door. Just in case anyone else is in the door-replacement market, you may not be able to get a fiberglass door to the dimensions of your door frame; it&#39;s easier to cut a wood door than change the fiberglass mold.</p> <p>I&#39;ve also replaced a storm door leading to my deck and put in french doors to replace a not-really-working sliding glass door. </p> <p>Cost of $2,500 (in 2007 and 1997 dollars).</p> <p><strong>Garage</strong></p> <p>There is none. One of the previous owners closed it in to create two bedrooms, where people actually lived, slept, and thrived apparently. The decor is el-cheapo 1970&#39;s do-it-yourself with fake wooden walls and mismatched lighting. I didn&#39;t care about the lack of garage when I moved in (I&#39;m not a car person) but over time, it started to bother me. </p> <p>Now? I have re-purposed one of the rooms ala <a href="http://www.hgtv.com" target="_blank" title="http://www.hgtv.com">HGTV</a> into a library, consolidating stray bookshelves onto one wall and simultaneously covering some of that fake wood, buying a nice bedspread and pillow shams for my daybed (my first-ever pillow shams), and framing and putting up photos. The room has been a godsend now that my kids are getting big and crowding our upstairs space. </p> <p>I am in the process of creating a storage area with the other room and am happy to report that I can see the carpet now (it&#39;s orange and brown btw). </p> <p>Cost = $0</p> <p>So, don&#39;t do what I did: look closely at the materials and think very seriously about renovation projects before you buy. </p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/home-details-i-overlooked-the-first-time">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-tips-to-sell-your-condo-fast">6 Tips to Sell Your Condo Fast</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-costly-things-new-homeowners-dont-prepare-for">9 Costly Things New Homeowners Don&#039;t Prepare For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-improve-your-curb-appeal-for-next-to-nothing">6 Ways to Improve Your Curb Appeal for Next to Nothing</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-home-renovations-that-could-hurt-your-homes-value">5 Home Renovations That Could Hurt Your Home&#039;s Value</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-unexpected-costs-of-selling-a-home">8 Unexpected Costs of Selling a Home</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing home improvement materials new homes renovations repairs Tue, 10 Jul 2007 21:18:39 +0000 Julie Rains 783 at http://www.wisebread.com