8 Tips for Adding Curb Appeal and Value to Your Home

By: Pat Curry, HouseLogic

 

Here are eight ways to help your home put its best face forward.

 

Homes with high curb appeal command higher prices and take less time to sell. We’re not talking about replacing vinyl siding with redwood siding; we’re talking about maintenance and beautifying tasks you’d like to live with anyway.

The way your house looks from the street -- attractively landscaped and well-maintained -- can add thousands to its value and cut the time it takes to sell. But which projects pump up curb appeal most? Some spit and polish goes a long way, and so does a dose of color.

Tip #1: Wash Your House’s Face

Before you scrape any paint or plant more azaleas, wash the dirt, mildew, and general grunge off the outside of your house. REALTORS® say washing a house can add $10,000 to $15,000 to the sale prices of some houses. 

A bucket of soapy water and a long-handled, soft-bristled brush can remove the dust and dirt that have splashed onto your wood, vinyl, metal, stucco, brick, and fiber cement siding. Power washers (rental: $75 per day) can reveal the true color of your flagstone walkways.

Wash your windows inside and out, swipe cobwebs from eaves, and hose down downspouts. Don’t forget your garage door, which was once bright white. If you can’t spray off the dirt, scrub it off with a solution of 1/2 cup trisodium phosphate -- TSP, available at grocery stores, hardware stores, and home improvement centers -- dissolved in 1 gallon of water. 

You and a friend can make your house sparkle in a few weekends. A professional cleaning crew will cost hundreds -- depending on the size of the house and number of windows -- but will finish in a couple of days.

Tip #2: Freshen the Paint Job

The most commonly offered curb appeal advice from real estate pros and appraisers is to give the exterior of your home a good paint job. Buyers will instantly notice it, and appraisers will value it. Of course, painting is an expensive and time-consuming facelift. To paint a 3,000-square-foot home, figure on spending $375 to $600 on paint; $1,500 to $3,000 on labor.

Your best bet is to match the paint you already have: Scrape off a little and ask your local paint store to match it. Resist the urge to make a statement with color. An appraiser will mark down the value of a house that’s painted a wildly different color from its competition.

Tip #3: Regard the Roof

The condition of your roof is one of the first things buyers notice and appraisers assess. Missing, curled, or faded shingles add nothing to the look or value of your house. If your neighbors have maintained or replaced their roofs, yours will look especially shabby.

You can pay for roof repairs now, or pay for them later in a lower appraisal; appraisers will mark down the value by the cost of the repair. According to the "2015 Remodeling Impact Report" from the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, the national median cost of a new asphalt shingle roof is about $7,600.

Some tired roofs look a lot better after you remove 25 years of dirt, moss, lichens, and algae. Don’t try cleaning your roof yourself: call a professional with the right tools and technique to clean it without damaging it. A 2,000-square-foot roof will take a day and $400 to $600 to clean professionally.

Tip #4: Neaten the Yard

A well-manicured lawn, fresh mulch, and pruned shrubs boost the curb appeal of any home.

Replace overgrown bushes with leafy plants and colorful annuals. Surround bushes and trees with dark or reddish-brown bark mulch, which gives a rich feel to the yard. Put a crisp edge on garden beds, pull weeds and invasive vines, and plant a few geraniums in pots.

Green up your grass with lawn food and water. Cover bare spots with seeds and sod, get rid of crab grass, and mow regularly.

Tip #5: Add a Color Splash

Even a little color attracts and pleases the eye of would-be buyers.

Plant a tulip border in the fall that will bloom in the spring. Dig a flowerbed by the mailbox and plant some pansies. Place a brightly colored bench or Adirondack chair on the front porch. Get a little daring, and paint the front door red or blue.

These colorful touches won’t add to the value of our house: Appraisers don’t give you extra points for a blue bench. But beautiful colors enhance curb appeal and help your house to sell faster.

Tip #6: Glam Your Mailbox

An upscale mailbox, architectural house numbers, or address plaques can make your house stand out. 

High-style die cast aluminum mailboxes range from $100 to $350. You can pick up a handsome, hand-painted mailbox for about $50. If you don’t buy new, at least give your old mailbox a facelift with paint and new house numbers. 

These days, your local home improvement center or hardware stores has an impressive selection of decorative numbers. Architectural address plaques, which you tack to the house or plant in the yard, typically range from $80 to $200. Brass house numbers range from $3 to $11 each, depending on size and style.

Tip #7: Fence Yourself In

A picket fence with a garden gate to frame the yard is an asset. Not only does it add visual punch to your property, appraisers will give extra value to a fence in good condition, although it has more impact in a family-oriented neighborhood than an upscale retirement community. 

Expect to pay $2,000 to $3,500 for a professionally installed gated picket fence 3 feet high and 100 feet long.

If you already have a fence, make sure it’s clean and in good condition. Replace broken gates and tighten loose latches.

Tip #8: Maintenance Is a Must

Nothing looks worse from the curb -- and sets off subconscious alarms -- like hanging gutters, missing bricks from the front steps, or peeling paint. Not only can these deferred maintenance items damage your home, but they can decrease the value of your house by 10%.

Here are some maintenance chores that will dramatically help the look of your house:

  • Refasten sagging gutters.
  • Repoint bricks that have lost their mortar.
  • Reseal cracked asphalt.
  • Straighten shutters.
  • Replace cracked windows.

 

May 11, 2018

5 Ways Tax Reform Has Impacted the 2018 Housing Market

Starting late last year, some predicted that the 2018 tax changes would cripple the housing market. Headlines warned of the potential for double-digit price depreciation and suggested that buyer demand could drop like a rock. There was even sentiment that homeownership could lose its coveted status as a major component of the American Dream.

Now that the first quarter numbers are in, we can begin to decipher the actual that impact tax reform has had on the real estate market.

1. Has tax reform killed off home buyer demand? The answer is “NO.”

According to the Showing Time Index which “tracks the average number of buyer showings on active residential properties on a monthly basis” and is a “highly reliable leading indicator of current and future demand trends,” buyer demand has increased each month over the last three months and is HIGHER than it was for the same months last year. Buyer demand is not down. It is up.

2. Have the tax changes affected America’s belief in real estate as a long-term investment? The answer is “NO.”

Two weeks ago, Gallup released its annual survey which asks Americans which asset they believed to be the best long-term investment. The survey revealed:

“More Americans name real estate over several other vehicles for growing wealth as the best long-term investment for the fifth year in a row. Just over a third cite real estate for this, while roughly a quarter name stocks or mutual funds.”

The survey also showed that the percentage of Americans who believe real estate is the best long-term investment was unchanged from a year ago.

3. Has the homeownership rate been negatively impacted by the tax changes? The answer is “NO.”

Not only did the homeownership rate not crash, it increased when compared to the first quarter of last year according to data released by the Census Bureau.

In her latest Z Report,” Ivy Zelman explains that tax reform didn’t hurt the homeownership rate, but instead, enhanced it:

“We have been of the opinion that homeownership is most highly correlated with income and the net effect of tax reform would be a positive, rather than negative catalyst for the homeownership rate. While still in the early innings of tax changes, this has proven to be the case.”

4. Has the upper-end market been crushed by new State and Local Taxes (SALT) limitations? The answer is “NO.”

In the National Association of Realtors latest Existing Home Sales Report it was revealed that:

  • Sales between $500,000 and $750,000 were up 4.5% year-over-year
  • Sales between $750,000 and $1M were up 15.1% year-over-year
  • Sales over $1M were up 17.3% year-over-year

5. Will the reforms in the tax code cause home prices to tumble over the next twelve months? The answer is “NO.”

According to CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Insights Report, home prices will appreciate in each of the 50 states over the next twelve months. Appreciation is projected to be anywhere from 1.9% to 10.3% with the national average being 4.7%.

Bottom Line

The doomsday scenarios that some predicted based on tax reform fears seem to have already blown over based on the early housing industry numbers being reported.

(Thanks to The KCM Group for compiling this information.)

Posted in Real Estate
May 1, 2018

What You Should Know About Browsing Online for Homes

What You Should Really Know About Browsing for Homes Online

(Some information in this article was taken from an article By: HouseLogic , Published: February 27, 2018)

It’s fun! It’s exciting! It’s important to take everything with a grain of salt!

Oh, let’s just admit it, shall we? Browsing for homes online is a window shopper’s Shangri-La. The elegantly decorated rooms, the sculpted gardens, the colorful front doors that just pop with those “come hither” hues.

Browser beware, though: Those listings may be seductive, but they might not be giving you the complete picture.

That perfect split-level ranch? Might be too close to a loud, traffic-choked street. That handsome colonial with the light-filled photos? Might be hiding some super icky plumbing problems. That attractively priced condo? Miiiight not actually be for sale. Imagine your despair when, after driving across town to see your dream home, you realize it was sold. 

You Keep Current. Your Property Site Should, Too

First things first: you shouldn’t browse property sites that show old listings.

Get the latest listings from a site like ours, or realtor.com®, which pulls its information every 15 minutes from the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), which is the regional database where real estate agents post listings for sale. That means these listings are more accurate than some others, like Zillow and Trulia, which may update less often. You wouldn’t want to get your heart a flutter for a house that’s already off the market.

The Best Properties Aren’t Always the Best Looking

A picture, they say, is worth a thousand words. But what they don’t say is a picture can also hide a thousand cracked floorboards, busted boilers, and leaky pipes. So while it’s natural to focus on photos while browsing, make sure to also consider the property description and other key features.

Let us help you while you are browsing. Need more information? Our website is complete but there are always other details you may want to know. Just reach out and we will be happy to assist you! And THAT is “What You Should Really Know About Browsing for Homes Online”. We are here for you!

 

Posted in Real Estate
April 10, 2018

Mortgage and PMI

Does PMI confuse and kind of infuriate you?


Freddie Mac defines PMI as:
“An insurance policy that protects the lender if you are unable to pay your mortgage. It’s a monthly fee, rolled into your mortgage payment, that is required for all conforming, conventional loans that have down payments less than 20%.

Once you’ve built equity of 20% in your home, you can cancel your PMI and remove that expense from your mortgage payment.”

The larger the down payment you can make, the lower your monthly housing cost will be, BUT Freddie Mac urges you to REMEMBER: “It’s no doubt an added cost, but it’s enabling you to buy now and begin building equity versus waiting 5 to 10 years to build enough savings for a 20% down payment.”

Ready to buy a home but still have questions? Let #TheYukichTeam connect you with a top notch lender who can pre-qualify you and then we can find your new place!

March 12, 2018

More Great Reasons to Love Greenville SC

Here is a link to an article showing just how much there is to love about Greenville South Carolina!

What to see in Greenville

Posted in Real Estate
Oct. 12, 2017

Net Worth of Homeowners 44X Greater than Renters

Every three years, the Federal Reserve conducts their Survey of Consumer Finances in which they collect data across all economic and social groups. The latest survey data, covering 2013-2016 was released two weeks ago.

The study revealed that the 2016 median net worth of homeowners was $231,400 – a 15% increase since 2013. At the same time, the median net worth of renters decreased by 5% ($5,200 today compared to $5,500 in 2013).

These numbers reveal that the net worth of a homeowner is over 44 times greater than that of a renter.

Owning a home is a great way to build family wealth

Simply put, homeownership is a form of ‘forced savings.’ Every time you pay your mortgage, you are contributing to your net worth by increasing the equity in your home.

That is why, for the fourth year in a row, Gallup reported that Americans picked real estate as the best long-term investment. This year’s results showed that 34% of Americans chose real estate, followed by stocks at 26% and then gold, savings accounts/CDs, or bonds.

Greater equity in your home gives you options

If you want to find out how you can use the increased equity in your home to move to a home that better fits your current lifestyle, contact #TheYukichTeam! We are here to help with all your real estate needs!

(Content shared from Keeping Current Matters.)

Posted in Real Estate
Sept. 22, 2017

Fall Can Be a Great Time to Purchase a Home...

for so many reasons!

One reason can be seen in the price of homes. “Median sales prices typically decline a bit heading into the fall,” says Danielle Hale, realtor.com®’s chief economist. “Summer is a big time for home purchases, so that families settle in before school starts in the fall. In the fall, the types of homes that sell are smaller for people without kids. So they tend to be less expensive.”

Another reason to think of buying now are the mortgage rates available. Home buyers may find attractive mortgage rates this fall. Mortgage rates are still under the 4 percent psychological threshold, which can be a luring incentive for borrowers. Freddie Mac reported last week that the 30-year fixed rate averaged 3.78 percent, holding steady at a 2017 low.

When it's time for your next purchase, call us! You can trust The Yukich Team to take good care of you and your family!

Posted in Real Estate
Aug. 16, 2017

7 Ways to Save for a Down Payment

Remember when Mom used to say “Don’t sweat the small stuff?” Well, when it comes to saving money, Mom was actually wrong— it’s the small stuff that really makes a big difference.

And if you’re buying a home, you’ll need some cash. Just how much dough you’ll need to come up with, though, depends on how much you want to put down. Today’s mortgages offer qualified buyers the option to put down from as little as zero to 20 percent.

Never been a self-proclaimed penny pincher? No problem! Here are some easy (and painless) ways to save a buck or two.

Set a budget

Without a budget, your finances have control over you instead of the other way around. No need to rush out and buy budgeting software (you’re trying to save money, remember?!) Just open up an Excel spreadsheet and get to work. Put all necessities down first. After you’ve done that, establish a savings goal and then, and only then, budget for non-necessities. Like to shop? Set a realistic budget for your retail routine and stick to it. Don’t forget to budget for things like going out to eat, too, because those outings can add up quickly!

Round up

Sign up for a banking program that automatically rounds up your change into a savings account. You know what they say— “outta sight, outta mind.”

Cut it out

If you take an inventory of your last month’s bank statement, chances are you’re spending a lot of money on going out to eat or grabbing a coffee on the way to work. Stop it. Or at least curb those habits considerably and you’ll be amazed at how much you’ll be saving. 

It’s all about the points

Don’t be jealous of your jet-setting friends’ Instagram feed. No need to take a break from exploring the world when you can travel for free with credit card points. 

Lower your interest

Student loans hampering your saving efforts? Look into consolidating or refinancing your dues to translate those savings into more cash that you put directly towards your goal. Likewise, stop paying outrageous credit card interest percentages and initiate a balance transfer on credit cards that offer zero percent APR.

Welcome the windfall

Grandma just sent you a birthday check? Got an unexpected bonus at work? Found $20 on the side of the road? You know the drill. Put it away before you’re tempted to blow it.

Increase your income

Besides cutting out necessities, there’s no quicker way to watch the Benjamins stack up than to add a part-time or freelancing gig to your resume. If you’ve got a driver’s license and a dependable car, you can work for UBER when it’s convenient for you. If you can write or are a whiz on social media, you can likely score a side-hustle relatively easily. Or go old school and pick up a few babysitting (or pet sitting, for that matter) gigs. It all adds up.

Thank you to Allen Tate Mortgage for providing this information. For answers on mortgage questions, contact Allen Tate Mortgage (mortgage.allentate.com) or Amy Osborne at HomeBridge Financial (www.homebridge.com)

Posted in Real Estate
July 26, 2017

Look Who's #1 -- Again!

Certain towns define themselves through their outdoor activities and their open-air cred. Hanalei, Kauai, has its waves. Boulder has its slopes. Durango has its trails. And you? You have two weeks of vacation a year and a yearning for outdoor living that persists for the other 50.

So what's keeping you from enjoying the al fresco life year round? Well, there's the oft-mountainous prices of homes in those outdoor meccas, for one. And then there's the pesky fact that they're mostly located in the Western half of the United States, quite possibly far from your life and your chosen career.

But we're here to tell you: You can have it all—an affordable home in a centrally located metro where adventure-filled days, nights, and weekends aren't far from your back door. So we hit the trails to find America's hidden outdoor meccas.

This city in the northern part of South Carolina is growing by leaps and bounds, but still manages to maintain its otherworldly natural beauty.

One of Greenville's biggest treasures is Falls Park, a 32-acre outdoor oasis on the Reedy River in downtown. Created in 2004, the park features art galleries on the water, a suspension bridge, outdoor theater performances in the summer, and, of course, waterfalls. Another is the Swamp Rabbit Trail, a 19.9-mile greenway that spans several nearby cities and travels through the city.

Those looking for something a bit larger can check out the Nantahala National Forest and its gorgeous waterfall hikes just over an hour away. The oft-overlooked Congaree National Park, which offers canoeing, hiking, fishing, and camping, is just two hours to the east.

To see the whole article as featured on Realtor.com downtown Greenvilleand read about the other great places to live, click:

The 10 Best Affordable Outdoorsy Cities

 

Jan. 13, 2015

Greenville Top Destination Spot

Denmark. Egypt. Greenville.

CBS News travel editor Peter Greenberg gave Greenville quite the shout out during an appearance on "CBS This Morning" Saturday. In a segment on top travel destinations of 2015, Greenberg featured Greenville (OK, we'll say it — #yeahTHATgreenville) as a top U.S. spot, calling it "the new Austin."

Greenberg highlighted the city's rapidly growing dining scene with 100 new restaurants opening along Main Street in the last two years, hiking and biking options, and affordability.

Los Angeles is the only other U.S. city to make the list.

At the first mention of Greenville, Greenberg says it's a destination that "may surprise you." Maybe it shouldn't?

Jan. 13, 2015

Fastest Growing States

South Carolina added more than 60,000 new residents to reach a total population of more than 4.8 million. That put the Palmetto State's growth rate among the top ten fastest-growing states nationally.

Posted in Real Estate