Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Style DOES Make A Difference!!

I often get asked if the architectural style of a home has any effect on its value.  The answer is "sometime"--especially when you sell.  So, like with everything else involved in the sale of your home, not to mention what you look at when you buy and think about future sales, the following should be of value to you.

While America’s architectural styles are as diverse as the country itself, those who own modern homes are netting the biggest gains when they become sellers.
A recent Realtor.com report examines common U.S. home styles and how they stack up in terms of geographic distribution, list prices, and recent price growth. The type of home mentioned most often across the country in Realtor.com listings is the ubiquitous ranch-style home, which takes the top spot in 29 of 50 states. Although originally designed with the Old West in mind, ranch-style homes proliferate in suburbs across the country. With a 2016 median list price of $189,900 — up 19 percent from 2012 — the ranch-style home is also one of the most budget-friendly options, along with cottages and bungalows.
Owners of modern homes have enjoyed the best price growth over the past four years, with the median list-priced $425,850 property up 37 percent from 2012. Tim Cannan, President of PreservationDirectory.com, told Realtor.com that modern homes are popular with buyers due to their energy efficiency and cheaper repair costs when compared with other types of homes.
The nation’s most expensive architectural style is also the only one that Realtor.com profiled that hasn’t appreciated at double-digit-percent rates. At $749,900, the median list price for a Mediterranean home is flat since 2012. Mediterranean or Tuscan-style homes are popular with luxury home builders and average 3,325 square feet. Cannan notes that Mediterranean homes can be more expensive to maintain partially because of their iconic red clay roofs.
Home styles vary by geography, a reflection of climate differences, residents’ countries of origin, and building materials available locally at the time. Victorian homes, which were popular on the East Coast and in the Midwest, reflect the influence of Britain’s Queen Victoria during the mid- to late 19th century. Meanwhile, California’s abundance of Spanish-style homes are a nod to its history, while cabin-style homes are a natural fit in mountainous areas of the U.S. like the Lake Tahoe region.
Given California’s high real estate prices, it’s not too surprising that Spanish-style homes are among the most expensive of those profiled, with a median list price of $638,900, up 17 percent over the past four years. Victorian and Craftsman-style homes, both popular architecture types here in the Bay Area, saw 14 percent and 13 percent appreciation, respectively. While Craftsman homes tend to appeal to buyers because of their unique designs, this also makes them more difficult and expensive to maintain.
Trying to decide what to do in a purchase or sale? Give us a call. We know from a combined half century of experience what works best!  Peter: (415) 279-6466; Jane: (415) 531-4091.  We'd be pleased to assist.

Friday, October 14, 2016

What's Cooking

It's long been a fact that one of the most important places in a home for buyers is the kitchen.  This is because it's not only the source of dinner, it's also become a family gathering place as well.  So, one of the things most concerning buyers today is what does the kitchen have?  Read on for more info!

Owners who are planning on remodeling their homes in advance of putting them on the market would do well to take a look at what kitchen features and finishes builders are using in new homes, as many prospective buyers will want similar amenities. kitchenren1016_sm
A new report from the National Association of Home Builders cites data from Home Innovation Research Labs’ 2016 Builder Practices Study in order to profile kitchen construction and design trends in new single-family and multifamily residential homes. Cooktops and dishwashers are the two appliances that almost always come in a new home, appearing in 97 percent and 92 percent of properties, respectively. Eighty-four percent of new construction comes with microwave ovens and garbage disposals. Stainless-steel appliances are by the far the most popular, with 79 percent of those polled opting for that finish.
Granite countertops also get the nod from homebuilders, with almost two-thirds using this material, far more than those who chose laminates, engineered stone, or solid surfaces. Separate survey results from Houzz found that homebuyers are almost equally split on colors; 30 percent bought properties with multicolored countertops, while 26 percent chose white or another color.
Kitchen cabinets are still most likely to be constructed of wood, which was chosen by 85 percent of homebuilders. Cabinets with raised panels in the frame were more than twice as popular as those with flat panels. One-third of new home buyers purchased properties with white kitchen cabinets, with “other” and natural wood the second most common finishes.
Two Houzz surveys from earlier this year shed additional light on current kitchen-renovation trends. A June poll found that the kitchen was the most popular U.S. home-remodeling job in 2015, with a major overhaul on a large kitchen costing an average of $50,700. Seventy percent of respondents to that poll updated their countertops, and around half of them spruced up finishes.
In January, Houzz found that nearly half of all homeowners who were remodeling their kitchens were doing so to open up the space to additional rooms and increase its livability. That makes sense, given that two-thirds of those respondents spend more than three hours a day in their kitchens, and a substantial number use the room to socialize or entertain guests.
Looking for more advice? Give us a call! Peter: (415) 279-6466; Jane: (415) 531-4091.

Friday, October 07, 2016

Curb Appeal--It's REAL and IMPORTANT!

If you've either been in the housing market for any appreciable time, or been a homeowner, you've heard one thing referred to over and over--Curb Appeal.  You may have wondered exactly what it is and whether it's important.  The answers are that it relates to that all-important first impression your home makes on potential buyers and YES--it's very important!  Read on for the reasons why!

Virtually all real estate professionals believe that a property’s curb appeal is a crucial ingredient to wooing potential buyers, and the right outdoor renovation projects can pay sellers back, not to mention making them much happier homeowners.
According to the National Association of Realtors’ 2016 Remodeling Impact Report, which polled homeowners who recently complete an improvement project as well as landscaping professionals, 99 percent of real estate professionals believe that curb appeal is important to buyers. Almost as many, 96 percent, have recommended that clients take steps to improve their home’s curb appeal.
The report underscores the importance of landscaping, with a standard lawn-care program ranking as the outdoor upgrade that most appeals to buyers. Three-quarters of real estate professionals have suggested that sellers invest in a lawn-care program, defined here as six applications of fertilizer and weed control on a 5,000-square-foot lot. Professional lawn care costs an average of $330 and is projected to net the homeowner three times the cost at the time of sale.
An overall landscape upgrade is the outdoor improvement that’s second most likely to attract buyers and consists of installing a walkway, adding planters, and planting flowering shrubs and a deciduous tree. Overall landscaping jobs do not offer as big of returns as professional lawn care, with the average job costing $4,750 and paying back $5,000 when the home sells.
New patios are also higher on buyers’ wish lists, although only 4 percent of real estate professionals report having recommended this pricey upgrade. Overhauling this outdoor space costs an average of $6,400 and is estimated to bring in $6,525 when the home sells.
Seed lawn is not a particularly glamorous outdoor improvement, nor do buyers rank it particularly high, but it is inexpensive and offers the largest return on investment of any project included in the study. Costing $120 per 1,000 square feet, seeding a lawn nets more than four times the cost at the time of sale.
The aforementioned upgrades, along with others, can bring homeowners a great deal of happiness according to NAR’s Joy Score, which ranks projects on a scale of 1 to 10 based on level of owner satisfaction. A full landscape upgrade notches a Joy Score of 9.8, with 75 percent of owners reporting a greater urge to stay home since the job’s completion. A new patio earns a 9.6 rating, and 82 percent of owners say that they want to hang out at home more often.
The improvement that makes homeowners the happiest is also the most expensive and offers the lowest return on investment. At an estimated cost of $50,000, a swimming pool is estimated to add only $25,000 at the time of sale, but it earns a perfect 10 on the Joy Score. Owners who install a pool likely save plenty of money on entertainment in the long run, since 95 percent of them report staying at home in order to enjoy it.

Need some good advice on improving your home's curb appeal?  Just ask us!  We've been helping folks like you improve that all-important first impression of their homes for three decades.  We can help you too!  In fact, if you are a Buyer OR Seller, we can help you make the best decisions about your home.  You can reach us at the following numbers: Peter: (415) 279-6466, or Jane: (415) 531-4091.

And, while I'm talking about information, check out the latest issue of our Quarterly Statistical Newsletter.  It'll be available on our web site, www.comehometomarin.com , after next week.  Better yet, if you'd like to receive it regularly, FREE, send us a request with your email address, and we'll add you to the subscribers' list!