Margo Delaney | Cambridge Real Estate, Arlington Real Estate, Belmont Real Estate



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Some home projects and improvements can't wait - a leaking hot water heater or a water damaged floor need to be replaced right away. Other, planned renovations and upgrades are optional. Consider not only your current needs, but the potential impact of any large planned upgrade on your home's value before you proceed. If you are upgrading your home to sell it soon, the improvements you make should add value to your home and be recouped when you are ready to sell. 

4 Home Improvements that Add the Most Value to your Home (and 3 That Don't)

Some upgrades enhance the overall value of your home, while others allow you to improve the look of your home, and recover the majority of your costs when you sell. According to Bankrate.com, the best places to invest your upgrade dollars include: 

A new garage door: It may not be fancy or a feature you notice, but replacing a sagging, out of date or ailing garage door with a newer, more secure model is a money savvy upgrade. The average garage upgrade costs about $3,600 -- and adds about $3,500 to the selling price of the home, making this a renovation that (almost) pays for itself. 

Kitchen Update: Bringing a dated or worn kitchen up to current day standards -- a makeover that usually costs about $22,000 for the average home -- can improve the selling price of your home by thousands of dollars. The average kitchen update boosts the value of a home by up to $18,000.

Enhance your yard with a deck: According to the Balance, adding a deck in your backyard expands your living space and allows you to add value to your home. The average cost of a wood deck is $10,000 -- and that deck adds an average of $9000 to your home's value, making it easy to add space without a huge investment. 

Replace siding: The curb appeal of your home has a significant impact on your ability to sell it and on the price you receive. According to the Balance, replacing aging siding with a similar quality new version allows you to recover about 75% of your investment. It will also make your home more appealing to buyers. 

Projects that Don't Add Value to your Home

You should not take on these projects if you truly want to enjoy the results for a while, as they won't have much of an impact on the selling price or value of your home. Some, like swimming pools, can even scare away buyers that would otherwise be interested in your property. According to the Balance, the worst home upgrades include swimming pools of all types, interior painting (because buyers may prefer different colors) and whole roof replacement (except in emergencies).  

 


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Buying raw land with the intent to build can be exciting, but there are many things to consider before you make the purchase final. Building requirements: From soil type, building setback requirements, electrical accessibility, well drilling, sewer placement and everything in between, learn what needs to be done and planned before beginning the project ahead.

Soil Type

The type of soil can have a huge impact on the cost of excavation. Sandy or rich soil will make for easy excavation; however, if your ground is Rocky, or bedrock is present, it will be more challenging and likely require heavier equipment to complete the task at hand. Setback: City, county and state setback means the structure you are building will need to be set back a certain distance from the property line. It's always best to check with the county and learn the requirements before you begin your excavation.

Electrical and Other Utilities

Check with your local power company to understand the means and requirements for connecting your electricity.

The power company will send an employee to look over your project and inform you of your best options for hooking up power. Will a new pole need to be set? (If so, will this pole obstruct a view you were looking forward to having?) Will electricity be brought to your land underground? Be sure to check with your power company at the beginning of your project to secure a spot on their calendar to keep your project moving in a timely fashion.

Well Drilling 

You will need to get ahold of a drilling company to discuss the location for drilling your well. Your well will need to be a certain distance from your sewer system and land setbacks. The well company will give you an estimate of how deep your well may be due to neighboring wells; however, they won’t be able to guarantee a certain depth. Well cost is based on how deep they need to drill to get the needed gallons-per-minute that will be suitable for your particular needs.

Sewer Perk Test

The ground type will determine what sewer system will be needed for your project. The sanitation department will dig a hole on your property and, after examining the soil (perk test), they will decide what system is suitable for your project. If your structure is residential in nature your system size will usually be determined by how many bedrooms you will have as well as the soil type.

Other Tips

If you visit your county office and inquire about your upcoming building project, they can give you guidance as to what you’ll need to be aware of and who to get in contact with as you begin your project. You’ll need a file or folder to keep all building-related paperwork together. Staying organized will be key as you proceed. Typically, the beginning of a project will be full of many delays, so take a deep breath, and do your best to enjoy the satisfaction of each task as you see it come to completion.


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Reality TV shows captured the entrepreneurial imaginations of everyday people that anyone with cash and determination can turn a profit remodeling blighted homes. While profitable home-flipping tends to be more difficult than celebrities make it seem, one niche group appears to have a secret recipe for success — Flipsters.

The term “Flipster” is a conflation of “home flipper” and “Hipster.” What has escaped the casual eye of those outside the Hipster community is they are not merely artsy young people embracing the latest counter-culture. In fact, Hipsters tend to have a strong entrepreneurial nature that plays out within the bounds of their neighborhoods. Flipsters are an extension of that spirit who focus on turning a profit flipping homes in these neighborhoods. Of course, this begs the question: How are Flipsters different, and are they good for your property values?

How Flipsters Differ From Home-Flippers

The Flipster recipe for success involves going after downtrodden properties. If you recall a Hipster neighborhood a decade before their arrival, it was probably in decline and rife with crime. Unlike the stars on TV that seek that one bad penny in a jewel neighborhood, Hipsters are all about gentrification. They are inclined to buy depressed single and multifamily properties and renovate.

The initial wave of Hipsters most likely plan on setting down roots among their brethren. Soon after, Flipsters come in to scoop outlying homes knowing Hipster sprawl may be imminent. In this sense, Flipsters work in the opposite direction as traditional home flippers.

But their sense of security comes from being cultural insiders and a willingness to rent or wait for cash-flush community members to buy the property. That may sound like a simple enough way to flip homes for onlookers. However, the Hipster community tends to be tight-knit, and the homes must adhere to a loose ideology.

What You Should Know About Flipster Homes

If you watch Reality TV home-flipping shows, then it’s apparent that trendy, shiny, and new are game-changers. For the Flipster, old and re-purposed are the tricks of the interior design trade. Shopping for items at Good Will, junk stores, or the city landfill are more likely to yield the materials necessary to create a neat interior or exterior.

Smart technology, quirky gadgets, and artsy vintage stuff are also signatures of a retro Hipster living space. If you’re considering mapping out the Flipster method and replicating it, think again. Insiders tend to shy away from non-Hipsters, which could leave you holding on to a property too long and taking a loss.

Are Flipsters Good For Property Values?

The short answer is: That depends. If you own a property in a depressed area that Hipsters have begun to gentrify, chances are you can move it. The Catch 22 is that you would probably need to be an insider to get top dollar. However, it may be in your best interest to hire well-known Flipsters to renovate the property in keeping with the expanding scene. Making a deal could earn you increased resale value or at least a very cool space of your own.


If you intend to list your house in the weeks to come, you may want to complete a wide range of home improvements. That way, you can transform your ordinary house into an awe-inspiring residence, increasing the likelihood of a fast, profitable home sale.

Although you may have lofty expectations for your home improvement projects, it is important to note that performing myriad home repairs can be costly. And if you're not careful, you risk overspending to upgrade your residence.

Fortunately, it can be easy to establish a home improvement budget – here are three tips to help you develop an effective home improvement budget.

1. Determine Which Areas of Your House That You Want to Improve

When it comes to crafting a home improvement budget, it is important to differentiate between major and minor home repairs. By doing so, you'll be better equipped than ever before to budget for assorted home maintenance projects.

A kitchen overhaul or bathroom renovation may be considered a major home improvement. Conversely, updating the color of your bedroom may be a minor home improvement. If you assess the major and minor home improvements that you want to perform, you can put together an appropriate budget.

Of course, you should take an objective look at you house to decide which areas that you want to improve. With an objective view, you can identify various home issues, determine how much money will be required to fix these problems and budget accordingly.

2. Examine the Home Improvement Funds at Your Disposal

In all likelihood, you only have a finite amount of money at your disposal. Luckily, regardless of how much money you have, you should be able to establish an effective home improvement budget.

Oftentimes, it helps to get multiple quotes from home improvement professionals. If you receive a variety of quotes, you may find that you can save money on home repairs, as well as stick to a tight home improvement budget.

It also may be cost-effective to complete simple home improvement projects on your own. If you possess the skills and know-how to perform quick, easy home repairs, you may be able to enhance your house without putting a dent in your home improvement budget.

3. Set Home Improvement Priorities

Priorities are important, particularly if you need to put together a home improvement budget. It generally is a good idea to set priorities for different home improvement projects. Then, you can allocate the necessary time and resources to complete home improvement tasks in order of priority.

If you plan to list your house soon, home improvements may prove to be exceedingly valuable. Home upgrades can help you differentiate your residence from the competition and enable you to achieve the optimal home selling results.

Lastly, if you need extra help prior to listing your residence, it may be beneficial to collaborate with a real estate agent. This housing market professional can put you in touch with top-notch home improvement professionals, offer home improvement tips and insights and much more.


If you want to sell your house and achieve the optimal results, it helps to plan ahead as much as possible. Lucky for you, we're here to help you get ready for the home selling journey.

Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you plan ahead for selling your residence.

1. Conduct a Home Inspection and Appraisal

What you originally paid for your house is unlikely to match your home's current value. Fortunately, you can perform a home inspection and appraisal to ensure that you can price your house appropriately.

During a home inspection, a property expert will examine your house both inside and out. This property expert will identify any underlying problems with your house, allowing you to address such issues before you list your residence.

Meanwhile, a home appraisal ensures that you can receive a property valuation based on the age and condition of your residence, as well as pertinent housing market data. This appraisal enables you to better understand how to price your house, enabling you to establish a competitive initial asking price.

2. Enhance Your House's Interior and Exterior

A dazzling home interior and exterior can make a world of difference for any home seller, at any time. If you dedicate time and resources to perform home upgrades, you may be able to boost the likelihood of a fast, profitable home sale.

To enhance your house's interior, you may want to remove as much clutter as possible from your home. That way, you can make it easy for homebuyers to envision what life may be like if they buy your house.

Furthermore, you should trim the front lawn, clear outdoor walkways and do everything you can to improve your house's exterior. Because with a stunning home exterior, your home's curb appeal will increase, making it more likely than ever before that potential buyers will fall in love with your residence as soon as they see it.

3. Collaborate with a Real Estate Agent

If you're uncertain about how to plan ahead for the home selling journey, there is no need to worry. In fact, you can hire a real estate agent, and this housing market professional is happy to help you get ready to sell your house.

A real estate agent is a housing market expert who will learn about you and your home selling goals. Then, this housing market professional can help you develop an effective plan to sell your house and maximize its value.

In addition, a real estate agent will serve as an expert guide throughout the home selling journey. He or she will help you craft an engaging and informative home listing, promote your house to the right groups of buyers and review any offers on your residence.

When it comes to selling a house, it may be a good ideal to plan ahead. If you use the aforementioned tips, you can create a home selling strategy that ensures you can quickly and effortlessly navigate the home selling journey.




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