Best Outdoor Projects for Selling Your Home

Best Outdoor Projects for Selling Your Home

As you look at your outdoor living spaces with an eye for upgrades, where will your time and money be best spent? Fresh landscaping? Sprinklers? A new fence? A firepit?

Fortunately, 2018 Remodeling Report: Outdoor Features, co-produced by the National Association of REALTORS® and National Association of Landscape Professionals, offers some ideas. First, there are two ways to look at your improvements:

  1. Curb appeal to make your home more attractive to buyers when you’re ready to sell.
  2. Personal enjoyment while you live in the home.Best Outdoor Projects for Selling Your Home

If you’re thinking strictly of return on investment, regular lawn care, landscape maintenance and tree care and trimming each restore 100 percent or more of the costs, says the survey. Regular attention to watering and drainage will prevent unsightly dead spots in your yard. Removing dead tree branches or limbs growing too close to the house prevents storm damage. Keeping bushes trimmed prevents overgrowth that obscures your home’s features.

But money isn’t everything. What about personal enjoyment, convenience and satisfaction? Tied for first place on the “Joy” Score with a perfect 10 are an irrigation system and a fire feature. The next most appealing projects were a new wood deck (Joy Score – 9.8), a water feature (9.8), statement landscaping (9.7), and an overall landscape upgrade (9.6).

The report validates what real estate professionals have been saying all along – curb appeal matters, and landscape improvement is money well spent. You’re adding beauty and convenience to your home, which future homebuyers will appreciate.

5 Tips to Make Your All White Kitchen Modern and Sophisticated

Kitchens decorated with mostly white hues never seem to go out of style but there’s a fine line between white that’s serene and beautiful and white that’s stark and clinical. If you love the color white, here are 5 Tips to Make Your All White Kitchen Modern and Sophisticated:

  1. Include a little grey. Choosing a light grey to accompany white in your kitchen will still give your white color some dimension. It’s like a shadow that helps define the white.
  2. Go monochromatic. Monochromatic doesn’t mean using all the same hue. If you look at Tips to Make Your All White Kitchen Modern and Sophisticatedpaint colors, tiles, countertops and appliances, there are hundreds of whites. Each white has an undertone, typically blue or yellow. Choose the shade you like best and make sure all the colors you use are in the same family.
  3. Break it up. White can bring the drama if you have an element like stainless or black matte appliances instead of white. Or choose a backsplash in a color that you can repeat in a fabric like curtains or placemats.
  4. Bring the outdoors in. A great view of side or backyard landscaping can bring a lot of color indoors. And what looks lovelier with the color white than nature’s woods and greens?
  5. Pop your white colors with art. Your only “color” in a white hued kitchen might be a contemporary painting with splashes of red, orange or blue. Accessorize with dishes or enameled cookware to complement other color accents.

Interest Rates and the Rising Home Prices

Should You Wait for Lower Prices and Interest Rates?

Home prices have been rising for over seven years, and mortgage interest rates for five years. Should you wait to buy a home? The numbers say no.

According to the National Association of REALTORS®, the median existing home price is more than $250,000, the highest it’s ever been. If you wait to buy a home, you’re losing the opportunity to build equity, or ownership, in a home of your own.

If you’re worried that homes are priced too high and you’re afraid of losing money, consider this: According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, prices for housing were 50.88% higher in 2018 versus 2000, for an average increase of 2.31 percent a year. The average inflation rate for the same period was 2.07 percent. Home ownership beat inflation by 0.24 percent.

Mortgage interest rates hit all time highs in October 1981, when a benchmark 30-year fixed rate was 18.45 percent (with 2.3 points paid by the borrower), according to Freddie Mac. The lowest took place November 2012 at 3.35 percent with 0.7 points. At about 4.5 percent for a conforming fixed-rate for those with good credit, mortgage interest rates are tantalizingly low.

The best time to buy a home is when you want to, not when you think the market timing is best. Unless you have a crystal ball, you don’t know if prices and interest rates will recede, plateau and or rise. Look at homebuying for the long term, and you’ll be glad you didn’t wait.

As always consult your financial professional for interest rate information and advice.