Fairfax VA Home Buyers Benefit From Making Home Improvements

As a Fairfax VA home owner, you can make your already amazing Fairfax VA home even better with just a few inexpensive home improvements.

Remodeling Magazine’s recent report on cost vs. value details the most common home improvements that can really pay off in the long run:

1. Entry Door Replacement (Steel)

Cost: $1,218

Resale value: $1,243

Project Tasks:

  • Remove an existing 3-foot-by-6-foot-8-inch entry door and jambs and replace it with a new 20-gauge steel unit, including a clear dual-pane half-glass panel, jambs, and an aluminum threshold with a composite stop.
  • The door is factory finished with the same color on both sides.  Exterior brick-mold and 2.5-inch interior colonial or ranch casings in poplar or an equal choice are prefinished to match the door color.
  • Replace the existing lock set with a new bored lock with a brass or antique brass finish.

A new entry door can make a big splash, but only if it complements the style of the house. “The biggest mistake people make is to choose a door that doesn’t match the neighborhood or home,” says Donnie Worley, broker at RE/MAX Real Estate Service in Sanford, N.C. “You won’t recoup the money at resale, and it might look funny.”

Finally, thoroughly inspect the door before buying and installing it. “Steel doors can dent easily, and you can’t fix dents,” says Taylor Joe Goldsmith,vice president of marketing and sales at Joe Goldsmith Construction Inc. in Lakeland, Fla.

Replacement projects usually have better resale value than other types of remodeling projects, partly because they’re among the least expensive.

2. Garage Door Replacement

Cost: $1,291

Resale value: $1,083

Project Tasks:

  • Remove and dispose of the existing 16-by-7-foot garage door and tracks.
  • Install a new 4-section garage door on new galvanized steel tracks
  • Reuse the existing motorized opener.
  • The new door is uninsulated, single-layer, embossed steel with two coats of baked-on paint, galvanized steel hinges, and nylon rollers.

Home owners should be careful when choosing a garage door because it’s easy to buy a more expensive product than what’s necessary. In many cases, a basic door will do the job, McCluskey says.

Sellers should also consider how potential buyers might use the garage. A selling point for garage tinkerers might be windows or upgraded insulation.

Windows allow in natural light and can make an enormous difference in the usability of your garage, said McCluskey, adding that, “If it’s dark inside, you can’t do anything without opening the door.”

Another potential selling point is a belt-driven garage door opener, which costs about $100 more than a chain-driven model.

This project is a new addition for the 2010-11 report, in recognition that curb appeal continues to play a strong role in a home’s resale value.

3. Siding Replacement (Fiber Cement)

Cost: $13,382

Resale value: $10,707

Project Tasks:

  • Replace 1,250 square feet of existing siding with new fiber-cement siding, factory primed and factory painted.
  • Include all 4/4 (1-inch) and 5/4 (1.25-inch) trim using either fiber-cement boards or cellular PVC.

“Siding materials can vary widely, so home owners should be sure they’re getting actual cement siding, rather than pressboard or other composite materials,” says McCluskey.

Home owners should also ask siding contractors how much of an overlap, called the “lap,” there will be on each board.

Finally, home owners should consider prepainted siding, which they can then tout to potential buyers. “That can save home owners money,” says McCluskey.

Since it was added to the survey in 2005, fiber-cement siding replacement has ranked first among projects costing $5,000 or more.

4. Kitchen Remodel  (Minor)

Cost: $21,695

Resale value: $15,790

Project Tasks:

  • In a functional but dated 200-square-foot kitchen with 30 linear feet of cabinetry and countertops, leave cabinet boxes in place but replace the fronts with new raised-panel wood doors and drawers, including new hardware.
  • Replace the wall oven and cooktop with new energy-efficient models.
  • Replace laminate countertops; install a mid-priced sink and faucet.
  • Repaint the trim, add wall covering, and remove and replace resilient flooring.

To save a good chunk of money on a kitchen remodel, keep your existing electrical wiring and plumbing in place, Bosworth says.

Another idea: Considering painting your cabinets instead of buying new ones, advises Jude Herr, broker-owner of Boulder Area Realty in Boulder, Colo.

And while many home owners opt for laminate flooring that resembles wood, Herr says ceramic tile is a smarter option. “With a laminate, you may get a negative reaction,” she says.

Finally, to save money, do some of the work yourself. “Do the painting yourself before cabinets are installed, patching nail holes or scratch marks later,” says Bosworth

The minor kitchen remodel may carry a high price tag, but it’s a relatively inexpensive face-lift to what many buyers consider the most important room in the home.

5. Deck Addition (Wood)

Cost: $10,973

Resale value: $7,986

Project Tasks:

  • Add a 16-by-20-foot deck using pressure-treated joists supported by 4-by-4-foot posts anchored to concrete piers.
  • Install pressure-treated deck boards in a simple linear pattern.
  • Include a built-in bench and planter of the same decking material. Include stairs, assuming three steps to grade.
  • Provide a complete railing system using pressure-treated wood posts, railings, and balusters.

A new wood deck can look stunning, but if not done correctly it could turn into a drawback to buyers.

Bosworth also recommends that sellers who need to save money choose a contractor who’ll let them do some of the work. “Have the footings poured by a professional and maybe the frame put together by one, too,” he says. “But anybody who knows how to use a screw gun can put in the floorboards and railings.”

Adding a natural stain can be a final selling point. “Colored stains like darker browns and reds wear very unevenly. Natural stains wear more evenly,” said Bosworth

Before any work begins on the new deck, make sure that permits are in place.

This project is considered essential rather than discretionary in many markets, particularly in neighborhoods where every home has an outdoor living space.

Investing in a Fairfax VA Home for Sale

You can find out more about how we are currently using Insider Strategies learned from my Real Estate Radio show to save homebuyers tens thousands of dollars on their home purchase and financing everyday right here in Northern Virginia, just check out my free Live online webinar, at  http://thierryroche.inside-real-estate.com/real-estate-radio-show-host-thierry-roche, that’s http://thierryroche.inside-real-estate.com/real-estate-radio-show-host-thierry-roche.

You can also get all of these insider techniques applied to your personal home purchase with our Free ‘Insiders Access Homebuyer Savings Program’ and get a minimum guaranteed savings of $25,000 or more.

And the best part is we guarantee you save at least $25,000 or more with my exclusive strategies, plus the service is no cost to you. Go to www.NovaHomeSavings.comand find out why even other Realtors and mortgage lenders actually use me as their buyer broker on their own personal home buying transactions, instead of relying on themselves, that’s www.NovaHomeSavings.com.

Thanks for reading this,

Thierry

Thierry is a Real Estate Agent at RE/MAX Premier, and Host of Talk Radio’s, “Inside Real Estate”

Thierry & his team Guarantee a $25,000 minimum savings for Northern VA Homebuyers by applying his unique insider techniques & strategies that he discovered throughout 8 years of exclusive Radio Interviews & Insider Access to wealthy Real Estate Insiders, Investors & Top Industry experts.

Phone: (703) 222-6714.

Thierry@ThierryRoche.com

Copyright 2011 Inside Real Estate, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Creating a memorable first impression with home improvements pays off,

according to Remodeling magazine’s 2010-11 Cost vs. Value Report. And most

of the top projects don’t require a major investment.

PROJECT 1: Entry Door Replacement (Steel)

Cost $1,218

Resale value $1,243

Cost recouped 102.1%

National averages

What this project entails: Remove an existing 3-foot-by-6-foot-8-inch entry

door and jambs and replace it with a new 20-gauge steel unit, including a

clear dual-pane half-glass panel, jambs, and an aluminum threshold with a

composite stop. The door is factory finished with the same color on both

sides. Exterior brick-mold and 2.5-inch interior colonial or ranch casings

in poplar or an equal choice are prefinished to match the door color.

Replace the existing lock set with a new bored lock with a brass or antique

brass finish.

A new entry door can make a big splash, but only if it complements the style

of the house. “The biggest mistake people make is to choose a door that

doesn’t match the neighborhood or home,” says Donnie Worley, broker at

RE/MAX Real Estate Service in Sanford, N.C. “You won’t recoup the money at

resale, and it might look funny. For high-end homes, leaded glass may be

appropriate. But in a more moderately priced home, a regular steel door

painted in a color that complements the home’s trim will make a bigger

impact.”

Sellers can get their money’s worth with online research before a purchase,

says Peter McCluskey, owner of McCluskey Construction, Realty, and Loans in

San Francisco. “Identify the type of steel, whether the door has been primed

with a rust inhibitor, how many coats of finish paint have been added, and

whether it’s insulated and if so with what insulation rating,” McCluskey

says. “An alternative to finish paint is powder coating. It’s more like glue

than paint and generally better than nonpowder coating.”

Finally, thoroughly inspect the door before buying and installing it. “Steel

doors can dent easily, and you can’t fix dents,” says Taylor Joe Goldsmith,

vice president of marketing and sales at Joe Goldsmith Construction Inc. in

Lakeland, Fla. “Make sure the door is in good condition before you purchase

it.”

Replacement projects have always performed better in resale value than other

types of remodeling projects, partly because they’re among the least

expensive.

PROJECT 2: Garage Door Replacement

Cost $1,291

Resale value $1,083

Cost recouped 83.9%

National averages

What this project entails: Remove and dispose of the existing 16-by-7-foot

garage door and tracks. Install a new 4-section garage door on new

galvanized steel tracks; reuse the existing motorized opener. The new door

is uninsulated, single-layer, embossed steel with two coats of baked-on

paint, galvanized steel hinges, and nylon rollers. 10-year limited warranty.

Home owners should be careful when choosing a garage door because it’s easy

to buy a more expensive product than what’s necessary. In many cases, a

basic door will do the job, McCluskey says. “There are a few standard garage

doors priced around $600, and installed they might be twice that,” he says.

“If you want something that looks like a carriage door, expect to pay three

times as much.”

Sellers should also consider how potential buyers might use the garage. A

selling point for garage tinkerers might be windows or upgraded insulation.

“Lots of people don’t even park vehicles in their garage but instead use it

as their workshop,” says Goldsmith. “In the winter, an insulated door will

knock the edge off of the cold and will also keep the garage cool in the

summer.”

Windows allow in natural light. “That’s pretty important and often

overlooked,” McCluskey says. “Windows aren’t typically a large extra

expense, costing about $100 extra. But they make an enormous difference in

the usability of your garage. If it’s dark inside, you can’t do anything

without opening the door.”

Another potential selling point is a belt-driven garage door opener, which

costs about $100 more than a chain-driven model. “A chain drive is really

noisy,” McCluskey says.. “With a belt, you can hardly hear the door move.”

This project is a new addition for the 2010-11 report, in recognition that

curb appeal continues to play a strong role in a home’s resale value.

PROJECT 3: Siding Replacement

(Fiber Cement)

Cost $13,382

Resale value $10,707

Cost recouped 80.0%

National averages

What this project entails: Replace 1,250 square feet of existing siding with

new fiber-cement siding, factory primed and factory painted. Include all 4/4

(1-inch) and 5/4 (1.25-inch) trim using either fiber-cement boards or

cellular PVC.

“Siding materials can vary widely, so home owners should be sure they’re

getting actual cement siding, rather than pressboard or other composite

materials,” says McCluskey. “Look on the Internet at the specifications on

the various cement siding products. There are no standard materials, so you

have to know what materials are being used so you can compare apples to

apples.”

Home owners should also ask siding contractors how much of an overlap,

called the “lap,” there will be on each board. “This is one of these ‘duh’

things,” says Goldsmith. “I live in a historic district, and I’ve seen homes

in which the lap is three inches, which gives siding a wood look, instead of

the maximum lap of six inches. Those home owners are wasting materials. Ask

how big a lap contractors will use and whether it would save on materials

and lower the cost to increase the lap.”

Finally, home owners should consider prepainted siding, which they can then

tout to potential buyers. “That can save home owners money,” says McCluskey.

“They won’t have to have the siding repainted every few years.”

Since it was added to the survey in 2005, fiber-cement siding replacement

has ranked first among projects costing $5,000 or more.

PROJECT 4: Kitchen Remodel  (Minor)

Cost $21,695

Resale value $15,790

Cost recouped 72.8%

National averages

What this project entails:  In a functional but dated 200-square-foot

kitchen with 30 linear feet of cabinetry and countertops, leave cabinet

boxes in place but replace the fronts with new raised-panel wood doors and

drawers, including new hardware. Replace the wall oven and cooktop with new

energy-efficient models. Replace laminate countertops; install a mid-priced

sink and faucet. Repaint the trim, add wall covering, and remove and replace

resilient flooring.

“Too often, home owners overimprove their kitchen,” says Adam Bosworth, a

sales associate at Peggy Parker Real Estate LLC in Norwich, N.Y. “That’s not

cost-effective unless they’ll stay in the house a long time.”

To save a good chunk of money on a kitchen remodel, keep your existing

electrical wiring and plumbing in place, Bosworth says.

Another idea: Considering painting your cabinets instead of buying new ones,

advises Jude Herr, broker-owner of Boulder Area Realty in Boulder, Colo. And

while many home owners opt for laminate flooring that resembles wood, Herr

says ceramic tile is a smarter option. “With a laminate, you may get a

negative reaction,” she says. “You can buy nice ceramic tile for the same

amount of money as wood laminates.”

However, do consider a laminate countertop. “The most cost-effective way to

give a kitchen a better look is with a laminate,” says Jeff Carbone, a

general contractor and sales associate at Coldwell Banker Premiere,

REALTORSR, in Southington, Conn. “The selections today are very impressive,

with many mimicking quite well the look of marble, granite, or other natural

stones.”

Finally, to save money, do some of the work yourself. For example, tell your

contractor that you’ll remove the cabinets, advises Bosworth. “Ask your

contractor to let you know when he’s done with the drywall,” adds Herr.

“Then do the painting yourself before cabinets are installed, patching nail

holes or scratch marks later. That will save you the cost of painting, and

it’s easier than painting afterward, when you have to work around the

cabinets.”

The minor kitchen remodel may carry a high price tag, but it’s a relatively

inexpensive face-lift to what many buyers consider the most important room

in the home.

PROJECT 5: Deck Addition (Wood)

Cost $10,973

Resale value $7,986

Cost recouped 72.8%

National averages

What this project entails:  Add a 16-by-20-foot deck using pressure-treated

joists supported by 4-by-4-foot posts anchored to concrete piers. Install

pressure-treated deck boards in a simple linear pattern. Include a built-in

bench and planter of the same decking material. Include stairs, assuming

three steps to grade. Provide a complete railing system using

pressure-treated wood posts, railings, and balusters.

A new wood deck can look stunning, but if not done correctly it could turn

into a drawback to buyers. Home owners should also be sure a new deck isn’t

too big or small. “Home owners can add an 8-by-8-foot wood deck, but it’s so

small the space seems useless,” says Bosworth. “Or they can put on a deck

that spans the length of the home. That’s great for entertaining, but

they’ll never recoup the cost.”

Bosworth also recommends that sellers who need to save money choose a

contractor who’ll let them do some of the work. “Have the footings poured by

a professional and maybe the frame put together by one, too,” he says. “But

anybody who knows how to use a screw gun can put in the floorboards and

railings.”

Adding a natural stain can be a final selling point. “I hear constant

complaints from home owners about having to stain the deck every year,” says

Bosworth. “Colored stains like darker browns and reds wear very unevenly.

Natural stains wear more evenly.”

Before any work begins on the new deck, make sure that permits are in place.

“Home owners should check with their local code enforcement department,”

Worley says. “People who work [in the department] will often give them free

advice to help owners avoid mistakes. They may even provide copies of

building codes so home owners can be sure railings are the correct height

and vertical slats aren’t too far apart or close together, potentially

dangerous for children or pets.”

This project is considered essential rather than discretionary in many

markets, particularly in neighborhoods where every home has an outdoor

living space.

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