Category : Homeownership

When putting a house on the market it’s common for sellers to invest in home repairs, but what most sells don’t know is that not every repair adds significant market value. Indeed it’s far too common for uneducated sellers to spend thousands of dollars on “important” renovations only to discover that these new features will not increase their potential selling price at all. But since RE/MAX Plus is committed to ensuring that our customers receive the most return on their investments, we have put together a few suggestions for value-conscious repairs and renovations that home owners can do to increase their resale value, all without breaking the bank. Keep in mind this list is only a general guide, so if you are truly interested in learning what repairs will generate the most value for your home, contact a RE/MAX Plus agent today!

  1. Get Expert Advice
    Before you even pick up a paint brush, one of the most cost-effective methods of adding value to your renovations is to hire a professional contractor, designer or real estate agent to inspect your home. These people will always have the latest knowledge on the current trends and can help you develop a renovation plan that suits your budget while maximizing value. Many of these experts offer free estimates, but even for the ones that charge a small fee, it’s hard to put a price on a plan of action.
  2. Have a Painting Party
    Arguably the least-expensive method to add instant value to your home, painting walls and ceilings is a simple task you can do yourself or with family. For around $50 a room, sellers can create a clean, updated look that draws the eye and helps buyers better picture what it would be like to live there themselves. Keep in mind that neutral colors such as beige or white will appeal to the greatest number of people, making it that much more desirable for a larger percentage of the population.
    Last but certainly not least, never underestimate the selling power of a freshly-washed window or a sparkling floor. Dirt, grime, and dust sends a general message of disrepair and dampens the selling potential, even in a home with no other issues. Pay particular attention to the threshold of entry doors, windows, bathrooms, and kitchens as these are places prone to heavy soil levels. For a professional touch, consider renting a commercial steam or carpet cleaner to remove deep stains and scuffs.

When selling a house, it is important to show the house in its best condition. Getting rid of the clutter, sprucing up the landscaping, and repainting the walls are the usual suggestions, but what about home staging? Hiring a home staging professional to do all of these tasks can be one of the best decisions you make when selling your house.

A potential buyer is not just looking for a house, but for a home. Make them feel like your house can be their new home! The “staged” look of a house can evoke emotion in a customer as soon as they walk in the door. If that buyer can picture themselves lounging in the living room, hosting in the dining room, and filling the picture frames throughout the house with pictures of their loved ones, they are more likely to buy it.

The more you invest in getting your home ready to sell, the higher the return will be. Creating an ambiance and an atmosphere that make potential buyers feel at home and comfortable is a wise investment.

Curb Appeal is a Must!

downloadIf your home has curb appeal, you’ll be able to sell it quickly and for top dollar. That’s why REALTORS® rate exterior home remodeling projects as the most valuable homeowners can make.

Many homeowners are confused about which projects will provide the most return on investment as they prepare their homes for the market.

The 2014 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report, co-sponsored by the National Association of Realtors and Remodeling magazine, outlines the costs and resale returns on the most popular home improvement projects.

Realtors know which home features are important to buyers in their area. Projects such as a new entry door, siding and window replacements can recoup homeowners more than 78 percent of costs upon resale.

So why remodel anything if it’s not going to give you back 100%? It’s because the first impression a homebuyer gets is priceless. You want the buyer to choose your home, and quit looking for something better.

If the buyer doesn’t like what he sees, you won’t get another chance to make any kind of impression.

So which home improvement projects will net the most return?

Eight of the top 10 most cost-effective projects are exterior projects.

Replacing your front door with a steel entry will cost $1,100 on average, but you’ll get nearly 97% of what you spent back in your pocket.

The second most popular improvement is a wood deck addition, which will return over 87 percent of costs, similar to the return on fiber-cement siding. Vinyl siding returns a little over 78 percent of costs.

A midrange garage door replacement returns nearly 84 percent while an upscale garage door replacement offers 82.9 percent of costs recouped. Wood window replacements recoup over 79% of costs and vinyl windows return nearly as much.

Rounding the top 10 projects are an attic bedroom and minor kitchen remodel. These are important too, but you’ve got to pique buyers’ interest first.

The good news is that the return for all projects is higher in the last two years. To find out what the best return on home improvements is in your area, talk with your REALTOR.

Written by Blanche Evans

images (4)Everyone seems to be in agreement that the 2012-2013 winter season has been an unusually long one. Us Rochestarians are certainly used to the snow, slush, wind and cold… but enough already! The short teases of warmth (okay, warm for March in Rochester) and sunshine we’ve had recently are getting us all excited about spring! And if anyone can appreciate spring, it’s those of us in Upstate New York!

We hope you will come out to The Home & Garden Show this weekend March 23rd and 24th at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center. This show will provide you with that boost of spring fever and plenty of ways to cure it! This year’s show has kitchen and bathroom galleries, , huge landscaping and outdoor living displays! You just have to come check them out. We have new stuff too, like wine tasting, and culinary demonstrations. Stop by to enjoy the Interior Design Showcase where you can visit with Interior Design Professionals and see their beautiful room displays.

We’ve added more culinary demonstrations (lots of them!) from area restaurants and seminars on things like kitchen design and even painting your own wall mural! There’s fun for the kids too including face painting and magic so bring the family!

Plan now to attend The Home & Garden Show at the Convention Center next weekend. Go to for your $2 off coupon and a look at the schedule of events. You won’t want to miss a thing!



Owning your own home can be one of the most satisfying experiences in life. There’s nothing like knowing that it’s yours and that you can customize it to make it the perfect place for you to live. Buying a home is both a joy and one of the biggest financial decisions you will ever make. Before you start dreaming about backyard barbecues or your first dinner party, it’s time to do some thinking about home ownership. Some questions you will want to ask yourself or discuss with your partner and family are:

Can you afford the costs associated with buying a home? Although you can buy a home with a low down payment, the more you put down, the lower your mortgage will be. Also there are other costs including home inspections and taxes. Plan to budget around 2-4% of the total value of your home to be able to handle these expenses with ease.  Also you will need to make sure you have enough in your savings to pay for any repairs and necessary upkeep.

Do you have enough of an emergency fund?

Some people make the mistake of using all their savings to fund their home purchase but this can leave homeowners unprepared in case of a sudden illness, unemployment, or other emergency. It is best to have enough money readily available that you could survive for at least six months without your regular paycheck.

Will your circumstances be changing soon?

Are you planning a family, getting married, or going back to school? All of these changes will impact both your lifestyle and your financial future. It’s important that the home you choose be the right size for you not just now but over the next few years?.

Is your job stable and is this a good place to find another job?

Many studies have said that having a short commute is a key to happiness. When choosing between more space and a longer commute or a smaller home and a shorter commute,

Will you want to move in a few years?
many people choose to endure the long commute. While this may be bearable in the short term it can add stress to your life and diminish the amount of time you actually get to enjoy your home. Another consideration is employment prospects in the area. Even if your job is very secure, it’s always a good idea to be aware of what other opportunities in your industry are available nearby.

In order get the most out of your investment you will likely want to make sure that you are going to stay put for a few years. If you have plans to move within a year or so you may want to wait until then. You don’t want to be in the position of needing to move and having to sell your home quickly.

Are you interested in home improvement?

Before you start shopping it’s also important to know how much effort you want to put into home repair, maintenance, and improvement. Are you interested in puttering around in the garden or making your own repairs? Even condos and lofts require some maintenance. If you’re used to calling the landlord for anything that goes wrong, getting accustomed to making and paying for repairs might be a bit of a wake-up call.

Filling out your home checklist

Once you have answered these questions, it’s time to start narrowing down your specifics. has created ahandy worksheet to help you narrow down price, square footage, number of bedrooms and more. If you are making this purchase with another person it may make sense to each fill out your lists separately and then come together to compare notes. That way you each get to see each others true feelings. Make sure that your wishes are aligned with reality. Also remember that the house that you are imagining while filling out this worksheet may not match with what is available in the area. Location is still the most important factor when choosing the home that is both right for you and has good resale potential so be ready to factor in the proximity to major roads, school districting, crime levels, and other considerations once you are out shopping.

Spring officially begins on March 20 in 2013. Now is the perfect time to begin prepping for the season ahead, from refreshing your decor and removing winter layers to performing needed home maintenance, the tasks on this checklist will get your house ready for spring inside and out.

Swap home accessories. After you remove its cozy winter layers, your house may feel a bit bare; take that as your cue to bring in spring color. A few bright throw pillows, a colorful glass vase and a fun printed rug are easy ways to wake up your rooms.

Switch the bed linens and rotate the mattress. Give your bedroom a spring awakening by pulling off the heavy duvet or thick blankets and layering on lighter bed linens. Remember to have quilts and blankets cleaned before storing them to avoid moth damage.

Freshen your entry and mudroom. After a winter of snow, road salt, mud and grime, our homes’ entrances are bound to be a little worse for the wear. Mop the floors, wipe down walls and doors, and declutter. Now is also a good time to take a look at your doormats and consider rolling out fresh rugs for spring.

Spruce up your landing zone. Take a moment to assess the place where you put your belongings when you come in the door. Remove anything that doesn’t belong and make a neat spot for keys and mail. A green plant or small vase of flowers on a pretty tray and a dish for change are perfect finishing touches.

Remove layers. In winter layering your home with textiles feels cozy, but spring is the time for streamlining and shedding excess. Roll up your fluffiest rugs in favor of flat-weave ones or bare floors, and put away throws and pillows that feel too wintry.

Rotate toys and books.After months of playing with the same toys, kids are primed for a room update. If you keep a portion of your child’s toys and books packed away in a closet, you can rotate in a fresh selection every few months — without buying anything new!

Bring in spring branches. If you have blooming branches right outside your door, by all means clip some and bring them in. Displayed in a large vase or jar, they can last for months. Even if it will be a while before flowers appear, branches with green buds or leaves can make a lovely arrangement.

Clean gutters and inspect your home’s exterior. It’s important to remove debris from gutters before spring rains and melting snow overload the system — you can hire someone to do this or take on the task yourself (carefully) with a good ladder. Now is also a good time to take a quick walk around the exterior of your home with an eye out for damage that may have gone unnoticed during winter, and if you use storm shutters, now is the time to remove them.

Tell us: How are you prepping your home for spring?

The Worst Colors to Use in a Home

paint-samplesEmerald may be this year’s color of the year and hot hue, but which colors should you avoid?

Color research tells us some colors to avoid. Colors that can be considered, as some researchers note, “eye irritants” and can even cause headaches or mess with your vision.

According to color research, the worst offending color:

Yellow as a “pure bright lemon.”

“More light is reflected by bright colors, resulting in excessive stimulation of the eyes,” researchers note. “Yellow is an eye irritant. Babies cry more in yellow rooms, husbands and wives fight more in yellow kitchens, and opera singers throw more tantrums in yellow dressing rooms.”

That said, yellow is the first color the human eye tends to notice so in small doses it may be effective. It can help you draw attention to an item when used as an accent color. Also, using yellow in softer tints or in small quantities may not be such a turn-off.

A recent article at (“Paint Color Trends to Avoid”) pinpointed trendy color combos that may have once been a turn-on that are now becoming a turn-off in home interiors. San Francisco color expert Kelly Berg recently weighed in at about some trendy color combinations to avoid, such as:

  • “Greige”: The gray and beige combo in a space to create a monochromatic effect. Instead, Berg recommends pulling in some accent colors, likegrassy greens, to make the space more warm and inviting. She also recommends mixing in reflective surfaces, such as glass and metal, to lighten up the room since gray tends to absorb more light than other hues.
  • Chocolate brown and blue: This trendy color combo of a chocolate brown and Tiffany’s blue may be growing tiresome in home interiors. Berg recommends freshening up the look by adding a third color to the mix, such as hot pink, coral, or metallics in silver or gold.
  • Red, Gold and Green: This go-to rustic color pattern also may be beginning to grow stale in interiors. Berg recommends avoiding using all three colors in equal portions when you have a tri-color scheme in a home. She also recommends keeping the saturation levels of the color similar, but not exactly the same to liven up the look.
  • The all white kitchen: A kitchen all in white can look fresh and clean, but the look may be getting overdone and growing dull. Liven it up by pulling in some color from an adjacent space or pull a color from the dishes, Berg says. For example, if the home owner has blue dishes, you might try using deep indigo as an accent color.

Have you found any color combos that are big turn-offs in a space? Weigh in on what you think works–and doesn’t–with color!

How Does ROI Work?

In real estate it is the formula that is used to compare the cost of remodeling projects with the value those projects will retain at resale. With a little time, energy and effort, you will undoubtedly get back lasting value, increased enjoyment and an enhanced return on your investment. In terms of home improvements, making adjustments to outdated areas of your home, will not only make the space more enjoyable to live in, but it will also increase the resale value of the property. So while it may seem costly to redo the entire kitchen cabinetry and countertops, the chance that you will recover most of the monies spent on the improvement are very high.

Preparing for winter and the cold days ahead is important. Preparing your home for winter can be done easily with this helpful checklist.