Marilyn Ellis, CBR, CHMS, LMS, HAFA
RE/MAX Leading Edge | 781-944-6060 | marilynellis@remax.net


Posted by Marilyn Ellis, CBR, CHMS, LMS, HAFA on 5/24/2018

Many hopeful homebuyers seek to save money by buying a fixer-upper and doing most of the renovations themselves. This is a proven method for those who have a knack for home improvement and arenít afraid to get their hands dirty.

However, estimating the cost of a remodel can be difficult. There are many costs you may not be aware of, and others that are easy to go over budget on.

In this article, weíre going to talk about the cost of an average remodel, and some lesser-known costs that you might be forgetting to factor into your budget.

Average remodeling costs

As you might guess, the cost of a remodel can vary greatly. Things like the size of the home, the number of rooms youíre remodeling, and the type of repairs youíll be making all factor into the equation.

Some repairs can be quite costly. Septic system replacements can cost several thousands of dollars depending on the type of system you need. And, if youíre buying an old home, youíll need to look out for expensive fixes like asbestos removal and foundation damage.

According to one report, most Americans spent between $17,000 and $61,000 on their remodel, with the average renovation cost being around $37,000.

If youíre hiring a contractor for the bulk of your remodel, expect them to charge between 10% and 15% of the total cost.

Lesser known costs of a home renovation

Remodeling a home isnít as simple as looking up a contractor and telling them to give you the bill once itís finished, and thatís probably a good thing because odds are you would be shocked by the cost.

First, youíll pay a contractor to do a walkthrough and estimate costs. Next, youíll need to get any permits that are required for your renovations.

If you plan on doing the renovations yourself, there are a few costs youíll need to consider. First, understand that you likely wonít be able to take advantage of all of the discounts that contractors can, meaning your building materials may be more expensive than expected. Similarly, the cost of tools for the project adds up quickly. And, when you make mistakes--we all do, weíre only human--youíll be paying for it out of pocket.

Knowing your long term goals

An important consideration for a remodel is to look toward the future. Do you want to sell your home within the next few years? If so, you might consider going with less expensive materials--such as generic kitchen cabinets rather than custom-built--to save money while still increasing the value of the home.

However, if you plan on being in this home for decades or more, it may be worth the extra money now to make sure you are happy with your home for years to come.

Remodeling a home can be a memorable and rewarding endeavor. You get the chance to take a house that you see potential in and make it truly your own. Now that you know the costs, youíll be better prepared for planning your home renovation.




Tags: budget   renovations   Remodel  
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Posted by Marilyn Ellis, CBR, CHMS, LMS, HAFA on 5/17/2018

Doing a home improvement or renovation is a great way to add value to your home while learning something new. If you decide to DIY, you can enlist the help of your family and learn together.

But, when youíre taking on a task youíve never done before, thereís a lot that can go wrong. You might go over budget, or the project might take significantly longer than expected. Sometimes we start jobs that we donít have the expertise (or permits) to finish and have to call in a professional sinking more time and money into what was supposed to be an inexpensive renovation.

To help you avoid some of these common pitfalls, weíve provided these tips for running a successful home improvement project so you can focus on your renovation and not on the headaches that come with it.

1. Know when to call the experts

Undertaking a do-it-yourself project can be fun and rewarding. However, some tasks are better left to the professionals. Plumbing and electrical mistakes, in particular, can be dangerous and costly if you get it wrong. You donít want to disregard the safety of you, your family, and your belongings just to save money on hiring a professional.

2. Call the best expert for the job

Call multiple professionals for a quote before accepting an offer.

If you received what seems a very low quote for a job, make sure to call other experts in the industry to see how much they would charge for the job. Getting an unusually low offer could be a sign that the contractor will rush the project or use cheap materials.

Alternatively, if you receive a quote that seems too high, the contractor may have a busy schedule or might not really want the job, so theyíve offered you a price they donít expect you to take.

Regardless of who you choose, see if you can find reviews and testimonials to make sure youíve selected a contractor who is professional and has good customer feedback.

3. Aim high with your budget

When homeowners take on a renovation, they tend to underestimate the costs. To avoid being shocked by going over budget, estimate what you think the total costs would be and then at another twenty percent. That twenty percent could account for damaged building materials, mistakes, or last-minute changes and customizations--all are frequent on DIY projects.

4. Donít work without a design or blueprint

Even for simple home improvement projects, itís best to start out with a plan. Having detailed measurements and drawings to refer to will help you avoid costly mistakes. Weíve all felt the temptation to ďeyeball itĒ when working on a project--taking the extra few minutes to measure and refer to your plan will save you time in the long run.

5. Relax and focus on the results

Home improvement projects can be a source of frustration for many families. If you arenít an expert, itís easy to get angry when things arenít going as you planned. If you find yourself frequently hitting a wall-literally or figuratively--step back from the project and refocus on the end goal, improving your home for years to come.




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Posted by Marilyn Ellis, CBR, CHMS, LMS, HAFA on 5/10/2018

Renting is a short-term solution to finding a place to live. It can be a good way to move into a new area and live inexpensively for a short period of time. But financially, renting doesnít make much sense as a long-term plan.

Owning a home is a valuable asset--one that is likely to rise in value over time due to inflation and increasing land value. When you pay rent each month, your only return on investment is that you have a place to live. With home ownership, however, your mortgage payments go toward something you can sell later on.

Deciding if youíre ready to buy a house is not an easy task. Not only do you need to ensure that youíre financially prepared for homeownership, you also need to determine if it makes sense for your personal and professional life.

In this article, weíll talk about some of the ways you can tell if itís a good time to take the plunge into the housing market or if you should keep renting.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Aside from being a question youíll likely be asked at a job interview, this is also something you should ask yourself before considering buying a home. When you buy, youíre making a down payment, paying closing costs, and devoting a lot of time and energy into the process.

Initially, it typically costs more to buy than to rent. But, over time, youíll likely end up paying less for your mortgage payments than you would for a 1-bedroom apartment. Furthermore, those costs go towards an important financial asset.

A big question you should ask yourself when deciding whether to rent or buy is how long you plan on staying in your next dwelling. Typically, if you plan on living there for over five years, it could be a good idea to buy.

To find out which makes more sense for you, try out this useful Rent vs Buy calculator.

What type of lifestyle do you want to have?

Owning a home means caring for a home. If you want to focus on your career or education, you might not have time or funds to pour into maintaining a home. Itís important to remember that home maintenance isnít just a matter of mowing the lawn every other week. Youíll also have to be prepared to spend on hiring professionals for issues like plumbing and electricity.

Calculating whether it makes more sense to buy a home or rent an apartment can be difficult because there are a number of variables when it comes to buying a house. Closing costs, down-payment, property taxes, HOA fees, should all be figured into your calculations. On top of that, youíll need to consider the state of the housing market, whether you can get a good interest rate, and what type of mortgage you can receive.

If you want to live in a large home and you want to do it sooner rather than later, you might want to rent and save for a longer period of time.

However, if youíre happy in a small house and donít need lots of storage space and bedrooms, taking a small mortgage can be a good investment.

Thatís a lot of variables to consider, but fortunately this calculator from the New York Times makes it easy to plug in your numbers.




Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Marilyn Ellis, CBR, CHMS, LMS, HAFA on 5/3/2018

If you're in the process of preparing your home for sale, nothing can replace the marketing benefits of making it look its absolute best!

Successful home staging is all about effectively appealing to all the senses -- especially sight, smell, and sound. When prospective buyers are touring a home, they're essentially looking for two things: aspects that are appealing to them and areas of concern. To a large degree, their impressions will be based on emotional reactions and subconscious impressions. For example, if there's anything about your home that reminds them of fond childhood memories, then that will definitely work in your favor.

In some cases, the right kind of music playing in the background can have a positive effect on first impressions. Fragrances, such as cinnamon, lavender, citrus, baking bread, or coffee brewing can also help create an appealing ambiance. On the other hand, the presence of pet odors, stains, fur, or cat litter boxes can send a very negative message to prospective home buyers -- especially if they don't own pets or have allergies. By the way, one other item that can be an enormous turn off to people is seeing mouse traps anywhere in the house. (A worst case scenario, of course, is a visible mouse trap that has recently been sprung! That could easily be a deal breaker!)

Home Staging 101

It can be challenging to consistently keep your house in tip top condition while you're still living in it, but, considering all that's at stake, it's worth the extra effort. In addition to impeccable cleanliness, other priorities for staging a home include fresh coats of paint where needed (preferably a neutral color), attractive landscaping, up-to-date appliances, and furniture that's in good condition. If you're at all unsure whether a room looks cluttered, dated, or poorly decorated, your real estate agent can provide helpful suggestions and feedback. An experienced real estate agent can spot potential problem areas in seconds and offer valuable advice about improving the marketability of your home. After having observed hundreds of buyer reactions to everything from cluttered rooms and mismatched furniture to peeling wall paint and water stains on ceilings, they can advise you on what needs to be fixed, spruced up, replaced, or rearranged.

Curb appeal -- or lack, thereof -- is literally the first impression your home will make on prospective buyers. If you can give your lawn a manicured look, eliminate signs of peeling paint, repair cracks in walkways and driveways, and remove grime from windows, concrete surfaces, and siding, then you'll stand a good chance of making a positive first impression on home buyers. Although home staging does not have to be an expensive undertaking, it can help you get top dollar for your property and minimize the time it remains on the market.





Posted by Marilyn Ellis, CBR, CHMS, LMS, HAFA on 5/1/2018

OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS!!! Looking for a Contractor, Builder or Rehabber needing a new project!!! This property could be an opportunity for you. Financing will have some limitations as the best case is for cash or rehab loans. Will not qualify for FHA or conventional financing due to the condition. PLEASE NOTE: It is the full responsibility of the potential Buyer, Buyer's agent or their representative to do their own due diligence to their satisfaction regarding any/all information about the lot, variances/parcel consolidation/permits. There are no representations or warranties made by seller or listing agent.

More Info on this Property | New Listing Alerts




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