Tag Archive: House


Realty Times Staff 05/06/2015Why does one homeowner get more money when they sell their home while another gets little? Why does one home sell quickly while another home within the same neighborhood takes months to be sold or may not even be sold at all? Could it be pure luck or there is something one did to his house to make it more attractive to potential buyers?

Making a few home improvements will go a long way in increasing your chances of selling the house. There are hundreds of homes available on the market and so for your house to be picked out, you to need sweeten the pot. Fencing is one way to improve the value of a home. But how will fencing enhance your home value? Read on.

How much value fencing adds to your home

On average, privacy fences are 4-9 feet tall. Installing a fence in your backyard for privacy purposes will increase marketability for your home with prospective buyers when selling. Homeowners with pets, such as dogs, may require a fence and could be reluctant to purchase a home without one due to the high cost of fencing materials and installation. A standard fence costs $1000 – $5000 to install in many real estate areas; depending upon the materials selected and size of your yard.

This does not mean that using any type of fence will tremendously increase the value of your home. While a chain link fence may be less costly, the resale value obtained with this addition is so minimal. On the other hand, privacy wood fences and solid fences like concrete or cast iron can net a profit of at least 50% of the material and installation costs on resale. So fencing materials play an integral role in determining the overall home value during appraisal.

For a homeowner, the value of a fence may not be monetary in nature. Most homeowners like the added privacy of having a backyard fence, in addition to their decorative benefits which enhance the appearance of the yard and the home as a whole. What having a more beautiful home and more privacy brings for homeowners outweighs the potential loss of profits when selling.

Just like any other factor in home improvements, fence placement comes into play when considering practicality and value assessments. For example, a privacy fence in the front yard may reduce curb appeal of the home but increase value in the backyard. Before fencing your property, you need to consider utility easements and homeowner association regulations before starting the project to avoid any fines from violations.

When it comes to increasing home value, adding a fence that does not match the style and design of your home could be worse than having no fence at all. For example, a sleek, modern home will look weird if you use an ornate wooden fence while a quaint Victorian home will look out of place if you add a high stockade fence. So make sure you match the fence with look of your home in order to increase its value.

PatioAround mid-winter, most of us begin pining for that casual, outdoor lifestyle that comes back with the sunshine and warm temperatures. While that’s not a reality many of us can enjoy quite yet, this is a great time to start planning those patio upgrades that will make lounging in the sunshine as cool and comfortable as we imagine.

Start by doing everything you can to bring the outdoors in with upgrades like larger windows, French doors, and window coverings such as Roman shades or plantation shutters that allow you to maximize light and sight lines. Then start planning how to bring the indoors out with patio furniture that’s sturdy and stylish enough to entice you out to the patio.

One of the most effective ways to add the perception of square footage to your home is to form an outdoor living space. To create that illusion, a patio cover is key. It adds months of access to your new outdoor space, and really helps to protect that new furniture.

There are many patio-cover options these days, and the right choice for you is dependent on what your outdoor lifestyle is really like.

Here are six great options to get you daydreaming about the sunny days to come:

Solid Shingles: This solid choice is just that-solid. Solid patio covers built as a simple addition over the patio use the same shingles the roof does and deliver a polished version of an outdoor living space. Gabled construction adds an architectural element to the home’s exterior, lending style and value. Solid patio covers are ideal if you entertain outdoors often or take family meals on the patio fairly regularly. If winter storage of your patio furniture is an issue, a solid patio cover is a great choice.

Solid Metal: All the same benefits apply here, but where the solid shingle look is great for more traditional architecture, we love the sophisticated look that a painted metal top can bring to a more contemporary or transitional home. It creates a real opportunity to expand square footage using fabrics, rugs and furnishings that look like they may belong inside. Thanks to the advancements in indoor/outdoor furnishings and materials, you can maintain the same palette on the patio that you have going on in your interior space.

Black and White PatioSolar Panels: Trending these days are eco-chic solar panel patio covers that let in a little light, but also collect energy. This obviously offers the most tangible return on your investment from the energy savings alone, but the forward thinking and contemporary styling are a definite upgrade when it comes time to sell your home.

Lattice: The open lattice look doesn’t offer all the cover of some other options, but the filtered sunshine and the chance to add a little green to the architecture with a climbing vine are almost instantly soothing. You can actually purchase open lattice patio covers already constructed in wood or aluminum. Make sure to opt for the aluminum if you’re considering that climbing vine. Otherwise, prepare for a bit more maintenance or to embrace a “weathered wood” aesthetic.

Wooden PatioRetractable: Our current favorite, retractable patio covers bring all the casual style of the open-lattice or pergola look along with some of the comfort and protection of a solid cover. The option to choose the fabric, pattern and color lets you take a little more control over the styling. A quick pull lets the sunshine in, and another gives you a little shade when the temperature climbs-versatility at your fingertips.

Shade sails: These are another great choice for more casual and contemporary outdoor spaces. They also let you bring in a playful splash of color to brighten up the garden area. Best of all, they’re super flexible-you can easily move them with the path of the sun, or to different areas of your outdoor space. It all depends on your mood, livability and entertaining needs.

Patio By WaterAre you considering one of these patio cover options? What are your top priorities in an outdoor living space?

Kerrie Kelly is the author of the DIY design book Home Décor: A Sunset Design Guide. Kerrie is an award-winning interior designer who writes on outdoor décor for Home Depot. Home Depot’s large selection of windows, including those for a patio, can be found at www.homedepot.com/b/Doors-Windows/N-5yc1vZaqih.

Kerrie Kelly, ASID, Realty Times Feature Writer 01/22/2015

Down Payment Tips

Many people dream of owning a home but don’t think it’s possible because they lack the resources for a down payment and closing costs. Here are tips for securing that down payment.

1) Borrow from your retirement account: Many people have been investing in a 401(k) plan or traditional IRA for years and first-time homebuyers may borrow up to $10,000 for their down payment without incurring a penalty. For those self-employed or if your employer allows it, you also can borrow up to $50,000 from your current 401(k) and pay yourself back over five years at a low interest rate.

2) Ask family: Sure, you may be too proud to ask for money, but if relatives can help you and your family move into that dream home, isn’t it worth it? If you do get help from a family member, the lender will ask you to sign a gift-letter form, attesting to the relationship. The lender may also require your relatives to explain where they got the money and prove that they are financially able to make such a gift.

3) Look for down payment assistance grants: Down payment assistance and community redevelopment programs offer affordable housing opportunities to first-time homebuyers, low-income and moderate-income individuals and families who wish to own a home.

4) Come to a lease/purchase agreement: Homeowners who can’t sell their homes in this market may consider a lease/purchase agreement, where you rent the home you want to buy and a percentage of your rent is applied toward the down payment. If you go this route, make sure you get a contract outlining all the details so both parties are protected.

5) Add it to the wedding registry: Several mortgage companies allow those getting married to set up a down payment registry. This is a great way to celebrate the joining of two people in matrimony.

6) Cut back and save: If none of the other ways will work for you, there’s always the old-fashioned “saving for a rainy day.” Try putting aside 10% of each paycheck and make your meals instead of going out for them. If you’re married, save the money you would spend on birthday, anniversary and Christmas presents and put it toward your house. You also may need to forget that vacation this year.

These sacrifices may seem significant but they will be worth it once you’re inside your own home.

Prudential Showcase Properties is an independently owned and operated member of Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc., a Prudential company. Equal Housing Opportunity.

%d bloggers like this: