Evaluating Your Home’s Value: The Basics

 

Evaluating Your Home’s Value: The Basics

 

 

You likely remember what your house cost when you moved in. You might even remember your down payment amount! But when it’s time to pack your things for a new property, it’s easy to forget: in terms of “home value,” you’re not moving out of the house you moved into.

Sometimes—if, for instance, a shopping mall opens nearby—your property value can rise without you lifting a finger. But more commonly, value changes come down to owners’ hard work. For example, when you replaced your carpeting with hardwood, that added to your home’s value. So did the summer you spent staining the veranda; your Christmas bonus splurge on granite countertops; and your top-to-bottom basement renovation.

There’s a flip side to home value, too. Numerous factors (even normal wear-and-tear) can reduce the size of the offers you’ll likely receive from buyers. All in all, determining your home’s current worth is a daunting task for even the most DIY, detail-oriented sellers. Attempting to “ballpark” this figure solo is not recommended: before settling on a goal selling price, it’s wise to consult a mortgage professional.

As a mortgage professional, I’m happy to be your first point of contact when it comes to determining your home’s listed price. I can assist you in obtaining a clear picture of your home’s bells and whistles, as well as its flaws. I can also inform you as to whether a more comprehensive evaluation is necessary. I’ll help you determine your home’s current value–allowing you to sell your property at the best possible price, as quickly as possible.

I hope you’ll contact me for help evaluating your home’s value, or for assistance with any other mortgage-related questions you might have. I look forward to hearing from you!

 

Easy ways to keep more money in your pocket

 

 

(NC) It goes without saying that most of us would appreciate a little more money in our pockets. Believe it or not, it’s actually an achievable goal. In fact, a few simple tips can help you uncover meaningful savings each and every month. Need some ideas? Here’s a little inspiration to get you started:

  1. Pack food from home for lunches and snacks. Skip sandwich bags and opt for reusable containers, cutlery and drink bottle.
  2. Switch light bulbs to CFLs. On average, it costs $250 a year in energy costs to light your home with incandescents. Save $150 by going with CFLs. They’re more expensive initially, but will last 10 times longer.
  3. Review and negotiate your service plans––phone, internet, cable and television content.
  4. Invest in topping up your insulation. Attic insulation can settle and compact over time, diminishing its original R-value and increasing heating/cooling costs. Topping it up with a quality batt insulation, like Roxul Comfortbatt, will immediately help improve the comfort of your home and reduce your monthly energy bills.
  5. Pay off credit card debt and swap cards for lower interest rate options.
  6. Install low-flow water fixtures to cut down on excess water consumption.
  7. Lower your thermostat by two degrees in cold weather and increase it by two degrees in warmer weather.
  8. Launder your clothes in cold water and at off-peak times.
  9. Avoid impulse shopping. Stick to your list and avoid “window shopping,” which tends to draw buyers in.
  10. Save money on entertainment by looking for free activities. For options in your area, try a simple internet search. You might be pleasantly surprised at the wide variety of activities and entertainment available for no or low cost.

Collectively employing the tips above could potentially add up to thousands in annual savings, proving that sometimes change can be a good thing.

SOURCE: www.newscanada.com

Outdoor Renovation Projects with the Highest ROI

Posted on May 22 2015 – 1:03pm by Housecall HERE

Making a few small changes, especially outdoors, can do much more than make your home a better backdrop for family portraits. In fact, when done correctly, an outdoor renovation project can deliver a feature you love and increase the value of your home.

This infographic from Williams Ski & Patio shows which outdoor renovations will yield the highest return on investment for homeowners.

outdoorrenovationinfogrpahic

For example, replacing the siding on your house is a home renovation project that gives you an 80 percent return on investment, and replacing exterior doors gives you a 101 percent ROI. Replacing your garage doors gives an 88 percent ROI, and paving a gravel driveway can earn a 50-75 percent ROI. Even adding outdoor lighting, a very small change, can give you a 50 percent ROI.

Determining the ROI of decks, patios, and other places to enjoy sitting on outdoor furniture is a little more complex. The average ROI of a professional deck construction is 73 percent; however, this rate tends to be higher for higher-quality wooden decks, and lower for composite materials. Patio additions, meanwhile, have a slightly lower ROI of 30-60 percent. If you have a porch, think carefully before deciding how much to spend to screen it in: spending $35,000 to screen in your porch has an average return of 75 percent, while spending $50,000 only has an average return of 50 percent.

Don’t forget that the value of curb appeal extends to your yard as well; landscaping can add as much as 28 percent to the value of a home in addition to cutting the time a home spends on the market by 10-15 percent. You can strategically plant windbreaks and shade trees that will cut your heating needs by as much as 15 percent and air conditioning needs by as much as 75 percent. Also, make sure that your plants are native to your area in order to save money; maintaining an acre of native plants costs $3,000 over the course of 20 years, while the cost of maintaining non-native turf grass over that same time in $20,000.

In the backyard, outdoor kitchens are becoming very popular and are considered an outdoor room. Adding an outdoor kitchen sees an average ROI of 100-200 percent, but this depends largely on the climate (with higher ROI in warmer areas) and if durable materials are used. Fire pits are also desirable to buyers; a properly styled fire pit can earn an ROI of 150 percent, as long as it’s purchased and installed at a reasonable price.

Pools and other water features are trending downward, and considered by many buyers and real estate agents to be a maintenance chore. Even if the pool is well-maintained, relatively new, and in a warm climate, it will only add an average of 7 percent to the home’s value.

If you don’t have the budget for major home renovations, there are several low cost options for staging your home’s exterior in order to increase its value. Re-sodding your lawn, trimming and weeding your garden, adding flowers to your home’s entrance, sealing your driveway, and adding mature plants to a new garden all cost less than $1,000 (often significantly less), yet each project has an average ROI of up to 200 percent.

Your home may be your castle, but at the end of the day, future buyers will pay more for a castle with a beautifully landscaped front gate and an outdoor kitchen. Investing in outdoor renovation projects today will pay off in the future.

Contributed by Williams Ski & Patio

 

Outdoor Renovation Projects with the Highest ROI – http://blog.rismedia.com/2015/outdoor-renovation-projects/.

Don’t judge a bank’s mortgage by its hyped-up rate

mortgage-rates-680x430A sign of spring’s arrival in Canada is a bank making what looks like bold mortgage moves to the uninformed. But within the last (2) weeks, the Bank of Montreal and Toronto-Dominion Bank announced five-year fixed-rate mortgages at 2.79 per cent, while CIBC has been offering a special introductory rate of 1.99 per cent on the first nine months of some fixed-rate mortgages.

Besides rates and penalties, some of the key variables in choosing a mortgage are prepayment privileges, or how much of the mortgage principal you can pay down every year without incurring a cost, and the length of time the lender will hold a mortgage rate for you.

Mortgage prepayment penalties are where alternative lenders really crush the big banks. Lenders calculate these penalties on fixed-rate mortgages as the greater of three months’ interest or what’s known as an interest rate differential, or IRD.

The idea behind the IRD is to compensate a lender for the interest lost when you pay out a mortgage early. Lenders have different ways of calculating the IRD, but you should expect penalties to be as much as three to four times higher at the banks than competing lenders.

If you’re dead certain you’ll stay in a five-year mortgage for five years, maybe your bank’s best deal on rates will suffice. If you want to keep your options open and possibly get a better rate, then working with a mortgage broker is the way to go.

SOURCE: The Globe & Mail