Archives For Kitchen

Sellers are often surprised to hear that it isn’t always big changes that get a potential buyer’s attention. Rather than admiring that expensive new bathroom, buyers are more likely to notice that the kitchen drawers don’t open properly or that the floor is scuffed. Before you spend thousands of dollars on major renovations, check out Houzz‘s checklist of inexpensive upgrades that may help sell your house:

Quick-clean the exterior and landscape. Make sure your home’s curb appeal is top notch by checking that your garage doors are working properly and gutters are clean. For your yard, cut the lawn, trim the bushes, and wipe down any lawn furniture.

Make the door and doorbell stand out. Give your doorway a fresh coat of paint and make sure that the doorbell actually rings. Even if many homeowners don’t use the front door, it is the first area prospective buyers will see up close.

Evaluate every entrance. Think about the entrances to every room and update hinges or knobs if needed.

Look down. Most people will come inside a home and wipe their feet; when they do, they’ll be noticing the flooring, so make sure your carpets are clean and your floors are polished.

Select the right scent. A musty scent is the last thing prospective buyers want to smell when they walk into a home. Find a scent that you love and use it throughout the house—a scented candle goes a long way.

Spot treat any blemishes. Fix scuff marks, fill nail holes, and paint cracks so that your walls and moldings look as good as new.

Have a place for everything. Tuck away or neatly organize things to eliminate clutter. You can always add extra storage if needed.

Check the tracks. Make sure all drawers open smoothly. Buying new tracks and tightening handles are much cheaper fixes than replacing cabinetry.

Give the appliances some elbow grease. Clean your oven, refrigerator, sink, and any other appliance that will be included in the home.

Finish with finishes. Replacing faucets, showerheads, and towel racks are low-cost updates that can brighten up a bathroom.

This article can be found in its original form on Houzz.

Photos: Houses for sale via Househappy.org

The Millennial generation (those born between 1980 and 2000) is currently the second largest segment of homebuyers behind Generation X. As this group is only expected to grow, it is important to understand the different wants and expectations of younger buyers.

Here are 6 home “must-haves” of homebuyers under 35:

1. Updated kitchen and bath. The majority of Millennials are looking for updated kitchen and bathrooms because they simply cannot afford remodeling. “Most of their savings will go toward the down payment and furnishings,” explains Jack Curtis, a real estate professional in Dublin, Ohio.

2. Big kitchen, open floorplan. The kitchen is the center of the home and seen as a hang out place for many young buyers. In addition, Curtis says that “today’s young buyers are also more attracted to an open floor plan, rather than a layout that compartmentalizes the home”.

3. Home office. Due to advances in technology, many Millennials now have the option of working from home making home offices more appealing.

4. Location. Younger buyers tend to see location differently from their parents, says Chicago real estate broker Allison Nichols; “My younger buyers look for properties that are in proximity to public transportation and that have a good walking score.”

5. Low maintenance. According to broker Lou Cardillo, “Younger homebuyers prefer low upkeep features in their homes such as hardwood floors and granite countertops because they are attractive and hassle-free.”

6. Online photos. Younger buyers tend to start their searches online, which makes good quality photos more important than ever. According to the National Association of Realtors, 90% of buyers use the internet to search for homes.

The article can be found in its original form on ABC News.

Photo: Homedit

medium_e5334f5e-cc6a-409e-bf04-0d845d7f0021Remodeling spending is expected to jump in 2014 as the housing market steadies and homeowners begin to look at adding value to their homes. The following five areas are where homeowners are expected to spend the most remodeling dollars this year:

Bathrooms: An updated bathroom can be a huge advantage when selling a home. Furthermore, remodeling a bathroom is often one of the less expensive rooms to make over. Homeowners are likely to recoup 72.5% of the cost at resale according to Remodeling Magazine’s annual Cost vs. Value report.

Kitchens: Even a minor kitchen remodel (replacement of cabinet fronts, oven and cooktop, countertops, sink and faucet, and flooring) is shown to recoup 82.7% at resale.

Exterior Updates: After kitchens and baths, landscaping projects are high on the remodeling list for homeowners, said Liza Hausman, Houzz’s Vice President of Community. Many people choose to create outdoor entertainment spaces to add more usable square footage to their existing home.

Age-in-place improvements: Remodeling the first floor to create a master bedroom and bath is a common way for retirees to reconfiguring their space to prepare for the years ahead.

Additions: Adding on a family room, expanding the kitchen, or building a master suite are all more expensive projects and will be lucrative for contractors and designers in 2014. Large additions were shown to recoup 68.8% of their cost at resale.

This article can be found in its original form on MarketWatch.

Photo: Househappy.org

kitchen-cabinet_365For many of us, our homes are the most valuable thing we own. Whether you plan on selling or are simply looking to add value to your investment, Homesessive has provided seven simple adjustments that can help make your home worth more money:

Inspect often.  Prospective buyers will want to have the house professionally inspected before they decide to close the deal. As a homeowner, it is good to get in a habit of having your home inspected so that there are no surprises that could hurt the value of your home such as mold or water damage.

Add extra seating. This is a very simple thing to do and can make a big difference in the eyes of potential buyers. Adding an extra table with a few chairs in an empty space can show potential which translates into your home having a higher perceived value.

Go minimalist. When getting ready to show your home, it’s helpful to de-clutter first. From the standard clutter to furniture that isn’t necessary, clearing out some things will make your house seem larger and look more organized.

Paint your cabinets. Giving cabinets a fresh coat of paint can be a less costly and time-consuming alternative to replacing them. A new paint color will help hide scratches and give your home a fresh look.

Use potted plants. Not everyone has the space for a lush garden or the time to take care of one. Groupings of potted plants can help bring some greenery to your porch and instantly add to your home’s curb appeal.

When in doubt, add storage. No potential buyer ever complains about a home having too much storage. Establish a more organized atmosphere by adding extra storage features in cabinets and drawers––the kitchen is a great place to start.

Make it shine. Make the surfaces in your home sparkle by cleaning anything that’s stainless steel or glass such as faucets, sinks, and windows.

Source: Homesessive

Photo: Real Simple

modern-kitchen (1)

What started out as a DIY project turned into much more for designer and builder Jayme Guokas. The first custom countertop he created was for a rental property he owned, then friends started asking and a new business was born. Houzz documented the steps Goukas takes to create these beautiful customizable countertops:

  1. First, he crafts a plywood frame from the countertops measurements. He then puts shaping pieces in places where the sink will be and other hole:
  2. He determines whether he needs to add recessed spaces for cutting boards and dish drains depending on the clients’ needs:
  3. The concrete is poured. After two weeks in the tray, Goukas removes it and begins grinding and polishing it. He then puts the countertop in place and applies a paste of beeswax and mineral oil to add a layer of protection.
  4. To make each countertop unique, Guokas lets his clients add their own personal inlaid details to the concrete. “We talk about colors, shapes, materials, objects that resonate with them and the overall design of the inlays,” he says. Many have put in pieces of glass, shards of metal and more personal items that they want to remain in there forever.
  5. Lastly, he uses concrete pigments to create different hues and further customize his creations. 
This article can be found in its original form on Houzz.

kitchenWhen you love the location of your home but feel that you need more space, there are a few smart fixes that can increase the value of your home. Remodeling efficiently means recasting existing space and building up instead of out. Additions can be very costly; therefore working with increasing the space you have in different areas will help you to avoid the added cost of new foundation.

CNN Money asked remodeling pros for cost-effective solutions for renovating your home; Here are five of the smart fixes they came up with:

Problem: No first-floor powder room

Few older homes have a bathroom on the first floor, requiring guests to go upstairs to use one.

Solution: Recast a closet. You can transform a space as small as four feet by four feet or even three feet by 5 feet into a powder room. One option would be to repurpose a pantry or a large closet under the stairs. Another is to carve a space out of a hallway, back foyer or porch. For the sake of new plumbing, try to build directly next to, above or below the kitchen, laundry room or another bathroom.

Problem: Master suite that’s not so sweet

Today homes have generous master bedrooms with walk-in closets, dual sinks, and a separate shower and tub. Older homes tend to offer much less space.

Solutions: Steal a bedroom or build over the garage. These are both good options, depending on your existing floor plan. Turn the master bedroom into a suite by taking over an adjacent bedroom. “A lot of people do this when the kids go off to college,” notes Indianapolis contractor Geoff Horen. One thing to keep in mind is that you want to make sure your bedroom count matches the other houses in the neighborhood.

When building over an attached garage keep in mind that it is no small job. You will need to remove the roof, beef up the structure plus add a new roof on that.  However, an above the garage room will still save you more money than adding on a whole new space away from the house.

Problem: Bedroom shortage

One of the biggest factors in families moving is that they need more bedrooms. The good thing is bedrooms can be fairly inexpensive to renovate since they do not require plumbing or additional appliances.

Solution: Convert the attic. The attic is the ideal place to add a new bedroom if you have the space. Also remember that not all attics should be treated the same either. You need to make sure you have room for a full-size stairway to the floor below and an emergency exit.

By code, you will also need to make sure at least 50% of the finished space is at least seven feet high, and that portion must be at least seven feet wide and at least 70 square feet.

Problem: Kitchen is too small

Before the 1980s, kitchens were not the main room in the house. Many older homes have closed off kitchen areas with not much space for prepping and eating.

Solutions: Lose a wall or hang a small addition. “Removing the wall between the dining room and kitchen creates a feeling of spaciousness — and also clears room for an island or peninsula that can become a key workstation or a place for family and guests to congregate,” says kitchen and bath designer Erin Davis.

Putting on a small kitchen addition that hangs off the side of the house can help give you more space, especially if you want to keep the dinning room as is. Although the space can’t be any deeper than two feet, it can still run the length of the kitchen to be able to add enough space to redesign the layout.

Problem: No place to play

A spacious rec room with a home theater and wet bar is now commonplace in today’s high-end homes. Thirty five percent of homebuyers think a rec room is “very important,” according to a survey by the National Association of Realtors.

Solution: Finish the basement. Finishing the basement is a fairly inexpensive fix if you aren’t planning to add a wet bar. You’ll typically need a ceiling height of seven feet depending on local building code. Lastly, you will need to think about moisture. Which could lead to repairing roof gutters or getting a sump pump.

Source: CNN Money

Cabinets

Kitchen cabinets today are becoming more cutting edge. Americans are turning away from traditional oak materials to more modern and exotic alternatives. According to a set of online surveys done by North America’s largest cabinet manufacturer MasterBrand Cabinets, exotic and generally more expensive alternatives are becoming more popular. Oak and maple are still at the top with the largest dollar share of purchase but both have declined in popularity over the past five years. According to the survey oak materials had a 20% decline in total dollars spent, whereas exotic woods like alder, pecan, pine and walnut grew 44% over the same period.

On average, kitchen cabinets remain in homes for 20 to 25 years before they are replaced. The kitchen is a central part of the home and “Whatever people put in there runs through the rest of the house” says Beth Dilbert, senior manager for market research for MasterBrand. More recently there has been a shift towards bolder cabinet materials, which reflects a broader move towards modern designs.

The shift has led to many more Americans experimenting with bolder woods and colors. While medium-colored finishes still make up the largest share of cabinet finishes, those that are painted or have a dark-colored finish have gained more than 40% in dollar share over the years. Many of these fancier woods also come with larger price tags and can be up to 20% more expensive.

What do you think about this shift? If you were to update your kitchen today, what type of cabinets would you want?

This article can be found in its original form on Wall Street Journal Real Estate