Leave It to The Pros! Why DIY Siding is a Bad Idea

Want to improve the exterior décor of your home? The best option to consider is new exterior siding. It will not only improve the exterior décor but improve the value of your home as well. Moreover, it will also improve the energy efficiency of your home.

Siding that is over forty years old should consider getting it replaced as part of an exterior home improvement plan. It will add freshness to the curb appeal of your home and improve its overall look.

Many people make the mistake of relying on DIY methods instead of leaving it to professionals when it comes to siding. It brings a lot of hassles, chaos, and of course, consumes a lot of time. Hence, it is recommended to leave it to the pros and get the process completed in a professional manner.

Here are some of the reasons why leaving siding to the professional is a better idea than doing it on your own.

Lack of Professionals

A prominent factor that goes in favor of the pros for exterior siding is that they are professionals. Hence, they can employ professional techniques to complete the whole siding project in an efficient manner. On the other hand, opting for DIY methods require so much time, effort, and energy. Despite spending hours or days in completing side project, you may still not get the desired results.

Lack of Expertise and Experience

Hiring professional exterior contractors for a siding project is also recommended since they have the required expertise and experience, which a layman doesn’t have. There is a vast difference in the result of an exterior siding project that is completed by a professional and a layman. This is due to the fact that professionals use their experience, skills, and extensive knowledge optimally to ensure the project is completed in a timely and professional manner.

No Access to Required Tools & Gears

An exterior siding project requires the use of certain tools and gears, which, generally a layman doesn’t have access to. They either have to buy or rent them that can burn a hole in their pockets. On the other hand, if you are relying on exterior contractors, there will be no such issue since the advanced tools and gears will be arranged by the professionals themselves.

Chances of Chaos, Mess, and Hassles

An exterior siding project can create a lot of hassles and chaos if not done properly. Furthermore, there will be a lot of mess left behind that will further add to the hassles. With hiring professionals, the whole process will be completed in a smooth and efficient manner. There will be no hassles, mess, and chaos at all.

Learn more about Kearns Brothers, a full-service home improvement contractor servicing all of Southeast Michigan’s construction needs by visiting their website at www.kearnsbrothers.com or contact a remodeling expert at 888.355.6700.

Improving Your Home’s Exterior with Outdoor Masonry

Adding masonry to the exterior of your home will make it look one hundred percent better and it will increase your home’s value as well.  Hiring masonry contractors is the best way to get amazing results with masonry services, because they have the skills that are needed to do quality work quickly and efficiently.

One of the easiest ways to improve the exterior of your home with masonry is by replacing a basic concrete walkway with one constructed of stones or bricks.  A new walkway can be enhanced by adding stacked stone risers at the beginning or end, as it will define where a person needs to go when they want to enter your home.

Incorporating the stones or bricks from your walkway to your backyard is as easy as constructing a new patio.  The patio can be near your backdoor or a little further out in your yard.  The options are endless when it comes to patios, and you can still construct one even if you already have a deck off the back of your house.  A masonry patio will give you an additional sitting area while creating a new focal point in your yard.

Masonry companies can also create a phenomenal fire pit or fireplace for you out in your backyard.  A fire pit does not take that long to construct, and the price is cheaper than a fireplace.  However, a fireplace will create more of a focal point in your yard, while immensely improving the exterior of your home.

If you want to utilize your fireplace for cooking, you might want to consider having your masonry contractors construct a wood-fired oven instead.  That way, you can enjoy the warmth of the fire when it is cooler out, but you can cook delectable meals that include wood-fired pizzas and even cobblers for dessert.

To really make a lasting impression with your home, you may want to consider having your masonry contractors install stones or bricks on the exterior of your home.  This type of masonry will stand out much more than vinyl siding and it will create a luxurious look.  While real stone or bricks are fantastic options, you may want to consider faux stone if the type that you want is not available in your area.

There are quite a few masonry services options available to you and masonry companies will be able to assist you will choosing the ones that will complement your home the most.

Learn more about Kearns Brothers, a full-service home improvement contractor servicing all of Southeast Michigan’s construction needs by visiting their website at www.kearnsbrothers.com or contact a remodeling expert at 888.355.6700.

5 Proven Ways to Increase Home Value

Making your house more efficient, adding square footage, upgrading the kitchen or bath and installing smart-home technology can help increase its value.
5 Proven Ways to Increase Home Value
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Some factors that determine what a house is worth are out of your control, like its location and the popularity of that market. But you can keep up with repairs and make smart improvements, both proven ways to increase home value.

When thinking about how to increase home value, root your expectations in reality. Updates rarely recoup 100% of their cost, but they can make your family more comfortable and even help your home sell faster.

Whether you want to build equity or get top dollar when you sell, use the tips below to raise the value of your home.

1. Make it more attractive

Curb appeal — how your home looks from the street — is your first chance to make a good impression, says James Murrett, president of the Appraisal Institute, a professional association for real estate appraisers. A home’s exterior needs to make a prospective buyer want to walk through the front door.

Make sure existing landscaping is well-maintained. If your yard seems dull in comparison with your neighbors, consider planting flowers or repainting the front door.

Once the exterior looks good, focus on the kitchen and bathroom.

Once the exterior looks good, focus on the kitchen and bathroom. When these two rooms are outdated, they can keep a property from reaching its highest valuation, Lori Noble, a senior residential appraiser (SRA) in Charleston, West Virginia, said in an email.

And you don’t have to spring for heated towel racks or marble floors, either. A minor kitchen remodel recoups 81% of its cost in added value on average, versus 53% for an upscale kitchen remodel with stone countertops, custom cabinets and commercial-grade appliances, according to Remodeling magazine’s “2018 Cost vs. Value Report.”The same is true for bathrooms; a midrange remodel — new flooring and a few updated fixtures — delivers a 70% return on investment, while an upscale bathroom remodel — heated flooring, custom cabinets and designer fixtures — sees 56% on average.

Find out how much your home is really worth

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2. Make it low-maintenance

Since many home buyers worry about buying a home that will need constant maintenance, replacing a major component before putting it up for sale — like the furnace, water heater or even the roof — may calm fears of an emergency repair in the near future and help get you a higher price.

Improvements that make things easy to clean and maintain may also increase home value. Consider replacing easily stained carpet with hardwood floors or replace high-maintenance wood siding with vinyl siding.

3. Make it more efficient

Energy conservation features can have a significant impact on home value, depending on what area of the country you’re in, Joanne Theunissen, chair of the National Association of Home Builders Remodelers, said in an email. Energy-efficient mortgages (EEMs) allow borrowers to take on additional debt to cover both the purchase of the home as well as energy-efficient upgrades. EEMs can also offer lower mortgage rates to increase purchasing power, according to Energy.gov.

Energy conservation features can have a significant impact on home value, especially in places that experience extreme heat or cold.

Consider double-paned windows, enhanced attic insulation, LED lighting and efficient appliances as a way to increase home value and entice energy-conscious buyers.

If you’re willing to go bigger, put solar panels on the roof. Thirty-nine percent of agents surveyed recently by the National Association of Realtors said solar panels increased perceived property value. But since solar panels are a big financial and structural commitment, they only make sense if you’re hoping to increase value over the long term, not looking for a quick boost in resale value.

Schedule an assessment with a certified energy auditor or your utility company to determine where your home is wasting energy and which upgrades will save you the most money.

4. Make it bigger

“Square footage has a huge impact on value,” Angie Martin, director of operations at Hales and Associates in Overland Park, Kansas, said in an email. Price per square foot is one way she helps clients compare homes that are similar in style and upgrades.

Bigger homes often command higher values, and even if an appraiser doesn’t officially acknowledge the full value of added space, a buyer will likely notice.

Adding a room is the obvious way to make your house bigger, but you can also create additional living space by finishing the basement or building a deck.

5. Make it smarter

Safety-enhancing gadgets top the list of “smart” technologies buyers want in their new homes, according to a 2018 survey by Coldwell Banker. These safe and smart devices include thermostats, fire detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, security cameras, door locks and lighting.

While smart tech doesn’t always increase home value, it does add appeal, Tavia Galvin, a licensed Realtor in Arvada, Colorado, said in an email.

Those who see themselves as “techies” are more likely to pay more for these items, Martin said.

Unlike replacing the roof or renovating the bathroom, you can usually install these devices yourself for about $1,000 or less.

How to pay for improvements that increase value

If you can’t pay for home improvements in cash, be sure to choose the right method of financing.

Credit card: Putting home renovations on a credit card may be OK as long as you’ll be able to pay off the entire balance in a short amount of time.
Personal loan: If you don’t have enough equity for a home equity loan or HELOC, consider a personal loan. The interest rate will be higher than home-equity-based financing, but lower than a credit card in most cases.
Home equity loan or line of credit: These second mortgages turn your home’s equity into easily accessible funds. Home equity loans pay out in a lump sum while home equity lines of credit, or HELOCs, are a line of financing you can borrow against over time. Both home equity loans and HELOCs have interest rates, fees, monthly payments and tax advantages to consider.
Cash-out refinance: If you’ve built up equity but don’t want a second mortgage, consider a cash-out refinance. You’ll take out a new home loan for more than your current mortgage balance and, after closing, the proceeds will be paid to you in cash. A cash-out refinance won’t make sense if your equity is limited or current mortgage rates are higher than your rate.
Explore all of these financing options with our home improvement financing calculator.

When Is It Time To Replace Your Homes Siding?

While the purpose of your home’s exterior siding is mainly to protect your structure against exposure to the elements, prevent heat loss, and for aesthetic purposes, some siding materials are more susceptible to deterioration over time. There are several different types of siding.  Most of which seem to be made from imitative material which after some time, fall into a state of disrepair and it’s important to know when to replace your siding when the time comes.

Moldy Siding

Mold is a fungus that produces harmful spores and grows and spreads rapidly especially in humid conditions. Skilled exterior contractors will tell you that your home’s exterior siding is the perfect breeding ground for mold and the best way to tell that you have this problem is through a musty smell including black or gray dirt-like spores on your siding. While some homeowners will opt for a professional power wash, hiring an experienced exterior contractor to replace your siding will ensure the mold is completely killed and your family’s risk of getting mold-related health concerns such as asthma is reduced.  It also means that you can consider hardier vinyl siding such as what you see from CertainTeed or fiber-cement from James Hardie.

Soaring Energy Bills

An unexplainable spike in your energy bills is a sure-fire sign of an exterior siding issue that needs to be addressed, window seals leaking, or installation issue.  Some older homes have very little insulation in their walls and heat loss could be attributed to the lack of insulation. Your siding can become worn due to excessive exposure to temperature fluctuations which can contribute to a loss in heat or air conditioning. This is when you will want to consult with exterior contractors who can help you determine whether your heat loss is as a result of lack of insulation or it’s your HVAC system that’s working double time to maintain adequate temperature levels in your home.

An exterior home improvement project can be a costly affair, however, if you’re an energy conscious homeowner, hiring a professional team of exterior contractors to replace your siding can be a crucial line of defense against keeping your home energy low and cost-efficient.

Physical Damage

Warping boards, rust, discoloration, cracking, splitting, are all clear visual signs of siding wear and tear. If you find that you need to repaint your exterior siding often to keep it looking fresh, it could mean that this is a sign of structural damage that needs an assessment from professional exterior contractors.  Thus resulting in an overall exterior siding replacement just to be on the safe side.

Learn more about Kearns Brothers, a full-service home improvement contractor servicing all of Southeast Michigan’s construction needs by visiting their website at www.kearnsbrothers.com or contact a remodeling expert at 888.355.6700.

The Roofing Industry Continues Its Upward Slope

Buttressed by new home construction and storm-related damage repairs, U.S. roofing contractors are now in their fourth consecutive year of improved profitability and double-digit increases in sales, according to data from Sageworks, a financial information company.

Sales among privately held roofing contractors have increased, on average, 14 percent in the 12 months ended May 1, according to Sageworks’ financial statement analysis. That’s on top of 13.5 percent and 15 percent sales growth in 2017 and 2016, respectively.

File photo – Photographer: Emile Wamsteker/Bloomberg News

The average profit margin for roofing contractors was 6 percent in the year ended May 1, topping a steady annual rise from 4 percent in the 12 months ended May 1, 2014.

Roofing contractors have experienced stronger sales growth in recent years, tracking pretty closely with sales increases among all types of construction firms in our database and outperforming private companies broadly when you look across all industries,” says Sageworks analyst Libby Bierman. “And like many sub-industries in the construction sector, roofing contractors don’t typically have the fattest margins. However, roofers have been able to improve their profitability in recent years.”

roofing contractors industry data Sageworks

Sales trends, roofing contractors

roofing contractors industry data Sageworks

Profitability trends, roofing contractors

Construction and roofing industry experts expect the primary factors that could cloud the outlook are rising material costs and ongoing labor shortages, but demand has been strong enough of late to eclipse those concerns.

“The construction industry is booming for our clients, and experts are predicting continued growth,” says Ed Lloyd, CPA, whose public accounting firm specializes in construction and business development. “This growth includes the commercial and residential markets for new and existing building. The growth and need for construction has improved the margins as contracts are able to increase their prices with the increased demand.”

Storm-driven activity and the more upbeat economy in 2017 promoted residential roofing and reroofing demand, and commercial roofers were especially bullish with their sales outlooks heading into 2018, according to Roofing Contractor’s 2017 State of the Industry Report.

However, with oil prices having risen and recent declarations of U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, roofing contractors are likely to be dealing with more inflation this year for their supplies of shingles and gutter material.

“It is critical for the individuals estimating the projects to understand the change in material costs and reflect these changes in their pricing,” Lloyd said. Profit margins of around 6 percent can quickly be eaten up by a 10 percent tariff on imported aluminum, so contractors should make sure they include a contingency clause in contracts to cover price increases in materials as they are passed along from their own suppliers. Lloyd said working with a business advisor who specializes in the industry can help business owners track forecasting, profitability and other management issues.

Roofing contractors are also facing higher worker costs in 2018, according to the Roofing Contractor’s report. Three quarters of residential roofers and nearly 90 percent of commercial roofing contractors surveyed said they are seeing increased labor costs.

Worker shortages are not only pressuring bottom lines but also top-line revenue. The National Roofing Contractors Association has called the chronic shortage of qualified workers the top limitation on roofing employers’ ability to grow their businesses. “Most contractors indicate they could be doing 10 to 20 percent or more work if they could only fill vacant positions, which translates into an estimated $3.6 billion to $7.2 billion in lost economic activity annually,” the association wrote in a letter earlier this year supporting immigration reform.

Through its cooperative data model, Sageworks collects and aggregates financial statements for private companies from accounting firms, banks and credit unions. Net profit margin has been adjusted to exclude taxes and include owner compensation in excess of their market-rate salaries. These adjustments are commonly made to private company financials in order to provide a more accurate picture of the companies’ operational performance.

Original Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/sageworks/2018/06/03/the-roofing-industry-continues-its-upward-slope/2/#69c4ab354713

Original Date: June 3 2018

Written By: Mary Ellen Biery

5 Tips on Why it Pays to Hire a Professional Contractor

Renovating a home can be daunting, but the entire process can be much easier if you hire a professional contractor to assist you.  After all, how much do you know about building codes, permits, and basic home remodeling projects?  Seriously though, there are literally dozens of reasons why you and everyone else should hire a professional contractor for home improvement projects of any size.

Here are 5 tips on why it pays to hire a professional contractor:

  1. Saves Time

Most home remodeling projects are completed on schedule when a professional contractor is involved, which means that you will have your home back to normal much sooner that you would if you didn’t hire someone.

  1. Connections

A professional contractor is going to have numerous connections that you do not have, and that means that they may be able to get their hands on the materials that you can’t find.  These connections can also help you save money, because they will receive discounts from the vendors that they work with often.

  1. Experience

A professional contractor has multiple years of home improvement experience, and that experience can benefit you immensely.  Your professional contractor can tell you immediately if something you want will work in the space or if you are wasting your money choosing one material over another.

  1. Safety

Professional contractors know all the codes for the home remodeling projects they work on, so you will never need to worry if your electrical, plumbing, or anything else will pass inspection.  This also ensures that you and your family are safe long after the work is completed.

  1. Saves Money

You are going to want to come in at or under budget for your home remodeling project, and while anyone can accomplish that feat, only professional contractors will do it properly.  Anyone who isn’t a professional may cut corners to make the numbers work out, but that is only going to cause you headaches in the future when half of the work needs to be done once again.  You will never need to worry about that happening when you hire a professional contractor, as they will get everything done correctly the first time.

These are the five best reasons why you need to hire a professional contractor for your next home improvement project.  If you have never hired a professional contractor before, you should do so for your next home remodeling project, as you will see a major difference in the results.

Learn more about Kearns Brothers, a full-service home improvement contractor servicing all of Southeast Michigan’s construction needs by visiting their website at www.kearnsbrothers.com or contact a remodeling expert at 888.355.6700.

The HGTV effect: Home-improvement shows bring high expectations for homebuyers

Chip and Joanna Gaines do it. So do Jonathan and Robert Scott and Hillary Farr and David Visentin.

All it takes is a few tools, some fresh paint, a few helpers and wham — in less time than it takes to air a few 30-second commercials, a kitchen is remodeled or a sleek wooden deck is built and the abutting landscape is transformed into an urban oasis.

And while these scenarios play out regularly on shows like “Love It or List It,” “Property Brothers,” “House Hunters” and “Fixer Upper,” there are some area real estate, building, and design professionals who believe that those who buy into HGTV (Home & Garden Television) reality shows like these need a reality check.

“It’s an interesting situation because HGTV home renovation shows have gotten homeowners more excited about doing renovations, but at the same time, there are fewer people with the skill sets necessary to do the work,” said Sheryle DeGirolamo, a broker and owner of Kensington Real Estate Brokerage in Attleboro and Boston.

Often times, expectations — especially those of younger, first-time homebuyers — are too high, she said.

“With some, the last house they lived in was their parents’ second or third house, and they are looking for a house like Mom and Dad’s,” DeGirolamo said. “They don’t think about the fact that their parents’ first home was probably nothing like the one they live in now.”

Patrice O’Neil, an agent at ReMax Real Estate Center in North Attleboro and Foxboro, said that she, too, has clients who “want everything ready to rock ’n’ roll in their first home” with must-haves like granite countertops, kitchen islands, hardwood floors and other pricey aesthetic amenities.

“It’s all tied to (home shows on) HGTV. People — including me — are hooked on it,” she admitted, joking that she’s even “given thought to moving to Waco, Texas,” home to Chip and Joanna Gaines of “Fixer Upper” fame.

“Unfortunately, costs in Massachusetts are not what they are in Waco, and people here are often times very unrealistic about what things cost — especially repairs,” O’Neil said. “You can’t just knock down a wall, or install a kitchen island … it’s not that easy and certainly not as inexpensive as it is there.”

She said that most couples buying homes both work full-time, and some have children, so their time is limited. What they think is a quick weekend project could realistically linger on for months.

“Some of them have never painted before or done a construction project, and they get in way over their heads,” she said.

John Bryson, owner of JM Bryson Construction Management of North Attleboro, has been on the other end of these do-it-yourself jobs, where his company has had to repair the damage done by homeowners who thought they could do projects themselves — only to realize that they are much more complicated, costly, and time-consuming than originally thought.

“People need to be really honest with themselves about what things cost and how long projects take,” Bryson said. “I will sometimes send (customers) to a ‘cost vs. value’ website where they can see for themselves the costs of remodeling jobs in different parts of the country.”

Bryson claimed that most construction companies — his included — have tightened their belts over the years and don’t have as many employees as they once did, so they work with outside contractors who are working on other jobs at the same time.

“Not only can people be unrealistic about costs, but about timelines, too,” he said.

They often don’t take into account things like permitting, inspections, delays in getting materials and availability of plumbers, electricians or other professionals, he said.

“Can we do a kitchen in a week? In a perfect world, yes, if we have no problems or issues,” Bryson said. “But the reality is that things come up and most of us don’t have the resources at our fingertips that they do on HGTV shows.”

Bryson, who has had his business for 36 years, said he is fortunate to have a core group of subcontractors with whom he has worked for decades. But he has seen “nightmare scenarios” play out for customers who tried to cut corners and save money by using unlicensed contractors who don’t have quality or reliable subcontractors.

“You get some guys who fill their (customers’) heads with low numbers, but they have no insurance, are looking for subcontractors as they’re doing the job … it’s a recipe for disaster,” he maintained. “For the legitimate guys, we have to pay taxes, workmen’s comp … You know the adage: You get what you pay for.”

Veteran interior designer Elizabeth Gardner Haney, a North Attleboro resident, said she has had clients who wanted to be their own contractors only to find there was much more to it than they had originally thought.

“The average homeowner doesn’t have 19 people behind the scenes doing sanding, carpentry, cleaning and everything else like they do on the HGTV shows,” she said. “And doing a home renovation project while living in the space can be quite a challenge.”

Even though HGTV home improvement shows may give viewers unrealistic expectations when it comes to home buying and home remodeling, Haney said that they give homeowners “some incredible ideas that spark creativity and help them to determine what their individual style is.”

“HGTV has brought the word ‘home’ back into the mainstream,” Haney said. “Home should be your sanctuary, a place where you can turn the key, open the door and be comforted.”

“Even if you can’t afford to do a major renovation or to hire an interior designer, just changing the paint color or buying soft décor like a new accent rug, a throw for the couch, some new pillows … can make all the difference,” she added.

O’Neil said that in addition to unrealistic ideas about costs associated with home buying and renovation, the seemingly effortless home searches are quixotic.

“I have to temper their expectations, because unlike on HGTV, we are not going to look at three houses and find the perfect one,” she said. “I’ve shown people 20, 30, 40 houses before finding the right one.”

O’Neil also alluded to the fact that it is a seller’s market, meaning there are more prospective home buyers than there are homes available. This, in turn, has driven up prices.

According to a recent report by the Massachusetts Association of Realtors, the median home price for a single-family home in the commonwealth is $410,000 — up 7.9 percent since June 2016.

“This is the first time it’s exceeded $400,000,” said Paul Yorkis, past president of the Massachusetts Association of Realtors and owner of Patriot Real Estate in Medway. “First-time homebuyers — those looking at low- and moderately priced homes — are having a tough time finding a home. It’s partly due to price, but it’s also that they’re competing for the exact same dwelling with existing homeowners who want to downsize to a condo or a smaller home.”

“Inventory is the lowest it’s been in the last 20 years,” he added. “And there’s not a high volume of new construction — and I’m not talking about $1 million-plus condos in Boston, but (affordable) homes and condos in places like Attleboro, Medway, Foxboro …”

But on the bright side, DeGirolamo opined, aspiring home buyers do usually find something — especially if they are patient and temper their expectations.

“We live in a society where we want instant gratification,” she said. “With home buying and home renovation, that is usually just not the case — despite what you see on HGTV.”

Orignal Source: http://www.thesunchronicle.com/news/local_news/the-hgtv-effect-home-improvement-shows-bring-high-expectations-for/article_40b19dfa-63ae-584e-a87b-17fd90501c88.html

Original Date: June 8 2018

Written By:

Exterior Home Improvement Contractors Share Unique Porch Concepts

A perfectly executed exterior home improvement project will not only increase the value of your home, but you might also find yourself chasing off prying neighbors who want to take pictures of your home because it makes for a stunning backdrop. The average return on investment (ROI) of a professionally installed porch, deck, or patio construction is about 73% and average even higher for high-quality wooden decks.

According to exterior home improvement contractors a porch addition, such a masonry blocks are not only the most popular thing to add during a home improvement, they also come in different wall heights that you can either use as retaining walls, tree rings, fire pits, or even stack them up to create eye-catching layers of raised planting beds. Renovating a dated porch and front yard requires more than a lick of paint or a little weeding. You can transform your homes curb appeal by using uniquely designed pavers to create a stunning walkway or entrance to your renovated front porch.

Other creative ways to liven up your home’s exterior and improve the look of your front porch without breaking the bank include painting, replacing the front door, and adding masonry enhancements. Your front door is the first thing that catches your eye and using a bold color or replacing it with a decorative door is an easy and affordable way to instantly add some character and provide a more welcoming entryway into your house.

Changing dated items on your porch such as light fixtures, locks, handles, or house numbers can help you call attention to certain features you want people to notice. According to exterior home improvement contractors, if you’re happy with the look of your door, you can spend money on upgrading the front porch color and light fixtures. Soft porch lights can enhance your home’s overall look and make it appear more inviting. Most importantly, exterior lighting such as solar lights don’t use any electricity from the house, and they improve security by reducing dark spots around your home.

If you have a seating area, even the smallest space on your porch, contractors can help you create a warm and welcoming entry.  As well as the installation a few low-maintenance flowers, porch furniture and outdoor artwork to create an attractive focal point. Get creative with your flower containers as well as outdoor rugs to bring life and color to the front of your home.

Learn more about Kearns Brothers, a full-service home improvement contractor servicing all of Southeast Michigan’s construction needs by visiting their website at www.kearnsbrothers.com or contact a remodeling expert at 888.355.6700.

6 Affordable Renovations That Will Instantly Boost Your Home Value

Chances are your home is the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought. Yet if you’re like most of us, what you spent to acquire it is only the beginning.

As a group, we’re expected to spend $340 billion fixing up our homes this year, according to Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. That’s about four times as much as we spend on summer vacations and nearly as much as we sock away annually in our 401(k)s.

It pays to plan carefully and make smart choices with return on investment in mind. While the average remodeling job recoups less than two-thirds of its cost at sale, according to trade publication Remodeling Magazine’s 2018 Cost Vs. Value report, some projects are more effective at saving money than others.

Here are six smart projects that almost entirely pay for themselves in resale value:

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Change your color scheme

$200 to $300 per room

More than two-thirds of real estate agents recommend repainting the inside of your home before putting it on the market, according to a 2017 survey by home-renovation website Houzz.

Other studies have shown a fresh coat in the right shade can add thousands to your sale price. In recent years, neutral tones like gray, beige, and “greige,” a mix of the two, have been popular, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

If you’re willing to do the job yourself—and there’s no reason you shouldn’t—repainting can be one of the cheapest ways to spruce up your living space for prospective buyers or your own enjoyment.

A 10-by-12-foot room with eight-foot ceilings should require one gallon ($30–$60 at Home Depot) per coat, according to paint brand Glidden’s online calculator. Factoring in other necessities like brushes, tarps, and painter’s tape, and assuming two coats of paint, you should expect to pay $200 to $300 per room to paint yourself, or $400 to $800 to hire a professional, according to Angie’s List.

Clive Nichols—GAP Interiors


$300 to $4,750

A little lawn care can go a long way. Six applications of fertilizer and weed control, a project that should cost roughly $330, returns $1,000 at sale, according to a recent survey by the National Association of Realtors. Willing to spend a bit more? A stone walkway lined with greenery estimated to cost $4,750 returns an average of $5,000 at sale, the survey found.

Why? “You can only have one first impression,” says Buffalo appraiser Jim Murrett. Just be sure to keep it simple. While maintaining a well-kept lawn is usually smart, don’t expect extras like elaborate designs, paver stones, or fountains to hold their value. “You don’t want to be above the top,” Murrett says.

Save your energy


As many as nine in 10 houses in the U.S. are under-insulated, according to the U.S. government’s Energy Star program. What about yours? Chances are good if it was built before 1980 or your winter heating bills regularly top your neighbors’, says Dan DiClerico, in-house expert at renovation website HomeAdvisor.

To find out for sure, check the attic for at least 11 inches of fiberglass insulation or eight inches of cellulose insulation.

“If it’s dirty, that’s a good sign that it’s at the end of its service,” he says. Fixing the problem can cut your heating bills by about 10%, according to the Environmental Protection Agency—a huge potential win in colder states like Connecticut and Rhode Island, where heating oil costs can run $60 to $80 a month, according to personal finance website WalletHub.

While shopping for something you won’t even see isn’t as fun as picking out the perfect color for a brand-new kitchen, the monthly savings can be significant, considering the modest cost of the project. The average price to professionally install fiberglass attic insulation was $1,343, according to a 2017 estimate from building-industry trade publication Remodeling magazine.

Replace old windows

$2,500 to $7,500

Replacing old windows with newer, energy-efficient ones can save you anywhere from $25 to $450 a year in heating and cooling costs, according to the government’s Energy Star program. But that’s not even the biggest reason to upgrade.

New windows can do a lot to freshen your home’s appearance, while also elimi­nating drafts that can quickly turn off prospective buyers when you decide to sell, says Murrett.

A mid-range window replacement running about $5,000 typically delivers the best value, since the priciest options tend to be more about aesthetics than insulation, according to Zillow Talk: Rewriting the Rules of Real Estate. A full window replacement isn’t always nec­essary. Look for rotting frames or condensation between win­dow panes as surefire signs it’s time to replace your win­dows, says HomeAdvisor’s DiClerico.

If the glass is dam­aged but not the frame, homeowners might be able to save up to 25% by partially replacing the windows with window inserts that fit inside the existing frame, he adds.

Install the hardwood floor of your dreams

$7,032 to $10,214

Hardwood floors are pricier to install than wall-to-wall carpet, but they look more elegant and in the long run may actually save you money too.

For instance, the all-in cost for installing a mid-range red-oak floor in a 900-square-foot space runs from $7,032 and $10,214, according to the price calculator on home-renovation site Homewyse.com. That’s almost two times the price of carpeting the same-size space—which would cost between $3,650 and $5,050. (Exact prices vary by zip code.)

Still, carpets last only about 10 years, while hardwood floors typically carry a warranty for at least 25. In other words, you’ll be on your third carpet by the time you even need to think about replacing a hardwood floor.

To make sure your floor lasts, sweep and vacuum regularly, reapply a protective coating every three to five years, and sand and refinish the floors “every few decades,” says DiClerico. “This is why we have hardwood floors that are 100 years old in historic homes,” he says.

Kick up your curb appeal


If there’s one rule of thumb when it comes to home renovations, it’s that less is more. In fact, the project that delivers the best value of all, according to Remodeling Magazine’s 2018 Cost vs. Value report, is the humble garage door.

The all-in cost of replacing an outdated garage door with an upscale steel model boosts your home’s value by 98.3% of what it costs to install. In other words, a $3,470 garage door will really set you back only $60 when you put your house on the market.

“If you’re going to sell [anytime soon], this gives you almost immediate return,” says appraiser Murrett.

There are other benefits too—like improved insulation, especially in colder states—which can lower your energy bill.

Original Source: http://time.com/money/5228458/affordable-renovations-boost-home-value/

Original Date: April 5 2018

Original Author: Shaina Mishkin

Increase Your Home’s Value Through Exterior Home Improvements

Chances are your home will be the single largest investment you will ever make in your lifetime and because of this, you will want to be sure that you are doing everything to prevent it from losing value. One way that a home’s value can be maintained or even increased is to pay close attention to the exterior of the home.


When it is time to consider exterior improvements, you should look for reputable exterior home improvement contractors in your area. These companies have the expertise in planning and carrying out most any type of exterior work that you could ever need. Be sure that do your due diligence when it comes to selecting the best contractor so that you feel confident that they will do all of the work you that are asking them to do.


Curb appeal is one of the primary motivators when it comes to planning any exterior home improvements. Making the outside of your home and the surrounding areas will go a long ways in making it more appealing from a visual standpoint. We have come up with 7 ways that you can easily spruce up the exterior of your home that will add value to the property.

Entry door replacement

The front door of any home is absolutely the first thing that most people notice about a house when they are looking at it from the street. That is why it is essential that you pay extra attention to how attractive your front entry door looks from the street. You also will want to be sure that it is up to date, but not look out of place with the rest of the exterior.

Adding architectural stone accent

Architectural stone and rock will add an extra bit of character to the outside of your home. This is one way to really spruce the outside of your home if it looking kind of blah. You may want to reconsider if you have any brick veneer on your home currently, if so the two may clash and not really look good together.

Garage door replacement

If you have an attached garage and it faces the street, chances are it might be the largest single feature on the front of the house. If this is the case, then you might want to consider replacing or even repainting the entire garage door. This will help to add a really nice touch to your home and quite possibly may add some value to your home.

Siding replacement or refinish

If you still have the original wood siding on your home from when it was first built, you may want to consider looking into one or more of the newer siding materials that are being offered by contractors today. Vinyl siding gives you really good looks, amazing durability and extra insulation can be added for additional energy savings in your home.

Adding a deck

Outdoor entertaining is really popular these days and having a deck off the back door can really add quite a bit of value to your home. With so many material options and colors to choose from, you should easily be able to find what looks best for what you can afford.

Replace the whole roof

A good-looking roof is very important when it comes to curb appeal and the elements can easily take their toll on the look and effectiveness of a shingle roof. You may want to get a professional opinion about the condition and look of your roof from a professional inspector.


Rework the patio

There is so much that can be done on a patio these days which can easily add some much desire value to your property. If you find one of the top exterior home improvement contractors, you can be assured that they will help you make it look its best.


Learn more about Kearns Brothers, a full-service home improvement contractor servicing all of Southeast Michigan’s construction needs by visiting their website at www.kearnsbrothers.com or contact a remodeling expert at 888.355.6700.