Ohio Realtors

Presidents Columns

Presidentscolumns

Feel free to use the following articles, under your president's name, in your local newspapers.

Winter 2019

Cost vs. Value: The Home Improvement Projects With the Highest ROI in 2019

Are you looking to remodel your home? Remodelers across the country took a hit last summer as the cost of building materials spiked dramatically, and the picture for 2019 isn't much rosier, according to RIS Media. The percentage of return on investment (ROI) is projected to trend downward for all the replacement projects listed in Remodeling magazine's newly-released Cost vs. Value Report.

Larger indoor remodel projects took a hit as well, but weren't impacted as greatly as replacement projects as they rely more on labor costs rather than material costs.

Nationally, here are the five projects with the greatest ROI in the report's mid-range cost category:

Manufactured Stone Veneer (94.9% ROI)

Average Cost: $8,907
Average Resale Value: $8,449

Minor Kitchen Remodel (80.5% ROI)

Average Cost: $22,507
Average Resale Value: $18,123

Deck Addition (Wood) (75.6% ROI)

Average Cost: $13,333
Average Resale Value: $10,083

Siding Replacement (75.6% ROI)

Average Cost: $16,036
Average Resale Value: $12,119

Entry Door Replacement (Steel) (74.9% ROI)

Average Cost: $1,826
Average Resale Value: $1,368

And the five projects with the greatest ROI in the report's upscale cost category are:

Garage Door Replacement (97.5% ROI)

Average Cost: $3,611
Average Resale Value: $3,520

Window Replacement (Vinyl) (73.4% ROI)

Average Cost: $16,802
Average Resale Value: $12,332

Grand Entrance (Fiberglass) (71.9% ROI)

Average Cost: $8,994
Average Resale Value: $6,469

Window Replacement (Wood) (70.8% ROI)

Average Cost: $20,526
Average Resale Value: $14,530

Bathroom Remodel (60.2% ROI)

Average Cost: $64,743
Average Resale Value: $38,952

Nationally—and on the other end of the spectrum—here are the five projects with the lowest ROI in the mid-range cost category:

Backyard Patio (55.2% ROI)

Average Cost: $56,906
Average Resale Value: $31,430

Master Suite Addition (59.4% ROI)

Average Cost: $130,986
Average Resale Value: $77,785

Bathroom Addition (60.6% ROI)

Average Cost: $47,427
Average Resale Value: $28,726

Roofing Replacement (Metal) (60.9% ROI)

Average Cost: $38,600
Average Resale Value: $23,526

Major Kitchen Remodel (62.1% ROI)

Average Cost: $66,196
Average Resale Value: $41,133

The 2019 Cost vs. Value Report surveyed more than 3,200 real estate professionals about returns for 22 popular renovation projects in 136 different U.S. housing markets—up from 100 markets last year.

And remember, the next time your in the market to buy or sell your home, contact a REALTOR member of the ___________________ Board of REALTORS. A REALTOR's knowledge about your local housing market is invaluable.


The Best Time of Year to Buy Things for Your Home

Need some home improvements? Do you want to know when to look for sales on mattresses, appliances, tools and furnishings? Then read on ...

According to HouseLogic, the National Association of REALTORS consumer website, buying can be stressful. Cheap out, and you could regret it. Overspend, and you’ll cut into your budget. Knowing the best time of year to buy appliances and other household items can lessen the anxiety.

Furniture: January and July

You could save 30% to 60% buying furniture in January and July, as stores try to clear out inventory and make way for new pieces, which manufacturers introduce in February and August. Floor samples especially often sell for a song, so don’t hesitate to ask.

Linens and Towels: January

Department store “white sales” are still a favorite marketing tactic and make January the best time to binge on high-quality bedding and towels. If the exact color or style you’re seeking is out of stock, ask in-store for a rain check, so you can get exactly what you want at the price that can’t be beat.

Major Appliances: January, September, October and the Holidays

The prices on this year’s appliances bottom out when they suddenly become last year’s models. With the exception of refrigerators (more on that below), you can pick up last year’s models for way less in September, October and January, when stores are making room for new inventory.

For good deals on this year’s models, wait for Black Friday and the holidays. The season rivals inventory clear-out bargains as the best time of year for sales on appliances. And if you’ve got more than one appliance on the fritz, holidays are often the time to find incentives for buying multiple items.

Refrigerators: May

Unlike other big-ticket appliances, new fridges are released in May. Combine the need for retail turnover with Memorial Day sales, and you get epic savings nearly all month long, making it the best time of year to buy a new refrigerator.

Mattresses: February and May

Even the most obscure holiday seems to inspire mattress sale commercials. Annoying, yes, but also a reminder that you should never pay full price for a mattress. The best time of year for sales is February (courtesy of Presidents Day) and May (Memorial Day).

Many department stores offer coupons for additional savings on the sale price, while specialty chains — which have the biggest markups — can drop prices 50% or more. But don’t waste your time price shopping: Manufacturers have exclusive deals with retailers for each model, so the only way to find a lower price is to snuggle up to a different mattress.

Snow Blowers: March and April

The best time to pick up a low-cost snow blower is exactly when you DON’T need it: in March and April. That time of year, no store wants them taking precious floor space away from spring merch like patio furniture and grills.

Vacuums: April and May

New vacs debut in June, so last year’s models go on sale in April and May — just in time for spring cleaning.

Roofing: May

For the lowest price on materials, buy in May.

But if you’re paying a pro to install a new roof, contractor rates begin their climb April 1 and stay high through fall. So if weather allows for wintertime installation, you could save big.

Gas Grills: July and August

Come July 5, there’s still smoke in the air from Fourth of July fireworks, but stores are already moving on to Halloween, with Christmas not far behind. So, they’ll cook up juicy savings on grills and other summer staples in July and August. Sales peak by Labor Day, so you could pick up a new grill and still have time to host one final summer hurrah.

Lawn Mowers: August, September, and May

August and September are the perfect time to retire an ailing mower. You’ll find the lowest prices of the year (but also the slimmest selection) as stores replace mowers with snow blowers. Retailers also kick off the season with sales every April. You generally won’t save quite as much, but you’ll have more choices.

Power Tools: June and December

Power tools are a favorite go-to gift for Father’s Day and the holidays, so June and December are the best time to buy tools like cordless drills.

Paint: January, May, July, November, and December

Prices for interior and exterior paint bottom out when the mercury (and demand) falls — in November, December, and January, but also when it rises back up, in May and July.

HVAC equipment: March, April, October, and November

Like snow blowers, the best time to buy furnaces and whole-house air conditioning systems is when you don’t need them. Prices are lowest during months with moderate temperatures — generally March and April, then October and November.

Many installers also run promotions during these slow seasons to help load their books. They also may be more willing to negotiate a lower price or throw in a free upgrade like a fancy thermostat.

Flooring: December and January

From mid-December and into January, homeowners tend to take a break from major remodeling projects because of the holidays. Flooring retailers and installers are looking for business, so that gorgeous wide-plank flooring or luscious carpet can be yours for an even more scrumptious price.

And remember, the next time your in the market to buy or sell your home, contact a REALTOR member of the ___________________ Board of REALTORS. A REALTOR's knowledge about your local housing market is invaluable.


7 Important Repairs to Make Before Selling A House

As a smart seller, you’ll want your home in tip-top shape — but you don’t want to eat into your profits by overspending on home improvements. You won’t be around to enjoy them anyway. The key is to focus on the most important repairs to make before selling a house to ensure every dollar you spend supports a higher asking price.

But how do you know what things to do before putting your house on the market? According to HouseLogic, the National Association of REALTORS consumer website, prioritize these updates — and consider letting the rest go.

#1 The Most Important Repair to Make Before Selling: Fix Damaged Flooring

Scratched-up wood flooring, ratty, outdated carpeting, and tired linoleum make your home feel sad. Buyers might take one step inside and scratch the property from their list. Want to know how to increase the value of your home? Install new flooring.

Wax and buff your hardwood floors yourself to save money. Use wax suited to your floor and finish. Expect to spend about $3,000 on the project — and recoup 100% of the cost, according to the “National Association of REALTORS Remodeling Impact Report.”

Consider swapping any old flooring for new hardwood. This project costs more at around $5,500, but you could recoup more than 90% of that at resale. If that’s not in the budget, any flooring update makes an enormous difference.

#2 Fix Water Stains

You’ve learned to live with the results of a long-fixed plumbing snafu, but for buyers, a water stain suggests there could be a dozen pesky problems hidden beneath the surface. That’s why this is one of the things to do before putting your house on the market.

First, make sure the problem is fixed: Bring in a plumber to look for leaky piping or poor yard drainage if your basement is damp. Diverting rainwater from your foundation may cost as little as $800, and repairing a leaking pipe costs approximately $300.

As for the repair work, replacing a water-stained ceiling runs about $670, and drywall costs around $1.50 per square foot.

All are cheaper than a lost sale.

#3 Repair Torn Window Screens

Super inexpensive — and even DIY-able. You can purchase a window screen frame repair kit from a home improvement store for $10 to $15.

Considering the simplicity of this repair, making the fix is always worth it — and so are other small but highly visible issues. When you’re debating how to increase the value of your home, nix any small problems, snags, or ugly spots that might make buyers scrunch up their brows.

#4 Update Grout

Is your grout yellowing or cracked? Buyers will notice. New grout, on the other hand, can make old floors look like they came straight from the showroom.

This is another small fix with a big impact: Simple bathroom re-grouting may cost just $1 to $2 per square foot, increasing to $10 per square foot for more complicated jobs. And if you’re handy, you can save even more DIY-ing it.

#5 Fix your Dying Lawn

Nothing says, “This one’s gonna take some work” like a brown, patchy, weedy lawn.

Fixing the problem doesn’t cost a ton of money — and you’ll get it all back once you sell. Hiring a lawn care service to apply fertilizer and weed control will cost about $375. Once you sell the home, that comparatively cheap fix could recoup $1,000. That’s an unbeatable 267% return on investment.

#6 Erase Pet Damage

Did your darling kitten scratch your bedroom door? Fix the damage before listing your home.

Refinishing a door costs between $100 and $215 (or less, if you’re willing to DIY). Replacing pet-damaged carpeting or hardwood may be a bigger job than buffing out some scuffs — but it’s worth the cash.

#7 Revive an Outdated Kitchen

A full kitchen renovation is rarely worth it when it comes time to sell — even though buyers love a fresh look.

The problem is, this $65,000 upgrade isn’t something that buyers will pay you back for. Sellers recoup about 62% of a full-on kitchen renovation. If you’re updating the space just for your sale, focus on low-cost, high-impact projects instead.

Simply painting wood cabinets, updating hardware, or installing new countertops or appliances could be enough.

Setting up your home for selling success doesn’t have to be expensive. Focus on the most important repairs to make before selling a house by picking projects that do more than look pretty. Choose updates that get your home in selling shape and justify a higher asking price.

And remember, the next time your in the market to buy or sell your home, contact a REALTOR member of the ___________________ Board of REALTORS. A REALTOR's knowledge about your local housing market is invaluable.


Organize Your Home In a Month In Less Than an Hour a Day

Did you ever notice that your self-improvement pacts with yourself are action oriented? Walk 10,000 steps a day or fix that leaky faucet.

But “get organized”? It’s a goal so broad that just trying to figure out what action to take makes you wonder what you were thinking in the first place. It’s like you need an organizing plan for your organizing.

HouseLogic, the National Association of REALTORS consumer website offers these steps, spending less than an hour day (sometimes just a few moments), to a better organized home:

Do That Project
What about your space is making you feel uncomfortable or overwhelmed? Is it the paperwork disaster in your office? The pile of clothes teetering on your dresser? Or that mess that surrounds your doorway? Start with what’s annoying you. One hour on that task will get your organizing engine revving.

Create a "Go Away" Box
Put anything you’re planning to donate in it (or give to a friend, or take to recycle). And keep it by the door so you can easily grab it when you’re leaving.

Deal With the Decorations
Once the holidays are over and you’re putting away your décor, donate anything you didn’t bring out last season, and separate decorations by holiday.

Create a System for Your Entryway
Set up a “command center” so your front door doesn’t become a lawless accessories arena, especially during winter months. Add hooks for coats, bins for shoes, and a mail sorter if you need it.

Wrangle Your Pet Supplies
Minimize the time spent scrambling when your pup is desperate for a walk or eager for a meal. Hang hooks and cubbies near the door and keep leashes, kibble, bowls, and toys in one convenient spot.

Organize Your Spices
Arrange your herbs and spices alphabetically, by cuisine, or by brand — whatever makes them easier to find when you’re in the middle of your noodle stir fry.

Pare Down Your Utensils
You’ve accumulated several dozen kitchen utensils in your culinary career: can openers, microplanes, several wine openers. Pare down the collection and use drawer dividers to keep the remainders in order.

Reconfigure Your Pots and Pans
Stop digging around in your shelves for the oversized, cast-iron skillet. Donate the pots and pans you hardly use, and install cupboard organizers to help manage the rest.

Throw Away Expired Foods
Go through your refrigerator and pantry and ditch anything past its prime.

Stack Your Pantry Staples
Make better use of your pantry by sorting through your staple dry goods — think flour, sugar, pasta, oatmeal, dry beans — and putting them in airtight, stackable containers. You’ll free up a ton of space, too.

Say No to Coffee Mug Over-Saturation
Every time you lose a sock, a new coffee mug appears. Keep one or two mugs for every coffee or tea drinker and donate the rest.

Sort Your Food Storage Containers
No singles allowed. Toss any tops or bottoms that have no mates.

Reassess Your Display Shelves
Shelves crammed with knickknacks, books you’ll never read, and stuff you somehow accumulated are just a waste of space. Donate books to the library, discard the junk, and arrange what’s left in a way that pleases you.

Deal With Your Cables
With a Roku, PlayStation, DVD player, and a cable box, it’s no surprise your entertainment center is a mess. Create ID tags for each plug from bread tags or cable ties, and bundle the clutter together with velcro strips.

Put Clothes on New Hangers
Switch your clothes over to the slimmer, grabbier hangers. They use less space and keep your clothes from sliding down to your closet floor. As you do this, discard the clothes you never wear.

Corral Your Accessories
Belts, scarves, purses, hats — all the accessories that don’t have a drawer or spot in the closet can end up everywhere. Buy an accessories hanger or install a simple series of hooks to give your wardrobe’s smallest members a home.

Purge Under the Bed
Under-bed storage is ideal for out-of-season clothing. But when out-of-season becomes out-of-sight and out-of-mind, clear out those clothes you’ll never wear again from this precious storage space.

Shred Old Paperwork
Not every form, statement, and tax record needs to stay in your filing cabinet forever. Check out this list to make sure you’re not wasting space. Shred the rest to ward off identity thieves.

Get Rid of Mystery Electronics
Do you have a drawer where black mystery cords, chargers, and oddball electronic bits go to die? Free that drawer up for better uses, or at least get rid of the ones you know for sure are “dead.”

Pare Down Your Personal Care Stuff
Your intentions were honorable when you bought that curl-enhancing shampoo — but it expired two years ago, and you haven’t used it since. Throw away any expired potions, salves, hair products, and medicines.

Tackle Under-the-Sink Storage
Clean everything out. You’ll be amazed at what you find (like those Magic Erasers you could never find). Then put back everything you’re keeping in bins you can easily pull out so nothing gets lost again.

Reduce Your Towels and Linens
There are the towels you use — and the stack of towels you never use. Donate them to the animal shelter. Those torn pillowcases? Convert to rags or toss. Same for napkins, dishtowels, pot holders, etc.

Hang a Shoe Organizer
Hanging shoe organizers can solve a ton of storage problems beyond the obvious. They can store scarves, mittens, cleaning supplies, craft supplies. You can even cut them to custom-fit inside a cabinet door.

Organize Your Junk Drawer for Good
There’s no shame in a junk drawer — but why not organize it? Dump the whole thing on one surface and sort everything into piles. Use drawer dividers to keep each pile in its own space.

Store Your Tools the Right Way
Finding the right Phillips-head screwdriver to put together that cute IKEA bookshelf shouldn’t be so hard. Track down your hammers and screwdrivers, and arrange them in one easy-to-access spot, such as a pegboard.

Take a look around your newly organized home, making note of any spaces you missed. Then dream a bit about your next home project. Maybe paint that dining room, finally?

And remember, the next time your in the market to buy or sell your home, contact a REALTOR member of the ___________________ Board of REALTORS. A REALTOR's knowledge about your local housing market is invaluable.