Don’t Make This Mistake with Your Renovation

So, you’re planning a renovation. Congratulations. But while you’re checking the Yellow Pages for architects and thinking about digging out the basement, don’t forget about your neighbors.

After all, they’re the ones you’ll be competing with when it comes time to sell.

Look at it this way. If a major renovation will make yours the most expensive house on the block, you may never recoup your costs when you sell.

But if your house is the neighborhood embarrassment and you want to bring it in line with its fellows, then a major renovation is the way to go.

You might want to scope out the neighborhood before beginning the work.

You should also talk about the kinds of changes happening in the area and visit open houses.

Even better, take the dog for a long walk and check what other people are doing to their houses.

Have recently purchased properties been razed to make way for monster houses?

Are your neighbors making tasteful additions that expand their living space? Follow their lead.

That goes for fixtures as well.

Homeowners are often dismayed to learn that the fixtures, hardwood floors and soaring ceilings are just too rich for their neighborhood.

When it comes time to sell, you won’t recover the cost of granite countertops and maple floors, because the buyers who want this quality won’t be looking in your neighborhood.

A wise man once suggested that if you buy a poor house on a good street, you’re making a great investment. But if you buy a great house in a poor neighborhood, well, not so much.

Keep the neighbors in mind when you’re planning your renovation and you’ll make the right decision not only for now, but also for the future.

How Porcelain Tile Can Raise the Value of Your Home

Installing quality tile flooring can increase the potential resale value of your home.

Porcelain tile is a great way to add thousands of dollars in value.

Porcelain is a high-quality building material and one of the most versatile and durable tiles on the market.

It makes a terrific selling point, even more so than regular ceramic tile, wood flooring or marble tile.

For a number of years, porcelain tile was mainly available for commercial-type installation.

Today, though, it is fast becoming a popular residential flooring material.

New glazing technology has opened up porcelain to a wider range of applications, including mimicking and replacing costlier and less durable materials such as wood and marble.

With the recent developments in digital printing on porcelain as well, the faux wood and marble look like the real thing without the big price tag.

Porcelain is a highly dense, practically scratch-resistant material. It is even harder than granite tile. And because it outperforms many flooring materials, it will hold up to the test of time. Porcelain absorbs very little moisture, is easy to clean and isn’t prone to staining.

Easy installation and a less expensive price tag than the alternatives make it very appealing to homeowners or those who are looking to buy.

Tips for Selling Your Home When You Have a Dog

Dogs might be man’s best friend, but that doesn’t mean it will be easy to stage and show a home with a four-legged gatekeeper on the job. From an overly exuberant personality to downright gruff demeanor, dogs can make it tough to show a home. Following are some ways to minimize distress to Fido and ensure that visitors are safe and that the house remains as appealing as possible.

Clean It Up: Because we love our dogs, we don’t always see what is in front of our very eyes. Take a good look around. Pick up the dog toys, fill any holes in the backyard, and be sure to dust and vacuum any pet hair before allowing anyone in the home.

Notify: Make sure the listing agent includes a note that informs everyone about a dog on the premises and whether there are any special instructions for dealing with visitors. Not only will this prevent a sudden surprise visit that could startle the dog, but it also provides important information to buyers who may suffer from asthma or allergies.

Schedule: Whenever possible, ask agents to schedule visits around a time when you can take the dog out for a walk or drive. This allows prospective buyers and the agent to direct attention toward the home and amenities rather than deal with the pet.

Contingency Plans: Take special precautions to make sure pets have proper identification. Mistakes happen, and a beloved pet can escape or get loose without anyone realizing it. Leave special instructions on where the pet belongs at all times and what to do in the event of an emergency.

Buying a Short Sale? Why You Need an Agent

Most people realize the necessity of hiring a real estate agent to sell a home, but they take an entirely different approach and opt to go it alone when buying, especially when the property is a short sale.

Before buying a short-sale property, though, people should consider the benefits derived from working with a knowledgeable real estate agent.

Following are some things to think about:

Advanced Listings

The short-sales market has heated up.

So has the competition.

Get advanced listings sent to your attention as soon as possible by working with an agent who specializes in short sales.

Experience Is Key

Buying a short sale isn’t always simple, so finding an agent with a track record of success can go a long way toward making sure all the requirements are satisfied.

An agent with experience in short sales will help to expedite your transaction and protect your interests.

Seek Help

Buying a short sale takes a lot of time, but teaming up with an agent who knows and understands your individual situation dramatically reduces the effort required to find the perfect property.

Locating a property, researching it and dealing with the numerous requirements required to close is time consuming and frustrating.

Team up with someone who knows the ropes.

Lender Pays

Perhaps the best reason to consider using the services of a real estate agent when purchasing a short sale is the price tag.

After all, the services of an agent are free to the buyer.

The lender traditionally covers the commission in a short sale transaction, making it a win-win situation for all involved.