Saturday, October 10, 2009

Sell It In A Little While (3-7 Years)

Most people fall into this category. Even when you don’t have any plans to sell in this timeframe, if you aren’t sure about the length of time you’re going to own your home, these are the tips to follow.

Individualize, But Not Out of the Mainstream
You’re going to be there long enough to put your personal stamp on things, but you want to make sure that it’s not too ‘out there’. Make the permanent pieces (cabinets, counters, and floors) a nice neutral, then you can bring in blocks of color with paint and accessories.

Splurge Judiciously
It’s OK to go overboard on some things, but narrow it down to the 1 or 2 that you really want. Scale back on those things that are less important. So go ahead and get the Viking range, but maybe you don’t need the triple-upgrade, hand-carved onlays on every door.

Classic, Not Trendy
Stick with a timeless look, and stay away from the trends of the day. That way, if you decide to sell in three months or fifteen years, it will still look relevant.

Proper Lighting Is A Must!
Need I say more?

Move the Walls – If It Makes Sense
Be prudent with any structural changes. Although I’m always in favor of a larger kitchen, it doesn’t always make practical sense, and practicality is the key here.

It’s never easy to determine the correct decision when you are contemplating a remodeling project. But if you follow these simple recommendations, you’ll always know if you’re spending the proper amount, regardless of your situation.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Sell It Later (2nd in a series)

Sell It Later - or Never (7+ Years)
If your intention is to hold on to your home for longer than seven years, then a return on your remodeling investment should be a fairly low priority. After seven years, trends change quite a bit. As I said earlier, trends right now are for simple lines, warm wood tones, and a very uncluttered look. Seven years ago, in 2002, the trend was for heavy, Olde World design - distressed painted finishes, heavy moldings, and lots of detail. Seven years before that, in 1995, everything was crisp white: white cabinets, white appliances, white floors. See what I mean? Here are some recommendations for people planning on holding on to their home for the long run.

Focus on Your Lifestyle
You are going to be using this kitchen for a long time. Take a while to be introspective. Explore how your family lives, functions, and entertains in your kitchen.
Who cooks? And how many people cook at one time?
What activities besides cooking occur in your kitchen? Homework? Bill Paying? Crafts? Can specialized areas be planned to accommodate your needs?
What are your shopping habits? Do you do one big run to the grocery store each week or do you make a stop on the way home every night specifically for the evening's meal? One habit will require more pantry storage than the other.
What about entertaining? Do you do it frequently? How many people do you typically host at once? Do you get your guests involved in meal preparation?
Research, Research, Research
You have the luxury of time. Make sure you take the appropriate steps now to ensure you are doing what will suit your lifestyle for the long haul. There is nothing worse than realizing that a better solution was available after the remodel is already complete.

Structural Changes
Moving walls and mechanics to accommodate your lifestyle should be an acceptable expense in this scenario. If the kitchen seems too small or you want to pull other living spaces together with the kitchen, then go for it. Load bearing walls (the ones that hold up the roof or second story) are more difficult and expensive to modify than partition walls (the ones that merely separate two rooms).

Don't Be Afraid of Color
A splash of color can add some much needed drama to a space. Not brave enough to do electric blue appliances or fire engine red cabinets? Me either. Keep the permanent items (like cabinets, countertops, and floors) in versatile neutral tones, then make a pop with wall tiles, accents, and wall coverings. Painting the walls a deep tone is a great way to start if you're afraid of color. Afterall, a new color is only a brush stroke away.

Your Personal Stamp
So what is your personal style? Maybe you've got a collection of antique cookie jars. Perhaps you love the color blue. An avid baker? Find a way to make your space reflects your personality - whatever it is.

Proper Lighting Is a Must!
Can you tell this is a pet peeve of mine? Great lighting can make or break a room. And don't let someone convince you that proper lighting means as much lighting as you can get in a space. Sometimes ambient lighting and shadow cna have as drmatic an impact as a spotlight.

Be Value Conscious
Just because something is more expensive doesn't necessarily mean it's a better option for the long-term. Like I said above - do your homework. Understand the good and bad of each option. Rarely is there one solution that's right for everyone. Conversely, sometimes spending a little extra now makes sense in the long run. Just amke sure the extra price tag is warranted by extra value.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sell It Soon

It’s a question I get asked all the time, “How much should I worry about resale value while I’m remodeling my kitchen?” The truth is, there isn’t a single right answer for everyone. How long do you plan to live there? How extensive are your remodeling plans? Are your lifestyle needs different than the average homeowner? How important is the return on your remodeling investment?
If you were to narrow it down to one question, I think the most important has to do with the length of time you intend to own the home. For my clients, I break it down to 3 timeframes: Sell It Soon; Sell It In a Little While; Sell It Later (or Never).
This is the first of three sets of recommendation to make sure you maximize your remodeling experience…

Sell It Soon (<3years)
If you’re planning on putting your home on the market within the next 3 years, then return on investment should be near the top of your remodeling priorities. Even in this sluggish real estate market, if sold within 2 years, a homeowner should expect to realize between a 76%-79% return on investment for the Tampa Bay Market. To help you get the most bang for your buck, here are some tips:
Determine Your Target Market
Does your neighborhood cater to the young and hip or is it a more established and traditional area? Either way, you want to adjust your design style accordingly.
Focus on Aesthetics
Go for the most visual bang for your buck. If your budget doesn’t allow for both the all-wood cabinet and the fancy doorstyle, opt for the fancy doorstyle. Remember, looks count. Longevity doesn’t.

Code Beige
Even though you might be turned on by bold uses of color, homebuyers generally aren’t. Skip the color wheel and opt for light wood tones and neutral finishes (most homebuyers visualize better with a blank canvas).

Skip the Extras
His & Hers warming drawers, motorized spice racks, and built-in espresso machines might be just what you always wanted in your dream kitchen. But when it comes to resale value, you’ve just thrown a lot of money out the window. Stick with the basics – pick an appliance line that’s appropriate for your home (too entry-level can turn off a discriminating buyer; too luxurious is a waste of investment) and stick to the basic models. When in doubt, pick the stainless steel finish in a less-expensive line. For storage conveniences – no more than a few well-placed roll out trays and a lazy susan in the corner.
Minimize Structural Changes
Nothing eats up a kitchen budget faster than moving walls and all the mechanics that go with it. Don’t try to make all the design changes that have bugged you while you lived there. You’re not trying to solve your problems, you’re trying to sell your home. If you aren’t sure, ask a design professional if a structural change is a wise idea.

Follow the Trends
If you’re selling your home soon, it pays to follow the latest styles. Right now, simplistic is in – simple lines, warm tones, stone countertops, stainless steel appliances. The more current the kitchen looks, the more attractive it will be to potential buyers.

Proper Lighting is a Must!
Lighting is so often an afterthought, but it needs to be a priority for resale. A good lighting design can change the whole demeanor of a small kitchen. Plan it from the beginning.
Focus on the Negative
If your kitchen seems small, consider reducing the amount of cabinetry you have. Creating a focal point with negative space is not only visually pleasing, but it will cut down on your budget by reducing the amount of cabinetry you require.

If you follow these basic rules, you should end up with a kitchen that potential buyers love – at a price that won’t break your bank!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Shop 'Til You Drop

Well, it's finally happened: online shopping has come to the Get Together Gourmets website. Anything your little gourmet foodie heart could desire: black truffles; the best olive oils; the finest cheeses; your very own crepe pan; even the latest cookbooks to add to your collection.
If it relates to food or cooking, you can find it at Get Together Gourmets. We've broken it down into three categories for you: Cookware; Gourmet Food; and Cookbooks. Now you have a one-stop shop for everything. Best of all, you never have to leave the house - everything is delivered to your door!

All you have to do is follow the shopping links on the Get Together Gourmets website. It's safe, secure, and convenient.
So join your fellow foodies and broaden your culinary shopping experience with Get Together Gourmets.
Click here, and we'll start you on your way. What are you waiting for?

Friday, February 20, 2009

Appliance Rebates in Silver (Linings)

I received this today as a press release. Seems like everyone is trying to find a silver lining in the Economic Stimulus Plan. (as for myself, I'll take all the silver linings I can get...)

The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers is applauding the House Appropriations Committee for its approval of an economic stimulus provision that includes $300 million to provide consumers with rebates for buying ENERGY STAR products to replace old appliances.
This provision would provide the funding necessary to implement a consumer rebate program authorized under the Energy Policy Act of 2005, to be administered by the states.
"A consumer rebate program will result in dramatic savings for consumers," AHAM said, noting that the rebate would offset the cost differential between ENERGY STAR and non-ENERGY STAR appliances.
"Funding this federal-state appliance rebate program will benefit consumers by reducing the cost of ENERGY STAR appliances and providing them with additional discretionary income by way of reduced utility bills," said AHAM president Joseph McGuire.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Is Now the Time to Remodel?

In a word, yes. The current economic climate has created a positive side effect for homeowners: cheaper remodeling prices. At no other point in my 16-year career have I seen so many manufacturers’ incentives at one time. No matter the project, you will find savings in today’s market. Here’s just a short list of savings you can expect to see:

Kitchens, baths, closets, libraries. No matter the project, manufacturers are skipping price increases and giving away free upgrades. They are adding more design styles, color palettes, and accessory options at competitive pricing. I even know of one supplier that has temporarily reduced prices by 10% for everything. You can even earn a free vacation when you purchase from another cabinet manufacturer.

I don’t think you can find any better bargain price right now than countertops. No matter the material, you can enjoy great savings.
Granite: you can find the best deals in a decade right now. Pricing for some common granites have been slashed by a third to one half.
Quartz: while not experiencing the same cost savings as granites, the quartz manufacturers are adding free sinks and other incentives.
Solid Surface: Manufacturers like Corian and Hi-Macs have priced select colors to be competitive with lesser materials. Corian is also offering 50% off o select sinks and Hi-Macs is throwing in a free sink at no charge.

Package deals, rebates, free delivery. No matter which price point you are interested in, you’re going to see some sort of bargain being offered to you. Every manufacturer and appliance dealer is courting your interest.

As far as I’m concerned, this is far and away the best deal you can find right now. At one point, homeowners were waiting as much as 16 weeks or more to retain installation labor for their remodeling project, but not anymore. The best artisans are available and willing to work competitively. Bargain-priced materials can be made to sparkle under the influence of a skilled craftsman, making the most out of a limited budget.

Design Services & Project Management
If an individual designer is selling you materials for your remodeling project, chances are good that he or she is willing to reduce or even eliminate fees that would usually be expected for both design services and/or project management work. Even if your designer isn’t selling you any products, negotiating a better fee structure is pretty realistic right now.

So if you’re interested in making your remodeling dollars go as far as possible, bargain season is upon you. Your investments may not be giving you the return you’ve been wishing for – maybe it’s time to invest in your comfort, your family, and your life.