Gunning Daily News

Q: What Should I Weigh before Considering an Addition to My Home?

July 26, 2013 8:54 pm

A: Thoroughly assess your space.  You may find you have the room you need, particularly if there is unused or under-utilized areas in your home.  Perhaps a garage, attic, side porch, or basement can be converted to fit the use you have in mind.  Or, maybe, a small area can be carved from a larger area like a kitchen or living room to create a powder room.  These improvements are certainly cheaper than a major construction job.


Tips to Help Negotiate a Higher Selling Price for Your Home

July 26, 2013 12:18 pm

These days, with shortages in pre-owned home inventories across many communities, it's a
seller's market. With that in mind, a recent post from Wisconsin's Dan Miller of
madcitydreamhomes.com caught my eye.

Miller believes with the right negotiating strategy, there's no reason why a home seller and his
or her Realtor® can't arrive at a final price that is markedly higher than the list price.

To that end, here is a sampling from Miller's Tips for Negotiating the Highest Possible Selling
Price:
● Be helpful and easy to work with. Buyers are generally open to negotiating with
someone whom they perceive as helpful and likeable.
● Proactively and openly communicate with all buyer agents who have showings
to date. Your agent's job is to encourage as many people as possible to write an offer,
and should let each showing agent know about the tremendous amount of interest in
your listing.
● Justify a selling price that is far above the list. It's not recent sales in the area
that will establish the final selling price - in this fast-rising market sold comps are often
old news. Miller says it's the momentum of the market that's setting the price on your
home. With high demand and low inventory, several different buyers are competing
for your listing. These real-time market dynamics ultimately determine the final selling
price of your home, not the sold comps.
● Provide all parties with a status update when your first offer comes in. You agent
should call and email each showing agent, letting them know a window they have to
submit their offer.
● Finally, Miller suggests that you negotiate and accept a secondary offer once
your primary is accepted. This is a great tactic for your agent to employ in the event a
primary offer falls through. It also gives you a position of strength as you negotiate
around the home inspection with primary. With a solid Plan B, the first buyer may
choose not to quibble with you over minor issues that arise during the inspection.
 


Top Remodel Trends for the Modern Home

July 26, 2013 12:18 pm

(BPT) - Thanks to foreclosures and short sales, home buyers are snatching up great houses at reduced prices and remodeling to create stylish modern homes. Lucky for those buyers, many of today's top trends are relatively easy to recreate, and will add re-sale value to their homes.

"TV interior design shows are mostly about buying and remodeling a home, versus building from scratch or finding a new property that precisely fits a wish list with plenty of personal requirements," says Dani Kohl, program coordinator for the bachelor of science in interior design program at The Art Institute of Indianapolis and a practicing architect and interior designer.

The top remodeling trends include:

  • Uniting the kitchen and living space for an open-floor concept
  • Culture dictating an increase square footage for entertainment, haven from a busy work schedule or modern luxuries
  • Finding multi-functional uses for both spaces and furniture

On average, Kohl's residential clients are spending about $40,000 to $60,000 to renovate and remodel their homes. Most of the money is spent in the kitchens, master bedrooms and bathrooms.

"Gone are the days of the formal dining room and living room," says Kohl. "Walls are being knocked down to join the two rooms."

Parents want to be able to cook while watching kids do homework or entertaining guests. Kitchen islands most often serve as the main division between kitchen and living space, and are the entertainment centers of a kitchen.

"Kitchen islands are looking more like free-standing furniture pieces with elaborate marble tops and wood work, and interior designers are often finding functional yet hidden places to store the trash can and keep the dish washer from view," Kohl says.

Pedro Lima, an interior design instructor at The Art Institute of New York City and owner of Pedro Lima Interiors, says that temporary partitions between the living space and kitchen are also on the rise. These partitions can be of varying heights, whether it's a two-way fireplace or modern book shelving. Partitions are a great option for homeowners who want that open-floor plan for the kitchen and living room, while still maintaining a defined space for each.

Lima says that our current culture and habits are driving the changes in modern, interior spaces.

"When it comes to the master bedroom, we are looking at a more pampering atmosphere," he says. Both Kohl and Lima agree that clients want more of a spa-like feeling than ever before to create a bedroom that is a safe haven for over-worked homeowners.

"Master bedrooms now have their own seating areas and entertainment nooks, and have become personal spaces away from everything," Lima says.

An increase in square footage for closet space is another popular request, according to Lima. "We, as designers, are now looking into proper modular systems of rods and shelving, in addition to our architectural and design duties."

Closets are not just for storage anymore, either. "Now, we're looking at closets to serve as a dressing space in addition to serving as a place to store an increased amount clothes and shoes."-

How are clients gaining square footage for the needs of today's residential space without making a complete renovation and creating add-ons to their homes?

Lima says that downsizing to accommodate upsizing is part of the remodel plans too.

"Designers are spending more time at looking for innovative ways to add versatile furniture that serve multifunctional purposes," he says. "For instance, coffee tables also serve as storage spaces and additional seating, wall units have built-in desks, and couches open up to beds in home offices."

Whichever remodeling trend homeowners choose to apply, all trends point toward integration, simplification and organization, as homeowners seek to enjoy their homes and share it with family and friends.

 


Save Cash with These Summer Cooling Tips

July 26, 2013 12:18 pm

Although we seem to be nearing the end of the summer, there's still plenty of heat left, and it's important to stay cool and safe these last few weeks. So why not save a little money in the process?

Although the weather can impact your energy use, there are some simple ways to lower your electric bill.

The average homeowner spends about $1,900 a year on energy costs, with summer cooling contributing a large part to the total. Of all your summer electric use, air conditioning is the number one cause of higher energy bills.

But whether you run air conditioning or fans to prevent that hot-weather meltdown, the following tips, provided by DTE Energy, will help you stay comfortable without overloading your checking account:

  • Increase your thermostat setting. For every degree you increase your thermostat above 72 degrees, you'll reduce your cooling costs by up to 3 percent. Better yet, install a programmable thermostat and let it automatically adjust the setting for you – and apply for a $10 rebate! Find out how at dteenergy.com/energystar.
  • Change or clean your furnace filter once a month. A dirty filter restricts airflow and can cause your air condition unit to run longer. Vacuum registers and vents regularly, and don't let furniture and draperies block the air flow.
  • Use ceiling fans to assist your air conditioning. Set them to run counter-clockwise (or downward air flow), which provides better air circulation. Remember to turn them off when you leave the room.
  • Close blinds, draperies and shades on windows facing the sun to block out the heat, and wait until cooler times of the day to run your dishwasher or clothes dryer.
  • Have your central air conditioning unit tuned-up by a professional, plus clear away weeds and debris so that air can circulate freely around the unit.
  • One last tip – Be sure to drink plenty of fluids in hot weather and enjoy the summer!

Source: DTE Energy

 


Word of the Day

July 26, 2013 12:18 pm

Quit-claim deed.  A conveyance by which the grantor transfers whatever interest he or she has in the real estate without warranties or obligations.


Q: How Much, on Average, Can I Expect to Spend on Home Maintenance?

July 26, 2013 12:18 pm

A: Expect to spend one percent of the purchase price of your home every year to handle a myriad of tasks, including painting, tree trimming, repairing gutters, caulking windows, and routine system repairs and maintenance.  

An older home will usually require more maintenance, although a lot will depend on how well it has been maintained over the years.

Tell yourself that the upkeep of your home is mandatory, and budget accordingly.  Otherwise, your home’s value will suffer if you allow it to fall into a state of disrepair. Remember, there is usually a direct link between a property’s condition and its market value: The better its condition, the more a buyer will likely pay for it down the road.

Also, adopt the attitude that the cost of good home maintenance is usually minor compared to what it will cost to remedy a situation that you allowed to get out of hand. For example, unclogging and sealing gutters may cost a few hundred dollars. But repairing damage to a corner of your home where gutters have leaked can potentially cost several thousands dollars.

 


Hold That Hybrid - Diesel May Be an Option for Green Consumers

July 24, 2013 6:04 am

These days it's not just about having a green home.  The pursuit of a green lifestyle doesn't end at your property line - it certainly extends beyond, especially to the vehicles you drive.

A recent University of Michigan study was released at the 2013 Alternative Clean Transportation Expo in Washington D.C. And overall, the results show that diesel vehicles provide a TCO (total cost of ownership) less than that of gasoline versions of the same vehicles.

According to the study, the estimates of savings for three and five years of ownership vary from a low of $67 in three years to a high of $15,619 in five years, but most of the savings are in the $2,000 to $6,000 range, which also include the extra cost that is usually added to the diesel version of a vehicle.

Highlights from the diesel-gasoline comparisons include:

  • Total Cost of Ownership: In a three year timeframe, diesel vehicles in the passenger car segment save owners significant money, with the VW Jetta owner saving $3,128, the VW Jetta Sportwagen owner saving $3,389, and the VW Golf owner saving an estimated $5,013.
  • In The Luxury Segment: all the diesel versions of the Mercedes-Benz E Class ($4,175), Mercedes-Benz GL Class ($13,514), Mercedes-Benz M Class ($3,063), Mercedes-Benz R Class ($5,951) and VW Touareg ($7,819) save owners money in the three year timeframe.
  • Fuel Efficiency: All of the diesel vehicles had better miles per gallon than the gasoline versions with diesels logging between 8 to 44 percent more miles per gallon.
  • Fuel Costs: All of the diesel vehicles had lower fuel costs than all the gas versions of comparable vehicles, with 11 of the 12 vehicles showing double digit reductions in fuel costs - as high as 29 percent.
  • Depreciation: Eleven of the 12 diesel vehicles held their value better than comparable gas vehicles over the three year timeframe with eight vehicles showing double digit percentage savings as high as 46 percent. And 9 of the 10 diesel vehicles held their value over comparable gas vehicles in the five year timeframe, with five vehicles showing double digit percentage savings ranging from 10 percent up to 39 percent.

Home Remodeling for the Long Haul: Making your Space Work for You

July 24, 2013 6:04 am

(BPT) - As more people choose to stay in their current homes longer, Americans are diving into large remodel projects. Forty percent of homeowners plan to remodel or build an addition to their existing home within the next two years, with kitchen and bathroom projects remaining the most popular remodeling jobs, according to the 2013 Houzz and Home Survey.

Home remodeling for the long term can be challenging, as newer designs may clash with the existing style of the home. The key to a successful remodel is to choose elements that will create a cohesive design throughout, yet remain fashionable and functional well into the future.

"Whether it's upgrading their existing home or renovating a newly purchased one to fit their long-term needs, homeowners are settling in and want quality products that will look great, provide design flexibility and perform well over time," says Andy Wells, vice president of product design, MasterBrand Cabinets, Inc.

Here are a few tips to help make your remodel work for the long haul:

Keep your space flexible with neutral color choices

As homeowners stay in one place longer, they are passing on bright, bold colors, especially in the kitchen and instead choosing neutral colors and clean styles that work well with a variety of design elements. Many new earthy, neutral color palettes provide visual warmth while seamlessly blending with the rest of a house. Moreover, neutral hues can increase dramatic impact when carried throughout the kitchen in various textures, such as flooring, a backsplash or cabinets.

Complement existing design elements with transitional styles

Modern cabinets can clash with traditional elements in other rooms, especially when remodeling older homes. Choose cabinets with design elements that easily transition across differing styles and bridge the gap between your desire for a contemporary kitchen and the traditional reality of an older home.

Create a functional, organized space

Functionality is essential to a kitchen or bath that will continue to meet the changing needs of your family over time, whether it's ensuring there's enough storage space for a growing family or making the home more accessible for family members of all ages and abilities. Remodeling for the long haul also means creating a planned, practical space and many new products are available that can help improve the organization in your home.

With these tips and a wide breadth of cabinetry, colors and styles designed for today's transitioning homes, remodeling for the long haul has never been easier.

Source:  MasterBrand Cabinets, Inc

 


Simple Ant Prevention

July 24, 2013 6:04 am

Of all the pests that can take up residence in your home this summer, ants are among the most common, and they don't discriminate.

"Treat ants proactively, even if you only see one or two," advises Jason Cameron, licensed contractor and host of DIY Network's Desperate Landscapes. Jason's long experience in home remodeling and carpentry makes him an expert on how to detect and discover entry points for potentially destructive ants to enter the home. "Taking preventative measures will help you protect both the inside and outside of your home from these pesky insects."

Here are a few of Jason's tips and tricks to help protect your home and outdoor spaces from ants:

Treat Using a Systematic Approach
Even if you only see a few, adopt a systematic approach to help treat the ants you see and even those you don't. Start by treating the perimeter of your home using a product such as Raid Max Bug Barrier to defend against ants that want to enter your house. Next, use an instant-action product indoors to kill them on contact. Treat areas such as baseboards and entry points, as they are prime locations for ants to infiltrate homes. Finally, place baits in areas where you see individual ants or ones following a trail or path to protect against bigger problems in the future. Do not place ant baits in areas where sprays were used.

Clear Damp Areas
Ants love to build their colonies in moist areas, especially those in which organic mulch, leaves, weeds, branches and brush remnants collect. Places like where rain gutters overflow are perfect environments for ants so be sure to clean them out regularly. If you have an ant problem year after year, see if there is any wet debris up against your home and get rid of it. Use stone mulch and cut back weeds around the foundation.

Store Food Properly
To help protect the inside of your home from ants, store food in sealed containers, use dried goods in a timely manner and sweep up crumbs immediately. Even a small crumb on the floor is a large meal for an ant colony. Also, be sure to clean up after your pets. Many ant problems are the result of pet food bowls being left out with food remnants in them. Be sure to have an instant-action spray on hand, such as Raid Ant & Roach Killer, to kill bugs on contact. Be sure to read the label carefully when treating in and around food-prep areas.

Monitor Mounds
Outdoor mounds are nests that are underground. They are a big cue for a colony of ants, so when you see them be sure to treat them right away with a pest control product.

Check Trees
Carpenter ants are the largest of all ant species and usually get into homes from nearby trees. Inspect trees on your property for nests and treat as needed. Most carpenter ant nests are found in decaying wood in trees with holes or imperfections. In fact, carpenter ants can hollow out the wood throughout your home, causing problems that can be costly to repair.

Source: www.RaidKillsBugs.com.

 


Word of the Day

July 24, 2013 6:04 am

Valuation.  Estimated or determined value; synonymous with appraising.