Pick a room…any room…the room that is the focal point of your home. The one room that sees the most traffic and draws friends, family and visitors in like flies to a bug light on a hot summer night.
Master bedroom? I hope not. Laundry room? Not in my house? I would be willing to wager that your answer is the same as mine – the kitchen.
So when I see a feature with a title like “X Ways to Make Your Kitchen Feel Bigger”, it’s hard to pass a read. Making any kitchen feel bigger would be a definite plus for any Saint Paul home sale. On the scale of honorable pursuits, it would be right there next to cleanliness and baking cookies right before a showing.
Increasingly, today’s Saint Paul homebuyers think of the kitchen as the center of family entertaining—the center of gravity where everyone hangs out more than anywhere else. It’s true that if another room features a giant TV entertainment center or a tasty buffet, that might be serious competition for the family’s attention….but that buffet has to start somewhere. But although it might be a place that will occupy goodly chunks of everyone’s time, it’s in the kitchen where family and friends wind up interacting the most and which gets the most scrutiny when it comes to a home sale.
There’s no debate that in today’s Saint Paul market, a claustrophobic our outdated kitchen can slow an otherwise appealing home’s sale. It’s an easy fix right? Hiring an architect and/or contractor, pulling permits, trashing your home for months (starting with a Mt. St. Helens sized dust cloud during demo), etc. to physically expand a kitchen is a major undertaking that will cost more than it returns. So finding ways to make your kitchen feel bigger without blowing out walls and tearing up the property for months on end, well—that’s definitely worth looking into.
To cut to the chase, most of the Feel Bigger Solutions aren’t magical: they turn out to be design ideas that maximize storage efficiency. To achieve positive home sale results, the idea is to systematically substitute suffocating kitchen clutter with eye-pleasing open space.
One clear tactic is to make the most of any existing counter space and it’s “support”. The space beneath your granite, silestone, or formica (my house) is ideal for “smart” storage solutions. Googling smart storage yields 1,000,000+ results (not to mention the ads), comprising a ready-made resource for maxing out the cubic feet that are ready to use right there on the perimeter of the kitchen.
On the opposing side of the “feel bigger” agenda is the suggestion to abandon one of Saint Paul most popular design ideas of bygone eras: the overhead cupboard. When you remove those overheads, a whole lot of claustrophobia goes with them. Unfortunately, a good deal of storage space goes with them.
That brings up two other tried-and-true alternatives. First, placing shelving on unused wall space can solve some of the storage dilemma—most pleasingly, when it’s some variety of open shelving. Kitchen design publications are filled with examples of appealing open and glass-windowed shelving – none of which are easy to clean, nor can you reach the items you need on the top shelf….but I’m not forming an opinion.
Second is what could be the most useful, least expensive, and easily adopted insight for making your Saint Paul kitchen fell bigger: just get rid of excess kitchen stuff! It’s simple but true. Removing unused utensils, pots & pans and kitchenware can work miracles. For the gourmet-pleasing cooks who can’t get by without a lot of exotic cookery aids, the solution is an off-site storage solution in the garage or dedicated closet. The minor inconvenience will be worth it if a quicker home sale results—besides, the extra going back and forth is healthy exercise, right – and it’s the time of year when we all get some healthy exercise (on our way to the refrigerator for a snack)?
So the kitchen is a really big deal – the focal point of your home – for you and your potential home buyer. Think long and hard about updates and renovations, especially if you’re planning to sell them home in the near future. There are easy and inexpensive ways to make that most important room in the home more appealing and functional before you start writing big checks and tearing out walls.
If you’re planning to list your Saint Paul home – sooner or later – a good place to start is with a no-obligation consultation about your home and kitchen and today’s Saint Paul real estate market. Call me at (651) 251-4898 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As we roll through the Holiday season, most if us in the housing industry are planning for 2018, and a home buying and selling season that seems to start earlier and earlier every year. Already I’m meeting with buyer-clients anxious to get their search underway, and have a list of homes that will hit the market after the first of the year. With that in mind, now is a great time to scour the latest “Top Ten” lists of cost-conscious ways to increase the value of your home.
Some make more sense than others. Upgrading bathroom vanity cabinets appears on some of the house value lists, for instance—but those lists were probably thrown together in a hurry since the return on investment is admitted to be 66%. When an investment returns two-thirds of its cost, it’s hardly competitive. For Saint Paul homeowners preparing to sell, vanity cabinets don’t belong on the action list.
The best idea lists are those which show ROI: the return on investment. Here’s a new compilation, offered purely as food for thought (since the “return” number for any individual case can’t actually be verified)—
- Yard improvement, AKA Landscaping. Return on investment registers at a hefty 303% according to the NAR® (and even 400%, per This Old House). And it’s true that a weedy, dried-up lawn is not the way to woo any but the most bargain-thirsty buyers. We can assume that the investment figure the NAR points to does not include the homeowner’s time, but even so, a shipshape yard definitely provides a house value gain. Looking out my window, this one would seem a little tough to accomplish now BUT if you’re thinking of a sale that coincides with the end of the school year – maybe you could start planning for green grass!
- Repair (electrical, plumbing, what-have-you). Return: 299%. This is for sure: Saint Paul houses with unaddressed mechanical defects are handicapped in the marketplace—in the end, it’s just too costly.
- Clean and Declutter. Return: 403%. With an average cost estimated at about $400, there’s no argument that it will be easily returned multiple times. When you can rely on truly professional help, the boost is invaluable…or you can give (or throw) some of your accumulated “stuff” away!
- Carpet. The return on investment for an average outlay ($671) is calculated by the HomeGain website at 160%. I might add a caveat to this one: a truly threadbare or uncleanable carpet surely rates replacement—but if existing carpet is presentable, that cost might be better directed elsewhere.
- Staging. With a return of 196%, it’s hard to disagree—especially since Saint Paul’s professional stagers can often save by directing attention away from areas that might be overly expensive to renew.
- Lighten and brighten. This includes everything from “clean windows” or “repainting dark-colored rooms” to boosting the wattage of living room lamps. As a result, the “return” numbers are all over the map: but they’re all positive.
- Upgrade appliances. Full kitchen remodels are usually too expensive to fully reclaim their cost, although when necessary, minor kitchen remodels reclaim 79%. As an alternative, replacing seriously outmoded kitchen appliances is much more likely to add enough value to make it a canny move.
- Declutter and Clean. (I know—but if anything is worth repeating, this is it)!
Your Saint Paul house’s value is what the market proves it to be—but it’s also the shelter your family calls home. If it’s filled with happy memories, that value is probably the one that winds up counting the most. But as for the other kind, when it’s time to shift gears and cost-conscious ways to increase the value of your home, I hope you’ll give me a call at (651) 251-4898 or email me at email@example.com!
With age comes wisdom – at least that’s how things are supposed to work. I don’t know that I’ll ever be classified as being “wise”, but I sure do know a GREAT first time home buying opportunity when I see one…and I see one on my roster of listings this morning!
I made the short drive to St. Michael a couple of months ago to lay eyes on the property at 116 1st Street NE, and was immediately struck by how quickly that community is growing. All along the I-95 corridor, small towns are evolving into these really cool communities that are vibrant and growing – yet still retaining the character and charm of rural America. A neat little downtown area/main street, large lots and quiet streets, and I even got stuck behind a convoy of pre-teens on their bikes rolling towards the Holiday station in search of a giant fountain glass of Mt. Dew – it could have been 1982 in Cambridge and I was on the bike – some things about small towns never change!
The home on 1st street fits perfectly into that setting. I was pleasantly surprised to find a property so close to so many important assets – schools, churches, shopping, a couple of restaurants – yet I saw very little traffic and the block was quiet.
As excited as I am about the location of this home, I’m even more excited about the opportunity it presents for the first time home buyer. 3 bedrooms on the main floor, new carpet recently installed, low maintenance exterior, an oversized shed in the oversized backyard and even a HUGE screened porch to enjoy during the non-arctic months! So many great turn-key features, but the best part is what’s to come….in the basement.
That basement – clean, dry, and unfinished – is ready for a home buyer that wants to build equity and has the vision to turn it into the perfect family space! High ceilings, brick foundation, a smooth concrete floor AND a 3/4 bath already in place and ready to be updated. This is a spectacular first time home buying opportunity that reminds me of my first home – a property that I used to build equity and create the cash needed to move onward and upward into my next home.
So if you – or someone you know – wants to listen to the advice of a “wise” old man and make a smart home buying decision in a GREAT location – give me a call today at (651) 251-4898 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a showing.
When I see a feature with a title like X Ways to Make Your Kitchen Feel Bigger, I’m someone who’s unlikely to pass it up. Making any kitchen feel bigger would be a definite plus for your home sale. On the scale of honorable pursuits, it would be right there next to cleanliness.
Increasingly, today’s Saint Paul homebuyers think of the kitchen as a (and possibly the) center of family entertaining—the center of gravity where everyone hangs out more than anywhere else. It’s true that if another room features a giant TV entertainment center, that might be serious competition for the family’s attention. But although it might be a place that will occupy goodly chunks of everyone’s time, it’s in the kitchen where family members wind up interacting the most and which gets the most scrutiny when it comes to a home sale.
There’s no debate that in today’s Saint Paul market, a claustrophobic kitchen can slow an otherwise appealing home’s sale. Yet actually hiring an architect, contractor, pulling permits, etc. to physically expand a kitchen is a major undertaking that runs the risk of costing more than it returns!
I emphasize that last point because so often potential sellers want to spend thousands of dollars improving their home, only to recoup those thousands MINUS a big bucket of money.
So finding ways to make your Saint Paul kitchen feel bigger without blowing out walls and tearing up the property for months on end and spending bucketloads of money…well—that’s definitely worth looking into.
To cut to the chase, most of the Feel Bigger Ways aren’t magical: they turn out to be design ideas that maximize storage efficiency. To achieve positive Saint Paul home sale results, the idea is to systematically substitute suffocating kitchen clutter with eye-pleasing open space.
One clear tactic is to make the most of any existing kitchen island. The space beneath is ideal for “smart” storage solutions. Googling smart storage yields 1,000,000+ results (not to mention the ads), comprising a ready-made resource for maxing out the cubic feet that are ready to use right there in the center of the kitchen.
On the opposing side of the “feel bigger” agenda is the suggestion to abandon one of Saint Paul most popular design ideas of bygone eras: the overhead cupboard. In most layouts, those utilitarian storage solutions assail kitchen occupants’ sightlines exactly where it will do the most harm. When you remove those overheads, a whole lot of claustrophobia goes with them. Unfortunately, a good deal of storage space goes with them.
That brings up two other tried-and-true alternatives. First, placing shelving on unused wall space can solve some of the storage dilemma—most pleasingly, when it’s some variety of open shelving. Kitchen design publications are filled with examples of appealing open and glass-windowed shelving.
Second is what could be the most useful, least expensive, and easily adopted insight for making your Saint Paul kitchen fell bigger: just get rid of excess kitchen stuff! It’s simple but true. Removing unused utensils, pots & pans and kitchenware can work miracles. For the gourmet-pleasing cooks who can’t get by without a lot of exotic cookery aids, the solution is an off-site storage solution in the garage or dedicated closet. The minor inconvenience will be worth it if a quicker home sale results—besides, the extra going back and forth is healthy exercise, right?
If you are planning to list your Saint Paul home, a good place to start is with a no-obligation consultation about your home and today’s Saint Paul real estate market. Call me at (651) 251-4898 or email me at email@example.com.
When – as the holiday lyrics have it – “the weather outside is frightful,” that makes it a good time to start planning the coming year’s home improvement projects. If you wait for ideal weather conditions to begin laying out your plans, you’re likely to wind up well behind schedule before you even start.
If the home improvements you are contemplating can be handled by yourself, you are probably a Do-It-Yourselfer who knows that you’ll need your ducks in a row before you pull the first nail or make the first cut. Having plans drawn and materials at the ready saves time and work (but you know that).
Should the scope of your contemplated home improvements go beyond the DIY approach, if you have experience in overseeing similar projects in the past, you know how important it is to hire the right tradespeople. True Saint Paul crafts professionals are perpetually in demand not only because of their skills but because of that demand. It means that they don’t create more work than is necessary or stretch out a project to fill their week—their week is already spoken for (and the weeks after, too!). The issue is more that of reserving sufficient time for any given project. A corollary is that the more experience Saint Paul tradespeople have under their belts, the more skilled they are at accurately projecting time requirements.
If you haven’t tackled any major home improvement projects before—or even if you have, if your own time is fully committed elsewhere—finding the right Saint Paul contractor to shepherd your job is all-important. The best Saint Paul contractors can be scheduled well in advance, so if weather factors into your initiative, winter is the ideal time to get planning underway.
How to find the right Saint Paul contractor follows some familiar action steps—
- Gather recommendations from friends with success stories and from experienced Saint Paul real estate professionals (like me, of course!)
- Call the likely candidates. A phone interview should provide you with a preliminary impression and a list of past clients you can contact
- Meet the few who make your short list. Discuss the scope of the job; request preliminary cost and time estimates
- After you make your decision, make sure scope and schedule are in writing—including bonus payments (it’s sometimes a good idea) and penalties. One thing to always keep in mind is that some of the most expensive words in the English language are “while you’re at it.”
Of course, a fast way to get started is to contact me in that first action item. We can discuss a short list of Saint Paul’s best contractors—as well as some go-to tradespeople who have proven their value to my clients in the past. As with all your Saint Paul real estate questions, I’m always happy to help!
When you see any title teeing up Saint Paul Real Estate Investments, you won’t be terribly surprised if the gist turns out to be what a good idea! When you’ve had the experience of seeing clients succeed with many real estate investment projects, it’s an unavoidable conclusion. Unfortunately, also pretty yawn-worthy. But….real estate is a tremendous investment – which is why we’ve been focusing so much attention on it lately!
That’s why I was pleased to come across Grant Cardone’s piece in Entrepreneur magazine. We all like to see our opinions agreed with—but doubly so when you’re offered specifics that bolster your own conclusions. The article listed reasons why real estate investments are “your smartest investment.” Here are some of them:
- A real estate investment is a hedge on inflation. Inflation hasn’t been hugely important for a while, but serious investors have an eye out for the possibility. When you dig down, you find that real estate investments have “historically shown the highest correlation to inflation” of other major asset classes.
- Real estate investments enable positive cash flow. This was Entrepreneur’s number one reason. Having an investment which throws off cash while building equity at the same time is any smart investor’s ideal situation. When a Saint Paul real estate investment produces an income stream that is significantly higher than the typical stock dividend, what investor wouldn’t be interested?
- Leverage. A typical Saint Paul real estate investment makes it relatively easy “to place debt on the asset” because of its built-in collateral value. Entrepreneur offered some math to back up the way low-cost debt works to multiply a real estate investor’s power.
- Maximizing tax benefits. Taxes can be the bane of any investor—so real estate provisions that lighten the load can be significant factors influencing your bottom line.
Those are four solid advantages of the eight detailed in Cardone’s article. The last reason was less demonstrable but, IMHO, just as real:
- “Feeling the pride ownership” (no further explanation necessary).
If you are an investor who is beginning to look over the year’s performance and thinking about how you want 2017 to look, I hope you’ll do two things. First: take a serious look at whether a Saint Paul real estate investment might make a smart addition to your current portfolio. Second: call me!
HGTV has a weekly program called “Income Property” that Saint Paul investors and revonators may find interesting. The host, Scott McGillivray—himself an income property investor—offers tips and advice on the subject. His insights are solid, and it doesn’t hurt that – in addition to being an investor – McGillivray is also a contractor. He has a knowledge base that goes beyond the simple dream of buying, renovating, and cashing out.
Since various levels of rehabilitation can sometimes be the first order of business Saint Paul income property investors need to address, a contractor’s insights are pretty valuable. He recently addressed red flags for non-contractors who are searching through the listings for income property bargains. I have to agree with all of them—at least for Saint Paul investors who don’t consider themselves handy with a hammer (and saw, spackle tool, paint roller, etc.). Among the listing language mentions:
- Fixer Upper – couldn’t be clearer. Even for do-it-yourselfers, the possibility that structural elements may be in need of deep rehabbing should be front-of-mind.
- Needs a little TLC — most serious investors reserve their tender loving care for family members and pets. This phrasing might be a hint that the TLC needed will ultimately involve an investor’s bank account. Wags have suggested elsewhere that “TLC” can actually mean “OMG”…
- All the Work Has Been Done — is a heads-up that a house flip is probably being offered. It certainly doesn’t mean that serious Saint Paul investors should automatically pass up the property, but does mean that the asking price probably includes a margin for the owner/flipper. If the work is up to par, this will likely be a dollars and cents proposition.
- Great Potential — if true, terrific (but this gift horse will deserve a serious look into its mouth).
- Attention Renovators — a cue to non-contractors that they should probably look elsewhere. It’s an honest call to the pros.
Not in need of translation at all is the fact that experienced Saint Paul real estate investors—including income property investors—make sure they have thoroughly “kicked the tires” before they make an offer. You can also be pretty sure they will employ a competent home inspector before a deal is done—and that they have made good use of the services of their knowledgeable Saint Paul real estate agent.
If you’d like to look into the terrific current crop of Saint Paul income property opportunities, I’ll be standing by to interpret where necessary—and help every step of the way!
When you go house hunting in Saint Paul, you’re likely to share a lot of the same basic assumptions that most everybody does. Whether you have a lengthy list of hard-and-fast requirements or are in more of a “just seeing what’s out there” mindset, you’re probably assuming that you’ll “know it when you see it.” That’s not necessarily true—for a couple of logical reasons.
First off, unless price is literally no object, your budget will dictate the segment of current listings that your house hunting will include. Among those candidate properties, it’s unlikely that all of them share the same features—the same positives and less-than-positives. You may find that you really get a great feeling about one home, only upon reflection to realize that some of its drawbacks are serious enough to eliminate it from contention. Likewise, another home that provided a so-so first impression could wind up seriously in the running if it rings up the best collection of strong points.
Then, there’s always the unexpected. A good example was the couple who were fairly sophisticated when it came to house hunting experience. They had enough home ownership history to have developed clear ideas about what they wanted: 3 or 4 bedrooms, a yard that was large enough to accommodate a moderate vegetable garden and the family dog (but not so large that maintenance would become an issue). The only absolute caveats were that it could not be so close to a busy thoroughfare that auto noises would be an annoyance; and they must be able to finish the basement (including adding an egress window and a bedroom). Period.
Those were simple enough requirements. None would eliminate a good sampling of the listings that were available at the time, so the house hunting proceeded. After nixing the usual number that left too much to be desired, there wound up being a handful of attractive candidate properties. In the end, there were two that rated a couple of return visits. Although neither could have been called the couples’ perfect dream houses, they were close to a final decision. Just then a new house came onto the market. It was slightly more expensive (and larger) than the others, but with a basement offering nothing more than storage space.
To bring the story to its inevitable end, they’ve lived in that house for years. They’ve come to appreciate the space offered in the basement and made better use of their above ground square footage. As their family continues to grow, they’re considering an addition to free up some elbow room. And most importantly,the garden is just what his wife was hoping for (happy wife – happy life!). It turns out to be their dream house.
The moral of the story is that there’s a lot to say for keeping a balance between having an organized approach to your house hunting and keeping an open mind. To which I have to add that I hope you’ll give me a call when it comes time for your own Saint Paul house hunting!