Outdoor Living Spaces: Three Things Homeowners Must Know

Outdoor Living Spaces: Three Things Homeowners Must Know

Anyone who has watched cable television’s popular shows on home remodeling or home selling knows that outdoor living spaces are all the rage. Capable of adding extra space and comfort to homes in just about any location, these spaces go beyond the porches, decks, gazebos, and bare patios that were once the only options for outdoor seating and entertaining. In addition to being popular, a beautifully designed, outdoor living space can offer even more benefits. If you are a homeowner who is wavering about whether or not to invest in adding an outdoor living space to your home, the following information can help you see what this type of space has to offer your family.

1. Increased Living Space Offers Comfort for Growing Families

No matter how carefully families choose the home they buy, there will still be many times when it feels too small for comfort. Growing children, visiting relatives, and many other situations can cause a home that was once spacious to feel cramped and small.

Adding an outdoor living space provides another area suitable for use from spring through fall in most areas of the country. If the space provides comfortable seating and cooking facilities, it can even become the chosen location for family dinners, helping to reduce traffic in the house and keep it cleaner and more organized.

2. Entertaining is Easier With an Outdoor Living Space

Many homes today are built without a formal dining room, making it difficult to host large gatherings for meals and snacks. An outdoor living area offers a spacious location that can be furnished to handle gatherings of any size. If the outdoor living space also provides electricity to power small appliances, along with a sink, cooking surface, and a cooler or refrigerator, complete meals can be easily prepared and served outdoors, making cleanup far easier.

Many people also add some type of heat to their outdoor living spaces, such as a fire pit, outdoor fireplace, or specially designed outdoor heating appliance, to make these spaces more usable in cooler weather.

3. Outdoor Living Spaces Add Real Value When Selling a Home

Just like porches and patios, outdoor living spaces are considered as part of the base area of the home. Although the base area is not the same as finished interior space, it will still be able to add value in the eyes of both a real estate appraiser and prospective buyers.

To get the most value from your outdoor living space, sellers will want to:

  • make sure the planned outdoor space fits well with the neighborhood and architectural style of the home
  • make sure the size of the planned outdoor space remains in balance with the size of the yard and does not diminish the usefulness of the backyard space
  • make sure the planned outdoor space is attractive both when in use and during the off season
  • make sure the planned outdoor space offers privacy from prying eyes of neighbors or people passing by

For more information about how an outdoor living space can be a benefit, homeowners should consult their real estate professional.

Through the use of recent listing and sales data for similar homes with and without outdoor living spaces, homeowners will be able to gain a better understanding of the amount of added value their home would have after the space is completed. This information can help homeowners  create a realistic plan for these improvements, as well as a suitable budget.

Top 5 Outdoor Home Projects to Increase the Value of Your Home

Top 5 Outdoor Home Projects to Increase the Value of Your Home

When it comes to doing renovations, many homeowners upgrade their kitchens or bathrooms. Their thinking is understandable: They believe these projects add to their home’s bottom line come sale time. However, many outdoor projects also increase a home’s value as well as its curb appeal. If you’re looking for some outdoor projects, start with these five. They’ll add to your home’s beauty today and its value tomorrow.

1. Light up Your Landscapes

Lighting up areas like sitting nooks, backyard fountains, and, of course, the porches makes your home cozy come evening. Additionally, if you’re planning on adding any other outdoor features, you’ll want to light them up, too.

If you’re planning an extensive outdoor remodel, it’s best to map/sketch out your plans for lighting at the same time that you’re planning everything else. This ensures that you’ll have enough wiring for all the lights you install. Also be sure to have a lush lawn, as many of the other additions will look a bit too fancy for a dead lawn. Orem lawn care specialists can offer advice for restoring a damaged lawn.

2. Outdoor Rooms

According to Today, adding an outdoor room increases the value of your home. But these rooms do more than that: They expand your living space. Today prices outdoor rooms like outdoor living rooms starting at $12 a foot, going all the way up to $50 a foot. Outdoor kitchens can run anywhere between $15K and $100K.

There is one more thing to consider, however, if you’re going to build outdoor rooms: Pests. Bugs and other creepy crawlies can detract from an outdoor room’s enjoyment factor, especially if you’re cooking outside. Companies can give you a quote for pest control. Ask about one-time visits as well as maintenance visits to see which plans best suit your outdoor living needs.

3. Garage Door

Aside from your front porch and the front door, your garage is one of the major contributors to your home’s curb appeal. It’s also one outdoor home project that offers plenty of ROI when you sell your home. Typically, replacing your garage door nets you almost an almost 90% ROI at sale time. However, that’s not the only advantage. Replacing your garage door increases your home’s security and even lowers your monthly heating bills. The heat can’t escape out of the cracks around the door.

4. Front Door

If you’re going to change out your garage door, you may want to consider also changing out the front door. Its sale-time ROI runs in the 85% to 100% range. A steel door replacing your existing door will bring the most bang for the buck.

That said, an attractive front door says “Welcome” like few outdoor features can. The porch and door become the backdrop for many of your seasonal decorations. It’s also a place where your lighting investment really pays, too.

5. Water Features

Outdoor fountains and fish ponds add a magical element to your outdoor space. They also provide your backyard with a focal point (or a secondary focal point if you’re also adding an outdoor room.)

A landscape designer as well as a pool designer should give you a hand with this project. The advantage of hiring these professionals is that they’ll guide you toward the right kind of shrubs and greenery as well as the right “ingredients” for your pond or fountain. In the latter case, it’s especially important to get a professional opinion if you’ll add fish to the pond.

Remaking your outdoor space expands your living area and adds to your overall quality of life. The right renovations also add to your home’s bottom line. Even just changing out your front door can bring you a significant amount once you sell your home. However, adding an outdoor room, a water feature, and some lighting adds even more value.

Guest Post By:

Anica Oaks

Freelance writer and web enthusiast
Read some of my published work on my Google+ page.

Expert Guide to Packing for a Home Move

 

Expert Guide to Packing for a Home Move

It is common for people to start packing for a move at least eight weeks before the big day. Still, last-minute moves are not so unusual. There are situations when people need to move in less than four weeks. If you ever find yourself in such a situation, here is a simple guide on how to pack and sort your items on short notice.

Keep only what you need

The best thing about last minute moves is that you can get rid of the ton of stuff you don’t need. Once you start packing, you will quickly realize that it is easier to throw away than to take with you. At the end of the day, you will also save time and energy. It’s a common mistake to believe that you should pack everything and sort later. Not true. Make sure to get rid of as many things as you can.

Walk through the house and make three piles in each room – 1) keep, 2) donate and 3) dump. Involve the whole family in sorting out their stuff, and bear in mind – if you are unsure what to do – dump it.

Donate what you don’t

Charities are always ready to take away your unwanted stuff. Even if your donation pile is large or you have bulky furniture items that are still in good shape, a non-profit organization can organize the transport, saving you both the time and money needed to get rid of them.

Just make sure that you have sorted everything out, so they only have to make one trip. Phone the organization and determine a pick-up date and time. Before you make a call, bear in mind that some charities only pick up on specific dates and specific locations.

Prepare packing supplies

Used cardboard boxes are the most convenient way to transport your items to a new home. Still, if the time is the issue you should purchase your boxes and other packing supplies directly from a moving store or office supply company.

On the other hand, if you are moving locally, ask for green movers who provide multi-use plastic bins. Not only will it save the environment, but also the time needed for finding boxes and getting rid of them once you unpack. Reputable moving companies also offer transport containers for bulkier items like furniture and outdoor equipment.

Ask for help

When it comes to moving, you have three recruitment pools – 1) friends, 2) family and 3) service companies. Friends and family are always eager to help. However, make sure that before you “hire” them, you know exactly what every person’s job will be. There’s nothing worse than a helpful hand wandering around and getting in the way of everybody else.

Professional movers are always a phone call away, and some of them offer a truly comprehensive range of services. For instance, aside from treating your belongings with the utmost of care during the move, the guys who own and operate City Removalist will even do the packing and unpacking for you in case you are, say, short on time.

Once you have the supplies and able-bodied helpers at your disposal, you can start loading the “keep” pile into boxes. Large appliance and some pieces of furniture will require special preparation before they are loaded. Moving professionals will help you with every aspect of the move, either by providing packing containers or pack everything for you. One way or another, they’re a valuable time-saving service.

How a Few Simple Renovations Can Increase Your Home’s Resale Value

When you are preparing to list your home for sale, you will likely have a long list of things to do. By performing some simple renovations now, you can avoid requests for remedy later. These four home renovations are also likely to get all of your investment back through a higher sales price.

How a Few Simple Renovations Can Increase Your Home's Resale Value

Refinish or Replace Your Counter Tops

One of the most important parts of your home is the kitchen. When prospective buyers enter your home during a showing or open house, they are likely to make a beeline for the kitchen. Refinishing or replacing your counter tops will make a big improvement in how the kitchen looks. Granite is a top-of-the-line material. Some other good choices include concrete and Corian. You might also consider refinishing or replacing the fronts of your cabinets if they are old and worn, dented or dinged. If the cabinets themselves are in good condition, a replacement of the knobs and drawer pulls provides an affordable facelift.

Install a Wood-burning Stove

A wood-burning stove is a delightful addition to the living spaces of your home. If you have a family room, adding a wood-burning stove creates a cozy space that is just right for cool autumn and winter weather. Wood-burning stoves in Woodinville, or in other areas, can also be at home in a four-season room or a den. A wood-burning stove adds value to your home because it gives the new owners an affordable and efficient method of heating. Wood-burning stoves are also safe in case of a power outage. Today’s wood-burning stoves offer ideal levels of safety and efficiency. If you have a log cabin or rustic styled home, it will fit right in with your architecture and decor.

Give the Walls a Fresh Coat of Paint

Giving the interior and exterior walls of your home a fresh coat or two of paint is a quick and affordable way to increase the structure’s resale value. A quality paint job can hide many minor imperfections that would capture the attention of prospective home buyers. Choose a neutral yet attractive color for the outside of your home. Make sure that you conform to any homeowner’s association or historical society rules governing exterior colors for homes in your neighborhood. While many real estate agents recommend going all neutral for interior wall colors when selling a home, you could add a little bit of visual interest by painting the wainscoting or trim in a brighter color. You could also turn to less frequently used neutrals such as buttery yellow for the kitchen or a warm gray for a child’s bedroom.

Replace Worn-out Carpeting with New Floor Coverings

Another way to make a big impact on your home’s resale value is to remove the old, stained, worn-out carpeting and replace it with new floor coverings. If your home has hardwood floors underneath carpeting, arrange for the floors to be professionally finished. Hardwood flooring that is in good condition could add thousands of dollars to your home’s selling price. Consider replacing old carpeting with laminate or engineered wood flooring. Cork and bamboo flooring are environmentally friendly options. Ceramic tile flooring is an ideal solution for front hallways, entryways and guest bathrooms. Many homeowners do enjoy the comfort and warmth of a plush carpet in the bedrooms and family room of the home.

Each of these simple home renovations only takes a few days to complete. You could schedule the renovations for a time that is convenient to you. Be sure to schedule any updates and repairs so they are complete before you want to list your home for sale. Account for potential project delays to give yourself some wiggle room when selling.

4 Simple Ways Homeowners Can Increase Their Home’s Value

4 Simple Ways Homeowners Can Increase Their Home's Value

Homes tend to appreciate over time, as long as you take care of them and keep them in good shape. However, there are some things you can do to your home that can increase their value, and you don’t necessarily have to spend a ton of money on them. Here are four simple ways homeowners can increase their home’s value.

Do a Kitchen or Bath Update

Kitchens and bathrooms are two of the most-used rooms in a house, and they also are the rooms that buyers focus on the most. That’s why it’s important to make periodic improvements to these rooms. You don’t have to break the bank and spend thousands and thousands of dollars. In fact, minor remodels are the ones that tend to add the most value. Some simple things you can do include replacing appliances, replacing a vanity, switching out water and light fixtures and updating your tile and counter tops.

Concentrate on the Exterior

Most people focus on making interior improvements when remodeling their home, but you can actually get the most bang for your buck focusing on the outside. Many of the improvements that have the most return on investment are exterior ones. These include replacing your entry door or garage door, adding or repairing a deck, and sprucing up your landscaping. All of these improvements will be investments that pay back more than they cost to complete, when done correctly.

Structural Improvements

Doing things to the bones of your house aren’t cheap but they are necessary. Take your roof, for example. People do not want to buy a roof that leaks or has broken shingles. Some companies, such as Select Exteriors, know that if this is the case with your roof, you might consider investing to improve it. The same goes for your home’s foundation. Structural improvements can be expensive, but not doing them when necessary can greatly reduce the value of your home.

Make Energy Improvements

Many of today’s home buyers want an energy-efficient home, so you can boost your home’s value by making some simple energy changes. This can include installing a programmable thermostat and changing to compact fluorescent lights. If you want to make a bigger investment, replacing windows or installing solar panels can be good choices.

Making these and other improvements to your home can greatly increase your home’s value. Some improvements require a big investment, but others do not. Either way, you are likely to recoup most of what you spend on these improvements.