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8 Ways to Boost Your Home’s Value

8 Ways to Boost Your Home’s Value

These 8 Ways to Boost Your Home’s Value are based on our Team’s last 24 months of sales and the latest data from Consumer Reports. Whether you’re thinking about selling or just want to keep your home looking great, this list is “spot on”.

1: The Kitchen Still Wins

A “modern/updated kitchen” is the list-topper when Buyers are looking for their dream home. For as little as $5,000, you can add a new suite of appliances, as well as a new countertop and flooring, resulting in a fresh, cohesive look.

Best of the Best:
Stainless steel. 
Yes, it’s been around for decades, but this appliance finish still shows contemporary design, so it will signal “updated” in the mind of the buyer.

Quartz countertops. Quartz has started to challenge granite and marble as the go-to material in higher-end kitchens, and it requires none of the upkeep of comparably priced natural stones.

2: Make Floor Plans Flow Naturally

Bigger isn’t necessarily better in today’s market. An “open floor plan with flexible living space” is high on most Buyer’s lists.

Many younger buyers will use the additional living spaces as a dedicated office, especially if they work from home. And at the other end of the spectrum, Boomers like space for the grandkids or hobbies.

Best of the Best:
Flex rooms.
 You’ll see flex rooms advertised as an additional living area that can serve a variety of purposes, from a guest bedroom to a play room to an exercise room to an office.

Mother-in-law apartment. They can house an additional family member or provide rental income—­allowing baby boomers to afford their house once they retire or helping millennials pay the mortgage. Rent is growing quickly, so this is a huge win for some.

Upstairs laundry rooms. Convenient to bedrooms and linen closets… need we say more?

3: Think About Energy

Lowering your home’s energy costs will save you money for as long as you live there and is expected to be a major selling point down the line. And don’t forget about water heating, which accounts for 16 percent of energy costs in the typical home.

Best of the Best:
High-efficiency windows.
 You probably won’t recoup the entire investment if you plan to sell right away, but it can be a bonus for you as long as you live there, and a selling feature for Buyers.

4: Make It Easy

Beyond a home’s cosmetic finishes, it’s important to keep the major mechanical systems in working order. Many first-time buyers will have used up most of their savings on the down payment, so having the heating system, plumbing, and electricity updated will give them peace of mind.

Best of the Best:
Updated systems.
 In addition to including the age of the system, it helps if you can also point to its reliability.

New roof. This will help assuage fears of water damage, ice dams, squirrel infestation, and other home disasters that can result from an old, bad roof.

Hardwood floors. Carpets are being replaced with long-wearing hardwoods with a durable factory finish. Engineered wood flooring, which uses a thin veneer of real wood or bamboo over structural plywood, tends not to wear as well as the solid wood.

5: Build a Home to Last

The existing housing stock isn’t equipped to safely accommodate that many older people—too many steep staircases and slippery step-in bathtubs. Forward-thinking homeowners are making necessary improvements to their home now—and those changes will benefit people of all ages.

Best of the Best:
Walk-in shower. 
Curbless showers eliminate the threshold between the shower and surrounding bathroom, making them wheelchair accessible, when the time comes.

Master on main. A floor plan in which the master bedroom is on the first floor reduces the need to climb stairs. It’s one of the most popular requests, not only from Boomers but from families who want some privacy.

6: Fresh Paint Is Still Important

Paint keeps your home looking great while also defending its surfaces from wear, tear, and the elements. Focus on high-traffic areas, including the kitchen and bathrooms. Do the job yourself for a few hundred dollars in material costs or pay a professional. Don’t forget the trim!

Best of the Best:
Neutral color scheme.
 Yes, we know it’s boring. You’d be surprised how many people still can’t envision your orange living room with their blue color scheme. Make it easy and repaint it beige.

7: Remember the Outdoors!

Your home’s property is another opportunity to expand its living space. Adding a deck or patio, with room for seating and a built-in or freestanding grill, is a way to create a defined space for outdoor living.

But remember the rule of low upkeep, especially if your future buyer is likely to be a millennial, who would rather see an outdoor fire pit surrounded by a simple seating arrangement. No need to go overboard with lush landscapes – Buyer’s see this as a chore and an expensive water bill.

Best of the Best:
Curb appeal.
 Trim overgrown shrubs, make minor repairs to the façade, including painting the front door makes a huge difference.

8: Ensure Your New Technology Is Smart

High-tech features offer notoriously bad returns on investment because technologies tend to evolve quickly. The days of home theaters have come and gone.

But certain devices add to home value and interest, including programmable thermostats like Nest. Also consider security systems or auto-locks.

Best of the Best:
Whole-house generator. 
Power failures are a reality for more homeowners. Stationary generators can usually power the entire property. Not a bad idea, especially if you live outside the city limits.

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Top 5 Reasons Why Millennials Should Enter The Housing Market Now

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Top 5 Reasons Why Millennials Should Enter The Housing Market Now

Tuesday, July 19, 2016 – by Chris Mabee, president of Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga

With the economy and housing market still recovering in Chattanooga and surrounding areas, some potential first-time home buyers may be hesitant to invest in a new home. Yet there are several reasons why now is a great time for Millennials and other first-time home buyers to start building their American Dream.

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1) Interest rates are low.

Today’s historically low interest rates are helping first-time home buyers find affordable housing options. Average weekly interest rates for a 30-year fixed mortgage have remained under 4.0% for most of 2016.

2) Large down payments are not necessary.

While lenders are looking more closely at borrowers today than in recent years, there are options for purchasing your first home without a 20% downpayment. For example, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) offers loans to first-time home buyers with downpayments as low as 3.5%. However, these loans require mortgage insurance.

3) New homes are built to fit your lifestyle.

Designed to accommodate today’s busy lifestyles, new homes – including urban condos and single-family homes – feature open floor plans, flexible spaces, low-maintenance materials and other amenities that appeal to younger buyers.

4) Technology makes house shopping fun and easy.

Today’s tech-savvy home buyers use mobile apps to quickly gather all of the key information on a property and to see extensive photos from their cell phones or tablets. If you’re just beginning your search, Realtor.com is a popular app because it generally contains the most accurate information gathered from more than 800 local MLSs (multiple listing services). There also are several free mortgage apps to help you determine how much you can afford and to compare real-time rates from multiple lenders. Popular mortgage calculator apps include Zillow and Trulia.

5) Owning a home can help young families build wealth and combat rising rents.

For most Americans, homeownership is a primary source of net worth and is an important step in accumulating personal financial assets over the long term. As the housing market continues to recover, property values have begun to grow again. In fact, home values up 6.3 percent nationally in the first quarter of 2016, compared to the first quarter of 2015.

Mabee, Chris. “Top 5 Reasons Why Millennials Should Enter The Housing Market Now.” – Chattanoogan.com. TheChattanoogan.com, 19 June 2016. Web. 20 July 2016.

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Hosting a Summer Party

Hosting a Summer Party

A List of Home Prep Tasks for Hosting Friends and Family this Summer

Temperatures are rising and summer is about to be in full swing. While we all know that Chattanooga’s weather can be extremely variant and unpredictable, one thing that is guaranteed is a good amount of heat. While beach trips and other vacations are often a first pick for the summer season in the south, here are a few tips for utilizing your house for hosting.

  1. We all want our homes to be up to date, fresh and clean. If you are hosting a dinner party in your Chattanooga home, you will want the front of your home to have curb appeal. Consider adding new landscaping to your front yard. At the very least, a mow, weed eat, and blow will make a great difference.
  2. A fresh coat of paint can go a long way. Whether it is the front entryway to your home, dining room, or living area, something as easy and simple as a fresh coat of paint can make your home all the more welcoming.
  3. Backyard space is perfect for a cookout this summer. Utilize the property space that you have. A pressure wash to a walkway, addition of a flower bed, or whitewash to your fence might be the very thing needed to make your backyard stand out.

Whether you are in Chattanooga, a nearby town, or travelling the world this summer, remember these tips for having a bright, welcoming space for hosting friends and family.