Want to Sell Your House Quickly? Price it Right!

April 14, 2014 at 12:04 pm
April 14, 2014 |

You may not be aware of it as you begin the process of selling your home, but your most important sales tool is your LIST PRICE.

At the Comey & Shepherd, City Office, our goal is your goal: to obtain as many dollars for your home as the market will allow, in the least amount of time. Proper pricing is essential to meet this goal.

While the value of your home is set by the market, the price is set by you. Allow us to explain the importance of proper pricing and the factors that should enter into your decision.

If you are considering selling your home, please contact one of our experienced agents today! LINK TO AGENT PAGE

-

From: www.KeepingCurrentMatters.com

4.14 BlogThe housing market is recovering nicely. Prices have increased nationally by double digits over the last twelve months. Competition from the shadow inventory of lower priced distressed properties (foreclosures and short sales) is diminishing rapidly. Now may be the perfect time to sell your home and move to the dream house or beautiful location your family has always talked about.

The one suggestion we would definitely offer: DON’T OVERPRICE IT!!

Even though prices have increased by more than 10% over the last year, the acceleration of appreciation has slowed dramatically over the last few months. As an example, in their April Home Price Index Report, CoreLogic revealed that home prices actually depreciated by .08% this month as compared to last month’s report. What concerns us is that Trulia just reported that asking prices are still continuing to increase.

Because investor purchases are declining and there are more listings coming onto the market, we believe that sellers should be very cautious when they price their house. The alternative might be that you could lose money by overpricing your home at the start as explained in a research study on the matter.

Bottom Line

Though it is a great time to sell your house, pricing it right is crucial. Get guidance from a real estate professional in your marketplace to ensure you get the best deal possible.

Comey & Shepherd Realtors | Cincinnati Real Estate Blog | Cincinnati Real Estate | Comey Blog

3 Reasons to Sell Your Home this Spring

April 8, 2014 at 11:24 am
April 8, 2014 |

From: www.KeepingMattersCurrent.com

4.8 VisualMany sellers are still hesitant about putting their house up for sale. Where are prices headed? Where are interest rates headed? These are all valid questions. However, there are several reasons to sell your home sooner rather than later. Here are three of those reasons.

1. Demand is about to skyrocket

Most people realize that the housing market is hottest from April through June. The most serious buyers are well aware of this and, for that reason, come out in early spring in order to beat the heavy competition. We also have a pent-up demand as many buyers pushed off their home search this winter because of extreme weather. Sellers in markets where seasonal weather is never an issue must realize that buyers relocating to their region will increase dramatically this spring as these purchasers finally decide to escape the freezing temperatures of the winters in the north.

These buyers are ready, willing and able to buy…and are in the market right now!

2. There Is Less Competition – For Now

Housing supply always grows from the spring through the early summer. Also, there has been a growing desire for many homeowners to move as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. Homeowners have seen a return to positive equity as prices increased over the last eighteen months. Many of these homes will be coming to the market in the near future.

The choices buyers have will continue to increase over the next few months. Don’t wait until all the other potential sellers in your market put their homes up for sale.

3. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move-Up

If you are moving up to a larger, more expensive home, consider doing it now. Prices are projected to appreciate by approximately 4% this year and 8% by the end of 2015. If you are moving to a higher priced home, it will wind-up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait. You can also lock-in your 30 year housing expense with an interest rate at about 4.5% right now. Freddie Mac projects rates to be 5.1% by this time next year and 5.7% by the fourth quarter of 2015.

Moving up to a new home will be less expensive this spring than later this year or next year.

Comey & Shepherd Realtors | Cincinnati Real Estate Blog | Cincinnati Real Estate | Comey Blog

31 Insanely Clever Remodeling Ideas For Your Home

March 31, 2014 at 11:49 am
March 31, 2014 |

From: www.Buzzfeed.com

1. Lower your living room to create a conversation pit.

Lower your living room to create a conversation pit.

The bi-level living room will give your home an incredibly spacious yet cozy effect.

2. Turn an attic nook into a pillow room.

What is life but one long, perpetual movie-night slumber party?

3. Display your book collection under the stairs.

4. Or use the space underneath for storage.

Or use the space underneath for storage.

Next-level wine collection not included, unfortunately.

5. Or use that space for a book nook.

So much cozy.

6. Dogs are people, too, which is why your dog should probably get his or her own little haven underneath the stairs.

7. Make space for two dishwashers instead of one.

You can load one while the other washes. KitchenAid also makes a double drawer dishwasher.

8. If you’re doing a HUGE remodel, ask your contractor about tacking on a treehouse or guesthouse.

If you're doing a HUGE remodel, ask your contractor about tacking on a treehouse or guesthouse.

This add-on might cost less than you think.

[source: Quora]

9. Turn your shabby garden shed into a charming artist’s shed.

With big windows for lots of light and visual inspiration.

10. Install an in-wall pest control system.

Pest-tube installation means that all the exterminator has to do is inject some stuff into one end to keep insects and rodents away.

11. Maximize your space with baseboard drawers.

Maximize your space with baseboard drawers.

Especially in the kitchen and bathroom.

12. Consider a hidden room.

Consider a hidden room.

Sometimes it’s as simple as adding a bookcase to a door.

13. Make your walls MAGNETIC.

Make your walls MAGNETIC.

Magnektik makes large magnetic panels that are strong enough to hang anything, including shelves and TVs.

14. An S-shaped seat turns your shower or steam room into one you can LIE DOWN IN.

An S-shaped seat turns your shower or steam room into one you can LIE DOWN IN.

Insane in le bain.

15. Have an extra-tall ceiling? Stretch a ceiling hammock across it.

Have an extra-tall ceiling? Stretch a ceiling hammock across it.

16. A walk-in shower means NO GLASS TO CLEAN.

And they even fit into small bathroom spaces.

17. Install chutes in your kitchen for your trash and recycling.

Install chutes in your kitchen for your trash and recycling.

Funnel them straight into the garage.

18. A platform in a storage/guestroom hides away all of your stuff while keeping the room usable.

A platform in a storage/guestroom hides away all of your stuff while keeping the room usable.

It’s also a great way to make a comfy nook room more functional.

19. Build a bar into your deck.

Build a bar into your deck.

20. Turn dead space above a staircase into a playroom.

21. Build a second mini-fridge in your kitchen island for BEER.

Build a second mini-fridge in your kitchen island for BEER.

Or really, anything you want.

22. Instead of typical cabinets, build a pull-out cabinet for instant counter space.

Instead of typical cabinets, build a pull-out cabinet for instant counter space.

23. Put a sink with jets in your laundry room so you have a convenient place to wash your delicates.

Put a sink with jets in your laundry room so you have a convenient place to wash your delicates.

24. Utilize dead space with a built-in wine rack.

Utilize dead space with a built-in wine rack.

Or build the wine rack directly into the kitchen island.

Or build the wine rack directly into the kitchen island.

25. Two words: VACUUM BASEBOARDS.

Two words: VACUUM BASEBOARDS.

This sorcery actually exists.

26. Kids will love having slumber parties in their bunkroom.

27. Bring the outdoors IN with these accordion glass windows and doors.

It’s an epic way to open up your kitchen while entertaining.

28. Swap out your boring old ceiling for a star-gazing sunroof.

Swap out your boring old ceiling for a star-gazing sunroof.

29. Install a two-sided fireplace between the bathroom and the bedroom.

Install a two-sided fireplace between the bathroom and the bedroom.

Who needs heated tiles when you have a bathroom fireplace?

30. Frame your living room fireplace with built-in seating.

Frame your living room fireplace with built-in seating.

Fireplaceseat is the new windowseat.

31. And finally, go ahead and add that master bedroom balcony.

And finally, go ahead and add that master bedroom balcony.

You deserve a quiet, tranquil place to look out over your land.

Comey & Shepherd Realtors | Cincinnati Real Estate Blog | Cincinnati Real Estate | Comey Blog

6 Seller Secrets For This Spring’s Real Estate Market

March 24, 2014 at 10:47 am
March 24, 2014 |

From: www.Forbes.com

Each year, it seems the housing market takes on a different tone – and whether it’s going to be a sellers’ market with inflated prices and bidding wars, or a buyers’ market with tons of choices and low prices – there’s no denying that the 2014 spring housing season is upon us. So what does it have in store? Well, if you’re thinking of listing your home, that’s an important question.

Here are 6 market insights that will give you a head start!

Right Now = A Great Time To Sell
The winter home selling season was crippled by the polar vortex, especially in the east and northeast, so there’s pent-up demand from buyers who’ve been waiting for better weather to brave the house hunt. Mortgage rates are still at historic lows, so buyers ARE poised to buy and ready to hit the streets.

Michael

Know Your Numbers: 60%
Sixty percent of all homes in 2014 will be bought and sold from May to August. Putting your home on the market at the beginning of the selling season will help your chances of snagging a winning offer before buyers turn their attention back to school starting in September.

Price It Right
Many metros in the country have seen double-digit price increases in the past year. But this last quarter, prices started to slow nationally – and pricing is a critical component to getting your house sold. With this fluctuating market, you need to look at comps of similar homes in your area, and recency matters: make sure you’re looking back no more than 60 days. The sale price of homes that sold recently paints a much better picture of what to expect than the price of homes that sold six months ago (or of homes that have yet to sell).

Bidding Wars Aren’t Back (Phew!)
Bidding wars were common in the summer of 2013, but we’re hearing less about them right now. So don’t bank on fielding two or three offers at once. There is, however, a good chance that you’ll still get the one that will be a win/win for both you and the buyer.

It Pays To Be Ahead Of The Curve
Trying to get a jump on the competition? Right now we’re on the cusp of prime selling and buying season, and if you list soon, you’ll have less competition than you would if you put your house on the market in May or June, when more homes will flood the market. Since it’s still early, your home can have its ‘moment in the spotlight’ more than it will when inventory increases – and the buyers who are braving the cold to house shop are clearly motivated.

Make It Pop Off The Computer (Or Smartphone) Screen!
In this new mobile era, a huge percentage of buyers use smart phones (and Trulia’s top-rated apps) to start their home search online. And that percentage is expected to rise this year as more buyers take advantage of easy access to the wealth of information online. Get in on this trend by making sure your home pops on those computer screens. Great homes with mediocre quality photos will be quickly discarded and ultimately get less showings. Sellers should insist that their agent take the time to beef up their online listing so the quality of the home jumps off the screen and gets buyers’ attention.

Comey & Shepherd Realtors | Cincinnati Real Estate Blog | Cincinnati Real Estate | Comey Blog

Comey & Shepherd Realtors, City Office proudly welcomes Kay Sterling as a new agent!

March 18, 2014 at 12:15 pm
March 18, 2014 |

Comey & Shepherd Realtors | Cincinnati Real Estate Blog | Cincinnati Real Estate | Comey Blog

Bockfest – Cincinnati’s Bock Beer Festival and Celebration of OTR

March 5, 2014 at 1:10 pm
March 5, 2014 |

We hope to see you at Bockfest this weekend!
Comey & Shepherd Realtors, City Office is excited to be a sponsor of this Great Cincinnati Tradition.

www.Bockfest.com

home-slider2_1

March 7th-9th

Bockfest is a celebration of historic Over-the-Rhine, Cincinnati’s brewing heritage and the coming of spring. There are several bock beer festivals that take place around the world, but Cincinnati’s Bockfest is the oldest and largest in the United States.

Bockfest occurs during the first weekend of March. It begins with a parade on Friday evening that starts at Arnold’s Bar & Grill, Cincinnati’s oldest saloon. The parade is lead by a goat pulling a keg of bock beer and the reigning Sausage Queen. It ends at Bockfest Hall where the ceremonial first keg is blessed and Bockfest officially begins. The Hall is open throughout the weekend and features live entertainment, great food, historic walking tours, authors and breweriana, a homebrew competition, Continental Sunday celebrations and lots of delicious bock beer.

Bockfest is not just limited to the Hall. It occurs in a number of participating venues in Over-the-Rhine and the central business district. There is no admission fee for the hall and typically no admission fee for the participating venues. (If a venue charges a fee, it will be indicated on the event schedule.) A free shuttle bus runs a continuous loop around location, including Garfield Suites which is offering a special Bockfest Rate for festival goers.

Location:

1619 Moore St.
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Get directions

Hours:

See website for details

Rates:

FREE

More Info:

Call 513-604-9812
Visit website

Comey & Shepherd Realtors | Cincinnati Real Estate Blog | Cincinnati Real Estate | Comey Blog

5 Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Professional

March 3, 2014 at 5:59 pm
March 3, 2014 |

In the fluctuating real estate market it is essential to engage an agent with a proven track record who consistently delivers results and understands the local real estate market. Please contact one of our experienced award-winning agents today for any of your buying and/or selling needs: Comey & Shepherd City Office Agents (LINK)

-
From: www.KeepingCurrentMatters.com

5-ReasonsWhether you are buying or selling a home, you need an experienced Real Estate Professional to lead you toward your ultimate goal. In this world of instant gratification and Internet searches, many sellers think that they can For Sale by Owner or FSBO.

The 5 Reasons You NEED a Real Estate Professional in your corner haven’t changed, but rather have been strengthened in recent months with the Federal Government continuing to taper bond purchases and the impact that decision has had on mortgage rates.

1. What do you do with all this paperwork?

Each state has different regulations regarding the contracts required for a successful sale, and these regulations are constantly changing. A true Real Estate Professional is an expert in their market and can guide you through the stacks of paperwork necessary to make your dream a reality.

2. Ok, so you found your dream house, now what?

According to the Orlando Regional REALTOR Association, there are over 230 possible actions that need to take place during every successful real estate transaction. Don’t you want someone who has been there before, who knows what these actions are to make sure that you acquire your dream?

3. Are you a good negotiator?

So maybe you’re not convinced that you need an agent to sell your home. However, after looking at the list of parties that you need to be prepared to negotiate with, you’ll realize the value in selecting a Real Estate Professional. From the buyer (who wants the best deal possible), to the home inspection companies, to the appraiser, there are at least 11 different people that you will have to be knowledgeable with and answer to, during the process.

4. What is the home you’re buying/selling really worth?

Not only is it important for your home to be priced correctly from the start, to attract the right buyers and shorten the time that it’s on the market, but you also need someone who is not emotionally connected to your home, to give you the truth as to your home’s value.

According to the National Association of REALTORS, “the typical FSBO home sold for $184,000 compared to $230,000 among agent-assisted home sales.”

Get the most out of your transaction by hiring a professional.

5. Do you know what’s really going on in the market?

There is so much information out there on the news and the Internet about home sales, prices, mortgage rates; how do you know what’s going on specifically in your area? Who do you turn to, to tell you how to competitively price your home correctly at the beginning of the selling process? How do you know what to offer on your dream home without paying too much, or offending the seller with a low-ball offer?

“When getting help with money, whether it’s insurance, real estate or investments, you should always look for someone with the heart of a teacher, not the heart of a salesman.” – Dave Ramsey

Hiring an agent who has their finger on the pulse of the market will make your buying/selling experience an educated one. You need someone who is going to tell you the truth, not just what they think you want to hear.

Bottom Line:

You wouldn’t hike up Kilimanjaro without a Sherpa, or replace the engine in your car without a trusted mechanic, why would you make one of your most important financial decisions of your life without hiring a Real Estate Professional?

10 Ways to Make Your Property More Attractive for Homebuyers

February 24, 2014 at 1:22 pm
February 24, 2014 |

From: www.RealEstate.com

With the property market struggling to pick itself up following the global recession, selling your own slice of real estate may be a challenge. How can you make your property stand out in a crowded market where buyers are thin on the ground? Here are 10 useful tips for making your property more sellable and getting yourself the price you deserve for your home.

1.  Make a Good First Impression

A beautiful home that demonstrates the power and importance of curb appealIncreasing your curb appeal is the first step to making your home attractive to the buyer and bagging a sale at the best possible price. Many homebuyers make up their minds about a property in the first few minutes of approaching the door, so make sure your home makes that all-important good first impression.

Also, make sure you pay attention to your property’s exterior; if it looks tired and worn, give it a lick of paint to breathe a new life into your frontage. Also, ensure that the front yard is flawless with beautifully manicured lawns and well-kept foliage; you can even add some color with a floral hanging basket.

2.  Make Your Buyers Feel Welcome

Buyers want to feel that they could live in your property, so make it feel like home with a few simple touches. Remember, buying a home is mostly an emotional decision, so it’s important to give buyers that warm and fuzzy feeling! Start with curb appeal by adding a welcome mat and repainting your front door to present a well-loved home.

3. Don’t Depersonalize Completely

Extend the welcome feeling inside with a few home touches, but don’t go overboard! Too much personality in the form of personal possessions and family photos will put buyers off and make it harder for them to visualize living there.

4.  Cut the Clutter

This is another aspect of creating a big welcome for prospective buyers. Make sure your property is clutter-free for all your viewings. Not only will it make your home look and feel bigger, it will also help buyers envisage how they would use the space.

Good lighting improves atmosphere and makes a home seem more spacious5. Improve Lighting and Light Fixtures

The bigger your home feels the more buyers it will appeal to, so ensure your home feels much more spacious by making it as bright as possible. Open all your curtains and let your home be flooded with natural light. You must also pay attention to the darker rooms that may not have access to as much natural light. Invest in some light fixtures and fittings, and place them strategically to illuminate even the gloomiest of places.

6. Decorate to Sell

Brightly painted walls are just the ticket when it comes to how not to make a home sellable. Give your interiors a fresh coat of paint in a neutral color to give it that blank canvas look buyers need. Neutral colours also make properties appear lighter and brighter, so take advantage of this inexpensive and easy option. Also, give tired interiors a new coat of paint; buyers love that freshly decorated feeling.

7. Clean Up Your Act

It’s amazing how many sellers don’t do a quick tidy up before a viewing. Don’t fall victim to this common mistake that may keep your home from selling. Make sure your home is spotless for every buyer; a bit of elbow grease works wonders and makes your home more appealing to buyers. Don’t forget to tidy your garden too: Cut bushes back, clear your patio, and give your outdoor furniture a good wipe.

8. Make Those Minor Repairs

If you’ve been living in a property for a while, it is all too easy to forget about those little jobs on your “must fix” list. Broken doorknobs, cracked tiles, holes in walls and damaged carpets may slip under your radar, but they’ll be some of the first things buyers notice when they look around your home. Make those minor and major repairs so that your home is a sound investment for potential buyers.

9. Maximize Your Space

The golden rule of selling is to make your space look and feel bigger and better than what your competitors have to offer. We’ve already mentioned that lighting your home, both naturally and artificially, can maximize your assets, but getting rid of bulky furniture can also be a great way of making the most of what you have. Large pieces of furniture make a space feel smaller, so put these items into storage and dress your home with more compact pieces.

10. Don’t Forget Your Floors

Upgrading or improving your flooring is an important investment every seller should make. Many buyers are deterred by the thought of spending money to improve a home, especially after saving for a huge down payment, so make important changes that buyers will appreciate. Performing home improvement projects yourself may increase the time it takes your home to sell and ultimately increase its value.

Worn carpets and damaged vinyl floors need to be replaced, and wooden floors in particular should undergo some maintenance prior to viewing. Flooring improvements or replacements may come with a hefty price tag, but the prospect of selling your home for the best possible price will likely outweigh the cost.

Comey & Shepherd Realtors | Cincinnati Real Estate Blog | Cincinnati Real Estate | Comey Blog

9 Easy Mistakes Homeowners Make on Their Taxes

February 19, 2014 at 5:47 pm
February 19, 2014 |

From: www.HouseLogic.com

As you calculate your tax returns, consider each home tax deduction and credit you are — and are not — entitled to. Running afoul of any of these 9 home-related tax mistakes — which tax pros say are especially common — can cost you money or draw the IRS to your doorstep.

Sin #1: Deducting the wrong year for property taxes

You take a tax deduction for property taxes in the year you (or the holder of your escrow account) actually paid them. Some taxing authorities work a year behind — that is, you’re not billed for 2013 property taxes until 2014. But that’s irrelevant to the feds.

Enter on your federal forms whatever amount you actually paid in 2013, no matter what the date is on your tax bill. Dave Hampton, CPA, tax manager at the Cincinnati accounting firm of Burke & Schindler, has seen home owners confuse payments for different years and claim the incorrect amount.

Sin #2: Confusing escrow amount for actual taxes paid

If your lender escrows funds to pay your property taxes, don’t just deduct the amount escrowed, says Bob Meighan, CPA and vice president at TurboTax in San Diego. The regular amount you pay into your escrow account each month to cover property taxes is probably a little more or a little less than your property tax bill. Your lender will adjust the amount every year or so to realign the two.

For example, your tax bill might be $1,200, but your lender may have collected $1,100 or $1,300 in escrow over the year. Deduct only $1,200. Your lender will send you an official statement listing the actual taxes paid. Use that. Don’t just add up 12 months of escrow property tax payments.

Sin #3: Deducting points paid to refinance

Deduct points you paid your lender to secure your mortgage in full for the year you bought your home. However, when you refinance, says Meighan, you must deduct points over the life of your new loan. If you paid $2,000 in points to refinance into a 15-year mortgage, your tax deduction is $133 per year.

Sin #4: Misjudging the home office tax deduction

The deduction is complicated, often doesn’t amount to much of a deduction, has to be recaptured if you turn a profit when you sell your home, and can pique the IRS’s interest in your return. But there’s good news – there’s a new simplified home office deduction option if you don’t want to claim actual costs. If you’re eligible, you can instead claim $5 per sq. ft. up to 300 feet, or $1,500.

Sin #5: Failing to repay the first-time home buyer tax credit

If you used the original home buyer tax credit in 2008, you must repay 1/15th of the credit over 15 years. If you used the tax credit in 2009 or 2010 and then sold your house or stopped using it as your primary residence, within 36 months of the purchase date, you also have to pay back the credit.

The IRS has a tool you can use to help figure out what you owe.

Sin #6: Failing to track home-related expenses

If the IRS comes a-knockin’, don’t be scrambling to compile your records. Many people forget to track home office and home improvement expenses, says Meighan. File away documents as you go. For example, save each manufacturer’s certification statement for energy tax credits and lender or government statements to confirm property taxes paid.

Sin #7: Forgetting to keep track of capital gains

If you sold your main home last year, don’t forget to pay capital gains taxes on any profit. You can exclude $250,000 (or $500,000 if you’re a married couple) of any profits from taxes. So if your cost basis for your home is $100,000 (what you paid for it plus any improvements) and you sold it for $400,000, your capital gains are $300,000. If you’re single, you owe taxes on $50,000 of gains. However, there are minimum time limits for holding property to take advantage of the exclusions, and other details. Consult IRS Publication 523.

Sin #8: Filing incorrectly for energy tax credits

If you made any eligible improvements in 2013, such as installing energy-efficient windows and doors, you may be able to take a 10% tax credit (up to $500; with some systems your cap is even lower than $500). But keep in mind, it’s a lifetime credit. If you claimed the credit in any recent years, you’re done. Fill out Form 5695.

The first part of the form, which covers systems eligible for a larger tax credit through 2016, such as geothermal heat pumps, can be complex and involves crosschecking with half a dozen other IRS forms. Read the instructions carefully.

Sin #9: Claiming too much for the mortgage interest tax deduction

Taxpayers are allowed to deduct mortgage interest on home acquisition debt up to $1 million, plus they can also deduct up to $100,000 in home equity debt.

This article was original published in January 2011.

This article provides general information about tax laws and consequences, but shouldn’t be relied upon as tax or legal advice applicable to particular transactions or circumstances. Consult a tax professional for such advice.

Comey & Shepherd Realtors | Cincinnati Real Estate Blog | Cincinnati Real Estate | Comey Blog

The 5 Best Time-Tested Remodeling Projects — and the Worst

February 11, 2014 at 2:42 pm
February 11, 2014 |

From: www.HouseLogic.com

Although kitchens and bathrooms always steal the spotlight in a home remodel, they aren’t necessarily the ones that have the highest return on investment when you sell your home.

Since 2002, a trade magazine for contractors and builders called “Remodeling” has been tracking how much it costs to do common home improvement projects — and then calculating how much of that cost is recovered when the home sells.

Each year, we highlight the projects with the highest return on investment from the magazine’s Cost vs Value Report.

Related: The Best Home Improvements for 2014

But this year, we decided to focus not just on the new data, but how projects have performed since 2002.

So, what’d we find?

Well, you may want to reconsider turning that spare room into a full-fledged office. A home office remodel had the worst overall ROI of 53%; the project’s been declining since it was added to the study in 2005 with an ROI of 72.8%.

The biggest jump we’ve seen? Backup generators, which had some of the lowest ROI rates over the years — as low as 47.5% in 2011 — leapt to 52.7% in 2012 and then took an almost 15 point jump to 67.5% in 2013! We can be pretty sure Hurricane Sandy and extreme weather in recent years are a big part of the reason.

But the real gems are those projects that don’t have such highs and lows — the ones with consistent ROI.

We’re not saying these steady and reliable projects are the ‘right’ ones for you. If a home office will improve your quality of life and help you enjoy your home more, then it makes sense. We just think knowing what’s going to happen with your remodeling dollars makes sense, too.

So, which ones are the long-term winners? The projects that share these four characteristics:

  • Low-maintenance
  • Good — but not necessarily the highest — quality
  • Energy-efficient
  • Not too costly

Read on for the details.

1.  The Highest ROI: Replacing Your Front Door

Year in and year out, no single project has provided such a healthy return on your home improvement dollar as a new front door. A replacement steel door averaged a 97.2% return on investment — by far the highest return in our historical look at the Cost vs Value Report.

It’s also the lowest-cost project in the annual report at $1,162. It’s an energy upgrade that has great curb appeal and needs virtually no maintenance.

“It gives you the best bang for your buck in terms of transforming the look and feel of your home,” says Brandon Erdmann, president of the remodeling firm HomeSealed Exteriors in Milwaukee. “Plus, old exterior doors can be a huge source of energy loss. So you’re improving the look of your house, improving energy efficiency, and you’re able to do it without breaking the bank.”

Related: What Your Front Entry Says About You

2.  New Siding

Traditional Exterior by Staten Island Kitchen & Bath Remodelers Paul Lopa Designs

No other feature has as much impact on curb appeal as siding. Clean, well-cared-for siding signals home improvement mastery. Old, worn siding can contribute to a loss of up to 10% of your home’s value.

That’s one reason new siding has such a high ROI. In fact, of the top 10 long-term averages from the Cost vs Value Report, three of them are replacement siding projects, and each has something special to offer.

The Top 10 Projects for Long-Term ROI

Project Long-Term ROI
Entry door replacement (steel) 97.2%
Siding replacement (fiber-cement) 83.8%
Minor kitchen remodel 82.3%
Siding replacement (vinyl – mid-range) 81.6%
Deck addition (wood) 80.6%
Siding replacement (foam-backed vinyl) 79.7%
Attic bedroom remodel 79.4%
Window replacement (vinyl – upscale) 79.4%
Window replacement (wood – mid-range) 76.8%
Window replacement (vinyl – mid-range) 75.9%

Vinyl siding is low-cost, durable, and easy to install, hitting all the right notes when it comes to getting a good return on your home improvement dollar. Best of all: It’s a low-maintenance feature that frees up your time. In a 2013 survey of homebuyer preferences from the American Institute of Architects (AIA), respondents voted low-maintenance products the most popular characteristic of home design — a preference that’s trending up from previous AIA surveys.

Today’s vinyl siding includes fade-resistant finishes and transferrable lifetime warranties that are much more confidence-inspiring than the 10-year guarantees of just two decades ago. Over time, vinyl siding replacement projects have returned 81.6% on the initial investment.

Fiber-cement siding also shows a strong ROI, with the second-best return of any project in our long-term look at the Cost vs Value Report — 83.8%. Although it’s more expensive than vinyl, it has one thing vinyl still lacks — the perception of quality.

That’s important to homeowners and homebuyers. In a survey from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), “quality” was the one of the most important traits that homebuyers focused on when shopping for a house.

Foam-backed vinyl is another winning project, with an average long-term return of just under 80% and a cost that’s slightly more than fiber-cement. But foam-backed vinyl has a trick other sidings don’t — it’s an energy-efficient upgrade, with an R-value of R-2 to R-3.

During a research project on residential energy efficiency conducted by the technical analysis firm Newport Ventures, homes clad with foam-backed vinyl siding showed an average energy savings of 5.5% over a two-year period.

That’s music to any homeowner’s ears. According to the AIA, energy-efficiency is the second most popular characteristic of home design — a feature that helps you save money for years to come.

3.  Minor Kitchen Remodel

Traditional Kitchen by Milton Interior Designers & Decorators E.R. Miller

We’re not talking about the dream kitchen remodels that are plastered on Pinterest and Houzz. Those types of remodels took a big hit on ROI during the recent recession. But a minor kitchen remodel weathered the economic bumps with an average return of 82.3% over the years, helped by a relatively modest financial commitment — the 2014 Cost vs Value Report pegs the cost at $18,856 (that includes labor and new cabinet doors and drawer fronts, countertops, flooring, and appliances).

Recession or not, a minor kitchen remodel beat out a higher-end kitchen remodel every single year, with its highest recorded ROI at 101% in 2005.

“People are always willing to update their kitchens,” says Dale Contant, secretary of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) and owner of Atlanta Build and Design. “It’s the hub of the home.”

kitchen callout

That’s underscored by stats from Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies that show that over the last 10 years, homeowners have spent more on kitchen remodeling than any other home improvement category.

That indicates homeowners don’t seem to be as concerned about the ROI on a kitchen remodel as they are about how the kitchen works for them personally, and maybe a bit about injecting their own personalities into the hub of the home. A 2013 survey from NAR found that 53% of buyers undertook a remodeling project within three months of purchase, and of those, 47% dug right in and remodeled their kitchen.

Related: The Most Popular Style for Kitchens

4.  Wood Deck Addition

Contemporary Deck by Portland Architects & Designers PLATFORM design studio

Deck additions have been popular projects with a high ROI but, like a lot of investments, decks fell off during the recession.

“When the economy soured, deck-building soured,” says remodeling contractor Lino Carosella of Haverton, Pa. “Decks are a bit of a luxury, and homeowners tended to spend on necessities, such as upgrading their kitchens and baths. But now decks are coming back.”

Indeed they are, vaulting over bathrooms and other improvements on our list of long-term winners with an average ROI of 80.6%. Although homeowners annually build about twice as many patios as decks, both outdoor projects benefit from our ever-increasing love of outdoor living, a trend that looks to continue for the foreseeable future.

One big reason is that decks and patios are a sweet way to expand living space at a low cost of $8 to $30 per sq. ft. — a bargain compared to the $150 to $300-per-sq.-ft. cost of a new home addition.

Related: More About The ROI of Deck Additions

5.  Attic Bedroom Remodel

Traditional Bedroom by Portland Media & Bloggers Solstice Home

Attic bedroom remodels join our list of smart investments with an overall ROI of 79.4%. Attic conversions were especially popular during the recession, when homeowners put off buying move-up houses and instead turned to increasing the living space they already owned. Makes sense with the rise of multi-generational households over the past few years.

Converting an attic to a bedroom increases living space without increasing your home’s footprint — the walls, floor, and ceiling already exist — which helps keep remodeling costs under control.

Related: Ideas for Attic Conversions

A Note on Projects That Are Trending Downward

Why aren’t home office remodels as popular as they were 10 years ago? Probably because we’ve come to rely less on dedicated office space and more on mobile hardware that lets us conduct business from any room in the house. Cloud storage puts documents a click away — not in a file cabinet — and our smart phones keep us connected 24/7, not just when we’re in the office.

That sensibility frees up spare rooms for other uses, especially bedrooms, bathrooms, and storage.

Another project, sunroom additions, appears to have gone the way of sunken living rooms and parlors. They used to be fashionable, but today we know sunroom additions are difficult to heat and cool, and, at $300 to $400 per sq. ft., they’re expensive to construct.

You’ll get almost the same benefits — and more fresh air — with a much cheaper to build deck or patio.

Sunroom callout

The Bottom Line

It’s true: A rising tide lifts all boats. Over the past couple of years the stabilizing economy has helped produce better returns on most remodeling projects.

That’s good news for homeowners, who can be assured that their remodeling dollars are garnering better returns when it comes time to sell, and generating more enjoyment of their homes in the meantime.

Happy remodeling!

Comey & Shepherd Realtors | Cincinnati Real Estate Blog | Cincinnati Real Estate | Comey Blog

agency west bellevue cincinnati comey & shepherd condos downtown living forbes health care bill health care refrom home homebuilders home insurance homeownership home sales home tax housing affordability Leed Certified lisa dunhouse loans mortgage mortgage payment mt. adams new construction northern kentucky Price to Income rates real estate realtors saint anthony lofts soapbox media time to buy wall street journal