How to Set a Home Renovation Budget

Before you start picking out tile and paint chips, be sure you know how much it will cost to remodel your house.

Ready for a kitchen renovation? Anxious for a bathroom remodel? The easy part is knowing your goal for home remodeling — whether you’re trying to keep up with your growing family, add office space, or increase your home’s value.

But figuring out how to plan a home renovation that doesn’t break the bank can be tricky.

Here are five key steps in planning your home remodeling project.

1. Estimate home renovation costs

As a general rule of thumb, you should spend no more on each room than the value of that room as a percentage of your overall house value. (Get an approximate value of your home to start with.)

For example, a kitchen generally accounts for 10 to 15 percent of the property value, so spend no more than this on kitchen renovation costs. If your home is worth $200,000, for example, you’ll want to spend $30,000 or less.

A kitchen remodel should cost no more than 10 to 15 percent of your home’s value. Photo from Offset.

Something else to keep in mind: Contrary to popular belief, kitchen renovations offer among the lowest return on investment, according to analysis from Zillow Talk: The New Rules of Real Estate. Every dollar you spend on a kitchen remodel increases the value of your home by 50 cents.

The highest return on investment? A mid-range bathroom remodel.

2. Consider home remodeling loan options

If you plan on borrowing money to fund your home renovations, there are a number of loans out there to help with just that.

  • Refinancing. Depending on your current interest rate, you might be able to refinance your mortgage at a lower rate and/or for a longer loan term, which could lower your monthly payments and help you save up for your renovations.
  • Cash-out refinance. If you have enough equity, you could also consider a cash-out refinance, which means refinancing your existing loan for an amount that’s higher than what you owe. Going this route, you pay off your original mortgage and have cash left over. Use a refinance calculator to see if refinancing makes sense for you.
  • HELOC. If refinancing sounds like too big of a leap, a home equity line of credit (HELOC) might work better. A HELOC works a lot like a credit card in the sense that it has a set limit that you can borrow against.
  • Home equity loan. Although it sounds similar to a HELOC, a home equity loan is a bit different. This loan requires you to take out all the cash at one time. They’re often referred to as “second mortgages” because homeowners get them in addition to their first mortgage.

Refinancing, getting a HELOC or taking out a home equity loan are all big decisions, and it can be tough to know which one makes the most sense for you. As with any new loan, consult with a lender to see which option is best for your situation.

3. Get home renovation quotes from contractors

Some contractors will give you an estimate based on what they think you want done, and work completed under these circumstances is almost guaranteed to cost more. You have to be very specific about what you want done, and spell it out in the contract — right down to the materials you’d like used.

Make sure that contractors’ estimates include the full scope of your project. Photo from Shutterstock.

Get quotes from several contractors, tossing out the bid from the one who gives you the lowest estimate. Going with this choice could be asking for problems, as low-priced contractors are known to cut corners — at your expense.

4. Stick to the home remodeling plan

As the renovation moves along, you might be tempted to add on another “small” project or incorporate the newest design trend at the last minute. But know that every time you change your mind, there’s a change order, and even minor changes can be costly. Strive to stick to the original agreement, if possible.

Even minor changes to your remodeling project’s scope can add significant costs. Photo from Offset.

5. Account for hidden home renovation costs

Your home may look perfect on the outside, but there could be issues lurking beneath the surface. In fact, hidden imperfections are one of the reasons renovation projects end up costing more than you anticipated.

Rather than scramble to come up with extra money after the fact, give yourself a cushion upfront. Factor in 10 to 20 percent (or more) of your contracted budget for unforeseen expenses, as they can — and do — occur. In fact, it’s rare that any project goes completely smoothly.


Posted by Vera Gibbons on Zillow



4 Reasons Spring is a Great Time to Buy a Home!

Here are four great reasons to consider buying a home today instead of waiting.

Prices Will Continue to Rise

CoreLogic’s latest Home Price Index reports that home prices have appreciated by 6.6% over the last 12 months. The same report predicts that prices will continue to increase at a rate of 4.3% over the next year.

The bottom in home prices has come and gone. Home values will continue to appreciate for years. Waiting no longer makes sense.

Mortgage Interest Rates Are Projected to Increase

Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that interest rates for a 30-year mortgage hovered close to 4.0% in 2017. Most experts predict that rates will rise over the next 12 months. The Mortgage Bankers Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the National Association of Realtors are in unison, projecting that rates will increase by nearly a full percentage point by this time next year.

An increase in rates will impact YOUR monthly mortgage payment. A year from now, your housing expense will increase if a mortgage is necessary to buy your next home.

Either Way, You Are Paying a Mortgage

There are some renters who have not yet purchased a home because they are uncomfortable taking on the obligation of a mortgage. Everyone should realize that unless you are living with your parents rent-free, you are paying a mortgage – either yours or your landlord’s.

As an owner, your mortgage payment is a form of ‘forced savings’ that allows you to have equity in your home that you can tap into later in life. As a renter, you guarantee your landlord is the person with that equity.

Are you ready to put your housing cost to work for you?

It’s Time to Move on with Your Life

The ‘cost’ of a home is determined by two major components: the price of the home and the current mortgage rate. It appears that both are on the rise.

But what if they weren’t? Would you wait?

Look at the actual reason you are buying and decide if it is worth waiting. Whether you want to have a great place for your children to grow up, you want your family to be safer, or you just want to have control over renovations, maybe now is the time to buy.

If the right thing for you and your family is to purchase a home this year, buying sooner rather than later could lead to substantial savings.


Posted by The KCM Crew

Are you ready to buy? Click HERE to start searching for your next home!

Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark: 6 Beautiful Ways to Add the Color Black in Your Home


It’s time to switch over to the dark side—at least in your home decor.

Yep, that’s right. When it comes to today’s hot trends in interior design, black is the new black. From bold accent walls to chic black-and-white living spaces to onyx kitchen cabinets, designers are increasingly turning to the darkest shade on the spectrum to create a dramatic statement.

Sure, using black can be a little intimidating. But just like a little black dress, it goes with everything.

“Black is a great choice for interiors because it never goes out of style, it goes with every other color, and it conveys a feeling of luxury,” says Val Malnar, principal designer at Orangetree Interiors.

Plus, black works seamlessly with most styles, no matter if your home is Hollywood glamour, Mid-Century Modern, or even industrial (farmhouse chic, anyone?).

Ready to go dark? We asked some top designers to show us the way.

1. On your cabinets

So your kitchen or bathroom needs a style upgrade, but you don’t want to spend a boatload of cash on a major renovation. What’s a homeowner to do?

Paint the cabinets black, says Cynthia Spence, an interior designer in San Francisco.

“It can be very grounding and the hardware can shine against it—be it brass, polished nickel, or even satin nickel,” she says. “It becomes a very different architectural element, and it’s also gender-neutral.”

2. On an accent wall

If you’re feeling brave, a black accent wall can hit all the right notes, says TC Chou, founding partner at Design Determination in New York City. In your bedroom, living room, or dining space, a brush of black can offer a classic look without feeling overwhelming.

“It gives the sense of a cozy, warm space, and is a great backdrop for artwork and statement furniture pieces to pop,” Chou says. “And it’s a less common wall color, so it gives the room a sense of uniqueness.”

3. In a hallway

Photo by No Chintz

If using black in a high-traffic area such as the living room or kitchen is a little too bold for your tastes, consider it in a hallway instead. You can go all-in and slather everything in black or pair it with other dark tones.

In a recent home project with a long vestibule, Spence painted all the doors a semigloss black (with brushed-nickel knobs), and kept the walls and trims a platinum gray.

“The result was quietly impactful and made space more of a destination rather than an eyesore,” Spence says.

In the past, Spence also painted a hallway ceiling black for extra flair.

“It literally made the ceiling disappear, and the light fixture and wall covering became the focal points,” she says.

4. On the ceiling

Speaking of a dramatic ceiling, don’t limit it to the hallway.

“A black ceiling can help emphasize architectural features in the room such as moldings,” Chou says.

It can also make kitchen fixtures pop and help define an area in an open floor plan, he notes. Plus, if you think about it, black is known in fashion for its ability to cover up any flaws—and the same goes for the home.

“For rooms like basements, it’s a great way to hide exposed ductwork or ceiling tile,” Chou says.

5. With chalkboard paint

Always need to remind yourself to buy more sugar or milk? A space in your kitchen covered with black chalkboard paint that you can write on is just what you need, says Kelley Lauginiger, a lifestyle blogger and home décor expert in Ohio.

“This is also a great option for kids’ rooms or a den/office where you keep lists or notes,” she says.

6. In your accessories

Not ready to devote an entire wall (or ceiling) to the color? You can still make a statement with select black pieces throughout your home.

“Black plates and cutlery add chicness to a dinner party, black-framed mirrors bring elegant drama into a room, and even something as simple as black candleholders can be an eye-catching item on a table,” says New Jersey–based interior and furniture designer Neffi Walker.

And remember: You can’t go wrong when you pair black with it’s BFF, white.

“By mixing in a graphic black and white pillow or a striped black-and-white rug, you get the impact of the black, while the white adds a softness, making it easier to digest,” says Austin-based designer Chloe Smith. “This takes the edge off of blending black into your home.”


Posted by Jane Chertoff on


The Mortgage Process: What You Need to Know [INFOGRAPHIC]

Some Highlights:

  • Many buyers are purchasing a home with a down payment as little as 3%.
  • You may already qualify for a loan, even if you don’t have perfect credit.
  • Take advantage of the knowledge of your local professionals who are there to help you determine how much you can afford.


Posted by The KCM Crew

Visit our website to get started on finding your next home!


80% of Renters Believe Homeownership is a Part of Their American Dream

According to the latest Aspiring Home Buyers Profile by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 82% of surveyed renters desire to own a home in the future, with 80% believing homeownership is a big part of achieving their American Dream.

The profile went on to state that 50% of millennials believe that their rent will increase, with 20% believing that an increase in rent will be the catalyst that pushes them to consider buying a home vs. renewing their lease.

So, what is holding renters back?

What would make renters take the plunge?

NAR’s Chief Economist, Lawrence Yun believes that,

“Housing demand in 2018 will be fueled by more millennials finally deciding to marry and have kids and the expectations that solid job growth and the strengthening economy will push incomes higher.”

Yun goes on to warn that,

“However, with prices and mortgage rates also expected to increase, affordability pressures will persist. That is why it is critical for much of the country to start seeing a significant hike in new and existing housing supply. Otherwise, many would-be first-time buyers will be forced to continue renting and not reach their dream of being a homeowner.”

Bottom Line

If you are one of the many homeowners whose houses no longer fit their needs and are looking to move up to your dream home, now is a great time to list your starter home! First-time buyers are out in force looking to achieve their American Dream.


Posted by The KCM Crew

Whether you’re buying or selling, check out our website to get started!


9 Listing Photo Do’s and Don’ts

You have one chance at a great first impression — knock their socks off with listing photos that shine.

Your bags are packed, you’re ready to move and the last thing you want to do is follow your agent’s advice about putting time and money into your listing photos. But if you don’t, your photos could prevent the home from selling quickly.

Consider these nine do’s and don’ts to help your listing attract the attention it deserves.

1. Do: Take a shot from the curb.

USA, California, San Francisco, Houses at Lombard Street; Shutterstock ID 346436030

Keep your home’s curb appeal top of mind. Buyers often decide in a matter of minutes (or seconds) whether they want to keep looking or move on to another listing.

Make sure you get the whole house in the shot, and don’t let cars or other objects block your line of sight.

Don’t: Create a landslide.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, USA – OCTOBER 2017: A steep residential street with rows of houses stepping up the hill and cars parked on the street; Shutterstock ID 738803863; Requester Name: Amy Morby; Project: Porchlight; Client/Licensee: ; Other:

When taking a shot from the curb, be mindful of your camera’s angle. The roofline should be parallel with the photo’s frame to make it look level — not like there’s a landslide on the property.

2. Do: Welcome visitors.

An attractive front door and entryway go a long way in setting the tone for the rest of your home. Leaving the door open in one of your photos can also send a welcoming message.

Don’t: Threaten visitors.

Remove any threatening signs or barriers on the property before taking photos. The goal is to create a feeling of warmth with your listing photos — not scare onlookers away.

3. Do: Consider a bird’s-eye view.

Aerial water view of home; Shutterstock ID 20398507; Requester Name: Amy Morby; Project: Porchlight; Client/Licensee: ; Other:

Taking a photo from above is a great way to show off a large property or a waterfront location. Crop the photo close enough so the home is visible without having to draw an arrow or a box around it.

Don’t: Consider a fisheye lens.

Victorian house with white picket fence through fish-eye lens, Woodstock, NY; Shutterstock ID 178249571; Requester Name: Amy Morby; Project: Porchlight; Client/Licensee: ; Other:

Some folks use a fisheye lens to make smaller spaces appear larger. However, it often has the opposite effect, making the space feel smaller and distorted.

As a general rule of thumb, stick with a traditional lens for listing photos, and make small spaces appear bigger with design tricks.

4. Do: Capture your home’s selling points.

White and blue bathroom interior with a round white tub, two narrow windows, a tree in a pot and a ladder in a corner. Side view. 3d rendering mock up; Shutterstock ID 717830713; Requester Name: Amy Morby; Project: Porchlight; Client/Licensee: ; Other:

You may think it’s best to skip the bathroom when taking listing photos, but if yours was recently updated, show it off! Bathrooms are among the first spaces to be upgraded in newly owned homes, and research shows that blue bathrooms sell for more than expected.

Don’t: Capture yourself in the mirror.

Man with camera in mirror; Shutterstock ID 535036807; Requester Name: Amy Morby; Project: Porchlight; Client/Licensee: ; Other:

While a vanity can be a selling point, you want buyers to picture themselves in the mirror — not you. Stay out of your listing photos by avoiding angles where you or your camera’s flash may be reflected.

5. Do: Stage each room.

Furnished master bedroom in new luxury home.; Shutterstock ID 304626107

The goal is to put your home’s best foot forward. That means staging each roomto sell shoppers on the lifestyle your home offers. Create cozy vignettes in each photo so it’s easier for shoppers to envision themselves living there.

Don’t: Stage a mess.

Luxury loft bedroom cluttered with books by wall and decorated with blank picture frames. 3d Rendering.; Shutterstock ID 643690621; Requester Name: Amy Morby; Project: Porchlight; Client/Licensee: ; Other:

If there’s one absolute “don’t” for listing photos, it’s capturing a mess. Tidy up each room before taking any photos so your home looks its best.

6. Do: Play up the season.

Christmas composition on white wooden table; Shutterstock ID 512131063

Even if your home has been on the market for a while, it will feel up-to-date if the photos reflect the season. If it’s summer, take a sunny photo of the backyard. If it’s winter, create a cozy feel with a fire and a warm blanket.

Don’t: Play up your holiday decor.

Traditional dining room table set for Christmas dinner. ; Shutterstock ID 727142821

Over-the-top holiday decor can be a turnoff, especially if buyers don’t celebrate that holiday. Instead, consider ways to decorate for the season as a whole and take photos of rooms without themed decor.

7. Do: Show off the view.

Tropical bedroom interior with double bed and seascape view; Shutterstock ID 161500337; Requester Name: Amy Morby; Project: Porchlight; Client/Licensee: ; Other:

If the view is one of your home’s selling points, you’ll definitely want to show it off. It’s best if you can capture it with a part of the house in the shot, like the deck or porch. That way, buyers can picture themselves there.

Don’t: Show off your pets.

furry golden retriever dog lying on floor in bedroom; Shutterstock ID 675251131; Requester Name: Amy Morby; Project: Porchlight; Client/Licensee: ; Other:

Focus on the parts of your home that will be there when a buyer moves in. Unfortunately, your pets don’t fall into that category, as cute as they are!

8. Do: Show off architectural details.

Archways, beams and other architectural quirks may be hard to photograph, but they give your home character. Try to capture a few of the architectural details if you can.

Don’t: Show off architectural blunders.

Bathroom with a pink toilette during demo day on a residential home renovation and major remodel.; Shutterstock ID 624960662; Requester Name: Amy Morby; Project: Porchlight; Client/Licensee: ; Other:

Every home has its blemishes, but that doesn’t mean you have to capture them all in the photos. The listing is the time to put your best foot forward — the open house and inspection are when the buyer can take note of the imperfections.

You may also want to consider making a few small improvements, like updating the bathroom, before listing your home.

9. Do: Take a night shot with the lights on.

Beautiful villa with wide backyard and decorative outdoor lighting, external view; Shutterstock ID 436575742

While it’s easy to assume daytime shots are ideal, a nighttime exterior shot can create the right amount of contrast to make your photos stand out. The key is to leave your home’s interior and exterior lights on while you take the photo.

Don’t: Capture a dark room.

When it comes to interior photos, you want all the light you can get. Use lamps and daytime window light to make your photos as bright as possible while still looking natural.


Posted by Catherine Sherman on Zillow

Ready to sell today? Visit our website to get started!


How to Love Your Home Again

If you’re not “feelin’ the love” for your home that you did when you first moved in, that doesn’t mean it’s time to “up anchor” and find a new place to live – often all it takes is a few changes to make your house feel like home again.

Start by remembering where it all started.

Think back to when you first moved in. What was the first meal that you cooked…you know…the one you made after all of your dishes, pots and pans were put away and the new place finally started to feel like home?

Or the first birthday party or anniversary? Then ask yourself…what’s changed?

Once you’ve figured out what’s different, you can do what you need to do to love your home again.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

Banish clutter and disorganization

You might not realize it, but clutter adds to stress and can impact the love you feel for your home in a big way.

Are your closets stuffed to capacity? Do dishes try to slide out of your cabinets when you open the doors?

How much time do you waste looking for things that you’ve misplaced?

Clear out the clutter and you go a long way to feeling more affection towards your home.

Baby steps

Don’t let the idea of decluttering and organizing your home add to your stress. Set aside as little as 15 minutes each day to tackle your mess and it will be done in record time. It’s better to do a little every day than overwhelm yourself getting it done over a weekend.

Decorative storage

Once you’ve rid your home of things you no longer need or love, it’s time to organize what remains. Decorative storage (e.g. a wicker basket or vase) serves double duty as both a place for your things and a beautiful piece that makes you smile.

Use aromatherapy

Use a mister or scented candles in a fragrance that you love to wind down after a long day. While you might be tempted to save them for only those times you have company, don’t – when you bathe your senses in beautiful scents you’ll reduce your stress level and feel more affection for your home.

Put wasted space to good use

Have a spare bedroom that’s filled with clutter or a back entryway that’s sitting unused?

Repurpose those areas of your home that aren’t being used or that can be repurposed. For example, if your dining room table is also home to your computer, reclaim the table for family dinners (instead of eating in front of the tv).

Place a beautiful centerpiece and/or placemats and keep clutter from reclaiming it and you’ll be surprised just how much you’ll love having your dining room table back!

Revamp your existing furniture

Nobody said you had to spend thousands of dollars on furniture to give you warm fuzzies about your home.

Once you know how to do it, it’s really not that hard to change the feel of your home by modifying your existing furniture. Products such as chalk paint and milk paint work wonders and can really breathe new life into a tired (boring) piece of furniture.

Finally, remember that your home is your escape from the stress and pressures of everyday life. All it takes is a few small touches of colors, textures, lighting and beautiful fragrances to help you fall in love with your home all over again.


Posted on HomeZada