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Author Archive Jason Burkholder

Know This Before You Do Any Home Improvements

When you do any home improvement, you probably figure it’s also going to improve the value of your home. And it probably will improve the value… but, probably not as much as it cost you.

In other words, if you spend $1,000 (for example), it probably won’t improve the value by $1,000 or more. Statistically speaking, it will probably only improve the value by a fraction of that amount.

So, the question becomes…

Is it even worth doing any home improvements!?

Not to sound wishy-washy, but the answer is…

Yes and no. It depends on a lot of factors. We’ll touch on that more at the end of the article.

But for now, let’s just take a look at the top 7 home improvements, according to the 2017 cost versus value report to start making some sense of it all.

1. Insulation

via GIPHY

According to the 2017 Cost vs. Value Report, adding fiberglass insulation to the attic costs on average $1,343, but you’ll recoup $1,446.

Doesn’t sound all that exciting. When you think home improvements, you probably think of remodeled kitchens and baths being the biggest and best improvements to make (and they might be for you). But nope, according to the report, your best bet is to add insulation.

Pretty interesting, considering no buyer has ever walked into a house, gasped, and said, “Honey, look at this! They added insulation!” Yet, according to the report, it’s what’ll be the best money you could spend to add actual value to your home, and your bank account.

2. New entry door

via GIPHY

Replacing your entryway door with one made of steel may set you back an average of $1,413, but you’ll get back $1,282, according to the 2017 Cost vs. Value Report.

So, at face value, it looks like you actually lose a few bucks…

So, why would you do it?

If your new door is more energy efficient, it’ll probably also save you some money on heating and cooling. It’s just tough to say how much exactly.

But the big X factor is how much your improved “curb appeal” will add to the sales price, when you sell your home. Again, that depends on a lot of other factors.

3. Manufactured stone veneer

via GIPHY

On average, adding manufactured stone veneer will cost $7,851, but you can expect to recoup $7,019, or 89.4 percent, of that.

Obviously, this is another one that loses you money, at face value.

So, why would you do this home improvement?

How about, because you simply like the way it looks. Obviously, if you don’t like the way it looks, don’t do it. But, if you do, you’ll enjoy the home improvement. It isn’t all about making money on the money you spent. Sometimes it is about getting back a nice chunk of what you spent, on something that you wanted and enjoyed during the years before you sell your house.

4. Minor kitchen remodel

via GIPHY

If you have a functional but outdated kitchen, you may harbor fantasies about beginning a total renovation. However, you don’t need to break the bank to make some valuable upgrades that’ll pay off in the long run. Consider swapping out old appliances for energy efficient ones. You can leave cabinet boxes in tact but replace doors or hardware.

The average minor remodel costs $20,830. As much as you’ll love the look and convenience of modern amenities, you’ll also enjoy knowing you can regain an average of $16,699.

This surprises a lot of people outside the real estate industry (and even some in the industry!).

Almost everyone thinks kitchens are the best thing to renovate, and will increase the value of a home. Again, it will add value, but just not as much as it costs.

So, this is another one where there’s plenty of reason to do it, simply because you will enjoy the benefits of the improvement during your ownership.

Just don’t tack on every penny you spent on the remodel onto your asking price when you sell. That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works.

5. New garage door

via GIPHY

On average, a new garage door costs $1,749, but homeowners recoup $1,345, representing an almost 77 percent return on investment.

Chalk this one up to the X factor of added curb appeal as well, when it comes to justifying spending the money.

But it also just boils down to your sanity. When you have a garage door that doesn’t open or close right, or when you want it to, it can drive you nuts. That’s gotta be worth the 33% you don’t get back when you sell.

6. Siding installation

via GIPHY

The elements wreak havoc on your home’s exterior. If your place is looking a little worse for wear, it could be time to consider siding, which provides a fabulous facelift.

But, more than simply a cosmetic upgrade, siding can protect your home from heavy rains and damaging snowstorms, making it an investment with a multi-pronged pay-off.

The average cost of installing siding is $14,518 of which you should get back $11,093 at resale, according to the 2017 Cost vs. Value Report.

Starting to see the trend? There are benefits to doing any home improvement, but you just can’t expect to get every dime you spend back.

7. Adding a wooden deck

via GIPHY

Decks are ideal for outdoor entertaining. Depending on the size, you may feel as if you’ve just added significantly to your living space — especially if you live in a climate where you can use it for much of the year.

The average wooden deck will set you back $10,707, but you’ll get back $7,652, or 71.5%, when you sell.

OK, with all of that said…

These reports are based upon National and regional statistics. The thing is, real estate is extremely local. Like, down to the very street you live on local… And there are so many factors that will affect how much return you’ll get on any given project, in any given area, on any given house.

It may make sense for you to do a particular home improvement. It may not. It depends on your local market. It depends on the local supply and demand of homes. And it depends a lot upon what your personal situation is, and what your short and long term plans are.

So, the best thing to do when you’re considering any home improvement, is to reach out to your local real estate agent, and ask him or her for input. Considering they probably won’t charge you a dime for their time and insight, that’s going to be the best cost versus value you will find when it comes to home improvements.

Still have more questions?  Do you want to sell or buy a property?  Call me at 717-371-0557, I’ll be happy to help you!

If you want to search Lancaster County homes for sale, visit www.JasonsHomes.com to access our Easy MLS home search that shows you all the homes for sale in the Lancaster County PA Multiple Listing Service (MLS) !

As always, I’d like you to be part of the conversation, so if you like what you read here please feel free to let me know, forward this post to your friends and subscribe!

If you have questions, need real estate advice or want to buy or sell a home, you can call or text me at 717-371-0557, email me at Jason@JasonsHomes.com or contact me at the office at 717-291-1041!

Your Friend in Real Estate,

Jason Burkholder

Realtor, e-Pro
Associate Broker
Certified Marketing Specialist
Weichert, Realtors-Engle & Hambright
717-291-1041 office
717-371-0557 direct or text

 

12 Ninja Tricks To Make Your House Seem Cleaner Than It Really Is

You know how it is. Your home is your domain, and your sanctuary. You don’t always need for it to be clean. In fact, there’s almost that strange sense of satisfaction that comes from having a house that has just enough flavor of mess to be yours. It’s your place, and you don’t care what anyone thinks…

…until you suddenly learn that company is coming over.

But no worries! Take that dread and channel it into excitement! Because…

…I have 12 simple tips to help you declutter and make your place look cleaner than it really is.


1. Hit the most noticeable surfaces first.


It may not be the most pleasant, but some suggest starting with the “three T’s” first.

Toilets, obviously an important to have shiny and disinfected. Tabletops, used in all sorts of activities. Finally your television, because you never know when that special someone might want to stay over and watch a movie.

If you have time, go ahead and hit the other kitchen counter tops and the sinks of the home as well. If there’s time still, get those mirrors nice and sparkly.


2. First impressions are everything.


Consider what rooms will be seen first, then how the flow will likely go. Work on them in that order. Clean the entryway first, and then the living area, and continue with the pattern. Focus on clutter and cleaning noticeable dust and grime off of surfaces, first. If you have time, you can do the floors as well.

3. Bathrooms bathrooms bathrooms!


If there’s one thing that can make or break a person’s comfort in the home, it’s the bathroom. By now, you should have already flushed and cleaned the toilet. You can close the shower curtain to help offset any unpleasantness that could be spotted in the bathtub. Close all drawers and medicine cabinets, and see if you can improve the look of any wet, hanging towels by placing a bathrobe over them.

If you have a little more time, clean off the mirrors, the sink counter and the inside of the sink. If you have more time, scrub the shower out, just in case a post-movie encounter leads to a shower scene.


4. Correct the clutter.


If you have books or magazines out of place, stack them or put them in a bookshelf. Collect your remotes and place them side by side in a neat arrangement, out of the way, or place in a small basket. Get all random, dirty clothing and hide in a laundry basket, out of sight.

If you don’t have time to take things to their appropriate rooms, place in some baskets by which room they belong so that it’s out of the way for the time being. You can take care of it after your encounter.


5. Towels are often overlooked.


Replacing the hand towels in your kitchen and bathroom are a wonderful way to increase the feeling of freshness for your guest. If you don’t have time to iron any of them, spray them with a little starch to give the appearance.

6. Pet hair patrol.


Not only is pet hair a bit messy, but it can also aggravate some allergies. If you don’t have a lot of time, and your cushions are clean underneath, just flip them. You can also throw a sheet or blanket over the furniture. If you have time, use a lint roller or vacuum cleaner to thoroughly remove the hair. Apparently, you can even use a rubber glove to help get the hair off of your upholstery.


7. Deal with those dirty dishes.


Obviously, it’s best to have your dishes cleaned and put away. If you don’t have time, and your dishwasher is full, you can place them in the oven as long as you don’t plan to cook dinner later. If you have a bathtub that won’t be seen, you can get some hot soapy water going and place the dishes in it. Be sure to pull the shower curtain to, just in case.


8. The nose knows.


Febreze is one way to remove strong odors from rooms. Another is to light some incense, or open the windows if it is a pleasant day outside. You can also boil a number of random things on the stove to fill the home with the scent. A few examples would be Cinnamon, lemon or citrus peel, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger.


9. Let there be light.


Again, if it’s a nice day, open those windows. You can also just open the shades if it is too hot or cold out. At night, lower lighting helps keep imperfections invisible, and makes things feel a little more relaxed. If you light candles, set them in places for optimally lighting where you’ll probably spend the most time. Be sure not to mix too many random scents if the candles are scented.


10. Window washing time.


You can hide blind dust by turning them upward, or raising them all together. If you have time and are lacking window cleaning solution, spray some vinegar on a newspaper and you’ll be amazed at how well it cleans the glass.


11. People love shiny things.


Placing something shiny in the room can help naturally attract attention away from what you don’t want people to notice. The more you light it up (without blinding them) the better the effect.


12. Finish with flooring detail.


With wood, tile or linoleum, get some final touch ups with the appropriate swiffer tools. With carpets and rugs get that vacuum out and make sure you hit the areas that will be most visited. Once finished, you can leave a the vacuum or swiffer out to let your guest know you cared enough to clean what you could. It can help take the edge off of anything left undone.


And if all else fails… ask for help!


Why make things harder than they have to be? If there is any help you can quickly recruit, do so! You never know when a friend will do you a solid for friendship sake, or trade you for a later favor.

There you have it!  Simple, easy and quick!

Still have more questions?  Do you want to sell or buy a property?  Call me at 717-371-0557, I’ll be happy to help you!

If you want to search Lancaster County homes for sale, visit www.JasonsHomes.com to access our Easy MLS home search that shows you all the homes for sale in the Lancaster County PA Multiple Listing Service (MLS) !

As always, I’d like you to be part of the conversation, so if you like what you read here please feel free to let me know, forward this post to your friends and subscribe!

If you have questions, need real estate advice or want to buy or sell a home, you can call or text me at 717-371-0557, email me at Jason@JasonsHomes.com or contact me at the office at 717-291-1041!

Your Friend in Real Estate,

Jason Burkholder

Realtor, e-Pro
Associate Broker
Certified Marketing Specialist
Weichert, Realtors-Engle & Hambright
717-291-1041 office
717-371-0557 direct or text

 

What is a Pre-Foreclosure?

Welcome Back!

A question I get asked quite a bit is “what are those houses listed on zillow as a pre-foreclosure?

Here is a quick video with the answer to that question, click thru to check it out!

 

9 Ways Home Flipping Shows Lie to You

We all know the premise of home-flipping shows: An investor buys a veritable dump and then, with the help of a team of ready-and-willing contractors and landscapers, quickly transforms it into the best-looking home on the block. Next, that intrepid investor turns around and sells it for a hefty profit. Sounds like a straightforward formula for financial success, right?

Sure.  Also, Bigfoot is real.

Ok, maybe lie is too strong a word.  Here’s the thing though, the shows are definitely misleading.  What makes for entertaining television doesn’t always translate into a win beyond the high definition flat screen. The following are nine ways home-flipping shows mislead viewers. So, if you’re considering turning this into your next career or even a side gig, you may want to separate fact from fiction first.

1. Tight turnarounds aren’t always realistic

In order to realize as large a profit as possible, it’s important to flip the property as quickly as you can, otherwise paying the mortgage, taxes, and insurance quickly chips away at your bottom line. While sales tend to happen quickly on TV, the reality is that even if you have a willing buyer, getting pre-approved and securing the financing doesn’t happen overnight. For anxious sellers, that ticking clock is a constant reminder that every passing day means a little less money in their pockets.

2. Finding a dedicated team isn’t easy

As far too many homeowners know, not all contractors are created equal. For the most part, the artisans who make their way onto home-flipping shows are trustworthy, knowledgeable and willing to work nearly round-the-clock to get the job done. In reality, contractors may be working on multiple projects simultaneously and may disappear for days at a time. And as we all know, time is money.

3. DIY doesn’t work for everyone

Part of the appeal of these home-flipping programs is the ease with which the whole property comes together. But it’s more than just the time-lapse photography that makes it seem like anyone with a tool belt can renovate like a pro. While you might be tempted to take a DIY approach to keep expenses low, remember, these people know what they’re doing, whereas most homeowners are not expert contractors. Many times tackling a task yourself will end up costing you more than if you’d hired the right person for the job.

4. When trouble strikes, it’s not so easy to resolve

Even with a careful home inspection, surprises (not the good kind!) pop up when you least expect them. Yet, if a sink hole opens and threatens to swallow a sunporch, home-flipping show teams are ready to fix that issue like it’s no big deal. When it happens to non-TV-star homeowners, it’s not always easy to find the right subcontractor — especially when you’re under time constraints. And, once you do, can you even afford to deal with whatever unpleasant shocker has come your way? If you have to go back to the bank for more money, that will impact your timeframe and ultimately your profit. (See number 1.) Home-flippers on TV seem to have bottomless bank accounts. Must be nice, right?

5. Materials don’t arrive simultaneously

When home-flippers begin a project, all the requisite materials are on-site and ready to go. If only this were the norm! Anyone who’s ever fallen in love with a special order item knows that it’s almost impossible to find everything you like in stock and ready for delivery. Some contractors are reluctant to start a renovation until all the supplies are in, which, again, can hurt your timeline and your profit.

6. The back-and-forth is all done behind-the-scenes

Never mind the fact that homes showcased on these programs never seem to lack for buyers, in many instances there doesn’t seem to be any haggling to speak of when it comes to the asking price. Leaving out the art of negotiation does viewers a disservice as it makes it appear that buyers can’t wait to pay full price — or above it.

7. The math is fuzzy

In order to reap the biggest profit, you need to buy below market value, sell above it, and not put more money into the renovation than you’ll get back. As if that equation weren’t complicated enough, on television, you don’t always hear about the costs of buying or selling, inspection and appraisals fees, and other expenses that go into both sides of the transactions. Leaving out some numbers conveniently inflates the profit.

8. Costs vary by area

Renovating a bathroom in rural Tennessee is going to cost much less than it would in, say, Manhattan. Not only will the labor be less expensive, but the materials and delivery charges will also skew lower in non-metropolitan areas. Of course, none of that is addressed in the show and most often estimates on TV are far lower than those you’d gather in real life.

9. You can over-renovate

This is common.  Be careful.  Once you’re in the home improvement groove, you may be tempted to splurge and really go all out, but you have to resist the temptation to overdo it and put in more money than you’ll ever get back. In the quest to make your flip as fabulous as possible, you never want to lose sight of the the reason you started this project: to make money. Consider the return on investment for each improvement you make.

Bottomline.  Flipping homes is something you can make money doing.  It’s not for the faint of heart, it’s not without risk and it’s not something to tackle if you don’t have a bank account that will support it.

Thinking of buying an investment property?  Call me at 717-371-0557, I’ll be happy to help you find the right property, make a plan and write the right offer to make it yours!

If you want to search Lancaster County homes for sale, visit www.JasonsHomes.com to access our Easy MLS home search that shows you all the homes for sale in the Lancaster County PA Multiple Listing Service (MLS) !

As always, I’d like you to be part of the conversation, so if you like what you read here please feel free to let me know, forward this post to your friends and subscribe!

If you have questions, need real estate advice or want to buy or sell a home, you can call or text me at 717-371-0557, email me at Jason@JasonsHomes.com or contact me at the office at 717-291-1041!

Your Friend in Real Estate,

Jason Burkholder

Realtor, e-Pro
Associate Broker
Certified Marketing Specialist
Weichert, Realtors-Engle & Hambright
717-291-1041 office
717-371-0557 direct or text

Online Video Open House of Clock Towers Condos in Lancaster Pa – 917 Columbia Ave Lancaster, Pa 17603

Welcome Back !  Today I’m taking you through an Online Video Open House featuring a Lancaster County PA Condo community called Clock Towers.    Located at 917 Columbia Ave, Lancaster Pa 17603 Clock Towers is an architectural beauty, it’s the former Hamilton Watch Company (1892-1969) building that was converted to condominiums.  With exposed brick, original vault doors in some units, high ceilings and lots of windows, the variety of sizes and layouts of the homes in this community will amaze you!  Click through to check out the video and read more info!

4 Tips For Buying A Home In A Hot Market

When a market is hot, finding and buying a home can feel like an uphill battle. In a seller’s market, homes go quickly. They can be on the market one day and gone the next. And on top of the challenge of finding a home, most homes (especially the desirable ones) have multiple offers, making it harder to get into the home of your dreams.

But buying a home in a hot market isn’t impossible! You just have to approach it strategically and stack the deck in your favor to find – and successfully buy – the right home for you and your family.

Here are four tips for buying a home in a hot market that will put you a step ahead of the home-buying competition:

18 Tips For Living In Your Home While It’s For Sale

It’s one of the largest and most expensive assets most of us will ever own. It’s where we lay our head down at night, the place we make memories and call home. Selling it can be one of the most overwhelming and stressful experiences you may ever go through. So here are 18 tips for living in your home while it’s for sale to help you through the process:

How Selling Your House Is Like Making Lasagna

How many layers are there in a lasagna?

There’s no right or wrong answer to that. Other than, “more than one” probably. Even two is pretty skimpy.

So, let’s say three is minimal for argument sake. (But, four or more is better.)

The number of layers probably just boils down to using up all the lasagna noodles and sauce you have, or getting to the top of the pan you have to use. No exact amount. Use what you’ve got.

But, if all you’ve got won’t stretch to make three layers in the size pan you have, perhaps you should use a smaller pan. At least have the three layers.

This isn’t a lasagna lesson.

Sold! 146 W Front Street Marietta, Pa 17547 – 24/7/365 ONLINE VIDEO OPEN HOUSE – MLS# 266775

Welcome Back!  Today we are taking a look at 146 W Front St Marietta, Pa 17547! This Marietta home for sale is in the Donegal School District and in Marietta Boro!  Click through to check out the video and a link to all pictures/details to learn more!  To see this home in person, call or text me at 717-371-0557!

Sold! 53 ACORN BLVD LANCASTER, PA 17602 – 24/7/365 ONLINE VIDEO OPEN HOUSE – MLS# 264932

Welcome Back!  Today we are taking a look at 53 Acorn Blvd Lancaster, Pa 17602! This Lancaster County Condominium for sale is in the Conestoga Valley School District and in a fantastically convenient commuter location!  Click through to check out the video and a link to all pictures/details to learn more!  To see this home in person, call or text me at 717-371-0557!