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Lancaster County PA Life

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

 

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!

SOLD! Web Trek Online Open House of 617 West Vine St, Lancaster, Pa 17603 NEW PRICE – $69,900, MLS 181811

Welcome Back Readers!  Today we have a Web Trek Online Open House at 617 West Vine Street in Lancaster City’s historic West End!  This huge detached property is 1,619 Sq ft and offers 4-5 bedrooms and loads of storage space!   Check out the video for your personal tour!

Again, Zillow Ranks Lancaster PA one of the Best Places to Buy a Home Right Now!

Welcome Back Readers!

Once again Zillow.com  has ranked Lancaster County as one of the best places to buy a home right now!   As reported on Forbes.com yesterday, due to “affordability, as measured by home price to income ratios; the unemployment picture (both the absolute figure and how it’s trending over time); the foreclosure situation; and year-over-year housing price trends”  Lancaster County PA is the 8th Best Place to buy a home in the nation!  Read on after the jump for more!

Help with Foreclosure in Lancaster Pa, Foreclosures Rising

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jacob_ruff/3349494481/Welcome Back Readers.  Today we are touching on a timely topic for many.  Foreclosure.  Timely for many, as an article about it in today’s paper was titled “Record number losing homes”.  Ouch.  Record number. 

The article cites 2010 Lancaster County Pa Foreclosure filings as setting a new record at 1,334.  This is an increase over 2009 at 1,319.  But who really expected differently?  With the state of the economy, I look at those numbers and am surprised they aren’t higher.  That figure represents an increase of 1.21%. 

That’s the new record, up 1.21%.  If all we are going to do is talk statistics, that is nothing, an anomaly, barely worth a mention in the history books.  In the end, statistics, nameless, faceless statistics are what these numbers become when reported this way.  And therin lies the problem.  Read on after the jump to find out more.

Home Buyer Incentives for Lancaster Pa Homes for Sale

Welcome Back Readers!   Today we’re talking about Buyer Incentives.  You’ve seen them, buy this house and seller will pay selling agent bonus, seller will include new Cadillac, enter contest to win a Cruise to Bahamas.  Now, not many sellers have been offering these types of incentives in Lancaster, but in new construction we have seen No Mortgage Payments for a Year, $40,000 in Builder Upgrades, buy our home and if yours doesn’t sell we buy yours, etc. 

On the surface, you might think these are all great ideas, but they aren’t.  They are actually terrible ideas.  Read on after the jump to find out why!

Avoid Pet Odors When Selling Lancaster Pa Home!

Welcome Back Readers!  Today we are going to talk a little about the subject many home buyers complain about, Pet Odors.  Pet Odors can be a big problem when selling, many pet phobic buyers who catch the slightest whiff of Fido or Fluffy the Kitty turn around an walk right back out the door. That doesn’t mean you have to get rid of Fido and Fluffy, we know they are part of the family and you love them.  It does mean that you have to take some steps to address the issue.   Read on after the jump to find out more!

Is it the right time to buy a house?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/billtex48/886589178/

Photo Courtesy of B&M Photography

To buy a house or not to a buy a house, that is the question.   It’s a big decision, some would say due to the huge impact it can have on your lives it’s the biggets decision you’ve ever made.  Some people will tell you to buy a house right away, others will tell you to wait a few years.  These opinions vary between friends, family members, co-workers, even Mom and Dad might disagree on the right thing for you to do.  Who’s right, what should you do?

Well, the short answer is that it’s completely up to you.  You should rely on the advice of friends and family, their experiences can save you a lot of trouble, but in the end no one can make this decision but you and your spouse.  As a Realtor, I get asked all the time by nervous buyers whether I think they are making the right decision and while I am happy to give advice, my answer is always the same, it doesn’t matter what I think, because in the end YOU will be living in whatever home you buy and YOU will be paying for it.  For that reason and that reason alone, you need to tune out everyone else’s opinions and focus on what you want to do.

Monday Lancaster Fit Bit – A Solid Plan for Lifetime Fitness

 Welcome Back Readers!  It’s time once again for our Monday Lancaster Fit Bit from Mickey Glick at Body and Soul Fitness Studio!  This being the first Fit Bit of 2010, Mickey wanted to make sure she gave you the basis for a solid plan to carry you through the year.  Read on after the jump to see what she has in store for you!

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