If you’re like alot of people nowadays, you may not be able to sell your Hendersonville home right now.  Instead, you are looking at updating your home’s look for the possibility of making a larger profit later.  Here are a few tips on how to get the most bang for your buck in remodeling projects:

Adding crown molding or a chair rail to a room like the dining room makes a dramatic difference in the room's appearance.1. Crown Molding – Easy to install, adding crown molding to the ceiling or a chair rail along the wall can instantly transfer a drab room into a fab room.  You can even dress up a light fixture with a simple medallion.

2. Wood Floors – Are your wood floors looking a little worse for wear?  Refinish them for a fresher look.  If they are completely worn out, opt for replacing them.

3. Light Fixtures – Are you still using fluorescent lights in the kitchen or bathroom?  Recessed lighting or updated light fixtures can increase the warmth and feel of any room for a reasonable price.

4. Entryway/Foyer – If your entryway/foyer area is stuck in a bygone era, you may want to freshen it up with a fresh coat of paint, newer wallpaper, refinished stairway and/or new flooring.

Adding a kitchen island increases your surface area and storage space.5. Kitchen Island – Storage is one of the toughest things to accommodate in a kitchen.  Adding a kitchen island with shelves or cabinets included in the design not only increase your storage capacity, but also your surface area.   Try using butcher block or concrete for the kitchen island’s work surface as an alternative to expensive granite or marble.

6. Pantry – Adding a simple pantry to your kitchen can increase your food storage in a small area quickly and easily.

7. Shower – Simply changing the showerheads in your bathrooms can make a dramatic difference.  One of the more popular fixtures is a large pan showerhead that simulates a rainfall.  Also, you may want to consider adding a multi-head or second showerhead in your master bath.

8. Fixtures – Updating the fixtures for your kitchen or bathroom sinks increase the room’s appeal.  In the kitchen, consider adding a pull-out sprayer with a retractable hose to help clean the sink and reach those pots or pans that are too big to sit in the sink under a traditional faucet.  While you’re at it, update the cabinets and drawers with new handles, knobs or pulls.  If your cabinets don’t include any fixtures, the look can be dramatically altered quickly.

9. Porch – Adding a porch creates a more welcome appearance and brings your living space to the outdoors.  You’ll need to make sure to check the building codes in your area first for setback requirements and obtain a building permit, if necessary.

10. Siding – Check your home’s siding for any damage.  If your siding is in good condition, you can find products at your local home supply store to restore the finish to its original condition.  If it’s time to replace, vinyl siding is the most affordable in a variety of colors and styles.  It’s not your parents’ ugly siding anymore.

These are just a few of the simpler ways to get the most bang for your buck in remodeling projects.  I’d love to hear what projects you have done to increase the value of your Hendersonville home.  What you do now will help you when you decide to sell your Western North Carolina home later.

Don't get a lemon.  Contact Rich Cooke for all your Hendersonville real estate needs.

Advertisements

$8000 Tax Credit Extended

November 12, 2009

The $8000 tax credit has been extended and includes a $6500 tax credit for existing homeowners.The $8000 First Time Home Buyers Tax Credit has been extended both in time and to include a $6500 tax credit for existing homeowners.  Previously, only first time home buyers (those buyers who have not owned a home for at least the three previous years) were eligible for an up to $8000 tax credit based on the purchase price of the home.  This was set to stop December 1, 2009.  However, President Obama has just signed an extension to the First Time Home Buyers Tax Credit that applies to all homes purchased by April 30, 2010.  If you have a signed binding sales contract in effect by April 30, 2010, you have until July 2, 2010 to close escrow.

In addition to the $8000 First Time Home Buyers Tax Credit, President Obama made available a $6500 tax credit for current homeowners looking to purchase a new home.  Existing homeowners must have used their home as their primary residence for at least five consecutive of the last 8 years to qualify for this new tax credit.

Income Limits:

If you are a single home buyer or married filing head of household, you cannot make more than $125,000.  If you are married and file jointly, you cannot make more than $225,000 to receive the total tax credit you are eligible for.  You are eligible for a partial credit if you are single or a head of household filer and make between $125,000 and $145,000 or married filing jointly with an income between $225,000 and $245,000.

Homes That Qualify:

Only a home that is purchased and used as a primary residence is eligible for the appropriate tax credit.  That means that vacation homes, rental properties and commercial properties do not qualify.  Also, the purchase price cannot exceed $800,000

These tax credits do not have to be paid back provided you use your house for your primary residence for at least three years.  However, if you sell your home before the three year time period is up, you will be required to pay back all the tax credit you received.  For more information on the tax credit extensions and how they effect you with your Western North Carolina home, please contact me.

Rich Cooke, your Hendersonville real estate expert

According to the North Carolina Association of Realtors®, home sales may be down overall across the state, but Hendersonville experienced a 2% increase in home sales from the same time last year.  The 110 Hendersonville homes sold in June 2009 was a 2% increase from June 2008 figures and was a 31% increase from sales figures in May 2009.  The average cost for a Hendersonville home was $219,362 (down 17% from June 2008’s average cost of $264,559).

In comparison, Asheville home sales were down 7% from the previous year (June 2009 showed 217 units sold, June 2008 showed 233 units sold).  However, June 2009 sales were up 45% from May 2009 figures.  The average cost for an Asheville home was 6% less than the same time last year ($266,883 in June 2008, $253,852 in June 2009).

What do these figures mean for you buyers out there?  These low prices aren’t going to last long.  Asheville real estate already seems to be experiencing what may be a bottoming out of the market, with home sales only slightly down from the previous year and the average price being only slightly less as well.  Hendersonville real estate is not too far behind, with its home sales almost exactly the same as the previous year and up significantly from the previous month.  You don’t want to miss out on owning your piece of the American dream.  With the expiration of the $8,000 tax credit coming quickly upon us, now is definitely the time to buy.  Contact me today to let me know how I can make your Hendersonville or Asheville homeownership dreams come true!

Feeling fenced in?  Contact Rich Cooke for all your Hendersonville real estate needs.

As a resident of Hendersonville, this comes as no surprise.  But, now the rest of the country will know what I’ve known all along.  Laurel Park has been named as one of the Best Affordable Places to Retire in the USA, according to NeighborhoodScout.com.  This online resource for buyers and investors across the country ranked neighborhoods around the United States according to the median home value and cost of living as well as other factors and gave them a score from 1-100 (100 being best).  With its beautiful surroundings in the Blue Ridge Mountains, mild climate and its median home value of $346,100, the Laurel Park neighborhood of Hendersonville, NC was given a high score of 95 out of 100.  The only two neighborhoods in the country to surpass Laurel Park were Brecksville, OH (who scored a 97) and Englewood, FL (who scored a 98).  So, don’t take my word for it.  Listen to NeighborhoodScout.com and see why Laurel Park and the Hendersonville area were named as one of the Best Affordable Places to Retire.

Looking for a great home to spend your retirement years?  Contact Rich Cooke for more info on Hendersonville real estate.

There are several proposals to reduce mortgage rates to help home buyers.The Treasury Department is listening to proposals from the National Association of Realtors and National Association of Home Builders to have a wide-scale reduction in interest rates to as low as 4.5%.  One of the proposals suggests that a government agency (such as the Treasury Department) could buy up 30 year mortgages below the market’s fixed rate of 4.5%.  Another proposal suggests that the government play a role in lowering interest rates to home buyers by as much as 1% or more by paying loan discount points or fees.  The whole idea behind these proposals is to bring large numbers of people into the marketplace to stimulate construction as well as move large numbers of unsold inventory quickly.  By doing so, this would help create jobs by increasing the demand for building materials, appliances, furniture, paint, etc.

This rate reduction concept isn’t a new idea.  It was used in the 1970’s through the government’s Tandem Plan.  At that time, the Government National Mortgage Association (Ginnie Mae) bought below-market mortgages from Fannie Mae who had aquired mortgages from thousands of lenders across the country.  So, instead of the private lenders and Fannie Mae eating the losses, Ginnie Mae absorbed them.  This was an effort to stimulate homebuying in a stagnate market.

The most recent proposal has been to have the Treasury Department lower mortgage interest rates for home buyers.  The government could then sell debt securities to bond investors at 3% and acquire privately originated mortgages at 4.5%, providing a profitable business model.  For more information on how these proposals can help you in the Hendersonville real estate market, please contact me today.

remodeling.Do you want to remodel your home because you are looking to sell it soon?  There are some smart remodel projects that will bring alot of bang for your buck and there are some remodel projects that may sound like a good idea, but won’t bring a good return on your investment.

Do:

Remodel the bathroom.  No costly, overdone bathroom remodel is necessary.  Change out old brass hardware for newer, updated brushed nickel ones.  Give a fresh coat of paint to the walls.  Replace old lighting fixtures.  Take out the tub and add a tiled-in shower with glass enclosure.  Buy a new pedestal sink and toilet to open up the bathroom.

Replace the exterior siding.  It’s like putting a new outfit on your home.  Vinyl siding is the most popular and inexpensive method for exterior siding.  However, fiber cement siding can be made to look like stucco, wood or even cedar shingles.  It is also fire resistent and can offer up to a 50-year guarantee.  It will cost about 30% more than vinyl, but will yield a much bigger return on your investment and offers more alternative looks than simple vinyl siding.

Update your kitchen.  You don’t have to overspend in order to bring your kitchen into the 20th century.  Replacing the old dishwasher, refrigerator and stove/oven with moderately priced stainless steel appliances can go a long way.  Changing out the old cabinet knobs or drawer handles can alter the look of the cabinets.  Rip up the old linoleum and replace it will newer, resilient flooring.  A fresh coat of paint will do wonders to brighten up the space.

Think about converting that attic space into another bedroom and bath area.  This is an especially good idea in a neighborhood with smaller homes.  Because the wiring and walls are already there, it is less expensive to create a new bedroom in the attic than to add additional square footage anywhere else.

Don’t:

Convert a spare bedroom into a fully custom office.  Adding custom cabinetry and tearing out a closet to create room for your filing cabinets is great for those who work from home.  However, when reselling a home, an extra bedroom will always outsell a custom home office.  Utilizing the bedroom space as a home office by buying office furniture is fine.  But make sure not to alter the room so that it can’t be used as a regular bedroom when you sell it.

Overspend in the kitchen or master suite.  While it is true that kitchens and master bedrooms sell homes, you don’t want to spend so much on these areas that you are way out of league with the rest of the neighborhood.  An $80,000 dollar dream kitchen or $100,000 deluxe master suite may sell well in Beverly Hills or New York City.  But, if you don’t live in an upscale neighborhood, the sales price of the home will not support this kind of an expenditure.

Construct an addition to the house for a nice family room.  With exterior siding, extra wiring, patio doors and flooring, adding extra square footage to a home can easily cost you $50,000 for a reasonably sized room.  Using that money to convert a basement into a game room or making the attic space into another bedroom and bathroom is a much better use of the money.

Remember that it is a smart idea to invest money into your home.  Just make sure that you are smart about what part of the home you spend your dollars on.

Lake Lure Looks Good

August 14, 2008

Officials are reassuring residents located downstream from Lake Lure’s water treatment plant that, despite a reduction in water flow, the water quality if still good.  Due to the severe drought in the Lake Lure area, the water level is down by three feet and continues to lose approximately 1 1/4″ per day.  Because of this, the water flow downstream was restricted from 9.7 million gallons per day to 9 million per day to help support the wildlife in the lake as well as continue functions at the water treatment plant.  The reduction is still well within state guidelines and the treatment plant is operating within the state’s Special Order of Consent (SOC).  A recent inspection of the plant confirmed that there were no violations of the SOC.  While Lake Lure residents aren’t currently under mandatory water restrictions, they are asked to conserve their water usage so that there will be no need to implement them.