Remodeling Projects: “Remodeling Magazine” Releases 2011-2012 National Averages For Home Remodeling Projects And Resulting “Resale Value”

8 08 2012



Renovating 1960’s “Custom Ranch” Homes: FHA 203k Renovation Loan Ideal For Replacing Flooring, Windows, Doors, Roof, Electrical And Water Pipes

18 02 2011


  • Carpeted in a smelly, worn-out brown plush, which the dog would sniff in certain places and then roll in it… REPLACED WITH TILE
  • The original central air conditioner and furnace still worked but made noises… REPLACED WITH ENERGY EFFICIENT UNIT
  • The roof had white stones to reflect sunlight but the plywood under the stones had deteriorated…REPLACED WITH NEW ROOF
  • No insulation in the attic with rafters covered with heavy tin foil…INSTALLED 12-INCH THICK INSULATION
  • Original electrical service was 100 amps…UPGRADED TO 200 AMPS TO SUPPLY MORE OUTLETS IN KITCHEN 
  • Water pipes were galvanized iron which were rusting….REPLACED WITH COPPER PIPES AND/OR CPVC PLASTIC
  • Windows were single pain aluminum….REPLACED WITH DUAL GLAZED VINYL WINDOWS
  • Small windows and doors made home dark…REPLACED WITH ENERGY-EFFICIENT FRENCH DOORS

For more:

The FHA 203k Streamline Renovation Purchase Loan Is Perfect For First-Time Homebuyers

25 01 2011

The FHA 203k Streamline Renovation Loan is an outstanding first-time home buyer loan.  First-time buyers can utitlize up to $35,000 to make renovations or repairs needed for some distressed properties, such as:

  • Buying all new appliances 
  • Modernizing interior plumbing
  • Central Air Conditioning and Heating
  • Electrical system upgrade
  • Remodeling a kitchen or bath
  • Windows and doors replacment
  • New flooring
  • Roof replacement or repair

“Fund My Remodel”: Home Remodeling Projects That Retain And Can Increase Your Home’s Value Over Time

26 08 2010

The bursting of the housing bubble has depressed real estate values, and made it much harder for homeowners to sell and move up to a larger house with more amenities. This has made renovating a popular option, because the odds are good that it will increase the value and marketability of the home in the long run.

  • Siding ($4-$21 per square foot) – Recoup: 87%
    The return on siding is high because of its relative cost to the value of your home and its ability to make your home look new again. Another attractive feature is that there are sidings available that are zero maintenance. So a potential buyer looking at a long-term purchase benefits from the reduced cost of future upkeep.The least expensive options are vinyl or aluminum siding at $4-$5. The newer vinyl is fade resistant, available in many colors and virtually maintenance-free. Aluminum is durable but will require painting if it is scratched.Other more expensive options include cedar ($9-$12), stucco ($9-$11) and brick veneer ($9-$21). (Read more background information, in 5 Mistakes That Make House Flipping A Flop.)
  • Windows ($25-$60 per square foot) – Recoup: 85%
    In addition to sprucing up your home’s exterior, new windows can substantially improve the energy efficiency. This is a big selling point, as the cost of heating and air conditioning has continued to soar. The total cost will depend on the brand and type of window you select, and the difficulty of the installation. Storm windows and those with thermal glass will be at the middle of the cost range. Specialty windows such as double-hung and bay windows will be at the top of the range.Quality windows will increase the comfort of your home and help to prevent moisture and mold from building up inside. They will also do a better job of restricting pollen and bugs, and reducing outside noise levels.
  • Bathroom Remodel ($5,000+) – Recoup: 70-85%
    An updated bathroom is another great selling feature. While a coat of fresh paint will do wonders for the interior of a house, there’s no way to cover up old sinks, bathtubs and fixtures. Today’s buyer is looking for molded sinks, marble vanities, ceramic tile, whirlpool baths, unique lighting and modern fixtures.The cost can vary widely, depending on the extent of the remodel, and luxury fixtures can run into thousands of dollars. Should you decide to remodel specific parts of your bathroom, you can expect to spend about $4,000 for a whirlpool bath and around $3,000 for a ceramic tile tub enclosure or shower stall. (How can you afford all of this? Read An Introduction To The FHA 203(k) Loan.)
  • Kitchen Remodel ($7,500+) – Recoup: 75-80%
    If you’re on a limited budget, the choice between remodeling a bathroom or kitchen should probably be based on which one will give you the most pleasure and satisfaction. You will recoup roughly the same percentage of your cost on either one.The total cost will be a function of the types of materials used, the extent of the remodel and whether or not you replace some or all of the appliances. These are rough estimates expressed in dollars per linear foot: $50-100 for new cabinets, $40 for laminate countertops and $75 for marble countertops.
  • Master Bedroom Suite ($115 – $200 per square foot) – Recoup: 75%
    Older homes benefit the most from this addition, whether you are remodeling an existing bedroom or adding a new one. In many cases, a master bathroom will be added at the same time because of the cost efficiencies that result. The cost of plumbing and fixtures would be added to the overall cost. (Before you get started, read Uncle Sam’s Surprise: Unexpected Sources Of Taxable Income.)
  • Read more:


    Green Homes Profile: Maryland Home Boasts 69 “Eco-Friendly And Energy-Efficient” Features That Made It “Maryland’s 2009 Green Home of the Year”

    22 08 2010

    “The purpose of this (green) house is that it doesn’t look different from any other house.”

    Emerson Eco-Model home in Maryland.

    The “bones” of the home help reduce energy costs.



    •  Some parts, like walls, floor joists and roof trusses were pre-built in a factory, reducing waste.
    • On site, the first floor headers and heels were raised, allowing the placement of additional insulation around the windows.
    • South-facing windows in the home are Pella Sun Defense styles with extra sheer, bronze-colored glazing and insulation to reduce the sun’s glare and heat. Mike joked,

    “These windows are like putting on a heavy pair of sunglasses. They cut down on the sun’s UV rays.”

    • Within the home’s exterior and interior walls, NCFI open cell foam insulation has been sprayed, filling up the cavities to cut down on energy loss and air leaks.
    • Throughout the house the floors were either pre-finished bamboo or cork, both renewable resources. The bamboo flooring was manufactured with “low VOC” (volatile organic compounds) adhesives.
    • Nearly every wall was painted or papered using low VOC materials; one bedroom featured walls painted with “no VOC” paint. “These McCormick paints finish off-gassing in three or four days,” he said.
    • Bathrooms have dual flush toilets. Depending upon what was put in the toilet, a user could choose a 1.1-gallon or 1.6-gallon flush.

     “For a family of four, this feature can save 4,000 gallons of water every year,” Mike said.

    • Throughout the house, low flow faucets and shower heads were installed using 20 percent less water than regular faucets and showers, with similar results.
    • The bathrooms boast attractive tiles made with recycled content. “They’re nice!” he said. “You’re not giving anything up here.
    • ” One bathroom featured an Eco-Stone countertop made of 75 percent recycled content.
    • All the bathroom fans had multiple-choice timer settings.
    • Talk of low and no VOC materials continued into the kitchen, where the locally-sourced cabinetry has no added urea formaldehyde.
    • The brushed stainless steel Energy Star refrigerator and freezer duo looked huge. “They’re oversized to encourage homeowners to get rid of the old fridge in the garage that’s draining electricity because it is old and inefficient,” said Mike.
    • The home’s Energy Star refrigerator, freezer, dishwasher and washing machine can reduce water and energy costs 25 percent over regular appliances.
    • One wall held a GE Ecomagination Home Management System. Touching the small screen, a homeowner can check on the home’s water and electricity consumption and costs-to-date.
    • A plate on a second wall held a lighting control system.
    • Mike was eager to talk about the tankless hot water heater, the manifold plumbing system and the cross-linked red and blue polyethylene pipes in the basement, along with the basement’s pre-cast, nine-foot high walls.
    • He made sure we saw the Velux sun tunnel, a flexible domed tunnel skylight. Up on the second floor, it casts a sunny glow. And, we looked at every eco-friendly nook and cranny inside.

    “A lot of things in this house I have in my own home,” he said. “I’m a member National Association of Home Builders 20 Club in this area. I learned from the other members and went through courses. Much of what Baldwin Homes was doing in our higher quality homes is already ‘green.’ As I became a better builder, I became a greener builder.”

    For more:

    “Fund My Remodel” Asks: What Questions Need To Be Answered Before I Buy “Green Building Products”?

    20 08 2010

     “…While the industry has made real progress in providing us with green products and backing up their performance claims, product selection will continue to be one of the most critical challenges you will face in meeting your green missions…”

    Here are the first 12 questions you should ask about any green building product you’re evaluating—before you make your selection:

    1. How will it perform its basic function as a building material or product?
    2. How does it compare with products I use now?
    3. Is it code approved? 
    4. Is it third-party certified? 
    5. Will it contribute toward project certification? 
    6. Is it available? 
    7. How will it affect my pricing? 
    8. Will it increase my level of risk or liability? 
    9. How will it improve the level of performance of my homes? 
    10. How will it contribute toward sustainability? 
    11. Will it require new sequencing or installation skills/trades? 
    12. Is it worth the investment for the benefits?

    For more:

    Skip Schenker’s “Fund My Remodel”: DIY Network’s “This New House” Urges Homeowners To Stop “Heating The Street” By Installing Windows With A “Higher R-Value” (Video)

    18 08 2010