Category Archives: Karen Lower Real Estate

Add Shade to your Yard or Patio

Summer is a fun season to enjoy time outside with friends and family — provided you have sufficient coverage from the sun. Stay cool and comfortable by adding shade to your yard or patio with the ideas below.

Overhead Hangs for the Patio
One popular way to create shade is to string up outdoor fabric and make a retractable awning or canopy. Shade sails are another versatile and inexpensive way to diffuse the sun’s rays. If your outdoor space lacks the columns or posts to attach fabric, a large area umbrella is a fail-safe way to keep covered.

A Natural Solution
Like the idea of natural sun blockers? Potted citrus trees add a nice touch and can be moved around as the sun shifts. Wood structures such as a trellis or pergola also make a beautiful statement while creating shady areas. Both are designed to support climbing plants like ivy, morning glory, clematis and bougainvillea.

Surrounded by Shade
For a more closed-in arrangement, try canvas curtains, bamboo blinds or solar shades. Each of these sun blockers is adjustable, making it a breeze to raise them up or down (or to the side) depending on the sun’s position and your desired level of coverage.

Whether you’re looking to dine alfresco, relax outside with a good book or visit with friends and family, a covered patio is an ideal spot. Just remember: Before you start putting up structures to block the sun, review your homeowners association or rental agreement rules as some options may require permission.

Making the Most of a Bathroom Remodel

Do you want to improve the aesthetics of your bathroom? Before you disrupt your household with the hassle of a remodel, make sure you’re prepared. Familiarize yourself with this cost and ROI overview to help guide the planning process.

What Does This Type of Remodel Cost?
The first step to organizing a bathroom remodeling project is setting a budget. Understanding the potential costs involved can help you decide whether you’re working on a complete overhaul or focusing your resources on a few select changes.

Homeowners who make bathroom updates usually hope to recover at least a portion of their investment. An upscale bathroom remodel is among the projects that see the largest percentages of value increase year over year. But a high-end revamp can cost tens of thousands. If you’re working with a more modest budget, going with simple changes like updates to light fixtures, sinks, toilets and the like can refresh your space for significantly less.

What Should You Change?
When planning bathroom renovations, it’s always smart to fix what’s broken first, especially since replacement projects see larger returns (74 percent) than remodeling ones (63.7 percent).

Once you’ve tackled any necessary replacements, make investment-savvy design selections that add value for you and your family. Trade out the garden tub for an expansive shower, add granite countertops or upgrade the vanity, ventilation or lighting. Finding what most benefits your family can lead to greater satisfaction years after the project’s completion.

With budgeting sense and some design know-how, you’ll have the confidence you need to initiate a successful bathroom remodel.

Projects That Add Instant Value

Do you have a list of changes you’d like to make to your home this year? Completing cosmetic updates is easiest when the weather’s in your favor. In honor of May’s National Home Improvement Month, here are four upgrades ranging from curb appeal projects to large-scale expansions that often yield high returns.

  1. Replacing doors and windows: Homeowners are often encouraged to consider projects that boost overall curb appeal. Swapping out a wooden front door for a steel model or replacing front-facing windows can pack more of an ROI punch than renovations made inside the home.
  2. Constructing a deck: Create a beautiful transition from your back door to the outdoors by building a deck. The update turns into a major selling point that can recoup your initial investment when it’s time to move on.
  3. Adding insulation: Of all the projects listed in Remodeling magazine’s 2017 Cost vs. Value Report, adding loose-fill insulation to your attic is the only one with returns that exceed 100 percent of the cost. It can also help reduce year-round heating and cooling costs.
  4. Building a second-story addition: Even with a slight increase in construction costs, completing a significant two-story addition resulted in a substantial year-over-year increase in value from 2016 to 2017. Adding the extra space will likely catch the attention of buyers.

Home renovations and repairs are on the rise and expected to peak this year. Now’s the time to start planning your investment-savvy home improvements.