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Friday, June 28, 2013

What's New At Enhance

Beautiful new hardwood flooring styles from Mohawk! Among our favorites are:
~~~Demarco Sapele, an African hardwood prized for its color, grain and strength. The appeal of this wood has lead to its being used in fine woodwork in many industries, including high-end cabinets, furniture, and the automotive industry. For example, Cadillac uses highly polished sapele wood for the interior trim material in its higher end vehicles. Sapele wood has a very fine grain, and the reddish-brown color darkens and becomes richer over time. Sapele has a hardness rating of 1,500, about 16 percent above the ranking of red oak.
~~~Adventura wire brushed oak hardwoods, in 4" 6" 8" random widths and five stain colors. What is wire brush? A technique that consists of running a wire brush over wood flooring, creating a rough, hard surface. The wire brush gets rid of the soft wood on the surface, making the floor more durable, less slippery, and easier to maintain. Wire brushed floors can withstand wear and tear, making them a great option for households with kids or pets.

~~~Parisian Acacia---a 5" wide exotic wood available in three stain colors: Natural, Barrel, and Spice. One of these reddish-brown tones is sure to be perfect for your d├ęcor!

PLUS 18 Month Interest Free Financing on all installed purchases over $3500. Hurry--financing offer ends July 9th!

Smart Home Improvement Projects Part II
Last week we listed the top 5 home improvement projects, based on the average ROI, from Remodeling Magazine's most recent comprehensive survey. (For you non-accountants, ROI is Return On Investment. In this case it is the increased value of your home based upon the investment price of the improvement.) This week we are sharing more statistics to help you decide what to update at your home this year.

#6 Major Bathroom Remodel
Average return at resale: 93.2 percent
•A major bathroom remodel involves expanding an existing 5-by-7-foot bathroom, relocating and replacing the tub and toilet and adding designer sinks and faucets, a linen closet, lighting, a ceramic tile floor and exhaust fan for a cost of $26,052, which brings in $24,286 at resale.•Start at the bottom. Dated flooring can seriously drag down value. Replace old floors with fresh tile in ceramic or stone for a solid payoff. Buy extra tiles and set aside at the end of the job in case you need to make repairs in the future.
•Give an old vanity a facelift with a new countertop for a clean fresh look buyers will love.
•Use eye-fooling tricks to make a small bath look larger. A new pedestal sink is a smart replacement for an old cabinet. The smaller footprint gives the illusion of space.

#7 Major Kitchen Remodel
Average return at resale: 91 percent
• A complete kitchen remodel in a midrange home averages $43,862 and returns $39,920 at resale. That price buys 30 ft. of cabinets, an island, laminate countertops, stainless sink, wall oven, cook top, vinyl flooring and appliances. NOTE: Hardwood or tile floors, stone (granite or quartz) countertops, and stainless steel appliances are what buyers expect if you want top dollar for your home•If your home's value rises and your kitchen's finishes don't, do a major remodel rather than small fix-ups. Budget 15 to 20% percent of your home's value remodeling the kitchen.
•Kitchens feel bigger when there are fewer obstacles. Removing cabinets over a counter gives a wide open feel. Make those countertops truly useful by creating an eating bar.
•An eat-in kitchen is a big plus - give it a deluxe touch with a built in banquet or bench and nice pillows.
•Planning to sell? Stick with neutral colors for walls and window treatments. Remodeling to please yourself? Choose colors you love.
•Put your home in the best light. Perk up a dark kitchen with French doors that'll let the sun shine in.

#8 Deck, Patio or Porch Addition
Average return at resale: 90.3 percent
• Adding a 16x20 ft. pressure-treated wood deck with a simple pattern costs about $11,000. At resale, you'll get about $10,000 of that back, a recoup rate of 90 percent.•One simple but effective trick - add eye-appeal with decorative planters on the front porch, patio and decks.
•Give a courtyard an impressive entry with an inviting gate, lighting and mature plantings. These small improvements will have a big impact at closing.
•Use bold plantings to emphasize features, or to distract the eye from flaws.
•Run-down stairs lower your profit margin, so make sure porch railings are safe and attractive.
•And here's an easy tip - camouflage unattractive air conditioning units with a wooden trellis.

#9 Basement Remodel
Average return at resale: 90.1 percent
• The average basement remodel costs just over $51,051 and returns $46,010, so you'll recoup about 90 percent of the cost. •What do you get for $51,051? A 20 x 30 entertaining area with wet bar, a 5x8 bath, recessed lighting and a laminate floor.
•Finishing the walls is a must - but here's an important tip: Keep dry wall panels a half-inch away from concrete floors, so they don't show moisture.
•Always fix flooding problems first. Add French drains, bigger gutters or re-slope the yard to keep water out. Test to make sure the fixes work before investing time or materials in a basement.
•Want just the wet bar? Buy 10 linear feet of cabinets, a laminate countertop, a stainless steel drop-in bar sink and an under-counter refrigerator for about $2,500.

#10 Replacement Windows
Average return at resale: 89.6 percent
• Replacing 10 3x5 ft. windows runs about $9,700. On average nationally, you'll get back $8,700 when you sell, a recoup rate of nearly 90 percent.
•For hot climates, there's low-e glass that reflects heat. And for maximum efficiency, add argon gas inside the pane to prevent heat and cold transference within the window.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

What's the best way to add value to your existing home?

This question was recently posed to Interior Designer Taniya Nayak, a design expert often featured on TV and print. Her answer to this timeless question:

"My best advice is to budget for a small to medium renovation or update every year. This helps keep your home up to date without breaking the bank. Oftentimes people wait until they are ready to sell before making these changes, and they never get to enjoy their investment. Allow yourself to enjoy the changes a bit before handing it over to someone else."

So what do you plan on updating this year? To help you decide, we are listing a variety of home improvement projects that you may be considering. Our source is Remodeling Magazine and their recently published survey of remodeling projects completed over the past year. This is a great way to find out how much you should expect a redo to cost. Also included is the average return you should expect at resale, to help you know if you are making a smart investment or not.

These are the home improvements, in order, that will give you the biggest bang for your buck, plus some additional thoughts from

#1 Minor Bathroom Remodel
Average return at resale: 102 percent
•It costs about $10,500 to replace the tub, tile surround, floor, toilet, sink, vanity and fixtures. You'll get back an average of $10,700 at resale, a recoup rate of 102 percent.
•If you like your tub, but it is old and worn, re-glaze it for a like-new finish. Cost: $300 to $400.
•Remove dated wall coverings and apply a fresh coat of paint. For damaged walls, spray on texture provides quick coverage.
•Old shower doors can ruin any bathroom. Removing or replacing them will add the illusion of space.

#2 Landscaping
Average return at resale: 100 percent
 •The average homeowner spends about $3,502 for landscaping and another $1,465 on a designer, according to the American Nursery and Landscape Association. •Sod costs about 30 to 35 cents a square foot, so a 5,000 sq. ft. yard would cost about $1,500 to sod. Budget for a delivery fee if you buy less than 1,000 sq. ft.
•A splash of color at the front of the house is an eye-catching plus. For maximum impact, choose one color and vary the height of plants.
•If your doorway is overwhelmed by greenery, then get out the shears. Replace overgrown shrubbery with flowering foundation plants mixing heights and colors for dramatic effect.
•A charming focal point like a walkway and fountain adds major value to your property. Roll a sealant on flagstones for a permanent wet look that enhances the color.

#3 Minor Kitchen Remodel
Average return at resale: 98.5 percent
 •A minor kitchen remodel averages $14,913 and brings in $14,691 at resale, a recoup rate of 98.5%. Go for the minor remodel when your kitchen needs a cosmetic update and not a drastically different floor plan.
•A $15,000 kitchen update covers 30 feet of re-facing for cabinets and drawers, a new wall oven, cooktop, sink and fixtures, laminate countertops and resilient flooring.
•Add recessed and can lights for an updated look
•Hardwood or tile floors, stone (granite or quartz) countertops, and stainless steel appliances are what buyers expect if you want top dollar for your home
•Brighten up the kitchen by giving your old wood cabinets new character. Just sand and paint - it's a whole lot less expensive than buying new ones.
•Don't forget window treatments. Changing drapes and window molding is an inexpensive way to add decorator detail.

#4 Exterior Improvements
Vinyl Siding, Paint, Updated Front Entry
Average return at resale: 95.5 percent
•The average national cost to replace 1,250 sq. ft. of vinyl siding: $7,239. Average return: $6,914, with a recoup rate of 95.5%.
•A gallon of paint covers 400 sq. ft. of house.
• Paint color cards take the guesswork out of choosing the right color combination for doors, trim and siding.•If you think your house was painted before 1978, test for lead before sanding or scraping.
•Upscale, fiber-cement siding costs $10,393 and returns $10,771 at resale, an even better recoup rate of 103.6%.
•For an updated look, remove old awnings from over windows and doors.
•Give a bare, charmless porch a dramatic makeover by adding a pergola and columns.
•A new front door is a quick update.

#5 Attic Bedroom Conversion
Average return at resale: 93.5 percent
• The average attic bedroom in a two- or three-bedroom house costs $39,188 and returns $36,649 at resale.•That price includes a 15 x 15 ft. bedroom, a 5x7 bath with shower, a 15-ft. dormer, four windows and a closet.
•Can your existing HVAC system handle the load of another room? If not, factor in the cost of a second unit.
•A solar-powered attic fan is a super efficient way to save on cooling your house. The attic fan exhausts heat from above your home and is powered by a solar cell on the roof - so it doesn't add a cent to your utility bill.
•Add insulation in your attic to lower your utility bills. Just make sure the foil vapor barrier is installed down toward the ceiling to prevent moisture from seeping up.

Zero Down, Zero Interest for Eighteen Months!
If you are inspired by these ideas and are ready to begin your home improvement project, now is a great time to make your purchase. Enhance Floors is offering 18 Month Interest Free Financing for a limited time. Get pre-approved today, then begin working with an Enhance Design Consultant, and make your dream home a reality!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Important To Do List

Every one of us is affected in some way by the housing industry. It has been almost five years of declines, gloom, and doom. We are thrilled by the recent real estate trends. Fox5 just reported that metro Atlanta home prices are finally rebounding and in some cases, buyers find themselves competing for homes. A newly-released Case-Shiller Index report finds home prices in our region up by over 19 percent from a year ago.

Darren Price, Managing Director of Morris & Raper Real Estate Consultants explains that there are several factors contributing to the increased housing demand: "Two of these factors are increasing rental rates and rising consumer confidence. This pent up demand will cause the housing market in Atlanta to continue to heat up with home values continuing to appreciate. In addition, as the new home industry continues to gain traction, the overall economy in Metro Atlanta will continue to recover. Housing is what made Atlanta prosper for many decades, and it is going to be housing that gets our economy rolling again."

Great news, right? As small business owners and employees very influenced by the rise and fall of the housing industry, we say yes, yes, yes! Rising home values mean homeowners feel comfortable spending money on their homes, and spending money helps the home improvement companies, which in turn enables these businesses to hire additional staff, which reduces unemployment, and down the line it goes. So dear readers please keep spending money on your home!

Now as much as we would like you to rush right in and spend thousands of dollars with us on new hardwood floors for your home or a bathroom makeover, you should probably first take stock of any home maintenance issues you have neglected over the past few years. Kathy McCleary on writes:

"In the first year my husband and I lived in our house, we spent almost $20,000 on home improvements. When we set that money aside at the beginning of the year, we dreamed about granite counters and steam showers; what we ended up with was a new furnace, new gutters, a drainage system to keep the basement dry, new landscaping and lots of new paint. At the end of that year as I wiped down my tacky Formica countertops and bathed in my 1950s seafoam green tub, I wondered if we had spent that money wisely. If we had put our house up for sale, would potential buyers have really cared about the dry basement and reliable furnace?

After talking to a slew of realtors, contractors and architects, the consensus was yes. "If the roof is leaking, buyers won't get beyond that," says Ron Phipps with Phipps Realty in Warwick, R.I. "I don't care how awesome the kitchen is."

"Buyers want to take the basic systems for granted," says Sal Alfano, Remodeling Magazine's editorial director. "They assume the roof doesn't leak and the air conditioning and plumbing work. Maintenance can chew up a lot of cash quickly, and people are afraid of that."

Here's a quick list of items in and around your home that may need attention. Assess and make repairs as needed to your:
~~gutters and downspouts
~~roof and vents
~~landscaping, pruning
~~caulking, interior and exterior
~~flooring---cleaning, sealing, repairs
~~doors, windows, and screens
~~fireplaces and chimneys
~~staircases and handrails
~~electrical systems and breaker boxes, outlets
~~smoke alarms
~~fans, ceiling fans
~~air conditioning, furnace
~~air filters, ducts
~~plumbing-faucets, toilets
~~caulking---toilet bases, tubs and showers
~~hot water heaters
~~lawn sprinklers

That's not to say that granite counters and steam showers don't pay off; kitchen and bathroom remodels continue to be two of the best investments you can make in your house. "They're always right up there at the top of the list," says Alfano. "They're the big, sexy rooms that new home builders splurge on, so when buyers are shopping around that's what they want in an existing home, too." Next week we will discuss these and other smart home improvement projects that go beyond every day maintenance task.

I Was FLOORED by Enhance
We love it when we receive unsolicited testimonials from our clients. Mary Alice is a long time customer who writes:
"Doesn't get any better!!! This is the third time Enhance Floors has helped me improve my home with tile, laminate and carpet. From Wanda in Sales to Don's great advice & pricing to the installers - I cannot say enough about the quality of the products and the service. This last time I replaced my horrible fiberglass shower with a beautiful new tile one and am thrilled with the quality of the workmanship and appearance (it also works great).

I am a lifetime customer and so grateful I found you."

Thank you for taking the time to send this to us, and we greatly appreciate your business. Mary Alice, you are always so much fun to work with----enjoy your new bathroom and floors!