Last year the government shipped out over 111 million refunds to American tax payers! Although you may not get enough to buy that dream home or gallivant around Europe for a month, I bet you got enough to spruce up a few facets of your house that would make a great investment! Here are a few quick ideas for that tax return that is currently burning a hole in your pocket!
Have your front door refinished or repainted. This should cost about $500. Replacing the front door would be great, but that can be up to $1,395 for a new steel entry door or $3,259 for a new fiberglass model. So, if you still like that front door, just refurbish it. By the way, you can recoup from 60 percent to 80 percent of the cost of a new door when you sell your house, according to the 2017 Cost vs. Value Report in Remodeling Magazine.
Pick out a new color for the trim on your house, like the fascia boards and edges around windows. You’ll need a gallon bucket of high-quality exterior paint ($50-$80). You might need more to do the garage door, too. For exterior paint, we recommend good preparation, a primer and 100 percent acrylic base paint.
Add fiberglass insulation to your attic. This is one of those improvements that Remodeling Magazine says can greatly add to the value of your home. Add fiberglass loose fill insulation on top of existing insulation to get to an R-38 level, according to the magazine. This will improve the comfort level in your home and save some money on your heating and cooling bills.
Redo a small powder room. If you don’t have to replace the floor or the toilet, this is a job that can be done for about $1,500. You can get a vanity off-the-shelf in a big box store or order one that’s a little better quality. Then buy a sink, new faucets and hardware at a plumbing supply store and use a low-cost remnant piece of quartz or granite for the counter top. Then repaint the walls yourself.
Install a fire pit in your backyard. Gathering around a fire pit is a great way to spend more time outdoors in the evening; these cozy pits are becoming a near necessity for the ambiance in Arizona backyards. Have a stone fire pit built for about $1,200 or do it yourself with a kit for a few hundred. You can use propane to light your fire or extend a gas line (a more expensive option). But be sure to hire a licensed plumber to install the gas connections.
Some info gathered from Azcentral.com
This new Courtyard by Marriott is coming to Downtown El Paso. The new multi-floor hotel will have a prominent spot along I-10 and across the street from Southwest University Park, home of the El Paso Chihuahuas.
Image provided by Strategic Solutions
West Towne Marketplace will be a 500,000 square foot retail center at the corner of Desert Boulevard North and Paseo Del Norte on El Paso’s West Side. It will feature retail, restaurant, and entertainment options all on a southwest landscaped, 63-acre property.
One of Downtown El Paso’s signature sky scrapers is getting a major update! We were pleased to provide title and escrow services for the O.T. Bassett Tower. Recently, we were given a private tour as the iconic tower begins it’s transformation into the city’s first Aloft Hotel. Here is your first look at the progress of construction!
Listing photos are at minimum, EXTREMELY important and at most, one of the most important things you do to truly represent your seller well!
Photos of your listing are crucial when selling a home and presenting it online to potential suitors. The New York Times recently featured several suggestions from professional stagers and interior photographers on how to achieve a picture-perfect home, including:
Trim the belongings. “Instead of having lots of little things along a countertop or table, have one bold vessel or large plant, or a trio of objects that read as one whole,” says Laure Joliet, a photographer based in Los Angeles. “This helps anchor the photo and keeps the space feeling serene.” Keep plants and knick-knacks away from windowsills and off the piano top or coffee tables. In the kitchen, clear away all the refrigerator magnets, paper towels, and majority of small appliances. Before taking a photo in the bathroom, open the shower curtain, close the toilet lid, and remove all toiletries from counters. Keep everything clutter-free.
Harness the light. Wash the windows and open the curtains or pull up the blinds, suggests photographers in The New York Times’ article. “Natural light allows for depth in the shadows and highlights in the window, which makes a room look the way it feels,” Joliet says. “It can make your real estate photos look that much more high-end and designed.”
Add in some pops of color. Accents like colorful flowers or a throw pillow can help enhance the photos. “Instead of a fussy bouquet, a vase filled with one type of flower, or greens is best,” Joliet says. She recommends eucalyptus branches. To drape a throw: Grab the middle of the blanket and hold it up so that it cascades evenly down. Place it diagonally at the foot of the bed “with the point up toward the long side of the bed and the fringes hanging slightly off the front,” says Donna M. Dazzo, president of Designed to Appeal, a home-staging firm. To drape it over an armchair, tuck the bottom behind a throw pillow or allow the throw to cascade off the arm, she says.
Hang artwork lower. “We tend to place our art a little bit lower than maybe somebody would in personal use, because in a photo, if you place it too high, the ceiling looks very low,” David C. Salvatore, creative director for Edge Mid-Century Designs in Clifton, N.J., told The New York Times. “Everyone loves high ceilings—and certainly, if you have the ceilings, you need to put in a huge vertical piece” to make sure you show the height.”
Focus on curb appeal: Prune overgrown trees, particularly those that are obscuring the view of the house in any way, Alberto Lau, a real estate photographer in San Diego, told The New York Times. “Take the cover off the barbecue grill unless it is hopelessly rusty, in which case it’s better to move it [out of] the frame of the photo,” he says. Keep any cars away from the front of the house or driveway (place cones or signs, if necessary, to keep others away from parking in the front the day you shoot). Make sure the leaves are raked and trash bins are hidden from view.
Source: “9 Ways to Make Your Home More Photogenic,” The New York Times (April 14, 2017)
Closing times are speeding up
REALTOR®Mag – Closing times were way down in February, falling from 51 days in January to 46 days for all loans last month, according to the latest Ellie Mae Origination Insight Report.
Places where jobs and affordable housing intersect
DSNews.com – Everyone’s dream is to find a city with great job opportunities and also affordable housing. A combined study by Zillow and LinkedIn has found a few of those places that they call “Sweet Spots.”
Bidding wars to heat up this Spring
REALTOR®Mag – Likely to be a hallmark of this year’s spring home selling season: Bidding wars. As home listings are scarcer and buyer demand remains high, home shoppers are finding a lot more competition this spring, particularly in hot markets like the San Francisco Bay area, Denver, and Boston.
The real estate industry has something the Internet can’t offer
Washington Post – Real Trends, has been tracking for 40 years how U.S. real estate agents do their jobs. And over the past decade, the Internet has disrupted almost every aspect of a transaction that sits at the core of the American Dream. While the Internet has pummeled the middlemen in many…
5 tech tips that pro travelers use
USA Today – Luggage? Check. Wallet? Yep. Tech? You bet. Today’s travelers likely have some high-tech companions to help keep them organized, productive, entertained, and in touch with those who matter. But to avoid any hiccups while on the road the following is a look at a few considerations before you pack your gear-to-go.
Google Maps lets you record your parking location, time left at the meter
TechCrunch – Google Maps has just added a handy feature that will help users remember where they parked. This appears as a new menu option when you tap the blue dot, and will place a “P” icon on the map so…
Spring cleaning is a perfect time to get your financial house in order
USA Today – Monday was the first day of spring and thoughts of spring cleaning may be on your mind. In addition to sprucing up your home for the upcoming warm weather, it might be even more important to take some to time to spruce up your finances.
In today’s world, many businesses try too hard to be your “one stop shop” therefore forgetting why they went in to business in the first place. To be the best they could be at whatever service they provide. We started our company in 1999 with the goal of being the only title company you’d ever need and we’ve stuck to that goal. We don’t want to be your banker, insurance provider, mortgage company or attorney. We want to be your title company.
Lone Star Title is 100% owned and operated by El Pasoans. We don’t answer to out of town “leadership”. We love El Paso and that’s why we chose be headquartered right here in the city we call home!
A couple weeks ago our marketing team headed to New York City for the real estate conference to end all real estate conferences, Inman Connect NYC! If you weren’t able to attend, fear not! Read more for that must-know take-a-ways from this year’s gathering of the minds!