Tag Archives: real estate

Garage Doors: A Must for Your Home Renovation

If you’re considering a major home renovation project, think long and hard about what you want to do and how much it will cost – especially if you plan to sell your house and think your improvements will boost the price enough that you’ll cash in.

These days, it doesn’t work that way, especially in the current housing market. Often, the emotional impact of the way a property looks is equal to, or more important than, the amenities.

An article from The Philadelphia Inquirer recently stated, homeowners looking to invest in home improvements, especially those who plan to renovate in an effort to make their home attractive to buyers, are warned against renovations that don’t return on investment. Amenities and high price additions are warned against, as potential buyers may or may not “get it.” Improvements that get the OK include new paint, new floors and an updated garage door.

According to the real estate agents interviewed, small, inexpensive changes that make a big impact – like a garage door– brings more reliable returns. In fact, according to Remodeling magazine’s Cost vs. Values report, spending $1,500 on a garage door can yield a $1,168 ROI – nearly 80 percent.

In fact, garage door replacements top the list of home improvements that create a good ROI – netting the No. 1 spot. This improvement comes above roof repair (56 percent ROI), major kitchen remodel (64 percent) or a bathroom addition (48 percent) — all much higher-cost projects.

There are no guarantees, of course. And, as a general rule, real estate agents say, smaller changes that show better bring more reliable returns.

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Garage Features That Help Sell a House

Your home’s square footage doesn’t end at the garage door.

This once neglected, disregarded and, dare I say, abused space is among the largest rooms in the house. For decades it has slid into cluttered oblivion, too jam-packed with “stuff” to even park a car inside. But things are changing. Homeowners are expanding their organizing and remodeling zeal to the garage, which has become an extension of living space that has moved beyond its utilitarian origins. The garage plays an increasingly important role and can be a help or a hindrance when selling your home.

According to the National Association of Home Builders, Americans spent $2.5 billion on garage remodels in 2005. The number one garage rule: turn it into a garage. Buyers aren’t interested in garage conversions. If they needed an extra bedroom or family room, they’d look for a bigger house.

You don’t have to turn it into a show garage, but a finished garage will help sell your house. The garage is simply too big and too valuable to let its space go to waste. Function and organization are the key elements of a garage that will be an asset when you sell.

1. Capacity. The two-car garage is outdated. The trend for three-car garages began around 1992 and these days, four-car garages aren’t uncommon. Many home buyers have project cars, classic cars, RVs or boats to store. Some have teenagers who are driving. Others just want the extra storage space. Whatever the need, the added square footage is as important in a garage as it is inside the house.

2. Size. A standard-sized garage measured about 21 ft. x 21 ft. and was about 7 ft. high in the 1980s. Today’s SUVs, oversized pickup trucks, RVs, boats and trailers demand a larger garage. To accommodate bigger vehicles, the dimensions should be at least 22 ft. x 22 ft. by 9 ft. high.

3. Space. When it comes to garages, it’s all about size and space. Extra space is a bonus that can be used for storage, as a workroom or even as a playroom for the kids, especially if the home doesn’t have a basement.

4. Location. The trend for placement has come full-circle, with many garages now being located at the back of the house and even detached garages on an alley. While that creates better curb appeal out front, many home owners don’t want to sacrifice backyard living space. If the lot is wide enough, the side-load garage is still popular and can be easily disguised to look like a wing of the house.

5. Storage. Because storage is always at a premium, the garage offers another opportunity for stashing seldom-used items or tools and items for outdoor use. Organizational products can cost anywhere from $100 to $10,000, but are well worth the investment. At the minimum, add wall hooks or pegboard for hanging up garden tools and bicycles. Shelves keep clutter from accumulating on the floor. Closets are great for hiding coats and boots. Cabinets and workbenches are bonus features that can close a sale.

6. Lighting. Replace that single center bulb with an 8-ft. fluorescent light strip. If you have a workbench or bonus space, additional lighting will be necessary and can include LED task lighting, spot lights or more fluorescent strips. Don’t forget outside lighting. Place two fixtures on either side of the garage door and additional fixtures by every outside access door.

7. Flooring. The garage floor should stand up to dirt, oil, salt, paint and other debris. Flooring not only upgrades the look, but also increases resiliency to stains and tires marks and hides imperfections. Choices range from epoxy resin-based paints to rubber mats and tiles. Paints and coatings come in a limitless range of colors and are now available with a gritty element for more grip, less slip. Mats and tiles provide a vapor barrier and cushion your feet. They also reduce the amount of dirt tracked inside and act as insulation and noise reduction.

8. Access. Oversized garages benefit from a walk-through door to the back or side yard, which also increase air circulation or reduce heat loss, depending on the season. Drive-thru garage designs are convenient for moving lawn tractors, trailers and other equipment out of the garage and for families with multiple cars.

9. Doors. Particularly if the garage faces the front of the house, the door should be an attractive complement to the house’s style. Design, color and materials can make this a stylish aspect of the home’s exterior. Doors should be lightweight, secure, functional and should enhance your home’s appearance. The first automatic garage door opener became commercial in 1954. These days, the door opener is practically a must and often considered a standard feature.

10. Finished walls and ceilings. Finishing a garage makes it look clean and “complete” and prepares the space for customization. It’s one less thing a buyer will have to do. Make sure the garage is insulated before you finish it off; that will save on heating and cooling bills. Don’t expect to get 100 percent return on investment with all these garage upgrades, but these amenities are sure to make your home more appealing to buyers.

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Don’t Overlook The Garage When Getting Your Home Ready To Sell

There’s a lot of talk about curb appeal being the driving force drawing buyers into your home. It makes sense. If the house looks a mess from the outside, what buyer would want to set foot inside?

Well, maybe your house isn’t quite a mess. You have taken the time to fix-up the landscape, power-washed the house, and even painted the mailbox. But did you overlook what can be the biggest eyesore — the garage?

It’s the largest architectural element on the house. So it really, in this day and age, is impossible to dismiss the garage door as an important architectural element.

But the garage door is more than an architectural element. It can be a trigger point for buyers. They’re driving down the street in a tract-home neighborhood and suddenly they spot a carriage style steel garage door or a custom wooden garage door. It’s striking and different and often gives them reason to stop and take a closer look, maybe even come inside.

If you have a house that has a nice garage door, it sets the stage for the fact that everything else in the house is going to have attention to detail and it really does differentiate homes that are on the same street. With some exterior paint and a unique garage door, the house really becomes a semi-custom house.

Swapping out an old steel-style, raised-panel garage door that once was so very traditional is a huge improvement to a home. There is definitely an increase in the property value commensurate with the investment that you make in the garage door. And then there is the perceived value.

But not every garage door works with every style of home. You should really take a close look at your architectural style before you decide on the right garage door. Homeowners should match their home architecture to a garage door that is architecturally congruent. That way, you’re making the whole house just look that much more custom and fitted.

Whether or not you decide to replace your garage door, it’s important to make sure it at least is working properly. Besides the garage door looking good, it’s really an appliance on the house that has to operate efficiently, reliably, and without failure every single day. The key concept to remember is that a garage door shouldn’t just house your car and all your stuff that won’t fit in your home, instead it should help to entice buyers to want to see more of the house.

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