Rehabbing “Supply” Costs and How to Cut Corners When Rehabbing a Foreclosure

Contractor “Services” Are One Cost, but the Actual Cost of “Supplies” is Another Very Real Factor that Can Get Out of Hand, Quickly, when Rehabbing Foreclosures

Under estimating the cost of supplies can kill a foreclosure rehab budget. Remember, contractor services are one cost, but the actual cost of supplies is another very real factor that can get out of hand, quickly, when rehabbing a foreclosure you’ve just picked up. Here are some basic “supply” costs to consider when rehabbing your foreclosure real estate investment. Everything is relative to your area, but below are some basics I encountered in my neck of the woods in Atlanta. Some of the items you may not need at all, but many you will, if not on your first foreclosure property, then on the next.

Porcelain-like bathroom sinks are very cheap: $79 for a pedestal and sink set can be had at The Home Depot.

Toilets: Complete toilet sets — tank, bowl, seat, and hardware — can be had for as little as $79. Usually, the taller a toilet, the more expensive it is. Also, when you get into brand names, you, naturally, encounter more costs.

Kitchen base cabinets can be had for as little as $100 a piece, depending on width of the cabinets, number of doors, drawers, etc. If you plan to paint the cabinets, prowl the junk yard. I found a nice 30-inch, 2-door, cabinet base with a drawer the other week for ten dollars!

Porcelain enameled 1-piece steel bathtub (plain old “new” tub, nothing fancy), $99.

Light fixtures can be had for as little as $18.00 as set. I was really surprised to see this when I first started out.

Wooden thresholds (you know those little lips that separate, say a carpeted room from a tiled room) can cost $7 and up, depending on the width. (They have adjustable thresholds, too.) You can also choose marble or aluminum mediums.)

New windows (double-hung, vinyl, with screens) can range from $89 and beyond, depending on size. You can walk right into your big home improvement stores and pickup standard size windows, but you’ll have to custom order non-traditional sizes for, say, older homes. (The older, wooden-framed windows with the actual glass panes can be found at salvage and junk yards for $5.00 and up per window. These can be non-standard sizes, but a good contractor can make them fit by building around them.)

Wooden, cheapie screen doors can cost as little as $19.99. (Once you get into the stained screen doors, they can start at $70-ish.)

Interior doors (without the door knobs, of course) can cost $29-ish. (Again, junk yards? $10.)

Vinyl shutters that border windows from the outside range from $25 – $38 and up depending on length.

Bathtub wall surrounds can cost as little as $69 (lot cheaper than ceramic if you’re rehabbing a property to be a rental!).

A French door set with the door jam (standard 60-inch set) can run $329 — but prowl the junk yards for this… you can find a full set (usually with the jam) for as little as $60. This is the kind of thing you tell the junkyard worker to keep an eye out for and call you if he or she gets one in. Tip them well and they will call you when the “good stuff” comes in. This will save you a bundle!

Porch columns — I love columns! — those round, large, aluminum porch columns that have to be put together (including base), run about $129 each.

Fancy light fixtures — Dining room light fixtures with three to five lights can be found for as little as $39 — (note: nice fixtures sell homes).

Little plain-Jane light switch covers: As little as .25 cents!

Bi-fold doors for linen closets, $29.

Louvered bi-fold doors (painted): $52 (less if they are not painted!).

Exterior doors start at $69. (Again, scour junkyards for these for considerably less.)

Stainless steel, double-sided sinks for kitchen: $100 and up. (Though I’ve seen as low as $59 for the smaller sinks.)

Small, electric water heater $160 – $180 (In one property, I bought a small one that would accommodate the no more than, count ‘em, “two” people that should have been living in the rental property.) Just remember, you don’t have to buy everything “new.” They know me well at the local junk and salvage yards in my area and I saved a bundle on things like doors and windows. Some stuff will need to be new, but buy salvage as much as you can.

When rehabbing, of course, keep all your receipts for tax and file purposes. For the big stuff, take back what you don’t need and get a store credit or get your cash back when you’re done. But keep the little stuff. You’re bound to have tons of miscellaneous leftovers like nails, screws, bags of sand, concrete mix, tubes of spackling, a pallet or two of roofing shingles, tile pieces, felt, sheetrock, mud, tape, etc. Just find a nifty corner in your garage or basement for this stuff. If you’re in this business for the long haul, you’ll use it again.

The best way to get ready for the rehabbing business is to grab a cup of coffee on Saturday mornings (even before you pickup a property) and head out to the salvage yard, builders’ surplus store, junkyard and your mega home improvement store. Sniff around these places so you know what things cost. This will go a long way in helping you prepare budgets that are dead on that will have you smiling when you look at your bottomline.

Kitchen Remodeling – 3 Things to Keep in Mind

If you are readying your house to put it on the market, it is important to consider how investing in kitchen remodeling could yield you a higher profit. While there are a variety of areas in the home that could be improved to increase your chances of obtaining offers that are close to your asking price, many potential homebuyers gravitate towards the kitchen.

Since so much time is spent preparing food and eating meals, it makes sense that this is one of the most important rooms in the entire house. Nowadays, potential homebuyers are looking for modern kitchens with advanced technology, which should be kept in mind.

While some projects can be done yourself, if you decide that you want to re-do the entire room, it’s best to work with a professional kitchen remodeling contractor. There are a number of things to consider, and they can help you achieve the vision you have for the room.

Appliances

When it comes to real estate, it is definitely a buyer’s market, and that means that new or newer appliances are expected. If your refrigerator and stove are older models, consider upgrading to new, modern appliances. In addition, if you do not have a dishwasher, you should talk to your contractor about having one installed. While appliances can be costly, it’s important to remember that you stand to gain a big return on this investment.

Painting

Putting a fresh coat of paint on the walls can make a big visual impact. While you may be drawn to a bold color, it is best to keep it as neutral as possible. You want potential homebuyers to be able to visualize the room and the home as being their own, and that is easiest to accomplish if the color does not reflect your own strong taste.

Cabinetry

Over the years, cabinetry tends to become dingy due to grease and dust build-up. Since some cabinets make up a large portion of the room, think about upgrading. If replacing the cabinetry completely is not in your kitchen remodeling budget, consider having them professionally painted or refinished. Even adding new hardware to the cabinets can change the entire look of the room. While you want the room to look fresh and clean, it is still best to keep things as neutral as possible for your potential homebuyers.

By keeping these three areas in mind when it comes to your kitchen remodeling, you can increase your chances of securing a favorable offer when you put your home on the market.

The 12 Most Important Strategies Required to Sell Your Home

The number of homes a buyer has to choose from is on the rise as we forge ahead into what is traditionally known as a buyers market. If you currently have your home for sale or are planning to list your home for sale, there are important actions that you, as the seller, must take to elevate your home above what is quickly becoming a crowded market. The number of homes for sale that your home will be competing against is greater than in the past several years and you will have to make an impression on a buyer that your home is the right fit for them. Here are the 12 most important strategies you can implement to rise above the crowd.

Begin With the Outside of Your Home.

Everyone knows that you only get one chance to make a first impression, so what should that impression be? Start with the view from the street to the front door. If your mailbox shows its age, paint it or replace it. If your home is painted, a good rule of thumb is that if it has been more than 5 years since it was painted, it probably needs to be painted again. Pressure wash the curb, driveway and sidewalk. Make sure your lawn is manicured and your plants look fresh and inviting. Finally, consider your front door itself. Make sure the paint is fresh, the locks work easily and the door opens with out any use of force.

Lighting is the First Impression on a Buyer.

Brighter is better here so make sure all lights are operational with the highest wattage bulb allowed for each fixture.

De-clutter and Remove Family Photos.

Remove unnecessary items from tables, mantles, floors and counters. Items in these areas tend to shrink the feel of the house. Personal items should be removed wherever possible. Your goal is to sell your home so keep your buyers focus on the house, not on you.

Clean Everything – Remove Bad Odors.

Baseboards, windows, cabinets, ceiling fans, mantles, sinks, doors handles, shelves, vacuum all carpets and treat stains, thoroughly clean hardwood floors, organize the laundry room and pay special attention to the kitchen and bathrooms.

Garage and Basement.

Remember what the intended uses of these spaces are. Your garage is a place to keep your car out of the weather and offers a second entrance into an out of your home. Place items of storage in organized boxes in your basement and give the impression to the buyer that you are ready to move.

Organize Your Closets.

Buyers like to peek into closets to see if there is adequate storage for there possessions. Maximize the appearance of space through minimizing the number of items in your closets.

Bedrooms Must be Tidy.

The impression your bedroom should have on a buyer needs to be about the room – not you. To that end, your bed should be made, clothes and shoes should be out of site and this is the one place in the house where softer lighting is appropriate.

Paint Wherever Necessary.

Do not skip this step. With paint, you have a chance to freshen up walls that will add new life to your home. The entrance, heavily trafficked areas, doors, bathrooms and kitchens are the most common areas that will need a fresh coat of paint.

Light Fixtures, Faucets and Door Hardware.

Think of these items as the jewelry inside your home. These items must be in keeping with today’s style and the overall architectural feel of your home. This is another area that you must not overlook. You can be sure that your buyers will notice outdated items as soon as they see them.

Systems in Your Home.

If your hot water heater, air conditioner, furnace and electrical systems are not new, understand that your homes value will be reduced because of it.

Structural Issues – Roofing and Siding.

There is a common term home inspectors will use when referring parts of your home . It is called “useful life”. If you have a roof or siding that is nearing the end of its useful life, replace it.

Stage Your Home.

Create a welcoming environment in your home by showing each room in a clean and organized way that fits with the intended purpose of that room. If you are not comfortable or talented in this area, hire a professional. If there are two homes equal in every other way, the one that is staged will sell first.

Some of the suggestions listed above may be a hard pill to swallow. You can be sure however, that in today’s market, if you do not complete the 12 items on this list, another seller nearby will, and their home will sell before yours, faster and for more money. For every item not completed on this list you will reduce the selling price of your home and it will take longer for your home to sell. As a Real Estate professional, I feel that it is in your best interest to tell you the truth up front to eliminate problems before they happen. By following the guidelines above you will have gone a long way to present your home in a way that helps it stand above the competition.

Ryan Ward of the Ryan Ward Real Estate Team is a member of the national, state and local REALTOR associations, and resident of Alpharetta, Georgia who specializes in listing and selling real estate in Atlanta.

The Custom Shoppe Review: How to Design Your Own Kitchen Furniture

The Custom Shoppe offers you the opportunity to design your own kitchen furniture and have it made to your specifications. You will no longer have to worry about whether or not the kitchen furniture you purchase will fit the space you have available. The problem that most people have is how to find businesses that will enable them do that: design their own kitchen and make sure that everything fits where they want it.

So how is that done? How do you find companies that offer this service? Personal furniture stores offering this service tend to be local and relatively small, although some do supply bespoke kitchen furniture throughout the USA – and also standard pieces that you can have altered or adapted to meet your personal needs.

One of these is The Custom Shoppe, a business that customizes your choice of furniture to meet your needs. You can select your own woods and wood finishes, and also the dimensions of each piece to meet the space you have available in your home. Not only does The Custom Shoppe provide regular tables, chairs and cabinets, but also kitchen furniture such as floor and wall cabinets, and units intended to house refrigerators, dishwashers and so on.

Not only can you choose the type of cabinet you prefer, but also the wood: Oak, quarter sawn ok, cherry or maple. You also have your choice of door style, the style of glass in your wall cabinets if you prefer glass to wood doors, and also of the hardware: the knobs and handles. More on these below, so let’s check out the various options available from The Custom Shoppe, and you will then understand what your personal furniture store should be able to offer to you.

Cabinet units can range from small filler cabinets of 9 inches in length to larger units up to 48 inches. These are available in the form of spice pullouts, waste basket units, corner lazy Susans, sink bases of various types and dishwasher bases designed to hold your dishwasher. Units are also available that can accommodate a freezer and cooker unit, or even a separate cooking hob and high level oven.

Most of these units will be of exactly the same height, although the 24 inch wide pantry units are unique, standing 8 feet high in order to offer you the maximum storage space on the shelves provided. However, it is not only the kitchen cabinets for which The Custom Shoppe is renowned. They can design an entire bespoke kitchen for you, including wall cabinets and units and space for cookers, dishwashers and washing machines that are designed to your own dimensions.

You can have cabinets and spice units in white or any color you require, either painted or in your choice of wood or wood finish. There is a large range from you which can choose your favorite, including the oak, maple and cherry mentioned above, either in their natural finish or stained and varnished to offer a large selection of wood finishes. You can also select the style of door you want: kitchen cabinet doors are available in a number of molding styles, and also in solid doors or glass.

Most prefer solid doors for their base units and a mix of solid and framed glass doors for their wall units. The variations on door design are offered for all cabinet widths, either base or wall units. Then The Custom Shoppe enables you to select your preferred hardware from a range offered, with regular handles or knobs available. Knobs and handles are matched so you can mix them between your upper and lower cabinets and drawers.

What makes the firm’s kitchen furniture truly bespoke is that you can select cabinet widths outside of their regular range. So if you have a space left of, say, 22 inches to fill, The Custom Shoppe will construct a base or wall unit to fill that space. The same is true of your sink unit: if you have a non-standard sink unit that may, for example, consist of twin basin with a waste disposal unit between the two, you can have a base built to accommodate that.

Fundamentally, what this The Custom Shoppe Review is saying is that you can have anything you want made to your own specifications – within reason. Although the company offers units of standard dimensions, you can have your kitchen supplied with units of your own specification. Because they are all made by hand, they may cost a bit more to make, but you are not restricted to standard units if you are able to pay for bespoke kitchen furniture.

Taking Care of Business – The Process of Preparing Your Home For Sale

There is no easy way to put this – selling your Atlanta home can be an exhausting experience. Even if you enlist the services of a qualified real estate agent, there are a plethora of things that you must tend to yourself.

One of the most important details to remember is that your home must be in order when you list it for sale. What does that mean? Particularly, it must be clean, clutter-free, repaired and updated.

Details to Consider when Preparing your Home for Sale

1. Clean it from top to bottom. Simply put: a clean home is far more attractive to buyers than a dirty one. Steam clean the carpets, clean all of the appliances, inside and out (especially if you are leaving them behind with the house), wash down dirty walls, remove all signs of mold and mildew from the bathroom, clean the windows, inside and out; and scrub all the floors – and that’s just for starters.

A clean home speaks volumes to home buyers, as it conveys a feeling of pride in home ownership; it makes the home appear more attractive; and it promotes a feeling of warmth and hospitality. The bottom line is that a dirty home will immediately turn off most buyers, regardless of its size, amenities and features.

2. Clear out the clutter. Clutter does absolutely nothing to sell your home. Instead, it detracts from the home and distracts buyers. It is very difficult for home buyers to appreciate a room’s size or its qualities if there is an abundance of clutter blocking the view.

This may be the time to have your long-awaited garage sale, and it may be the time to remove much of the clutter that will make moving all that more difficult. Finally, clearing out your home’s clutter is the easiest way to make the rooms appear more spacious and open.

3. Perform necessary repair work. Regardless of whether you plan on remodeling or updating your home, you need to attend to broken items around your home before you list it for sale. Some things to pay attention to: chipped or broken floor or countertop tiles; leaky faucets; damaged walls; non-operative light fixtures; and broken or non-operative windows.

4. Upgrade to create more interest. Your home may have spacious room sizes and an expansive backyard, but if it hasn’t seen an update in years, now may be the time to upgrade and update. Some of the easiest areas in which you can update your home include: light fixtures; faucets; kitchen countertops; kitchen appliances; flooring; and door and cabinet hardware.

5. Give your rooms purpose. If your dining room is currently serving as a makeshift office, now may be the time to restore it to a place where family meals can be shared. Staging your home in such a manner as to enable home buyers to envision what the room is to be used for will help you sell your home. For example, instead of using your third bedroom as a large closet, arrange a bed and a nightstand table in it to create an instant guest room.