Everyone has an idea of their dream house. Maybe it has an elaborate built in shelf for your trading cards. Maybe there is a slide to go downstairs. While these are both awesome, they might not be part of the next owners dreams. When you are ready to invest some money into the house, consider this list of renovations that have the best return on investment (ROI).
Minor Bathroom Update
You’ll see a trend throughout the list. There is a breaking point where an investment will start to cost more than you will get back. That’s why there are lots of items that are a “minor” remodel or update. These are that happy medium ground that still makes an updated room scream that its shiny and new, but it will cost you less in the long run.
To replace tubs, tile and caulk in a bathroom might run a little over $1000 and you can expect a return rate of about 102% (at current market values).
I’m 100% certain that when you walk up to someones front door, you take notice of their grass or the plants growing, if their siding is dirty or if their walk is swept. Everyone does. So when buyers are shopping for homes, you want their attention to be focused on your yard. You want it to yell at them and tell them to come check out the rest of your awesome home! DIY landscaping can be cheaper than paying a professional, but it can take longer and you might accidentally find the sprinklers with your shovel like I definitely didn’t do. There is no right answer when you decide if you want to pay a pro or be a weekend warrior. There is, however a good payoff for your investments when you sell your home, like 100%-good.
Major Kitchen Remodel
If your home is like ours, the kitchen is the absolute heart of it. Maybe because we love food, but that is besides the point. Consider updating your dated appliances, cabinets from circa 1990 and the flooring. Tile is amazing, but even quality vinyl will really lift the rooms appeal. Most of our clients head straight for the kitchen to try and picture themselves slaving over the stove. You try it. Are yo able to picture plenty of work space and uncluttered counters? If not, think about pairing down some of the obstacles. The average ROI for kitchen remodeling is about 91%. Not quite as high as the other projects, but definitely one of the BIGGEST selling points.
Just like the landscaping, a fresh coat of paint or updated shutters and fresh siding can really draw people in. And since you are taking the time to improve your home, do the things that will get you the most in the long run. Current market trends predict a ROI for exterior improvements at about 95%. And let’s be honest, that particle compressed siding the color of avocados… has to go.
If you’re like us, on the first day of spring you’re still waiting for the snow to melt so you can get on with enjoying spring proper. We’ve provided for you, a quick home maintenance checklist of things to look over after a long winter.
Fall loves to dump leaves all over your roof and winter likes to cement them in your gutters. In early spring the freezing and thawing can cause the watery leaf dam to expand and crack your gutters and down spouts. Keep this frost heaving in check by cleaning out leaves as soon as you can. If you didn’t catch it in time, the spring is a great time to inspect for damage and get it replaced. Remember, water that isn’t directed away from the house properly can permeate into your foundation causing loads of problems down the road.
Chimneys stick out like a sore thumb on the top of your house. That means they’re especially vulnerable to the wind and inclement weather of North Idaho winters. There are some chimney features that really need to be inspected after a winter. Check for obvious problems like bricks that look out of place or… if it’s fallen down. That’s a good indicator of a problem. Check the flashing at the base of your chimney. That’s the thin sheet metal that keeps the water from puddling and directs it down the roof. Furthermore, a periodic cleaning of the inside bits will make it firstly, more efficient. And secondly, safe as heck.
After a damp fall and winter your siding will most likely accumulate mold and mildew and dirt like its going out of style. You can easily fix this with a pressure washer. If you don’t own one, they cost maybe $30 to rent for a day. When you hose your house down, two magical things will happen. You will experience the oddly satisfying pleasure of pressure washing and your house will look brand new. Seriously.
Some of the worst areas are under eaves and near downspouts. Any stains and mold in these places definitely indicate that there is a problem with how your gutters are handling roof water.
Remember when we said that water can permeate into your foundation and cause problems? Ground water is no joke and can completely compromise your home’s structural integrity. Concrete is porous and readily holds water that water will cause the concrete to break down over time. If you live in areas that get cold, you also run the risk of frost heaving. Both of these scenarios will cause your foundation to crack, or your home to be unsettled and shift.
The spring is your first opportunity to check your foundation for any problem areas. We recommend checking near downspouts and areas that tend to be waterlogged.
As below, so above. Shingles, slate and other roofing materials are not indestructible. While you’re topside checking out the smokestack and gutters- give the roof a good look over. Look for out-of-place shingles, sagging spots or raised shingles. Water will get in any way it can. Your vigilance will keep your roof at the apex of its abilities.
Additionally, check for moss or other organic material. Moss holds water like a pro and the last thing you want is water perched on your roof waiting to find a way in.
We have tons of leafy beautiful deciduous trees in our yard. Every spring, without fail, we find clumps of leaves we missed before the snow fell. When the snow is gone go clean them up, debris that is left on turf for too long will suffocate and deprive grass of valuable sunlight. This is also a perfect opportunity to rake and fertilize your lawn and give it the best fighting chance of yard of the month (instead of those Smith’s who have won it for the last 5 years).
Many pests and critters breed in spring. You can help keep them in check by cleaning the places they would typically habituate. Basements, window sills, under cabinets, behind appliances and ceiling corners are a good place to start. Prevent unchecked population growth by getting rid of the dust and debris that would typically provide shelter. Keeping your counters and trash bins clean will offer less food to the critters. If you’re more concerned with poisonous spiders or the bugs are taking over, call for reinforcements! (pest exterminators)
This winter, we found tons of drafts and cold places throughout our house. This is not good. Remember, air is small and goes wherever it wants. Including your bathroom windows and under your front doors. You get the idea, and just think of all the dollars you are literally letting slip through the cracks. My dad always used to yell “Close the door! We’re not heating the neighborhood!” Turns out that if you don’t repair the seals and weather strips, you are- in fact, heating the neighborhood.
Also. Bugs are small, they too come through the cracks. See paragraph above.
Your furnace was crucial during the winter and fall. Your AC will probably be a close friend during the summer. Take care of your friend before its in the triple digits. There are some really easy preventative maintenance tasks that you can do, or if yo don’t feel confident- call an HVAC technician to service and inspect it.
Some easy things you can do; Clean and/or replace your air filters, check hose connections for leaks, dust/blow off/ vacuum dirt from fans and electronics and check drip pans. Not too painful, right?
Tax season is upon us! That means we not only need to file taxes by April 15th, but also to file for the homeowners exemption.
If you’re not sure if you qualify or where to file, we are here to help!
What Is The Homeowners Exemption
This exemption is provided by Idaho state law, for the purpose of reducing the taxable value of your home up to $100,00 or 50%, whichever is less. For example, if your home is worth $400,000, you may only pay tax on $300,000. As a result, this exemption will save you money and reduce you property taxes!
A home owner can file the exemption if they are an Idaho resident and they occupy the home for more than 6 month out of the year (Primary Residence). It can only be filed on the primary residence, it can not be put on a second home or a rental.
When To File
New Construction you must file within 30 days of purchasing the home.
For Existing Homes, the deadline to file for the homeowners exemption is April 15th for THIS year’s exemptions.
File one time per house. After you file, the exemption stays with the house until you sell the house. Then you will need to file it again on your next home.
Where To File
Filing must be done at the county’s assessors office where the house is located. Every county does it a little differently, but you have to file each one in person, it can not be done online. Below are a list of the addresses of nearby counties:
Kootenai: 451 Government Way, Coeur d’Alene
Shoshone: 700 Bank St #100, Wallace
Boundary: 6452 Kootenai St, Bonners Ferry
Bonner: 1500 US-2 #205, Sandpoint
Benewah: 701 College Ave # 7, St Maries
Do Not Share Sales Price
Idaho is a non disclosure state. That means you do not disclosure the purchase price of the home with the county or on any external sites like Zillow because it is not required. This is a good thing! If the county has the home assessed at a lower value than what you purchased it at, you will continue to be taxed at the lower rate. If you share the higher purchase price with them, they will start taxing you at that higher level.
Below are a few other exemptions you can file on your property. Click on the links to learn more about how it works in Kootenai county. You would file each of the below exemptions the same way as a homeowners exemption, at the county’s assessor’s office where the land is located.
Agricultural: This program will reduce the taxable value on agricultural land.
Timber: This program will reduce the taxable value of the private land used to primarily harvest timber.
Property Tax Reduction Program (Formally known as Circuit Breaker): This program reduces property taxes for individuals who meet age and income requirements.
If you have any questions, concerns or confusion, never hesitate to contact us! We are here to address any roadblocks you have and point you in the right direction so that you can save some money on your taxes.
Check out our video below regarding important tax information for home owners. Also, subscribe to our YouTube page to keep up with all things real estate!
Home Maintenance for Fall/Winter
The purchase of a home will likely be the biggest invest anybody will make in their life. Our homes are the centers of our lives because they hold everything and everyone important to us. Our top priorities are taking care of that invest. Winter is a harsh season here in North Idaho as a result it can cause some damage to our homes, properties, our loved ones, or even our wallets! It can be avoided if we take extra steps this fall or start of winter to prepare.
The next question is where do I start? Not knowing can be overwhelming and stressful. Below is just a small list of some important home maintenance ideas. Included is the reason you should do them. It can make a huge difference on your home and property this year.
For a full list of maintenance ideas as well as a printable checklist, go to our website by clicking here!
What to do
|Clean gutters and downspouts throughout fall||A build up of leaves and other debris could lead to wood rot, pest issues, and ruined gutters.|
|Change summer screens to cool weather storm windows & doors||Removing screens stop snow from getting trapped between the window and screen. That avoids damage to the sill and frame as well as lets in more light. Installing storm windows & doors helps keep your home insulated through the cold months.|
|Replace the filter in your furnace||This helps the lifespan of your heater, reduces energy bills and improves air quality.|
|Flush and insulate your hot water tank||Flushing removes sediment which in turn could extend the life of your tank. Insulating can help conserve energy, in turn saving you money.|
|Place a sheet of plywood held down by a few bricks on top and your AC, not a waterproof cover||Plywood can stop falling icicles and other debris which in turn would cause damage to the unit. Waterproof covers creates a warm environment for unwanted guests to stay for the winter.|
|Trim limps that are close to power lines or the roof of your home||Avoids heavy snow/ice building up causing damage.|
For a full list of maintenance ideas as well as a printable checklist, go to our website by clicking here!
Is that beautiful time of year again here in Coeur d’Alene… Fall!
With Fall comes all of the beautiful and colorful leaves that we love and enjoy for about the first 2 weeks. After they have fallen off the trees, the fun begins with leaves all over our yards and driveways. We then being the clean up as we ready our yards for winter. The raking of those beautiful leaves into piles and then scooping them into bags to take to the landfill to throw way.
DON’t BOTHER with that this year! Spend more time inside this year enjoying your hot cocoa and cozy PJ’s! Our City of Coeur d’Alene is not only beautiful but they are also awesome! One of the benefits of living is Coeur d’Alene and our Leaf Pick Up program and its absolutely FREE for you!
Leaf Pickup! Starting Friday November 13th
Click the link here for leaf pickup map. Find your zone – leaf pickup will happen in alphabetic order.
Some things to keep in mind:
- You may start putting your leaves out Friday November 2nd.
- Please move cars out of the street if at all possible during leaf pick-up.
- Keep the leaves about one foot off the curb line to facilitate storm water flow.
- Be alert for leaf pick-up equipment traveling through your neighborhood.
- Keep a safe distance away from leaf pick-up heavy equipment.
- Recognize that we have a tough job to do in a very short window between when the leaves fall and when the snow flies.
- Understand that city and private trucks are exempted from covering loads during the leaf pick-up period. Sweepers will follow city trucks to collect remaining/excess leaves.
- Place bagged leaves in street.
- Mix branches, rubble or other refuse in with the leaves.
- Miss the deadline… we only have time for one pass!
Now that 2018 is finally here, resolutions and goals seem to be all anyone is talking about. If one of your resolutions is to be a first-time buyer then here are a few tips to help you make that a resolution that doesn’t fall by the wayside. Maybe your resolutions don’t involve buying, maybe it is to sell your home or to build equity with your existing home or investing in your home. In any case here is an abbreviated list of some routes to consider. (Full Article)
For the first time buyers
Buying a new home is scary, but taking the first steps toward an organized and planned out purchase is half the battle. Having a structured plan and timeline gives you a set of instructions that you can follow. Near the top of the list you create should be finding a reputable and thorough realtor to take the mystery of purchasing and turn it into an understanding of the process. Regardless of when your planned purchase date is, NOW is the best time to start working on your credit. If you’re one of the majority who has room for improvement, the sooner you start working on it, the better. And speaking of now, remember that you are going to need a down payment for your purchase.
For the First time Sellers
Maybe you don’t plan to be a first-time buyer, maybe selling is on the top of your 2018 goals, then you need to start planning too! When you prepare your home to be sold, you need to make sure that you take care of all those repairs you’ve been putting off. Along with fixing, you need to start getting rid of the extra and unused stuff that has been accumulating. Personally, I don’t want to pay to ship the contents of my junk drawer or those broken things that I keep meaning to fix. Throwing away (donating, selling) is hard but once you’ve cleared out the clutter, you’ll be happy you did and it’s one less thing you need to worry about.
Trying to Add Equity
One of the most effective ways to add equity to your home is to bring your principle down. You can do this in several ways. Refinancing your home might be a good choice. Either for a shorter loan term or for a lower rate. Another way to bring down your principle is to pay more. That simple. Maybe you pay more each month or you make an extra payment. Either way you’re going to have to pay more.
Investing in Your Home
Investing in your home can be one of the more gratifying options. Most of us like to see transformations. And making your home more beautiful is always exciting. Make sure when you chose a project that you select one that has a good return of investment. It would be a good idea to do some homework and find out the most sought after home features. One type of renovation that will almost always yeild a good return of investment is increasing your home’s energy rating.
No matter what topic made your 2018 Real Estate goal list, we hope you were able to find some of this advice helpful. If you did, or have any other ideas- Reply and tell us all about them. Please don’t forget to check out the full Windermere article for any extra info.
LET’S MAKE AWESOME HAPPEN!
If you’ve been outside anytime during the last week, you no doubt noticed the smoke. It’s fire season again in the Pacific Northwest. Before we talk about the multitude ways to help keep your investment safe from fire, I want to give a heartfelt thank you to all of those firefighters away from their families. Thank You! On to business.
When you decided to purchase a house and make the emotional commitment of being a home owner, I truly doubt you ever thought that a fire could happen to you. According to the National Fire Protection Agency, in 2015 there were 501,500 structure fires in the U.S. resulting in just over 10 billion dollars in damages and 2,685 deaths. No one wants to be a part of this statistic.
Smoke alarms probably seem like a no-brainer, but there maybe you forgot to test them or check the batteries. It is recommended that you test them monthly and replace the batteries every six months when you change the clocks for daylight savings time. Another thing to remember when putting in new alarms, smoke rises. Smoke is less dense than air so it rises, which is why smoke alarms are on the ceiling or no further than 6 inches from the ceiling on the wall.
typically associated with businesses, schools and hospitals but fire extinguishers are recommended for the home as well. The best places to keep your home extinguishers are anyplace that you would expect something to combust. Obviously the kitchen, but also in places like the garage or down in the basement by the furnace. You, the homeowner are also encouraged to have a fire extinguisher for every floor. You don’t want to be in a situation where you have to run upstairs to get the fire extinguisher.
Know your types of extinguishers!
There isn’t one fire extinguisher that works on all types of fires. And speaking of types of fires, there are 6. SIX! with 5 different types of extinguishers, the location of the fire will most likely dictate the type of fire. I am not going to go in depth with all of the types and appropriate applications. But for the sake of the homeowner, you’ll need to determine which one is right for the different areas of your home. It is worth noting that the dry powder type of extinguisher (also known as the ABC type) is not recommended for small spaces such as homes and offices. If inhaled, it can be very damaging.
Know how to use the extinguisher
Having an extinguisher is just half the battle. If you want to be effective in stopping fires before they do real damage, you need to know how to use them. remember the acronym PASS. P-pull pin A-aim at the base S- squeeze the trigger S- sweep back and forth. Here is a short video illustrating the proper technique.
Emergency Escape Route
I remember when I was young, I always thought it was silly to do a fire drill at home. It wasn’t until I grew up and had babies of my own and realized that you absolutely need to practice. If you live in a home with multiple stories, get a window ladder. You wont always be able to use the stairs. Some advice I would like to pass on. If there is a fire in your home. Do not get dressed. Don’t try to find valuables. Don’t search for pets. Just get your children and leave the house. Most likely the animals will find a way out on their own. They have instincts that guide them away from fire. Your valuables are worthless if you do not have someone to share them with. Keep your family safe.
Keep combustibles away from outlets and other electronics.
It makes sense when you think about it retrospectively. But how often do we push furniture up against outlets or not think about the power strip we have had around since the 90’s. Sure it might work just fine. But newer electronics like power strips are being made safer and besides, after years of use (or maybe abuse) it’s not exactly as safe as it used to be. Outlets, extension cords, open or lose wiring. Check them. As for your electronics, I’m sure you’ve noticed that after using tv’s or laptops they get warm (maybe hot) to the touch. With the right combinations of factors, you could have a fire on your hands. Keep electronics off when they’re not being used. While the electronics are in use, keep them away from combustibles.
Keep the dead and dry stuff away from the house
Not all fires start from inside the home, some start from your yard or property. As homeowners, you are advised to trim back or remove completely, any dead trees or shrubs, or any dried up debris. These types of organic materials serve as kindling in wildfires, and they pose a threat to your home as well!
If we forgot something or you know a good way to keep your home safe, please say so in the comments! We love hearing from you. Stay safe out there in the heat and smoke!
Let’s Make Awesome Happen
Independence Day is just around the corner and we’ve come up with some tips, tricks and design ideas to help you be the BBQ champion. Some of my favorite childhood memories were any given summer outside, circled around the grill with friends and family. Here’s to you and yours. Here’s to turning those summer days in to wonderful memories.
Clean your Grill!
The key to having almost anything ready to use, is cleaning it up after you use it. But if you are like me, sometimes the food coma sets in and cleaning up is out of the question. Here are some ways to keep your grill ready for a cookout at a moments notice.
- Leave your grill on for a few minutes with the hood closed. This is a super easy, coma-friendly way to burn off any excess foods and fats left on the grill.
- Give your grill a good scrub with something abrasive. Grill brushes, tin foil, abrasive sponge. Put a minute of elbow grease in to it to remove any charred junk.
- To ensure a non-sticking grill when you fire it up the next time, spray on some non-stick spray or a bit of vegetable oil. I’ve even heard that rubbing a 1/2 onion on the grate can do the trick.
- That’s it. These easy steps will have your grill laying in wait, ready to pounce at any moment to help you keep your throne of Grill King- or Queen!
If you hate following instructions like me, here is the video version from diy network: How to clean your grill in 15 minutes
Here are a few hacks to make serving, eating and cleaning up after your festivities easy as pie!
Here are some recipes that we either love or want to make this summer. And I may be a bit biased for bourbon. Not sorry. Photos and titles are linked.
Yes. All of those!
These look amazing. I cant wait to make these. Ribs are such a guilty pleasure of mine. They’re messy, they’re not exactly on the skinny menu, but Lord they are delicious.
You read that correctly. Made these last year for a family gathering. I wish I had made more, there wasn’t nearly enough to go around twice.
This is another recipe I am looking forward to using this Independence day. I hope it has as much kick as they say.
BBQ Grill Station Ideas
Maybe this summer your mind is set on remodeling or updating your back yard. Here are some BBQ stations that are functional and add to your back yard setting.
These concrete counter tops have plenty of room for prepping. I really like the clean and fucntional design, as well as the low cost of concrete.
This one is really great too, I think the portable design is perfect for a more laid back yard. And having a sink nearby is such a smart idea. You handle tons of raw meat when you grill, and being able to wash your hands is an obvious way to prevent food-born illnesses. It even has a built in chopping block…. ok, ok. It’s a cutting board. A girl can dream right?
If putting together a large permanent station isn’t something that your bank account will allow, this might be a good solution. You can set up a semi-permanent station by using cinderblocks and paver stones to accomplish a similar built-in feel. This way you won’t spend a fortune and you will still have all that work and prep space.
We hope you enjoy these tips and tricks. If you’re feeling motivated, we’d love to see how your projects are coming along. And feedback on the recipes is always encouraged. Enjoy!
From our family to yours, We hope you have a wonderful and proud Independence Day!
God Bless America!
Washi tape is a wonderful gift from the Land of the Rising Sun. Traditionally, washi is a type of paper made from tree bark or various other plant cellulose. It is most often used for its aesthetic appeal, but does have some other applications. Since it hit the shelves, it has been a God-send to interior designers and DIY-ers alike. It is a cheap way to have all the color and fun with none of the commitment.
As a new homeowner its really exciting thinking about all of the remodeling and designing you want to do to the interior. But then there’s the anxiety of choosing a color or style. Will we like it? Is it too bold? Will it work with our furniture? Thankfully you can try out some different schemes or patterns in your home without having to worry about the work of changing it. Washi tape is a great way to test the waters and try on different ideas you might have had. Or, maybe you’re like me and you want to change your entire house every few weeks and need something that will be easy to change too.
As a renter you have probably encountered the frustration of not being able to decorate, paint and design your space to your heart’s content. Typically, landlords will require that tenants do nothing to damage or change the home in any way. Other times, renters will avoid putting holes in the walls to ensure that they get their entire deposit at the end of the lease. Both are valid reasons to want to find a temporary work around that will leave your rental feeling like home, and your landlord happy. Here ares some ways to use washi tape to incorporate some beauty in your space and leave the walls good as new when you leave.
Accent walls are a great way to add a huge pop of color to a bland room. They make a huge statement and fortunately with washi tape, they aren’t permanent.
It might not seem like a big deal, but a beautiful headboard can really make a room. While some are just part of the bed frame, others are mounted on the wall. That’s where the washi tape comes in for a damage free , bold statement.
Nurseries and Play Rooms
It seems like kids always want to have bright pink or blue or other crazy colors for their bedrooms. Washi tape allows for all sorts of color and whimsy without having to consider how many coats of white paint it will take to cover up that Frozen mural.
As if the pictures didn’t already speak for themselves. Washi tape is a great way to add a bold statement to your rooms. These murals provide great conversation pieces when placed in main areas. Just make sure if you’re doing something geometric, you have some patience and a ruler, and a ton of coffee.
Another great thing about using this tape throughout your home is that you can add small pops of color or detail that really personalize your area in a big way.
Hope you enjoyed the creative fuel as much as I have! Go forth and make Awesome Happen!
Thinking of selling and want to spruce up your home before hitting the market? Surprisingly you should think small when making renovations and updates for the best ROI.
If you are like most of our clients you may have a laundry list of things you believe you need to your home before you sell it. Some of the things may be costly and in the end will not improve the sale-ability of your home or even provide a good return on your investment investment. Here are some tips to consider:
If you are thinking of selling , lets meet up and we can work with you to develop a plan for success. The right improvements to increase the sale-ability of your home while being kind to your finances.
How to contact John and Tracey
John Tindall: 208-818-2456 email@example.com
Tracey Tindall: 208-818-2365 firstname.lastname@example.org
Click here to learn: More about us!