What the Flip? A 1909 Family Home Is Fully Restored and Grabs Top Dollar

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Flipping a house is a lot of work, and can yield a big profit. But not every project is guaranteed to be lucrative. So what’s the key to successfully making over a fixer-upper and selling it for a gain? Our new series “What the Flip?” presents before and after photos to identify the smart construction and design decisions that ultimately helped make a house desirable to buyers.

Oklahoma City is an alluring place for home buyers these days. Its cost of living is low, there are plenty of opportunities for work and play, and you get the pace of city life with the quiet of the country nearby.

With a median listing price of $225,000, Oklahoma City is certainly a place to score a sizable single-family home for a reasonable chunk of cash, but finding an age-old property with good bones is a challenge. So when our flippers stumbled upon this four-bedroom, three-bathroom home from the early 1900s—in one of the city’s most prestigious and historic neighborhoods—they jumped.

Sure, the home wasn’t exactly in great shape, but that’s where the flip comes in. This old home went from drab and dusty to absolutely fabulous. It was purchased in July 2018 for $325,000, and in September 2019 it was sold again, for $642,000. The sellers doubled their money in just over a year—a result that any flipper could hope for.

So what made this such a successful flip? We turned to our experts to uncover the winning design and home improvement moves.

Living room

The living room is often the first space buyers see when they enter the home, so bringing this room up to date was key. The original room felt dark, dirty, and cramped, so the sellers had a big project on their hands.

“Lighting is key to this room,” says Malissa Kelsch, real estate adviser with Red Rock Real Estate. “Removal of window coverings and additional can lights deliver a distinctive sensation of relaxation.”

“They resurfaced the walls, which was a great choice to make the walls feel like new construction,” adds architect and interior designer Alondra Alberti. “The light paint and blond floor stain showcase how large the space actually is.”

But one of the most impactful changes was simply the removal of the accordion doors leading to the kitchen.

“The living room seamlessly flows into the kitchen to make it a perfect home for entertaining,” adds real estate agent Sarah Bernard. “This is the open, bright look that buyers today are demanding in new construction, so to renovate with this in mind makes lots of sense.”

Office

Previously, the home office looks like a strange afterthought. The flip transformed it into a gorgeous, usable room.

“Home offices are one of the most sought-after spaces in our current climate of working and teaching kids remotely,” says Bernard. “The new floor, lighting, and open, sleek modern space with windows make this a strong selling point for busy buyers.”

“The hardwood floors throughout facilitate the visual flow between spaces, creating a more harmonious relationship between the office and the rest of the house,” says Alberti. “I also love the contrast of the black-matte stair raisers and wooden handrails. It provides a sophisticated rustic appeal that a lot of buyers look for in a home.”

Kitchen

“It looked like a sad little kitchen crying in the corner,” Alberti says of the pre-renovation space. But the flip made a huge difference in this all-important room.

“They have repositioned and expanded the kitchen, creating an open concept tied in by a beautiful, massive island that not only provides contrast but also bar seating,” Alberti explains. “They did a great job combining different materials and textures. … It’s a design risk that elevates the home.”

Kelsch says the new kitchen is definitely more appealing to potential buyers.

“Additional usable counter space, storage, and lighting make this a desirable kitchen and a ‘wow’ feature in the home,” she says.

Bathroom

The old bathroom in this home was like a walk back in time, but not in a good way.

“The wallpaper and the top-and-bottom built-in cabinets made the space feel enclosed and restricted,” says Alberti. “The old shower doors are always a must-go—they have had their run for far too long.”

The updated bathroom now feels warm and welcoming.

“The shower wall niche was a particularly nice touch because it provides practicality to the user,” adds Alberti. “Those kinds of details are never overlooked by buyers.”

Bernard agrees: “The new, beautiful bath lets in natural light for the tranquility that homeowners want in their bathrooms,” she says. “The updated shower and more functional and modern vanity feel clean and fresh compared to the original.”

Bedroom

From the gray wall-to-wall carpet to the heavy drapes, can we all just agree that the old bedroom was the stuff of nightmares?

“The new bedroom sheds pounds of darkness that were exhibited in the old carpeting and bulky cabinets,” says Bernard. “The white walls and wonderful new windows are inviting in a room that anyone can envision themselves waking up in. This is a luxury look that buyers in all price ranges desire.”

“This bedroom has had a complete turnaround. The new vaulted ceiling helps make the room feel more spacious, and removing the cabinetry opens up the room,” says Kelsch. “Bringing in as much natural light as possible by taking down dated old drapes and updating furnishings and fixtures will bring top dollar to this house.”

The post What the Flip? A 1909 Family Home Is Fully Restored and Grabs Top Dollar appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Source: realtor.com

See the Small but Pivotal Repairs That Helped This Southwestern Home Grab a Profit

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It doesn’t matter how perfect your home is—if your listing photos don’t stand out, potential buyers won’t come by to take a look. In our series “Lessons From Listing Photos,” we dissect the smart updates sellers have made to their homes, and how their listing pictures highlight the home’s best assets.

Living in Santa Fe, NM, is all about taking advantage of the gorgeous landscape, mild climate, art culture, and a city with just enough activity to keep you busy but not overwhelmed. And the suburbs outside of Santa Fe give you access to all that, plus the ability to own a sizable chunk of land.

Those reasons help explain why this four-bedroom, 3.5-bath house, just 20 minutes from the city center, was purchased in 2014 for $435,000 despite it being a textbook fixer-upper.

The 3,000-square-foot-house is on a 1.17-acre lot in a gated community. It comes with a private pond and walking trails, making it the perfect purchase for a buyer looking to enjoy the culture of the area while still keeping to themselves. Sure the home’s interior was in desperate need of an update, but the buyers saw the potential.

After six years and some stylish yet strategic renovations, the buyers sold the home for about $200,000 more than what they paid. There weren’t many big changes—just cosmetic updates and some nicely staged listing photos. So how did they make a profit? We went straight to our experts to find out what home improvements brought in the buyers.

Living room

The setup in this living room is a little different thanks to an adobe fireplace in the center of the room. In the before photos, it’s easy to see how a potential buyer would be confused by what to do with the main living room space as well as the space behind the fireplace. But a quick cleanup and careful staging helped to illustrate the best use of the space, according to designer Lori Bitter, of Dalia Staging & Design.

“The formal living space feels inviting for entertaining, while the second space feels more intimate for family and TV time,” Bitter says.

Careful design does a lot more than make a room look pretty, though. Bitter points out that the details help to accentuate some of room’s best features.

“The blue accents are a perfect balance for the dark floors and wood on the ceiling,” she says.

“Not a lot changed in this room, but it shows what a big difference a few details can make,” adds designer Mark Cutler, of  Mark Cutler Design. “The new ceiling fan, uncovered windows, and brighter white paint all contribute to a more modern take on Southwestern design.”

Kitchen

An updated, functional kitchen is pretty high on the must-have list for many home buyers, which is why the sellers put a lot of time and effort into this space.

“The new kitchen feels fresh, open, and modern,” says Cutler. He adds that moving the wing wall on the peninsula substantially opens up the space.

“The combination of white tile with the gray cabinetry and updated lighting is so fresh,” she says. “Bringing the backsplash to ceiling with the modern hood is a dramatic touch.”

And while everyone loves a kitchen island, the sellers made the right move in removing the old island; the pine wood was channeling outdated ’90s vibes.

“Replacing the old island with a rustic furniture piece carries the warmth of the wood from the living space into the kitchen and keeps this kitchen feeling cozy,” says Bitter.

Bedroom

When a potential buyer visits a home, there are a few different things they might be looking for in a bedroom space. They might want a room that’s relaxing, maybe even luxurious—but they’re definitely not looking for a bedroom that looks old and dingy. Before the overhaul, this bedroom was full of clunky fixtures like that light fixture and ceiling fan.

But the sellers knew just what to do to lighten this space up.

“A white color palette will always create a room that feels larger and cleaner,” says Cutler. “And removing the window shades allows for more light and expands the view.”

“What a great example of how staging can make a room feel more impressive and larger,” adds Bitter.

Bathroom

Nothing dates a home like a bathroom in major need of an update, so our experts were pleased to see what happened in this space.

“Two main areas changed for the better: the shower tile and the bathroom vanity,” says Cutler. The brown palette of the old shower and the stained-wood details dated the room.

“The bright, white color scheme with bronze accents feels fresh and makes the room, especially the shower, seem larger.” he adds.

“This is a ‘wow’ moment for this home,” says Bitter. “Like the kitchen, the footprint hasn’t changed, but the finish choices [like the new light fixture and sink vanity] open this space up.”

Back patio

The back patio of this home is a terrific example of the power of a good listing photo.

“Outdoor living spaces are coveted today,” says Bitter. “Staging an outdoor dining area shows buyers the possibilities for this valuable additional square footage.”

“Once again it’s about small details that make a large impact,” says Cutler. “Architecturally almost nothing has changed, but the room, with the addition of the seating area, feels larger.”

Cutler also likes the potting area, which gives buyers another example of a creative way to use the space.

The post See the Small but Pivotal Repairs That Helped This Southwestern Home Grab a Profit appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Source: realtor.com

75 Personal Finance Rules of Thumb

A “rule of thumb” is a mental shortcut. It’s a heuristic. It’s not always true, but it’s usually true. It saves you time and brainpower. Rather than re-inventing the wheel for every money problem you face, personal finance rules of thumb let you apply wisdom from the past to reach quick solutions.

I’m going to do my best Buzzfeed impression today and give you a list of 75 personal finance rules of thumb. Some are efficient packets of advice while others are mathematical shortcuts to save brain space. Either way, I bet you’ll learn a thing or two—quickly—from this list.

The Basics

These basic personal finance rules of thumb apply to everybody. They’re simple and universal.

1. The Order of Operations (since this is one of the bedrocks of personal finance, I wrote a PDF explaining all the details. Since you’re a reader here, it’s free.)

2. Insurance protects wealth. It doesn’t build wealth.

3. Cash is good for current expenses and emergencies, but nothing more. Holding too much cash means you’re losing long-term value.

4. Time is money. Wealth is a measure of how much time your money can buy.

5. Set specific financial goals. Specific numbers, specific dates. Don’t put off for tomorrow what you can do today.

6. Keep an eye on your credit score. Check-in at least once a year.

7. Converting wages to salary: $1/per hour = $2000 per year.

8. Don’t mess with City Hall. Don’t cheat on your taxes.

9. You can afford anything. You can’t afford everything.

10. Money saved is money earned. When you look at your bottom line, saving a dollar has the equivalent effect as earning a dollar. Saving and earning are equally important.

Budgeting

I love budgeting, but not everyone is as zealous as me. Still, if you’re looking to budget (or even if you’re not), I think these budgeting rules of thumb are worth following.

11. You need a budget. The key to getting your financial life under control is making a budget and sticking to it. That is the first step for every financial decision.

12. The 50-30-20 rule of budgeting. After taxes, 50% of your money should cover needs, 30% should cover wants, and 20% should repay debts or invest.

13. Use “sinking funds” to save for rainy days. You know it’ll rain eventually.

14. Don’t mix savings and checking. One saves, the other spends.

15. Children cost about $10,000 per kid, per year. Family planning = financial planning.

16. Spend less than you earn. You might say, “Duh!” But if you’re not measuring your spending (e.g. with a budget), are you sure you meet this rule?

Investing & Retirement

Basic investing, in my opinion, is a ‘must know’ for future financial success. The following rules of thumb will help you dip your toe in those waters.

17. Don’t handpick stocks. Choose index funds instead. Very simple, very effective.

18. People who invest full-time are smarter than you. You can’t beat them.

19. The Rule of 72 (it’s doctor-approved). An investment annual growth rate multiplied by its doubling time equals (roughly) 72. A 4% investment will double in 18 years (4*18 = 72). A 12% investment will double in 6 years (12*6 = 72).

20. “Don’t do something, just sit there.” -Jack Bogle, on how bad it is to worry about your investments and act on those emotions.

21. Get the employer match. If your employer has a retirement program (e.g. 401k, pension), make sure you get all the free money you can.

22. Balance pre-tax and post-tax investments. It’s hard to know what tax rates will be like when you retire, so balancing between pre-tax and post-tax investing now will also keep your tax bill balanced later.

23. Keep costs low. Investing fees and expense ratios can eat up your profits. So keep those fees as low as possible.

24. Don’t touch your retirement money. It can be tempting to dip into long-term savings for an important current need. But fight that urge. You’ll thank yourself later.

25. Rebalancing should be part of your investing plan. Portfolios that start diversified can become concentrated some one asset does well and others do poorly. Rebalancing helps you rest your diversification and low er your risk.

26. The 4% Rule for retirement. Save enough money for retirement so that your first year of expenses equals 4% (or less) of your total nest egg.

27. Save for your retirement first, your kids’ college second. Retirees don’t get scholarships.

28. $1 invested in stocks today = $10 in 30 years.

29. Inflation is about 3% per year. If you want to be conservative, use 3.5% in your money math.

30. Stocks earn 7% per year, after adjusting for inflation.

31. Own your age in bonds. Or, own 120 minus your age in bonds. The heuristic used to be that a 30-year old should have a portfolio that’s 30% bonds, 40-year old 40% bonds, etc. More recently, the “120 minus your age” rule has become more prevalent. 30-year old should own 10% bonds, 40-year old 20% bonds, etc.

32. Don’t invest in the unknown. Or as Warren Buffett suggests, “Invest in what you know.”

Home & Auto

For many of you, home and car ownership contribute to your everyday finances. The following personal finance rules of thumb will be especially helpful for you.

33. Your house’s sticker price should be less than 3x your family’s combined income. Being “house poor”—or having too expensive of a house compared to your income—is one of the most common financial pitfalls. Avoid it if you can.

34. Broken appliance? Replace it if 1) the appliance is 8+ years old or 2) the repair would cost more than half of a new appliance.

35. Used car or new car? The cost difference isn’t what it used to be. The choice is even.

36. A car’s total lifetime cost is about 3x its sticker price. Choose wisely!

37. 20-4-10 rule of buying a vehicle. Put 20% of the vehicle down in cash, with a loan of 4 years or less, with a monthly payment that is less than 10% of your monthly income.

38. Re-financing a mortgage makes sense once interest rates drop by 1% (or more) from your current rate.

39. Don’t pre-pay your mortgage (unless your other bases are fully covered). Mortgages interest is deductible, and current interest rates are low. While pre-paying your mortgage saves you that little bit of interest, there’s likely a better use for you extra cash.

40. Set aside 1% of your home’s value each year for future maintenance and repairs.

41. The average car costs about 50 cents per mile over the course of its life.

42. Paying interest on a depreciating asset (e.g. a car) is losing twice.

43. Your main home isn’t an investment. You shouldn’t plan on both living in your house forever and selling it for profit. The logic doesn’t work.

44. Pay cash for cars, if you can. Paying interest on a car is a losing move.

45. If you’re buying a fixer-upper, consider the 70% rule to sort out worthy properties.

46. If you’re buying a rental property, the 1% rule easily evaluates if you’ll get a positive cash flow.

Spending & Debt

Do you spend money? (“What kind of question is that?”) Then these personal finance rules of thumb will apply to you.

47. Pay off your credit card every month.

48. In debt? Use psychology to help yourself. Consider the debt snowball or debt avalanche.

49. When making a purchase, consider cost-per-use.

50. Make your spending tangible with a ‘cash diet.’

51. Never pay full price. Shop around and do your research to get the best deals. You can earn cash back when you shop online, score a discount with a coupon code, or a voucher for free shipping.

52. Buying experiences makes you happier than buying things.

53. Shop by yourself. Peer pressure increases spending.

54. Shop with a list, and stick to it. Stores are designed to pull you into purchases you weren’t expecting.

55. Spend on the person you are, not the person you want to be. I love cooking, but I can’t justify $1000 of professional-grade kitchenware.

56. The bigger the purchase, the more time it deserves. Organic vs. normal peanut butter? Don’t spend 10 minutes thinking about it. $100K on a timeshare? Don’t pull the trigger when you’re three margaritas deep.

57. Use less than 30% of your available credit. Credit usage plays a major role in your credit score. Consistently maxing out your credit hurts your credit score. Aim to keep your usage low (paying off every month, preferably).

58. Unexpected windfall? Use 5% or less to treat yourself, but use the rest wisely (e.g. invest for later).

59. Aim to keep your student loans less than one year’s salary in your field.

The Mental Side of Personal Finance

At the end of the day, you are what you do. Psychology and behavior play an essential role in personal finance. That’s why these behavioral rules of thumb are vital.

60. Consider peace of mind. Paying off your mortgage isn’t always the optimum use of extra money. But the peace of mind that comes with eliminating debt—it’s huge.

61. Small habits build up to big impacts. It feels like a baby step now, but give yourself time.

62. Give your brain some time. Humans might rule the animal kingdom, but it doesn’t mean we aren’t impulsive. Give your brain some time to think before making big financial decisions.

63. The 30 Day Rule. Wait 30 days before you make a purchase of a “want” above a certain dollar amount. If you still want it after waiting and you can afford it, then buy it.  

64. Pay yourself first. Put money away (into savings or investment accounts) before you ever have a chance to spend it.

65. As a family, don’t fall into the two-income trap. If you can, try to support your lifestyle off of only one income. Should one spouse lose their job, the family finances will still be stable.

66. Every dollar counts. Money is fungible. There are plenty of ways to supplement your income stream.

67. Savor what you have before buying new stuff. Consider the fulfillment curve.

68. Negotiating your salary can be one of the most important financial moves you make. Increasing your income might be more important than anything else on this list.

69. Direct deposit is the nudge you need. If you don’t see your paycheck, you’re less likely to spend it.

70. Don’t let comparison steal your joy. Instead, use comparisons to set goals. (net worth).

71. Learning is earning. Education is 5x more impactful to work-life earnings than other demographics.

72. If you wouldn’t pay in cash, then don’t pay in credit. Swiping a credit card feels so easy compared to handing over a stack of cash. Don’t let your brain fool itself.

73. Envision a leaky bucket. Water leaking from the bottom is just as consequential as water entering the top. We often ignore financial leaks (e.g. fees), since they’re not as glamorous—but we shouldn’t.

74. Forget the Joneses. Use comparisons to motivate healthier habits, not useless spending.

75. Talk about money! I know it’s sometimes frowned upon (like politics or religion), but you can learn a ton from talking to your peers about money. Unsure where to start? You can talk to me!

The Last Personal Finance Rule of Thumb

Last but not least, an investment in knowledge pays the best interest.

Boom! Got ’em again! Ben Franklin streaks in for another meta appearance. Thanks Ben!

If you enjoyed this article and want to read more, I’d suggest checking out my Archive or Subscribing to get future articles emailed to your inbox.

This article—just like every other—is supported by readers like you.

Source: bestinterest.blog

‘Fixer to Fabulous’ Reveals One Simple Upgrade You’ll Love Every Morning

Fixer to FabulousHGTV

Dave and Jenny Marrs of “Fixer to Fabulous” have done countless renovations over the years, but the pressure is on when they’re tasked with fixing up a home owned by none other than Jenny’s parents.

In the Season 2 episode “A Life-Changing Renovation,” Jenny and Dave help Jenny’s parents, Joan and Steve Smith, renovate their new house in Rodgers, AR, not too far from the Marrs’ farm. Dave and Jenny hope to give this property the cozy feel of a grandparents’ home along with a more modern vibe.

Read on to find out how they make this house feel both classic and contemporary, and get some ideas for how to make over any family home, even your own.

Not all bricks are created equal

house
This ’90s house had some dated stone accents.

HGTV

Steve and Joan love their new house, but they agree that the style is a little dated. On the exterior, the home has some stone accents that may have been popular when the home was built in 1994, but just look tired now.

So Jenny and Dave decide to replace the stone with some brick, which they know will give the house a fresh, modern style without looking too stark.

brick exterior
This brick makes the space look more updated.

HGTV

However, Jenny tells Dave that they can’t use just any old bricks on the house.

“I don’t want just a red clay brick that is mass-produced,” Jenny says. “I want to use a vintage brick that’s come off of an old building.”

She ends up finding old, light-colored brick that looks kind of worn. This brick, when used on the porch steps and house skirt, gives the home a rustic look.

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Watch: Fix Your Own Garbage Disposer—Without Calling the Plumber

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In the end, it’s clear that Jenny’s careful selection pays off. She proves that getting just the right color and style is imperative.

Use an eyelid to add character to a doorway

house
Jenny and Dave Marrs want to upgrade this entryway.

HGTV

Joan and Steve are excited to get rid of the dated stone on the home’s exterior, but they also want to make some structural changes to their front entrance. So Jenny and Dave take out the dated walkway and build out a porch, then they focus their attention on the doorway.

house
This eyelid adds some personality to the front of the house.

HGTV

“We were able to get them this beautiful double door, and it has an arch top,” Jenny says, “so adding an eyebrow arch to the front of the house, it’ll mirror the door, and it’ll tie it together and look beautiful and welcoming.”

They use cedar, which matches the new siding, to create a curved structure that will go right above the porch steps. The extra detail matches the elegant front doors, just as Jenny expected, and it brings some character to the front of the house.

It’s a small feature, but it makes a big impact.

Simplify a stone fireplace for a more modern look

fireplace
This dated fireplace looked dark and heavy in this space.

HGTV

Unfortunately, the inside of Joan and Steve’s house is just as dated as the outside. The space is like a ’90s time capsule, and the dated stone fireplace doesn’t help.

“The stone followed us inside,” Steve says of the gray stonework.

fireplace
This simpler fireplace brightens the living room.

HGTV

Jenny and Dave know they’ll need to update this fireplace if they’re going to make the space feel more modern, so they remove the stone and simplify the feature. With a smooth white face, a wood mantel, and a small spot to store wood next to the firebox, the new, smaller fireplace looks much more modern.

Can’t knock down a kitchen wall? Create a coffee station

coffee station
Jenny knows her dad will love this coffee station.

HGTV

Joan and Steve’s kitchen is dated, so Jenny and Dave make a plan to completely redo the space, putting in new appliances, installing new cabinetry, and even knocking down a wall to open it up. However, once renovation begins, they realize that they can’t take down the wall.

Thinking fast, Jenny and Dave make the best of the situation by using this extra space to put in a coffee bar. Jenny says her parents always start the day with coffee, so a coffee bar is the perfect consolation for the slightly more closed-off floor plan, and one renovation they’ll appreciate every morning when they wake up!

“At first I was really upset ’cause we couldn’t take out this post,” Jenny tells her parents when the house is finished, “but I think it worked out for the best because we could give you the coffee bar.”

Turn a dining room wall into wine storage

dining space
This was just a blank wall, but Jenny had a great idea to make it a feature.

HGTV

With a beautiful coffee bar in the kitchen, Dave and Jenny are inspired to create a space for Steve and Joan’s other favorite beverage: wine.

They get to work installing some wine storage on one wall of the dining room, giving this otherwise empty space a fun feature while also providing storage for Joan and Steve’s wine collection. It a great blend of fun and function.

When Jenny and Dave are finally able to show off the wine rack, Dave admits that there’s one small problem: It’s much bigger than expected.

“When I built it I didn’t realize that it holds, like, 600 bottles,” Dave says. We guess his in-laws will have to work on building their collection!

wine storage
Jenny knew that her parents would love somewhere to keep bottles of wine.

HGTV

When the renovation is complete, Dave and Jenny are able to present the Smiths with a one-of-a-kind house that’s made with love. It’s a great blend of modern and classic, making it the perfect spot for two fun grandparents to live out their retirement.

The post ‘Fixer to Fabulous’ Reveals One Simple Upgrade You’ll Love Every Morning appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Source: realtor.com