Category Archives: Home Maintenance

Is Your Home Remodel Really Worth It?

If you’re thinking of ever selling your home, chances are you’ve considered some remodeling projects. Whether it’s updating, demolishing, or reconfiguring, you hope the work and money will pay off when you sell your home someday. However, the National Association of Realtors Remodeling Impact Study revealed that thirty-five percent of U.S. homeowners would rather move to another home than remodel their current home. 

How do you know for sure a remodel is worth it?
We’ve done some digging to determine just how valuable these projects really are. If you’re considering any of these renovations, take a look at what they might actually be worth in the long run.

Judge a Book by its Cover

Curb appeal projects are overall one of the greatest ways to recoup your remodel dollars this year. Whether you replace a tired garage door, landscape your front yard, or add some decorative veneer stonework, the year-over-year value increase on these projects is trending upward. Replacing a garage door ranked the highest return project this year, with a 98.3% cost recuperation. A focal point for most homes, garage door upgrades are proving a project worth investing in according to the Key Trend in the 2018 Cost vs. Value Report.

Think Minor, Not Major

It might seem smart to think big in terms of a kitchen renovation, but think again. Before you fancy yourself as one of the HGTV demolition goddesses, take this into consideration. This year, minor kitchen renovations (updating appliances, cabinet fronts, hardware, etc.) showed that they recuperate on average more money than major renovations (appliances, brand new cabinets, adding an island, etc.). A minor remodel recoups 81.1% while a major one only recoups 59%. Save yourself the cost and headaches and stick with a minimally invasive remodel instead.

Don’t Add, Just Update

Master bathroom additions might seem like a great way to make more money when you sell your home. But they only recoup about 59% of their value. Spend your renovation budget on a much higher yielding bathroom remodel. Update tile floors, fixtures, and the toilet to recoup an average of 70% of your dollar.

Know the Value of Materials

Adding a deck was ranked one of the highest returns. But it also ranked as one of the lowest. What’s the difference? A wood deck has a recuperation value of around 82%, while a composite deck recoups only about 63%. Consider your material choices before starting a project to ensure the best return when you sell your home.

By doing some research and making smart moves, your remodeling dollar can be recuperated wisely. Consider these trends before you start your next home improvement project and see just how much of a difference it makes when you decide to sell.

The Silva Group is comprised of the Philadelphia area and southern New Jersey Shore’s  best and brightest in the real estate industry and we are here to help you with all your real estate needs. We are experts in our field and are here for you. Contact us today to see how we can help.

Real Estate News – January 2018

Real Estate News December 2017
Why Remodeling Can Bring More Joy to a Home
By Meredith Dunn, National Association of REALTORS®
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The expected tenure of homeowners in a home continues to increase, according to the latest Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. Last year, the expected tenure was 12 years – this year, it jumped to 15. And, with tightened inventory in many markets, people are staying put in their homes for longer. As a result, remodeling one’s current home is an increasingly popular option for those who want their dream home, but are unable or unwilling to move.

The 2017 Remodeling Impact report shows that remodeling can bring more enjoyment to a home, and that certain projects have high returns both in terms of the joy they bring to the homeowner, as well as the amount of expenses that are recouped when the home is sold.

The projects that yield the most joy and recoup the most expenses might come as a surprise. According to REALTOR® respondents, the number one project is a complete kitchen renovation. The top reason homeowners renovate the kitchen is for better functionality and livability, according to 44 percent of respondents. When the project is completed, 91 percent of respondents have both a greater desire to be in the home and have a greater sense of enjoyment when they are at home. Overall, a kitchen renovation receives a 10 out of 10 Joy Score and REALTORS® estimate that $40,000 of the cost can be recovered at resale—approximately 62 percent of the estimated cost.

Complete Kitchen Renovation
kitchen renovation
The second-most popular project is a kitchen upgrade. Like the complete kitchen renovation, upgrading worn-out surfaces, finishes and materials is high on the list of reasons to undertake the project – in fact, it’s the number one reason, at 42 percent. When the project is completed, 81 percent report experiencing a greater desire to be in the home and feeling a major sense of accomplishment when they think about the project. Slightly less have an increased sense of enjoyment when they are in the home at 76 percent, but the project overall has a Joy Score of 9.6 out of 10. REALTORS® estimate that $20,000 of the cost can be recovered at resale—57 percent of the estimated cost.
Kitchen Upgrade
kitchen upgrade
The third project on the list of most popular projects is a bathroom renovation. Forty percent undertake the project for better functionality and livability, while 38 percent want to upgrade worn-out surfaces, finishes and materials. When the project is completed, 78 percent feel a major sense of accomplishment when they think about the project. The project has a Joy Score of 9.6 out of 10, and REALTORS® estimate that $15,000 of the cost can be recovered at resale—50 percent of the estimated cost.
Millennials Search for Unconventional Down Payment Funds, but at What Cost?
By Liz Dominguez
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Millennials meeting with REALTORRising home prices are standing in the way of millennials who want to buy their first home; however, these challenges are being overcome via some unconventional methods. Millennials are getting creative and finding sources for their down payment by any means necessary. But are these methods hurting the millennial generation financially?

Borrowing from family: Sure, gifted money doesn’t sound bad. But what if the families don’t have the cash to give? Instead, buyers are asking that their parents’ home be refinanced, using the home equity as a way to fund their own home purchase.

Of course, this can be beneficial in multiple-offer situations to get a competitive edge with an all-cash offer, but borrowing from a relative can go south fast. Not being able to pay a bank back can have repercussions like lowering a credit score, but missed payments to a relative can damage familial relations. Is it worth the risk?

Crowdfunding: There are new crowdfunding platforms being introduced every year, and more of them are tapping into the real estate industry. This can be a great way to amass gifted money from friends and family, but not everyone may see it that way. Instead of crowdfunding for their honeymoon, newlyweds are asking their wedding guests to donate toward their first home.

This method can get complicated in the lending world. Buyers will need to look into gifting regulations before accepting any gifted money.

Preparing Your Home For Winter

Before Winter Arrives:

Heating System

  • Have your furnace or boiler checked and serviced by a licensed contractor at least once a year, preferably before the heating season begins.
  • Clean or replace the furnace filter on forced hot air systems.
  • Have your chimney checked and serviced by a licensed contractor at least once a year.
  • If you plan to use a wood burning fireplace it is best to have a professional chimney inspector check it yearly and have it cleaned every 1-2 years.
  • Make arrangements now for wood delivery for your wood fireplace. Even if you don’t plan to use it during the winter, be sure you have enough wood for 3-5 days on hand before winter in case a storm causes you to lose power for multiple days.

Insulation

  • Check your windows and doors to be sure they are caulked and all weather stripping is in good condition to protect against drafts.
  • Remove screens from windows and install storm windows, if applicable.

Plumbing

  • Check for any leaks and fix problems immediately.
  • Wrap your pipes in UL-Listed heat tape and insulate if it is exposed in unheated areas such as garages, crawl spaces, attics or basements.water-shut-off-valve-hanger
  • Know how to shut off your water.  Locate your main water shut-off valve. We’ve included a tag you can put on it to make it easy to find later.
  • Check the operation of all sump pumps, sump pump switches and floats.
  • Eliminate sources of cold air near water lines by closing off crawl spaces, fixing drafty windows, insulating walls and attics, and plugging drafts around doors.

Exterior

  • Mark  your well, septic lids and driveway boundaries with markers at least 4” tall.  Hardware stores sell poles for this purpose.
  • Check that all propane and oil tank inlets are accessible for delivery
  • Clean and put away lawn and garden equipment.
  • Disconnect all hoses from hose bibs and store them where they won’t freeze
  • Trim trees and remove dead branches so they won’t cause damage to your home during ice, snow or wind.
  • Keep gutters clear of leaves, sticks and other debris to help ensure melting snow and ice can drain properly. Make sure downspouts direct water away from the foundation.
  • Ensure your steps, sidewalks and handrails are in good condition to avoid injuries during ice and snow.
  • Check your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors batteries. Carbon monoxide detectors are very important during the winter when heating fuel is being used.
  • Make sure you have a snow shovel that is in safe condition to use. A roof rake is also a good idea to have on hand in case of a heavy snow fall.
  • Make sure you have an approved safety container ready to store fuel in for snow blowers and/or generators. Keep fuel away from heat or flame producing devices and do not store fuel in your basement.

When The Cold Air Arrives

Heating System

  • Have your fuel tanks filled and keep an eye on levels throughout the winter.
  • Set your heat no lower than 55 degrees as the temperature inside the walls where water piping is located is colder than the living spaces; open doors to unoccupied rooms to keep an even temperature throughout the house.

Plumbing

Key Steps if temperatures stay below freezing:

  • If pipes run through cabinets or vanities, open the doors to let warmer room temperatures flow in.
  • Keep water moving through the pipes by allowing a small trickle of water to run. The cost of the extra water is typically lower than the cost of repairing a broken pipe.

If your pipes do freeze:

  • Shut off the water immediately Don’t attempt to thaw pipes without turning off the main shut-off valve.
  • Thaw pipes with warm air .  You can melt the frozen water in the pipe by warming the air around it with a hair dryer or space heater. Be sure not to leave space heaters unattended and avoid the use of kerosene heaters or open flames.

Don’t Forget To Make Your Emergency Kit:

  • Flashlights
  • Bottled Water
  • Nonperishable Food Items
  • Blankets
  • Phone Numbers For Your Utility Companies
  • Batteries
  • First Aid Kit
  • Tea lights
  • Terra Cotta Pots

Did you know that you can make a mini space heater with tea lights and terra cotta pots?

 

If You Own An Eastern Pennsylvania or New Jersey Home This Is What You Need To Do About The Snow

Snow removal is never anyone’s favorite thing to do, but after the snowstorm we experienced this past weekend there is plenty of snow that needs removed.  If you are a homeowner in Eastern Pennsylvania or New Jersey, there are responsibilities you must take care of to keep your home from being damaged, and to keep you and your guests safe.

Each city and state has their own unique rules that are required when it comes to snow removal and you should check with them to make sure all regulations are followed, but in general here are a few good things to keep in mind.

If you have a sidewalk you may wonder if it is your responsibility to clear it, and yes it is.  As a homeowner you would be held responsible if someone were to fall and become injured due to falling on your obstructed walkway. There is an exception to this rule and that is if you live in a condo or co-op that charges a fee to hire a snow removal service it may not be your responsibility. Check with your board to see if snow removal includes both driveways and walkways to your condo.

Snow can also result in an ice dam building along your home’s roof which could lead to damage. An ice dam occurs as your home’s roof heats up and the snow higher up melts and freezes once it reaches the gutter. As the water continues to freeze and the frozen section grows bigger, the water is no longer able to drain and it will back up and seep under your home’s shingles and will find its way into your home. The water that leaks inside your home as a result of an ice dam can damage your walls and ceilings among many other places.  Not all leaks are always quickly noticeable. Leaks from water getting under your shingles as a result of water backing up from an ice dam may cause insulation to get wet and joists to rot, all which could lead to mold growth.

You can prevent an ice dam from happening by stopping heat loss from your roof. Your main objective should be to keep heat from reaching your home’s roof.  You can prevent this by having your attic properly insulated and vented.

The sheer weight of snow on your home’s roof can result in your gutters and downspouts pulling away from your home, and it could take the fascia boards with it. Removing the snow off your roof can stop this from occurring. There are snow rakes you can use, or a broom also works well to help remove the buildup of snow on your roof.

Stay safe this winter season and make your home safe to visit as well. If you are looking to buy or sell your Eastern Pennsylvania or New Jersey home this winter, The Silva Group would be delighted to help.  Contact us at any time or feel free to call us directly at (267) 202-4955.

The Silva Group is comprised of Philadelphia and New Jersey’s best and brightest in the real estate industry. Our team is more than a bunch of real estate agents packed into an office – we are friends and family members who all have one passion – to provide the very best real estate experience possible to our clients.

Installing A Whole-House Humidifier Will Provide You With These Benefits

The air inside your Eastern Pennsylvania or New Jersey home can be dry during the winter months and installing a whole-house humidifier provides your family with many benefits. Dry air could be causing your family to suffer from nosebleeds, scratchy throats, static electricity, and even dry skin. Installing a whole-house humidifier can help alleviate these symptoms and could even prevent illness this winter. It is not uncommon to notice allergy flare ups and nosebleeds when the humidity level in the air is low. Installing a whole-house humidifier provides extra moisture to the air inside your home helping decrease some of the symptoms you may experience.

Once installed, you should keep the humidity levels in your home at ideal conditions. Between 45 and 50 percent humidity will stop the growth of microbes, and provides just enough humidity to preserve your home’s wood floors.

Whole-house humidifiers have also been known to provide owners with better sleep. When humidity levels are at optimum levels, you are less likely to snore as your respiratory system is not dried out.

Installed whole-house humidifiers work in conjunction with your home’s furnace to add humidity to the air in your home and provide your family with numerous health benefits throughout the winter. If you are looking for a new home in Eastern Pennsylvania or New Jersey this winter let The Silva Group help you find your new dream home.

The Silva Group is comprised of Eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey’s best and brightest in the real estate industry.  If you are considering buying or selling your home we would love to help. Our team is more than a bunch of real estate agents packed into an office – we are friends and family members who all have one passion – to provide the very best real estate experience possible to our clients.

Affordable Ways To Make Your Dumb Home Smarter

There is no question about it, technology that is available to us today is impacting our day to day lives.   Daily there are new devices coming on the market that are meant to make our home smarter and our lives a little bit easier. The market is rapidly growing.  With all the products available to us today there is no reason that you need to break the bank to make your home a “smart home.”

Here are a few of our favorite gadgets to help make your home a “smart home” without spending a fortune.

Smart Thermostats

One of the most popular and attractive smart thermostats on the market is the Nest Thermostat. This little but powerful thermostat provides you the capability of setting it remotely, no matter where you are at, all via an app.  It also comes equipped with the technology to light up when you walk in the room so you can easily see the temperature you’ve set or the time. This smart thermostat automatically adapts based of your daily habits.  It boasts that you only have to use it for a week and it will program itself.

Video Monitor

The Nest Cam has won many awards, and is perfect for securing your home by allowing you to look after it while you’re away. It provides 24/7 live streaming, and comes with advanced night vision and activity alerts. One of the best parts of this video monitor is that it allows you the option to use its two way mic to speak to any intruder all through an app. At a price of $199 this home video monitor is a steal.

Smart Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Detector

If you are looking for a 2-in-1 device that allows you to connect several of your smart home devices, the Nest Protect Smoke + CO2 alarm is what you are looking for. At a price tag of only $99 you will have peace of mind when every second counts.

Smart Lock

Compatible with both Apple and Android devices, the August Smart Lock provides you with the capability of unlocking and relocking the deadbolt in your door via your smart device. No need to worry about lost keys anymore. It also provides you with the ability to give guests a virtual key. The August Smart Lock starts at $199.

Garage Door Opener

Know when your garage is open and close it from anywhere with the Chamberlin MYQ garage door opener. It also provides you with the capability to receive alerts anytime your garage door opens or closes. The best part is it is compatible with most major garage door openers that were made after 1993.

Water Monitor

More than likely by the time you find your home has a water leak it’s too late, and it’s going to cost you a great amount to get it repaired.  WallyHome Water Leak Detection System is a revolutionary home sensing solution that detects and alerts you to water leaks, as well as if there are any changes in humidity and temperature. This great product comes with free monitoring service that will be sent to you via email or text alerts.

Smart Bulbs

With these Misfiit Bold LED Smart Bulbs you can set the color to match your mood all with an app. These LED bulbs create beautiful lighting in over a million different colors while saving you electricity at the same time. They are easily able to be controlled via an app on your smartphone.

Power Consumption

Save money on electricity while making your home smarter. The Belkin WeMo Insight Switch allows you to turn off appliances and electronics all via your phone. This product is easy to install and simple to use as it plugs into an existing outlet.

Meals

Control when you start and stop cooking your meals along with the temperature of it using the new Crock-Pot Smart Slow Cooker via the free WeMo App available both on Apple and Android devices.

The Silva Group offers unbeatable service to all clients in eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Let us help you buy your next home. Contact Us today with all of your real estate needs or call us direct at (610) 520-0100.

Quick Low-Cost Ways To Reduce Your Greater Philadelphia Home’s Heating Costs This Winter

It seems that every year we hear how the cost to heat our home is on the rise, and this year is no different according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.  The U.S. retail price of electricity is projected to increase by 12.6 cents per kilowatt hour, and natural gas is projected to remain flat.

With winter on the way, here are a few quick, low-cost ways to help reduce the heating costs of your Greater Philadelphia home.

  1. If your home has a ceiling fan, reverse the direction so that it operates clockwise at a low speed so that the fan’s blades will create an updraft helping your home’s hot air to rise.
  2. Inspect the caulk around your home’s doors and windows and replace any cracked caulk so that no cold air is able to leak in.
  3. With warm air rising you do not want it escape your home through your fireplace. Avoid this by sealing your chimney’s flue with a stopper to avoid heat loss if you will not be using your fireplace. If you do plan on using your fireplace this winter, keep the damper closed when not in use to keep warm air in.
  4. To help decrease your heating bills, lower the temperature of your home’s hot water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit instead of the 140 degrees Fahrenheit setting.
  5. Install a smart thermostat such as the Nest Learning Thermostat that will adjust to your home’s energy usage to help save on your heating bill.

If you are looking to buy or sell your eastern Pennsylvania or New Jersey home this fall, The Silva Group would be delighted to help.  Contact us at any time or feel free to call us directly at (267) 202-4955.

The Silva Group is comprised of Philadelphia and New Jersey’s best and brightest in the real estate industry. Our team is more than a bunch of real estate agents packed into an office – we are friends and family members who all have one passion – to provide the very best real estate experience possible to our clients.

Preparing Your Pennsylvania or New Jersey Home for Fall

Sadly the warm days of summer had to come to an end. Trees are beginning to change, and leaves are starting to fall.  Autumn has arrived.  Before we know it the cold winter weather will be hitting the east coast. Now is the time to begin preparing your Pennsylvania or New Jersey home for the months ahead.

Here are a few tips to get your home in its best shape before the cooler months to come

Gutters- With the leaves beginning to turn and slowly starting to fall, in the next few weeks these leaves could be clogging your gutters.  Now is the time to start cleaning out your gutters and drainpipes. This will prevent future water damage and clogging.  You also need to periodically check for clogging in your gutters before winter.

Furnace- The days of turning on your heat may be here any day. Don’t wait till it’s time to turn on the heat before testing your furnace. The last thing you want to have happen on the first frosty night is not having heat.  Change your filters, clean out all vents, and make sure your furnace is in working order. You may want to hire a licensed heating contract to perform yearly maintenance. Furnaces that are properly serviced last longer.

Lawn and garden-   Remove leaves from your yard as they fall, and use this time of year to reseed patchy areas you may have throughout your lawn. Now is also the time to plant spring flowering bulbs.

Fireplace– There is nothing more inviting than starting a fire in your home’s fireplace when the weather starts to cool. However, if the flue isn’t clean you could be in for some big problems. Before lighting up your fireplace for the first time this year clean your flue of any soot buildup.  Check your chimney to make sure no critters have chosen to make it their home as well.

Doors & Windows- Check all doors and windows for weather stripping that may need to be replaced. Weather stripping plays a large part in reducing the amount of cold air that can enter in your home in the windy winter months. Also inspect any caulking around these surfaces, and if its looking worn or cracked, now is the time to re-caulk.

If you are looking to buy or sell your eastern Pennsylvania or New Jersey home this fall, The Silva Group would be delighted to help.  Contact us at any time or feel free to call us directly at (267) 202-4955.

The Silva Group is comprised of Philadelphia and New Jersey’s best and brightest in the real estate industry. Our team is more than a bunch of real estate agents packed into an office – we are friends and family members who all have one passion – to provide the very best real estate experience possible to our clients.