Kathy Foran - REALTY EXECUTIVES Boston West



Posted by Kathy Foran on 11/8/2015

Buying a home is still one of the best ways to build wealth. If you are looking to add value to your home without breaking the bank there are many projects that will increase your home's value for less than $1,000. One thousand dollars can go a long way when it comes to home improvement projects. If you think and plan smart your profit should outweigh your investment. Here are a few projects that will give you the most bang for your buck. 1. Organize Your Home Declutter your home by organizing closets, cabinets and pantries. Add bookshelves for more storage. Maximize space in the kids’ rooms by installing platform or bunk beds. A neat and organized home is easier to live in and shows better to potential buyers. 2. Make an Entrance Simply updating and replacing your entry door will spruce up your curb appeal. Not only will the new door look great it can also help save money.  Adding a steel door will save on energy. Most of the new steel doors are made to look like wood. A new door will cost approximately $400. 3. Install a Programmable Thermostat. Another way to save money is to switch from a manual to a programmable thermostat. Prices vary greatly on these thermostats but don't expect to pay more than a few hundred dollars for a high end model.  A programmable thermostat can save you $180 a year in energy costs. 4. Update your Cabinets Cabinet hardware makes a huge difference on how new your kitchen looks. Simply update the cabinet hardware by installing new knobs and pulls in more modern metals and looks. Most large hardware store have a large selection of hardware you can usually buy a 10-pack for approximately $20. 5. No more Bathroom Blues Bathrooms can be one of the most expensive updates in a home. You can give a bathroom a quick facelift by replacing old tile. Vinyl tiles are inexpensive and easy to install or with ceramic tile can cost as little as $3 per square foot for material and installation.





Posted by Kathy Foran on 10/26/2014

Whether it be simply the preference of the homeowner, or an attempt at increasing home value, hardwood flooring is increasing in popularity.  Hardwood floors can add a touch of class to a smaller home, and make larger homes really show off their square footage in a way that carpeting cannot compete with. If you are considering outfitting your home with hardwoods, style and durability will be your two biggest categories to explore, after cost.  Some hardwood options, while stylish, lack the durability of others, and care would need to be taken in order to not wear out your new home addition prematurely.  Below, I'll list some of the more popular varieties of hardwood flooring options. Wide-Plank - Wide-plank flooring is quickly becoming one of the more popular options for people looking to add a touch of class to a room or home, without sacrificing their floor's durability.  This style of flooring gives you a wide variety of wood options and styles to choose from, but woods with complex grains are the preferred way to go.  Wider planks allow the natural beauty of woods like Hickory and Tigerwood a chance to shine. Reclaimed Pine - This eco-friendly option is also a popular favorite.  Perfect for homes that already possess a rustic flare, reclaimed pine flooring can add a touch of historical class to any home.  And because one of the primary sources of reclaimed pine flooring are historical buildings, this is an environmentally-friendly alternative to some of the more extravagant hardwood varieties, like Brazilian hardwoods, or teak.  Reclaimed pine is just one of many varieties of reclaimed wood, so shop around a little.  Almost all reclaimed hardwood options will add a touch of mature class to a home. Eucalyptus and Ebonized Hardwood - These varieties are extremely dark and elegant.  Best paired with contemporary homes. If you are partial to white furniture and decor, this variety will serve to complement your design style immensely. Red Oak - This variety of flooring is gaining a reputation for it's ability to successfully coordinate with any design style, as well as it's durability.  Red Oak is a fantastic choice for homes with children, as the durability of the wood will prevent most scuffs and dents that a high-traffic family would normally dish out on a less-resilient wood variety.  The lighter, warmer colors of the wood also serve to heighten the brightness and color of a room, which may be preferred in houses that don't get a lot of natural light. Brazilian Cherry - This variety is the classic "mosaic hardwood".  The natural variation in color from plank to plank is an eye-catching addition to any home, while the affordability factor is also an appeal.





Posted by Kathy Foran on 7/20/2014

If you are looking to increase the living space in your home, the answer might just be right under your feet. Remodeling your basement has the potential of uniquely transforming the look of your home. Although this has a unique set of challenges, with proper planning, it can be achieved. Here are some tips on how to remodel your basement into a functional living space. Make a Family Room The basement is a great place for casual social activities, a perfect spot where the entire family can get together and relax with a board game or a big screen television. Make it inviting and alluring, just like any other room in the home. Some new furniture, a great sound system and excellent lightening would be a great way to start. Include a Bath and Bedroom Adding a bedroom and a bath makes the basement an ideal suite for guests. The dimensions should be determined by who will use it. For a double bed, you will need a minimum of 125 square feet, for twin beds, 150 square feet will serve your needs. When adding a bedroom, be certain there is an emergency exit that leads directly outside.  A professional will need to be consulted in regards to adding a bathroom as specific regulations will apply. Add a Kitchen With a mini kitchen in the basement, entertainment gets easier. This would require access to hot and cold water, electrical outlets, exhaust vents, a small dish washer, under counter refrigerator and anything else that would allow for more comfortable living. Design a Safe and Attractive Staircase In most homes, there is a staircase leading to the basement. When remodeling, take the opportunity to improve the look of this entryway to your new living space. If it is not properly positioned, consider moving it to a better location. Consult with a designer or an architect for guidance on redesigning your stairway. Add Windows Adding windows is great for basements, but this task is better left to the professionals. If this is properly done, it will improve the ventilation, add light, and make it very comfortable. Adding windows may require digging a window well. A retaining wall made of masonry, limestone blocks, or treated landscape timbers should be added to the well. If properly done, it could also serve as an emergency exit. Finish the Walls. The walls of the foundation are usually made of poured concrete and reinforcement materials. Cover the walls with materials of your choice. Plywood, paneling or any material that would make the area more inviting.  For example, covering the walls in the living area with sheets of maple-veneer would add an arts and crafts feel to the room. There are many options and trained professionals that can help you achieve the look you want. Finish The Ceilings Basically, there are three options available to you when remodeling the basement ceilings, leave the pipes and duct work exposed, conceal it with a dry panel or hide everything with a suspended or drop ceiling. Choose Comfortable Flooring In most cases, basement floors are made of concrete, unless plywood sub-flooring has been installed. Concrete works with most floor finish choices like tile, carpet, vinyl and paint. For below grade installation, solid wood flooring is not recommended as it shrinks and expands causing gaps.   However, engineered wood flooring is recommended as it shrinks less.  





Posted by Kathy Foran on 3/23/2014

If you are looking for ways to increase the value of your home, then there are some simple guidelines to follow, as well as a few projects you may want to consider avoiding altogether.  Depending on the region, a particular home remodel has the potential to make or break a potential sale. Swimming Pools - Homes with swimming pools generally do better in the warmer states, where they can be seen as a welcome addition during the hottest months.  However, a home in New England that has a pool is increasingly likely to be viewed as a headache.  Maintenance costs, family safety, and seasonal accessibility make this addition one that is in reality more likely to hurt the chances of being able to sell your home quickly.  Not to say that you shouldn't have a pool if you have your heart set on it.  Just don't count on it making your house more appealing.  If you already have a pool, then try to sell your home in the spring or summer, when the pool is in use.  This will help potential buyers see the benefit of the addition, without reminding them of the headaches associated with upkeep. Koi ponds and indoor aquariums - These items, while beloved to a homeowner, may turn off a buyer who isn't interested in being a pet owner.  There aren't a lot of uses for an aquarium installed in a wall for someone who doesn't like the idea of having fish.  Similarly, koi ponds on the property have the capability of turning off an owner that doesn't necessarily want to have a portion of their backyard dedicated to a project that they have no interest in taking over. Converting garages and second bedrooms - While these renovations generally arise from necessity, they can hurt your resale value in the future.  Garage space is fairly desirable these days, and especially so in cold climates that deal with large amount of snow.  Converting a garage in New England isn't generally a good idea unless you absolutely need the space.  This is also true in the cases of converting second and third bedrooms into office spaces.  While a new buyer may consider at a later date to convert an extra bedroom into an office space, they may not want to have the option forced on them.  Most of the time, a two-bedroom house with an office will remain on the market longer than a three-bedroom house. Fireplaces - They can be beautiful, yes, but fireplaces are quickly falling out of favor with buyers, and are increasingly being seen as a messy addition to a home.  In 2009, a consumer preference survey from the Nation Association of Home Builders ranked fireplaces as No. 1 on a list of what NAR called “Home Fads That Are Falling Out of Style.”  Not to say that fireplaces don't have a market.  Many people are still looking for homes that contain one or even two.  But installing a fireplace in an existing home can be very expensive, and the return on your investment wouldn't be that great.





Posted by Kathy Foran on 8/4/2013

What will boost your home's value? You want to add a sunroom but will that bring in the biggest bang for your buck? How about a new bathroom? It's a common question that many homeowners ask. What will we get back when we sell? This can be a hard question to answer but luckily Bankrate.com and Remodeling Magazine has come up with a list of the worst home fixes for the money. Here are the six improvements that ranked dead last nationally when it comes to getting those renovation dollars back at resale. 1. A Home Office-The standard home office renovation is this year's biggest loser in the resale value sweepstakes. Nationally, homeowners spent an average of $28,888 and can expect to recoup about 45.8 percent at resale, according to the report. If you want to enjoy a home office opt for something that is easily converted back into a bedroom or den. 2. Backup Generators-This only usually brings about negative thoughts like does this home loose power often? On average, when homeowners have a heavy-duty backup power generator installed, they spend about $14,718, according to the report. The average amount of the price recovered at resale time: 48.5 percent. 3. A Sunroom-While the thought is sitting and enjoying a sunroom may sound lovely to you but the addition of a sunroom is often more than you can recoup. The national average for a sunroom addition is $75,224, according to the report. Homeowners can expect to recoup about 48.6 percent when they sell. 4. A Master Suite-It is the price tag of this addition that can also leave sellers in the red. For a super-deluxe master suite addition -- which adds square footage and uses only top-dollar materials -- the average cost is about $232,062, according to the report. Sellers can expect to recover about 52.7 percent at resale. 5. An Extra Bathroom-Wait kitchens and bathrooms sells houses or that’s what people say. Bathroom additions are very expensive. For a moderately outfitted addition with synthetic stone or plastic laminate surfaces, plan on the cost about $21,695, according to the Remodeling report. Go upscale, with finishes like premium marble or fine tile, and you can easily spend in the neighborhood of $40,710. You can plan on a return of about 53 cents on the dollar. Look for less-expensive way to get the same results. Try reconfiguring your existing space to add a bathroom for less. 6. A Dream Garage-The price tag for a top-of-the-line detached two-car with all the trimmings is about $90,053, according to the report. This is a garage that is completely top-of-the-line. You can expect to recover about 53.6 percent of that when you sell. Instead go for function over form and stick the basic garage if you plan on a garage project.