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By Jesse McGreevy 239-898-5329 | Agent in 33928
  • New LED Lighting Could Shine Up Listings

    Posted Under: Home Selling in Estero, Design & Decor in Estero, How To... in Estero  |  October 15, 2014 12:03 PM  |  10 views  |  No comments

    Lighting's a vital part of homes, from curb appeal to staging and taking listing photos to day-to-day life. Right now, lighting consumes 20 percent of the electricity used in the United States. But a new technology — LEDs that come in sheets — promises to give both agents and home owners unprecedented flexibility when showing and using homes. 

    "Organic LEDs" — technology already used in many smartphones and televisions — use half as much energy as equivalent fluorescent lightbulbs and can be laminated to walls and ceilings, according to a report in MIT Technology Review. They also don't require the heat sinks that the shells of LED lightbulbs typically hide, making them both cooler and structurally simpler.

    While OLEDs are currently 10 to 100 times more expensive than conventional lighting right now, companies such as Konica-Minolta, OLED Works (formerly owned by Kodak), and Philips are finding new ways to ramp up production at lower costs.

    Even with that, an OLED lamp is expected to drop from today's $9,000 to the $600 to $1,600 range over the next few years. So early adopters for these lamps may be luxury and other high-end housing. Konica-Minolta will be able to manufacture a million 15-centimeter-wide panels per month, says Technology Review.

    Source: "Lighting Sheets Would Use Half as Much Power as Lightbulbs," MIT Technology Review (Oct. 7, 2014)

  • Landscaping Boosts Home Values Up to 12%

    Posted Under: Design & Decor in Estero, Property Q&A in Estero, Home Ownership in Estero  |  October 15, 2014 7:17 AM  |  4 views  |  No comments

    You might want to take a closer look at your listing's curb appeal: Upgrading a home's landscape from average to excellent can raise its overall value by 10 percent to 12 percent, according toresearch from Virginia Tech. 

    Researcher Alex X. Niemiera with the Department of Horticulture at Virginia Tech found that a $150,000 home with no landscaping could fetch an additional $8,300 to $19,000 by adding a landscape with color and large plants.

    The value of landscaping differed greatly from state to state. For example, the change in value from a home with no landscape to well-landscaped ranged from 5.5 percent in Louisiana to 11.4 percent in South Carolina. Michigan homes saw the biggest difference in landscaping appeal, with a home's value being increased by 12.7 percent.

    "The most preferred landscape included a sophisticated design with large deciduous, evergreen, and annual color plants and colored hardscape," according to Niemiera. Adding different plant sizes to a front yard, for example, can boost curb appeal, as well as mixing fruit trees and flowers for added color.

    The following landscape elements were found to be most important to survey respondents:

    • Design sophistication
    • Plant size
    • Diversity of plant material type

    "Survey results showed that relatively large landscape expenditures significantly increase perceived home value and will result in a higher selling price than homes with a minimal landscape," Niemiera writes in the paper. "Design sophistication and plant size were the landscape factors that most affected value. The resulting increase in 'curb appeal' of the property may also help differentiate a home in a subdivision where house styles are similar and thereby attract potential buyers into a home. This advantage is especially important in a competitive housing market."

    Source: “Does Landscaping Increase Your Homes Value?” Realty Times (Oct. 13, 2014)

  • Home Owners Redefine the Luxury Bathroom

    Posted Under: Design & Decor in Bonita Springs, Property Q&A in Bonita Springs, Home Ownership in Bonita Springs  |  October 6, 2014 11:22 AM  |  5 views  |  No comments

    Luxury bathrooms are undergoing a makeover in recent years, according to a new survey about trends in new construction by the Home Innovation Research Labs, which surveyed about 1,400 home builders earlier this year. 

    “Since the recession, there has been a lot of trade-offs,” says Ed Hudson, director of HIRL’s market-research division, a subsidiary of the National Association of Home Builders.

    What’s out? Whirlpool bathtubs and stand-alone bidets, down 9.4 percent and 34.9 percent, respectively, since 2008.

    What’s in? His-and-hers shower stalls and chrome lavatory sink faucets, up 12.9 percent and 25 percent, respectively. A standard bathtub has also increased in popularity by 9.5 percent since 2008.

    In some cases, buyers are toning down guest bathrooms and placing more emphasis on the master suite, says Scott Hobbs, president of Hobbs Inc., a custom home builder in New Canaan, Conn. But they’re making the bathroom less showy and more contemporary since the recession, adds Leo Birov, founder of Heritage Luxury Builders in Northfield, Ill.

    "Everything looks more transitional now," Birov told The Wall Street Journal. Popular features he sees include heated floors, steam showers, and computerized controls.

    In general, new homes today are less ornate than they were in the housing boom, says April Saxe, a real estate professional with Houlihan Lawrence, which sells multimillion-dollar homes in New York. “The [whirlpool] tub has certainly been on the way out,” she told The Wall Street Journal. Instead, buyers are looking to use the space for a soaking tub or a shower stall.

    Source: “Homeowners Jettison Whirlpool Tubs,” The Wall Street Journal (Oct. 2, 2014)

  • Online Reviews Guide Remodeling Choices

    Posted Under: Tech Tips in Naples, Remodel & Renovate in Naples, Design & Decor in Naples  |  September 29, 2014 12:56 PM  |  10 views  |  No comments

    The commercial real estate market is finding that negative online reviews can serve as blueprints for remodeling projects. Hotels in particular are finding the gripes posted from travelers on review websites such as TripAdvisor and Yelp are a way to guide their next round of renovations, The New York Times reports.

    For example, Omni Hotels and Resorts executives say they used review sites to decide on installing more electrical outlets and upgrading bathrooms. New York's St. Regis hotel added a central master light switch in guest rooms after reading numerous complaints online about the number of lights and switches guests had to turn off. For the Loews Regency in New York, executives said they are renovating bathroom lighting after several complaints. 

    “Sometimes designers design our bathrooms to look good but not necessarily be totally functional,” says Paul Whetsell, president and chief executive of Loews Hotels. “Lighting is something that’s mentioned on social quite often.”

    The sites are a welcome resource, especially as U.S. hotels are increasing their spending on renovations lately in an effort to edge out their competitors.

    “It’s become a widely understood source of input for capital expenditures,” says Bjorn Hanson, a professor at New York University’s Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management. “Rates have gone up, so guests are expecting to see that reflected in the quality.”

    Hotels work with technology providers, often using algorithmic software, to scan thousands of reviews to determine the biggest areas of customer gripes. The most common complaints often center around water pressure in the showers, slow Wi-Fi, uncomfortable beds, dated TVs, and location, according to The New York Times.

    Source: “Hotels Use Online Reviews as Blueprint for Renovations,” The New York Times (Sept. 22, 2014)

  • 6 Design Trends You'll See More Of

    Posted Under: Design & Decor in Estero, Property Q&A in Estero, Home Ownership in Estero  |  September 16, 2014 12:39 PM  |  15 views  |  1 comment

    What home-design trends will likely catch on in new construction? Builder Online recently spoke to Mollie Carmichael, principal at John Burns Real Estate Consulting, and Nick Lehnert, executive director at architecture firm KTGY, about the design trends that are gaining popularity in the new-home market this year: 

    Private space

    Baby boomers, empty nesters, and Gen Yers are showing a preference for homes that have more private outdoor spaces, straying from the traditional "public" backyard, according to surveys. One way some builders are fulfilling this desire is by positioning the home's architecture strategically around the outdoor space to enclose it more and allow it to be more open to the interior living spaces. They also are creating more covered outdoor spaces.

    The "Super Kitchen"

    Besides being a place for cooking, the kitchen is also the entertainment/conversation area in a home. Open-kitchen layouts have continued to grow in popularity, putting kitchens more front-and-center and visibly exposed to other areas of the house. Kitchen islands are offering extra seating and prep space while larger pantries are offering greater storage. "As the hub, it becomes a consumer's dream to design these elements together with function, practicality, and flair," the designers say.

    Bigger Media Hubs

    More home owners are looking for a place for their large flat-screen television. Larger television sizes are prompting more builders to realize the need for greater wall space to hang the televisions and larger entertainment rooms to accommodate more seating.

    Larger Garage Spaces

    If home owners had their way, garages wouldn't be just for parking the cars. More home owners want spaces for hobbies and storage, and builders are taking notice by creating larger garages for multi-use purposes.

    Home Offices

    An office and den space is becoming a bigger desire among home buyers, and the location of it in the home is becoming increasingly important. Placing the home office off the entry is no longer considered the most practical location for it, but builders are experimenting with moving it closer to the "living" area, such as off the kitchen or the family room.

    Two Homes in One

    As multigenerational living gains popularity, builders are responding by carving out more separate spaces for several generations to live together. For example, some builders are offering semi-independent suites with separate entries, bathrooms, and kitchenettes.

    Source: “14 New-Home Design Trends for 2014,” BUILDER Online (Sept. 5, 2014)

  • Remodeling Rising: More Home Owners Spruce Up Properties

    Posted Under: Remodel & Renovate in Bonita Springs, Design & Decor in Bonita Springs, Home Ownership in Bonita Springs  |  July 25, 2014 1:09 PM  |  16 views  |  No comments

    An index that measures the state of the remodeling market rose three points in the second quarter of this year, regaining the momentum started in 2013 but lost in the first quarter of this year, according to the National Association of Home Builders’ Remodeling Market Index. It marked the fifth consecutive quarter for the index to have a reading over 50. Any reading above 50 indicates more remodelers are reporting that market activity is higher than lower.

    "With many home owners on better financial footing, home remodeling has become more popular," says Paul Sullivan, NAHB’s Remodelers chair. "The completion of postponed work has helped remodelers in all regions regain confidence in the remodeling market." 

    Remodeling jobs valued at $25,000 or more rebounded to 54 on the index, which is the same level at the end of 2013. Smaller remodeling jobs and maintenance and repair jobs were at reading s of 56 and 58, respectively, on the index. Remodelers reported more favorable conditions on calls for bids, amount of work committed for the next three months, backlog of jobs, and appointments for proposals.

    "The recent improvement in the job market has helped restore remodelers' confidence after a dip in the first quarter that was probably in part weather-related,” says David Crowe, NAHB’s chief economist. “As home owners feel more secure about their economic situation, they become more willing to undertake remodeling projects – especially larger, discretionary projects. In addition, fewer new home builders are looking to remodeling as a way supplement their revenue, and this has somewhat reduced competition for remodeling projects."

    A recent realtor.com® survey of more than 1,500 home owners showed that 67 percent of consumers say they’re planning a home renovation within the next six months, and they’re planning to spend more money on their renovations than last year. The most common budget range for home improvements was between $2,001 and $5,000 and the most popular areas to renovate were the kitchen, bathrooms, backyards or patios, and the exterior of the home, according to realtor.com®’s Home Improvement Survey.  

    Source: National Association of Home Builders and “Majority of Home Owners Planning to Renovate,” REALTOR® Magazine Daily News (July 18, 2014)Jesse@DomainRealtyGroup.com
  • Majority of Home Owners Planning to Renovate

    Posted Under: Remodel & Renovate in Bonita Springs, Design & Decor in Bonita Springs, Home Ownership in Bonita Springs  |  July 21, 2014 6:24 AM  |  15 views  |  No comments

    Sixty-seven percent of consumers say they're planning a home renovation within the next six months, according to realtor.com®'s Home Improvement Survey of more than 1,500 home owners. They're planning to spend more money on their renovations than last year, the survey found.

    The most common budget range for home improvements was between $2,001 and $5,000. Eighteen percent of respondents who say they plan to renovate before the end of the year are budgeting $10,000 to $20,000 on their renovation. 

    Respondents indicated that these are the most popular areas of the home to renovate: the kitchen (61%), bathrooms (59%), backyards or patios (33%), and the exterior of the home (32%).

    "With 32 percent of consumers planning to spend money on improving the look and feel of their homes, home buyers should think about purchasing homes that require renovations," says Barbara O'Connor, chief marketing officer for Move Inc., the operator of realtor.com. "By considering these kinds of homes, buyers open themselves up to more affordable options and the ability to renovate their homes to fit their specific needs and tastes."

    Here are some additional survey findings:

    Most Popular Reasons for Planned Home Improvements

    • To improve the aesthetics and/or enjoyment of the home (32%)         
    • In preparation for putting house on the market (22%)             
    • Recently purchased a home needing renovations (19%)
    • To improve the value of the home (11%)

    Owners' Home-Improvement Budgets for the Next Six Months

    • $2,001 - $5,000 (22%)
    • $5,001 - $10,000 (19%)
    • $10,001 - $20,000 (18%)
    • $20,001 - $50,000 (14%)

    Owners' Intentions to Sell

    • Not any time in the foreseeable future (37%)
    • 0 - 6 months (20%)                                                  
    • 1 - 3 years (19%)
    • 4 - 6 years (10%)

    Source: Move Inc.

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