Some homeowners have recently done a “cash out” refinance and have taken a portion of their increased equity from their house. Others have sold their homes and purchased more expensive homes with larger mortgages. At the same time, first-time buyers have become homeowners and now have mortgage payments for the first time.
These developments have caused concern that families might be reaching unsustainable levels of mortgage debt. Some are worried that we may be repeating a behavior that helped precipitate the housing crash ten years ago.
Today, we want to assure everyone that this is not the case. Here is a graph created from data released by the Federal Reserve Board which shows the Household Debt Service Ratio for mortgages as a percentage of disposable personal income. The ratio is the total quarterly required mortgage payments divided by total quarterly disposable personal income. In other words, the percentage of spendable income people are using to pay their mortgage.
Today’s ratio of 4.44% is nowhere near the ratio of 7.21% during the peak of the housing bubble and is instead at the lowest rate since 1980 (4.38%).
Bill McBride of Calculated Risk recently commented on the ratio:
“The Debt Service Ratio for mortgages is near the low for the last 38 years. This ratio increased rapidly during the housing bubble and continued to increase until 2007. With falling interest rates, and less mortgage debt, the mortgage ratio has declined significantly.”
Many families paid a heavy price because of questionable practices that led to last decade’s housing crash. It seems the American people have learned a lesson and are not repeating that same behavior regarding their mortgage debt.
Last week, we shared “7 Factors To Consider When Choosing A Home To Retire In.” For some homeowners, these seven factors can be taken into account with a home renovation, but is it worth it to remodel or change floor plans?
Let’s say you have a 4-bedroom colonial style home in a great school district. The neighborhood is amazing, and you are very comfortable there, but your kids are all grown up and the original benefits of the home no longer apply.
You’ve always wanted a huge master suite and are considering merging 3 of the smaller bedrooms on the second floor to achieve this dream.
In the short term, you are over the moon excited about your newly renovated oasis.
In the long term, when you go to sell your home down the road, you’ve now taken a 4-bedroom home in a great school district and turned it into a 2-bedroom home. Your pool of potential buyers has shrunk significantly and so has the value of your home (unless you are able to find someone who has the exact needs you have today!).
Why not consider listing your 4-bedroom home now and moving into a gorgeous 2-bedroom with a master suite? Your house can become a home for the next family looking for that perfect neighborhood with a great school district to raise their kids in!
You may even be able to achieve your dream in the same area you love, without having to give up your favorite restaurants and grocery stores.
If you are debating a major renovation that would change the layout of your home, before you pick up that sledgehammer, let’s get together and discuss the available listings in our area that might meet your needs today!
Every month, CoreLogic releases its Home Price Insights Report. In that report, they forecast where they believe residential real estate prices will be in twelve months.
Below is a map, broken down by state, reflecting how home values are forecasted to change by the end of 2018 using data from the most recent report.
As we can see, CoreLogic projects an increase in home values in 49 of 50 states, and Washington, DC (there was insufficient data for HI). Nationwide, they see home prices increasing by 4.2%.
Recently, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) conducted their own analysis to determine the impact the new tax code may have on home values. NAR’s analysis:
“…estimated how home prices will change in the upcoming year for each state, considering the impact of the new tax law and the momentum of jobs and housing inventory.”
The National Association of Realtors recently released a study titled 'Social Benefits of Homeownership and Stable Housing.’ The study confirmed a long-standing belief of most Americans:
“Owning a home embodies the promise of individual autonomy and is the aspiration of most American households. Homeownership allows households to accumulate wealth and social status, and is the basis for a number of positive social, economic, family and civic outcomes.”
Today, we want to cover the section of the report that quoted several studies concentrating on the impact homeownership has on the health of family members. Here are some of the major findings on this issue revealed in the report:
People often talk about the financial benefits of homeownership. As we can see, there are also social benefits of owning your own home.
The real estate market is moving more and more into a complete recovery. Home values are up. Home sales are up. Distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales) have fallen dramatically. It seems that 2017 will be the year that the housing market races forward again.
However, there is one thing that may cause the industry to tap the brakes: a lack of housing inventory. While buyer demand looks like it will remain strong throughout the summer, supply is not keeping up.
Here are the thoughts of a few industry experts on the subject:
"Sellers are in the driver's seat this spring as the intense competition for the few homes for sale is forcing many buyers to be aggressive in their offers. Buyers are showing resiliency given the challenging conditions. However, at some point — and the sooner the better — price growth must ease to a healthier rate. Otherwise sales could slow if affordability conditions worsen."
“The lack of inventory is very real and could have a severe impact on home sales in the months to come. Traditionally, a balanced market would have an MRI (Months Remaining Inventory) between six and 10 months.This month, only eight metros we track have MRIs over 10, compared to 27 last year and 48 two years ago—illustrating that this lack of inventory is not being driven by traditionally ‘hot’ markets, but is rather a broad-based, national phenomenon.”
“The lack of inventory is very real and could have a severe impact on home sales in the months to come. Traditionally, a balanced market would have an MRI (Months Remaining Inventory) between six and 10 months.
This month, only eight metros we track have MRIs over 10, compared to 27 last year and 48 two years ago—illustrating that this lack of inventory is not being driven by traditionally ‘hot’ markets, but is rather a broad-based, national phenomenon.”
“Nationally, housing inventory dropped to its lowest level on record in 2017 Q1. The number of homes on the market dropped for the eighth consecutive quarter, falling 5.1% over the past year.”
“Tight housing inventory has been an important feature of the housing market at least since 2016. For-sale housing inventory, especially of starter homes, is currently at its lowest level in over ten years. If inventory continues to remain tight, home sales will likely decline from their 2016 levels. …all eyes are on housing inventory and whether or not it will meet the high demand.”
If you are thinking of selling, now may be the time. Demand for your house will be strongest at a time when there is very little competition. That could lead to a quick sale for a really good price.
When it comes to buying a home, whether it is your first time or your fifth, it is always important to know all the facts. With the large number of mortgage programs available that allow buyers to purchase a home with a down payment below 20%, you can never have too much information about Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI).
Freddie Mac defines PMI as:
“An insurance policy that protects the lender if you are unable to pay your mortgage. It's a monthly fee, rolled into your mortgage payment, that is required for all conforming, conventional loans that have down payments less than 20%.Once you've built equity of 20% in your home, you can cancel your PMI and remove that expense from your mortgage payment.”
“An insurance policy that protects the lender if you are unable to pay your mortgage. It's a monthly fee, rolled into your mortgage payment, that is required for all conforming, conventional loans that have down payments less than 20%.
Once you've built equity of 20% in your home, you can cancel your PMI and remove that expense from your mortgage payment.”
As the borrower, you pay the monthly premiums for the insurance policy, and the lender is the beneficiary. Freddie Mac goes on to explain that:
“The cost of PMI varies based on your loan-to-value ratio – the amount you owe on your mortgage compared to its value – and credit score, but you can expect to pay between $30 and $70 per month for every $100,000 borrowed.”
According to the National Association of Realtors, the average down payment for all buyers last year was 10%. For first-time buyers, that number dropped to 6%, while repeat buyers put down 14% (no doubt aided by the sale of their home). This just goes to show that for a large number of buyers last year, PMI did not stop them from buying their dream homes.
Here’s an example of the cost of a mortgage on a $200,000 home with a 5% down payment & PMI, compared to a 20% down payment without PMI:
The larger the down payment you can make, the lower your monthly housing cost will be, but Freddie Mac urges you to remember:
“It's no doubt an added cost, but it's enabling you to buy now and begin building equity versus waiting 5 to 10 years to build enough savings for a 20% down payment.”
If you have questions about whether you should buy now or wait until you’ve saved a larger down payment, let’s get together to discuss our market’s conditions and to help you make the best decision for you and your family.
Although your homeowners' insurance offers financial protection against property damage or destruction, your policy includes coverage exclusions if your residence is unoccupied. If you plan to leave your residence vacant for several months or years, you'll need to insure your house accordingly.
There are many reasons why you may choose to vacate your residence for an extended period of time, including:
You own a rental property. If you own a rental property and are between tenants, you may leave the property vacant until you find a new tenant.
You moved to a new home. If you purchased a new residence but your previous house remains unsold, the latter residence may stay vacant until you sell it.
You are completing home renovations. If you embark on a massive home renovation project, you may need to vacate your home and find a temporary residence until the project is completed.
You are selling a house to close an estate. If you are the executor of a loved one's estate, you may leave the home vacant as you try to sell it.
Home insurance providers will use two questions to define a vacant residence:
Ultimately, there are many risks for homeowners who choose not to insure a vacant residence, including:
Water Damage: If a pipe freezes and bursts in winter, substantial water damage could occur. Meanwhile, a vacant homeowner may fail to identify and resolve this problem immediately, which could cause the issue to escalate.
Vandalism and Mischief: An abandoned residence could become an "attractive nuisance," increasing the risk of vandalism and mischief. In addition, if an individual is injured on the property, a vacant homeowner could be liable.
Squatting: An individual may "squat," i.e. claim the rights to a property based on occupation rather than ownership. In this scenario, a vacant homeowner could face a legal battle to evict the squatter.
Theft: An unoccupied residence may be more susceptible to theft than others, which means any personal belongings or building elements like plumbing fixtures that are left behind could be in danger.
A vacant residence raises numerous concerns for homeowners, but there are several things you can do to safeguard your house, including obtaining a vacancy permit endorsement or vacant home insurance.
What Is a Vacancy Permit Endorsement?
A vacancy permit endorsement extends coverage past the 30 or 60 days that a homeowners' policy may give you for vacancy. It can also void vandalism, water damage, theft and other exclusions that commonly appear in a homeowners' policy for a set amount of time.
Obtaining a vacancy permit endorsement is paramount, and failure to do so could result in you paying for losses or a lapse in coverage. Fortunately, getting a vacancy permit endorsement can be simple, particularly for those who contact their insurance provider as soon as possible.
If you intend to leave your house for 30 days or longer, getting in touch with your home insurer will enable you to find out if you can obtain a vacancy permit and if you need a vacancy permit endorsement. If your insurance company fails to provide this endorsement, you will have sufficient time to find and purchase vacant home insurance from another provider.
What Is Vacant Home Insurance?
Your home insurer may determine it is too risky to offer a vacancy permit endorsement for your unoccupied home. Therefore, you may need to purchase vacant home insurance to supplement your existing homeowners' policy.
Vacant home insurance safeguards your residence against vandalism, theft and other issues that may arise with a vacant home. It is an ideal choice if you know you'll be away from your residence for many months or years and guarantees your unoccupied house will be protected against a broad range of risks.
Like standard homeowners' insurance, vacant home insurance includes costs that will vary based on several factors, such as:
Your Home's Location: Insurance companies will look at where your home is located and the risk factors in that area to guarantee you can receive the right vacant home coverage.
How Much Coverage You Want: Insurance providers may offer coverage recommendations for your vacant home, but the total cost of your vacant home insurance policy may increase or decrease based on your coverage preferences.
Your Home's Risk Factors: The age and condition of your home may cause your vacant home insurance rates to rise or fall accordingly.
When it comes to a vacant home, it is essential to get the necessary insurance to protect your residence even when you're not living there. With a vacancy permit endorsement or vacant home insurance, you'll be able to safeguard your unoccupied residence at all times.
When the time comes to give your carpet the deep cleaning experience of its life, you really have 3 options: hiring a professional; renting a carpet cleaner; or buying a carpet cleaner. We think buying your own carpet cleaner is a worthwhile investment, and here are 5 reasons why:
1. Over time, it makes financial sense. A professional carpet cleaner with truck-mounted cleaning equipment might do a more thorough job, but at up to six times the cost of renting a machine for the day - 'easy but expensive' was the verdict of Consumer Reports. Meanwhile, the more often you clean your carpet, the more cost-effective it will be to buy rather than rent a carpet cleaner. Experts suggest you should be cleaning your carpet every 12 to 24 months, but if you have pets, kids or other sources of regular mess - and/or if anyone in your home has allergies that can be exacerbated by dust, dirt or pet hair - your carpet will thank you for a more frequent deep clean. If you can get into the habit of using your carpet cleaner regularly, you could extend the life of your carpet, too.
2. You have a better guarantee of quality than with a rental machine. Ask yourself this: if you inadvertently rented a carpet cleaner that was not in good repair, would you know? Would you be able to tell if it was releasing too much detergent, or too much water? We don't think we would. But if you buy a carpet cleaner, read the directions and keep it well maintained, you'll a) be assured that it's not been used before and b) get to know it, so you can tell when it's not working like it should.
3. It saves time. You see all that above about reading the directions and getting to know your carpet cleaner? If you rent, you're going to have to do that every time, even if you're able to rent the same model on every occasion (which is not guaranteed!). If you buy a carpet cleaner and use it regularly, you'll only need to figure out how it works once.
4. You can avoid hidden extra costs. Do you need extra accessories, like an attachment for cleaning the stairs? That could cost you extra if you rent a carpet cleaner. What about if your carpet is badly in need of a clean and you have to use your carpet cleaner twice? That's going to cost you extra with a rental, both in terms of the rental period and extra cleaning fluid. And don't forget about the cost - in money and in time - of picking up and dropping off a rental carpet cleaner: an extra hassle if you don't drive, or don't have a vehicle big enough to transport the unit.
5. You have more choice. As we hope our top 5 and top 10 lists show, there are a lot of carpet cleaners out there: but not all of them are available as rental units. If you buy, you have a better chance of finding a carpet cleaner that is right for you.
6. No judgey strangers coming into your home. Cast your mind back to the Jimmy Kimmel video. OK, if you buy your own carpet cleaner you will have fewer opportunities to pull pranks on carpet cleaning professionals, which is a definite con. But if your carpet has gotten so dirty that the idea of anyone taking a close look at it, besides close family members and maybe your regular cleaner, fills you with juuust a little shame, then consider the benefits of owning your own carpet cleaning machine to use whenever you like.
Professional carpet cleaners use a variety of methods to get the nasty out of your carpet - but since you've read the article above, we're going to go ahead and assume you're interested in buying your own carpet cleaner to keep and use at home, rather than having to call in the pros once or twice a year.
With the exception of spot cleaners like the #2 choice in our top 5 list, the vast majority of carpet cleaners available for you to buy for use at home use a method that is often called steam cleaning but is more accurately known as hot water extraction (it's actually about as 'steamy' as the Pope's Instagram feed, as opposed to the separate industrial process of steam cleaning, which is steamier than a screening of Black Swan shown in a sauna).
Hot water extraction involves spreading hot water, or more usually a hot solution of detergent and water, over the carpet, working it deep into the fibers, and then vacuuming it out (ie extracting it), along with a load of lurking dirt. It's important that your carpet cleaner performs this 'extraction' part of hot water extraction effectively, both to ensure a thorough clean and a speedy drying time. If your cleaned carpet takes forever to dry, not only is that going to be inconvenient for you - how long can you go without setting foot in an entire room of your home?! - but it could cause discoloration or even mildew in your carpet.
Some carpet cleaners also come with a 'pretreatment' solution. If you want to pretreat your carpet before deep cleaning, look for a solution that promises to rinse easily: you don't want to swap a dirty carpet for a carpet with trodden-in cleaning solution.
10 Budget friendly ways to improve your home's valueSelling your home in today's market can seem like a challenge, especially if your home could use some tender loving care. But what if you just don't have it in your budget to invest thousands of dollars into a remodel? For many cash strapped homeowners this is the dilemma that keeps them awake at night.
Rest easy, there are many small projects that you can do around the house that will increase your home's value without breaking the bank. Let's take a look at 10 budget-friendly ways to increase your home's value:
By spending just a few hundred dollars on grass seed or replacement sod, new flowers, bushes, or trees, any homeowner with a shovel and some elbow grease can dramatically improve their home's curb appeal over a long weekend. For inspiration check out Landscaping.com.
If you can't afford to paint the home, how about giving it a good wash? With a ladder and an extension brush any homeowner can give their home's exterior a thorough scrub down. Don't forget to wash the screens, windows, and gutters while you're at it. And when you're done outside, move inside.
Another way to revitalize your home's exterior is to paint just the trim and front door - two items buyers' eyes are naturally drawn to when driving by your home. Just be sure that the paint is a good match to the base color and to you avoid embarrassing drips.
If you can't afford new flooring, consider steam cleaning carpets, washing or waxing laminate, hardwood or linoleum floors, and cleaning the grout on tile floors. Have a hole or permanent stain in the carpet? Consider replacing the flooring in just that room by talking to your local flooring vendor and ask about large remnants (left over materials from larger jobs that may fit smaller rooms).
Over time caulk, the silicon that protects surfaces from water seepage around plumbing fixtures, can discolor, tear, or degrade. Stripping this material out and replacing it with a fresh bead of silicon is an inexpensive way to improve both bathrooms and kitchens. Caulk now comes in different grades and colors, so be sure to shop for a product that is appropriate for the job and matches your dÃ©cor.
Over the years dirt, dust, and grime work their way into the driveways and sidewalks of every home. The good news is that a few hours with a pressure washer can turn back the clock on these surfaces. A word of warning: while it might be tempting to use the same device to wash your home, don't. The high pressure stream can easily peel the paint off your home ( which is not a good selling point).
A home packed full of furniture, clothing, collections, exercise equipment, and memorabilia can cause a home to look much smaller than its actual size. Have a garage sale, rent a storage unit, or start making trips to the landfill and be sure to whittle down your home's contents to a manageable size.
Every homeowner keeps a list of the small projects that they never seem to have time to complete. Now is the time to jump on those projects. Need a gentle reminder? Replacing light bulbs throughout the home, fixing holes in doors or walls, greasing squeaky cabinets or doors, cleaning the gutters, fixing leaking plumbing fixtures, and changing the air filters would be a good start.
You can spend a fortune on lighting fixtures but you don't have to. Consider selectively changing lighting fixtures that date the home. Exterior garage lights, bathroom lights, or bedroom lights are all great choices.
A deep cleaning isn't just straightening up or rearranging the dust bunnies. It's a no holds barred war on dirt. Starting from the highest point in the home clean every single surface. Yes, you will have to move furniture, clean out closets, and lift up the couch, but the results will be well worth the effort.
Improving your home's value doesn't always have to mean taking out a second mortgage. Sometimes small projects can improve the value of your home in big ways. So roll up your sleeves, put on your gloves, and have fun!
Selecting the Right Interior ColorsDecorating your home is an exciting event, and paint offers you the ability to make colorful changes to your home. You can create a dramatic difference and make your home reflect your family's personality. It's easier than you think, too. You just need to know where to start!
Before beginning any project the most important question to ask is: What is the end result you want in your space? Once this question has been answered its simply a matter of determining how to use what you already have, or what you still need to acquire to complete your project.
Here are some basic ideas to consider when choosing colors for your interior painting project.
This is an excellent time to think about if you would like the space to be light and airy, in which case you may wish to select a color that is lighter in value. Conversely, if youâ€™d like a dramatic area, you may want to select a deeper wall color.
We have listed seven color areas below and the general color feelings that are associated with them. Explore each one to determine what color may best suit your project. Keep in mind that the lightness, darkness, or intensity of a color all must be considered in determining the overall effect that will be presented.
Red is generally considered an energetic color. If you wish to design a stimulating area that motivates, promotes alertness and enhances activity, select the red color family.
The temperature of this color is interpreted as warm or hot. Warm colors from this area of the palette, include pink, rose, magenta, cranberry, maroon, burgundy, wine, mauve, ruby and crimson which have the feeling of advancing toward us.
The effect of this color creates vitality, encourages achievement, enhances activity, increases pulse rate, nurtures passion, promotes alertness and stimulates excitement.
Orange is generally considered an active color. If you wish to create an active setting that promotes movement and excitement, select the orange color family.
The temperature of this color is interpreted as warm or hot. Warm colors from this area of the palette, include melon, clay, salmon, coral, peach, rust and copper, which have the feeling of advancing toward us.
The effect of this color creates a fun atmosphere, encourages movement, invites friendliness, promotes a pleasurable spirit and suggests joyfulness.
Yellow is generally considered an innovative color. If you wish to develop a creative atmosphere which nurtures a sense of freedom, select the yellow color family.
The temperature of this color is interpreted as warm or hot. Warm colors from this area of the palette include ochre, buttercup, cream, gold, ivory, almond and lemon, which have the feeling of advancing toward us.
The effect of this color encourages spontaneity, inspires creativity, has a lightness of spirit, raises alertness level and suggests a feeling of serendipity.
Green is generally considered a calm color. If you wish to compose a color scheme that provides a relaxing ambience and incorporates the feeling of stillness, select the green color family.
The temperature of this color is interpreted as cool or cold. It should be noted that yellow-ish greens, may be considered warmer, while cooler greens tend to be on the blue side of the spectrum. Cool colors from this are of the palette include khaki, sage, moss, lime, mint, hunter, celadon, aqua, turquoise and teal, which have the feeling of receding away from us.
The effect of this color enhances concentration, facilitates judgment, nurtures relaxation, provides a refreshing atmosphere, renews the spirit and suggests a thoughtful essence.
Blue is generally considered a serene color. If you wish to provide a soothing environment which will offer a relaxing and peaceful surrounding, select the blue color family.
The temperature of this color is interpreted as cool or cold. Cool colors from this area of the palette, include robinâ€™s egg, azure, delft, sky, denim, wedgewood, blueberry, royal, periwinkle, cobalt, ultramarine and navy, which have the feeling of receding away from us.
The effect of this color creates a calming spirit, combats tension, offers serenity, promotes thoughtfulness, provides introspection, has a soothing nature and supports relaxation.
Violet is generally considered an inspirational color. If you wish to create a sensitive environment that nurtures a sense of balance and purpose, select the violet color family.
The temperature of this color is interpreted as cool or cold. It should be noted that some violets, which are bluer may be considered cooler, while violets that are warmer will tend to be on the red side of the spectrum. Cool colors from this area of the palette include iris, amethyst, lilac, orchid, purple, lavender and plum, which have the feeling of receding away from us.
The effect of this color allows meditation, balances thought, expresses mystery, invites surprise, promotes elegance and has a sensitive nature.
Beige and grey are generally considered conservative and sophisticated colors. If you wish to create a thoughtful environment that exudes a feeling of comfort, select the color palette of beiges and greys.
The temperature of the beige color area is interpreted as warm; while the grey color area is considered cooler. Beige colors include shades of off-white, tan, taupe, ivory, oyster, pearl, sand, bronze and brown; Grey colors include shades of white, frost, charcoal, slate, graphite, onyx, silver and stone.
The effects of these colors suggest a comfortable attitude, imply stability and sophistication, promote a secure feeling, suggest a subtle environment and have a versatile nature.
Top 10 Home Improvement Myths So you have decided to tackle a home improvement project, but like a mosquito buzzing in your ear a question lingers - Are you making the right choices when it comes to investing time and effort into improving your home? It's a valid concern because not all home improvements are created equal.
To separate fact from fiction let's take a look at the top 10 home improvement myths:
Not true - while many remodeling projects will add value to your home, some can be seen as a negative by future buyers. For instance, combining two smaller bedrooms to create one larger bedroom may better fit your lifestyle today, but it may cause the home to lose value in the eyes of a future buyer who needs the two separate rooms.
Installing the highest quality materials always seems like a wise decision, but it can backfire. For instance, using the most expensive tile in a bathroom may impress your friends, but value conscious buyers may opt for a more affordable home if you have over improved for your neighborhood.
A better way to think about this statement is to insert the word useable into the sentence. Square footage in attics and basements that are finished, and by county standards considered livable, may not be attractive to a buyer if the space is sub-standard compared to the rest of the home.
Keeping a home vanilla so that buyers can choose their own style and dÃ©cor sounds like a safe bet, but it ignores the fact that most buyers just don't have the ability to visualize the home differently. Without splashes of color and mixtures of texture, you could lose value to other sellers that have taken the time to consult with an interior designer.
Not necessarily. If a home buyer can't get past the exterior of your home because it has been neglected or doesn't offer good curb appeal, all of the work you have done on the inside may not net you any more dollars. To get the biggest bang for your remodeling buck, start from the outside and work your way in.
It depends on the starting point. If you only have one or two bedrooms to start with, adding a bedroom before adding a second bath is probably a wise choice since most buyers are more attracted to a three bedroom home. On the other hand, if you already have three bedrooms and only one bath, your next investment would probably be in a new bathroom.
Dry rot? Fungus damage? Mold problems? Carpenter ants? Termite issues? Nothing a can of paint can't fix, right? Wrong! Not only does this practice violate disclosure laws in most states, it can set you up for liability after the sale as most buyers will want you to foot the bill for these hidden issues.
Nope. A garage conversion is almost always viewed negatively by future home buyers unless you replace the lost garage with another space of equal size (but then what's the point?). If you are going to do one anyway make sure that the space can be easily converted back to a garage at the time of the sale.
For many homeowners wiring a new lighting fixture or plumbing a new dishwasher is a no-brainer, for the rest of us it may end up costing us more later in repair costs when we have to order the work redone by a professional. Another consideration is local and state laws regarding remodeling work. In many states if you have purchased a home to remodel and resell, you must either hold a contractor's license or hire a contractor to do the work for you.
This is only true if you live in areas where they are must have amenities. Be warned that this isn't true for most areas of the country and the idea of maintaining a pool for ten months out of the year when it can't be enjoyed won't appeal to most buyers.
Becoming an informed home owner is the first step in making wise and profitable decisions when it comes to choosing the right remodeling projects. But don't stop here. Talk to remodeling professionals, contractors, home improvement specialists, and local agents about what amenities are coveted most by home buyers in your market.