Susan Hilton College Station Real Estate

Realtor & Vice President of Sales of Bryan College Station Real Estate

Wife, Mother, REO Team Leader & Sales Manager for the BEST REAL ESTATE AGENTS in Bryan/College Station! Century 21 Beal, Inc. continues to provide the highest quality training and service in the Brazos Valley and it is an honor to be affiliated with this company!

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Susan Hilton College Station Real Estate

Realtor & Vice President of Sales of Bryan College Station Real Estate

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Home Improvement & Design Category

2015 Remodeling Cost vs. Value: Less is More

Smaller replacement projects, particularly those that enhance curb appeal, remain the most cost effective way for sellers to improve value.
With home price gains slowing in most parts of the country, sellers will be looking for ways to get top dollar for their listing. Cleaning and staging make a big difference. But for some sellers–such as investors seeking to bring a property up to neighborhood standards before the sale–remodeling work may be the ticket.
As the 2015 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report makes clear, large-scale jobs aren’t likely to return sellers their full cost. But there are improvements worth doing in anticipation of an upcoming sale. Some will return almost 100 percent of their cost. Others may not have as great a payback, but they can  improve their market position of the property in relation to the competition. (Think about the impact of beautiful kitchen photos on online home shoppers.) In addition, several pricier projects can provide owners with a few years of enjoyment while still offering a decent payback down the road.
As a general rule:
  • Simpler, lower cost projects tend to return greater value. The national average cost for a steel door replacement was $1,230, for example.  That’s the least  expensive project on the list, and it ranks highest on the payback scale, returning 101.80 percent nationally on average. In fact, in 43 of the 102 markets surveyed, Realtors said the new door would recoup more than 100 percent of its cost. Other projects expected to top 100 percent payback in multiple markets: the midrange wood window replacement, and the minor kitchen remodel. Notice a pattern? With the exception of the kitchen job, they’re all replacement projects. In general, replacements cost less and provide a bigger payback than remodels or additions.
  • First impressions are important The replacements that offer the greatest payback are the ones that are most obvious to buyers when they first view a house in person or online, such as new door or garage door. Siding replacement also provides great value at resale–particularly this year’s one new project, manufactured stone veneer, which is expected to recoup 92.2 percent of its cost nationally on average.
  • Kitchens still offer the most  remodeling bang for the buck. The only remodeling job breaking into the top 10 in terms of payback is the minor kitchen remodel with a national average cost of $19,226 and a national average payback of 79.3 percent.
  • Expect bigger payoffs in the West. In addition to reporting national averages, Remodeling magazine breaks down Cost vs. Value data by Census region. In the Pacific region–which includes Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington–six projects are expected to top 100 percent payback. The nearest competitor is the East South Central region–Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee–where two projects are expected to top 100 percent payback.
Top 5 Projects Nationally in Terms of Cost Recouped:
  1. Entry door replacement (101.8%)
  2. Manufactured stone veneer (92.2%)
  3. Garage door replacement (88.5%)
  4. Siding replacement, fiber cement (84.3%)
  5. Garage door replacement (82.5%)- upscale
Just how much sellers can expect to recoup from home improvements depends on the job and the region of the country they live in. There are also factors that vary from house to house and sale to sale, such as what updates are typical for the neighborhood, the quality of the work, and how important the improvement is to a particular  buyer. And while you can’t apply  this data directly to any specific house or neighborhood, you can use Cost vs. Value Report as a starting point in discussions with buyers and sellers about the cost and value of remodeling.

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Lawn and Garden

Nowadays,  lush green front yards in Aggieland are few and far between, but when I do, I remember when I was a kid and really enjoyed the lush grass. Despite the changing times, healthy lawns and gardens will never go out of style. Maintaining a healthy lawn is a key part of taking care of your home. Here are some tips on how to keep your grass and flower beds in tip top shape.

Mow high and mow less. When mowing your yard, keep in mind that the shorter you mow your lawn, the harder it will be to keep it looking green. Try cutting your grass at a height of about three to three and a half inches. If you cut your grass too short, it is likely to suffer from a weak, root system and will not be healthy enough to obtain the water and nutrients it needs from the soil.

Leave the clippings in your yard. The myth that these will create thatch is not true. Grass blades consist mainly of water but also contain many nutrients. Eventually, you will be able to use less Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by Susan Hilton | Discussion: 9 Comments »

Fall Decorating Part 2

Make a fall harvest wreath that you can hang over a mirror with ribbon or secure on a door with tacks or sticky strips. To make this beautiful wreath, you will need an 18-inch straw wreath form, four to five bags of dried cornhusks (8 ounces each) and U-pins. You can pick up the husks at any craft store or Mexican food shop. Soak the corn husks in water for about ten minutes or until they are pliable. Tear into strips that are about two inches wide and bend each strip in half. Stick a U-pin into the ends of the strip and attach it to the wreath. It is best to work from the inside of the wreath out, and you will need to make rows of four or five strips. Work in a circular direction so the husks overlap each other neatly and lie flat over the U-pins.

Making an oak leaf cornucopia is another classic fall decoration. For this project you will need white spray primer, an 18-inch cornucopia basket, gold floral Read the rest of this entry »

Posted by Susan Hilton | Discussion: 1 Comment »

Fall Decorating in Bryan College Station Texas – Part 1

Fall is in the air, and Halloween and Thanksgiving are fast approaching. Some trees in Bryan and College Station decorate themselves with crisp yellow and orange leaves, and even the wind smells festive. I don’t know about you, but when I see nature begin to display its fall decorations, I want to pull out my own to spruce up my home. There are many different ways to save on decorating, and it is too easy to create your own fall crafts.

Fall garland is seasonal and perfect for draping around your doorway. Use multicolored decorative dried corn and space out the cobs six to eight inches apart on a string of raffia. Tie the raffia around each piece of dried corn where the husk meets the kernels. Doing it this way will make the cobs hang off of the garland vertically. If you want them to sit horizontally, you can tie the tip of one cob to the husk of the next with something sturdier, such as floral wire.

A pinecone lamp finial is an excellent way to bring a tiny bit of the festivity

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Good Relationship with Contractors

There are some projects in your College Station home that you deem too valuable to figure out on your own.You may not even want a handyman coming in and attempting them without an official license and professional training. No, certain projects, like installing a hot water heater and high voltage outlets and replacing zone valves for hot water heating are too serious to skimp out on. You may have a faucet that has been leaking constantly and cannot seem to be fixed by the traditional methods. You may be interested in large scale renovations – remodeling part or large portions of your home.

Professional contractors are perfect for ensuring quality work. With an unlicensed handyman, you are risking encountering additional problems in the future. You are even risking a job-not-so-well-done that might result in a large scale disaster later on – a flood or even a fire. The additional cost for the professional seems to fade away in the face of recovering from one of these large scale disasters.

With all electricians, plumbers and HVAC guys, it is crucial to maintain a strong professional relationship. You do not necessarily have to be best friends. It is essential to be respectful and to

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Posted by Susan Hilton | Discussion: 3 Comments »

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