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Updating your house

updating your house-53

They can house an additional family member or provide rental income—­allowing baby boomers to afford their house once they retire or helping millennials pay the mortgage.More municipalities, particularly in Western cities, are amending zoning laws to allow for ADUs. Younger buyers in particular say they want a dedicated laundry room, perhaps off the kitchen or even near second-floor bedrooms.

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Expect to spend $40 to $100 per square foot, installed.Finishing a basement is the most common way to add usable square footage to a home. Many younger buyers will envision the additional living spaces as a dedicated office, especially if they work from home.Most homeowners spend between about $10,000 and roughly $27,000 converting a basement, depending on the size of the space, according to estimates from Home Advisor, a website that connects homeowners with prescreened service professionals. And at the other end of the spectrum, “a lot of my boomer clients are daytime caretakers for their grandkids,” says David Pekel, who owns a remodeling company in Wauwatosa, Wis.If you plan to sell, don’t rip your kitchen down to the studs; a smaller investment can have serious impact.For as little as $5,000, you should be able to add a new suite of appliances, as well as a new countertop and flooring, resulting in a fresh, coordinated look.Though it has been around for decades, this appliance finish conveys clean, contemporary design, so it will signal “updated” in the mind of the buyer.

For the latest spin on stainless, look for new versions of black stainless steel from Kitchen Aid, LG, and Samsung, each with a softer, less reflective finish but the same cachet as the original. Engineered from stone chips, resins, and pigments, quartz has started to challenge granite and marble as the go-to material in higher-end kitchens.

Manufacturers are obliging with washer/dryer sets with a matching fit and finish that neatly integrate into the living space.

We like the Maytag Bravos ­MVWB855DW HE top-loader and Maytag Bravos ­MEDB855DW electric dryer, $1,050 each.

“My millennial buyers usually ask for two years’ worth of utility payments,” says Joe Rivellino, a real estate professional in the Buffalo, N. “They want to know the R-Value on the insulation and whether the windows have low-E coatings,” he says, referring to two important efficiency measures.

And don’t forget about water heating, which accounts for 16 percent of energy costs in the typical home.

When Alec and Jennifer Harmes spent $264,900 for their first home in 2011—a 1,500-square-foot ranch fixer-­upper in Austin, Texas—they assumed they would be living there for many years.