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Simple Upgrades to Increase Home Value

The road to increasing home value can often seem like a long one, but that is usually due to the fact that most homeowners feel only extensive, fancy remodeling projects will yield the biggest returns on investment. However, contrary to popular belief, updates that are valued in the low-to-mid cost range will increase your home’s value the most. Updates like siding replacements and roof replacements recoup nearly 93% of their costs while minor kitchen remodels have more than 80% recoup value. The purpose of upgrading your home is to add value, take away what’s not working, or improve upon what is working while not going overboard. While new granite countertops and steam showers may seem extravagant, if you’re thinking about starting home improvement projects this year, there are a few other options you may want to keep in mind.

Try These Easy Upgrades to Increase Home Value

If you’re considering making some changes around your home, choose a few of the upgrades to tackle from this list and update the features in your home that will increase your home’s value the most.

1. Updates for the Kitchen


According to a 2017 survey conducted by the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, kitchen remodels are ranked as one of the things that appeal the most to home buyers, but before you tear down your entire kitchen and start from scratch, there are a few minimal kitchen updates that you can complete in a matter of days.

Install a Double Sink

According to a 2017 Home Buyer Preferences Survey conducted by the National Association of Home Builders, the number one feature that home buyers considered to be essential in kitchens were double sinks. Most Consumer Reports recommend deeper sinks due to their limited splash zone and at least one sink that’s big enough to fit larger pots and pans. This upgrade makes a sink extremely functional and easy to clean – something that will please any new home buyer.

Add an Island

Another update that home buyers desire in a kitchen is a central island. Now, building an entirely brand new island in your kitchen is quite time consuming, but a simple way you can make this update to your kitchen is by purchasing a pre-made/portable kitchen island that you can fit practically into any space. Most pre-assembled kitchen islands come with storage space, additional eating space, and more room for food preparation and most of which can be found for less than $500.

2. Freshen Up Your Bathroom


The bathroom is one of the areas of the home where you can tell if money has been well spent. They are also one of the areas in a home where people spend quite a bit of time. With a low cost, mid-range bathroom remodel, you can update your bathroom and keep your costs low on a project that will pay off when you do decide to put your home on the market.

Add New Fixtures

If you’re hoping to add some much-needed shine to your bathroom, you can install new fixtures like new shower heads, faucets, or lighting to make this area more appealing to potential home buyers. A brushed nickel finish goes with nearly every style of bathroom and you can even find matching three-light vanity fixtures to give your bathroom a complete makeover for under $100.

Install Efficient Toilets

While you might think it’s a simple upgrade, another update that potential home buyers will appreciate is a brand new toilet. Instead of sticking with your outdated bowl, you might want to consider replacing it with an updated, energy-efficient model that’s easy on the eyes, as well as the environment. You can find a classic two-piece toilet for under $200 while most home improvement stores provide in-home installations for less than $300.

3. Add Some Curb Appeal


Home improvement projects also apply to updates that will increase your home’s curb appeal. Updating your home’s exterior is simple, cost-effective, and can bring in some extra cash when you do decide to sell.

Tidy up Your Yard

Believe it or not, lawn care is another one of the top things buyers look for when they are house hunting. The great thing about this project is that it costs almost nothing but your time to complete. Setting aside a weekend to plant a few low maintenance bushes or line your driveway with pavers will add 5-15% to your home’s value and immediately grab the attention of potential home buyers.

Paint the Exterior

One of the simplest updates when it comes to home improvement projects is painting. A freshly painted home not only looks clean and updated, but it also protects your home and spells value to potential home buyers as it will give them the impression the rest of your house is just as well maintained. You can take the DIY route or easily hire a local painting company to complete this project.

Are you looking to buy a home in Kansas City or thinking about putting your home on the market?  Give us a call today!  You can reach our team at 913.521.8806.  You can also come visit our office at 5000 W. 135th St. Leawood, KS 66224.

8 Essential Gadgets for Your Smart Home Part 1

Smart home gadgets are everywhere.  If you’ve ventured into the electronics department of any big box retailer, you’ve likely noticed an endless array of items for home security, efficiency, and automation.  They can even be found at department stores and cell phone storefronts!  What are the “must have” smart home gadgets?  If you’re building a home or upgrading your current setup, you might be interested in our list, curated from the editors of PC Mag and CNET.

What is a Smart Home?

A smart home, at its basic level, is a home equipped with electronic devices, lighting and even temperature regulation that can be controlled remotely, by phone and/or computer. Smart Home USA gives us an even more specific definition:  “A Smart Home is one that provides its homeowners comfort, security, energy efficiency (low operating costs) and convenience at all times, regardless of whether anyone is home.’Smart Home’ is the term commonly used to define a residence that has appliances, lighting, heating, air conditioning, TVs, computers, entertainment audio & video systems, security, and camera systems that are capable of communicating with one another and can be controlled remotely by a time schedule, from any room in the home, as well as remotely from any location in the world by phone or internet.Installation of smart products give the home and its occupants various benefits — the same benefits that technology and personal computing have brought to us over the past 30 years — convenience and savings of time, money and energy.Most homes do not have these appliances and systems built into them. Therefore the most common and affordable approach is for the home owner to retrofit smart products into their own finished home.”

A Smart Voice Assistant

It might seem silly (or overly obvious) but a good place to start is with a voice assistant to help you manage your new devices- all with your voice.  There are three major “families” when it comes to voice assistants. Amazon’s Alexa (and Echo family), Google Assistant and Apple HomeKit gadgets.  Alexa is the market leader and works with many of the gadgets you have (or will have).

Indoor Security Camera

An indoor security camera is a must-have for many.  There are many uses:  keeping a watchful eye on elderly or young children at the home, even keeping an eye on caregivers in your absence.  Some popular ones include the Amazon Cloud Cam and the iCamera Keep Pro from iSmartAlarmWyze Labs and Nest also makes terrific contenders.  You should investigate in which features you are most interested.  Then look at integration with your other gadgets and assistants, which only makes them “smarter.”

Smart Bulbs

Smart bulbs can be color-changing or white LED.  You may have already made the leap to energy-efficient light bulbs in your home.  Installing smart bulbs is the next logical step to take. They give you the ability to customize the way your home looks.  You can even turn lights on and off from around the world.  They also save you money in the long run!Philips Hue bulbs are very popular and respond to voice commands via Alexa.  They work with the Apple Watch, too.  Lifx is another manufacturer that makes wi-fi smart bulbs.  If lighting and setting the exact mood is important to you, you might want to check out the Eufy Lumos Smart Bulb White and Color. It’s not cheap–but you can “create” over 16 million colors!

Smart Thermostats

A smart thermostat gives you the freedom to control your home’s temperature from wherever you may be.  If you’ve left town and set your A/C to 78, you can remotely turn it back down to 71. CNET’s pick for the best small thermostat is the Ecobee. CNET says that, “The Ecobee4 has a responsive display, a remote sensor and tons of smart integrations, including a built-in Amazon Alexa speaker. It is unmatched on the market.”Whatever you choose, it’s a good idea to stick to established brands with solid track records. Read those product reviews and do your research!  Check back for Part 2,and we’ll go over four more essential smart home gadgets!Looking to build or buy a new home that is “smart” through and through?  Give us a call today! You can reach the Cami Jones & Company team at 913.402.2550. Want to come see us? Our office is conveniently located at 5000 W. 135th St. Leawood, KS 66224. You can also like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and Instagram. We’re even on LinkedIn, as Cami Jones & Company, ReeceNichols.

It’s spring- here’s a home maintenance checklist!

Spring has sprung and after our cold, icy winter, we are READY!  Before you grab those golf clubs, make sure your home is ready to welcome spring, too.  As you know, there’s lots more to home ownership than a brisk spring cleaning.  We thought we’d go through some of the common things you can do to make sure your house is ready for March and beyond!It goes without saying that it’s especially important to perform these tasks if you’re readying your house for the hot spring market.  These details not only enhance curb appeal, but it isn’t uncommon for sellers to recoup much of the money spent on a well-maintained home.  For more ideas on how to enhance your home’s curb appeal, consider going to the 2018 Greater Kansas City Home Show next month!

Spring Exterior Maintenance Checklist

  • Windows and screens:  Clean screens with soap and water and check for holes. Patch holes and/or replace the screen. Pro tip:  save the bad screen to patch next year’s holes. Tighten or repair any loose or damaged frames and repaint. Replace broken, worn, or missing hardware.
  • Guttering:  Remove leaves and debris from gutters and downspouts. Reattach gutters that have pulled away from the house. Run a hose on the roof and check for proper drainage. If leaks exist, dry the area and use caulking or epoxy to seal the leak.
  • Foundation, driveway and chimney:  Check foundation walls, floors, concrete, and masonry for cracking or deterioration. Check to make sure bricks are secure and not losing mortar. Check for cracks in foundation and severe scaling on driveway.  Winter salt and sand wreak havoc on concrete!
  • Roof:  As much as you can, inspect roof surface flashing, eaves, and soffits.  If you suspect issues, hire a professional roofer for a thorough inspection.
  • Deck, patio and/or porch:  Check for loose parts and deterioration. Open decks and wood fences need to be treated every 4-6 years, depending on how much exposure they get to sun and rain.
  • Irrigation system:  Most irrigation companies include a spring check as part of their maintenance program.  They will check for leaky valves, exposed lines, and improperly working sprinkler heads when they come to turn on the system for the year.  Make sure to point out any low areas or places where water accumulates or doesn’t seem to be properly irrigated.
  • Landscaping:  Cut back and trim all vegetation and overgrown bushes from structures.  Same goes for low-hanging and dead limbs.  Rake leaves from beds and against fencing- where they tend to accumulate over the winter.
  • A/C unit:  Spray off the unit with a hose.  Cut back or remove any debris.

Spring Interior Maintenance Checklist

  • Air Conditioner:  The best time to do this is now, before you fire up the A/C for the first time of the season!  A/C maintenance ensures an efficient, long-lasting unit.  As part of your professional maintenance check, they will look at refrigerant levels, evaporator and condenser coils, electrical components, the thermostat and filters.
  • Filters:  Make sure you are changing the filter in your HVAC quarterly!
  • Dust crown molding, baseboards, ceiling corners, light fixtures and lamps, ceiling fans
  • Clean windows
  • Replace batteries:  smoke and CO detectors
  • Schedule pest control maintenance
  • Clean dryer vent/tubing in laundry room

Deep Clean the Kitchen

  • Clean and organize the freezer/refrigerator
  • Vacuum refrigerator coils
  • Clean hood vent and change filter
  • Change water filter in refrigerator
  • Organize the pantry

After you’ve done ALL OF THAT…it’s time to focus on the fun stuff!  Spring decor!  Pillows!  Throws!  Cute rugs!  Vases!  Read our blog post on 2018 Home Decor Trends for all the inspiration you’ll need!  Happy Spring! Ideas Source: