Remodeling the right way can save money over building new square footage

Colorado’s foreclosure rate isn’t as bad as in previous years, according to a report by John Rebchook in the Rocky Mountain News dated Tuesday, March 11, 2008. Viewed several ways The Mortgage Bankers Association has ranked Colorado No. 24 in the nation for seriously delinquent loans in fourth quarter 2007, down from 15 in 2006. To get to that number, the Mortgage Bankers Association estimates the percentage of mortgages that are 90 days or more delinquent that have started into the foreclosure process.

Using a different method of calculation, Rebchook writes, Colorado was No. 5 in the nation for foreclosure rates in 2007 and No. 1 in 2006. These figures were reported by RealtyTrac which counts the number of foreclosures as a percentage of U.S. Census housing data.

The Colorado Mortgage Lenders Association prefers to look at the positive news in the findings from the Mortgage Bankers Association, Rebchook reports that Chris Holbert, president of the Colorado Mortgage Lenders Association, contends are more accurate when comparing Colorado foreclosures to other states.

The effect foreclosures has on the new construction industry is obvious. New home starts are down and some long-standing new home builders are permanently closing their doors.

But that means that homeowners who aren’t a candidate for foreclosure have choices to make if their current home doesn’t suit their immediate needs or desires. Gary Stone, president of Allstar Electrical Services, Inc. explains that homeowners weighing selling their current home in order to upgrade their residence are more cautious about making that decision these days. They don’t want to get stuck holding two mortgages, and the competition to sell their existing home can be keen.

So many of the homeowners who would sell and move up in a more certain economy are choosing to remodel their residence to bring it up to date and to provide the amenities, particularly electrical improvements, to their home that a newer-built home would likely include.

Improvements to an existing home average $80/square feet compared to $175/square feet of new construction, reports www.myonecall.com.

Tom Kraeutler, host of The Money Pit Home Improvement Show, reports that the top remodeling projects homeowners are considering for 2008 include:

  • Flooring
  • Plumbing
  • HVAC
  • Walls and ceilings
  • Windows and siding
  • Kitchen and bath
  • Roofing
  • Basements and crawl spaces
  • Mold eradication
  • Insulation and ventilation

Some of these improvements, like removing old wallpaper and painting walls and ceilings are jobs that homeowners can do themselves. Other improvements require a professional, Kraeutler urges.

Before starting any remodeling project, particularly projects that a homeowner takes on with the hope that the improvement will increase his/her home’s salability or value, the Real Estate Journal recommends that homeowners do the following:

Ask an experienced Realtor to help you gauge your home’s current value before you put more money into it by remodeling.

Get a home inspection so that you are aware if any repairs, particularly structural ones, are necessary

While you may be inclined to remodel the interior of your home, you would be wise to study the exterior as it will make the first impression on a possible buyer

Consider investing in the bathroom. It’s the one room that buyers say they want to be able to use right away without having to remodel it first. Small improvements can have big impact in the bathroom.

Don’t go overboard remodeling the kitchen. Even though Realtors will tell you that a kitchen can sell a house, remember that people have different tastes, and yours may not be the same as a buyer. Stay as neutral as possible with improvements intended to help you sell your home faster, urges Gary Stone, president of Allstar Electrical Services, Inc. serving all of Colorado’s Front Range from the Denver metro area south to Colorado Springs.

Allstar is an award-winning electrical contracting firm that specializes in residential and commercial electrical work.

Pricing out improvements before you wield an ax at your current room may influence your decision about what room to start with:

  • For example an 800 square foot poptop runs an average of $140,000.00
  • 500 square foot addition including a new kitchen averages $87,500.00

Depending on the scope of your project, you’ll want to retain an architect or a design build firm like Allstar Electrical Services Inc. that does design build electrical contracting work. Allstar Electrical’s president Gary Stone explains that money savings can be significant if a homeowner uses a professional electrician’s design-build capabilities.

“Our services include reviewing the flow and use of a household before we recommend the most effective route to pursue,” says Stone. “We can suggest improvements to a homeowner that will allow him to expand the scope of his improvement without necessarily expanding the cost of the project. That’s because we keep on top of the newest technology—alarm systems, whole home wiring packages, etc.—and we’re familiar with the brands that have superior performance versus lesser-known cheaper brands.”