Do Renovations Pay Off?

According to Remodeling Magazine’s annual survey, only steel entry-door replacements can be counted on to boost home value enough to recoup 100 percent of costs. Of course, the value of a renovation doesn’t depend on the resale price alone, which makes deciding whether to do one more complicated than just crunching numbers.

“If the purchaser walks into a home and says, ‘Wow, look at this kitchen, honey, it’s so great,’ and if that home sells quicker, the seller still gets value from the renovation, whether they get the return on investment or not,” says Kit Hale, general manager of MKB Realtors in Roanoke, Va. The home might sell quicker, or the buyer might be so excited about a particular feature that they ignore other problems, such as water damage or much-needed maintenance elsewhere.

For anyone trying to decide whether to take on a home renovation, these five tips can help:

1. Think about what you, the current homeowner, want from your home.

Homeowners can get a lot of value out of renovations before they even put the home on the market. “If you have a dated kitchen or the stove doesn’t work, you can invest money now to glean some enjoyment as well as make the home more appealing when you sell it,” says Hale.

That’s what Erin Schaff and her boyfriend did when they decided to upgrade their two-bedroom condo in Victoria, Canada, several years ago. “It wasn’t in horrible shape, but we wanted to upgrade,” she says, so they spent about $10,000 replacing the baseboards, window trim, and floors. They also remodeled the bathrooms and upgraded the hardware. In addition, they put new cabinets, appliances, and granite countertops in the kitchen.

Schaff and her boyfriend enjoyed all those upgrades before deciding to sell their home earlier this year. She believes the renovations paid off, too. “Had we not renovated, we probably would have lost money as we had purchased the condo at the peak of the real estate boom. Instead, we turned a profit and covered most of the costs of purchasing the house we now live in,” she says.

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Remodeling – Where Do I Start?

I had a customer call the other day and tell me they want to remodel their kitchen and 3 bathrooms! I thought to myself, “Great, that’s a nice job!” Then I thought about all the decisions they will have to make to get to the goal. So I decided to write a “To Do List” for them.

These are My Suggestions Only!
– start with one room at a time. there are many decisions to be made, so focus on one project. you might want to lump your secondary baths together, but probably not so each room will have its own personality.
– decide how much of each room you want to remodel. for example, you may not want to change the layout of your kitchen cabinets because it works for you, but changing the door and drawer fronts will totally change the look, while not hurting your budget as much. even changing the hardware can change the look from traditional to contemporary.
– in each room, pick the focal point. it may be the granite or silestone color you want or that glass backsplash mosaic you have got to have in your kitchen!
– pick the style you are going for: contemporary, traditional, old world, etc. visiting open houses and design magazines will help you with this task. be sure to take pictures of rooms you like or cut out pictures from the magazines so you can show your designer, carpenter or countertop fabricator.

Granite Tub Deck and Glass Mosaic

Gorgeous Granite Tub Deck and Glass Mosaic Backsplash

These are just a few guidelines that may help you on your journey. I think that once you have the style and focal point, other decisions just seem to fall into place. You can expect that some things will not work out perfectly, but if you use quality companies to help you, any obstacles should be easily overcome. And remember…..remodeling should be fun!

Jaw-Dropping Kitchens and Baths: Add Unique Touches to Your Home for Improved Function, Increased Value

Hand Made Subway Tile

As Realtors, we notice that many clients, upon seeing a new home for the first time, quickly inspect the kitchen and bath areas. “The kitchen is the heart of the home”, as the saying goes, and we find this to be true: at parties, family gatherings, breakfast on Sunday-the kitchen seems to have a gravitational pull where everyone wants to gather and mingle.
Additionally, bathrooms play an important role in the eyes of homeowners as well. Certainly, it’s a room originally built for function and that alone, but taking things a step further and adding some creature comforts and eye catching features not only attract buyers, but can add to the overall satisfaction and happiness of the homeowner once the purchase is complete.
An effective method to add a little ‘eye candy’ to both kitchens and baths is through the use of unique materials for countertops, back splashes and showers. There are some breathtaking choices available now for countertops, such as amethyst. There is even a technique your local tile and granite specialist can perform that gives the look of leather, imagine that! They provide a refreshing alternative to the ordinary, and certainly make a room stand out. Another item that recently caught our eye while visiting Medusa Tile was glow in the dark tile. Yes, that’s right, glow in the dark! By day, it keeps its wonderful secret hidden, but when the lights go out….Baby, you’ve never seen an effect like this! Tile your shower floor, add a few accents pieces along the wall, or use your imagination to create a dramatic effect no other home is likely to possess.
The way you install your new choices can add function and interest as well. Rounding out the end of a kitchen island to accommodate a seating area is a popular and sought-after feature in many homes. It provides a convenient area for kids to have breakfast, friends to sit and chat, or even to lay out a buffet style dinner for guests.
Perhaps you’ve even considered adding a mural in either room with the use of glass mosaics? There are so many choices that can be made, we’ve seen much of this work firsthand and it truly adds to the beauty of a room and gives a unique twist to it that will set your home apart from the rest of the block. It is proven that updating your kitchen and baths adds significant value to your property’s value when it comes time to sell.
With so many decisions to make and products to choose from, you should contact a local specialist that can give you ideas and educate you on all the materials available for use in your home. Whichever products you choose, your home is bound to stand out above the rest with a little help from the experts. Let Marisa at Medusa Tile help you with your selections and installations and let our dynamic team, Debbie and Natalie, help you get your property sold!

This article was written by Natalie Clark and Debbie Olsen at Galveston Real Estate. Thanks very much girls!!

Why is There a Huge Range in Granite Countertop Pricing?

Have you seen those signs around town saying “Granite Installed for $ 18.00/SF”? Or the one for $ 99.00 a piece? A piece of what? Why is there such a difference in pricing? There are a few reasons. When shopping for countertops, as with anything else, be sure to compare apples to apples because there is a vast difference in natural stone countertop fabrication.

Many of the less expensive companies can offer a lower price for these reasons:

1. They are using pre-fabricated granite material. This is a 8′ or 9′ long granite piece that already has a Full Bull Nose edge on one of the long run sides. These pre-fabs are cut and edged at the factories in China or India. They are done very cheaply. There are not many colors to choose from. There also is not a consistency from 1 piece to the next, so if your project requires a seam because it is longer than 9′, the seam is likely to look bad. If you are updating a bath vanity, a pre-fab may work okay, but if your project is your kitchen which has a turn or two in the configuration, I would not recommend pre-fabs. (I will go into more details about this at a later date.)

2. This less expensive company probably does not have a true shop or warehouse and is going to cut your pieces in your driveway and make a huge mess.

3. This company may hire illegal workers, pays their workers in cash, does not withhold for social securty,etc. and probably does not have insurance.

The bottom line is this. If you are working on a rental house or something you are flipping, the less expensive guys might be okay. But if you are shopping around for your personal home, I would stay away from the guys with a sign on the side of the road. It’s just like your Mom told you growing up, “You get what you pay for.”

The kitchen project below was NOT done using pre-fab granite and was installed by Queen of the Tile!

Granite Island with Silestone Countertops

Victoria Regio Countertops with Green Beach Sea Glass Mosaic

Mosaic Art

Granite, Marble & Porcelain Mosaic Art

Home on The Range

There are many forms of mosaic art, this piece only being one form.  The original artwork was drawn by my older brother, Richard deLeon.  (He is much more artistic than I am.)  I asked him to draw the design in the exact size I wanted the finished piece to be.  I then transferred it to posterboard and cut out each individual piece of the picture.  I had to keep in mind that the material I was going to be cutting the individual pieces from were mainly 12 x 12 tiles, so i had to make breaks in some of the pieces.  For example, three of the horses legs are made of 2 larger pieces and a separate piece defined the joints in the two front legs.

After I had the pieces cut out of posterboard, I then transferred the shapes onto each of the materials it was to be cut out of.  For example, the horses body was made from Tropical Brown 12 x 12 granite tiles, so i laid out the paper templates and transferred the shape onto the tile.  I think i used a grease pencil because of the next step which was the actual cutting of each piece.

Before Ike, I had a wet band saw with diamond coated blades.  It was pretty fancy.  Too bad it floated away!  Anyway, that is how i cut those curved and in some cases, very intricate pieces.  Then each piece was installed with thinset to hardiboard and grouted.

This is only one example of a mosaic tile piece.  There are many forms of mosaic including using broken pieces of pottery to tiny micro mosaic pieces and even a mixture of different sizes and media, limited only by the artists or customer’s imagination.  There are many talented artists in Houston and Galveston.   I have been amazed at the number of artist on Galveston with their own kilns!  Mosaics are truly a creative and fun way to enhance any room in your home, an outdoor table, a pot to decorate your patio or even the bottom of your pool!

At Medusa Tile, we have some very conservatively material to expensive mosaics.  We even have glow in the dark tiles made from recycled auto windshields.  If you are doing it yourself, or looking for material for an artist you’ve hired, we should be able to fill all your needs.  Come on by the store and talk to Lucy or Marisa.