Scottsdale Home Improvements

The Scottsdale home improvement market is dynamic. While mortgage interest rates have remained at comparatively low levels for the past few years, it's tempting to assume more people are buying new homes than are renovating or remodeling their existing homes. However, remember this: Because interest rates are so low, home equity loans and complete refinances continue to be popular ways for home owners to pull money out of their properties to make improvements. This article will examine that trend and what it means to the real estate marketplace.

Scottsdale Home Improvement is Popular

Increased Scottsdale home improvement activity has meant record sales for big box stores Home Depot and Lowes.

No doubt you've heard and read about the relatively low housing inventory in the current real estate economy. Because of the scarcity of affordable available housing in many markets throughout the country, prices have risen consistently in the past year or two. New home construction is underway in a number of regional markets, but new home sales prices have also spiked as builders and developers have to pay increasingly more for land, labor and materials.

Many home owners across the U.S. have enjoyed equity growth in their homes. This growth, coupled with the short supply and rising costs of new and/or larger homes, have caused these homeowners to put off – at least temporarily – the idea of moving into a new neighborhood or "trading up." Instead, a growing number of American home owners are opting to renovate or remodel their existing homes. If you're thinking of entering the Scottsdale home improvement market, you're not alone.

Recently, home improvement giant Home Depot – the largest home improvement retailer in the world – reported their sales for the first quarter of this year. Not surprisingly, their sales of $22.8 billion represented a 9% increase over the same period last year. In addition, the chain's online sales also increased more than 20% boosting the store's net earnings to just over $1.8 billion, exceeding last year's totals by 14%.

To what does Home Depot attribute their recent increases?

Craig Menear, Home Depot CEO, says some of the success is due in part to the sluggishness of the new-home purchase market. Armed with recent housing data showing lower than expected building permits issued and housing starts provided by the Department of Commerce, Menear said, "Housing data indicates continued tailwinds for our business," indicating at least a short-term forecast of much of the same for Home Depot.

So what does Home Depot know that we don't? Probably plenty.

A deeper analysis of the recently reported numbers will likely show an anticipated strategy for both Home Depot and home owners contemplating taking on Scottsdale home improvement projects.

Building permits in April reflected a seasonally adjusted annual number of 1.12 million. While that figure represents an increase of 3.6% above the revised March rate of 1.08 million permits, it's still more than 5.3% below that total from April a year ago.

April housing starts were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.17 million, which is 6.6% more than the revised March projection, but it's 1.7% below April 2015's annual rate of 1.19 million housing starts.

The bottom line: The pace of new housing compared to last year has slowed.

While some economists continue to be optimistic, saying the overall housing demand – including pent-up demand from first-time home buyers who've seen their rents increase steadily each year – will rise gradually. In addition, say these economists, home builders are becoming increasingly confident about their sales forecasts.

Others feel homeowners who may be reluctant to sell for fear of not having a suitable, affordable place to move to will be content to stay put and consider renovations or home additions until the market changes. After all, they've seen their properties increase in value, and with the right Scottsdale home improvement choices for their home, there's no reason to think the value won't continue to go up.

It appear's Home Depot is banking on the same strategy – in a big way. Their earnings reflect a feeling that home owners will remain in their current houses at a high enough rate to sustain their continued growth expectations.

From the first quarter of 2015 through the same period in 2016, Home Depot's total assets grew more than 6%. Experts point out that for a home improvement retailer that's a significant increase because it includes merchandise and materials in inventory, in addition to property and equipment. Simply put, analysts say, Home Depot is stocking up.

In another potentially telling move, the Economic & Strategic Research Group of the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) readjusted their 2016 economic growth forecast to 1.7% growth, a decrease from their prior forecast of 1.9% growth and the 2.2% level predicted at the beginning of the year. However, Fannie Mae feels the slowdown will be temporary and short-lived.

Fannie Mae 's chief economist Doug Duncan said, “Home sales are expected to pick up with the spring and summer seasons in full swing, amid the backdrop of declining mortgage rates, rising pending home sales and purchase mortgage applications, and continued easing of lending standards on residential mortgage loans. “Meanwhile, the homeownership rate showed signs of stabilizing during the first quarter of this year, as the relatively high homeownership rates among Baby Boomers have helped offset low homeownership rates among Millennials, many of whom remain on the sidelines due to ongoing affordability issues,” he added.

In the meantime, home owners will probably do what Home Depot thinks they will do – improve their existing home until the market can give them something more attractive and more affordable to move into.

You can find more articles pertaining to home improvements in the Scottsdale Home Improvements section of our site below Scottsdale Real Estate Categories in the column to your right.

We also post tips daily on Twitter and Facebook and would love for you to follow us there as well.

Scottsdale home improvement trends are focusing more on eco-friendly options. The good news is that homeowners don’t have to be sustainable home experts. By consulting the proper resources and using knowledgeable, trained installers we can all become better stewards of the environment.

Scottsdale Home Improvement: Energy Efficiency

Many homebuilding and remodeling experts say that energy efficiency and sustainable home ideas are not just a passing fad anymore. They’re here to stay. Whether you’re considering building a new home or improving your existing home, environmentally friendly, energy efficient housing is expected to be more popular. This is especially true among Millennials, both now and as they get older and start to move up into larger or newer homes.

Here are a few tips for “going green” as you plan your Scottsdale home improvement project:

Scottsdale home improvement trends feature eco-friendly options.

Make a Plan. Green builders use the term, “net-zero” when describing the goals of new home construction or improvements to existing homes. A net-zero home is one that is ultimately capable of producing as much energy as it consumes. Homeowners that aren’t willing or able to totally commit to net-zero goals can make plans for it at a later time.

For example, homeowners may elect to take advantage of solar energy in the future even though they may decide not to install solar panels now. Green builders suggest homeowners begin in the design phase by positioning their home or home addition to the south. This will allow the home to capitalize on the sun’s rays throughout the year. In addition, install a solar conduit and solar meter on your home. It will be easier and more efficient to add solar panels and “go solar” in the future.

Environmental construction experts also recommend using the services of a certified home energy rater or energy consultant to assist you in developing your home’s plans, specifications and sustainability goals. One tip green builders say you should consider if you’re building a garage, for example, is to install a car charger for electric cars. The cost is around $250 and by doing it now you’ll avoid the inconvenience and potential greater expense of adding it later.

Seal Your Home. One of the keys many green builders recommend for Scottsdale home improvement or new construction is air-tightness for your home. For home treatment, for example, they are using a spray-on fluid membrane applied on the exterior walls instead of the traditional house insulation wrap covered by siding. The new weather-resistant barrier system is applied by spraying and/or rolling a substance having the appearance of black rubber paint. Green builders say the material seals “every nook and cranny” from the outside, making the house airtight. The barrier is permeable or breathable, yet it prevents moisture. The result is a combination of airtightness and comfort. Perhaps one of the best features of this new eco-friendly process is that it usually can be completed in a day, making your home completely sealed, airtight and waterproof.

Use Materials Found Locally or Regionally. When you use building materials that are found or sourced locally, you’re not only supporting local business you’re reducing the amount of energy required to transport materials from out of state. One green builder refers to this practice as “farm-to-table construction,” and gives this tip. Ask about old trees in need of removal. They could provide low-cost raw materials.

Often finding material resources near you is simply a matter of spending a little time researching online or making a few phone calls. Discuss the subject with your builder or home improvement contractor and ask him to try to take advantage of the opportunity locally produced materials provide. It can save time, money and provide a greater sense of environmental responsibility.

Select Eco-friendly Paint Products. You can help the environment when you choose a quality, eco-friendly paint for your Scottsdale home improvement project. Consider interior and exterior paints with low or zero levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs.) Volatile organic compounds are considered a leading contributor to air pollution because the chemicals in their composition evaporate as they dry. The chemicals produce a light smog during interaction with sunlight. Environmental experts say when we breathe in harmful carbon-based paint materials, they can be hazardous to our health.

Employ Technology. One of the fastest growing and most popular features in sustainable home building and remodeling is the use of technology. Home automation systems – also known as “smart home technologies” – are allowing homeowners to manage their homes more easily and more efficiently than ever. Climate control systems, smart lighting, security and safety measures are all examples of how technology continues to advance and make substantial improvements to better homes and more energy efficient living.

Spring Into Action. Many homeowners fall into this category. They want to go green,” but their lack of knowledge about the specifics makes them more than a little intimidated and overwhelmed. If that describes your feelings, consider your personal reasons for making your home more environmentally friendly. Experts say there are two types of homeowners interested in green construction:  those genuinely concerned with global climate change, and those who believe eco-friendly steps will improve the health of their family.

Regardless of the motivation, the move toward green Scottsdale home improvement and construction is happening now. Designing your plans and ideas with green benefits in mind will ensure you are doing your part in becoming more eco-friendly – and environmentally conscious. If we haven’t already, we can all start today

.You can find more articles pertaining to various Scottsdale home improvement ideas and tips in the Scottsdale Home Improvements section of our site below Scottsdale Real Estate Categories in the column to your right.

We also post tips daily on Twitter and Facebook and would love for you to follow us there as well.

Scottsdale home improvement is popular these days, especially among first-time home buyers. Starter homes or “fixer-uppers” often give first-time buyers the opportunity to purchase a home with a remodeling plan in mind. However, the phrase “buyer beware” is never more cautionary than when you’re buying a home whose “potential” turns into a “money pit.” Here are a few tips to avoid falling into the dreaded, deep, dark money pit.

Spotting a Metro Scottsdale Home Improvement Money Pit

Of course, savvy home buyers will have a professional home inspector perform an inspection of the house they want to buy. And if it’s an older home or if you suspect potential problems there are some things you should know on your own –– before hiring a home inspector.

Basement – If the home has a basement, check exposed pipes and wiring for damages or excessive wear. Inspect the foundation for cracks or potential problem areas.

Roof – Inspect the roof to see if there is aging, rotting wood and leaks.

Layout – Will the existing layout of the rooms in the home work for your needs, or will you need to move walls, plumbing and electrical? Doing so can add up to be an expensive Scottsdale home improvement item.

Recent repairs – Look closely in all areas of the home to see if there have been noticeable changes in the paint, flooring, ceiling, etc. If something looks brand new — especially compared to an adjacent area — it could mean there’s been a recent repair, or there’s been an effort to cover up an issue.

Trust your sense of smell – A septic tank or sewer leak, a gas leak or even mold and mildew may be detectable by an unusual odor. Trust your nose to prompt you to inspect further to see if there’s a problem.

Before you commit to purchasing a fixer upper, remember these two final points.

1) As mentioned earlier, hire a home inspector, and
2) Make sure you’re ready for what may be ahead. Scottsdale home improvement projects almost always take longer and cost more than you expect, so make sure you’re really committed — emotionally and financially — to deal with the project at hand.


See more articles pertaining to Scottsdale home improvement news in the Scottsdale Home Improvements section of our site below Scottsdale Real Estate Categories in the column to your right. You can find information here on a variety of topics ranging from home buying and home selling tips to home improvements, home inspections, mortgage financing, homeowner's insurance and, of course, all the latest Scottsdale real estate news that affects all of these categories.

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The Scottsdale home improvement market continues to perform well as a result of rising prices and limited supply of homes for sale. Would-be purchasers who may not be able to find – or afford – their next dream house are thinking about adding a room to their existing homes. Sellers planning to sell their properties are also considering home improvements that may increase the asking price when the time comes to sell. If you fall into either of those categories or if you simply want to stay in your existing home and need more space, let’s look at room addition costs.

Scottsdale Home Improvement: What's the Cost?

The Scottsdale home improvement market continues to perform well...

The two components of adding a room to your home are materials and labor. Understanding their role and the impact each component has is crucial in keeping within a planned budget and timeframe.

Materials, of course, refers to all the construction materials and supplies necessary to complete the job. Lumber, plywood, sheetrock, paint, flooring, light fixtures and other materials need to be priced in order to have a projected cost, or at least a range.

Labor costs will entail the cost of paying for the work to be performed. There are several different options when it comes to labor costs. You can hire a general contractor to oversee the room addition or home improvement project. The contractor, in turn, will hire the subcontractors to perform the actual work. The subcontractors, or tradesmen, include frame carpenters, electricians, plumbers, sheetrock finishers, painters, flooring installers and others. You can also save a little money, perhaps, by assuming the role of the contractor yourself by hiring the various subcontractors and supervising the work performed. Lastly, if you have the time, talent, energy and desire you may undertake all or part of the room addition as a “do-it-yourself” (DIY) project. Whichever option you choose, it’s vital to establish a cost estimate, a budget and a completion date to make your Scottsdale home improvement project go smoothly.

Suggested Steps For Your Scottsdale Home Improvement Project

Decide how big the room addition will be.  Calculate the square footage (by multiplying the dimensions of the rectangular walls.) For example, if you’re planning to add a room whose dimensions will be 12’ x 18’ the square footage is 216 square feet. If the room is going to be square, say, each wall is 15’ long, then the square footage will be 225 square feet (15’ multiplied by 15’). Experts say room additions involving additional wiring and plumbing can cost as much as 50% higher – ranging from $75-$150 per square foot more – than that same room would cost if it had been built with the rest of the house. In addition, don’t forget architectural costs if you choose to hire a professional architect. Architectural fees vary from hourly rates to as much as 15% of the cost of the room addition.

Plan on the fixtures you want for the room. If you’re planning the addition of a bathroom, you’ll need to calculate the cost of a sink, vanity, bathtub/shower, and light fixtures. The addition of a bedroom generally would not contain those items – other than perhaps a light fixture. So, for a bathroom, make sure you include the costs of the fixtures and hardware (faucets, shower heads, drawer and cabinet pulls and handles) as well as the additional plumbing and wiring needed.

Make decisions on the other pieces of the construction puzzle. As mentioned in the materials section above, decide what you want the finished product to look like and calculate the cost of those materials. Don’t forget things like insulation for additional energy efficiency or sound reduction. Decide as soon as you can whether you’ll carpet the floor or use hardwood flooring. The same goes for the walls – will they be painted or paneled? Also, if you like crown moulding or chair railings, especially if you’re trying to match the other rooms in the house, don’t forget to calculate that into your price estimate.

Interview a contractor if you require professional help for the room addition. Ask for references and to see homes or additions he has recently completed. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Have a full understanding of the labor charges and ask for a written quote on materials. If the estimate on the materials if higher than you anticipated, look into the possibility of providing the building materials yourself. It may involve setting up a line of credit or purchasing them in advance, but you may save money. Remember this important point: Have a clear understanding of “change orders” and their resulting costs. Make sure you get a price estimate before you ask your contractor to move a window, door or closet that’s already been framed up. Change order surprises are among the major culprits in wrecking Scottsdale home improvement budgets.

Be sure to consider other costs involved that may be overlooked. Additional costs associated with a room addition may include demolition, removal and disposal, even landscaping changes such as the replacement of grass, shrubbery, trees, etc. In addition, a room added to your home will generally mean a slight increase in your utility bills, homeowner’s insurance and property taxes. Plus, don’t forget to allow money for furniture and furnishings for your new addition. If it’s a bedroom you’re adding, consider the cost of a bedroom suit, a new bed and mattresses, flat screen TV or other entertainment, window treatments  and other items you may want.

See more articles pertaining to Scottsdale home improvement news in the Scottsdale Home Improvements section of our site below Scottsdale Real Estate Categories in the column to your right. As always, you can find information here on a variety of topics ranging from home buying and home selling tips to home improvements, home inspections, mortgage financing, homeowner's insurance and, of course, all the latest Scottsdale real estate news that affects all of these categories.

Also remember to Find us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter!

Statistics show nearly 75% of homeowners took on do-it-yourself (DIY) Scottsdale home improvements in the past three years. According to a recent survey from Zillow Digs, 40% of them regretted that decision. It’s an age-old question: Should you hire a professional remodeler or do a project yourself? Getting the job done right the first time by somebody who knows how to do it can spare regrets later. Here’s a list of the most and least regretted DYI projects.

Scottsdale Home Improvements – "To DIY or Not DIY"

Scottsdale home improvements continue to be strong

Adding or expanding a room was the biggest DIY regret among those surveyed. Over half of those responding said they were unhappy with the results of their DIY project. Most of that work was done to bathrooms or bedrooms. Smaller DIY projects such as replacing cabinet hardware or lighting fixtures fared better. Less than 20% of respondents said they regretted doing that work themselves.

Of course, saving money is one of the main reasons homeowners take on DIY projects. However, almost 25% of homeowners said they went over budget on their project. Larger renovations often went over budget, but smaller projects like painting or replacing plumbing fixtures were easier to keep within budget. One advantage a professional remodeler has over the average homeowner is knowing the materials needed to do the job. The professional can usually buy the materials at wholesale prices because he's a contractor or preferred customer of the home improvement supplier. In addition, the professional generally has all the tools necessary to perform the work. Most homeowners have only the basic tools and may have to buy or rent the tools they need. That can cause the price of the DIY job to get out of hand quickly.

Zillow Digs home design experts say DIY tips and videos make some Scottsdale home improvements seem easier than they really are. For larger projects it’s usually best to hire a professional. Many renovation or remodeling jobs require skills and experience the average person probably doesn't have. Hiring a qualified professional can help homeowners avoid costly mistakes, added stress and regrets.

The Zillow Digs survey included responses from homeowners across the U.S. Here are the results of the survey:

The 5 Most Regretted DIY Projects:
Add or expand a room (such as a bathroom or bedroom)
Refinish the kitchen or bathroom cabinets
Refinish the attic or the basement
Replace the carpeting
Refinish or install hardwood floors

The 5 Least Regretted DYI Projects:
Replace lighting fixtures
Replace cabinet hardware (in the kitchen or bathroom)
Paint one or more rooms
Install new kitchen appliances
Replace plumbing fixtures (the toilet, bath or sink)

For more information on Scottsdale home improvements, see the Scottsdale Real Estate Categories to your right. We also post on Facebook and Twitter, be sure to follow us there as well.