One of the advantages of living in New England is the many colleges and universities that serve the region. Going paperless will bring some benefits to the education process. While a child may not require the sophisticated technology of the adult student, more and more elementary and high schools are also adopting paperless systems for the benefit of the teachers, students, and of course, the planet. Here are a few reasons why you may find this to be a great option for your home.
With its incomparable natural beauty and impressive historical legacy, New England is a great backdrop for a wide range of literary genres, from young adult series to mysteries and thrillers. Here's a look at some top books set in New England that our real estate agents will be reading for Book Lovers Day on Monday, August 9th.
Is your New England story waiting to be written? Contact us at The Masiello Group for help with all your real estate needs.
If you're considering selling your home now or in the near future, you may be wondering if finishing your basement provides a good ROI as a value-added improvement. As a general rule, the answer is yes, but that does not mean that a finished basement is the best way to invest your limited home improvement dollars.
In terms of home value, a finished basement is not as valuable as improvements made to the main floor living space, like adding an above-grade bedroom or upgrading your kitchen. Of course, a project like a main floor addition is more valuable than a finished basement, but it is also much more costly.
The terminology we often use to describe the basement, either finished or unfinished, leaves a bit to be desired. Just because a basement is unfinished does not mean that the space is a problem. For example, you may want to consider a home with an unfinished basement to customize your living space.
If you are considering purchasing a home with a finished basement, or you are a seller wanting to maximize ROI, make sure the value of the space is included and noted in the appraisal process.
Like any significant home improvement, you need to consider a few factors and define your goals. Whether you should finish your basement depends on your lifestyle, local real estate market, and goals for the space.
For example, if your family loves movie nights, and you are staying put for a few years, building a home theatre in the basement might be a smart investment. Not only will you see a 70% return when you do sell, but you will also have years of memories with family and friends and an improved lifestyle until you do sell!
Different states may have various regulations in terms of defining space and appraisal values. In many cases, basements - even when finished – are not included in square footage calculations. That is why you will sometimes see a listing for a 3000 square foot property with an additional 1000 square feet of basement space.
For our purposes, a finished basement means that the space is insulated, up to code, painted, and has flooring and trim like any other room in the house. There is also electricity and temperature control, meaning that a finished basement is usable and habitable.
For this reason, a finished basement tends to add value to your home. A finished basement increases the total amount of usable space, even if your local authorities prevent you from officially accounting for the square footage on the MLS.
However, that does not mean that an unfinished basement does not have its own set of merits. There is a ton of potential in even the most cobweb-infested, darkest basement, which means there is appraisal value there.
After all, the future homeowner can choose to finish the space to meet their unique needs, like an in-law apartment, media room, office, or playroom for the kids. Maybe they just want the storage space. As far as actual value, that really depends on who you ask. In any improvement like a finished basement, there is the appraised value and the consumer value.
There are basically three types of finished basements. Each offers benefits and drawbacks. The type you choose depends on your home's existing structure, your needs, and how much you are willing to invest.
Generally, this offers the most value to buyers. They typically feature a ton of natural light. A true walk-out features a full-size door (often a slider) that exits to an outdoor space like a backyard or patio. This type of basement allows for full-size windows and more natural light. With a walk-out basement, the main floor is at street level in the front of the home, but elevated from the back, often with a porch or deck. In some markets, the MLS will count a walk-out as above-grade when calculating square footage, and the price per square foot.
This is the traditional basement. A Standard lot basement is underground with little natural light, typically from small window wells near the ceiling. A standard lot usually pushed the main level a few feet above the ground, so there may be a couple of steps to get from the main level to the backyard. Because of the lack of natural light, a standard lot basement is less attractive to buyers at resale.
This is the middle ground between a walk-out and a standard basement. A garden-level lot basement is partially above and partially below grade due to a sloping lot. A garden-level lot basement may have a combination of full-size, and window well windows but typically does not have a walk-out door to the backyard.
Much like any major remodeling, it is crucial to understand that you will only recoup a portion of your investment with a finished basement. The best course of action is to finish the basement for your family to enjoy, then when you sell down the road, recoup a portion of your investment.
Of course, there are plenty of buyers who are actively seeking homes with a finished basement. And in a competitive market, a nicely finished basement can help your home to really stand out.
According to Remodeling Magazine's Cost VS. Value Report, a mid-range basement remodel (meaning builders grade finishes) costs an average of $70,000 nationally and recoups about 70% on resale. However, it is important to understand that this can vary widely based on the region of the country. In the Pacific Northwest, for example, the average cost for a remodel is $84,000, but brings a return of 86.4%, compared to New England where the return is the lowest in the US at 52.8%, with a $76,500 cost.
If you're considering selling your home, you may be considering a basement remodel for resale or marketing purposes. In that case, understanding how a finished basement is appraised will give you a better idea of a finished basement's impact on your bottom line.
There are three key terms appraisers use to explain how they calculate value. They are:
An appraiser will start with a rough gauge based on the price per square foot in your home, and how much of your house is above-grade, versus below-grade. Below-grade space is approximately half of the above-grade price. So if the price per square foot is $150 in your location, your basement would add an additional $75 per square foot.
An appraiser will also run comps of similar homes in your area with finished basements to determine a final appraisal price for your home.
If you've already have a finished basement and it's time to sell, the good news is you'll enjoy a 50 – 70% return on your investment. If you're planning on staying put for a while, finishing your basement can give you several years of enjoyment for you and your family, and you'll still get the same 50-70% return on your investment.
If you have an unfinished basement, working with an experienced real estate professional can help you to navigate the waters in terms of the value and potential, along with what the market expects. It's also important to understand that a proper home inspection (very different than an appraisal) is extra important if you're a buyer considering a home with an unfinished or finished basement.
Structural issues and water damage can be hidden or easily go unnoticed in an unfinished basement, so even if the market is tight, and you're eager to snap up that great home before someone else does, don't neglect your due diligence!
If you love to travel, you've probably vacationed in some spectacular places that hold special memories. Perhaps the ocean views, exotic cuisine, relaxing atmosphere, or abundance of nature make you want to return again and again to this special place.