#1 Unwind Above, Store Below
Do you already have a nice deck sitting a few feet off the ground? Take that unused space below and convert it into a good bit of out-of-sight storage with some trellis, or even enclose it with barn doors or a similar barrier for a bit more protection from the environment. This can be a great, simple and relatively inexpensive way to add more storage without increasing your home's footprint.
Don't have a deck? It might be worth considering as an addition to your home. Most decks recoup up to 80% of the initial cost when you sell.
This is a great option for items like pool equipment, folding chairs, yard games, coolers, etc. Keep in mind that while this option offers protection from the sun, it won't necessarily help to keep moisture out unless you add a ceiling under your deck and possibly a bit more of a barrier within the walls. If your deck lacks height: try storage drawers instead.
#2 A Built-In Within Your Fence
Kill two birds with one stone by building a fence that also doubles as outdoor storage space. Think of it as the outdoor version of an indoor wall with built-in storage. While this option might not work for every yard, it's still a great choice for some added security plus storage.
#3 Keep It Simple
Your outdoor storage space doesn't have to be elaborate. Some two-by-fours - or even wood pallets - and a few sheets of plywood can go a long way toward providing some extra much-needed space for items like bikes, firewood, yard tools and more. You may want to prime and paint the finished unit or add a couple coats of polyurethane for continued durability. Pressure treated lumber is a good choice, but not always necessary, depending upon your long term use.
Start by brainstorming on your needs and storage 'pain points', then consider what parts of your yard might be the most efficient and useful spot for your added storage space. With some creative 'out-of-the-box thinking', you can likely come up with a solution that fits within your budget and your home's existing footprint while still providing that extra bit of storage space we all seem to need more of.
You might think that features like an outdoor kitchen are luxury items, but they don't necessarily have to empty your wallet, and in most cases truly improve your home's value. According to the "2018 Remodeling Impact Report" from the National Association of REALTORS®. outdoor kitchens generally provide a 71% return on investment, — not to mention the pleasure you'll get from putting one to use.
The cost to build can certainly vary. Here are five outdoor kitchen concepts, compiled by HouseLogic.Com, fitting a range of budgets and homes.
#1 Limited On Space? Go Tiny!
When it comes down to it, all you really need is a place to cook, maybe a bit of storage space to accomodate your grilling tools, and a nice spot to enjoy your outdoor meal.
For as little as a few hundred bucks, you can put together a 'tiny space' complete with grill, oven, storage and dining area, if you already have outdoor electricity. If you have to bring in an electrician to run power to the area, that will add to the cost.
#2 Put The 'Kit' in Outdoor Kitchen
Starting around $1,500, modular kits like this one (brought to you by WWOO), can be customized to suit your backyard. Some providers even offer design assistance at an additional cost.
This high-walled galley-inspired layout also adds an extra bit of privacy. (While nice to have, the outdoor sink will require additional plumbing, increasing your price tag.)
#3 Industrial Strength Outdoor Kitchen
This L-shaped kitchen design was built by some DIY-savvy homeowners using concrete and cement board. Similar to indoor kitchen layouts, your guests can sip drinks at the counter as you (wo)man the grill.
If you've got the skills and the tools, you could build with just materials costs. Hiring a contractor to do the work could set you back by $14,000 or so (including an inset grill, steel drawers, ice chest, sink, and concrete countertop) according to the "Remodeling Impact Report."
#4 Build It With Style!
While there are as many outdoor kitchen styles as there are home designs, building your outdoor cooking space to match your home's aesthetic will get you the most Return On Investment in the long run. Check out this rustic set-up, matching the feel of the home, and giving ample storage space to boot.
#5 More Than Just A Kitchen, It's A Place To Relax And Unwind
Your outdoor kitchen can be just as much of a gathering spot as your indoor kitchen. Not to mention: The pergola and deck will likely increase your home's value at the same time.
Saving for a down payment is often the biggest hurdle for a first-time homebuyer. Depending on where you live, median income, median rents, and home prices all vary. So, we set out to find out how long it would take to save for a down payment in each state.
Using data from HUD, Census and Apartment List, we determined how long it would take, nationwide, for a first-time buyer to save enough money for a down payment on their dream home. There is a long-standing ‘rule’ that a household should not pay more than 28% of their income on their monthly housing expense.
By determining the percentage of income spent renting in each state, and the amount needed for a 10% down payment, we were able to establish how long (in years) it would take for an average resident to save enough money to buy a home of their own.
According to the data, residents in Kansas can save for a down payment the quickest, doing so in just over 1 year (1.12). Below is a map that was created using the data for each state:
What if you only needed to save 3%?
What if you were able to take advantage of one of Freddie Mac’s or Fannie Mae’s 3%-down programs? Suddenly, saving for a down payment no longer takes 2 to 5 years, but becomes possible in less than a year in most states, as shown on the map below.
The Bottom Line...
Whether you have just begun to save for a down payment or have been saving for years, you may be closer to your dream home than you think! Let’s get together to help you evaluate your ability to buy today.
Whether you are a first-time buyer or looking to move up to the home of your dreams, now is a great time to purchase a home. Here are three major reasons to buy today.
Many people focus solely on price when talking about home affordability. Since home prices have appreciated throughout the past year, they assume homes are less affordable. However, affordability is determined by three components:
Prices are up, but so are wages – and interest rates have recently dropped dramatically (see #2 below). As a result, the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) latest Affordability Index report revealed that homes are MORE affordable throughout the country today than they were a year ago.
“All four regions saw an increase in affordability from a year ago. The South had the biggest gain in affordability of 6.9%, followed by the West with a gain of 6.0%. The Midwest had an increase of 5.8%, followed by the Northeast with the smallest gain of 1.8%.”
2. Mortgage Interest Rates
Mortgage rates have dropped almost a full point after heading toward 5% last fall and early winter. Currently, they are below 4%.
Additionally, Fannie Mae recently predicted the average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage will be 3.7% in the second half of 2019. That compares to a 4.4% average rate in the first quarter and 4% in the second quarter.
With mortgage rates remaining near historic lows, Fannie Mae and others have increased their forecasts for housing appreciation for the rest of the year. If home price gains are about to re-accelerate, buying now rather than later makes financial sense.
3. Increase In Family Wealth
Homeownership has always been recognized as a sensational way to build long-term family wealth. A new report by ATTOM Data Solutions reveals:
“U.S. homeowners who sold in the second quarter of 2019 realized an average home price gain since purchase of $67,500, up from an average gain of $57,706 in Q1 2019 and up from an average gain of $60,100 in Q2 2018. The average home seller gain of $67,500 in Q2 2019 represented an average 33.9 percent return as a percentage of original purchase price.”
The longer you delay purchasing a home, the longer you are waiting to put the power of home equity to work for you.
The Bottom Line...
With affordability increasing, mortgage rates decreasing, and home values about to re-accelerate, it may be time to make a move. Let’s get together to determine if buying now makes sense for your family.
There are many financial benefits to homeownership, but probably none more important than its ability to create family wealth.
How Housing Matters is a joint project of the Urban Land Institute and the MacArthur Foundation. It is an online resource for research and information on how homeownership contributes to individual and community success.
Their article, The First Rung on the Ladder to Economic Opportunity Is Housing, explains the importance of homeownership to a family’s financial health. In that article, they simply stated:
This wealth is important to a family’s retirement plans. In a recent report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University titled, Housing America’s Older Adults 2018, they revealed that a renter 65 years old or older has a net worth of $6,710. Meanwhile, a homeowner 65+ years old has a net worth of $319,200. That huge difference will allow for a dramatic upgrade in one’s lifestyle during your retirement years.
The Bottom Line...
Homeownership builds wealth. This, in turn, allows families to have more and better options when it comes to their children and their life in retirement.