Top three: All time most viewed

Monday, May 17, 2010

Bathroom Remodels: 90% return on Investment! WOW!

The economy is showing signs of recovery. In fact, just last week, Retail Sales were reported up for the seventh straight month - thanks in large part to the 6.9% gain at hardware stores and garden centers. If you've been thinking about spending some money of your own at a hardware store for a project around the house but aren't sure you can justify spending the money, we've got two words for you - bathroom remodel.
Bathroom Remodels are a  good investment!

The Beauty of a Bathroom - You can live without a theater room or a home office, but any house worth buying must have at least one bathroom. This may seem obvious, but take a minute to think about it. Aside from the kitchen, there is no other room that's more utilitarian. The bathroom actually has multiple uses, possibly making it the most necessary room in the house.
Return on Investment - In terms of remodeling a home's bathroom, the returns can be staggering. While many home remodeling projects return only pennies on the dollar in terms of adding value to the home, some studies indicate a national average return of 90% or even more for mid-range bathroom remodels. While the amount of your return will certainly depend on many variables - it is one of the most desirable upgrades in a home, and brings amongst the highest returns.
The Options are Endless - When it comes to the particular upgrades for your bathroom, the options for luxury and function are many. There are two main factors to consider: what specific upgrades will enhance your life, and how much money can you afford to spend? The following are just a few ideas of awesome upgrades that also function as sound investments:
Make It Bigger. A major trend is to expand the size of the master bathroom. Adding space to this room is a wonderful luxury as well as a potentially huge selling point. An augmented master bath allows you, as well as any potential buyers, the ability to make other additions and upgrades.
Build for Two. One of the major issues for homeowners with only one bathroom, or couples sharing a master bath, is the inability for two people to use one bathroom simultaneously. If size permits, this problem can be alleviated with upgrades, like a double sink, a separate shower and tub, and a short wall to enclose the toilet area.
Add a Designer Touch. From tubs and toilets to fixtures and flooring, there is literally no end to the combinations of great looks. These types of improvements are relatively inexpensive in comparison to the dramatic upgrade they give to the look and feel of your bathroom. Walls can be repainted. Old counter tops can be replaced with granite or marble, and vinyl flooring can be upgraded to tile.
Invest in a Spa Experience. If luxury is what you're looking for, you may want to think about an oversized tub, either sunken or raised, with Jacuzzi capability. State-of-the-art showerheads can also be installed, giving you options like receiving a water massage or bathing under a rainfall. Tile floors, towel racks, and toilet seats with built-in heating elements can bring added warmth during the colder months. And don't forget the fog-free mirrors.

When it comes to updating the look and functionality of your bathroom, the sky is the limit. You could invest very little time and money by merely repainting the walls, changing out your fixtures, and doing a little decorating. You could also pull out all the stops and completely remodel an existing bathroom or even add one on.

The bottom line is that a great bathroom is something you will enjoy for as long as you own your home. It may also add to the home's overall value if and when you decide to sell in the future.

Loan Modifications: Pressure from Obama

When I borrowed money to buy my house, of course I expected the lender to just forgive part of my debt. (Ok, maybe not – why should I?) Pressure is mounting on loan servicers and investors to reduce troubled homeowners' loan balances, but Fannie and Freddie do not lower the principal on the loans they back, instead opting for interest rate reductions and term extensions when modifying loans. There is continued press about F&F being under more and more pressure by the Obama Administration to do principal write downs.

Are you the 58,252,719th richest person in the world?

You're richer than you think, I hope. “The Global Rich List” website ( generates a wealth ranking for its users based on their annual income. The median income in the United States in 2009 (half above, half below) was $52,000 and if that was your income you are the 58,252,719th richest person in the world (or in the top 0.97 percentile of all moneymakers). Poke, the owner of the site, assumes that the world's total population is 6 billion and the average worldwide annual income is $5,000.

When qualifying for a loan, if the borrower has less than $428/ month in other debt (over and above the proposed house payment of $1949 per month), with good credit (above 640), an income of $52,000 per year would qualify the borrower for a $311,000 sales price home with FHA financing at 5% fixed interest rate. Total House payment of $1949 per month would be 45% of gross income and total debt (house plus other debt) would be 54.9% of gross income.

The above analysis is based upon and issuance of a Automated Underwriting Approval. Call me for Mortgage questions and options.

Home Builder Sentiment up!

1:02 PM ET - Homebuilder sentiment rose in May to 22 from a 19 reading in April and was the highest level in more than 2 1/2 years. A reading below 50 indicates sales conditions are poor. The index has not been above 50 since April 2006.