Keeping Current Matters

National Association of Realtors

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Home Renovations That Can Hurt (and Help) Property Value

By Brooke Nally
If you’re into renovation projects, then updating and revamping your home can be a lot of fun. But before you get too excited about knocking down walls and setting up a custom movie room, you might want to consider resale value. Flashy renovations don’t always yield the best returns, so you’ll need to take care when picking projects.
To make things easier for you, here are four remodels to avoid and four to invest in.

Remodels to Avoid

Luxury RoomsAn indoor basketball court, wine cellar, sauna, or even a movie theater won’t often recoup the high building costs. Luxury add-on rooms are hard to pitch to buyers unless you’re living in an upscale housing market—the average homebuyer won’t be willing to pay for them. Further, rooms that depend heavily on wired electronics, like home theaters, are hard to keep current because TVs and speakers are constantly advancing.
Swimming PoolThe average cost to build a pool is $39,084, a hefty price tag that is seldom recovered once the home is sold. It’s widely accepted throughout the industry that a homeowner will lose money by adding a swimming pool. Homebuyers don’t want to deal with the maintenance cost of a pool (which can cost as much as $2,000 a year), the added insurance premiums, and—if they have young kids—the safety issues.

Gaudy Accents
Though gold-plated crown molding or mosaic-tile backsplashes may feature prominently in your ideal vision for your home, they often turn out to be the average homebuyer’s worst nightmare. Passing fads or niche trends rarely stick around long, so if you miss the brief window when your remodeling choices are in, you’ll end up paying for it later.
Changes Contrary to Area StandardsIf you aren’t watching the trends common to your area, you could end up losing a lot of money. A home that totals $600,000 after all the renovations won’t sell in a neighborhood where homes are netting half that price. Likewise, knocking down the walls of extra bedrooms for an open layout won’t be appealing in a family-oriented neighborhood.

Remodels that Pay

Steel Doors
You don’t want to go cheap on a standard front door. At roughly $1,000, steel doors are comparatively affordable, durable, low maintenance and burglar resistant. As an added bonus, the National Association of Realtors® reports that steel door upgrades show the highest return on investment of any home remodel, at over 100 percent of the cost.
Solar PanelsAs the price of solar panels continues to drop, the energy payback on installing them is becoming greater and greater. The average rooftop solar system is now paid off in seven and a half years. After that, panels are a big money-saving asset. A study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory notes that homebuyers “consistently have been willing to pay more for a property” with solar panels—a premium of around $4 per installed watt, on average.
New SidingThe exterior of your house is the first thing potential homebuyers see when they come to your home, and you want to make the best first impression. This is part of the reason redoing your siding is so profitable. New siding recoups around 80 percent of the initial cost, according to the National Association of Realtors®, thanks largely to the increased curb appeal and improved energy efficiency it provides.
Broadband Access
Access to broadband speeds is considered an essential utility for today’s connected homebuyer. Research shows that faster internet speeds increase your home value by as much as 3 percent. Homeowners can prepare their homes for higher broadband connectivity by working with area providers to install requisite equipment and wiring. Building out wall ports and cable-hiding baseboards is a good move to attract buyers, too.
Even if you’re not considering selling your home just yet, keep potential selling benefits in mind. Intrepid homeowners know that the best remodels will increase both quality of life and listing price, so take care to invest in projects that will net the biggest returns.

Nancy M. Alexander - Stone Harbor and Avalon NJ Real Estate

Monday, January 29, 2018

Is Your Home A Burglar Magnet?

The thought of a home break-in is terrifying, but are you doing everything you can to prevent one? You might be making critical mistakes that make your home a burglar magnet, or, at least failing to take advantage of easy fixes to make your home less attractive to thieves.
While break-ins have been declining over the past decade, "It's estimated that a home burglary occurs every 15 seconds in the United States," said "That means that during the 10 minutes it takes you to read this post, approximately 40 homes will have been burglarized." Taking a few steps now can help ensure you're not one of the unlucky ones.

Protecting your house during the day
"When someone breaks into your house, it's usually in the middle of the night - a masked, anonymous man swipes your jewelry before fleeing in an unmarked car. Right? Nope," said Architectural Digest. The publication quoted Dr. Joseph Kuhns, a professor of criminology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte who was part of a groundbreaking study on the effects of alarms on crime and criminal behavior. "Myths about burglars abound," he said. The reality is that one in four robberies involve a known associate or the homeowner or renter, many robberies take place during the afternoon - female robbers, and there are plenty, tend to prefer this time - and most often the victim's medicine cabinet is the real target. Most burglaries are drug-involved."
That means making sure a home is secure during the day is every bit as important as securing it at night.
Examining the exterior of your home by walking the perimeter and taking note of areas of concern is the first step. "The best way to protect your home from the outside is to survey it with the eyes of a burglar," said HomeAdvisor. "If you can easily tell that a window could be pried open, a thief will definitely be able to come to the same conclusion. You can even contact your local police department and they'll provide a courtesy home assessment that can help you identify your home's weak spots."

Leaving doors or windows open
The number of burglars who are able to access a home through a window or door that was left unlocked is disturbing. Making sure locks are strong and in good working order is key to protecting your place.
"Most burglars reported entering open windows or doors or forcing windows or doors open," said In fact, security experts estimate that almost 70% of burglars enter your home through a door. "Only about one in eight burglars reported picking locks or using a key that they had previously acquired to gain entry."

Upgrade your door
You can help make sure you're not one of the ones who comes home to a kicked-in door by making a smart upgrade. A solid wood door that can't be easily breached might just make someone turn around and move on to another home.

Get a deadbolt
New door or not, adding a deadbolt is a great deterrent for criminals. A Reddit post on the topic of home burglary asked thieves how to keep a home safe from theft. The consensus: The sight of a deadbolt will likely make a burglar choose another home. Other types of locks can be easily picked, and often it takes no more than the swipe of a credit card.

Change the locks
Did you change the locks when you moved in to your house? Whether you just took possession today or have lived in the home for a few years, getting a fresh new lock and set of keys is easy, and smart. You never know if there is a key floating around out there that could give someone immediate access to your place.

Don't hide a key
While we're talking about keys…that whole key under the rock thing isn't fooling anyone. It's time to cut that out.

Secure sliding doors
Sliding patio doors can be an open invitation to burglars because they typically create a simple forced entry opportunity. A curtain rod or pole cut to size and placed in the sliding track can keep the door from budging. This easy, budget-friendly tip can make the difference between a home that is an easy target and one that causes a criminal to look elsewhere.

A poorly lit yard
When the sun goes down, it's time time to apply another layer of protection to keep your home and your family safe, and lights are a great place to start. Not only will a good lighting system out front highlight your home and landscaping, but it will make it less likely that your home will be targeted. Motion sensor lighting is great, especially for darker areas, and newer products combine motion sensors with video playback.

Be smart about lighting
Just as you want your home to be well-lit to discourage a would-be burglar, you don't want it to be too lit at certain times. A home whose lights stay on all night long for a few days in a row is a tipoff to someone casing the neighborhood that the residents are probably on vacation. That makes your home a great candidate to be burglarized.

Trim those hedges
Tall hedges or other greenery close to the house can act as hiding places for burglars. If you do want landscaping up close to your house, HomeAdvisor suggest planting "thorny shrubs by your windows to make it not only difficult to break in, but painful!"
And don't forget about second-stories. A tree can be climbed for access to a window, so prune those branches!

Get to know your neighbors
You know when nosy neighbors can come in really handy? When they notice and alert you to questionable activity around your home. HomeAdvisor reports that, "Crime tends to be lower in tight-knit communities because neighbors are more likely to look out for each other and can easily spot a stranger. Your neighbors can be one of your best assets in home crime prevention because they offer extra eyes and an outside perspective. Plus, if they have a different work or school schedule from yours, they might be around during the day when you're away and can alert you to any suspicious activity that may occur in your absence."
If you're somewhat of an introvert and don't want to physically meet your neighbors, at least join Nextdoor to keep up with neighborhood happenings online. You might learn about a crime spree or suspicious individuals in your neighborhood to look out for.

Keep your plans to yourself
You may want to brag online about your European vacation and post pictures from every city on your month-long tour, but consider who's seeing or hearing what you're putting out there.
"Whether you announce your big vacation on Facebook or you and a friend discuss an upcoming business trip at a coffee shop, mentioning travel in public forums is dangerous," said A Secure Life. "In these types of situations, anyone could overhear you and know that your home is going to stand empty for a few days, creating the perfect opportunity to target your home. It's especially important to emphasize to children that when they mention outings innocently on their social networking pages, they are opening the door to strangers who might want to burglarize your home while you're out."

Get an alarm
If you're on the fence about the expense of an alarm system, consider this: According to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte study, "A majority of burglars considered the presence of deterrents such as alarms, outdoor cameras and other surveillance equipment when choosing a potential residential or commercial target," said "Approximately 83 percent of the offenders said they would attempt to determine if an alarm was present before attempting a burglary, and 60 percent said they would seek an alternative target. This was particularly true among the subset of burglars who were more likely to spend time deliberately and carefully planning a burglary."
A key piece of data from the study is the fact that, "Among those who discovered the presence of an alarm while attempting a burglary, half reported they would discontinue the attempt, while another 31 percent said they would sometimes retreat. Only 13 percent said they would always continue the attempt even after an alarm had been discovered."

Ge a security camera
The University of North Carolina at Charlotte study also found that video surveillance was a top choice for theft deterrent. "Nearly 60 percent of the burglars said they would consider the presence of cameras or other video equipment when selecting a target, and more than 40 percent said that would be a factor in prompting them to choose another target," said "You'll need indoor and/or outdoor security cameras with night vision and a decent hard drive to record a few days' worth of video. If you can't afford the real thing, fake cameras can also work as a good deterrent; just make sure they're quality fakes and not cheap plastic that thieves will easily identify as dummies."

Mind your porch
Package theft is one of the fastest-growing crime categories around. Home deliveries are tempting for would-be crooks looking to snatch your stuff. And, if thieves think you're an easy mark for stealing packages, they may come back for more, or get more aggressive about their tactics. You can eliminate this temptation by only scheduling deliveries for when you'll be home.

Written by Jaymi Naciri

Nancy M. Alexander - Stone Harbor and Avalon NJ Real Estate

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Defining Principal Residence: Its Your Home!

In order to take advantage of the up-to-$500,000 exclusion of gain (or up-to-$250,000 if you file a tax return as a single taxpayer) the house you sell has to be your "principal residence". Under most circumstances, we do not need a legal definition of this concept. "This is my house, and I have lived here for many years; what's the problem."

But as we all know, life is often not that simple. And, unfortunately, there is no definition provided in the Tax Code.

Even the Internal Revenue Service has admitted that "whether or not property is used by the taxpayer as his principal residence.... depends on all the facts and circumstances in each case, including the good faith of the taxpayer."

When you sell your home, there are different tax benefits available to you -- depending on whether your home was your principal residence. And the exclusion of gain provision for principal residences was not repealed or even amended in the new tax law that the President recently signed.

There have been very few court cases in which this concept has been defined. Basically, the answer given by the courts is the same as the IRS: we determine principal residence on a case-by-case basis.
There is no question that if you have been living in the same house for a number of years and consider it your principal home, it will be your "principal residence."

On the other hand, if you moved out of your house and have been renting it for some time, can you still claim the property as your "principal residence"? We must examine all the facts relating to your particular situation.

In its regulations, the IRS has stated that "the mere fact that property is, or has been, rented is not determinative that such property is not used by the taxpayer as his principal residence."

The IRS gives the following illustration: "if the taxpayer purchases his new residence before he sells his old residence, the fact that he temporarily rents out the new residence during the period before he vacates the old residence may not, in light of all of the facts and circumstances of the case, prevent the new residence from being considered as property used by the taxpayer as his principal residence."

In recent years, this has been a common practice -- and problem -- for homeowners all over the country. You buy a new home but find you cannot sell your old home as quickly as you would like -- or at the price you want and need. Rather than risk the financial burden of carrying two homes for a period of time, you decide to rent out either the old one or the new one for a little while.

The tax courts have consistently held that a taxpayer is not required to actually occupy the old residence on the date of its sale. Again, we have to look to the particular facts and circumstances. More importantly, we have to look to the good faith of the taxpayer.

If you can demonstrate that in good faith you tried to sell your old house but were unable to do so because of market conditions, there should be no question that your old home will still be considered your principal residence for tax purposes.

However, keep in mind that to benefit from the tax saving laws, there are statutory time limits that have to be honored in order to qualify for the exclusion of profit. Specifically, you have to have owned and used the home as your principle resident for two out of the last five years before sale. This is known as the "use and ownership test". So legally, you can rent it out for no more than three years. Neither the IRS nor the courts have authority to extend the time restrictions.

Why does it make a difference whether the house was or was not your principal residence. There are times when a homeowner would prefer to have the house considered as "investment" rather than principal residence. For example, if you have made a significant profit -- and even taking the up-to-$500,000 exclusion you still will have to pay a lot of money to the IRS -- you may want to consider doing an exchange under Section 1031 of the Internal Revenue Code -- and you can only exchange investments properties, not principal residences. Incidentally, the 1031 (Starker) exchange was also not changed nor amended by the new tax law.

All of these factors will play a role in determining the facts and circumstances of your particular case.
One tax case suggested that the important elements were abode and the intention of remaining. Neither bodily presence alone nor intention alone were sufficient to create a residence; the court required a combination of acts and intention.

Thus, there is no easy answer to the question. But keep in mind that the up-to-$500,000 (or $250,000) is an extremely important tax benefit -- especially for older Americans who want to downsize from the large family home. You certainly do not want to make a mistake and lose that benefit.

Written by Benny L. Kass

Nancy M. Alexander - Stone Harbor and Avalon NJ Real Estate

Friday, January 26, 2018

2018 Home Decor Trends: 6 Interior Design Ideas for Your Bedroom

By Erin Davis
Your bedroom should be the coziest place in your home—a personal getaway where you can relax, re-energize and be yourself. There’s nothing better than coming home after a long day to a luxurious, comfortable space.
We can expect some great bedroom design trends in 2018. With so many exciting, new ideas available, it’s the perfect time to re-evaluate your bedroom style and make sure you’re starting the year off in a space you love.
Tips for Transforming a Bedroom Into Your Personal Oasis
Before diving into the 2018 bedroom design trends, let’s take a moment and review some best practices for approaching a bedroom redesign or remodel.
Whether you tackle the process yourself or work with a design build firm, there are a few things you should consider.

  • How many changes do you want to make? Does your ideal bedroom simply involve updating your paint color or duvet cover? Or do you envision a new walk-in closet or larger windows? Think about what you want and prioritize these changes from most to least important.
  • The size of your bedroom. Compare your new ideas with the size of your space. Think about what may or may not be possible and if there are opportunities to restructure the space to fit your vision.
  • Your budget. While you can’t know the exact cost of your redesign without first getting an estimate, it will be helpful to get a handle on how much you want and are able to spend.
Thinking about the above three points is an excellent place to begin your bedroom remodeling plans. It will certainly help you identify which of the newest bedroom trends will be a good fit for your space.
2018 Bedroom Design Trends You’ll Love
Are you ready to dive into the bedroom design trends we expect to see in 2018? There are a range of exciting new ideas we’ll start to see in the bedroom and all throughout the home, but the following six trends are our personal favorites:
Moodier Palettes

Pantone recently released its color of the year. Any guesses on what it was?
The winner was “Ultra Violet,” or more specifically, Pantone 18-3838. This bold shade is said to be invigorating yet cozy. It will set the tone for many of the color choices of 2018, including in the bedroom.
Overall, moodier, jewel-tone colors will be popular. One aspect of this I’m most intrigued by is tone-on-tone jewel palettes. This trend features one main hue paired with another similarly graded tone within that scheme. For example, painting your trim work and walls the same color to create a cozy yet modern feeling that's incredibly interesting.
If you’re not feeling quite bold enough to spring for a dark, jewel-tone hue, consider using a calmer cousin color. For example, lavender is a nice watered-down version of Ultra Violet and has a softer, more feminine feel.
Brass Accent Pieces
Pairing brass accent pieces with jewel tones is a current trend. Many people are moving away from brushed silver and are replacing it with warm and subtle brass pieces.
There’s something unexpected about using brass in your bedroom; however, the brass tone is universal enough to be paired with a variety of colors and is especially beautiful alongside moodier palettes.
Some of my favorite ways I’ve seen brass incorporated into the bedroom include:
  • Light fixtures
  • Door or dresser knobs
  • Bed frames

Another design aesthetic that’s been catching fire is “Wabi-Sabi.” This is the Japanese art of finding beauty in imperfection. Within design, this means incorporating more handmade and natural items into your space, allowing for an organic vibe.
Here are some great ideas to help inspire the Wabi-Sabi aesthetic in your bedroom:
  • Use linens and humble materials. Try a linen duvet cover and leave the wrinkles. Remember, there’s beauty in imperfection! Choose materials that show their age, like wood, wool, clay, bamboo, leather and iron.
  • Showcase handmade items. This trend is a great opportunity to incorporate local artwork, handmade pottery or other handmade accent pieces.
  • Allow for natural, filtered light. Wabi-Sabi is against bright, harsh lighting. Instead, focus on incorporating soft, filtered light. For instance, gauzy window treatments can allow the perfect amount of soft lighting into your room.
Creative Storage Pieces

Your storage pieces no longer need to be just practical. Today, statement storage is a must. Showcase your beautiful storage pieces, anything from dressers and bookshelves to side tables and media consoles. These pieces can and should be creative and beautiful, and they add to your overall bedroom design.
Mid-Century Everything
Mid-century modern design has become popular over the last few years and will continue to be a go-to style for homeowners. Adding touches of this retro style is a great way to bring a trendy yet comfortable feeling into your space.
Some of my favorite mid-century design ideas for the bedroom include:
  • Dressers or nightstands on perched brass legs
  • Mid-century accent colors, including navy, red and orange
  • Large, floor-to-ceiling windows
  • Dark hardwood flooring
  • A fireplace
Bold Florals

Floral prints have always been popular, but this year we’ll see them veer away from being incredibly feminine and more toward giving off an interesting, funky vibe. Think contrasting colors and casual, bohemian styling.
There are many ways to incorporate this trend in your bedroom, whether through unique floral patterned chairs or cushions, or a cozy duvet cover. If you’re feeling especially wild, you can even add floral wallpaper to an accent wall.
Bring Your Vision to Life
In the midst of all these exciting new trends, remember that your bedroom should reflect your personality and be a place you enjoy spending time in. Whether you’re interested in completely remodeling your bedroom or just want to refresh the overall look and feel of your space on a budget, you can implement these 2018 trends and turn your bedroom into a space you love.
Erin Davis is lead designer at Mosaik Design & Remodeling in Portland, Ore. For more information and tips, visit

Nancy M. Alexander - Stone Harbor and Avalon NJ Real Estate

Cyber Crime: What Renters Should Watch For

Are you on the hunt for a rental? Ad boards, listing portals and vacation sites have made it easier than ever to find one—and easier than ever, regrettably, for scammers to strike. Common cons include:
False Identity
Cyber criminals are altering the contact information on existing online rental posts, changing the email and/or phone number and disseminating the "new" post on other websites. The goal? Applicants who contact them can then be roped into other schemes, including wire fraud.
Imaginary Listing
Fraudsters are also inventing listings that are not for rent or made-up (or, another variation: advertising a for-sale home as a rental). The intent is to obtain the applicant's information and/or money—the latter, generally, by asking for an application fee, first and last month's rent, a security deposit, etc., via money transfer.
'Priced to Rent'
Hackers are adapting advertisements, as well, by copying an existing listing and distributing it elsewhere with one modification: a new price. The advertised rent, typically, is considerably lower than market rate—an effort to generate the most interest, and, for the imposter, the most opportunities to scam.
What can you do to confirm the legitimacy of a rental? Here are a few steps you can take:
Avoid applying right away. With most rental searches happening online, the likelihood you'll be asked to complete a digital form is high. Criminals can, however, intercept the application, which may include personal or sensitive information. Protect yourself and take a tour in person (with a family member or friend, or your REALTOR®)—it's one more way to ensure it's genuine.
Compare costs. How does the rent shown online compare to others in the area? Ask your REALTOR® for guidance, or do some research yourself. If it appears excessive, the listing could be phony. (Pro tip: Get into this habit regardless—if it's not cyber crime, it could be a real-life rip-off.)
Get face-to-face. Fraudsters will often feign illness or other situations to prevent you from meeting them in person (e.g., "I'm out of the country/state," "I'm detained/in jail," "I'm in the military"). Some may even claim they have an associate, sometimes called an "agent" or "lawyer," who can meet you in their stead. If they're dodging you, don't fall for it.
Never pay upfront. If the person asks for any funds—any—before you've seen the rental and/or signed the lease, don't pay them. The most common red flags? Any exorbitant fee, for one, and also terms like "prepaid Visa card" or "Western Union." Ignore any request for a "money transfer" or "wire transfer"—these are signs of a thief.
Remember: Be alert and attentive when looking for a rental online. You can report scams to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at

by Suzanne De Vita

Nancy M. Alexander - Stone Harbor and Avalon NJ Real Estate

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Avalon and Stone Harbor NJ Weekly Update January 25th, 2018 #RealEstate

STONE HARBOR’S REASSESSMENT has been completed, and new assessments were mailed to property owners on January 22nd.  If you feel your valuation is too high, please call me.  I’ll run “comps” for your property and help you determine if an appeal is necessary. 

LOSING HIGBEE:  A juvenile male snowy owl being tracked by Project SNOWstorm, was sadly lost during the last snowstorm to hit Cape May County.  Higbee (named for Higbee Beach on Delaware Bay) had been tagged so his travels could be observed and recorded by Project SNOWstorm.  After the major snowstorm during the first week of January, Higbee was apparently struck and killed by a vehicle.  Researchers discovered his body in the marsh along Ocean Drive, south of Stone Harbor, near the bridge into North Wildwood.  Read about Project SNOWstorm and Higbee here:

Tired of winter?  Think Summer!  These PWC riders enjoyed a ride behind Avalon on a warm summer day!  Stone Harbor Boulevard is in the distance.

ANOTHER WELL-LOVED BIRD was lost here in Avalon—The Pudgie Pelican.  After becoming a local favorite for many years, The Pudgie Pelican closed its doors for good last month after the restaurant lost its lease.  The six-foot tall Pudgie Pelican that stood outside the restaurant’s door whenever it was open was donated by owner Ron Griffin to the Avalon History Center.  Stop by the History Center and visit Pudgie, who will be wearing his Eagles Jersey through the Super Bowl!

THE OCEAN WATER TEMPERATURE is a chilly 35 degrees.  A recent warmup that saw air temperatures in the mid-50s early in the week combined with cold water temperatures to form a layer of fog over the ocean. 

FLY, EAGLES, FLY!  Even non-football fans must be feeling the energy in the entire Philadelphia region as the Eagles soared to victory over the Vikings last Sunday!  Go Eagles!

  • Drop In Tech Workshop, Windows Computers & Android Smart Phones, Avalon Free Public Library, 5-6:30PMThursday, January 25
  • Drop In Tech Workshop, Apple Computers, iPads & iPhones, Avalon Free Public Library, 6:30-8PMThursday, January 25
  • The Wetlands Institute Covered Dish Supper featuring a guest speaker sharing important issues in environmental science & biology, admission fee & please bring a covered dish to share, 6-8PMFriday, January 26
  • Irish & Italian Genealogy Workshop, research with the help of Casey Zahn using library and online resources, register at 609-967-7155, Avalon Free Public Library, 1-3PMSaturday, January 27
  • Stone Harbor Mayor’s Wellness Campaign, information, activities & tools for healthier living, register at by January 29, or attend kick-off on February 1st at 5:30PM at the Stone Harbor Recreation Building, event occurs from Thursday, February 1-Thursday, March 29
  • Barber Shop Quartet Performance by the Cape Shore Chorus, Avalon History Center at 215-39th Street, 1-2PMSaturday, February 3
  • 15th Annual Friend in Need Super Bowl Bash XV fundraiser, door prizes, football, food & drink, The Princeton in Avalon, doors open at 4PMSunday, February 4
  • Genealogy Workshop, register at 609-967-7155, Avalon Free Public Library, 1-3PMSaturday, February 10
  • Big Band Dance featuring the Star Band, Avalon Community Hall, 7PMSaturday, February 10
  • 24th Annual Polar Bear Plunge Weekend in Sea Isle City, visit  for details, Saturday, February 17
  • Creative Writing, tips & feedback on poetry, memoirs, short stories, articles & books, register at 609-967-7155, Avalon Free Public Library. 10AM-NoonSaturday, February 17
  • Abraham Lincoln Presentation by author and professor Gerald McNeff, Avalon Free Public Library, 2-3PMSaturday, February 17
  • 3rd Saturday Comedy Event featuring Julian McCullough, Harbor Square Theater in Stone Harbor, doors open at 8PM, show begins at 9PMSaturday, February 17
  • The Wetlands Institute Covered Dish Supper featuring a guest speaker sharing important issues in environmental science & biology, admission fee & please bring a covered dish to share, 6-8PMFriday, February 23
  • Fallen Heroes Polar Bear Plunge in North Wildwood, visit for details, Saturday, February 24
  • Avalon’s Shop-A-Holics Event, designers, deals & drinks, Thursday, March 8-Saturday, March 10
  • Cape May Traditional Jazz Society presents the Midiri Brothers Traditional Jazz Concert, proceeds benefit the Food Bank of Southern Jersey, VFW Post #386, 419 Congress Street, Cape May2-4PMSunday, March 11
  • Pre-Stone Harbor Shiver Party, Yacht Club of Stone Harbor, 6PMFriday, March 16
  • Stone Harbor Shiver Polar Bear Plunge, register at Fred’s Tavern, 9:30AM, parade to beach followed by the plunge, 11AM-1PMSaturday, March 17

Featured Property:

Benjamin Harrison was President when this home was built in Avalon in the late 1800s!

1218 First Avenue, Avalon, $1,550,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 178591

New Listings:

212 33rd Street, Avalon, $450,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 179902

2778 Dune Drive, Avalon, $619,900, ACTIVE MLS#: 179918

259 22nd Street, Avalon, $775,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 179919

66 E. 20th Street, Avalon, $779,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 179905

309 99th Street, Stone Harbor, $949,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 179908

226 108th Street, Stone Harbor, $2,995,000, ACTIVE MLS#: 179907

Properties Sold:

7929 Dune Drive, Avalon, $350,000, SOLD MLS#: 174415

312 88th Street, Stone Harbor, $432,000, SOLD MLS#: 178025

231 25th Street, Avalon, $720,000, SOLD MLS#: 179174

560 24th Street, Avalon, $1,295,000, SOLD MLS#: 175623

330 87th St #1, Stone Harbor, $1,625,000, SOLD MLS#: 177209

423 104th Street, Stone Harbor, $1,680,000, SOLD MLS#: 175087

Nancy M. Alexander - Stone Harbor and Avalon NJ Real Estate

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Cost vs. Value: The Home Improvement Projects With the Highest ROI in 2018

A strong housing market isn't necessarily all good news for sellers. As evidenced by Remodeling magazine's newly-released Cost vs. Value Report for 2018, average return on investment (ROI) for home improvement projects dipped across the board, with "upscale" projects taking the biggest hit.
The report, which measures the average cost of 21 popular remodeling projects and their average resale value one year later, found that garage door replacement has the highest ROI at 98.3 percent (up from 85 percent year-over-year). Backyard patio jobs garner the lowest ROI, at 47.6 percent (down from 54.9 percent year-over-year).
The reason for the sweeping decrease in ROI isn't immediately obvious, but Remodeling magazine's editor-in-chief (and manager of the report) Craig Webb notes that it's likely related to the strength of the housing market currently.
"It's not clear affordability concerns are leading (real estate) pros to question the value of renovations that would make a house even more expensive at resale," says Webb.
However, a silver lining from the report relates to when the data was compiled. Remodeling magazine put all the cost information together before the country was struck with several natural disasters, including massive forest fires and several hurricanes. Since then, building supplies and the price of skilled labor has increased, but that's expected to change over the course of 2018. As a result, expect to see the ROI of most of these projects level out by the end of the year.
Despite these events, some longtime trends continued through the new year. Remodeling is still far more cost-effective than replacement, but, according to real estate pros, replacing is still the way to go. This year, there's a 20-point difference in ROI: 76.1 percent for replacement jobs, versus 56 percent for remodeling.
Nationally, when it comes to renovation ROI, curb appeal still wins out. Here are the top five projects with the greatest ROI in the report's "midrange" cost category:
Manufactured Stone Veneer (97.1% ROI)
  • Average Cost: $8,221
  • Average Resale Value: $7,986
Entry Door Replacement (Steel) (91.3% ROI)
  • Average Cost: $1,471
  • Average Resale Value: $1,344
Deck Addition (Wood) (82.8% ROI)
  • Average Cost: $10,950
  • Average Resale Value: $9,065
Minor Kitchen Remodel (81.1% ROI)
  • Average Cost: $21,198
  • Average Resale Value: $17,193
Siding Replacement (76.7% ROI)
  • Average Cost: $15,072
  • Average Resale Value: $11,554
The top five projects with the greatest ROI in the report's "upscale" cost category are:
Garage Door Replacement (98.3% ROI)
  • Average Cost: $3,470
  • Average Resale Value: $3,411
Window Replacement (Vinyl) (74.3% ROI)
  • Average Cost: $15,955
  • Average Resale Value: $11,855
Window Replacement (Wood) (69.5% ROI)
  • Average Cost: $19,391
  • Average Resale Value: $13,468
Grand Entrance (Fiberglass) (67.6% ROI)
  • Average Cost: $8,591
  • Average Resale Value: $5,809
Bathroom Remodel (56.2% ROI)
  • Average Cost: $61,662
  • Average Resale Value: $34,633
Nationally—and on the complete other end of the spectrum—here are the five projects with the lowest ROI in the "midrange" cost category:
Backyard Patio (47.6% ROI)
  • Average Cost: $54,130
  • Average Resale Value: $25,769
Master Suite Addition (56.6% ROI)
  • Average Cost: $123,420
  • Average Resale Value: $69,807
Major Kitchen Remodel (59% ROI)
  • Average Cost: $63,829
  • Average Resale Value: $37,637
Bathroom Addition (59.9% ROI)
  • Average Cost: $44,717
  • Average Resale Value: $26,769
Deck Addition (Composite) (63.6% ROI)
  • Average Cost: $17,668
  • Average Resale Value: $11,239
The five projects with the lowest ROI in the "upscale" cost category are:
Master Suite Addition (48.3% ROI)
  • Average Cost: $256,229
  • Average Resale Value: $123,797
Major Kitchen Remodel (53.5% ROI)
  • Average Cost: $125,721
  • Average Resale Value: $67,212
Bathroom Addition (54.6% ROI)
  • Average Cost: $83,869
  • Average Resale Value: $45,752
Bathroom Remodel (56.2% ROI)
  • Average Cost: $61,662
  • Average Resale Value: $34,633
Grand Entrance (Fiberglass) (67.6% ROI)
  • Average Cost: $8,591
  • Average Resale Value: $5,809
The 2018 Cost vs. Value Report compares, across 149 markets, the average cost of 21 popular remodeling projects with their average value at resale one year later. Average resale value is calculated based on estimates provided by real estate professionals. View the full report, including project descriptions and city-level data, here.
by Jameson Doris

Nancy M. Alexander - Stone Harbor and Avalon NJ Real Estate