Looking At Actual Sales To Determine Home Improvement Value

Would it be helpful to have a few tips about return on investment for house repair/remodel projects related to future sales of your home? If you said yes, are not alone. It’s such a hot topic (and has been for many years). I’m going to link one article because it’s one of the few that actually mention that there are other factors regarding a sale price (not list price) for your home, besides what you’ve remodeled or enhanced. It’s from the HGTV websiteI caution everyone about trying to attach specific percentage values to upgrades. Yes, basic upgrades like a roof and furnace or upgraded electrical will almost always give you a percentage return on those upgrades. But they are not a guarantee of a certain price!  I’m only going to focus on a few things in this post.  Two things I know to be true, without assigning a percentage value to a home repair/improvement.

If your home is a resale with wood floors, I feel comfortable saying that shiny, clean wood floors are involved in the majority of home sales within the City of Cleveland. Younger buyers are not crazy about wall to wall carpeting and if they are looking at a 1920s Arts and Crafts style home, well they probably want wood floors. Of those 56 homes sold in my last post? 90% of them had floors like the ones in the above photo. They are refinished, clean and shiny. Yes, it may have cost $2500 (what I was told) to refinish the living room, foyer and dining room at the home in the photo but buyers might move on to another home to purchase, one that already has shiny wood floors, if you don’t do it.

An example of a house that sold for more than normal market value in 2017. This house sits on W. 122nd street. Maybe you’ve walked these blocks south of Lorain. To me, these blocks are fantastic. Pretty, well kept homes, yards, flowers.  Still, we’ve just come out of a recession, right? During that time, there weren’t a lot of homes sold.  The above house is special because it’s ‘energy efficient.’ So much so that it has  certification paperwork to prove it. Newer windows, HVAC, insulation, you name it. This makes the house much, much less expensive to operate per month. Lower heating and cooling bills. They DID open up one wall, 1/2 way. So you still did not lose the separation to the dining room but you can talk to people in there.

What’s unusual? Two other homes that sold on this street in 2017, one was a 3br 1 1/2 bath home for $33,500 and one was a 4 bedroom one bath home for $45,000. This house once went into foreclosure, the Land Bank (discussed in an earlier post on here!) took it over, a housing non-profit took it over and here it is. Also, remember how many bedrooms in the other two homes sold? This home has 2 bedrooms and one bath. The first two sales on W 122nd had about the same square footage, in the 1200 sq ft range. This home? 1,089. And yet it was listed at $99,000 and sold for $97,000. Cash deal? I don’t know but not necessarily because this house, via tax auditor’s info, is ‘tax’ valued to sell between $86,000 and $108,000.

Why the heck am I telling you all this? Because getting an energy efficient home is one thing you can do to garner more money When you sell it. Get it upgraded with an energy efficiency certification.

By the way, there is a true market for 2 bedroom one bath homes. (More reasonable than a 500 sq ft rolling tiny home, right?).  But this one’s true value is total upgrading and upgrading to a terrific energy savings level. Which by the way also gave this house a tax abatement (yes, you can get this for your home too) which still has 5 yrs ish to go on it. Currently paying around $400/yr on taxes. Plus the savings on utility bills. So on a  street where a normal, pretty or upgraded home might go for 65 to 79k, this house with really good amenities to offer to garner a sale price almost 20k more.

You will spend money to do the energy efficiency update, no question! But if you bought the house a long time ago and don’t have a mortgage on it, or if you bought it more recently at a below market rate price, I swear this is the way to go. And depending  where your home is located, a lack of  those first two things may not hinder you from making money on your sale.

I suggest everyone: check out an energy efficiency certified upgrade before you do any renovations on your home. It doesn’t cost you anything and gives you something to consider. Both for your own value (less taxes, utility bills) or a future buyer for your home.

Let me know if you have questions or would like me to preview your home to discuss the above suggestions further.

 

 

Yo Yo Ma’s Identifiable Community May Be The World of Music & The Cello But In Chicago It’s So Much More

Yo Yo Ma has played music all over the World. He makes a cello sound better than any other musician I’ve heard in my lifetime. For the last several years he’s been involved in community building in Chicago. Yes, this all started with him accepting a position through The Chicago Symphony. He became a creative consultant to work with schools, music programs and others to expose young people to the joys of classical music and playing an instrument. It became so much more than that (as if that wasn’t enough of a responsibility!)

How well liked is he in Chicago? Check out a recent article in Crain’s Chicago. It was titled Can Yo Yo Ma Save Chicago? He’s Certainly Trying.  A quote:

“I am particularly interested in this third of the country because I think that third has a deep soul, and the soul of the country in many ways stems from what happens here,” he says.

He’s working on revitalizing music programs in the city schools; he’s concerned and involved with programs to present alternatives to gun violence. He even reaches out to prisoners. By visiting with them and their families and playing music for them. How cool is that? He also does concerts as fundraisers for organizations that work with at risk youth.

Read the article and see just what community means to Yo Yo Ma. And if you get a chance to listen to his music, oh my goodness do not pass that up. Here is a two minute snippet from youtube.

 

Metroparks Towpath Tremont Entrance Is A Work of Art and History

I can’t remember exactly when this section of the Towpath opened. A month ago? I do know this past Thursday was my first chance to get there. Work was progressing in April when Steven Litt wrote about it.  The road winds past Sokolowski’s Inn and you find yourself at W 13th and University Road. The first thing you see is an expanse of iron bridges (the best thing about Cleveland, if you ask me, which you did not!). And when you peer over the edge, you see a beautiful array of native grasses and newer plants. The textures are wonderful. Walk down the path a bit till you get to the bridge underpass. The Cleveland Metroparks did a brilliant job. When I saw the sculptured design of walls of granite and brick my immediate thought was  how that truly represented Cleveland’s industrial history: Iron, granite quarrying and brick/masonry. Over the weekend I was hell bent on finding out about the design and who designed it, worked on it etc. Yes, I was that impressed. It turns out this industrial history is exactly what Metroparks designer Richard Kerber had in mind. The display walls, works of art, are literally enmeshed. Chicken wire style but a higher grade of metal is used. The photos give you an idea but it’s much more expansive and beautiful in person. You can do the Flats/Downtown/Tremont trail yourself. About 1.2 miles.

They’ve been planning and then working on this since 2014. The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) did a beautiful job with the construction. The other actors in this besides ODOT and Metroparks: Cuyahoga County and Canal Way PartnersBrowse their site and learn about the next (and maybe final?) stage of the Towpath completion. I can’t tell if ‘already completed 85 miles’ was before the 1.2 mile section was done, but close enough either way.  When totally done, it’s to be 110 miles.

I’m often complaining about the slowness or ineptness or lack of transparency regarding local bureaucracy and government and that won’t change. But The Cleveland Metroparks? I keep having reason to say to anyone who will listen, The Metroparks should just run everything around here. Kudos!

Are you out of state and planning a visit? A job induced move here? Are you a biker or hiker? Besides the above Towpath, This area has been known for the park system we call The Emerald Necklace. I don’t know when this site was last updated. It claims 61 continuous miles of biking. One of the longest routes in the state of Ohio. Ohio Bikeways website gives you some great information about biking, The Emerald Necklace included.

 

 

 

What Does Community Mean To You?

I read an article earlier this week that stayed with me, bouncing around in my brain, encouraging me to rehash my definition of community and   how others see it. How do you define it?

Veronica Harris plants the seeds, literally and figuratively, of micro community: on her street. She became active in the type of community I spend most of my time pondering: people who live in a specific place, bound by geography. She lives on a street in the Mt Pleasant neighborhood on Cleveland’s east side. If you are trying to acclimate yourself about where it is: Union Avenue is the main street that cuts through this neighborhood with Shaker Square a bit north, The Van Aken transit line bordering it, barely, on the north east, and the Cleveland Clinic to the north west. Veronica Harris kept pondering, apparently for years, about the vacant home across the street which was finally taken over by the Cuyahoga County Land Bank and demolished. She wove so many things into her plan: planting a garden but having her day care kids and other kids help. The neighbors helped. There is education involved about plants and growing and agriculture. It’s inter-generational.  You can read Veronica Harris’ story here. The entire wonderful story!

There are various opinions on housing demolition and land banks in our neck of the woods, which is our overall NE Ohio community.  Foreclosures and predatory lending left us with a boat load of vacant properties. Our population isn’t growing by much percentage wise although it hasn’t gone down in the last couple of years. Too many houses? Is the City too quick to want everything demolished? Is it better to do something else with that land?  In this case, land banking seems to have worked wonders. Rather, land banking helped the community work wonders.

Take Your Taste Buds To Cleveland’s Tremont Neighborhood This Sunday

Taste of Tremont

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Taste of Tremont

12noon-8pm

The 15th Annual Taste of Tremont street festival will take place on Sunday, July 16, 2017 from 12noon to 8pm. The street festival will be held in the heart of Tremont’s “restaurant district” and showcase the best of Tremont’s food, art and entertainment.  Professor Avenue will be blocked off, inclusive of commercial areas from Fairfield to Starkweather. The best part is that admission is free.
This year promises some exciting culinary “Tastes” so bring the family and enjoy a day of music, shopping and sampling the cuisines of all Tremon’t’s famous restaurants. Dining Al Fresco without the need of reservations!

 

Follow this link for directions to the neighborhood.

Historic Tremont Community and One of Her Painted Ladies

I toured a home on W. 14th Street and she was pretty spectacular! Maybe you remember the TV show Route 66? Apparently Robert Redford was here, at this house, filming an episode of the show. This was in 1961. This particular Painted Lady was here long before that, built by an attorney  around 1892.  Tremont is home to many grand old homes.  Industrialists & other professionals  were drawn to it’s location and decided to call it home. Probably true in other cities as well but in the Tremont neighborhood of Cleveland during that time, W. 14th housed all the company owners and many of the side streets housed the workers. It’s one of those neighborhoods where you can steep yourself in history, enjoy Lincoln Park (the heart of Tremont with a pool, farmers markets and many other festivals and art shows) or enjoy one of the eateries in the area.

This home has a boatload of historic amenities which I won’t go into on this post. Enough beautiful woodwork to line the walls of 3 small homes, pocket doors, leaded and stained glass, a modern but what I call an appropriately eclectic remodeled kitchen for a house of this age and style.  You can read all the listing details here. Be sure to check out that link because listing agent John has amazing photos, wait till you see the interior.  What stood out for me: the iron work. One example in (a first for me) a curved radiator (bottom left photo).  A bronze baluster light (unique to say the least!) plus intricate  iron work inside one of the many fireplaces (upper left photo).  Sometimes newly built homes can seem a bit cookie cutter, right? In older homes all over Cleveland it’s rare to see the same iron work or beveled glass or stained glass patterns twice.

The iron industry, as you can imagine, was a big deal in NE Ohio. Cleveland Iron Mining Company was around during the time this house, and many others like it, were built. Decorative iron works are one of the joys of these Victorian homes.

Maybe you are planning a move to start a job?  Tremont is about 3 minutes from Downtown Cleveland, 10 minutes to University Circle/Case Western Reserve/Cleveland Clinic. It’s about a 15 minute trip on the Rapid Transit or car to Hopkins Airport. Here is a link with more cool history about the area.  Civil War buff? Read about the Tremont Camp. And for a more up to date look at Tremont on the Web,  Tremont West Development Corporation’s site is a good way to get a feel for it. It’s a beautiful place in the City!

One last amazing fact about this W. 14th Painted Lady. Built over 120 years ago and only four owners !