The Importance of Home Maintenance

The Importance of Home Maintenance

We are excited to announce a new division of Stearns Design Build, Stearns Home-Care.

As remodelers, on a daily basis, we see the impact of a lack of maintenance. Often homeowners just don’t know how to do the maintenance. Other times they are busy professionals that don’t have time. The most troubling is when we see elderly people who just cannot keep up with it and have to leave their homes for assisted living sooner than they otherwise would.  We see the unnecessary expense and inconvenience that comes from poor maintenance.

Offering a Home-Care program for routine maintenance was a natural fit for us, as it highlights three of our four core values. Maintaining a home preserves its Quality. This is something we do as an act of Caring for our clients. We are committed to building and maintaining Relationships. We love getting to know our clients and their homes.  Our fourth core value is Honesty, which is transparent in everything that we do.

We know that your family home is your sanctuary and it’s a privilege and an honor to help take care of it.  

Kitchen Inventory

Kitchen Inventory

The thought of designing and enjoying a new kitchen is exciting! There are so many new materials and trends. The possibilities are endless. You can picture those new appliances, a back-splash just like the one you saw in Houzz or the counter top you saw on the Stearns Design Build page.

It is easy to get caught up in the glitz and lose sight of designing a kitchen to fit your life style and your stuff. It is not at all uncommon for customers of other design firms to get finished with their new kitchen and start to wonder where they will put everything. Of course, that is backwards.

It is best to consider where you are going to put everything as you begin design. That is the advantage of custom design – it allows you to design to the specifics of your life. It is exciting to design a kitchen that fits you like a glove.

Don’t forget to think ahead. Plan for what you have and what you think you will have in the future. If you had more pantry space, what would you put there?

To help you list your Kitchen inventory we provide the Kitchen Inventory Worksheet.

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Home remodeling in College Station and Bryan: Trending in your favor

 College Station home remodels are in your favor.

College Station home remodels are in your favor.

It’s a good time to be a homeowner in College Station and Bryan and a great time to consider remodeling a home you love. In the last blog, 9 QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF BEFORE REMODELING YOUR HOME, we outlined the major factors that influence decisions on whether to renovate a home or buy another.

Remodeling decisions may hinge on considerations that are more about the value of your home as a place—that perfect backyard oasis, a warm and welcoming neighborhood, and the great memories your house elicits—than about its value as an asset. However, homes are significant financial investments that require careful protection. As a homeowner, you will want to inspect your investment annually to avoid any degradation . You may also wish to reinvest in your home to keep it fresh and updated.

The good news: our local real estate market is in great health. It’s a great time to remodel and recoup a significant percentage of your costs.

Typical home values strong and getting stronger

Working with our friend Randal Allison, a Keller Williams real estate agent, we examined a few trends in College Station and Bryan for homes similar to the majority of our remodeling clients’. Those are homes:

  • Built between 1955 and 2005;
  • Valued at $250,000 or more;
  • That have at least three bedrooms and two baths; and
  • Are a minimum of 1,800 square feet.

We reviewed 2016 sales and found 220 homes in College Station and 56 homes in Bryan that fit the criteria. The average price of the College Station homes was $349,147 and averaged $309,721 for the Bryan homes. College Station averaged $130.85 per square foot with a maximum of $227.64 per square foot.

The current values for a few of our neighborhoods are below.

 Home trends occurring in College Station.

Home trends occurring in College Station.

Lowering price per square foot may mean lowering quality

Although these are interesting statistics and encouraging for homeowners, it’s important to keep the dollar figures in context. Price per square foot is the primary measure that most home-buyers use to evaluate a home purchase. This is a bad way to calculate value.

To get a home’s cost per square foot down, quality is compromised. A quality fixture or appliance will last longer, work better, and reduce operating costs when compared to “builder grade.” Quality options, not price per square foot, is where the real value in a home is found. If you amortize your investment over the next 10, 20 or even 30 years, you will find that an initial investment in quality work and products is much cheaper in the long run.

Price per square foot is also not very useful when considering remodeling. The price per square foot for remodeling a kitchen or bathroom with tile, cabinets, countertops, plumbing and extra electrical work is very different than the square foot price for remodeling a simple bedroom, for example. We invite you to read further on why we think using price per square foot (look up link) alone to calculate a home’s value is unwise.

 Great time to remodel in College Station and Bryan

Overall, the trends shared by our friend Randal Allison means that the homes of our typical College Station and Bryan remodeling clients are increasing in value. They are still very much sought after, making it a great time to consider remodeling and reinvesting in one of your largest assets. 

For more information to help you consider your next remodeling project, check out Remodeling Magazines Cost vs. Value for more information.

You Can Avoid a Home Buying Disaster

 Remodeling your home, in College Station, is a great way to avoid having to buy a new home in the first place.

Remodeling your home, in College Station, is a great way to avoid having to buy a new home in the first place.

American homes are poorly built and not made to last. I hate to say that. I don’t mean to be unpatriotic or negative. But it is time that we told the emperor that he is naked. It is important that we speak clearly and directly about this because it is costing homeowners a bundle, it is negatively impacting the environment and it is likely contributing to our declining economy. The good news is that when we understand quality design and quality construction most problems can be easily overcome.

A Bad Equation

The only equation for value that most home buyers have is price per square foot. This is a very simple and eloquent equation. Unfortunately, it is only good if you want to achieve low quality housing. The only two variables in this equation are the price of the house when it is purchased and the size of the house. It returns a result that invariably maximizes size and minimizes quality.  Neither of these are results that you are likely to want.

If low price per square foot is the goal, you either have to cut the cost of construction, increase the size of the house for that cost or, most often, both. Crucially missing from this equation is how well a home performs. For example, how much will it cost to operate? It does not make sense to buy a home without considering the total monthly cost to own the home. Yet American home buyers are discouraged from considering the actual cost of owning a home because it is much easier to sell homes by the cost per square foot. Some have likened buying a home by the price per square foot to buying a car by the price per pound. It just does not deliver a very meaningful measure of value.