Monthly Archives: January 2014

THE TOP 5 SIMPLE WAYS TO INCREASE YOUR HOME’S VALUE

#HomeValue #JimStriegel #realestate #grapevinerealtor www.JimStriegel.com

 

If you’re like most people, your home is the biggest financial investment you’ll ever make. Even small improvements to your home can equal big returns later when you are ready to sell.

Here are a few easy and (mostly) inexpensive ways to increase your home’s value and improve its marketability, whether you are looking to sell next week, next month or next year:

1. BathroomRemodeling is a great way to increase your home’s value, but chances are you do not have the time or money to remodel every room of your home. If you are going to remodel only one room in your house, the outdated bathroom is a good choice. And if you can’t completely remodel your bathroom, there are still small changes you can make on a small budget. Minor updates like getting new light fixtures, stripping old wallpaper and replacing your shower curtain can dramatically improve your bathroom’s overall appeal.

2. Go for Green. Energy efficiency is one thing that will never go out of style. Younger buyers are increasingly attracted to homes that are environmentally friendly and all buyers are intrigued by the prospect of low home energy bills. There are many ways to increase your home’s energy efficiency, including programmable thermostats and water-saving faucets.

If you aren’t planning to move for a while, you may want to plant a few tall trees in your yard. The shade provided by trees can actually decrease your home’s cooling costs by as much as 40% and can also help improve your home’s overall curb appeal. If you are in more of a hurry to sell, you can instantly improve your home’s energy efficiency by swapping your old windows for heat-trapping windows.

3. Kitchen. Right after your bathroom, your kitchen is the next most important room you can update. It is particularly important to make sure your cabinets look clean and polished, since they can strongly impact a buyer’s perception of the entire room. If you have a larger budget, consider replacing old cabinets with new ones. And if you are working on a smaller budget, a fresh coat of paint on your cabinets can make a world of difference.

4. Landscape. You’ve probably heard it before, but the curb appeal of your home is hugely important. If new buyers notice that your yard has been ignored, they may assume there are other aspects of your home that have been neglected. This might cause them to lose confidence in the value of your home.

5. Lighten Up. Good lighting in your home can make a big difference. It is especially important to invest in bright lights for smaller rooms in your home; bright lighting can make small rooms look more spacious. If you want to avoid a higher energy bill, a sun tube (a hole in your ceiling that funnels in natural light) can be a great way to brighten up a room without adding to your home energy costs.

Source:   Written by Stacey Waxman

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Dallas-Fort Worth and Texas employers plan to increase their hiring in early 2014

Dallas Adds More Jobs in 2014

 

Employers in Dallas-Fort Worth and across Texas expect to hire at a healthy pace in the first quarter of 2014 and faster than the national average, according to the Manpower Employment Outlook Survey.

The Texas employment outlook is the second best in the nation, after North Dakota.

Twenty-one percent of Texas companies surveyed plan to hire in early 2014, employees. Seventy-one percent expect no changes, 5 percent plan to cut jobs and 3 percent aren’t sure of their plans. That yields a 16 percent net employment outlook, compared with 15 percent at this time last year.

The outlook is even stronger for Dallas-Fort Worth, where 26 percent of companies plan to hire, according to the Manpower survey. In addition, 64 percent plan no changes, 7 percent plan to cut jobs and 3 percent are undecided. The area’s first-quarter net employment outlook is 19 percent, up from 12 percent a year earlier.

Employers’ hiring expectations for the first quarter of 2014 are “significantly more optimistic” than the 8 percent outlook for the current quarter, said Ron Griffin, Manpower’s regional vice president for Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston. The best job prospects in Dallas-Fort Worth for the first quarter appear to be in the construction, manufacturing, transportation and health care industries, he said.

Of the more than 18,000 U.S. employers surveyed, 17 percent told Manpower they plan to add employees. Seventy-three percent plan no changes, 7 percent expect to cut jobs and 3 percent are undecided. The nation’s net employment outlook is 13 percent. Only one state — Montana — has a negative outlook.

A separate survey by the National Association for Business Economics calls for the pace of the nation’s economic growth to accelerate in the current quarter through next year.

NABE’s Outlook Survey represents the consensus of 51 forecasters.

“While the federal government shutdown is likely to weigh on growth in the [current] quarter, the economy posted a surprisingly strong third-quarter performance,” said survey chairman Timothy Gill, deputy chief economist at the National Electrical Manufacturers Association. U.S. third-quarter real gross domestic product grew faster than expected to an upwardly revised 3.6 percent annualized rate.

The NABE panelists expect 2.1 percent economic growth this year and 2.8 percent in 2014.

“The U.S. economy is likely to experience some headwinds in 2014,” Gill said. “Most panelists believe that the Federal Reserve will begin to rein in its policy of quantitative easing in the first half of 2014 and that additional sequestration cuts will negatively affect economic growth.”

However, NABE’s forecasters expect U.S. employment and hourly wages to grow faster in 2014. Hourly wages are forecast to increase 2.4 percent, up from an estimated 1.8 percent this year.

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