Mar
20

Downtown Phoenix’s Central Corridor Real Estate Heats Up!

By · Comments Comments Off on Downtown Phoenix’s Central Corridor Real Estate Heats Up!

 

When Michael Hauer decided to buy a home, the 25-year-old looked for something with architectural flair close to his midtown-Phoenix office.

 In December, he chose a 734-square-foot condo in One Lexington, a high-rise on Central and Lexington avenues.

Once called Century Plaza, the steel-and-glass former commercial building went through bankruptcy during the housing collapse, and the new owner cut condo prices by about half.

Less than a year after One Lexington restarted sales, more than 70 percent of its 145 units are sold or under contract.

Hauer thinks his new home is a good investment at $181,950 plus a $299 monthly HOA fee (based on his unit's square footage), which he'll start paying at the end of the year.

Such luxury-condo developments, meant to capture buyers wanting an urban lifestyle with access to Metro light rail and Phoenix's burgeoning restaurant and nightlife scene, are showing signs of life after the housing crisis sent several such properties into bankruptcy.

 

Dennis Kolodin, a Phoenix broker who specializes in urban properties and lives in a midtown-Phoenix high-rise, said he's starting to see an uptick in interest for high-rise and urban-living options.

"The urban-condo market in Phoenix is relatively small and relatively new," he said. As the economy picks up, he says, "it seems like some major pieces are now in place for development to continue along light rail and in downtown Phoenix."

Mini urban mansions

Just down the road from One Lexington at Central Avenue and Palm Lane (just north of the Phoenix Art Museum) is another luxury development that went through months of financial turmoil but is back on the market under new ownership.

 Chateau on Central is a development of 21 luxury townhomes that looks like miniature brick castles, complete with turrets. These Queen Anne Victorian-style townhomes boast 5,200 square feet of living space or more on five floors.

 

The homes went on the market for $1.389 million to $2.459 million in December (plus a $575 monthly HOA fee), when the new developers unveiled two model homes decorated by the Scottsdale design firm Est Est.

None of the units has sold yet.

 

Prices are about half of the townhomes' original asking price of $2.8 million to $4.5 million in 2007.

MSI West Investments bought the 21-townhouse development for $7 million last year after its financer, Mortgages Ltd., declared bankruptcy.

 

Each home has four floors plus a basement, a private four-person elevator, a two-car garage, a top-floor terrace and balconies.

 

There are no shared community amenities, such as gyms, swimming pools or cigar clubs, at Chateau. Joe Morales, a real-estate agent with Arizona Great Estates-Realty One Group, said that's because luxury buyers prize privacy over shared spaces. All the townhomes are zoned as work/live spaces, so buyers could set up professional offices in the basement or on the first floor.

 

Morales said he may seek a light-commercial buyer, such as a high-end restaurant or law firm, for the largest townhome: an 8,252-square-foot corner property on Central Avenue, currently listed at $2.459 million.

Sell vs. rent

One Lexington and Chateau on Central are bucking a trend. Other developers are putting rental signs on luxury and high-rise urban properties built during the height of the market and meant to sell as luxury condos. The 44 Monroe building in downtown Phoenix and West Sixth, formerly called Centerpoint in Tempe, are two such properties whose units will be leased rather than sold.

   

For Hauer, an architect in training with Gabor Lorant Architects, the clean lines of the contemporary One Lexington building won out over some older downtown high-rise properties he considered.

Remaining units at One Lexington (owned by the Macdonald Development Corp.) range from $165,400 to $981,900 for a two-story, 2,846-square-foot penthouse.

 

"The finishes were a big part of it," Hauer said, listing the Caesarstone countertops, stainless-steel Bosch appliances, bamboo floors and modern kitchen cabinetry.

The building's amenities include a pool, gym, community room, parking and a small dog run, which comes in handy for Hauer's longhaired Chihuahua, Margarita.

 

Hauer said he also enjoys sitting on his small 14th-floor balcony, looking north over the stunning midtown Phoenix skyline and the distant mountains, reading his iPad.

"That's the icing on the cake," he said.

Comments Comments Off on Downtown Phoenix’s Central Corridor Real Estate Heats Up!
Mar
20

Ten Ways to Sell Your Home Quickly

By · Comments Comments Off on Ten Ways to Sell Your Home Quickly

My first suggestion is to deep-clean the house and "make it sparkle!" Here are a few more tricks of the trade to help you get the most for your money.

 

 

  

 

  •  If your master bedroom looks drab, add new linens, pillows, and shams to spice it up the bedroom and add a little color.
  •   Buy a bright colored shower curtain and rug to perk up a dull bathroom.
  •  Re-grout if your bathroom grout is chipped or discolored.
  • Eliminate clutter. Remove photos, knickknacks, refrigerator magnets
  • Organize your cabinets and closets.
  •  Clear off kitchen and bathroom counter tops. Put away appliances.
  •  Arrange your furniture so it focuses on your home's strongest feature (it may be a view, a garden, flowers, or a painting).
  • Remove excess furniture.
  • Create a "model home" look, clean, attractive with well-place items.
  •  Dress up your rooms with attractive area rugs and framed prints.
  • Install new light fixtures if they're damaged or unappealing.
  •  Paint your walls in neutral tones. Paint the front door if needed.
  •  Trim bushes and make sure the outside landscaping is neat and clean.
Comments Comments Off on Ten Ways to Sell Your Home Quickly
Mar
20

Central Corridor Condo Market Shows Signs of Revival

By · Comments Comments Off on Central Corridor Condo Market Shows Signs of Revival

 

When Michael Hauer decided to buy a home, the 25-year-old looked for something with architectural flair close to his midtown-Phoenix office.

 In December, he chose a 734-square-foot condo in One Lexington, a high-rise on Central and Lexington avenues.

Once called Century Plaza, the steel-and-glass former commercial building went through bankruptcy during the housing collapse, and the new owner cut condo prices by about half.

Less than a year after One Lexington restarted sales, more than 70 percent of its 145 units are sold or under contract.

Hauer thinks his new home is a good investment at $181,950 plus a $299 monthly HOA fee (based on his unit's square footage), which he'll start paying at the end of the year.

Such luxury-condo developments, meant to capture buyers wanting an urban lifestyle with access to Metro light rail and Phoenix's burgeoning restaurant and nightlife scene, are showing signs of life after the housing crisis sent several such properties into bankruptcy.

 

Dennis Kolodin, a Phoenix broker who specializes in urban properties and lives in a midtown-Phoenix high-rise, said he's starting to see an uptick in interest for high-rise and urban-living options.

"The urban-condo market in Phoenix is relatively small and relatively new," he said. As the economy picks up, he says, "it seems like some major pieces are now in place for development to continue along light rail and in downtown Phoenix."

Mini urban mansions

Just down the road from One Lexington at Central Avenue and Palm Lane (just north of the Phoenix Art Museum) is another luxury development that went through months of financial turmoil but is back on the market under new ownership.

 

Chateau on Central is a development of 21 luxury townhomes that looks like miniature brick castles, complete with turrets. These Queen Anne Victorian-style townhomes boast 5,200 square feet of living space or more on five floors.

slideshow Chateau on Central

 

The homes went on the market for $1.389 million to $2.459 million in December (plus a $575 monthly HOA fee), when the new developers unveiled two model homes decorated by the Scottsdale design firm Est Est.

None of the units has sold yet.

 

Prices are about half of the townhomes' original asking price of $2.8 million to $4.5 million in 2007.

MSI West Investments bought the 21-townhouse development for $7 million last year after its financer, Mortgages Ltd., declared bankruptcy.

 

Each home has four floors plus a basement, a private four-person elevator, a two-car garage, a top-floor terrace and balconies.

 

There are no shared community amenities, such as gyms, swimming pools or cigar clubs, at Chateau. Joe Morales, a real-estate agent with Arizona Great Estates-Realty One Group, said that's because luxury buyers prize privacy over shared spaces. All the townhomes are zoned as work/live spaces, so buyers could set up professional offices in the basement or on the first floor.

 

Morales said he may seek a light-commercial buyer, such as a high-end restaurant or law firm, for the largest townhome: an 8,252-square-foot corner property on Central Avenue, currently listed at $2.459 million.

Sell vs. rent

One Lexington and Chateau on Central are bucking a trend. Other developers are putting rental signs on luxury and high-rise urban properties built during the height of the market and meant to sell as luxury condos. The 44 Monroe building in downtown Phoenix and West Sixth, formerly called Centerpoint in Tempe, are two such properties whose units will be leased rather than sold.

 

Two years ago, Daly, the Phoenix broker, conducted bus tours, taking dozens of urban-living enthusiasts to see high-rises and new condo developments around the Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tempe city centers. The economy put many of those developments, and his tours, on hiatus.

 

Today, Daly said he's getting more inquiries from out-of-towners looking for investment properties and second homes. And Valley residents are asking when his tours will resume.

 

"Right now, it's just a matter of time and energy," he said. "I think we'll be firing them up again in the next two to three months."

 

For Hauer, an architect in training with Gabor Lorant Architects, the clean lines of the contemporary One Lexington building won out over some older downtown high-rise properties he considered.

Remaining units at One Lexington (owned by the Macdonald Development Corp.) range from $165,400 to $981,900 for a two-story, 2,846-square-foot penthouse.

 

"The finishes were a big part of it," Hauer said, listing the Caesarstone countertops, stainless-steel Bosch appliances, bamboo floors and modern kitchen cabinetry.

The building's amenities include a pool, gym, community room, parking and a small dog run, which comes in handy for Hauer's longhaired Chihuahua, Margarita.

 

Hauer said he also enjoys sitting on his small 14th-floor balcony, looking north over the stunning midtown Phoenix skyline and the distant mountains, reading his iPad.

"That's the icing on the cake," he said.

 

 

 

 

 

Read more: http://www.azcentral.com/style/hfe/articles/2011/03/10/20110310high-rise-living-central.html#ixzz1GWLu5UTb

 

 

 

 

Comments Comments Off on Central Corridor Condo Market Shows Signs of Revival
Mar
14

SPUR CROSS STABLE: Horseback Riding in Cave Creek

By · Comments Comments Off on SPUR CROSS STABLE: Horseback Riding in Cave Creek

 

My family and I had the privilege to experience the wonderous Sonoran desert in Cave Creek, Arizona. Spur Cross Stable has some of the nicest horses in Arizona and it was pleasure to view the landscape on these beasts.

Here is their information found on their website. Prices start at $77 for two people for an hour ride. It's worth it!

  Phoenix, Arizona horseback riding in Cave Creek is at Spur Cross Stables – horseback riding stables providing horse trail riding for Phoenix, Scottsdale and Cave Creek.

Arizona horseback riding is our specialty, so come on out and treat yourself and your family to the Phoenix horseback riding vacation of your dreams in the Tonto National Forest.

Our Cave Creek horseback riding ranch is located on the site of an 1870 gold mine, so it’s rich in the history of this area.

 

Click here to make a reservation!

Our horse trail riding guided tours can be tailored specifically to fit your Arizona horseback riding needs, from 1 hour to a full day.

 

Design your own private ride or group ride, exploring natural wonders on our six Trailblazer Rides, with Cave Creek horseback riding journeys that include the 1) Native American Ruins Trail Ride, 2) Petroglyphs Trail Ride, 3) Seven Springs Trail Ride, 4) Stagecoach Stop Trail Ride,  5) Crested Headed Saguaro Trail Ride.

 

Go Arizona horseback riding early in the cool morning air, or later in the day to enjoy the sunset. Our friendly, experienced cowgirls and cowboys will mount you up on one of our 50 beautiful, gentle trail riding horses, many of which are rescues.

 

There’s plenty of time on this casual ride for pictures as our guides lead you through the towering Saguaro cactus, Prickly Pear and many other desert plants, shrubs and cacti.

    

 

Click here for detailed descriptions of our Trailblazer Rides.

Before your Arizona horseback riding experience at Spur Cross Stables, we take the time to introduce you to your horse, including all the tips you need to know on how to direct it throughout your Phoenix horseback riding journey.

 

So even if horse trail riding is new to you, you’ll feel comfortable and confident on your Phoenix, Cave Creek and Scottsdale horseback riding experience.

 

When you arrive here for Arizona horseback riding, be sure to say “Hi” to Sugar, Smokey and Primo our miniature horses, then enjoy feeding a cracker or carrot to one of our many small animals at this Phoenix horseback riding ranch.

 

 Meet Sally our mini Dexter cow, Gilbert and Norman our male pot-bellied pigs, Roscoe the mini donkey, and his buddies Jake and Lookout. And don’t miss Jack, our old pygmy goat.

 

Click Here for related articles

Of course, the best animal friend you’ll make during your Arizona horseback riding visit is the horse you’ll be riding, who you’ll be able to thank for the experience with a treat you can give them at the end of the ride.

 

Minimum age for horse trail riding at Spur Cross Stables is 6 years old, however we can accommodate younger ages in our Lil’ Buckaroos program for children who are not ready to ride alone on our Cave Creek horseback riding trails.

 

For more information, Log on to http://www.horsebackarizona.com

 

 

Comments Comments Off on SPUR CROSS STABLE: Horseback Riding in Cave Creek
Mar
12

The Phoenix Art Museum Culinary Festival: Devoured

By · Comments Comments Off on The Phoenix Art Museum Culinary Festival: Devoured

Devoured is an annual culinary event hosted by the Phoenix Art Museum,Local First Arizona and R Entertainment Co. to promote Arizona producers and purveyours of fine food and drink. They are devoted in their quest to making metro Phoenix an international dining destination.

Devoured is open to purveyors who support Arizona food, wine, and restaurant industries.  The event fosters lively food experiences and presents innovative culinary demonstrations along with showcasing local artisans, farms, food producers, and vintners.

In addition to enjoying the best food and wind Phoenix has to offer, Devoured guests receive general admission to the Phoenix Art Museum, the Southwest's premier destination for world class visual arts.

For more information, http://www.phxart.org/devoured/

 

Categories : Uncategorized
Comments Comments Off on The Phoenix Art Museum Culinary Festival: Devoured
Feb
07

Low Cost Ways to Fix Your Home for Sale

By · Comments Comments Off on Low Cost Ways to Fix Your Home for Sale

Real Estate Corner…

Q. We’ve purchased a new house, and are selling our existing home. We don’t have a lot of money to fix up our existing home before selling it. Do you have any inexpensive suggestions?

 

A: The typical realtor response is, “floors and paint” but there are several other low cost things that you can do.

 

 

 

  •  Deep-clean the house and “make it sparkle

 

  •  If your master bedroom looks drab, add new linens, pillows, and shams to spice up the bedroom and add a little color.

 

  • Buy a bright colored shower curtain and rug to perk up a dull bathroom.

 

  • Re-grout if your bathroom grout is chipped or discolored.

 

  • Eliminate clutter. Remove photos, knickknacks, refrigerator magnets and other personal items.

 

  • Organize your cabinets and closets.

 

  • Clear off kitchen and bathroom counter tops. Put away appliances.

 

  • Arrange your furniture so it focuses on your home’s strongest feature (it may be a view, a garden, flowers, or a painting).

 

  • Remove excess furniture.

 

  • Create a “model home” look, clean, attractive with well-place items.

 

  • Dress up your rooms with attractive area rugs and framed prints.

 

  •  Install new light fixtures if they’re damaged or unappealing.

 

  • Paint your walls in neutral tones. Paint the front door if needed.

 

  • Trim bushes and make sure the outside landscaping is neat and clean.

 

  • If you are in the market for a buying or selling a home and need competant and caring representation, contact us at 602.315.9292 or Info@MetroRealtyphx.com.
Jan
23

Three Quick Ways to Improve Your Credit

By · Comments Comments Off on Three Quick Ways to Improve Your Credit

 

Yes, there are ways to improve your credit but before you do, please ask the opinion of your financial adviser.These tips come from a local company, Andorra Credit Repair. If you want more information on how to improve your credit, log on to www.AndorraCreditRepair.com

 

  • FICO, Who Cares…? A poor FICO score means paying higher interest rates on everything from mortgage rates, auto financing to department store credit cards. It's all in the numbers. Over thirty years on a $150,000 mortgage, you will save an extra $70,000 by paying an extra 2% on your mortgage. That's almost $200 per month for thirty years!

 

  •  Did you know… The three major credit bureaus have no responsibility of verifying any information that goes o to your credit report. That's right! Inaccurate, erroneous and unverifiable items can be added without your knowledge. Contact the credit bureau if this should happen to you.

 

  • Is it a good idea to pay off old Collections and Charged Off accounts?
    If you pay off a Collection account that has been on the credit report for 5 years (it will fall off by itself in two years whether you pay it or not) you will update the DLA (date of last activity) and it will stay on your credit for an additional 7 years. This generally will lower your credit score for the short term.
    However, if you pay off a Collection or Charge Off account that is 12-24 months old you can dramatically improve the credit score.

For any real estate questions, please contact us at 602.687.9933 or Info@MetroRealtyphx.com .

 

Jan
11

NACA:Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America: Reducing your Mortgage Payment

By · Comments Comments Off on NACA:Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America: Reducing your Mortgage Payment

 

A couple of people that we know have had success with this program. It may not be for everyone. With any program like this, please seek the advise of your financial planner, attorney, or other professional having to do with these kinds of matters.

 

From their website: www.naca.com

Click here for their video

The Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America ("NACA") is a non-profit, community advocacy and homeownership organization. NACA’s primary goal is to build strong, healthy neighborhoods in urban and rural areas nationwide through affordable homeownership. NACA has made the dream of homeownership a reality for thousands of working people by counseling them honestly and effectively, enabling even those with poor credit to purchase a home or refinance a predatory loan with far better terms than those provided even in the prime market.

Investing in working people

The NACA homeownership program is our answer to the huge subprime and predatory lending industry. NACA has conclusively shown that when working people get the benefit of a prime rate loan, they can resolve their financial problems, make their mortgage payments and become prime borrowers. NACA’s track record of helping people who have credit problems become homeowners or refinance out of a predatory loan debunks the myth that high rates and fees are necessary to compensate for their "credit risk."

Started in 1988, NACA has a tremendous track record of successful advocacy against predatory and discriminatory lenders as well as providing the best mortgage program in America with $10 billion in funding commitments. NACA is the largest housing services organization in the country and is rapidly expanding by growing its existing 30+ offices, headquartered in Boston, MA, opening many new offices nationwide, and expanding the services it offers its membership. NACA’s confrontational community organizing and unprecedented mortgage program have set the national standard for assisting low- and moderate-income people to achieve the dream of homeownership.

NACA – America’s Best Mortgage Program
The incredible NACA mortgage allows NACA Members to purchase or refinance homes with:

  • no down payment,
  • no closing costs,
  • no fees,
  • no requirement for perfect credit,
  • and at a below-market interest rate.

 

 

Everyone gets the same incredible terms, including the below-market interest rate, regardless of their credit score or other factors. NACA also provides free, comprehensive housing services. NACA counsels Members into the extraordinary NACA mortgage using character-based lending criteria that takes each Member’s circumstances into account to determine whether they are ready for homeownership and what they can afford. This is in contrast to risk-based pricing where people are often given loans they cannot afford while brokers and others make tremendous fees and profits.

Property renovation and foreclosure prevention
NACA also provides property renovation assistance and Membership Assistance for NACA homeowners. NACA’s Home and Neighborhood Development ("HAND") Department addresses repair issues, and where appropriate provides rehab assistance throughout the renovation process. NACA’s Membership Assistance Program (MAP) provides comprehensive counseling for Members who are delinquent on their home payments, including establishing payment agreements and providing financial assistance to help Members avoid foreclosure.

Innovative technology
The NACA program has developed state-of-the-art mortgage software for web-based counseling, processing and underwriting., called "NACA Lynx", which is the envy of the mortgage industry. This is a paperless system that allows for character lending, loan processing and underwriting to be done on a very large scale.

Powerful national advocacy
NACA has revolutionized mortgage lending with its mortgage services and advocacy. NACA’s organizing department continues the aggressive advocacy against predatory lenders and the fight for economic justice. NACA is a high-profile organization, with its program and advocacy featured in the national media, including the Wall Street Journal, Prime Time Live, Boston Globe, Washington Post, major news outlets, and local networks nationwide.

NACA’s committed staff and contacting NACA

Our staff of hundreds of dedicated staff is committed to working with you to access this incredible mortgage product and to advocate for strong neighborhoods and economic justice. We are always looking for qualified staff—see our current job listings for details. To keep updated on NACA services, campaigns, and relevant legislative happenings, sign up by clicking Contact Us.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXsYLZEsmx0 NACA\'s History

 

Comments Comments Off on NACA:Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America: Reducing your Mortgage Payment
Dec
15

The Hottest Remodeling Trends for 2011

By · Comments Comments Off on The Hottest Remodeling Trends for 2011

You'll get the most out of your dollar by keeping an eye on what shows up in high-end homes. It’s the difference between Harvest Gold and rich wood.

 If you want to get the maximum value from your remodel when you sell your home, you need to pay attention to trends. But not just today's fads: what's more important is what will be hot when it's time to put your house on the market.

Home improvements, after all, start to date the moment they're completed. How fast their value slides may depend on your ability to forecast what will appeal to future buyers.

Guess right, and the remodel you do today can look almost as cutting edge five or even 10 years from now. Guess wrong, and you've just spent thousands on the avocado green, shag-carpeted, conversation pit turn-off of the future.

To navigate this minefield, keep in mind the following:

High-end homes drive the remodeling market. About 90% of the growth in remodeling industry over the last decade was, according to Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies, fueled by high-end homeowners (defined as those with houses worth $400,000 or more in 2003 dollars).

The trends hatched in this market tend to percolate down to the middle market, said remodeling expert Jim Lapides of the National Association of Home Builders' Remodelors Council, and eventually are incorporated into the new-home market.

So, if you want to know what will be in vogue in your neighborhood five years out, tour some open houses in more affluent communities to see what's happening there now.

Boomers are big, but GenXers are growing. Boomers own more of the housing stock and spend more on remodeling than other groups. But the cohort just behind them — those born from 1965 to 1974 – is coming on fast, according to Harvard's housing center.

While aging boomers may be looking to downsize and make their lives easier, midlife GenXers might be looking for more space to handle growing families. If you want your house to appeal to the largest number of buyers, you may have to think about features that appeal to both groups.

 Durability is key. Investing in quality materials can pay off if they hold up well over the years, said interior designer Juliana Catlin, past president of the American Society of Interior Designers and owner of Catlin Interiors in Jacksonville, Fla.

A cheap surface might show so many gouges and dings after five years that a buyer will insist you pay for replacing it, while a well chosen stone or tile surface could still be adding value a decade from now.

 

Consider the next buyer. One of the big trends in remodeling, particularly among GenXers, is making a personal statement, said Joan Stephens, chairman of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry and owner of Stronghold Remodeling in Boise, Idaho.

These homeowners don't want their kitchens or baths to look like anyone else's; they might invest big bucks in, say, custom glass-tile designs or bold-colored countertops.

But Catlin worries these personal statements will date quickly and alienate future buyers."You have to think how it's going to translate for the next owners," Catlin said. "You may love your dark green countertop, but the next owner's favorite color could be yellow."

That's why Catlin advises homeowners who care about resale to choose more neutral colors for floors, countertops and other hard surfaces, using easily changeable paint and accessories to infuse personality.

Catlin also cautions against structural changes that can permanently devalue your home, like eliminating a bedroom or removing a tub from a bathroom (thus converting it from an all-important "full" bath to a three-quarters version).

 Another tip: make your remodel more timeless by matching it to the style of your home. "A cottage-style home looks better with a cottage-style kitchen," Catlin said. "A Mediterranean kitchen looks better in a Mediterranean home."

Be particularly cautious of any remodel that's a sharp contrast; an ultra-modern kitchen can look great if the rest of your house is sleek and uncluttered, but can look like a space ship landed if the rest of your home is shabby chic.

 In the kitchen

Highly polished granite and stainless steel were the hot trends in the 1990s — so much so that now there's a backlash among high-end homeowners. Instead of gleam, remodelers are going for warmth, Stephens said Color is hot right now, as in bright-red enameled stoves. But color trends are tricky to navigate, so a more conservative but still trendy choice might be panels that help refrigerators and dishwashers blend in with the cabinetry.

Higher-end appliances are also in big demand, Lapides said. Remodelers may not spend $6,000 on commercial-grade appliances, but they certainly want an upgrade from the entry level.

Stone countertops are still popular of course, but more homeowners are becoming wary of the drawbacks, said Vince Butler, chairman of the Remodelors Council. (Granite and other natural stones can be permanently stained by cooking oils and etched by common cleaners.) Butler said he is installing more synthetic or engineered stone countertops and seeing renewed interest in "solid surfaces" like Corian.

 "It may not have the eye appeal [of granite] but I think as people live with it, it may be easier to take care of," Butler said.

 Some, though, wonder if the monster/gourmet kitchen trend might begin to peter out, particularly among homes designed to appeal to older boomers.

"I think in the future people are going to be tired of cooking," said syndicated columnist and former builder Tim Carter, whose AsktheBuilder.com site focuses on remodeling as well as new construction issues.

 "It doesn't make much sense to invest $100,000 in a (kitchen remodel) if you don't cook that much."

 For the frugal: The good news is that minor kitchen remodels actually seem to pay off better at resale time than major redos, at least according to Remodeling Magazine's annual Cost vs. Value survey.

 Someone who spent an average $14,913 refacing cabinets, replacing laminate countertops and installing new cooktop, oven and sink in 2005 would recoup an estimated 98.5% of the cost on average if the home sold within a year, whereas someone who spent $81,552 on an upscale, tear-everything-outand- replace-it remodel would recoup 84.8% on average.

The bath

Utilitarian is out. Think spa — as in lots of space, big soaking or whirlpool tubs, multiple shower heads or even steam attachments in the shower. Dual sinks are a given in master baths, and luxuries like heated floors and towel warmers are popular with upscale renovators. Many renovators are putting the toilet in a separate room or partitioned area.

Remodelers are also shelling out, big time, for custom tile, said Butler, who runs Butler Bros. remodeling company in Clifton, Va.

 "It's the place where people are really expressing themselves," he said. "We've seen some master bathrooms where they spent $20,000 just on tile, and these are not extremely expensive homes. These are middle-class homes."

Be careful about going overboard if your primary goal is boosting resale value, however. The remodeling survey found a midrange remodel costing $10,499 would recoup 102.2% of its cost if the house sold within a year, while a more-elaborate $26,052 renovation would bring back 93.2%.

For the frugal: Adding multiple shower heads to a shower typically costs just a few hundred dollars, making it one of the most economical ways to add a spa feel. Also, try to avoid moving fixtures, since that can add enormously to a project's cost.

Underfoot

Wood floors are still desirable, with bamboo becoming more popular. Tile is still a good choice for kitchens and baths, although concrete is being used more often (either stained or just sealed). In addition, high-end linoleum — which sounds like an oxymoron, but isn't — is being used in more fashionable homes.

 For the frugal: Laminate flooring designed to look like wood can be less expensive and more durable than the real thing, but choose carefully: some of the products can look kind of cheesy, Carlin warned. If you have the real thing hiding under carpeting or other flooring, spring for refinishing to add real value to your home.

 Accessibility

Contractors polled by the National Association of Home Builders said universal design — making homes more accessible for the elderly and disabled — would be one of the top future trends in remodeling (second only to the ever-rising cost of labor).

 Since most folks want to "age in place," making sure they can get around their homes as they age will be increasingly important.

 Of course, baby boomers don't want to be reminded they're getting old, so one way to tout accessible design is to point out how their parents can benefit when they visit.

"When you're selling to that demographic, you kind of skirt the issue," Stephens said.

Fortunately, most aspects of universal design involve fairly subtle changes that add little if any cost to a remodeling project.

 Wider hallways and doorways, for example, are aesthetically pleasing as well as more functional when you're maneuvering a wheelchair, walker or even a big piece of furniture. (Ever try to get a king-sized bed or monster couch through a narrow door?)

Step-in showers, with no lip or tub wall separating them from the rest of the bathroom, can add to that spa feeling, while the extra lighting that can help aged eyes also makes the house feel brighter and more desirable.

 For the frugal: Again, universal design can be incorporated into virtually any remodel. Or you can tackle projects one by one, such as replacing regular doorknobs with lever-style handles, removing thresholds between rooms and adding better lighting.

 Floor plans

Open is still in and likely to remain so for the foreseeable future, design experts agree. Cooks don't want to be isolated in the kitchen, and open floor plans make even smaller homes feel roomier.

By contrast, the value of additions appears to be waning, at least according to the survey, which showed most projects that added square footage didn't pay off as well as other remodels. Carter, for one, expects that trend to continue if energy prices remain high.

 "The cost to heat and cool a home in the future is going to be staggering," Carter predicted. "If we don't have any major improvements in insulation, the only way you're going to save money on heating and cooling is by having a smaller home."

 For the frugal: Knocking down a few walls costs a lot less than adding square footage. If you're a do-it-yourselfer, though, make sure you're not destroying load-bearing walls.

Bonus rooms

Carter thinks retired baby boomers are going to want workshops and hobby rooms to pursue their leisure-time passions.

 Lapides suggests that "Costco rooms" may be on the rise, as homeowners look for ways to store "all the 10-pound bags of pretzels they bought at Costco." The extra storage might be incorporated into a space that also serves as the laundry and mud rooms, Lapides said.

 In fact, incorporating more storage throughout the house is likely to pay off, since our propensity to acquire stuff is unlikely to abate in the next decade.

 Catlin also sees more houses incorporating home offices, which traditionally haven't added as much value as other remodeling projects. One solution is to build the office into the closet of a guest room, so later occupants have the flexibility to use the space the way they want.

 For the frugal: You probably won't want to build rooms devoted to a single use, but adding shelves or cabinets can be an inexpensive way to increase a room's functionality.

 

The high-tech home

Movies, video games and other content increasingly will be delivered via broadband, so Carter recommends installing conduit that can help future electricians run wires from wherever the cable or satellite enters to your house to the rooms where you have your computers and entertainment centers.

 He also likes the idea of "electronics closets" to house all the home entertainment gear and minimize visual clutter. Sensors can be built into the wall above the TV screen to transmit your remote controls' signals to the gear in the closet.

 Another wiring project that's hot, Stephens said, involves putting speakers throughout the house as well as outside.

 For the frugal: Adding speaker wire is an inexpensive, if potentially messy, do-it-yourself job since you likely will be running wires through attics and crawlspaces. Adding conduit is cheap if you've already got walls torn open for other projects; otherwise, hold off.

 Have fun with your remodeling projects!

Dec
11

2011 Predictions in Technology

By · Comments Comments Off on 2011 Predictions in Technology

 

 

 

The following are predictions and trends for what 2011 has in store for the electronics/gadgets buyer. As the end of the year approaches, it’s time to take a look at what’s in store for the future of technology:

 

Prediction #1:Projectors will continue to grow in popularity. Technology for projectors has made it preferable to choose a home theater projector over a television, when it comes to filling up space. Despite the economic downturn, projectors have been selling hotter than ever. The reason? Probably because no one wants to spend 10 dollars on a movie ticket anymore!

Projectors are also getting smaller. Something that can fit in your front pocket can now display your business presentation on the wall.

 

Prediction #2:Blu-ray will slowly but steadily get closer to becoming mainstream in the home theater market. More and more catalogue titles are being released every day, and price reductions have enabled unit shipments to increase rapidly. 2011 will finally be the year when Blu-ray will take the place of DVDs in the mainstream market.

 

Prediction #3: HD gadgetswill grow in popularity. These days you can buy a 720p television for under $500. Camcorders with 1080p capability are becoming the new standard for home video. Trends indicate that most consumer video gadgets will soon be high-def.

 

Prediction #4:The advent of 3D televisionwill not gain as much traction as their developers would like; since manufacturers are pushing for it more than consumers. With very little 3D content currently available, and given that only a handful of 3D TV’s are on the market, it’s better to wait and decide whether 3D will go down in history as a gimmick, or rise up as the wave of the future.

Prediction #5: Google Android, the internet search giant’s foray into the mobile device operating systems market, has been steadily gaining momentum, and will continue to rise in popularity.

 

Google’s Nexus One smartphoneis one of the most iconic consumer electronics launches of the year, as its integration with Google software services freed internet shoppers from wireless carriers’ service contract stranglehold. Many other devices that use Google’s Android OS are being released, helping Google get closer to the top of the mobile OS market.

 

Prediction #6:Tablet Computers will gain in popularity- many large manufacturers are already coming out with their own take on Apple’s iPad, which has already sold 60 million units.

There is already a market for dedicated eReaders, and people are realizing that a tablet PC is more practical for browsing digital literature than dedicated devices. Apple’s iPad has already taken a chunk out of this market, with competitors seeking to emulate Apple’s success to follow.

 

Prediction #7:Solid State Drives will increase in prominence. This technological trend is accompanied by an annual 50% decline in raw flash material costs, while capacities continue to double at the same rate. As a result, flash-based solid-state drives are becoming increasingly popular in markets such as notebook PCs and sub-notebooks for enterprises, Ultra-Mobile PCs (UMPC), and Tablet PCs for the healthcare and consumer electronics sectors. Major PC companies have now started to offer such technology.

 

Prediction #8:Consumers will be going after energy-efficient gadgets. As people become more concerned about the environment, and technology for such products increases, the proliferation of energy-efficient and green products will increase tenfold. Solar technology has been growing by leaps and bounds lately, with such products as solar-powered battery chargers, and solar cell phone batteries. Solar panels can even be seen on bags, or the windows of buildings!

 

There have also been more eco-friendly items turn up like wooden casings for iPods and cell phones. Consumers are demanding these items and it's a sure bet that we’ll see more like them in the coming year.

 

Prediction #9:Apps! In 2011, you won’t be able to turn the corner without bumping into a device that supports apps. More and more smartphones, eReaders, televisions, Blu-ray players, and other consumer products are utilizing apps. What started out as an iPhone gimmick will soon change the way we perform most electronic tasks.

 

Prediction #10:Streaming multimedia and interconnected devices will be ever-present throughout 2011, from wireless-enabled home theater components to DVD players that support mobile TV broadcasts. As such, dozens more potential distribution channels just opened up to businesses, as did the opportunity to extend the life and reach of any viral video marketing piece.

Anyone for a flying car?

<object width="480" height="385"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/DrR20Ch9df8?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/DrR20Ch9df8?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="480" height="385"></embed></object>

Categories : Uncategorized
Comments Comments Off on 2011 Predictions in Technology