Top Renovations to Increase the Value of Your Arlington or Belmont Home

Welcome to the second in our series of interviews with Boston area realtors about the home features that are hot in specific areas. If you missed our first post on top features in Cambridge and Somerville homes, you can read it here. In this post, we speak with Debbie Lewis, a Certified Buyer’s Representative with True Home Partners, a partnership of five, full-time Coldwell Banker real estate professionals. Debbie filled us in about what homebuyers want in Arlington and Belmont properties.

Q:  What are the “must haves” among Arlington and Belmont homebuyers right now?

A: It is going to depend upon the price point and whether you’re looking for a single family or a condo, but 99% of my clients want an open concept floorplan where the living area, dining area and kitchen flow together. They want kitchen islands where people can hang out. They want a nice, clean bathroom, ideally with some storage. If the buyer has young kids, they want more than one bedroom on the same floor. Good storage is also really important. You can never have too many closets.

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Q: If a homeowner is renovating, what would you recommend they invest in to enhance the value of their Arlington or Belmont home?

 A: You can’t go wrong with kitchens and baths. Unless the homebuyer lives on takeout, he or she is looking for lots of kitchen counter space, a stove that is vented to the outside, and great storage. If it’s a condo with a smaller or gallery kitchen, be creative with storage options and have nice updated countertops and appliances.  An extended countertop that you can also eat at is great for smaller spaces.  Stainless steel appliances continue to be really popular. In bathrooms, I would definitely do double sinks in the master bath and a lot of buyers really like a separate walk-in shower stall and bath. If space is at a premium, buyers can maximize the utility of a bathroom by giving it two entries. This is especially useful for single floor condos. For example, a bath could be entered from a bedroom or from the hallway. Sometimes there is a pocket door separating the toilet and sink from the tub or shower so the bath can be partitioned into a powder room when entertaining guests.

Homeowners should also think about first impressions. Spiff up the exterior, hallways and entryways. If you have extra space in the entryway, for god’s sake build a coat closet! Here in New England, we have all the winter stuff and need a good place to store it out of sight. Buyers in the $500,000 price range can be flexible on that and make do with coat hooks, but single families in Belmont and Arlington should have ample coat closets and a mudroom.

Q:  Have you seen renovations that detracted from the value of the home or were deal-breakers?

A:  This market is so hot that buyers often end up compromising on their “must haves” or overlooking things that they don’t like so much. I do see renovations where space could have been allocated better or where the scale of the rooms seems poorly thought out.  One property had a bedroom with an oversized master bath, but the bedroom had a tiny closet. I thought it would have been much better to allocate a bit more closet space and scale back a bit on the extra space in the bathroom. Or I see long runs of bathroom counter space in the master bath, but just one sink. Why share a sink in the master bathroom if you don’t have to!

People should be mindful of smart use of space. Think about how you really use space. Do you need a huge bedroom with a sitting/reading area if you only use it for sleep? So many of my clients who are downsizing say that extra space simply became the place for laundry, or clothes that needed to be hung up.  Most first-time homebuyers moving into condos want space in the living area versus the bedroom.   At the same time, unless you are providing a large closet, make sure there is at least room for a dresser in the bedroom! Even condo owners come with clothes that need to stored somewhere! Lastly, think about whether some square footage might be better used for additional storage or a small home office.

 

Want to know more about the smart use of space? You may be interested in reading our article on the beauty of built-ins. To see a renovation that opened up space in a traditional home, check out our open floor plan remodeling project in our portfolio. To find out more, please give us a call at 617-666-4460 or use our online contact form.

Tags: Arlington MA home renovation, Belmont MA home renovation

Arlington, MA Home Renovation Update: Final Installment

deck on Arlington, MA home renovation

This is the final installment in our monthly chronicle of a major historic home renovation and addition project in Arlington, MA. Our goal was  to go beyond "Before & After" photos to outline the many steps that go into a major renovation behind-the-scenes. The first installment laid out the scope of the project. If you missed it, you can read it here.

 

We began this major renovation project in the fall and completed in the spring. The homeowners have moved all their belongings back and are slowly unpacking and settling in. The kids are happy to be back home. They are waiting to have their friends visit until they have completed the transition.

The owners chose wonderful colors. When we walk into the house we feel welcomed and warm. When I asked if their home feels like they were hoping for, there was an unequivocal and resounding ‘Yes!'”

For a detailed description of some of the changes made, please read our February and January 2014 posts, as well as our 2013 posts in December, November and October. We're pleased to share a few of our own shots of the finished project. We look forward to sharing professional photographs, to be taken later this summer, after our son's wedding at the end of June.

If you have any questions, we welcome comments on our blog. If you would like to discuss a renovation for your home, please give me a call at

-- Paul Eric Morse


Arlington MA kitchen remodel

Arlington MA kitchen remodel scouting shot

Arlington, MA historic renovation

Arlington, MA bathroom remodel

shower in arlington, ma bathroom renovation

Tags: Massachusetts remodeling, Massachusetts renovation, Arlington MA home renovation

Arlington, MA Home Renovation Update: February 2014

This is the third installment in our monthly chronicle of a major historic home renovation and addition project in Arlington, MA. Our goal is to go beyond "Before & After" photos to outline the many steps that go into a major renovation behind-the-scenes. The first installment laid out the scope of the project. If you missed it, you can read it here.

Arlington MA interior windows

Winter is still with us, but we are warm working inside. When last I wrote, we were in the process of blowing Closed Cell Foam Insulation in the house. That was completed and inspected.

Much has happened since then. Michelle, our office manager, stopped by today on her way into work. She was amazed at the difference. All the walls and ceilings were blue boarded with a skim coat of plaster. Ninety percent of the tiling is completed. We are waiting for the vanity tops and kitchen counters to finish. Pat, the lead carpenter on site, has begun trimming the windows and stairs.



Arlington MA interior renovation shot

Taking advantage of a slightly warmer day this past week, the main roof was re-shingled which allowed us to install the skylight and faux chimney in the attic.

Arlington MA skylight and faux chimney
Also this week, Pat, our lead carpenter, and crew began trimming windows and stairs. As I Arlington MA stair constructionwrite this, the hardwood flooring is being laid. Next week the interior doors will be delivered along with the kitchen cabinets and vanities.

When we started this project in October, we were scheduled to complete around the end of March. Even with seventeen change order days added, we are still scheduled to complete in mid-April.

If you have any questions about the renovation process or would like to discuss renovation plans for your home, please contact us!

Tags: Historic Renovations, remodeling project photos, Arlington MA home renovation

Arlington, MA Home Renovation Update: January 2014

This is the third installment in our monthly chronicle of a major historic home renovation and addition project in Arlington, MA. Our goal is to go beyond "Before & After" photos to outline the many steps that go into a major renovation behind-the-scenes. The first installment laid out the scope of the project. If you missed it, you can read it here.

Arlington, MA historic renovationIt’s been a busy month on site, though major changes are less visible to the untrained eye. The interior framing is complete. We passed the engineer’s and Arlington building department inspections with flying colors.

Arlington, MA framing for home renovationton

Arlington, MA framing new stairway to third floor

Arlington, MA master bedroom framing

 

Rough plumbing is in and inspected, along with the electrical rough installation and inspection. Venting for the exhaust fans and dryer ducting is installed. Both HVAC systems are installed and running, keeping the workers warm during this frigid winter period.

Arlington, MA renovation HVAC system



Final design decisions were made and the tile is on order along with the bath vanities and medicine cabinets. The homeowners have picked the counter slabs and cabinet handles. Lighting placements were tweaked to accommodate framing and the wiring for them is all installed.



Arlington, MA first floor renovation

Arlington, MA bathroom renovation

On Monday, 1/27 we began blowing closed cell foam insulation in all the exterior walls, rafters and in the basement rim joists. We will also insulate bathroom walls and pipes for sound. During these three days, we pull all workers off site to avoid potential dangers during the quick curing period.

Immediately after insulation (and insulation inspection) we will begin hanging blue board and applying a smooth skimcoat plaster finish. We are on schedule to complete the project as planned in April. Stay tuned for the next installment when we discuss interior trim selections and flooring options.

If you have any questions about the renovation process or are planning to update your home, please contact us!


Tags: remodeling project photos, historic renovation, Boston home renovation, Arlington MA home renovation