Remodeling recently reported the results of their 2013 study that showed exterior projects yield the most return on investment. This is primarily because such projects instantly increase curb appeal and most projects are relatively inexpensive. Both nationwide and in the South Atlantic (Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and Delaware), the two projects that yielded the biggest return were front door replacement and a deck addition. In fact, upgrading the front door with a 20-gauge steel entry door yielded 85.6% return on investment, while a deck addition added a 77.3% return on investment. A garage door replacement and minor kitchen remodel came in third and fourth place at 75.7% and 75.5%, while adding an attic bedroom came in fifth at 72.9%.
No. It is easier for a seller to not be present but it’s doable for a buyer not to be. If you are buying the house with someone else, you can arrange to give power of attorney to them for you. Your lender can provide you the appropriate forms which will need to be given to the closing company. If you are not buying it with another person, you can opt to have the documents express mailed to you if that is feasible. Alternatively, you can give power of attorney to a third party (for example, an attorney you trust). It’s easier for a seller not be present because the seller signs far less papers. In addition, unlike a buyer, the seller can pre-sign the papers and then leave town. Lenders do not allow buyers to pre-sign documents.
I strongly advocate that buyers select an in-town lender. Feel free to use the Internet to comparison shop and to know what a good rate is given your circumstances. However, I am a firm believer in using local lenders. Such lenders are very familiar with our sales contracts and the nuances of the local system. They understand our neighborhoods and local issues with appraisals. In addition, they have a vested interest in their reputation because most of their business is derived from local word-of mouth advertising. Most of the issues I’ve encountered with the loan side of the transaction stems from out-of town lenders. Regarding the 20-day close, unless you are paying cash, a 20-day close will be very difficult to make, especially with an out-of-town lender. Thirty days is the norm for our area.