The most expensive residential property currently on the U.S. market debuted this month in Greenwich (CT). The $190 million property not only occupies 50 acres on Long Island Sound, it includes two offshore islands. On the market for the first time since 1904, this classic 12-bedroom estate – Copper Beech Farm – features a long list of amenities. The property is zoned two-acre residential and the mainland is subdivided into two tax lots of 20 and 30.6 acres, both of which are suitable for further subdivision. The listing broker is David Ogilvy& Associates, Christies International Real Estate.
Should the property sell for list price, it will exceed the standing record for most expensive U.S. residence sold by almost 62%. The previous record was set in 2012, with the sale of private-equity chief Tully Friedman’s nearly 9,000-square-foot home in Woodside (CA) to SV Projects LLC for $117.5 million.
How Do Home Improvements Affect Your Home’s Value?
Of course, no one is spending those dollars without expecting something in return. But some projects add more value to your home than others. Below is a comparison of three expensive home improvement/renovation projects and three less-expensive projects. Costs and specs for these projects are based on Remodeling Magazine’s 2013 Cost Value Report.
You may be surprised at where you’ll find the most bang for your buck.
Go Big or Go Home
Big home renovations are expensive, inconvenient and awesome when they’re done right. But how much of your costs can you expect to recoup on really big big-ticket home renovations?
Two-Story Addition Cost: $152,470 Cost recouped: 65.4%
This is a case where a big chunk of the renovation’s payoff will come from your family’s enjoyment of the new space. This addition will cost you nearly $53,000 more than it will add in resale value. This project includes a two-story, 26-by-16-foot addition with a family room, bedroom and bathroom.
Master Suite Addition Cost: $101,873 Cost recouped: 63.2%
This seems like a lot for a 24-by-16-foot master suite with walk-in closet and full bath. It seems even more expensive when you consider it will only add $64,000 to the value of your home. Perhaps instead consider adding a bedroom in the attic. At a cost of just $47,919, you’ll recoup almost 73% of the costs.
Major Kitchen Remodel Cost: $53,931 Cost recouped: 68.9%
You could easily spend a lot more than this on a kitchen remodel. The specs don’t include high-end features like granite countertops and deluxe appliances. If you want to go that route with custom cabinets, tile backsplash and commercial-grade range, you’re looking at a $107,406 project that will add just $64,113 in value.
Small but Mighty
Here are three home improvement projects under $10,000 that earn their keep.
The Most Important Thing to Remember
With any home improvement, but especially with big-ticket renovations, you must be careful about over-improving for your neighborhood. For example, if most homes in your area are 1,800–2,000 square feet and you add another 800 square feet to yours, you may not recover the costs of the addition when it’s time to sell.
You can consult a real estate agent to find out how your home compares with others in your neighborhood both post- and pre-renovation. Dave’s real estate Endorsed Local Providers (ELPs) are experts in your market, and they’ll give you advice you can trust. Find your ELP today!
A wise man once said, “Summer is good for two things: sweat and vacation.”
Actually, no one said that. We just made it up.
The point is that summer is here, and you’ll be sweating a lot in the next few months. To help out with that issue, you might be going on a vacation.
To that, we have this to say: Awesome!
That is, unless you can’t actually pay for the vacation. Going on a vacation without the means to pay for it is a horrible idea.
Why? Because the vacation follows you around all year long. Trust us, you don’t want that.
But maybe you’ve made up your mind and you are dead-set on going on a vacation this summer in spite of your financial situation. How can you make absolutely sure you go broke?
Here are six ways you can be sure to spend all the money you don’t have during your unpaid-for summer vacation.
Take advice from your kids.
Your kids see themselves as the Benjamin Franklins of vacation-spending advice. They will gladly offer you unsolicited wisdom at every opportunity. “Hey Dad, that $6 snow cone looks delicious!” or “Hey Mom! Can I please have the giant Mickey Mouse hands? Please?” So if you really want to go broke on vacation, listen to everything your kids say. They are really awesome at spending your money.
Here’s another great way to really rip your bank account to shreds: Do absolutely everything on vacation. Spend it all. Buy it all. Try and fill every single hour of the day with things that cost money. Don’t worry about just sitting on the beach or enjoying the view. Those things don’t cost enough money!
Pay for it later.
One of the wonders of vacation is that you don’t have to pay for it right now! You can put it all on a credit card, go have lots of fun, and worry about coming up with the few thousand dollars later. Ideally, you’ll be able to worry about paying for this summer’s vacation in December while you’re also worried about paying for Christmas. What fun!
Eat out all the time.
If you eat out at every opportunity—let’s say three times a day—and you go on a weeklong vacation, that means you can eat out 21 times during your trip. Twenty-one times! Talk about an awesome way to spend a lot of money! Gain weight and debt at the same time. It’s a win-win!
Try to compete with all your Facebook friends.
So your Facebook friend Kate went to the Bahamas and posted 20 photos a day of all the fun she had. Your Facebook friend Mike went to Aspen and shared dozens of status updates about all the celebrities he ran into. You know what that means? You’ve got to show them up. We’re thinking Tahiti—maybe even the Congo with a personal guide. Sure, those trips won’t be cheap. But the point here is to keep up with the Joneses on Facebook—or better yet, one up the Joneses on Facebook. Ten grand in debt is nothing compared to feeling better about your Facebook profile, right?
You’ll love this. Don’t worry about making a plan or budgeting or having an idea of how you will spend your hard-earned money. Just follow your heart. If your heart wants two weeks at a high-end resort, who are you to tell your heart no? If your heart wants a week at the most exclusive hotel in Paris, then book that flight to Paris right this moment. Think of how easily you can blow all your money if you just decide, right this moment, where you want to go for summer vacation! Then, once you get there, keep on not budgeting your money. That way, you can spend it all very quickly.
Doing all of these things during one vacation is a surefire way to wreck your finances. But just think—one week of fun and excitement is an awesome tradeoff for months and years of debt.