Get the most return on your remodel investment - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Real Estate

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Get the most return on your remodel investment

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Posted: Thursday, February 21, 2013 4:54 pm

The National Association Realtors and Remodeling Magazine released a report comparing remodeling cost versus value. Results depend upon various factors such as location, work quality, neighborhood home values, the timing of selling the house and the actual completion of the project.

To boost the most value of your home, do the exterior first like upgrading the roof, replacing the front door with metal or solid wood doors, converting to energy efficient windows and garage doors.

Do other projects to improve the overall appearance of your property like building a pool or a storage shed. Paint and color choice definitely add a lift. Make sure to get the proper city permit and hire a licensed and bonded contractor. Then do the interior such as room additions or conversion of a vacant room to an office.

A new kitchen is always a favorite room upgrade. Granite counter tops and new cabinets are popular even in bathroom remodels. Adding a basement or converting an attic into a room is a big selling point. Hang pictures that are pleasing to the eyes to catch attention.

Do you know that light fixtures with the right color add a cozy feeling? You want to make sure your investment is comfortable to live in and is satisfying the eyes of the lookers. Reducing maintenance cost by fixing a problem when you first notice it will save you money at the end.

Lower utility cost by resorting to energy efficient fixtures can add to the value as well. A three-bedroom house is always a preference by most buyers. So if you are a room short, and additional room will be in your favor.

Things are looking up for the Arizona economy

Several pieces and tidbits of good news have hit the presses lately. Among those is the fact that the Phoenix-area housing market is recovering rapidly. We rank near the top in home appreciation rates and increasing property values. Our lack of available, active listings on the market has caused prices to rise rather quickly over the past 16 months.

And the past few months have not seen a rise in active listings as was expected and hoped, so the prices are still climbing ... for now. The current Phoenix real estate market is still considered a “Seller’s Market.”

Another tidbit of good news is that Arizona is rapidly improving in the number of mortgage delinquencies. In other words, fewer homeowners are currently delinquent on their mortgages. In fact, we rank 42nd in the country in this category. There are only eight states with a better delinquency rate than Arizona homeowners.

Protect the value of your home. For most of us, the purchase of our house was the largest investment we’ve ever made. Now that we own it, it would only make sense to protect our investment. We spend time and money to have our cars maintained, don’t we? Yes, your house should be maintained as well.

So, if you’ve lived in your house for one year or 30 years, regular maintenance is a must. This will not only protect the home values in the entire neighborhood, but it will net you more money when it’s time to sell your home.

Maintenance comes in all shapes and sizes, some quick and easy, others quite costly. So over the years, keep a close eye on your entire house. Some of the exterior items: roof, fascia boards, stucco, paint, HVAC unit, exterior plumbing fixtures, sprinkler system, landscaping, front door, patio cover, pool and pool equipment.

Some of the interior items would include appliances, kitchen fixtures, bathroom fixtures, baseboards, flooring, and drywall. Regular maintenance AND updating will go a long, long way in getting you top dollar when it comes time to sell.

Speaking of landscaping, a few seasonal reminders: This time of year is a good time to cut your roses back. And we all know we had a very cold winter with a few overnight freezes. If you have frost-damaged plants, you should wait until late February or early March to trim off all the dead foliage.

The foliage, although dead and brown, can protect the plant during any cold nights in the next few weeks. And finally, it’s always a good idea to pick all the extra and unused citrus from your trees and the ground below your trees. The old citrus can bring a variety of unwanted critters and pests snooping around.

So keep those projects together and it will be worth it when it is time to sell to get your investment returns.

• Pamela Martin-Abella is a licensed real estate agent at Century 21 Arizona Foothills, 3930 E. Chandler Blvd. Reach her at (480) 703-5830,, or visit

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Keystone Montessori

[David Jolkovski/AFN]
Teacher Pily Pantoja helps Sarah Wang, 4, with the addition snake game at Keystone Montessori on Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014.

Keystone Montessori has come a long way since its founding in 1995. Back then it was operated out of the founder’s home before eventually moving on to rent rooms from Horizon Presbyterian Church. It was only in 2000 that they had gained a strong enough enrollment to move into the facility where they currently reside on Liberty Lane, just off Desert Foothills Parkway and across from the Ahwatukee Foothills Family YMCA.

The school services students as young as 18 years old, as part of their toddler program, and as old as ninth-graders. The current enrollment is around 320 students, who all have access to Spanish, music and arts programs in addition to the full Montessori curriculum.

“We provide an authentic Montessori education which focuses on the independence and whole development of the child, including academic as well as social and emotional growth,” said head of school Cindy Maschoff. “We want our students to become independent citizens of the world.”

The school will be taking the time to present the concept of Montessori education to the public Jan. 29 and 30. At the presentations the school will provide a clear understanding of what Montessori education looks like at each level of education. Those wanting to attend should plan on going to both meetings, with the Jan. 29 meeting going from 6-7 p.m. and the Jan. 30 meeting from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The meetings require attendees to RSVP, which can be done by emailing

For more information, visit

• Compiled by James Gingerich.

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