Soleil Sotheby

5 Renovations That Increase Resale Value

Renovations and home improvements aren’t just for our own personal satisfaction. Yes, we redecorate, remodel, and restyle while we live somewhere to make a home more unique, but sometimes, certain updates can add more to the bottom line when it’s time to sell. 

From bathroom remodels to updated kitchens and new decking to extensions, for Margate NJ real estate it’s helpful to know which renovations can boost your selling price when you eventually decide to move.

So, here are the top 5 renovations that will increase the resale value of your home.

1. Loft Conversion

Adding an extra bedroom and en suite with a loft conversion has the potential to add up to 15% to the home’s value.              

There are different types of loft conversions available, from light roof conversions (which is the most cost-effective as it requires less structural work) to more expensive mansard conversions, which have one or both roof slopes replaced with a flatter roof.

Most lofts can be converted, but you should always make sure your space is compatible by hiring a builder or architect to check first. You should also always check planning permission with your local authority before planning a loft conversion. While most projects don’t require it, more expensive conversions, like the mansard, generally need permission.

2. Minor Kitchen Remodel

The kitchen is the heart of the home, so it only makes sense that you’ll want to ensure it is up to scratch if you’re planning on selling. However, these remodels are some of the most expensive, with the average homeowner paying $12-35k for the upgrade.

If this scares you off, we don’t blame you. However, you may want to consider a minor remodel instead. Installing a functional and modern-looking kitchen not only creates a warmer and more inviting environment for you and your family but will also add value to your home. A minor remodel has also proven to earn you a return on investment (ROI) of more than 83%.

The kitchen is a social hub, and when potential buyers view your home, they want to imagine their family and friends cooking, drinking, and sharing memories together. If they can see themselves enjoying life in your upgraded kitchen, it will heavily influence their buying decision, even if the remodel is minor.

3. Bathroom Remodel

Bathroom remodels are some of the most popular home upgrades, and they have a great return on investment. If your bathroom furniture and style is outdated, old, or damaged in any way, a remodel can add up to 4% of the value of your home. 

According to the National Association of Realtor’s (NAR) 2019 Remodeling Impact Report, bathroom upgrades ranked highest, above kitchen upgrades and complete kitchen renovations. 

Depending on the age and state of your bathroom, some of the most popular remodels include upgrading the flooring, adding energy-efficient updates to decrease the water bill, updating the plumbing fixtures, and adding vanity upgrades. 

Soleil Sotheby's International Realty

4. Extension

From a conservatory, a single or two-story addition, or a garage conversion, these home upgrades have the potential to add between 5 to 20% extra value to your property.

There are many different types of extensions you can build to increase the value of your home, but again, ensure that you have planning permission before you start. 

5. Decking

Everyone loves to have an attractive outdoor space, especially in summer. Adding wooden decking to your yard is a great renovation that instantly increases resale value. Wooden materials are significantly cheaper than marble for a new kitchen or bathroom, so you’ll save money with this project. They are also cheap to construct, making them an ideal upgrade for both you and your family to enjoy and someone else’s in the future.

Increase the Value of Your Home

If you’re seeking ways to put your property on the market and increase its value, these renovations will help you add some extra zeros to your asking price. 

So, what are you waiting for? Get upgrading today and reap the rewards when you sell.

Summer Rentals NJ

How to Find Your Perfect 2022 Summer Rental

Last summer, beach communities across the United States were flooded with visitors after a long year spent inside due to COVID-19. Unfortunately, many American families were unable to book their ideal summer rental thanks to the high demand. Although we are now just entering winter, it is, in fact, the perfect time for you and your family to book your 2022 summer home and ensure you get the first pick of some of the best summer rentals on the market! Read on to hear how you can find your perfect 2022 summer rental this year!

Make A Must-Have List

The first logical step for booking a perfect summer rental is understanding what “perfect” means to you and your family. Perhaps you want to have your own private beach, maybe the kids really want a backyard pool; whatever this means to you and your family, it’s important to first sit down and discuss your must-haves before starting crafting a budget. Knowing each family member’s preferences will help identify the perfect summer rental without breaking the bank.

Get a Headcount

A common family tradition is renting a summer home together each year. Booking a rental together is an excellent way for the cousins to see each other, for siblings to catch up, and for families to make long-lasting memories together. Additionally, it is an excellent way to book a stunning summer rental for only a fraction of the cost. If you and your family are considering renting a summer home together in 2022, make sure to get a headcount early so you can budget correctly and get a summer home that can accommodate the entire family!

Don’t Wait Too Long

As many families learned in 2021, summer rentals get booked quite early in the season. Unlike hotels, airplane tickets, or resort packages, there is no incentive for waiting to book a summer rental last minute. The majority of families book summer rentals a year to six months out of their vacation. If you wait till the last minute, you are likely to find either no available rentals or significant price increases.

Don’t Just Search on Popular Rental Sites

It can be frustrating searching for a summer rental and being met with unavailability, outbidding, and limited options. This is often a good sign to branch out your search and look for excellent rentals in other places – such as real estate companies. At Soleil Sothebys International Realty, site visitors can view luxurious summer rentals in some of New Jersey’s most popular beach communities!

Soleil Sotheby Christmas Decorated Front Door

Should Sellers Decorate their Homes During the Holiday Season?

Today, there are just over 1 million homes for sale in the United States. While the holiday season is spent decorating with bright lights and vibrant colors for many homeowners, Americans selling their homes are hesitant. If your home is on the market, you are likely wondering to what degree you should decorate this year. After all, many real estate agents discourage clutter and personal items when prospective buyers are likely to stop by. So the question remains, can homeowners selling their homes still decorate for the holiday season?

The primary reason many realtors discourage personal items and clutter within the home is because clutter can make a space feel cramped and personal items will often inhibit a viewer from being able to imagine themselves within the space. Although holiday decorations will fill up space within the home, they can also make a home feel warmer and more welcoming if done correctly. For this reason, many realtors recommend that sellers use only minimal holiday trimmings and decorations in order to keep the home looking as spacious as possible. A few small holiday items will likely do the trick, as too many decorations can also be a distraction to viewers.

Another important thing to keep in mind is that the seller may be decorating their home for a holiday that prospective buyers do not celebrate. In order to keep your home welcoming and inclusive, it is best not to use overtly symbolic decorations and instead lean more towards festive decorations. For this, most realtors recommend one sign if at decoration within the living room and another welcoming holiday decorations by the door.

Most realtors agree to keep the holiday decorations in storage until after the shoot when it comes to staging photos. If your home takes months to sell, staging photos that show holiday decorations may seem odd and deter potential viewers from stopping by. This means that if your home’s listing photo shoot is scheduled for the holiday season, you may need to put off decorating. However, once the photos have been taken, feel free to decorate your home with tasteful decorations.

Lastly, Soleil Sotheby’s International Realty recommends sellers take down any holiday decorations immediately after the holidays. Although some American families enjoy keeping their holiday decorations up until Valentine’s Day, it will likely hinder buyer interest and make the home appear unkempt and dated.

Soleil Sotheby

How to Get Your Home Ready to Show

Whether you have been planning to sell your house for years or are trying to take advantage of the current seller’s market, before placing your home on the market, you will first need to get your home show-ready. What defines a “show-ready home” has been the subject of debate in the real estate industry for many years; however, there are certain things homeowners can do that will always improve the chances of their home selling. Below, Soleil Sotheby’s International Realty will share their top suggestions for getting a home ready to show.

Does Your Home Have Curb Appeal?

It may surprise some readers to hear that realtors and homeowners often overlook curb appeal when putting a house on the market. This can have disastrous consequences, as first impressions are crucial, and many buyers will write off a home that has an unkempt outer appearance.

For this reason, when deciding to put your house on the market, it is essential first to take stock of the home’s exterior condition and ensure that:

–        The yard is free of grass patches and is well mowed

–        There are no weeds or dead flowers within the garden

–        The porch has no cobwebs or dead leaves

–        The outer façade of the house is free of peeling paint (homeowners should consider painting the entire home if it is in desperate need of a new coat of paint).

In the fall and winter months, it is crucial that the homeowner takes extra time to maintain the exterior by raking leaves, shoveling sidewalks, and ensuring that the driveway and entrances of the home are well-salted to ensure the safety of potential buyers.

Research the Latest Staging Trends

Staging a home does not necessarily mean purchasing staging furniture and can mean rearranging the existing furniture and décor in a way that is in style and pleasing to potential buyers. When staging, it is crucial to keep in mind the viewers’ taste, which means that homeowners should not arrange furniture necessarily to their liking, but in a way that compliments the space. Soleil Sotheby’s International Realty also recommends that homeowners research current staging trends as this can help improve their home’s chances of a quick sale.

Work with Family Members or Roommates to Always be Ready to Show

Once a certain level of “show readiness” has been created, it can be hard to maintain. However, it is crucial that occupants be ready to show the home to potential buyers at all times. Before placing a home on the market, all its inhabitants must discuss how best to keep the house looking show-ready and what steps all members can make to ensure this happens. This can mean divvying up responsibilities among occupants for last-minute cleaning or asking that the home’s cleanliness be maintained at all times.

How to Stage Your House for A Fast Sale

Soleil Sotheby's International Realty Sofa

According to a survey conducted by University Hospitals, moving is consistently listed as one of the most stressful periods in a person’s life. From finishing repairs to updating appliances, it’s easy to see why homeowners feel overwhelmed while preparing their homes to be put on the market. Luckily, Soleil Sotheby’s International Realty has helped sell thousands of homes since its foundation in 1999 and understands the ins and outs of the staging process.

When staging a home for sale, all homeowners should have in mind how best to present their home in a way that other buyers can envision themselves living there. Clutter is an excellent way to drive away potential buyers, as clutter can make a home feel small and unclean. As the majority of realtors will tell their clients, what attracts a buyer are three things:

–       Clean spaces

–       Large, open rooms

–       A relatively blank canvas

While the first two concepts are easy to understand, many families can find “a relatively blank canvas” confusing. To put it plainly, many buyers are looking for a home that presents them with ideas for layouts and furniture without feeling already owned and highly personal.

When homeowners begin preparing their home for staging, traditionally, their mind goes to cleaning, decluttering, and staging furniture. Although cleaning is an excellent first step, many homeowners forget that an essential aspect of cleaning is removing lingering smells. Families can often become smell-blind to their own homes and miss any lingering odors of mildew, animal waste, or cigarette smoke. Before putting a home on the market, homeowners are encouraged to walk through their home and check certain rooms like the basement, kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom for smells that may need to be removed with a deep clean.

Once homeowners are satisfied with their house’s level of cleanliness and have staged the furniture to their liking, it’s time to schedule house tours and viewings. Before leaving the house in the capable hands of a realtor, homeowners should take a quick look through their home for leftover clutter, and most importantly, turn on all lights in the house. Several studies have found that a home appearing too dark can be a significant turnoff for viewers who would have placed a bid. For this reason, remember to open blinds and turn on lights for your home’s next viewing!

Soleil Sotheby’s International Realty Discusses Popular New Jersey Beach Towns

For many American families, the annual trip to the beach is not only a time to sit back and relax but a time to bond with loved ones and create long-lasting family memories. Although the 2021 summer is drawing to an end, many American families are already planning next years’ beach vacation and deciding which town they would like to explore. Soleil Sotheby’s International Realty, one of New Jersey’s leading real estate companies, has many years of experience helping families find their perfect beach house and possesses an in-depth understanding of New Jersey’s many beach towns. Below, Soleil Sotheby’s International Realtywill share some of New Jersey’s most popular beach towns and their unique attractions. 

Margate, NJ

Margate is a charming New Jersey beach town located in Atlantic country, home to roughly 6,000 residents. While Margate is home to a small, tight-knit community, during the summer months, the town is visited by a large number of tourists and vacationing families. Within Margate lies pristine beaches, aqua parks, boardwalks, and a number of popular restaurants. Margate is the perfect town for both young families looking to settle down in a welcoming community as well as retirees looking to be within walking distance of the beach.

Local attractions: 

– Lucy the Elephant, a six-story elephant-shaped building constructed using wood and tin sheeting in 1881 by Margate City local James V. Lafferty. 

– Island Aqua Park, a floating water park near Margate’s boardwalk, is perfect for children of tall ages. 

– Steve and Cookies By the Bay, an acclaimed American restaurant, is known for its upscale dishes, live jazz music, and raw bar.

Longport, NJ

Located between Atlantic City and Ocean City, NJ, lies Longport, a quiet beach town home to roughly 1,000 full-time residents. Thanks to its optimal location, Longport is visited by thousands of beach-goers each year looking to enjoy the nearby boardwalks, beaches, and marina shops. Longport is well known for its classic beach block-style homes, wildlife parks, and “walkability,” making it the perfect location for any family’s summer beach house. 

Local attractions: 

– Catch Restaurant, a local seafood restaurant that serves fresh fish caught daily. 

– Annual Jim Whelan Open Water Festival and Island Marathon Swim. 

– Go deep-sea fishing with Moover Fishing Adventures

Brigantine, NJ 

Founded in 1890, Brigantine, often referred to as “the island,” is one of New Jersey’s largest beachfront cities. Home to nearly 10,000 New Jerseyians, Brigantine is well known for its picturesque beaches, popular golf courses, and fine dining. Previously voted one of the best places to live by New Jersey Monthly, Brigantine is a popular location for many East Coast families’ summer vacations. 

Local attractions: 

– Brigantine Farmers Market, a popular destination for locals and tourists alike. 

– Brigantine Historical Museum, discover Brigantine’s fascinating history at this small local museum. 

Lines at Brigantine Beach, one of Brigantine’s most popular golf courses. 

Soleil Sotheby’s International Realty Discusses Commonly Overlooked Negative Aspects of a Home

Although price, size, and location are important factors to consider when purchasing a home, they are not the only factors that go into a house’s “livability.” Soleil Sotheby’s International Realty recognizes that buying a home may feel like a never-ending list of things to consider; however, to avoid buyers’ regret, it’s crucial to consider commonly overlooked factors during your home search. 

Neighborhood Noise 

Can you hear cars on the street? Your potential neighbors? Have you heard planes in the last ten minutes? When touring a home, viewers can be so preoccupied with all the amenities that they forget to check for outdoor noise. Although you may not notice that the house is under a flight path during your tour, it will significantly impact your daily life and your home’s potential resale value. 

Ongoing Expenses that Quickly Add Up

Going over budget when purchasing a home is quite common, as extra expenses can quickly add up. To avoid becoming house poor, homeowners should be aware of short- and long-term costs that often tie into a home’s amenities. A home with a pool may seem like a dream come true; however, this will usually include year-round pool maintenance, a massive backyard may cost a thousand dollars in lawn care, and a vacation home expensive hurricane insurance. Always consider what extra amenities may cost and create a rough estimate to ensure you and your family do not go over budget. 

Not Having Adequate Storage

Although no basement may not seem like a dealbreaker, storage is often one of the most crucial elements to a well-organized and de-cluttered home. Families without proper storage may face difficulties storing seasonal items such as decorations and coats, outdoor equipment, AC units, and other items. While you may be willing today to purchase a $200 a month storage locker 10 miles away, it may prove to be a challenge in the future. Before buying a house, consider the minimum amount of storage you need and search for homes that can accommodate. 

Potential Resale Value 

When purchasing their first home, first-time homeowners will often overlook their home’s resale value. When working with a tight budget, couples are often less concerned that their home has one bathroom, a busy street, or poor curb appeal. These couples often make the mistake of assuming that because they did not mind these factors, future buyers also will not. This can be a costly mistake and may leave homeowners struggling to find a buyer when they later try to sell their home. 

Family Fun Activities to Do Down the Shore This Summer

Soleil Sotheby's International Realty

The Jersey Shore is a fun-filled vacation destination that offers beautiful beaches, exciting wildlife adventures, thrilling water sports, and an array of attractions. From enjoying romantic boardwalks or museums overlooking the water to visiting the diverse aquarium to ascending above the coast on a parasailing adventure, Soleil Sotheby’s International Realty says, “you can do it all at the Jersey Shore.”

Let us look at the Silver Pinball Museum, this is a unique museum dedicated to pinball and video games. The museum has over 600 pinball games that rotates throughout the year. The museum also has a gallery of pinball back glass artwork, photography, a gift shop, and many charitable events throughout the year. If your family loves playing pinball, this is the place to come.

Cape May County Park and Zoo has over 550 animals and several habitat zones with different species, which include the African Savannah, an Aviary, and a Reptile House. The zoo also has train rides for the kids, that travel through the zoo and a carousel.

Ocean Grove Beach features quiet dunes and gentle surf. This beach is the hot spot for sunbathing and swimming. In the summertime, the beach hosts a variety of activities such as sandcastle contests, movie nights, and athletic events that everyone in the family can join in on. The nearby boardwalk offers tasty foods, shopping, and other accommodations.

Jenkinson’s Aquarium, which is on Jenkinson’s Boardwalk at Point Pleasant Beach is a fun aquatic facility that is great for a family day on the Jersey Shore. The aquarium is home to many global marine and freshwater species, like the Pacific harbor seals, Atlantic and Pacific shark species, coral reef specimens, African penguins, and alligators.

North Wildwood Beach is one of the most popular beach resorts on the Jersey Shore. Families come here to swim and catch some fish. One of the biggest highlights of this area is the historic Hereford Inlet Lighthouse, a quaint Victorian lighthouse that offers spectacular coastal views.

Casino Pier is an amusement park with rides, games, concession stands, and other family activities. This amusement park has miniature golf, go-karting, and a historic antique carousel. The fun never ends at the Casino Pier.

The list goes on for these fun summer activities to do down at the shore. Do not forget to see the Naval Air Station Wildwood Aviation Museum, that has military aircraft, Belmar Parasail, soar hundreds of feet over the ocean, Barnegat Lighthouse State Park and Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge. New Jersey Shore has all sorts of things the family can enjoy during the summer. These are some must see ones you need to put on your list!

 

Tips for Buying Your First Beach House in Margate, New Jersey

Margate

For many people, their dream home sits on a pristine beach, somewhere just a short walk away from the water and with enough room to put two lawn chairs and an umbrella to read beneath. However, when buying a beach house, there are many things to consider that do not apply for homes further inland. With over 35 years of experience helping families purchase their dream homes, our knowledgeable agents know the most important considerations when buying near the water. Our goal at Soleil Sotheby’s is to find each client their dream home, so if your perfect house is beachside, please take into consideration these tips.

–         Sea Level

A home 30 ft from the water may sound like the most convenient option; however, high property taxes and flood damage may change your mind. Depending on your desired location, seasonal changes and flash floods should be taken into consideration when choosing your home.

–        Mudroom/ Outdoor Shower

An unavoidable occurrence when visiting the beach is that you take some of the beach back with you. If you are someone who doesn’t mind sand following you home, then a mud room or an outdoor shower is not a necessity. However, when it comes to cleaning a beach house you may find that these amenities make all the difference.

–        Extra Maintenance

Living by the ocean has plenty of pros, but saltwater can be a con when it comes to home maintenance. Salt water’s highly corrosive properties make repairing windows, outdoor furniture, and garden equipment a sometimes annual necessity. While you can take steps to protect your property from saltwater, this upkeep should be taken into account while viewing properties.

  • Location, Location, Location

Homes near public beaches can be a wonderful, less expensive option for those looking to save. But, if you are looking to relax with your family away from the crowds, private beaches are your best option. A good middle ground that is often overlooked, however, is the marina. Away from the crowds, less expensive than private beaches, a marina is a quiet spot for boat lovers and while keeping stunning ocean views.

 

Purchasing any home can be a stressful event; beach properties are not excluded from this. However, at Soleil Sotheby’s, our years of experience and specialization in beach towns such as Brigantine, Longport, and Margate, New Jersey, will give you peace of mind on your exciting journey of purchasing your dream beach house.

Our New Hobby

Since people are spending more time at home than ever before, baking has become quite a popular hobby, with homemade bread being one of the favorites. One of our agents, Mark Seubert, has perfected his sourdough recipe, and it definitely looks delicious! 

 

IMG_1489

 

 

Ingredients:

For the levain

  • 35 grams bread flour
  • 35 grams whole wheat flour
  • 35 grams mature starter
  • 70 grams filtered water

For the dough

  • 810 grams bread flour
  • 90 grams whole wheat flour
  • 680 grams filtered water (at 90℉)
  • 18 grams fine sea salt
  1. Mix levain ingredients and rest in a warm area (70-80℉) for 5 hours.
  2. One hour before your levain is done, mix together your bread flour and whole wheat flour. Add 580g of your water to the flour mixture (keeping 100g to the side for mixing later).
  3. Mix just until your dough comes together. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest in a warm area (same as your starter) for 1 hour.
  4. Mix your dough and levain together using a little of your separated water to help incorporate it. Rest 20 minutes.
  5. Add your sea salt and the rest of your separated water and mix until incorporated. Slap and fold for 2-4 minutes or until your dough is smooth and begins to catch some air. Rest 15 minutes in the same warm area you placed your starter.
  6. Perform 6 sets of stretch and folds spaced out by 15 minutes for the first 3, then 30 minutes for the next 3. Make sure to place your dough back in the warm area for each rest.
  7. Let your dough rest for a remainder of 1.5 hours, for a grand total of 4 hours.
  8. Dump out and divide your dough into 2 even pieces. Preshape each piece into a light boule and rest 5-10 minutes.
  9. Shape your dough into 2 batards and place it into bannetons dusted with either rice flour or all-purpose flour.
  10. Chill in the fridge overnight.
  11. Preheat a cast iron combo cooker in your oven from cold to 500℉ for 1 hour.
  12. Carefully place a dusted loaf into the hot pan, score the top, place the larger lid on top, and bake for 20 minutes.
  13. Remove the top from the combo cooker and lower the oven temperature to 450℉. Bake for an additional 20-30 minutes, or until the loaf is a deep brown.
  14. Remove and cool on a wire rack until room temperature. Repeat with the other loaf.

 

Sample Schedule for Breadmaking

9am: Mix levain

1pm: Autolyse dough

2pm: Mix dough and levain

2:15pm: Mix in salt

2:30pm: Fold #1

2:45pm: Fold #2

3:00pm: Fold #3

3:30pm: Fold #4

4:00pm: Fold #5

4:30pm: Fold #6, rest for 1.5 hours

6pm: Shape dough and place in fridge overnight

Next morning: Preheat oven as guided and bake!