Residential Remodeling Ideas to Sell Your Starter Home and Buy New

Some people love watching home improvement shows about people who fall back in love with their home after a residential remodeling job. While some people decide to love their home, others realize their home is worth so much more after home improvements that they can afford a step-up home. By working with a custom home builder who also handles residential remodeling, you can enjoy a seamless experience fixing up your starter home to sell and planning for a new home. The first step is to figure out the best resale value remodels for your home in Greater Cincinnati or Northern Kentucky. According to a recent article by, people who remodel their home to sell need to stay focused on limited home improvement dollars.

  • Updating a kitchen

If you have an old, outdated kitchen, you can increase the value of your home. Prioritize according to the return on the investment as opposed to your design tastes since your goal is to sell. An article by HGTV says people spend the most money in the kitchen and baths. Experts suggest sticking with traditional wood cabinets, stone countertops and sleek appliances.

  • Adding square footage

Another good place to spend your remodeling dollars is on more living space. HGTV suggest adding new living room space, but other wise moves include a second master bedroom suite with adjoining bathroom addition and walk-in closet. With the multi-generational household trend, you can add living space for large families to appeal to buyers with aging parents or adult children. Even if you don’t add a new master bedroom, consider remodeling the one you already have.

Other important ways to spend your remodeling dollars include replacing old showers and tubs with modern glass or stylish ceramic tiles and changing out toilet bowls, sinks, vanities and lighting fixtures. According to, don’t waste your renovation dollars on kids’ spaces that are often too personalized. Pools and wine rooms are great if you plan to stay put, but not if your intention is to sell.

At J. Schmidt Homes, we can help you figure out the best way to remodel your existing home in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky as well as plan a custom dream home that’s perfect for your family. For more information on our residential remodeling services, please contact us.

What to Expect from an Excellent Seller’s Agent

Team-SchmidtThe seller’s agent works for the home seller. When you are ready to have a professional put a shingle into your front yard and advertise your home, you rely on this expert. While everyone knows that the real estate professional will be on hand to schedule appointments to show your property to interested buyers, there is a lot more that goes on behind the scenes.

What should you expect from an excellent sellers’ agent?

  • Market analysis. The price of your home is a touchy subject. To you, it holds so many memories and firsts that you want to get top dollar for the property. To your selling agent, there are no emotional ties. Instead, the professional will prepare a comparative market analysis that shows you what similar homes in your area sell for and how much you can increase this price because of residential remodeling or custom millwork.
  • Staging. Your agent should have a professional relationship with a staging expert in your area. If you decide that you do not want to go this route, the agent will give you advice on how to present your home to its fullest advantage. Examples include landscaping suggestions for great curb appeal and ideas for your interior presentation.
  • Marketing. Hanging up a shingle is not enough. Your agent puts the property on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), creates fliers that list amenities and feature photos, engages in direct-mail flyer distribution and actively goes after showings.
  • Coordination of services. There is no need to spend countless hours on the phone. Let your seller’s agent do the work! Not only does the expert negotiate with potential buyers on your behalf, but the pro also verifies that these folks have the funds needed to buy the home. Coordinating closings is part of this deal.

When you are ready to get the most from the sale of your home, entrust your sale to J. Schmidt Homes’ realtor services. Local professionals who know the market, they are licensed and certified. In addition, they are members of the Warren County Board of Realtors as well as the National Association of Realtors. Contact us today for more information.

Top 5 Reasons to Work with a Buyer’s Agent

When you are in the market to buy a home, most folks drive around and look for properties they like. Others scour the Internet for listings that meet all of their criteria. Next, these folks contact the real estate professional handling this listing. Although this may seem like standard practice, you may be able to do better with your own buyer’s agent.

There are five reasons to work with this type of professional.

  1. Expert input. If you are a first-time home buyer, there is a good chance that the process of buying a property seems daunting. A buyers’ agent is on your side. This professional walks you through the process step by step.
  2. A second set of eyes. Accompanying you on appointments to look at properties is one of the things a good agent does. This expert helps you to look at the home through the eyes of an educated consumer who sees not just the beautiful landscaping and staging but also learns how to interpret wall cracks and other possible shortcomings a property might have.
  3. Property locator. When the homes that you found are not completely to your liking, the buying agent can help you find other properties that meet your budgetary constraints and feature your must-haves. It is always a good idea to be very clear about what you need, what you want and where you want to find it.
  4. Industry insider. Do you need a reputable mortgage broker? How about finding someone to do the landscaping after your buy the property? Working with a local buying agent puts you in touch with an expert who can help you find vetted professionals to assist with the home purchase and those who can afterward serve the new homeowner’s needs.
  5. It is free! That is correct. The seller pays the commission that the buyer’s agent charges. When you go it alone, the seller still pays this amount – only the listing agent gets it all. Why not take advantage of this service since it is already going to be paid for?

J. Schmidt Homes’ realtor services put you in touch with professionals who are certified as well as licensed in Ohio. In addition, these experts are members of the National Association of Realtors as well as the Warren County Board of Realtors. Contact us today to learn more about our buyers’ agent services.

New Construction: How to Plan for a Bathroom Sanctuary

IMG_1485While kitchens get the most attention, it’s the bathroom that you and your guests will appreciate most once you move into your new construction home. Bathroom trends are always changing, but some things remain constant. When choosing what you want in a custom home, always allocate a guest bathroom that is convenient to visitors in the home. A growing trend is to have dual master suites in a custom home, which provides the owner with a luxurious bathroom as well as one for another member of the household. According to a recent article by, bathrooms provide a sanctuary. Experts say some of the features that stand out to people looking at new homes include double sinks, solid surface countertops and showers with decorative tile.

  • Relaxing in a garden tub

Although a growing number of homeowners are opting out of the garden or jetted tubs, it’s wise to have at least one bathroom in the home with a garden tub because of resale value. If you decide to leave the tub out of some bathrooms, consider an over-sized shower with trendy glass mosaic tile and upgraded shower heads.

  • Choosing a non-slip flooring

Years ago, some homeowners chose carpeting in the bathroom. Design experts say carpet in a bathroom in a major turnoff for most people. At the same time, it’s good to have non-slip surfaces in the bathroom that could cushion a fall as you age. When planning your bathrooms in a new construction home, think about whether an older person will be using the space. If so, opt for non-slip flooring and universal design features such as grab bars in the shower.

  • Going high-tech

Touch-free toilets are especially appealing for guest bathrooms. Talk to your builder about including at least one bathroom on the main floor near the entryway of the home and main entertaining areas. Although not all the bathroom trends this year revolve around technology, The National Kitchen & Bath Association reports that people are gravitating to clean and white contemporary design, floating vanities, heated floors, open shelving and trough sinks.

At J. Schmidt Homes, we can help you build a dream home that includes on-trend bathrooms. Whether you want to remodel the bathrooms in your existing home or live in a new construction house in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, talk to us about the latest in bathroom designs. For more information about new home plans for your family, please contact us.

Why You Should Be Investing in Real Estate

Are you at the point in your life where you’ve settled in with your job and are lucky enough financially to begin to invest? Then a good place to start is with an investment in real estate. Keep reading to learn why purchasing a home is great for your investment portfolio.

Less Volatile Than Stocks

Having money in the stock market is great when you’re in a bull market. However, things can quickly get ugly once there’s a stock market correction. So to hedge against the volatility of the stock market, it’s best to invest in something that’s more stable in prices like a new construction home. Plus, the fact that real estate prices aren’t directly affected by the stock market makes it an even better cushion to have once you’re faced with a bear market.

You Can Live in It

Stocks and bonds are assets that are only valuable because of the amount of money they’re worth. Meanwhile, a house can actually be lived in. Thus, even while you’re waiting for your house to increase in value, you’re still able to make great use of it. Also,  if you live in a house that you own, you can forgo renting a place. Then the rent money that you save can go towards even more investments.

Allows You to Become a Landlord

Some people shy away from buying a house because they’re afraid that they might not end up living in the house for long. However, even if you don’t live in the house, you can still profit from it. Just rent it out and become a landlord. You’ll gain equity while someone else helps to pay for your mortgage.

Contact us to learn even more reasons for why it’s smart to invest in real estate.

4 Tips for Keeping Residential Remodeling Projects on Budget and on Time

As experts in the residential remodeling and custom home building business, the pros at J. Schmidt Homes understand that adherence to a strict budget and timeline are crucial aspects of a successful project. In fact, we have discovered that there are four tips that keep virtually all home remodels on time as well as on budget.

Decide on the Details Early On

You want to remodel the guest bathroom. Great! Staying on budget can be as simple as discussing ahead of time if you want to go for a designer look that commercially available materials can offer or if you want to use custom-made products from local artisans. These details affect the budget of your project and – to a certain degree – the timeline.

Plan on Surprises

Adding an extra ten to 20 percent to your budget is always a good idea. This is even more important when you are undertaking home remodels because of fire or water damage. In addition to the obvious damage done to your property, there is the hidden damage that does not immediately become obvious until we open up walls or remove soiled materials.

Keep it Inexpensive but not Cheap

There is a huge difference between buying cheap materials and opting for inexpensive ones. The latter offer you a great value for the money. We routinely work with our clients to get excellent deals on a wide variety of remodeling or new construction materials. Since we have been in business for a long time, we have built countless relationships in the industry and know to anticipate bargains before other contractors do.

Stick to the Plan (as much as possible)

There will be times when you change your mind. You walk through the eclectic home goods store and simply fall in love with a vintage sink, a claw foot tub or the type of stove that your grandmother had in the old country. No problem! Yet when you change your mind on design plans quite frequently, you rack up extras to your budget. In addition, these changes take time to realize, which makes it difficult to stick to the timeline.

We know that you have plenty of questions about residential remodeling and project budgeting. Contact us today for more information on these and our other services.

Points to Consider When Insuring A Green Home Built by Your Custom Home Builder

The rise in green living has caused quite a few industries to scramble to catch up. This includes the insurance industry, one of the slowest industries to embrace new technologies and ideas. The insurance industry is about risk. It’s about embracing that which prevents it from paying out for an accident. When the Affordable Care Act was enacted, the insurance industry gazed in wonder at a new system about which it had no information whatsoever. Premiums were frightful the first years of the Act, because there was nothing to which to compare them. Now the system has evened out somewhat with premiums settling to a more workable level.

The beginning of green building practices is another subject about which the insurance industry had little information. Some years later, there is basis for comparison, which means premiums and policies have been adjusted. For example, homeowners wishing to live in green structures may take out a policy insuring existing green things like Energy Star appliances, energy efficient windows and doors as well as energy and water saving innovations. Another policy may be taken out by homeowners wishing to replace their present domicile with a green home from a custom home builder if anything happens to them. These policies will be a little expensive, but somewhat less than replacing a monstrous carbon footprint structure.

Going Green

Homeowners ready to remodel their Lebanon or Cincinnati structures think about going green. In addition to energy saving windows and doors as well as Energy Star appliances, there is siding to consider. The sticks with which the house was built might not be green, but homeowners can always work around that. For example, siding the house in fiber cement is a green practice that will net the homeowner years of attractive siding with little to no upkeep. Fiber cement is made of sand, cement and often recycled wood fibers. It is water-resistant, fire-resistant, weather-resistant and termite-resistant. It can be devised to look like wood, stucco or vinyl siding in any color or stain the homeowner finds attractive. It’s a little more expensive than other types of siding, but it lasts darn near forever. It’s great insulation, too.

Other Green Building Practices

Another remodel project that thrills insurance companies is green roofing. When they don’t have to pay out on hurricane or tornado damages, they love it. Modern green roofing materials include recycled steel or aluminum in 75 percent of the roof. This is great for saving energy as well as making the roof just about impregnable. Here, fire resistance is another facet of green building about which insurance companies are concerned.

More Fire-Resistant Information

Homes are often breeding grounds for bacteria and germs that cause respiratory troubles in susceptible family members. Asthma and allergy symptoms appear when the HVAC unit needs to be replaced. This is also a fire hazard, because older units are not energy efficient and often cause house fires. Homeowners’ power bills will decrease with the installation of an energy efficient HVAC unit in addition to lower insurance premiums. The family will be healthier and the house won’t catch on fire.

LEED Certified Homes

Green homes following Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design or LEEDS guidelines often receive discounts on homeowners insurance. Some innovations in green building are not covered by every insurance company, although most are seeing the light. States differ in their certifications, so homeowners seeking LEED certification should check with Ohio building codes offices. Insurance companies embracing green building practices include AIG, Travelers Insurance, Nationwide and State Farm, to name a few. In fact, homeowners driving hybrid cars could get a bundle price on their insurance products.

Now that homeowners and those wishing to build a green home know a little about insuring them, it’s time to locate a green-savvy custom builder. J. Schmidt Homes has you covered. Buyers will have every choice and every chance to consider costs in green materials as they build a green, energy efficient custom home that will be the envy of all who see it. 

Hot Trends in Flooring for Your New Construction Home or Remodel

flooringWhether you hire an experienced builder for a luxurious new construction home or to update your existing home, flooring defines your home’s aesthetic. Many new construction homes in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas have hard and soft surfaces throughout. When renovating or building, choose colors that blend and complement the interior design. According to a recent piece by, the styles for flooring choices are always changing. As a homeowner, you can embrace or discard the latest flooring trends for new construction depending if you have pets, children or aging relatives living in the home who need non-slip flooring.

  • Dark hardwood flooring

Dark flooring isn’t the right choice if you have light-colored pets, but it’s extremely hot to choose ebony stains. Experts point out other downsides of the darker colors is that they show scratches. Another option is gray hardwood now that interior designers call gray the “new neutral.” If you want a lighter color, choose white washed floors that remind you of a country home.

  • Wide plank flooring

A rustic interior design appeals to many people living in Ohio or Kentucky. Wide plank flooring makes a space feel more modern as well as rustic. When customizing your new construction home, ask about increasing the width of your wood planks by just a few inches.

  • Earth-friendly flooring

One of the most common “green” flooring choices is bamboo because it’s one of the fastest growing hardwoods. Many lines of bamboo mimic the look of other hardwoods. Other earth-friendly choices include reclaimed wood from antique floors and old beams.

  • New twists on the old

If you want to impress your guests with stunning floors, consider large format tiles in sizes such as 12″ X 24″ and 36″ X 36″. Another new twist on an old favorite is a cork floor in new colors. Luxury vinyl also comes in new patters and colors. If you want carpet for the bedrooms, get as creative with the colors and fibers as you want.

At J. Schmidt Homes, we help you choose all of the design elements for your custom home in the Greater Cincinnati area and Northern Kentucky. Let us know what kind of look you hope to achieve and we’ll help you elevate your lifestyle. For more ideas about new construction flooring and features, please contact us.

Custom Home Builder’s Tips for a Timeless, Contemporary Kitchen

Kitchens are the hub of any home, which is why kitchen design decisions become paramount when building a custom home. Your custom home builder will advise you on how to create a timeless kitchen look so your new construction home doesn’t seem outdated in just a few years. When working with your home builder in Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky, get inspired by home improvement shows, other new homes and kitchen design images online. According to an article by, contemporary kitchen trends don’t necessarily conflict with a timeless look. It’s all about bringing in high-tech and electronic features with classic materials and finishes that never go out of style.

A smart kitchen

Your kitchen isn’t just a place to cook and sample different dishes. It’s also an area for entertaining and gathering with family. In addition to custom cabinets that automatically close, consider a wall-mounted high-definition television, a coffee machine enabled by your smart phone or tablet.

Warm metallic materials

After more than a decade of the stainless steel trendy, design experts suggest warming up your Midwest home with gold, copper and bronze. You can incorporate the materials in kitchen cabinet pulls and knobs, faucets and even backsplashes.

An open, airy feel

To achieve an open and airy feel in your kitchen consider using open shelving. Open shelving is popular with the farmhouse kitchen look, but can work in a contemporary kitchen. Another way to make the kitchen more open is to opt for a mobile kitchen island. People who like the industrial look choose islands with steel wheels and stainless countertops.

Whether you are relying on a custom home builder to construct a new home or to remodel your existing one, focus on ways to add excitement to your kitchen space. A recent article by Huffington Post says you can make your kitchen less boring with more color, a see-through dishwasher, mixed metals and blackened stainless steel appliances.

At J. Schmidt Homes, we are a custom home builder committed to our new home clients in the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky areas. Let us help you design the kitchen and home of your dreams. For more information and ideas for your custom home, please contact us.


Residential Remodeling: Boosting Home Value by Staying On Trend

When it comes time to sell your home in Greater Cincinnati or Northern Kentucky, it pays to look into residential remodeling ideas that are on trend. Most experts recommend reserving any far-out or overly creative remodels for smaller space such a guest bathroom. Choosing an on trend, timeless and tasteful remodel for your kitchen and master bathroom will likely substantially increase the value of your home. According to an article by, the average kitchen renovation that includes replacing all the appliances, cabinets, floor and adding a kitchen island costs about $56,000. A minor kitchen remodel could cost around $20,000. Experts say you’ll recoup between 68 and 78 percent of the cost of renovating a kitchen, but it could also mean the difference between a home that sells quickly and one that sits on the market.

Updating the kitchen

Trendy kitchen updates bring your old-fashioned kitchen into the modern era. After meeting with a Cincinnati home builder to talk about residential remodeling idea, you might decide to stay put instead of sell your home. According to a kitchen design trend report by HGTV, look for kitchen cabinets with hydraulic doors for greater functionality. Sensor-activated lighting and other kitchen technology will also get your home into the 21st century. Instead of going with basic white or stainless steel, consider appliances and sinks in eye-catching colors. Glass mosaic backsplashes and decorative lighting create a little drama.

Remodeling the bathroom

Your bathroom is a spa-like retreat so you feel pampered after working hard all day. To boost your home value, follow the latest trends in bathroom renovations. According to a piece by citing a survey by Houzz, some important features in today’s bathrooms include radiant heat flooring, LED shower heads, touch-operated showers, larger showers, double sinks and wall sconces. The Houzz survey showed 50 percent said they plan to spend more than $10,000 for a master bathroom renovation. Of those, 14 percent planned to spend $25,000 to $50,000. Almost 70 percent said they would rely on a residential remodeling professional rather than taking on a DIY project.

At J. Schmidt Homes, we work with our clients to figure out the most elegant and exciting renovations for their kitchen and bathrooms. We are in Lebanon Ohio and serve clients in the Greater Cincinnati area and Northern Kentucky. We also build custom homes when you are ready to step up to a better lifestyle.