Is there Home Renovations that Decrease Home Value?

An interesting topic that I have never considered looking into is home improvements that could decrease the value of a home. We all talk about what can increase your home value, rate of return, etc, but are there improvements that can actually hurt you in home valuation? Turns out, there are! And, this probably depends on the person who would want to buy your home next, but it is interesting what is widely considered as a “decrease-r.” After some researching on what can actually hurt your home value, I was actually a little shocked at what I found, and kind of bummed out!

I guess having your home too fancy can be off putting for many buyers. Things such as lavish light fixtures, an extremely high-end kitchen, and a luxury bathroom was all on the list. I know I don’t love a godly chandelier in a normal home either, but I am down for a luxury bath and kitchen! However, something that you may spend a lot of money on doing, you may not get the same return back on it if you go to resell. So, they say to stick to practical appliances and tubs instead of the most extravagant ones to help fit many others lifestyle. Dang, I wanted to put a fireplace in my bathroom… Maybe not the best idea?

That also brings up the point of having too many things customized to your lifestyle. Such as bright and bold paint colors or removing bedrooms for office space and removing closets and walls to make a room bigger. By doing so, you have just removed a bedroom. More bedrooms equal more value. Even small ones! And a lot of people may not be as bold as you on some colors which could be off setting. It’s not you, it’s them… Whenever I show a client a home with very bold color combos, they usually always comment on  how it will not match their furniture and would need to put some work into the home already. I may have some reconsidering to do on paint color choices in my home.

This one surprised me, but they say that adding a sunroom decreases the value of a home. In fact, according to a remodel website, it is the worse renovation to make for return of investment! I love a sunroom, and here in Cheyenne, the sun shines about 300 days a year. So, I don’t care what they say, I am putting a sunroom in my home!

What do you think? Anything here that you would love to see or not to see in your next home?

Our First Time Home Buying Experience!

Hi ya’ll. I have not been able to blog in a while. It has been a busy few months, in real estate, of course, but also personally, too during that time. I want to tell you all that it is official: We bought our first house! Yes, I had been in real estate for over two years and had never bought a house ourselves. Shhhh… But, let me tell you our story.

As with any buyer during this crazy hot seller’s market, me and my husband looked for a house for over a year! When we started looking, it was about at the height of COVID and the housing market was boiling hot. With prices increasing at the start, many competitive buyers, and then interest rates increasing towards the end, it felt like home ownership was just out of our reach and like we would never be able to catch up. It is extremely frustrating for a first-time home buyer right now and so I can relate to all my first timers I help here. Buying a home is a stressful time for anyone to begin with, but add low inventory, multiple competitors, and no time to think about this huge life decision to the mix and it is stressful! Even though I was a real estate agent, there was nothing different or easier about it about buying a home ourselves, other than I am very aware of the process I suppose.

We had seriously looked at close to 10 homes during this time and made offers on about 3 homes that were all rejected. We became a backup for one home, however, but the other deal went through. After the 3rd rejection, we decided to make our loan options a little stronger and worked on credit. We had our eye on a house that was on market for almost 6 months! That is unheard of in this market! The home was a little out of our budget so we worked on credit and savings and once it was days before we were able to prequalify enough for that house, it had gone under contract with someone else! Arg!

Now we were serious and ready to go for that next one. With interest rates rising every day, we suddenly had a fire under us now to get a house before it was completely out of reach, again.

Then, the one popped up on market…

We ran out to see it that night and with no time to think about it, we put in a strong offer. A potential $30,000 over asking price offer. I say potential because we did an escalation clause which is really helping winning offers in this market. We competed against 2-3 other offers. Ours was accepted, and just barely winning. Finally!!

The rest of the transaction went very smoothly and we moved into our first house just a few weeks ago and are very happy with what we have! It feels good to finally be a home owner!

Let me know if you would like me to help with your NextHome!

Mortgage Loan Types

Did you know that there are different types of home mortgage loans out there? For first time home buyers, it can be a little stressful and confusing when confronted with different types of loan, that is why it is best to chat with a trusted mortgage lender before looking at homes so the financial, and honestly, the most confusing part of the home buying process is secured. Sellers also like this quality in a buyer, and in this market, it is always a plus to be ahead of the game!

So, what are the types of loans out there? Now, as a real estate agent, I cannot go into great detail on what each type can offer you specifically, but I can give a brief overview of each. This is some exciting stuff, y’all!

Let’s start with the most common home loan that I am sure everyone has heard of: the conventional loan. Conventional loans are a non-government funded loan. It is typical to have more cash down, like 20%, to be qualified for this loan and usually one needs a decent credit score. However, if one does not have 20%, but maybe 5-10%, some lenders are able to provide this type of loan still, but you would pay PMI until you have 20% equity in the home. PMI stands for Private Mortgage Insurance, and it can be a pretty penny added to the monthly payment, but this is protection for the lender incase you default. The nice thing, though, is that it eventually goes away and then you have a smaller monthly payment!

The next loan type there out there and is more common for first time home buyers is the FHA loan. FHA stands for Federal Housing Administration, and this IS a government funded loan. A buyer can put less down, like 3%, but the buyer would pay PMI the entire duration of the loan, even after 20% equity. This is great for a first time home buyers because it is easier to get into a home without having so much money down. Usually, this will be someone’s first home, they obtain that glorious equity, sell, and put that 20% down payment on a new home from the sale of that other home, and it may be more suitable for their lifestyle now. It is all about that American dream!

The other home loan out there is very similar to the FHA loan and that is the VA loan, or Veterans Affairs. There are, you guessed it, loans guaranteed for our amazing veterans! These are great home loans. With a VA loan, the buyer does not have to have any down payment, they have better interest rates, and there is NO PMI. Now that is great and a much-deserved benefit for America’s veterans!

FHA and VA loans have the home set to a higher standard. So, in other words, no huge fixer-uppers will fly with this loan type. There is also loans such as rural development loans which have stipulations on the type of home and locations.

So, if you are wondering what loan type would work for you, let me know! I work with some incredible lenders here in Cheyenne that would help you get that first step to home ownership done in no time!

PS: Ask about our Wyoming only programs here like ‘Welcome Home Wyoming” and “WCDA,” that help with down payment even further and closing cost coverage!

Spring Cleaning

Deep breath in. Is there anything better than your home being fresh and just cleaned? Laundry done, dishes put away, floors spotless, and air freshers on full blast; ahhhh… Then, your family come homes and wrecks it in about 3 minutes, right? Just kidding! Kind of…

Spring is just around the corner here in Wyoming! Although, I know it does not feel like it with the scattered snow we are getting and the below zero weather some days, but the sun is coming up sooner and staying up later. Also, I saw some baby chicks in the farm good store the other day, and here, that means it’s almost Spring!

It got me thinking about spring cleaning. Why is that a thing, to get rid of clutter in the spring? What are we so busy with in the winter that clutter and dust seem to accumulate? Either way, it feels great to declutter and clean in the new warm weather. Ready to recharge!

I was checking out some cool spring-cleaning tips and found some interesting techniques. For example, cleaning a shower faucet with vinegar, stainless steel sinks with baking soda, or placing a wet dryer sheet on a ceramic stovetop to remove burnt-on stains; I will defiantly have to try that one!

Some other organizing tips for spring cleaning time can include:

-Empty the fridge and thoroughly clean it. Gosh, I feel that there is so much gunk at the bottom of my fridge and some ketchup stains in the side doors, this is a great plan.

-Sweep under your large appliances like fridge, stove, washer and dryer, etc. Anyone with pets are probably scared of what they will find here; me included!

-Clean blinds and curtains. I like to wash my curtains and then hang them back up to air dry. It makes the house smell like fresh laundry and gets the dust and pollen out from having the windows open, too! I am all ears from a good technique from cleaning blinds that doesn’t take all day, however.

-Wipe down floorboards.

-Flip your mattress! I always forget to do this one every 6 months!

However you decide spring clean, if anything, I hope it brings you joy to know that you have a beautiful home and if spring cleaning makes you realize you need some different walls, let me know!

10-Year Challenge!

So, my broker just gave all us agents in the office some stat updates, and I found the numbers are interesting! I wanted to research some more stats a little further…

Let’s take a journey back to about 10 years ago; like the 10-year challenge everyone is doing right now on social media, but real estate style. Anyways, so the year is 2011/2012. The year the world was going to end, right? Ha! Remember all the little problems we had back then?

But the real estate market 10 years ago was completely different than today! It was coming out of the dropping value stage, and the average home sales price in the US in 2012 was only about $110,000.00 and that is US nationwide average. The nation was still doing some recovering from the 2008 crash but it was getting its repair on! This all means that this was a hot buyer’s market in 2012!

Bringing you back to good ‘ole 2021. AKA: the hottest sellers market in American history. The average price in the US last year was around $389,400.00. WOW, that’s a jump! Most of that was the increase in homes from 2020 and 2021.

Alright, now that you have a little taste for what the US was doing as whole then, let’s talk about the greatest place to live in the world–Cheyenne, WY!

I am scared to look what home prices were back in 2012 here, but I’ll check anyways- and it appears to be up there with the nations average then, like the mid 100s! Cheyennes’ real estate market is usually able to maintain stability.

Ok, now the moment you’ve all been waiting for, the stats that we have for last month in 2021. So, here in Cheyenne, inflation is currently up to about 12%. When I started learning real estate here about 3 years ago, I was told that the average sales price in 2018/2019 was about $269,000 for just residential. What a great price! In 2020, the average price for a residential home here became about $312,000. So, really creeping up there. As of last month, in December 2021, the average purchase price of a home here in Cheyenne was $353,000! I am telling you, that is some great return and equity on that house purchase, but still below the national average, which means, this is still a very affordable place to live. And, like everyone is saying, you cannot build more land, and so land inflation is up to about 21% here, so get your land!

Cheyenne, WY sold 3,500 houses last year as a whole. A little bit about our brokerage here in Cheyenne, NextHome Rustic Realty, is that out of 57 other brokerages in town, we were number 9! And, we had the fewest agents per office! We clearly know a thing or two about real estate in Cheyenne…


So, let us know if you are looking to buy or sell your home here!

Resolutions or Renovations?

Let’s talk home décor. Just like clothes, home décor, style, and layouts go in and out of style all the time.

Remember the popular bilevel 70’s style homes with some green walls and shag carpet? Yikes. Or, how about covering up beautiful hardwood floor with some linoleum. What were we thinking!? But even today, certain home styles are on the rage right now and that is subject to change, too.

In 2020-2021 we saw a lot of whites, greys, and farmhouse style décor. Timeless, but white is everywhere! White walls, white cabinets, with hints of grey and black here and there bringing out natural light. I love it! We painted over brick and cabinets to make everything white and clean. When will we start to regret that, I wonder? Homes feel very light today, but kind of…cold in a way! I think after the heavy year of 2020, everyone was looking for a space that made them feel lighter and the area larger, which is understandable!

But it is now 2022, let’s see what new trend we will be seeing in the new year!

According to VOGUE and a few other articles I looked up since I am no interior designer, we will be seeing more neutral colors on the walls with maybe some bold color accent walls. Bold like citrus green and purple. This is really going to warm things up! Not only that, but we will also see more variety of texture and mixed styles combined from all years of home style décor, including things like curved furniture, similar to the 70’s again. Cool! Not sure how this is all going to look, but I am excited to see it in homes now!

Not just décor and styles are changing, but layouts are changing too. I hate to mention COVID in my blog posts, but it has really been a life changing experience and event in our world today and that effects the way we live even in our own space, too. People are wanting and needing more bedrooms. Not just so that kids can have their own space now, but people need home offices and workout rooms are becoming a need for many. We will start seeing a thing called a “multipurpose” room where kids will play, watch movies, do school work, and adults will work out etc. How interesting!

So, what do you think of the 2022 trends?

The Dust Bowl

When you think of Wyoming, what first comes to mind? Is it some good likin’ cowboy on a horse? Or rugged mountain terrain and sage brush? Or how about standing on a front porch watching the sunset after a long day on the ranch? Ahh.. Today, today I think of wind! The wind is blowing up to 80MPH this December morning, and with no snow for Christmas yet, its causing dust to blow all around. So, I am hunkering down in the house avoiding it all, watching a movie I have seen a thousand times when suddenly the power goes out wrecking my days plans. Ugh. Now what? I guess I will go put on a bonnet, some nickers, and a long flowery dress and start churning my own butter. No, we are not at that point yet. But, it did get me thinking of the 1930’s and Dust Bowl situation, so I did some research. What else is there to do? I still have hotspot!

I understand now why they called it the “Dirty Thirties.” As I look out my window, I see my bird feeder fly off the tree and breaking to pieces into the field. Grrr! Good thing I left my chickens in the coop today. Oh, no! The coop! Ok, it’s still there.  But, there is also a fog of dust out there, too. Not so much in my grassy pasture, but across the way in the dirt pasture where some goats had eaten up all the grass. This is what it must have been like in the 1930’s? I guess after the Civil War, federal land acts encouraged people westward to farm the Great Plains. Even though the Rockies pass through Wyoming, Cheyenne is considered pretty plain, yet beautiful!

So, many of these pioneers had this superstition then that, “rain follows the plow.” For years when they arrived west to farm, it rained and rained, and in the 1910’s and 1920’s, the demand for wheat went up due to WWI. This encouraged farmers to plow up more land to be able to plant more crop. However, WWI ended and the Great Depression hit making wheat price go way down now. This made farmers cultivate even more land in attempt to harvest a bumper crop. But, as we know, then the onset of an almost decade long drought hit with some high winds storms in the mix. With all this newly tore up land, the dust was able to be picked up like crazy! Introducing, the Dust Bowl.

The newly cultivated land become useless for farming during this time and some wind storms were so bad that it carried dust all the way to the East Coast, giving The Statue of Liberty a little sprinkle of western dust. Dust was everywhere! It was getting into the cracks of homes and settling on furniture, people, and food. That reminds me, I think I may have forgotten how to cook without power. Hmm, a wood stove would be handy right about now! Sandwich it is. Some people developed “dust pneumonia,” which, by using my limited medical background, is probably dust settling in the lungs causing infection. “Cough, cough.” Is this COVID, dust pneumonia, or paranoia? Which era am I in, again? Too soon to tell, ya’ll.

Well, the rain eventually returned to a normal state around 1939, but not before it forced many people to migrate and leave these flat dry lands and cause some serious economic downfall. I am hoping for less wind and more snow in the near future here in southern Wyoming after today! I hope you enjoyed this little history buff. Until next time!


I may end up in Kansas by the end of today…

Old Home Features, Charming? Or no?

Cheyenne has a ton of older houses, especially near the capital building, in multiple areas, but especially in a subdivision called “The Avenues.” The oldest house still standing in Cheyenne is near the capital building and dates back to the late 1800s. When touring homes built in that era, I tend to find many features in the homes that I do not see in more modern homes, or homes built after the mid 1900s. The layouts are always so different and unique in each homes, however there are some features that they have in common, like small yards, coal shuts, or radiators, etc.

A feature I sometimes see in Cheyenne’s older homes, that I absolutely adore, are cast iron clawfoot bathtubs! Gosh, why did these ever do out of style? My dream bathroom consists of one. After some research on the history of the clawfoot tub, it was the design of tub when indoor plumbing become available. Created in Holland, moving to Europe and the state shortly after, there are were many designs seen. However, their popularity decreased when the increase for showers became what people wanted.

Many questions I get from clients while showing these charming early 1900s homes is what is the hole in the wall that contains a shelf for? Candles? Plants? Books? They can be today! They are actually called “phone niches,” where people would have to put their big chunky communication devices back in the day. AKA: life without the iPhone…

I lived in a house growing up with a laundry shoot, and thought it was pretty neat. I could not fit in it to be able to jump down to the basement quickly. That was probably for the best. However, many homes in the early 1900s era had them. Genius! Today, new built homes have laundry on the main level to avoid having to hall clothes up and down the stairs. This is a “ranch style” feature today.

Something I have yet to see commonly in Cheyenne homes are “servant staircases.” They were common in larger homes in the pre-Civil War era. They are another strange narrow staircase that leads to the kitchen or pantry. A purposely hidden stairway. My uncle from North Dakota had bought an old farm house that had one of these. I found that so interesting!

Going off of the servant era of homes, there is another feature that one might see which is a “servant floor button,” where people could use their foot to step on a button on the floor to call for the servant. Today, they are usually covered up by rugs.

A very common feature in old homes in Cheyenne, unfortunately, is “knob and tube wiring.” This is an old form of wiring that is sometimes referred to as “hot wiring,” meaning that it’s, well, hot! As you can imagine, this wiring is not ideal, but considered up to code usually, unless you want to insulate the attic were it still remains today. It then becomes a fire hazard and costs close to 5 figures to place.

Old homes in Cheyenne are so beautiful and charming. They just don’t make them like they use to do they? But, with all the charming features they have, if you are considering on purchasing one, it is important to get inspections beforehand in case there are some old features that are not so charming!

So, what do you like most about old homes?

Cheyenne Gems

Here I sit, at an open house of a beautiful rural property here in Cheyenne, WY that I wish I could live in. People are coming in and asking about the area, market, weather, etc. It got me thinking: Cheyenne is such a fun, beautiful, and interesting place to live, what are some hidden gems in this town? Many people know about Frontier Days with the rodeos, concerts, and shopping, duh, however, there is so much more to Cheyenne than that one week in July!

Cheyenne was the start of Wyoming with the railroad back in the 1800s. So, as you can imagine, there are is museum after museum to go to here and some historical sites to venture onto here. I am in real estate so I love to visit the Governor Mansion, obviously, where one can walk into all the rooms of the house and learn about construction and use of the old house! (Spoiler alert, there is a bomb shelter in the basement). There is even a hot coco event during Christmas in the sunroom.

Some other favorites of mine are: “The Depot,” which is the original railroad stop and is now a great little brewery, museum, and tour stop. A full day of fun there! And, if anyone did not know, Cheyenne is a big military town. We have the F.E Warren Air Force Base located here. Although one cannot go into the base other than a special tour they sometimes have in the summer, there is another museum North of town where you can go down and see an old missile control station from the 80s/90s timeframe called Québec. All worth your time!

I guess if you are not into museums, then you are thinking Cheyenne is not for you. Understandable, but wait, there is more! Cheyenne has some great local bakeries, like “The Bread Basket” downtown and steak houses like the “Rib and Chop.” Not only does Cheyenne have some of the best steak houses as well, and the cutest little shops for some local shopping, but they have great outdoor stuff, too! I feel it is important for me to say that Cheyenne is not Jackson, WY or Cody, WY. Take one look around and you will notice that. But there is a park called Curt Gowdy State Park just West of town where there is great hiking, camping, and some gorgeous lakes to unwind and remove yourself from the hustle of bustle of life. When I was there this summer, me and my husband with our dogs camped out and saw some wildlife… and cows, kayaked and hiked!

I hope you come around the local Cheyenne gems soon!

Market Update: November, 2021

Remember just a few short years ago, when buyers had many options to choose from when looking for a house? And then, after looking at all those options, buyers had time then to get prequalified and make an offer below asking price. Ahh, those were days for buying… After 2020, however, the housing market has a lot of buyers stressed, frustrated, overwhelmed, and burnt out. It is a great time to be a seller! With multiple offers, low inventory, and things like escalation clauses to win over asking price and appraisal gaps to pay the difference if the house does not appraise, buyers are left with the short end of the deal and having to miss out on many dream homes. Yes, 2020-2021 housing market has been like something we haven’t seen before in years- maybe ever! But as 2022 is just around the corner, there are many home buyers sitting back wondering a lot of things about what the market is going to do next. Will is crash? Stay the same? Level out? Explode!? All seems likely these days. The experts in real estate, however, are saying NO to a crash.

In 2020 and 2021, the biggest motive for the boom was the fact that interest rates reached an all-time low, some reaching in the 1%’s. Because of that, many people who could not afford a home before, suddenly could! AKA:however, more competition. With 2022 in our sights, experts say that although interest rates have increased, and to a still very low rate, they are projected to continue to stay low. Also, with the holidays coming and the slight rise in interest rates, sales have slightly slowed down, but not to any scary level, yet to a more balanced level instead. This is great news!

Throughout 2020 and 2021, a lot of house production slowed down as well and with a sudden high demand for them, it resulted in that increase in home prices and values that we are boggled over today. Although many are worried this would lead to another 2008 kind of crash, there are not many factors with this market that would lead to that. Instead, as home productions increase and more inventory starts to grow, increase in price appreciation will start to slow. Experts do not say that homes will decrease in value though, even with the fact that we will see some more homes that were in forbearance and might have to foreclose. This should just lead to more leveling out of the market.

As we all know by now, anything can happen after what we all went through the past 2 years. However, real estate experts are predicting a steadier market next year. Interest rates are to continue to be low, not as low as they once got, but still extremely reasonable and home supply should pick up.

All this means is, it is still a great time to buy and sell real estate!