How Much Are My Home Improvements Worth? The 2020 Cost v. Value Report is Out.

One of the biggest mistakes sellers make in pricing their home is assuming that they will get at least 100 cents on every dollar they put into that home since they bought it:

“Well, I bought it for $450,000 ten years ago, and I put in a new kitchen for $50,000, so it’s worth at least $500,000.”

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. You almost never get 100 cents, or even 75 cents, on every dollar you spend.

Why? Well, for one thing, you did that work according to your own tastes, and hopefully, you got a lot of enjoyment out of it.  But maybe your new buyer won’t love the granite countertops you chose or the way you organized your closets.  It’s not worth as much to them as it was to you.

For another, many home improvements involve equipment that you put in, which quickly starts to depreciate once you use it.  Homes appreciate, but the stuff in them doesn’t.  That new washer? It’s used. That new fridge? It’s worth 50% of what you paid for it the minute you plugged it in.

So if you never quite get 100 cents on the dollar for home improvement projects, how much do you get?  It’s tough to say.  The most bang for the buck is usually in anything that increases square footage or the number of rooms, the least comes from improvements that are based on depreciating equipment.

If you’re looking for a general guide to the return you can get on home improvement projects, Remodeling Magazine puts out a helpful guide every year called the “Cost v. Value Report,
which compares the projected return on different types of projects.  It’s not definitive, and its methodology is not based on actual real-life data.  But it’s a useful indicator of the relative perceived value of different times of home improvements.

Remodeling Magazine provides a national average and also breaks down the information for different regions of the country.  Here is the expected return on projects for mid-Atlantic states:

If you are thinking of doing some major renovations, you should talk to your real estate agent.  Why? Because they can help you in making decisions that will preserve or enhance the value of your home, and whether certain improvements are worth making.

Posted on February 4, 2020 at 9:25 am
Joseph Rand | Category: In the News, New Jersey, New York, Rand Country Blog, Rand Seller Orientation Guide

Rands Featured in 2020 Swanepoel Power 200

Matt Rand Joe Rand Dan RandNANUET, NY – Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate | Rand Realty is pleased to announce that their leadership team – Matthew, Joseph, and Daniel Rand have been named to the Swanepoel Power 200, an independent ranking of the most powerful residential real estate leaders in the United States.

The SP200 (Swanepoel Power 200) is the definitive ranking of residential real estate’s top leaders produced by industry visionary Stefan Swanepoel’s T3 Consulting Group and published by the Real Estate Almanac ( To produce the report each year, the T3 team invests over 400 hours of research, countless internal debates, deep analysis of numbers and organizational charts, and candidly question what power actually means.

“We are truly honored that Stefan Swanepoel, Jack Miller and everyone at T3 ranked our leadership team among the most powerful individuals in residential real estate.” said Joe Rand, Chief Creative Officer,  “And of course, I would be remiss if I did not give much of the credit to our founder, Marsha Rand, without whom, none of this would have been possible!

Matt Rand, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate | Rand Realty’s Chief Executive said “It’s an honor to be part of this list of amazingly talented and visionary leaders”. 

Dan Rand echoed Matt’s enthusiasm, “It’s very exciting to be recognized as a national force in the residential real estate industry.  We’ve worked very hard to expand our market footprint, our market share, and our service offerings. Appearing on this list helps validate that we continue to move in the right direction”

T3’s team evaluates the Top 200 based on the office they hold, their decision-making power, the financial resources at their disposal, their organization’s industry significance and geographical reach, their tenure, and their personal influence in the industry.



About Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty

Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty, founded in 1984, is the No. 1 real estate brokerage firm in the Greater Hudson Valley, with 28 offices serving Westchester, Rockland, Orange, Putnam, and Dutchess Counties in New York, as well as Bergen, Passaic, Hudson and Morris Counties in New Jersey.

Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty has more than 1,000 residential real estate sales associates, as well as a commercial real estate company (Rand Commercial) and the Hudson United Group, which provides residential mortgage lending, title services, and commercial and residential insurance.

These companies can be found online at,, and Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty can also be found and interacted with on Facebook and Twitter.


Posted on January 15, 2020 at 11:05 am
Adam DiFrancesco | Category: In the News, Rand Country Blog

Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty Hires Alvis Smith To Lead Growing Team of Agents in their Bronx Office


Nanuet, NY, September 18, 2019 – Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty today strengthened its leadership and management team with the addition of Alvis “Al” Smith. He will lead Rand’s rapidly growing Bronx office of more than 55 experienced real estate agents. In addition to bringing 18 years of real estate experience to the Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty, Al Smith brings a broad spectrum of real estate experience and management to the table. As an agent, investor and a partner in both residential and commercial real estate, Alvis capitalizes on his education & industry experience.

“We are thrilled to welcome Alvis to Rand’s stable of amazing office managers,” said Matt Rand, CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty. “He’s well-respected throughout the industry and he’s keenly focused on the needs of his agents and is known for providing them with exceptional support”

Prior to joining Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty, Alvis was the Manager of Coldwell Banker’s New Rochelle Office. Alvis is a Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), Graduate Real Estate Institute (GRI), Real Estate Negotiation Expert (RENE) and is a certified commercial broker in NY. Al also faithfully served his country as a member of the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division.

“I am excited to be joining Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty and to work with the Rand family. The company has a remarkable reputation for providing exceptional client service and is supported by a well-known, national lifestyle brand,” said Smith. “The tools and support offered by Rand help its agents best serve their local communities, and I look forward to helping the agents in the Bronx develop their careers and prosper in this industry.”

Posted on September 18, 2019 at 12:20 pm
Adam DiFrancesco | Category: In the News, New York, Rand Country Blog

“Award winning top White Plains Realtors Peter Gorbutt And Carlos Gomez join Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty”

White Plains, NY—Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty has added two new Associate Brokers to its award-winning team: Peter Gorbutt and Carlos Gomez, who are both consistently-ranked multi-million dollar agents.

Says Denise Friend, Regional Branch Manager, “We could not be more thrilled to have Peter and Carlos on our White Plains team of top producers.  They really know this market and understand what our clients want and need and are able to deliver it all when it comes time to find a client their dream home.”

Gorbutt has been selling real estate since 2000 and has been ranked at the top of his profession as a multi-million-dollar Realtor®. He says that what sets him apart is his “dedication to selling homes quickly and for top dollar.” Before making the switch to real estate, Gorbutt was a fashion executive and says that he enjoys working in real estate so that he can “help people achieve their dreams.”

“I work hard to be an advocate, a home stager and a home designer, all-in-one for my clients,” he said. “This has resulted in lifelong relationships with my clients that have been and will always be key to my success, with over 80 percent of my business coming from referrals from satisfied clients.”

Gorbutt’s partner, Carlos Gomez has been selling real estate since 2002 and is a multi-million-dollar Realtor®.  Gomez, a former IT consultant, joined Gorbutt to form a top-notch real estate team. Gomez is fluent in English and Spanish and looks forward to working with both Spanish

and English-speaking clients alike.  He says that understanding his client’s needs and the impact that buying a home has on their lives, has been the key to his success. Gomez gets to know each of his clients personally and works tirelessly for them to ensure that their real estate goals are met.

He says, “My goal is to know that each and every client has a positive home buying and selling experience. I take pride in taking care of all the details so that my clients can focus on the big picture and get on with their busy lives.”

Posted on April 24, 2019 at 12:54 pm
Adam DiFrancesco | Category: In the News, Rand Country Blog, Westchester County

Real Estate & Racing: A Winning Combination

RJ Smith likes to win.  Not only is he an ace broker here at Rand Realty, but he is a competitive race car driver and his car recently won the track championship for the third year in a row, with six wins.

Racing with the official Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty hot rod, RJ raced in Formula 2000s across the country, and now goes dirt track racing every weekend, April through October.  “The Rand hot rod has won the track championship for the third consecutive year!

“This year we are looking forward to returning to the Orange County Fair Speedway to join in the celebration of 100 years of auto racing at the track. We will be scheduling a special event that the entire Rand team looks forward to.”

Although he has been passionate about racing for as long as he can remember, he made the decision to begin competing at the age of 38 – inspired by Paul Newman, who started to compete in races around age 40 while still an actor, film director, producer, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. RJ now has his own race shop located right down the street from the Rand Realty office in Pine Bush

RJ says that as an older race car driver, he plans to mentor and help new people in the sport when he finally retires from competitive racing.  “I pride myself on living life to the fullest and racing is a huge part of my life. I plan to always continue my involvement in the racing world to some capacity, I don’t plan on slowing down anytime soon,” he said.

RJ dedicates himself whole heartedly to everything he is passionate about, including his wife of 46 years and their three children. He has worked in leadership positions in real estate for decades. And, he has invested years serving his community.

Posted on March 27, 2019 at 1:02 pm
Nina Agro | Category: In the News, New York, Orange County, Rand Country Blog

Congratulations to Wyckoff Agent Anne Ryan – Named Among Bergen County’s Best Realtors®

Congratulations to Anne Ryan, one of our star agents in the Wyckoff, NJ office, who has been voted second place as “Best Realtor” for (201) Magazine’s 13th Annual Best of Bergen Poll.

As a lifelong resident of Bergen County, Anne has extensive knowledge and understanding of the cities and municipalities in the area and is an expert on what each has to offer. Her familiarity with Bergen, Hudson, Passaic, Morris and Essex counties makes her a top choice for anyone making the move to New Jersey.

This honor is well deserved for Anne, who prides herself on the fundamental principles of honesty and professionalism. These two principles have helped Anne form successful client-agent relationships with both buyers and sellers. In addition to having a “sixth sense” for assessing her client’s wants and needs — Anne also attributes her success to a strong work ethic, knowledge of the industry, attention to detail and her commitment to quality customer service.

Anne is a member of multiple Real Estate Associations, including the National Association of Realtors®, New Jersey Realtors®, Greater Bergen Association of Realtors®, New Jersey Multiple Listing Service and Garden State Multiple Listing Service.

“I could not be more thrilled to receive this tremendous honor,” says Anne. “It means so much to me to be recognized by my community and included in this prestigious poll. I could not have done it without the support and trust of my family, friends, and clients. Without the continued support I receive day in and day out and the ongoing referrals, I would not be where I am today.”


Posted on March 27, 2019 at 10:08 am
Nina Agro | Category: Bergen County, In the News, New Jersey, North Bergen, Rand Country Blog

Property Spotlight: Historic Colonial Hits the Market in White Plains Fully Renovated 1700s Westchester County Home Offered for Sale at $1,435,000

White Plains, NY —- Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty has announced the listing of a historic 1710 colonial set on a beautiful 1.2-acre property for $1,435,000. The 3,471 square foot home offers classical elegance and historic charm throughout its 4 bedrooms and 3½ baths and is filled with 1700s historic touches including original architectural features. Fully renovated, the home also offers the best of contemporary living and design and is located in the heart of White Plains, a short commute to New York City.
The historical elegance of this beautiful home is evident in every corner, including original colonial aspects which have been meticulously reimagined in each room: exposed wood beams, 18th-century brick, wood-burning fireplaces, period molding, and wide king’s board flooring. Combined with modern features including new windows, a new boiler, central air conditioning, modern appliances, and new electrical and plumbing this home is the perfect blend of historical charm and modern amenities.
Listed with Nicholas Wolff, Associate Broker, and Daniel Luckner RE Salesperson, Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty, White Plains, “this is a very unique listing and a perfect fit for any history buff as it was once home to Benjamin Lyon, a Revolutionary War hero who cast a vote for the Declaration of Independence.”
For more details:

Posted on March 5, 2019 at 11:18 am
Nina Agro | Category: In the News, New York, Rand Country Blog, Westchester County | Tagged , ,

Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty Welcomes Top  Performing Agent, Annette Cicinelli

White Plains, NY—Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty announced that Annette Cicinelli, who has sold over $20M in homes, has joined the Yorktown and White Plains offices.

Annette, who has risen to the top of the industry as a seasoned agent at Coldwell Banker and then Houlihan Lawrence, began her career in real estate in 1999. Known as “The Real Estate Girl,” she has been a successful REALTOR®  for 20 years, serving the entirety of Westchester County, and holds a dual license in New York and Connecticut. She is an extremely active member of the Yorktown community where she participates in many town-sponsored events and is considered to be a knowledgeable, committed and sociable realtor with a powerhouse of expertise and power in the real estate industry.

Annette attributes her success to her “love for real estate, as well as always putting the client first and always being honest.”

“Communication is imperative in the real estate industry and knowing what and what not to tell buyers and sellers is key. If a buyer or seller asks you a question and you don’t know the answer, don’t make one up – just find it out!”

As an active community member, Annette loves when she can make a client’s dream come true and then see the family in town. “When I see a buyer at the supermarket or a school event and they tell me how much their family loves their new home, it makes my day,” she said.

Says Don Dwyer, Yorktown Office Manager, Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty:

“We are thrilled to have Annette join our growing office. She brings local market knowledge and insight, home marketing skills and negotiation power that will prove to be advantageous to both our company and clients.”

Posted on February 27, 2019 at 4:52 pm
Nina Agro | Category: In the News, Rand Country Blog, Westchester County | Tagged , , ,

Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty Property Spotlight: Spectacular Home by Award Winning Architect Hits the Market in Scarsdale for $2,899,000

Scarsdale, NY– Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty has announced the listing of a gorgeous, move-in ready five bedroom, six+ bathroom contemporary colonial, designed by award-winning architect Eran Chen featuring a loft-like flow and situated at the end of a cul-de-sac.

With over 6,000 square feet of bright, sun-filled living space, the house features floor-to-ceiling windows set off by black oak floors, along with state-of-the-art LED lighting. The kitchen is the heart of the home, designed by Vicente Wolf and complete with Calcutta gold countertops, four ovens, a built-in espresso machine, Sub Zero refrigerator and Viking range that will make even the most novice cook feel like a professional. Built in 2007, the home has been modernized with the most current smart home features, including Nest thermostats, electric vehicle charging station, custom closets, 7 zones, generator, and smart home security system.

Listed with Esther Berkowitz, Associate Broker at Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Rand Realty, she says, “This home seamlessly blends colonial charm with a contemporary feel. As soon as you enter this house you are welcomed into a massive two-floor foyer with great natural light. The feeling of this home is like no other; it truly is a one-of-a-kind property in a serene setting.”

With close to an acre of beautiful park-like property, this home is ideal for indoor-outdoor living and has plenty of room to grow, including approvals already secured for an in-ground pool and basketball court.

For more details:

Posted on February 26, 2019 at 11:23 am
Nina Agro | Category: In the News, New York, Rand Country Blog, Westchester County | Tagged , ,

Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty Announces the Promotion of Deborah Clark, Manager of the New Windsor Office

New Windsor, NYBetter Homes and Gardens Rand Realty announced the promotion of real estate veteran Deborah Clark to become the new manager of Rand Realty’s New Windsor office. Deborah has served as manager of the Pine Bush office for two-and-a-half years and will continue to act as manager there as well.  She will take over for Wayne Patterson, the previous New Windsor office manager, who will continue his career at Rand Realty, focusing on sales in the Warwick office.

“Deborah has done a great job leading our Pine Bush office and will be a dynamic addition as manager of the New Windsor office. We look forward to working with her in this new role and we’re confident her leadership skills and enthusiasm will greatly enhance the continued growth of our New Windsor team,” said Matt Rand, CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty.

Prior to launching her successful real estate career, Deborah held a corporate job with a major national company. She joined Rand Realty in 2003 and became a top producer there within her first year.

“The most rewarding part of my job is coaching and training agents on how to achieve their goals. It was so rewarding to see that 93% of our agents from the Pine Bush office surpassed their 2017 numbers in 2018,” said Deborah. “We had a banner year, maintaining our #1 Company status in Orange County, a result of great teamwork on all fronts” said Deborah.

She added, “Rand Realty provides tools that help enhance the careers of individual agents and is  truly ‘for the agent’ and making every agent a success. Agents love that we have 28 offices all under one owner, and that each of the Rands are extremely involved with every office.”

Posted on February 14, 2019 at 4:56 pm
Nina Agro | Category: In the News, New York, Orange County, Rand Country Blog