home improvement ideas

In-Law Suites: Why Your Naples Home Needs One

Casita. Granny Flat. Ohana Unit. Whatever you call it, in-law suites add value to your Naples home in more ways than one.

If your Naples home includes an in-law suite, it can increase the value of your property as well as appeal to a wider potential audience base, whether it's attached to your main house or completely separate from it.

In-Law Suites

What are They?

Search homes for sale in the Naples/Marco Island areaIn-law suites can either be a part of your main structure or set up completely independent from your main house. Typically, they include at least a bedroom and a full private bathroom. However, some also provide a living space and a kitchen/kitchenette. Still, others offer a separate entry point from which to come and go from the property.

What Else Can You Use Them For?

Primarily, these areas of the home allow your elderly relatives to live with you while still maintaining their sense of privacy. However, it offers many other uses as well. These suites make great home offices or guest rooms. When your child starts college, it creates a nice transition space between childhood home and completely moving out on their own. These suites also provide the possibility for rental income, especially if it is completely separate from your main Naples home.

Cost to Create

The cost to create an in-law suite depends on whether you plan on adding it to your existing house or if you wish to create a completely separate dwelling. An addition averages anywhere from around $33,000 to $63,000. When building a separate structure, your expenses may increase to as much as $125,000. Make sure you hire a licensed contractor and check that they pull all necessary permits to keep everything right.

Factoring This Into Your Home Sale

Today’s buyers want multi-generational homes. As families age, they want to bring their elderly parents back into the fold instead of putting them into expensive assisted living facilities. Sometimes, leaving them completely on their own isn’t feasible either. If your home already offers a main floor guest area with private bath, you’re already ahead of the game. Make sure to advertise this space as an office/guest room/potential in-law suite. This appeals to a broader audience of buyers.

Michelle Thomas, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, Luxury Naples/Marco Island Homes & Condos

Garage Improvement Projects That Increase Your Home’s Value

As homeowners, we focus a lot of attention on things like monthly maintenance tasks and lowering energy costs. In the past, I’ve talked about interior DIY projects that boost your home’s value. I also discussed how making some changes to your driveway helps improve your curb appeal. That’s helpful, especially when it comes time to sell your Naples home. However, you should not neglect your garage. There are a few garage improvement projects you may want to consider tackling, whether you plan on selling your property soon or a couple of years down the road.

Add some of these garage improvement projects to your list if you want to increase your Southwest Florida home's value.

Garage Improvement Projects That Increase Your Home’s Value

Garage Door

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Replacing/upgrading the garage door offers one of the best returns on investment (ROI) when it comes to garage improvement projects. In fact, Home Advisor named it the best ROI of any home improvement projects you could make this year. They reported a 97.5% ROI. Automatic garage door openers always please buyers. So, if you still own a manual garage door, change that immediately. However, even if you installed an automatic garage door opener years ago, the exterior may need a bit of updating. Considering how much your garage door takes up space at the front of your home, a nicer garage door actually increases your curb appeal.


Good insulation offers two benefits: it keeps the garage cooler in the summer and tamps down noise levels. Buyers appreciate both. Therefore, adding some insulation to your garage walls and ceiling makes the list of garage improvement projects that increase your home’s value. Also, make sure you have a good ventilation system to allow carbon monoxide fumes to dissipate and escape. Install a carbon monoxide detector inside your garage to warm you of any rising CO levels.


Everyone wants more storage. Installing shelves adds extra storage in the garage. But don’t just stuff your stuff onto these shelves. Otherwise, buyers may think there isn’t enough storage inside. They consider this to be a mark against your home. Identical, labeled bins make your garage look organized, not cluttered. Make sure all shelving is attached to the walls so that they don’t become a safety hazard.


The ability to see what you’re doing is very important when working in a garage. Therefore, good lighting should be on your list of “must-haves” in the garage. For most two-car garages, simple fluorescent lights prove adequate. Ditch that single incandescent light bulb for something brighter that brings in enough light to finish up those projects that run into the night.


Experts suggest providing two outlets per wall in the garage. That means no less than six outlets for a one-car garage. If your garage lacks enough outlets, hire an electrician to install more. Buyers pay attention to outlet placement everywhere in a house, even in the garage.


Hate stained floors? Epoxy them. Not only is it easier to clean than standard concrete, but it also wicks away oil and other liquids. Plus, it adds a shiny surface that buyers like. This helps add to the value of your Southwest Florida home. Other types of flooring like tiles, matting, and other coverings also add an aesthetic appeal. In turn, that adds value to your house.

Automobile Lift

Ask anyone who works on anything with an engine what they want most in their garage and they’ll most likely say “a lift”. Jacking up a car so you can crawl around and work on the undercarriage can be a pain. You don’t have to have a double-height garage in order to make this work either. Allowing enough room for three feet of lift makes changing the oil or even changing tires that much easier and definitely much safer than a dodgy jack.

Extra Bedroom

Finally, if it’s possible, add an extra bedroom and bathroom above the garage. This increases your square footage and your home’s value. Ask a professional to come out to inspect the garage to make sure it is structurally sound enough for the bedroom above and to provide an estimate. This quickly turns your three bed/two bath home into a more valuable four bed/three bath home.

Michelle Thomas, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, Luxury Naples/Marco Island Homes & Condos?

Driveway Improvements That Increase Your Curb Appeal

Does your property need a little pick-me-up? In the past few weeks, I’ve discussed several DIY projects that help boost your home’s value. I even talked about landscaping your home to encourage our Monarch butterfly population here in Florida. But you should also pay attention to your driveway. Stains and cracks do not impress potential buyers. In fact, they could stop buyers in their tracks. If your exterior needs a bit of help, try these driveway improvements that will most definitely increase your curb appeal and bring buyers to your door.

Want to increase your curb appeal? Consider these driveway improvements when renovating your Naples home.

Driveway Improvements That Increase Your Curb Appeal

Stamped Asphalt or Concrete

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An interesting trend in driveway improvements recently is stamped asphalt of concrete. Homeowners choose from an outline of stamped design or something as intricate as an all-over stamped process. In fact, instead of adding brick to your entire driveway, you could choose to stamp and tint asphalt to that it gives the appearance of brick. This offers all the benefits of highly durable asphalt without the expense involved in laying individual bricks along your entire driveway.

Colored Concrete

Another one of the more inexpensive yet beautiful driveway improvements a Naples homeowner could make is to use pigment to color. It comes in a wide variety of colors to choose from. Therefore, instead of a boring grey driveway, you get to decide what color fits in best with your home’s design.

Permeable Pavers

In a wet area such as ours, you know what it’s like when it rains. Puddles everywhere, including the driveway. And if your driveway offers any kind of decline whatsoever, water puddles at the bottom to create a moat you must traverse whenever you leave or come back. One solution to this issue is permeable pavers. Instead of a completely smooth surface, you use open pavers that allow grass to grow in between. It does require some maintenance, but that simply means running your lawnmower over the driveway when you mow the rest of your grass. Other positives? Cracks are no longer a major problem and it is cheaper than many other solutions since you use less material.


The tar-and-chip method (aka “Macadam”) offers amazing results for driveway improvements without a huge expense that other options may present. This driveway starts with a gravel base. Then, asphalt gets poured over the top, creating a “speckled” appearance. This type of driveway provides a long-lasting, durable surface that is less susceptible to cracking.


Finally, when considering any driveway improvements for your Naples home, consider gravel. It’s cheaper than concrete ($0.50 per square foot instead of $4.99 per square foot). Also, it holds up to any shifting underneath. So, cracking is never a concern. And it’s highly durable.

Replace Your Garage Door

OK. So, this isn’t a driveway improvement. But, replacing your garage door not only increases your curb appeal, but it offers one of the best ROI (return on investment) for any home improvement project. And a garage door lasts anywhere from 10 to 15 years. You don’t need to fear depreciation if you decide to sell in the next few years.

Michelle Thomas, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, Luxury Naples/Marco Island Homes & Condos?

Naples Homeowners: Minor Updates Create a Major Impression in the Kitchen

Kitchens represent the heart of a home. But totally gutting and remodeling one costs tens of thousands of dollars. Naples homeowners can use minor updates to create a major impression in the kitchen. And most of these projects can be completed over the course of one weekend by you alone.

Looking to update the look of your kitchen? Don't want to break the bank to do so? Luckily, Naples homeowners have several options available.

Naples Homeowners: Minor Kitchen Updates That Add a “Wow” Factor


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Probably the easiest way for Naples homeowners to update the look of their kitchen is by adding or changing out the pulls, knobs or handles on drawers and cabinets. Concentrate on one finish for the entire room. One that complements your faucet or appliances would be a good choice. Or, for something a little more kitschy, look for porcelain/painted knobs. Always make sure to count how many of each you’ll need before you go shopping. You don’t want to come up short.

Fresh Paint

Another simple solution for Naples homeowners to update their kitchen is with a fresh coat of paint. Make sure you tape off the cabinets, counters, backsplash, appliances, etc. before you paint, though. Otherwise, you risk slopping paint onto these surfaces. Sometimes, the preparation done before you paint takes longer than the actual act of painting. But, it’s worth the time it takes to do the job right. You can always hire a pro to paint. However, this may cost you thousands of dollars to do so. The choice is yours. If you take the DIY route, talk to your local home improvement store about how to prep and paint correctly. A little homework goes a long way.

One of the hottest trends right now is to paint one wall with chalkboard paint. It comes in a variety of colors and can be a fun addition to the room. If you’re not that adventurous, painting one portion of a wall and adding a frame allows a space for your menu, grocery list, weekly activities or anything else you might need to remind your busy family members about.

Cabinets and Shelving

Another kitchen update Naples homeowners might want to consider is painting the cabinets. If they’re in good condition, a coat of paint turns dated cabinetry into a modern masterpiece. For a more sophisticated update, take out the center of your cabinet door and replace it with an opaque glass insert. Over the last couple of years, open shelving became a designer trend. Instead of ripping out all of your cabinets, take down one small section and replace it with simple shelves. Stack your prettiest dishes, cookbooks, potted herbs, or anything else you want to show off here.

Add a Backsplash

For a little more money, add a backsplash in your kitchen. Home improvement stores provide dozens of options. Many of these options are both affordable and can be done by Naples homeowners themselves. Talk to the associate at your local home improvement store for any tips and tricks. You only need to invest a few hours of your time to make a major change in your kitchen’s appearance.

Switch Out the Faucet

One area often overlooked in the kitchen is the faucet. It doesn’t take much effort to switch it out for a newer model. And you literally have hundreds to choose from. Go fancy with a touchless faucet. Change out a solid faucet for a pull-out one with extendable sprayer head. Replace a brass finish with a rubbed bronze or brushed nickel. In just an hour or two, your kitchen faucet will look decades younger.

Add or Update the Lighting

Finally, overhead fluorescent lights are out! Pendants create focused lighting and are great for hanging over an island. Recessed lights add extra illumination without overpowering the area. You might even want to think about adding undercabinet lighting for an elegant soft glow during evening hours.

Any of these simple updates create a major impression in the kitchen of Naples homeowners. Relatively easy and much lower in cost than a major overhaul, most of these updates can be completed over the course of a weekend. A low investment of time and money, a big impact on your kitchen’s appearance. That’s cost-effectiveness at its finest. Which project will you be tackling first?

Michelle Thomas, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, Luxury Naples/Marco Island Homes & Condos