Latest Home Trend: Improving not Moving - Article Series 1 of 3 - Richard H. Dodd
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06 May Latest Home Trend: Improving not Moving – Article Series 1 of 3


Part 1 of 3

This article includes practical tips and suggestions as well as an available Homeowner’s Guide to Remodeling. The article addresses lifestyle and household considerations as well as ecofriendly and sustainable considerations.

Your fresh-out-of-college son just moved back in and your mother-in-law may soon follow. Not so long ago your solution might be to move. But with the last turmoil in the real estate market, instead of moving, many homeowners are improving their existing home.

Why now? Well consider the following:

■ Spending on home improvements in 2013 was up and only down 13% from pre- recession levels. Showing a much better recovery than the new housing market reports the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies. Their latest forecast is that spending for home improvements will reach a record level in 2015. Kitchen and bath remodels, outdoor living, energy-efficiency and aging-in-place retrofits probably leading the way.

■   Builders and contractors are eager and readily available for work.

■   Home construction materials and other costs have solidified.

■ Lower interest rates for financing costs.

■ Demographics

  1. Baby boomers are driving the remodeling market with gen-Xers a close second.
  2. Sandwich generations – multiple generations living under one roof.
  3. Older homeowners lack many accessible features.
  4. Families are not moving as often.

If you are willing and able to remodel now, you should also consider the latest trends in architecture before starting an addition or remodeling project.

Even before the latest recession, homes and lots were declining in size and the trend is continuing. This trend has caused home owners to want more flexible (less formal) spaces with fewer upscale features. Some features that are not as popular are a formal dining room, media rooms, exercise rooms and hobby rooms.

Single story more accessible spaces are also the trend. More people are working at home and home offices and telecommuting is popular. Even existing two story homes are being remodeled to bring the master bedroom to the ground floor. Because of the smaller indoor living areas, outdoor living space has taken on a more dominate roll in new designs.

Another trend is a change in “life styles” and recognizing the need for low maintenance and sustainable homes: for example, incorporating energy efficiency lighting, appliances, insulation, windows, plumbing and mechanical equipment in the design. Many of these features are required by code and will be added to in future codes.

But before you rush out and start picking out richly veined granite countertops and Brazilian cherry flooring, take some time to sort out the essentials. The key to a successful remodel is to grasp both the practical needs and the creative possibilities.

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