Fixer Upper 1

Transform Your Home with a Stylish Update

From 1992–2006, business was good for home builders and developers. Steadily rising home values and declining interest rates spurred new home construction at an incredible rate, peaking at 1.7 million single-family housing starts in 2005. Unfortunately, the meltdown of the housing market in 2007 resulted in skittish buyers, massive inventory, and stricter lending laws.

It’s been a rough 10 years, but it appears the worst is behind us. Spending is up 13% this year, the best since 2007, and we are finally getting back to normal new construction start levels and resales are very strong. All age demographics are considering a real estate investment, even millennials will be purchasing in greater numbers in the next two years.

Boomers Lead the Way

Although new home construction is attractive, many people, especially baby boomers, are reaping the benefits of their refinance a few years ago and have decided to stay. But staying in an outdated home is less than thrilling. With recovered equities, rising incomes, and continued low interest rates on home improvement loans, remodeling is making more sense to existing homeowners.

Trends show that active adults want to trick out their homes as a destination for family get-togethers, holidays, and summer vacations. According to Metrostudy, an authority on the residential construction real estate and housing market, 42% of remodeling dollars are being spent by 55+ baby boomers. This group tends to have the most money and is willing to spend it on attracting extending family by adding that extra bath or bedroom, swimming pool, and outdoor amenities.

Living “Zones”

Traditional indoor and outdoor living areas have been replaced with “living zones”. Long gone are formal living rooms and dining rooms. They have been traded in for professional home offices and outdoor living areas with luxury seating, custom cooking areas, and fireplaces. Yes, some trends have faded such as wine cellars and theater rooms, but casual entertaining spaces are still going strong.

Single purpose rooms like kitchens have evolved over recent years and now serve multiple purposes. Renovating homeowners not only cook but entertain, socialize, and do work/homework there, with nearly two-thirds spending three or more hours per day. Many are adding desks, chandeliers, and TVs, as well as wine refrigerators and built-in coffee stations. Additionally, three in four homeowners are changing the style of their kitchen during updates, with many adopting transitional or contemporary styles.

According to Houzz, nearly half of remodelers are making their kitchens more open to other interior spaces, and after upgrades, blurring the lines between the functional and living areas of their homes. Two-thirds of updated kitchens will have a connection to the outdoors, most likely through a single door.

The New Way to Design Your Home

Speaking of Houzz, the online platform for home remodeling and design has seen an explosion of users. Currently, it has 35+ million monthly users, 9 million photos of professional designed interiors and exteriors, and 350,000+ 5-star reviews.

It all began when founders Adi Tatarko and Alon Cohen remodeled their home. They had a pile of home decorating magazines, article clippings, and business cards for home professionals from people they knew. It was cluttered and more confusing than organized. So they built a personal website to keep everything in one place. They shared it with friends, then friends wanted to use it, and then those friends shared it with their friends, and it grew from there.

Using or the Houzz mobile phone app, homeowners can browse millions of professional home photos, save images to ideabooks, share, and collaborate. It also offers guides and articles written by home professionals and includes a directory of local professionals to help homeowners with their projects. Users can click the green sale tags in the photo to get more information about products like construction materials, light fixtures, and home furnishings. Details such as brand, size dimensions, colors, and price make it easy to plan a budget.

Remodeling Cost vs. Value

Want to estimate your return on investment before starting your project? Visit Remodeling.HW.Net  2016 Cost vs. Value Report. This site compares the average cost for 30 popular remodeling projects with the value those projects retain at resale in 100 U.S. markets.

Replacing a garage door will recoup 110.7% of the cost while adding a master suite will only recoup 64.3%. Now, if you are remodeling just for your family and plan to grow old there, by all means have fun. But if your intent is a future home sale, then some projects may not garner the big return you desire. You might be better off with a smaller project or “refresh” of an existing space.

Simply replacing vinyl siding with manufactured stone veneer to the bottom third of your home is a 100% return and may make for a faster sale. A kitchen update—replacing cabinet doors, countertop, sink and faucet, painting, adding new hardware and switching the wall oven and cooktop with new energy-efficient models—will provide an 81.8% return while a major kitchen remodel will only recover 66.9%. You would be better off changing out the entry door (91.3%) or adding fiberglass insulation to the attic (116.9%).

Find a Pro

The best way to find a reputable remodeling professional is to ask friends and family who they recommend, period. But if you are struggling to find a contractor there are numerous resources available such as Houzz, HomeAdvisor, Angie’s List, Porch, and the Better Business Bureau.

Regardless of how you find a contractor, ask for a copy of their general liability insurance and then call the insurance agent to verify coverage. Sadly, some companies obtain insurance just to get a license and quit paying the bill, leaving the homeowner open to liability.

Also verify the company’s Construction Industries Board registration. Contractors are required to be licensed for some trades and registered for others. The contractor must submit their qualifications, show evidence of liability and workers’ compensation insurance, and meet other criteria with the Secretary of State. Most importantly, don’t trust the CIB number decal on work trucks or marketing materials. Verify for yourself that they are still in good standing and their license or registration is not suspended, denied, or revoked by visiting OK.Gov/CIB.

So dust off your measuring tape and start planning the remodel of your dreams. And have some fun researching where to put the new pergola or finding the perfect color of off-white for the kitchen cabinets. Either way, it’s a great excuse to watch all those home improvement TV shows…