|HOW TO REMODEL|
hat will houses be like ten years from now? What will people want them to be? While ten years may seem a little far to worry about it now, today's smart homeowners will want to stay informed. The main reason to do so, is that the house you own today may no longer fit your needs tomorrow, perhaps simply because there might be one (or two!) new family members.
No matter what an owner may intend, statistics shows that the average person moves once every six years. A house therefore must be regarded as an investment, not just simply as a home, with one eye on the real estate market. Contractors and homeowners alike would prefer to believe that every dollar spent on a house automatically adds to that home's value; unfortunately, that is not the case. Different projects will bring back different amounts of dollars.
So which improvements will attract a potential home buyer and therefore give you the best return? What remodeling project will be a good investment in your family's quality of life now?
What is a good value in home remodeling? For most, it's the best quality at the cheapest price, period. But the fact is, there's a lot more you need to consider:
The Product Cost at time of purchase Long term performance Maintenance
Health effects "Green" product (environmentally friendly)
The Work Functional layout Attractive Skillful craftsmanship Code approved
At least four more factors should be added: The location The property The neighborhood (don't over improve your house compared to nearby houses) Demand (subject to uncontrollable circumstances, like ongoing and upcoming trends, economy, supply, etc.)
The following is a very partial list of items that are currently in demand and promise to stay that way for the rest of the 90's and the next decade.
General Design & Layout
Airy, bright rooms (particularly kitchen, bathrooms and family rooms) Kitchen, dining room and family room visually open (now being labeled as kitchen/eat-in/family space) Large master bath Home Office Guest room Media room Exercise room "Play room" Bigger laundry room with plenty of counter space and "a place where the ironing board can stay up at all time" "Super organized" walk-in closets Three-car garage (also well organized) Window walls (windows, windows and more windows) Skylights Glass blocks Vaulted ceilings and exposed beams Curved walls and archways Fireplaces Phones jacks in every room Wood floors in almost every room.
Kitchen: Mini office workspace (equipped with computer) Island Walk-in pantry Double sinks Stainless steel or restaurant grade appliances Ceramic, granite or tumbled marble countertops and backsplash Earth tones ceramic or Mexican tiles flooring Wood floors.
Bathroom Larger, much brighter (with the help of skylights and/or large architectural window and/or glass blocks) Separate tub and shower Double bowls vanities Jetted tubs for two Custom tiled walk-in shower with built-in bench Earth tones and/or tumbled marble tiles Heated floors.
Master Bedroom Slightly smaller to accommodate his-and-hers larger closets and dressing areas Parlor Separate sitting room with TV and/or workspace Fireplace The latest trend:
"The Morning Bar".
Exterior Stucco, stone, brick or cedar siding or shakes Architectural shingles, fiber cement, tile or slate roofing Redwood or cedar decks Tree fencing.
Electrical Home automation Halogen recessed lighting & track lighting Commercial ceiling fans "Decora" style switches, dimmers, outlets and jacks Solar powered exterior lighting.
Mechanical Earth coupling heating and cooling pump Central heating & cooling
Heated floors Central vacuum Central Alarm.
Framing Engineered wood products Steel framing.
For different reasons the following items, or even rooms, are not-so-good investments: Wall to wall carpet Vinyl tiles Vinyl sheet ("linoleum") Wallpaper Paneling Flush hollow core doors Storm windows and doors Through the windows air conditioners Ceiling tiles Suspended ceilings Marble countertops "Solid surface" countertops.
When it comes time to remodel, if you have all the right "ingredients", you're not going to spend a single dollar; you'll be investing it.
Your house is your most valuable asset; treat it right, it will become your best investment. And even if you end up not ever selling your home, you will still make a good investment: in your family's quality of life now!
Written by S. Côté, Pres. of Absolute Remodeling Corp., 07/94. 1st revision 09/97. 2nd.: 03/00. 3rd.:02/01.
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