If you’re a homeowner who has the urge to remodel, update, or renovate your place, you’re not alone. For many reasons, there is no time like the present to tackle this task.
But depending on the size and scope of the project, it may be one of the biggest expenditures you ever make, and a huge potential source of stress, strife, and aggravation.
So over the next few weeks we’ll guide you through the process of turning your home improvement dreams into reality.
Join the club
Maybe all of those home improvement “reality” shows are partly to blame, but American homeowners are in the mood to update their places.
A survey from Bankrate.com found that 28% of all homeowners are planning at least one considerable update in the next twelve months. Harvard University’s “Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity” says that money spent on remodeling will increase 8.6% this year, to $325 billion.
One factor contributing to the increase in remodeling is the tight housing market. A relatively low supply of available homes for sale nationally means that current homeowners are having a hard time finding the “right” new place, and are instead working on updating their old one.
An improved housing market boosts remodeling activity in several ways. First, homeowners feel more confident that the money they spend updating their places is more likely to be partially repaid if and when the house is sold.
Appraisers are boosting their valuations of homes, which may provide the homeowners with more equity against which to borrow. Banks and credit unions are more friendly now than they were a few years ago, and willing to lend money to most homeowners who ask.
The interest rates on those loans are near record lows, and the credit worthiness and financial condition of many would-be borrowers is higher than it has been in years.
All ages and stages
Homeowners in most of the major age demographics have a reasons to consider remodeling right now. Many young couples and singles purchasing their first place find that most of the modest homes available for sale need some updating and modernization.
Middle-aged homeowners could be aware that their “new” house they bought a decade or two ago is looking dated, or has been ravaged by kids and pets who are either now old enough to be more careful, or out of the house completely.
Last but not least are the recent retirees, who not only have the resources to fund a serious remodeling project, but the time to plan, monitor, and then enjoy the work done on their home.
These older folks may be making their home more “senior friendly” by moving the laundry to the main floor, or making a shower more accessible. They also might be finishing off the basement to give the grandkids a comfortable place to stay during visits.
Intangible return on investment
True, spending four or five figures on home improvements is understandably daunting for homeowners of almost any means.
However, a couple of factors need to be considered. First, in considering most home remodeling projects, it’s not a case of “if” the project will ever have to be done, but rather “when”.
Once the work is done, the enjoyment will be experienced almost every day you’re home, and for as long as you live there.
For instance, let’s say you spend a significant amount of money on a big kitchen renovation—like, $40,000. If you live in the house for twenty more years, the cost of the new kitchen works out to a little more than five bucks a day.
Even if you’re planning on selling your current home in the next couple of years, a few carefully-considered improvements will attract more potential buyers, and could net you a better selling price than if you leave the work up to the new owners.
And who knows—maybe after you make the renovations, you’ll decide you like your new and improved place enough to stay there for the foreseeable future.