Wednesday, February 06 2013
After years of sluggish growth, home remodeling is rebounding and more home owners are tackling long-delayed house projects to spruce up their homes.
The growth in remodeling is coming at a time when more home owners are once again seeing equity in their homes as the overall housing market picks up. “Home improvements can further boost home values and help sustain both the housing recovery and economic growth,” Realty Times reports.
Spending on home improvement projects rose 9 percent in 2012 — the first increase since 2007, according to a study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University.
"With the U.S. economy and housing market now recovering, investment in the nation's housing inventory is also picking up,” according to the JCH report. “Lenders and new owners are rehabilitating millions of foreclosed properties. Older home owners are retrofitting their homes to accommodate their future needs... And with the huge echo-boom population moving into the home buying market over the coming decade, the remodeling industry can look to an even more promising future.”
The National Association of the Remodeling Industry expects growth to continue in home remodeling, particularly as more clients feel more stable in their finances and employment situations.
Source: “Home Improvement Growth Latches onto Housing Recovery,” RealtyTimes (Feb. 5, 2013)
Friday, January 25 2013
“What doesn’t bankrupt us makes us stronger,” writes Josh Garskof, a serial remodeler and contributing writer and/or editor for Money magazine, “This Old House,” and Martha Stewart Living. Local property owners who have attempted a remodel anytime recently are likely to find the humor – and the truth – in his wisecrack.
With the spring selling season just over the horizon, this would be about the right time for Evansville homeowners who are considering bringing their property to market to finalize plans and firm up any remodeling arrangements. Whether the project is just to freshen up a bathroom or re-landscape a whole backyard, Garskof offers the following tips:
Plan to Overspend – Yes, we all hate to acknowledge it, but surprises happen with predictable regularity. If you don’t allow for that cushion, you may find yourself in a tight spot when your contractor discovers a missing drainage system under the house.
Magnet Sweep – If you’re planning exterior work, have your team do a magnet sweep of the outdoor space when they are finished. Dozens of old, rusty nails can find their way into your lawn and into the mulch – nothing you want bare feet to encounter when summer comes (and the last thing you want potential visitors or agents stepping on during Broker’s Tour!)
Permits – Be sure to secure copies of a Certificate of Occupancy or other local code clearances from your contractor before you issue the final payment. It’s one way to help ensure the work is safe, up to code – and to have the paperwork handled when a sale is being finalized.
If you are preparing for spring and plan to do some remodeling before bringing your local property to market, I hope you will feel free to consult me before spending a single dollar. I’m here to help my clients save money where they don’t have to spend it -- and make money where they can. Especially when it comes to property improvements in Evansville, knowing today’s homebuyers can make a real difference. Email me at RolandoTrentini@FCTE.com today!
Thursday, January 24 2013
Is your kitchen begging for an update? Does that green and purple tile make you cringe on every trip to the fridge? If so, now might be the time to explore the latest trends in kitchen remodeling.
According to the National Association of the Remodeling Industry’s website, planning out exactly what you want out of your kitchen remodel will help you set realistic budgets.
And if you’re still not sure what you want or even where to begin, don’t panic. Here are some ideas from our country-wide panel of design and contracting experts who agree these are the six hot kitchen remodel trends for 2013.
Trend #1: Refacing Kitchen Cabinets
Do you want a fresh look for your kitchen cabinets, but don’t want to go through the hassle of actually replacing them?
Good news: Kathleen Donohue, an award-winning designer with Neil Kelly Designs, says that refacing cabinets - not replacing - is in. Donohue says this trend is in because people are watching how they spend their money. And since refacing is the process of just changing cabinet doors while maintaining the original cabinet structure, it’s a much less expensive option.
And when it comes to cabinet refacing, think simple and sleek, says Donohue.
“When refacing cabinets, a clean, simple contemporary look is winning out, both from an updating standpoint, and a trend to eliminate unnecessary clutter and fussy details that equate to high maintenance and complicated living - both unpopular trends,” says Donohue.
Trend #2: Stone and Solid Countertops
Are you dreaming about a gleaming new countertop to spruce up your kitchen? Consider quartz countertops, which experts say will be the material of choice in 2013 due to its durability.
“Stone countertops are losing ground to quartz composite countertops that are no-maintenance and the closest thing to bullet-proof countertop materials available today,” says Donohue.
Florida-based kitchen and bath designer, Patricia Davis Brown, says another reason for quartz’s popularity is that it has less fussy patterning than granite.
But quartz isn’t the only trendy material for counters in 2013, according to Mark Fies, board of directors member for the Metro D.C. chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry.
Fies says more homeowners are asking for concrete countertops to create a custom and eye catching look. “With concrete you have endless colors to choose from, the ability to shape the surface as you see fit, and you can even embed materials and/or designs right into the surface,” he says.
Trend #3: Hardwood Floors
Are you thinking about replacing your worn and ripped kitchen linoleum with gleaming hardwood floors?
Good, because our kitchen experts agree that hardwood floors remain a hot kitchen remodeling trend for 2013, with a few new developments.
For example, “I am starting to see lighter shades of wood floors again - something that hasn’t been seen in a while,” says Chappaqua New York interior designer, Cami Weinstein.
And Brown sees the same trend in Florida. “The washed wood floors are back but, with a twist - wider planks and hand scraping, giving a beachy feel,” she says.
But hardwood floors can be a lot of work in terms of both installation and maintenance. Luckily, there are some options to give you that classic wood floor look - without the hassle.
For example, Goldberg and Donohue are seeing a trend in hardwood-looking floors made from durable and easier-to-install materials, such as engineered wood flooring, which is made from a plywood base with a real hardwood veneer.
“Engineered wood continues to be popular, but so is porcelain tile that looks like wood, with less maintenance and better water tolerance,” says Goldberg.
Trend #4: Stylish Sink
Adding a stylish sink can drastically change the look of your kitchen. So what will be trending in 2013? Fies says the answer is deep bowl sinks.
“Deep bowls are still the rage,” he says. “Although there are endless possibilities with today’s sinks, our homeowners want large, deep sinks to accommodate their larger pots and pans. The debate between single or double bowl is still in full effect, but we tend to see homeowners choosing the one bowl option.”
After you’ve decided on the style, the next thing to consider is the material of the sink. And in terms of what will be trending for 2013, Weinstein believes stainless steel sinks will be hot due to their durability and flexibility.
“They just look great for a very long time and work with both modern and traditional cabinetry,” he says.
Trend #5: Appliances
If you’ve been thinking about investing in new appliances, this could be the year to justify buying that commercial stove. According to Weinstein, incorporating commercial-style stoves and other useful built-in appliances in kitchen remodeling projects is a hot trend for 2013.
“Commercial stoves and stainless steel appliances continue to be used and enjoyed,” she says. In addition, features that save homeowners time and space are becoming increasingly popular. “One of her favorites is a hot water dispenser. “They are great for a quick cup of tea, hot cocoa, or mixing with boullion cube for a stock,” she says.
Adding to that concept, Goldberg says kitchen features that do double-duty and save valuable kitchen space are also must-haves for 2013.
This includes microwaves that double as second ovens and warming drawers, and refrigerators with convertible drawers that can act as the fridge, freezer, or wine fridge.
“Multi-taskers that serve more than one need are hot,” says Goldberg.
Trend #6: Mixing Cabinet Colors
Is dark brown too bland, but red too vibrant? Will white cabinets turn a dull shade of gray after the kids put their hands on them? If you can’t decide on a color for your kitchen cabinets, never fear - our experts say it isn’t just one color that will be trending in 2013, but rather a combination of colors.
“Homeowners no longer need to choose between white, medium, or dark tone cabinetry,” says Fies. He adds that a variety of colors will provide visual interest, and can immediately give your kitchen an updated, modern look.
So what are some ways you could incorporate a combination of colors into your own kitchen?
“I am starting to see kitchen cabinetry painted in shades of cream, taupe and gray, often mixing in a darker wood for an island or the lower cabinets,” says Fies