Pride and Joy - Page 3

Boosting your enjoyment of life—and the value of your real estate too—through smart home improvement
Pride and Joy
Eichler owner Rob Castaneda looks to add space and value to his Los Altos home.
Pride and Joy
Pride and Joy
Pride and Joy
A desire for more space inspires many homeowners to catch the remodeling bug. Count the ways: adding a bedroom (top), closet space (middle), and a family entertainment room (above).

Sometimes improved functionality can be as simple as replacing appliances and fixtures that haven't been operating properly rather than continuing to cope with their inconveniences and repair costs.

Many homeowners opt to replace dated or inappropriate materials with higher-end finishes that will serve their needs for many years. For instance, Glessner points out referring to floor finishes, "Selecting the right flooring material will add beauty and functionality to each space." Also, removing carpeting helps to reduce allergens and dirt, she adds, and it presents an opportunity to introduce a uniform flooring material throughout the home that brings cohesiveness.

Top trends

Homeowners are investing larger budgets into their kitchen and bathroom renovation projects, according to a recent Houzz & Home survey conducted by Houzz of more than 120,000 respondents in the United States.

The average spend for kitchen and master bath remodeling projects in 2015 increased by 12 percent. Consistent with the last five years, kitchens remain the most popular interior-remodeling project (31 percent), followed by master/non-master bathrooms (22 and 26 percent, respectively) and living/family rooms (23 percent).

When it comes to the motivations behind renovations, 'finally having the time' was the top trigger for home renovation projects in 2015 (38 percent), ahead of 'finally having the financial means' (37 percent), the top trigger for 2014 projects. Homeowners are renovating instead of buying a 'perfect' home largely due to their desire to stay in their current home or lot (49 percent) or remain in their current neighborhood (31 percent). Financial considerations such as 'renovation being a more affordable option' or 'providing a better return on investment' (28 percent each) trail behind.

Best investments

Specifically for Eichlers, Fracker says the best improvements home buyers can make are changing out windows with double-pane replacements, installing insulated roofing systems, updating with a new boiler for radiant heating, and kitchen and bathroom remodels. They instantly add real-money value to the home.

"Homeowners realize their quality of life can be much greater in a house that has been recently remodeled," Fracker says. "It's always important that the mid-century modern look and vibe is preserved when updating the function of your home. This quite often is done by the design, installation procedure, as well as with the right materials and appliances."

Carey recommends looking at the "not-so-fun projects" first—the ones that protect the structure and the family. They include heating, insulation, windows, air quality, electrical upgrades, roofing, foundation, and siding. Once the building and family are secure, then look to the other sexier projects, such as new kitchens, bathrooms, additions, and so on.

"If you can combine a little of both, however, all the better," Carey says. "As far as return on the investment, if this is a homeowner's 'forever house,' we recommend they do what will work best for them in keeping with the neighborhood and house style. If they don't know how long they will be in the house, the best returns are kitchens, bathrooms, roofs, and in Eichlers, a good heating system."

With budgeting in mind, Carey says her team asks clients to create a wish/want/need list before embarking on any project. There are some things that they have to have, say more stylish kitchen cabinets. Then there are those items they want to have, such as updated appliances, or maybe a more open floor plan. "All are possible by matching the right project to the budget they have at that time, and then planning for the future," Carey says.