"You've got to go there to know there." -- Zora Neale Hurston

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Talk About Renovating Your Home

     On Saturday night Bridge and I went on a picnic with old friends of ours. The main topic of conversation? They wanted to talk about how they recently installed solar panels on the roof of their house. They'll be saving about $100 a month on their electric bills. They also talked about the screened-in porch they added last year. And, oh yeah, they were fixing their gutters, too. But they didn't want to talk about that. Fixing gutters is boring.

     Meanwhile, we had nothing to say, because the only thing we've done to our house recently is repaint the deck -- and that's even more boring than fixing gutters. So we fell back on talking about the bathroom remodel we did a few years ago -- because it's more interesting to talk about new tile, a new glass shower door, and a fancy rain showerhead, than it is a $30 bucket of paint from Home Depot.

     Our experience squares with a recent report from the home-remodeling web platform houzz. They did a survey which found that younger homeowners are more likely to redecorate their homes, which involves things like curtains, paint and carpeting, while older homeowners are more likely to take on major home remodeling projects involving new cabinets, new flooring, new appliances and fixtures. And, since there are far fewer Millennials who are homeowners, Baby Boomers are the ones driving the market.

     And so what are people talking about? Fancy home remodels, not routine repairs. Boring old home maintenance is the least popular activity in the houzz survey, no matter how old you are.

     So what is the favorite home-renovation project? The kitchen. (By the way, I've read elsewhere that granite countertops are "out" and other solid surface countertops such as quartz and Corian are back in. Now, when they rediscover old-fashioned vinyl . . . that's when I'll be back in fashion!)

     After the kitchen, the next favorites are: hall bathroom; then family room; then master bathroom. The least favorite remodels? Finishing the basement, converting a room into a home office, improving the laundry room or dining room.

     The average kitchen redo, according to houzz, runs around $30,000 to $40,000. But it depends on where you live, how much you do, and how big your kitchen is. The range goes from a fairly modest $12,000 all the way up to $50,000-plus.

     It may not surprise you to find out that Baby Boomers spend more, on average, than their children. Boomers typically spend $40,000 to $50,000 for a major kitchen remodel, compared to $20,000 to $40,000 for homeowners age 25 to 55.

     It also may not surprise you that outdoor improvements are more common in the south and west than the midwest or northeast. Among the most popular landscaping projects: Upgrading gardens and borders; decks and patios; improving the lawn; adding fencing and pathways.

     The least popular? Greenhouses, hot tubs, swimming pools and art features.

     Another interesting finding from the survey:  more than half of over-60 homeowners plan to stay in their current residence indefinitely, rather than move to some other state or into a retirement community. And the majority of these people have either recently done renovations to their home, or plan to do so in the near future. For example, in the kitchen many are reconfiguring the layout to improve accessibility -- widening doorways, installing seated work areas, as well as easy-to-reach storage and easy-to-operate faucets.

     Popular upgrades in the bathroom include grab bars, raised toilets, shower seating, slip-resistant flooring, and removing trip hazards such as throw rugs.

     But finally, in my own defense, what does the survey say is the product that most people actually plan to purchase within the next six month? Is it new flooring? New countertops? New tile? No. Less than 20 percent of homeowners are planning to buy a kitchen appliance, or install carpeting in the next six months. But 40 percent of homeowners say they will be buying paint. Plain, old, boring paint. So they can join me out on my deck, and we'll be boring together.


DJan said...

Interesting survey, all right. I'm not sure what I would be renovating if I were a homeowner, since I'm not, but I like to hear what the rest of you all are doing. Or not doing. :-)

Anonymous said...

I prefer to spend money on oil paintings for my walls.

Anonymous said...

Despite the fact we're falling apart physically, we are about to have a new roof put on the back porch (was a patio). Also upgrading the roof on the garden shed (more later at my blog). And yes we are in the South.

I had the bathrooms done a few years ago (raised toilets, new fixtures, hand rails), plus new water heater, dryer, stove refridgerator. Exterior brickwork last year....yes brickwork wears out too. My handyman repaired the garden shed walls, installed a new door between the kitchen and dining room (now a bird room/ desk set-up), installed a new hanging light over the stairs, installed new rain water barrels after the old ones froze last winter), and my part-time gardener repaired the garden edging and the compost bins. Oh and we had the"big" fence out back replaced and posts in the front fence replaced again this spring.

There's always something to be done...usually moethan once around here.

Like the man in the song, "Old Man River" it's tote that barge, lift that bale, or in this case. cover those gutters with 'gutter guard' and install those external hand rails (and we have a solar panel to run that hot southern heat out of the attic).

stephen Hayes said...

We did a lot of home improvements to our last home, which was a hundred years old, but now we live in a new townhouse and I don't need to worry about home improvements. If only we didn't have stairs.

Anonymous said...

Our tiny home only cost $38,000 after the down payment, paid off many years, the stuff we do to the house completely overhauled it and it wasn't that much, I waited 37 years for a new fridge, sink, and oven and the thingie that sucks the air out of the food cooking I cannot think of its name..We also got a new heavyduty disposal and a neat thingie for the water, etc. It is only about 100 here and in the middle of a huge drought, we escape to the shore, it is so hot we take our kitteh cats too..I knew it was a drought last year I could hang clothing to dry in our garage and not use the dryer at all, it was so dry and hot..Now no ski season and snow or water or rain, farmers got the shaft, vintners too..Seattle is hotter than a pepper plant and no one gets a/c up there for the population it has the least a/c units or hmoes built with a/c in the nation exceeding San Francisco and also the most expensive for zeros lot line condos right up against your neighbor..All to say you live in a gorgeous city with excellent transportation but so dadblsted expensive..Bellingham is where our only went to the university, it is a lovely city but not inexpensive anymore, one can't buy a decent home there for little money no many cities have gone crazy in Washington state..One cannot eat the beauty or the land we adore the shore with a tiny cabin with people we have known forever, we stay and enjoy our friends, many of our familia has passed and we are happy to enjoy our times with people who are more like family than our blood was! ciao!

Anonymous said...

Loved your comment about vinyl floors. I have ceramic (hate them) floors in my entry and kitchen. There are cracked tiles, dirty grout that is hard to keep clean, hard on my feet and back when I prepare meals and cold. There going soon and can't wait to replace them with good old fashioned VINYL floors. Vinyl has come a long way in the choices available and it's so easy to keep clean. No granite for me. Still think laminate is the best choice for countertops.

Barbara said...

Cute. I think about painting but even that is more physical than I am up to!

Dick Klade said...

We've been remodeling for seven years now, and figure we have about another seven to go. As the survey said most do, we started by gutting the kitchen and working all the latest stuff into a new design. Costs were on the high end of those given here. And, yes, we did paint the deck!

Pam said...

Just the thought of major renovations makes me tired! I used to be so ambitious--before "flipping houses" was a familiar term, my husband and I did it in order to be free of a mortgage. We were in our 30s and weren't afraid to tackle any project. We learned, from those experiences, that many projects are best left to experts, and once you start altering a house, you never know what you'll find. After flipping five properties, we were debt free and here we are, three decades later, completely content to live in our outdated farmhouse. Whenever something needs repair, we have it repaired, and try to use the very best quality materials. There have been times when we've been tempted to "gut" the kitchen, but then we wake up to what that would entail. Now that we're older and wiser, it's not even the cost that deters us. The very thought of living in chaos and sharing our home with workers for months gives me nightmares. We've decided when the time comes, we'll simply build or buy the next home that fits our needs and call the movers. BTW, to anonymous who hates her tile floors, I agree with you. Twenty-five years ago, neutral linoleum (not vinyl) was installed in our kitchen and utility areas and it is still in perfect condition, and I love it.

Olga said...

I am wondering about selling versus doing some remodel. But every time I go out to mow the acre and a half of weed patch that is my lawn, I lean a bit more towards selling. Did just put in new furnace, water heater, and water softener. Have a fairly new roof and siding. Selling points or staying points?

Anonymous said...

12/26/1999: Hunky Husband and I, older than Boomers, moved into new ranch-style home.
2010: Added exterior floods to front eves and amended some of the interior wiring.
2013: Replaced carpeting in living room, parlor, and hallway with ultra-plush stuff. Feels wonderful on the feet.
2014: Carpentry work - added 2nd door to basement bathroom and re-worked closet in adjoining room to accommodate hanging clothing rather than shelves full of boxes
2014: Replaced carpeting in both bedrooms and in walk-in closet with same stuff as in rest of upstairs.
2015: Replaced all upstairs vinyl floor covering with ultra-cushy stuff. Feels good on the feet, but the rough surface texture makes it difficult to clean.
2015: Replace (to be done) shake shingles with composition tile roofing. HOA required shakes in 1999; but, state law now says HOA can't require shakes.
2016: Paint a few walls in the upstairs.
2017: Turn gardening over to a service.
2018: Who knows?

Cop Car

Florence said...

I will move before I take on a major remodel.

Pam said...

In response to Olga's question: I believe those improvements to your home would be both selling and/or staying points. Deciding to stay or sell a home is a tough decision, but my friends and I (we're in our 60s) have determined that our first priority will be to stay where we have a strong support system of family and friends. A person can cope with nearly anything as long as you have someone to lean on when the going gets tough. It sounds like you have a big yard to care for--would it be possible to hire some help? If everything else about your home is working for you, I'd stay and consider yard service in the future. Best of luck to you.

Dr. Kathy McCoy said...

Another fascinating post, Tom! We moved to a brand new house five and a half years ago, thinking that any major repairs and overhauls might not happen in our lifetime. Wrong! In the past year, we have had to replace the hot water heater, the refrigerator, the kitchen sink faucet and, last month, the complete air conditioning system!! All of these things lasted for decades in our California home, but a combination of the harshness of AZ water and climate and the builder going for the cheapest fixtures and lowest bidder has meant lots of repairs and replacements we hadn't imagined. All of these were both boring and expensive. Maybe we should have stayed put in our old house!

Anonymous said...

If one thinks they can have heaven on earth in a home, think again, I feel for the lady who had to replace everything in Arizona..some builders are just plain cheap, we got a deal on a good dishwasher and replaced the first dishwasher at 10 years then we got a dishwasher brand new given to us so we gave the one we had to a family who needed one badly...The stove, fridge, sink and disposal came at almost 37 years they lasted, the faucet at 37 years, good quality and we are told will last..Now if we can get the insulation in soon and a decent heating system we have ceiling heat we don't use at all, it is 100 here in the small village of Vancouver Washington 18 full days of nearly 100 has cooked us well done, of course we went to the beach to escape the heat from hell, took our cats to boot..A home is the people who actually inhabit..My parents never owned a home, nor my husbands parents with 9 kids and a dad never around missing in action they were lucky to find anyone to even rent let alone buy a house..Food & clothing and school stuff was more important and the electric and gas bills my hubs grew up fast and had to corral the rest of the kids he worked several jobs while in junior high and high school enlisted in the army (Vietnam era) and his sister married before her 19th birthday and the others tore out of the house they rented fast and furious..To actually own a home is a great privilege in our USA I know my aunt wno never had kids had many rentals and bought her mother my grandmother a nice little home in san diego, California after the WW 11...Her homes she lived in was a mansion in my eyes, I was determined to go to college, graduate, work and save and someday buy a home, it happened I married we saved like the dikens and bought our first home in colordo and when I had my only child we moved west..We have always been in a home, not a rental the impression of living in a home with no mom she passed young a dad who took to drink and no place to call a real home lasted with me..I think it wonderful if one ever gets to buy a home, one can always make do with what one is fortunate to be able to buy and not rent, just my opinion, yes I am a baby boomer and damn glad to say it~!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

jade said...

t is 100 here in the small village of Vancouver Washington 18 full days of nearly 100 has cooked us well done, Houzz

Troy Fleming said...

I think one of the main reasons why Baby Boomers spend more on renovations is what I call "generation tendencies." Compared to Boomers, millennials prize the thought of flexibility--they want to be able to move when they want to. Boomers, on the other hand, seemingly have a more profound sense of entrechment--they intend to stay where they are most of the time.

Troy Fleming @ Don Mills Builders

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