By Nicholas Draper
Source: Fairfax County Times
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 16 2008
“I’m not moving anywhere!” How many times have we heard this from our friends and co-workers in recent months? The current real estate market has many of us reconsidering a move. However, we don’t have to wait to begin building equity for the future or even miss an opportunity to enhance our homes for daily-living comfort. Did you know renovating a kitchen or bath is the best way to add value to your home? As we wait for the economy to stabilize and home values to increase, there are some significant ways you can work on your home now to ensure a great return on investment in the months and years ahead. In the meantime, your home will be a more enjoyable place to live.
October is National Kitchen and Bath Month, so it’s a great time to remodel your kitchen and bath ?two of the best investments you can make for your home’s future. “Prospective buyers will look at the kitchen and bathrooms as the Number One priority when deciding to buy a home,” said Francisca Alonso of AV Architects and AV Builders in McLean. Many Realtors project that a new kitchen can return as much as 85 cents on a dollar. Some even have said it can make the difference between selling and not selling.
Even with a declining housing market, last year the National Kitchen & Bath Association reported that homeowners would spend more than $96 billion, renovating 7.6 million kitchens by the end of 2007.
Whether you are looking to list your home now or waiting for the upturn, take a look at your kitchen or bath through the eyes of a potential buyer. Are there design issues you would like to fix in the layout? Are your kitchen appliances fairly new and energy efficient? Do your hardware, fixtures or countertops need to be replaced?
Perhaps now is the time to think of a granite countertop due to its inherent strength, abrasion resistance and superior durability. Upgrading your kitchen and bath surfaces not only changes the utility of the countertop but also dramatically transforms the look and feel of the entire room. Even in our current economy, we may have equity in our homes still available for renovation. “Equity lines for an existing home are still available and are priced very aggressively,” said Peter Kalian, of George Mason Mortgage. “The rates are based on prime and depending upon the percent you borrow in relation to the value.”
A kitchen or bathroom renovation also can enhance your lifestyle even when you’re not thinking about resale value. In his presentation to the Pacific Coast Builders Conference last month, J. Walker Smith, president of the Yankelovich Partners research firm, stated, “Homeowners today are looking at the home as a ‘command center,’ a place to live, work and function as a beehive of activity and engagement.” Kitchens are at the core of command centers. They need to be practical and efficient. Entertaining — for business and pleasure — is returning to the home. Kitchens make a strong lifestyle statement.”The kitchen is the hearth of the modern home of our times,” Alonso said. “It’s where we gather … where we live.”
Remodeling a kitchen or bath, or even just replacing your countertops, can seem overwhelming, so be sure to work with a skilled professional who specializes in renovating these rooms. They can help you navigate the process both in terms of workers and materials needed for successful completion of a project. Do some careful research and interview several before you decide.
Whether you are considering an upgrade for a sale or for personal comfort, when the project is completed, you want to be able to say, “I love it!”