Monday, May 2, 2016

"There's A Huge Demand For Residential Remodeling"

The month of May, this year as in past ones, is "National Remodeling Month." As aging-in-place professionals who are charged with helping people adapt and modify their living space to make it safer and more comfortable for the foreseeable future and to allow them to remain living in the homes they love, we welcome the attention to remodeling and the designation of this important spring month for remodeling.

In 2015, homeowners spent some $150 billion - with a "b" - on remodeling projects. From the CAPS II class, we remember that 45% of all homeowner expenditures on remodeling is from the 50 and over age group. Thus, approximately $67.5 billion was spent by this "senior" group this past year.

That's a significant number! We don't know how much of that expenditure was done on a DIY (do-it-yourself) basis and how much involved the use of handymen, contractors, and others to provide the technical expertise to execute the revisions.

One thing is sure. Remodeling, as an activity, is only going to grow stronger. New home construction and sales will continue but likely will have a lesser impact on the overall economy than in the past - leaving remodeling to rise even faster as people are not replacing their dwellings but staying put and improving them.

New homes are becoming less attractive for the baby boomer market segment because many of them have already found and are living in their forever home. They might be interested in improving their present home, but they have made the commitment to remaining in it and not seeking another home.

Even if their present home is not ideal for their current needs - and we have the ability to rectify that for them - few of them can replace that home for the money they have invested in it. It would take a much larger investment to duplicate or just come close to the footage and features they already have, and the homesite size likely would be much smaller. Finding a home they like in a neighborhood similar to what they enjoy now would be difficult as well. Many live in older areas that provide a character and nearby facilities they enjoy.

Then, there is the issue of accumulation. People have amassed so much stuff over their lifetime that it would be a monumental task for many people to even consider moving. They have saved so many memories and keepsakes and held onto way too many items over the years. It's easier just to continue holding onto it than to try to sort through it and reduce the amount of clutter and accumulation that exists.

So, whether it's more storage for the huge amount of stuff that people have retained over the years, modernizing a kitchen or bath, removing a threshold into the shower, upgrading appliances, redoing the flooring, adding or replacing lighting, widening doorways and hallways, replacing windows with larger ones or some more easily operated, or other such projects, there are so many remodeling tasks that we can undertake. The work can be as large or as simple as our business model suggest and according to the budgetary needs of potential clients.

Of course, there are so many more safety-related projects to undertake for people even if they don't have any physical difficulties in using their homes. Inspecting homes for the presence of unhealthy substances and adding the ability for people to be more comfortable in their home regardless of the outside temperature are a couple of places to begin. Step elimination, passageway congestion, and anything that might present a tripping or cutting hazard can be addressed.

We can remain quite busy!

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, MCSP, MIRM, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555.