Wednesday, March 15, 2017

"Remodeling Is Going To Occur - With Or Without Our Help"

As people evaluate their current housing situation on an continuous basis to determine how well it's meeting their needs and what might be done to accommodate those needs - whether there is a prevailing physical condition that affects how they use their space or not - they have several choices.

First, they can notice that things are not ideal but ignore them, hope they will go away, that they will somehow get better over time, that they won't get any worse, trust that they will get used to them and cease having them to be such an issue, or just adapt to them and get by the best they can.

Second, they can make some minors changes - a coat of paint (possibly in a new or bolder color to freshen a space), maybe a new piece of furniture or a whole new ensemble, possibly a wall hanging or some artwork, maybe a sculpture, possibly a new area rug - all cosmetic things done to make someone feel better about their space without physically altering the underlying issues of the space.

Third, they can make some minor improvements themselves - new flooring that they install over the existing flooring or in place of it, new room or ceiling lighting, changing of light fixture to LED ones, replacement of cabinet or door hardware, changing outlet and light switch covers and going to all Decora-style if that hasn't already been done, and adding a ceiling fan.

Everything mentioned so far is something the occupant - owner or renter - can do for themselves or enlist the help of a family member, neighbor, or friend to help them.

Remodeling does not have to be planned, complex, expensive, or even professionally done for it still to be a modification of the space. We like it when professionals such as us are involved, but this isn't always the case and not a sufficient condition for it to be considered real remodeling.

Since we know and recognize that remodeling of various types and degrees is going to be done, we have a couple of choices to make sure we are as effective and influential as possible.

First, we can encourage people to do minor repairs and fix-ups themselves. One of two possible outcomes is possible here: people will make do for now and make their home safer and more habitable than it was, or they will realize how large of challenge it is and how unprepared they are to tackle it before calling us to assist them.

Anything done to improve people's safety in their homes is a win. We can't perform every remodel in an area, and we need people to enjoy safer accommodations whenever possible. As for the potential work we can gain from frustrated do-it-yourself projects and those that realize they are in over their heads before really getting started, we can definitely jump in and help out there.

Recognizing that remodeling - from minimal to major, is going to occur even when we are not involved, it behooves us to be very active in our markets looking and listening for opportunities. They are going to be a very frequent occurrence. While we won't get to take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself - and we really don't want to anyway - we will be way ahead of those who wait for business to come to them.

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, CEAC, SHSS, 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. Also check out the "Aging & Accessibility" groups on Facebook and LinkedIn.