Updating Kitchens and Baths Adds Value to Your Home

Kitchen and bath updates

By far, the most popular reason for updating a home is to add value when the homeowner decides to sell the property and move to somewhere else.

Within the D.C. metro region, the housing market has stayed slow for several years. According to a September 2014 Washington Post blog post, “D.C. region’s housing market is stuck in the doldrums,” by Washington reporter Kathy Orton, buyers in our area are less willing to buy new homes despite historically low rates due to an uncertain economy and tougher financial standards for mortgages. In addition, sellers don’t want to sell their homes since they refinanced their mortgages at very low rates and are loath to give up the financial advantages gained by the refinancing.

Similarly, a March 2014 survey by Houzz confirms that remodeling rather than selling is a popular nationwide trend among homeowners. California-based Houzz staff writer and editor, Mitchell Parker, notes in his article “Houzz Survey Results: Remodeling Likely to Trump Selling in 2014,” 53% of U.S. homeowners surveyed say they plan to remodel their homes between 2015 and 2016, even though they do not plan to move.

Homeowners’ Needs Impact The Decision To Buy Or Update

However, what an individual homeowner or a growing family wants in a home invariably changes as time progresses and family members become older. Homeowners who can afford to sell their homes often buy another home for different reasons, such as the wish to be closer to a workplace to substantially decrease commuting time or have easier access to other family members.

Other considerations include a desire for a more upscale home, the longing to own a smaller home that requires much less cleaning and maintenance, and the inclination to escape from a neighborhood that has deteriorated into unsafe conditions. For elderly homeowners, physical ailments that impact an elderly homeowner’s ability to climb up and down stairs every day are are a factor in buying a new home or remaining in the same house.

For those people who choose to remain in their current homes but still want to make their space more comfortable, the updates differ depending upon the home’s age. A single homeowner may decide to update an older kitchen or install a new library within one of D.C.’s historic townhouses. Homeowners in Maryland, Northern Virginia or other areas may find that their existing multi-level suburban home requires some vital changes to accommodate the demands of their growing family.

Because many D.C. area residents are choosing to remain in their own homes rather than sell, they increasingly turn to home improvement projects in order to update their current homes. These projects may involve the external appearance of the home, such as new siding to provide more protection from the elements, a new front door, a deck addition or garage doors.

Conversely, the changes may be internal. Popular alterations include partitioning off one section of a basement or attic to serve as a guest room and bathroom or installing a bar area in a kitchen. Other internal changes include adding a library and home office in one room of the home, or completely remodeling a kitchen or bedroom.

The reasons behind updating a home vary, depending upon the homeowner’s personal taste and living requirements. For most homeowners, updating a home’s appearance is generally related to four main factors: aesthetics, modernization, entertainment and value.

Aethestics: Varying Personal Taste And Lifestyle Affects A Home’s Interior

The D.C. area has a wide range of historic homes, ranging from Revolutionary War, Civil War and Victorian homes in areas such as Fairfax, Alexandria and DC. Homeowners may go for historical accuracy: to match the era of when the house was constructed, a homeowner may choose to decorate the interior of a home with antique furnishings. Another homeowner will completely change the interior of the home to give it a modern appearance, complete with microwave ovens, multi-section refrigerators, and surround-sound systems for plasma television screens and Wii gaming systems.

Metro D.C. has numerous ranch and split-level homes built between 1960 and 1980, as the farmland and woods surrounding cities and towns gradually gave way to suburban development. The suburbs attracted many homeowners eager to experience the D.C. area’s cultural life and many other amenities such as parks, shopping areas and easy access to elementary schools, junior high schools, high schools and colleges for their children. These homes have stood the test of time but they now require modern updating to make them more comfortable for everyday living.

For more modern homes built after 1990 or 2000, a home may be updated because the homeowner’s personal taste doesn’t match the previous owner’s taste. Some homeowners may opt for bold wall colors, brightly patterned striped or floral wallpaper, and hardwood floors, while the next homeowner is more conservative, choosing more subdued wall colors, wall-to-wall carpeting, and easy-to-clean tile floors in high-traffic areas such as kitchens and bathrooms. One home buyer chooses a minimalist-style interior design and another favors a beach theme, urban decor or a casual country look, depending upon where the house is located geographically.

The required maintenance for a house influences the owner’s taste as well. Homeowners who are employed in high-level jobs requiring long work hours and who have a busy family life want homes that don’t require a huge amount of costly maintenance. By reducing the need for constant home maintenance, they have more time to devote to work activities, hobbies and leisure-time activities with their families.

Even a homeowner’s ethnicity can be a factor in a home’s décor. The D.C. metro area is home to people from Africa, Asia, Europe, South America and other areas, and often items from their homeland appear in their homes to serve as reminders of their ethnic origins. These items commonly include artwork and furniture.

Modernization: A Second Factor In Home Updates

Since there are a wide range of homes available in the D.C. metro area, home updates are not only pleasing for aesthetic reasons, but necessary for reasons of safety or convenience. Construction updates, new electrical sockets, new wiring and other upgrades are essential to bring the existing construction up to standard safety codes, especially with an older home that has been purchased as a “fixer-upper” and calls for a considerable amount of renovation before it becomes livable.

Modernization provides convenience as well, which is equally important to homeowners. As family members age and become elderly, they may have features installed into their homes to protect their physical safety, such as grab bars for shower stalls and bathtubs, stairways with electrical seats that travel up and down the stairs on rails, and railings for garage and basement staircases. Family members with permanent physical disabilities requiring the use of a wheelchair or crutches may want wheelchair ramps to get in or out of a house, as well as work counters and tables custom-built at a lower height to accommodate their physical requirements.

Adapting A Home To Suit Professional Or Personal Entertainment Needs

Another reason for updating a home includes the entertaining that many homeowners want to do for either professional or personal reasons. A large entertaining area may be required by a homeowner for hosting important business dinners, and having an elegant dining room and living room sets the proper tone for this kind of business event.

Similarly, homeowners will typically hold casual events during the year, such as festive holiday occasions or family get-togethers. Most activity during these casual celebrations takes place within certain rooms of the home such as a kitchen, a dining area or living room.

To accommodate entertainment needs, a homeowner might add a bar area with an extra sink and storage areas for wine and other beverages. Another popular addition is a long work counter that can not only be used to prepare foods but also to serve them buffet-style for the convenience of a large number of guests.

Updating A Home Adds Financial Value For Resale Later

By far, the most popular reason for updating a home is to add value when the homeowner decides to dispose of the property and move somewhere else to a smaller home or a larger house. Certain features such as more storage areas and updated, eat-in kitchens are particularly appealing to home buyers when it comes time to sell the home. In fact, extra storage areas and eat-in kitchens are among the 7 features home buyers want most, according to a May 2014 slideshow post from Kiplinger.

Michael Estrin, a writer for financial website Bankrate, points out that the age of homebuyers plays a role in the type of new home they seek and how they perceive whether or not a home represents value to them. In his article, “Must-haves to sell to young buyers,” Estrin points that even though Generation X and millennial buyers may vary in the type of home they want to buy, some features such as updated kitchens, bathrooms and home offices remain popular.

Eric Bramlett, a Texas realtor, notes that overhauling a kitchen and bathroom is particularly useful before listing a home for sale. In his article for Sideroad.com, “The Best Ways to Radically Update Your Home (And Not Lose Money!)” Bramlett says that updating a kitchen or bathroom with new cabinetry, tile and sinks is cost-effective.

Updating a certain area of a home takes many forms. A new bedroom can be incorporated into an attic to provide a restful sleeping area for a guest or family member, or a new garage can be added to a house to provide extra storage space for one or two vehicles, lawn care equipment and sports equipment.

Some of the most popular upgrades include new entry doors, energy efficient windows, bathroom remodels, and kitchen upgrades since these updates contribute to the financial value of the home and have a high return on investment (ROI) ratio. According to a Houselogic article by Oregon home improvement writer John Riha, “Best Bets for Adding Value to Your Home in 2014,” a kitchen remodel involving inviting features such as new cabinet doors and drawer fronts, new appliances, new countertops and a new floor provides an 82.7% return on a homeowner’s original investment.

Walmer Products Offer Easier, Cost-Effective Ways To Update Your Home

If you’re choosing to remain in your home for the long term rather than move to another home, Walmer products offer a more convenient and elegant way to update the look of your home with our custom cabinetry products. Walmer cabinets are available for installation in home libraries, offices and living rooms in order to provide greater storage space for books, manuals, office supplies, computers, television sets and home theater systems.

If your bathroom, bedroom or kitchen could do with an overall update, Walmer’s custom cabinets create more storage for appliances, personal possessions and other household items. Our custom cabinets may also be used in the creation of a work island for preparing and serving meals during family dinners and parties of small or large sizes.

One of Walmer’s most satisfying construction projects included the renovation of a client’s kitchen to update the appearance of the kitchen. We revamped the kitchen to add greater style, functionality and convenience for the homeowner and adapted our design around new appliances and a sink area.

See Before and After Photos of the kitchen cabinetry upgrade project.

before and after kitchen upgrades

Other Walmer products include fireplace surrounds and cabinetry to add beauty, practicality and atmosphere to fireplaces and wainscoting, as well as trim sections for ceilings, doorways and walls. Our trim and wainscoting panels help you to quickly create a stylish atmosphere in a living room, library, home office or den with less effort and can be easily adapted to perfectly suit the dimensions of a room.

All Walmer products are made from top-quality materials such as maple, red oak, cherry, mahogany, birch and poplar. Our trim packages are ideal for modern, contemporary, classic or traditional homes.

To provide our customers with the best possible service, Walmer offers free over-the-phone estimates, consultations with our expert design consultants, full-service installations by experienced employees and a one-year warranty on our products. Contact us for more information.