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9/30/2016 4:12:00 PM
Should I stay or should I go?
If you love your location, remodeling may be worth considering
Photo courtesy of Outdoor Living Roomz  |  Bring the outdoors in with this addition by Outdoor Living Roomz, which features full-view garage doors that disappear into the ceiling.
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Photo courtesy of Outdoor Living Roomz | Bring the outdoors in with this addition by Outdoor Living Roomz, which features full-view garage doors that disappear into the ceiling.
by Annette Joyce

Is something just not right with your current home? Maybe it's too small for your growing family, or the kitchen and baths are outdated. Could it be you don't like the floorplan or you want more closet and storage space?

While a lot of people might solve these issues by searching for a new home, remodeling your existing home might be a better alternative.

Location, location, location

Ed Butler, who along with his wife, Debbie, owns Brickwood Builders in Greensboro, has spent the last 14 years helping people decide whether to remodel or build a new house.

"It all has to do with a person's intentions," said Butler. "If they like where they are - a particular neighborhood or school district - selling and buying becomes a more difficult thing."

As an example, Butler references a recent customer who needed extra space but wanted to stay in the same neighborhood. They looked for a few months but were unable to find another house they liked better, so decided adding space to their home would be the best option.

Renovating their home required creativity, Butler said.

"The lot was small, so there was no room to add on (to the side or back of the house). But there was a nice screened porch and we added a master suite above it."

What was once a three-bedroom house with a bonus room was transformed into a five-bedroom, four-bath home and the homeowners ended up with a new master suite with oversized windows and a vaulted ceiling that offered the feeling of being in a treehouse.

Jamie Bowlin, owner of JLB Remodeling in Summerfield, does both new construction and renovations and talks with potential customers to help them decide the best option.

"We ask several questions - 'Do you like your neighborhood? Do you like your neighbors? Do you like your school system? Do you like the home you currently have - the shape, size and number of rooms?'" he said. "If they answer 'yes' to all of these questions, we suggest renovating instead of selling."

Most popular updates

In transforming homes, local remodelers get a lot of similar requests. Alex Booe, co-owner/superintendent of Greensboro's Booe Building and Remodeling, said a large amount of their work involves opening up small spaces and floorplans.

"We take out a lot of walls to create open floorplans and we turn small areas into usable spaces," he said. "We've turned small attic spaces into bonus rooms and a coat closet into an entryway nook."

Kitchens continue to be a popular focus of remodeling projects.

"Sometimes a kitchen is just worn out," said Scott Koehler, owner of Dream Kitchen Builders in Oak Ridge. "It's where everybody hangs out. It's really the heart of the home and people often want a more updated look."

Koehler said one of the hottest kitchen products right now is Carrara marble, a high-quality white or blue-grey stone. "It's one of the newest things for countertops and people love it," he said.

In general, Koehler said homeowners are going for a cleaner, more transitional look in the kitchen, and white Shaker-style cabinets are in vogue.

Both Koehler and Booe noted LED lighting is also very popular.

"Kitchen designers didn't previously have the control they now have with LED lighting," said Koehler. "LED lights can be put underneath wall cabinets, inside glass cabinets and used in open shelves," he said. "They're not overly blue anymore and have warmer tones. They can also be controlled with remote controls."

During the recent Tour of Remodeled Homes, Ron Davis, owner of Outdoor Living Roomz in Greensboro, introduced a new way to add space and enhance enjoyment of indoor/outdoor living.

Davis' solarium-like additions are usable 365 days a year and feature full-view powder-coated garage doors which disappear into the ceiling and automated Phantom screens that provide protection from bugs without taking away from the view.

Want to update your flooring? Booe said more people are going with wood plank tile versus traditional wood floors.

"The tile won't expand and contract like wood and it's more durable and easier to clean," he said.

Main floor living is still popular, especially as the population ages, Bowlin said. In houses with the master on the second level, JLB Remodeling has built a lot of first-floor master additions.

"For people who like their location and have family still coming in, they're not ready to downsize but they don't want to do the stairs every day," he said. "This allows them to live on the first floor and gives them a double master."

Moving? Forget the major remodel

Butler said he has talked with numerous people who think they should remodel their home before putting it on the market.

"I hear people say they want to enlarge or remodel their house to make more money when they sell it. It doesn't make good sense when someone is trying to remodel as an investment," he said. "They should just keep the money."

Based on Remodeling Magazine's "2016 Cost vs. Value Report," very few remodeling projects will recoup the seller's investment, let alone provide additional profits. The top remodeling projects, which tend to lean more toward maintenance, are relatively small in nature.

According to the report, adding attic insulation will net a 116.9-percent return on investment. Projects bringing in a
90-percent or more return include: adding manufactured stone veneer siding to a home's exterior, replacing the garage door and installing a steel entry door.

Adding an extra bathroom or remodeling an existing one will produce the least amount of value; that's followed by upscaling a master suite or adding a deck.

Though remodeling as an investment is often not advisable, Butler notes that known problems such as worn-out roofs or termite damage should be corrected.

Although Bowlin works with many people who do upgrades and renovations before putting their home on the market, he advises homeowners to be cautious about the extent of the projects they undertake.

"It would be smart to work with an industry professional who understands what you're trying to achieve," he said. "You need to do a select amount of work to make the house sellable."

Bowlin also suggested veering away from both the cheapest and the most expensive products when you're preparing your house for sale.

"Look for economical products that are good quality and have great durability," he said.

Once you've decided that remodeling your home is the best option, be sure to talk with professionals and do your research. That can make all the difference between a home you love and one that simply meets your basic needs.

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