Thursday, December 9, 2010

Baby Boomers Using Remodeling to Satisfy their Changing Needs

The decline in prices in the suburbs appears to be keeping a lot of aging boomers from selling and moving to accommodate a change in lifestyle.  David Crowe, chief economist for the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), said, “National conditions for this sector have not yet turned the corner, and they will not improve until employment improves and consumers are more confident of keeping their jobs.”

Boomer-watchers say this wants-to-move-but-can’t generation is engaging in “recession remodeling,” making small and not-so-expensive changes to their houses to accommodate health or other life-changing issues.  80% of those 65 and older, who responded to a July telephone poll of 1,616 adults ages 45 and up conducted for AARP, said they wanted to stay in their houses as long as possible.

A few tweaks to remodeling plans can make a house more user-friendly.  Recently AARP sponsored a “recession remodel” contest to demonstrate that comfort and efficiency were achievable, even in hard times.  The winners: a kitchen in a farmhouse in Richfield, N.C., about an hour from Charlotte, and a bathroom in a house in Snohomish, Wash., near Seattle.

The kitchen renovation was the result of a move to the house by the owner’s 67-year-old mother, after the death of the owner’s father, who had built the house.  The kitchen was outdated and difficult to use. AARP’s makeover expanded and brightened the room, and added an open floor plan, cabinet and counter space, multilevel work and eating space, and easy-to-reach appliances.

The bathroom renovation was for a daughter who cares for her parents, one in a wheelchair with Parkinson's, and the other who uses a walker.  A cramped bathroom that could accommodate neither parent was changed to remove barriers and add a walk-in shower, a heated nonslip floor, and glare-free lighting.  AARP arranged donations to the two winners of appliances, fixtures, and other building products, along with designer and contractor services.

“These makeovers demonstrate what homeowners can do when they finally get around to remodeling,” AARP’s Ginzler said. The work “can make them ready for whatever surprises life can bring.”

Many New Jersey builders are ready and willing to help you with remodeling projects, especially this time of year.  Call or email me to discuss your needs and ideas.

Joe Giancarli, SA
Real Estate Advisor


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