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Real Estate & Home

With markets down, homeowners turning to phased remodeling

9/24/2009 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

Whole-house remodels get turned into serial projects

Residential remodels are no longer those once-in-a-lifetime projects that keep homeowners dreaming years on end before they ever pick up a hammer. Instead, many homeowners opt to do a series of remodels as their schedules, budgets and lifestyles evolve over time, according to the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI).

Serial remodels, or phased remodeling projects, can go over several months and even years. For example, homeowners might opt to start slow with a remodel to a powder room or closet and then tackle a larger project, such as the kitchen, master bath or home addition.

“Most people don’t think of their house as 10 projects they want to do and prioritize them,” said Matt Lederer, a Chicago builder. “It’s not a one-time shot: People choose projects they can afford and will influence resale.”

These phased remodeling projects are part of a larger trend in American consciousness, which Trendwatching calls “Foreverism.” It speaks to people’s desire to continue conversations, relationships and projects over time. Technology is driving people’s ability to find, follow, interact and collaborate forever with anyone and anything, and home improvement is just one of the areas benefiting from the trend, according to NARI officials.

“In a lot of these situations, homeowners buy an existing home with the idea of changing things after they move in,” Lederer said. “They are not flush with cash, or they just don’t have it in them to do a series of projects, so they break them up.”

Phasing a remodeling project has a number of benefits, Lederer said. For homeowners who can’t fund the entire project upfront, breaking elements of a major home remodel into stages can help extend costs over time and buy homeowners more time to save or find funding. Embarking on a series of smaller projects also keeps homeowners less stressed.

“Everyone has what I call a ‘construction tolerance,’” Lederer said. “Some people get excited about the remodel but a few weeks into it they get tired of people showing up at their house at 7 a.m.”

This article was provided courtesy of NARI. For more information or to find a remodeler, visit www.nariremodelers.com.

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