Taking the Renovation Plunge

By Hughes, Jennifer, V | The Record (Bergen County, NJ), February 17, 2013 | Go to article overview

Taking the Renovation Plunge


Hughes, Jennifer, V, The Record (Bergen County, NJ)


Michael Chan and his family moved into their Bergenfield home almost five years ago, knowing all along that they wanted to renovate the cramped old kitchen in their 1940s colonial.

Finally last summer, they decided the time was right.

The project, which cost about $50,000, included a total renovation, removing an interior wall to open up the space and breaking out into the yard to enlarge the kitchen's footprint.

"The main thing is that we wanted to increase the value of our home for resale," Chan said. "We looked at whether we wanted to buy a new house or fix our old one. We decided to fix it so it was livable for us but also functional and more attractive to sell down the road."

Chan said he felt that with the economy turning around, it was a safe time to make the investment. Now the family is also contemplating a bathroom renovation.

"I did always feel like the economy was holding me back," said Chan. "Since the housing market was going back up, I felt a little more confident that I could spend the money on it and hope to gain it back."

National statistics from home improvement groups show that Chan is among a growing number of homeowners who have finally decided to tackle a home improvement project.

Nationwide, third-quarter spending on remodeling activity in 2012 hit $121 billion, according to the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies. The center's projection for the third quarter this year is an increase of almost 20 percent, to $145 billion.

The National Association of Home Builders' outlook is also positive, if not quite as rosy. It is predicting a 2.4 percent increase in remodeling spending for 2013 from 2012 and another 1.7 percent into 2014.

But the sentiment among North Jersey contractors is decidedly mixed. Some renovators say their business never slowed down, even in the trough of the recession, and others agree that work is finally picking up after leaner times. Still others say they see homeowners still holding tight to their purse strings.

"I still have a lot of people who are reluctant to spend a lot of money, or they are doing projects that are smaller in scale," said Glenn Gustafson, owner of Bergen Home Wright, based in Oradell, which did the Chan family's project.

Gustafson said that he has heard rumblings that this year will be better than last, but he's a bit skeptical.

Homeowners might want to expand, but does that come with a higher tax bill? The need for a new furnace to heat a larger home?

Gustafson also said that homeowners wonder about putting in improvements and then losing a job or being forced to relocate. He noted that appraisals are still low and that many homeowners don't have a lot of equity to draw on for improvement loans.

"Everyone is trying to maximize their house as best they can," he said.

Kitchens are solid

According to Remodeling magazine, a kitchen renovation remains a fairly good bet when it comes to recouping the cost of the investment. The latest data show that a minor kitchen renovation recoups 75 percent of the cost, while a major one recaptures 70 percent.

Other projects have higher return on investments, like the replacement vinyl siding and the addition of a deck. Overall, remodeling projects are netting a higher return on investment, the magazine found.

The 2013 national average return on investment for all projects is expected to be 60 percent. That's 3 percent higher than for 2011- 12, and ends a six-year decline.

Jack Goldenberg, owner of Pyramid Group Construction in Ramsey, said his work did pick up last year and continues to do so.

"I think people are feeling like the market is going up and it's OK to spend the money," he said. "For a long time people felt like, 'Why should I put $50,000 into my house when it will be worth 20 percent less tomorrow?' Now it's more stable."

According to Kermit Baker, who directs the remodeling futures program at the Harvard center, a big chunk of home improvement spending is baby boomers' retrofitting their homes to suit their needs as they age. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Taking the Renovation Plunge
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.