The Internet is filled with articles about the average cost of remodeling your home and the top kitchen remodeling and bathroom remodeling projects that are best for resale value. Yet more and more, homeowners are stepping away from conventional real estate wisdom and basing their new custom home construction and remodeling decisions on what is actually best for them and their families.
There are several factors driving this Charlotte home design trend. The first is obvious – people are staying in their homes longer than they were just a few years ago. Conventional wisdom used to be that people remained in their homes for 5 to 7 years. Now, the National Association of Home Builders expects that time to increase to an average of 13 years. With that more lengthy time horizon, it’s much easier for homeowners to justify remodeling decisions based solely on their own needs, because resale value is no longer the primary determinant.
This trend first showed up in new custom home construction, when many homeowners bravely ditched formal dining rooms in favor of graciously sized breakfast rooms and eat-in-kitchens. It then expanded to bathroom remodels, where soaking tubs were jettisoned in favor of gracious showers. Today, it’s showing up in bold choices like kitchen cabinetry, countertops and tile in bright, primary colors. It’s apparent in home designs that reflect owners’ interests – specialized hobby rooms and unconventional configurations for entertaining based around the homeowners’ desires. Appliances and other “permanent” selections ranging from lighting and plumbing fixtures to floor coverings are also reflecting their owners’ needs and tastes rather than what a real estate professional says you should opt for to be in vogue.
The second factor is related to the first – as people are staying in their homes longer, they are designing custom homes and remodeling their current residences to last as their lifestyles change. This may mean everything from building secondary master suites for possible use by aging parents or older children to embracing aspects of universal design that in the past were not necessarily conducive to resale value. Building grab bars into bathrooms – or reinforcing the walls where they are likely to be placed if required later – is one highly visible choice. Others are more subtle, such as designing zero-entry room thresholds and showers, making hallways and room entrances wide enough to comfortably accommodate a wheelchair, and selecting appliances and designing kitchens that can be used by folks with limited mobility. We are also seeing these individualist choices in the exterior materials homeowners select, with maintenance-free choices far outweighing their perhaps more authentic but much more maintenance-intense counterparts.
The end result of these home remodeling and new home construction trends is that families finally seem comfortable putting their needs first.