Remodeling becoming the choice for homeowners - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Remodeling becoming the choice for homeowners

July 22, 2005

Albany-- With the cost of homes on the rise, Americans are spending billions of dollars on remodeling their current homes. Those numbers are expected to increase even more as people take the "do-it-yourself" approach to turning their homes into an investment.

Homeowner Kelly Fisk is always looking for ways to make some home improvements. "I'm looking for a utility shelf for my garage," says Fisk. Little things like shelves are just finishing touches after bigger projects in the past. "The last project we did was in the bathroom in which we put a new basin in and also replumbed the fixtures," says Fisk.

It takes a lot of time to remodel a home. "Built in the 60's and so a lot of upkeep and improvement from there," says Fisk. But for some homeowners that time is well worth it in the long run. "I think that probably my time becomes pretty cheap," says Fisk. It's a trend that more and more homeowners are taking advantage of.

"It is less expensive to do it yourself because you don't have to pay the labor," says Home Depot Assistant Manager Sotero Fontanez.

Remodeling has grown significantly over the past couple of years and do-it-yourself stores are seeing an impact. "We have opened two new stores in the area, but if you put it all together we have gained," says Fontanez. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Americans spent nearly 200 billion dollars on remodeling in 2004, up 12.3 percent. But why the increase in do-it-yourself home improvements?

"Smaller jobs I can do myself," says Fisk.

Other reasons include rising home prices, increased home sales and low refinance rates but a big reason is that more homeowners are taking pride in a long-term investment. "Right now it's comfortable for us and as we get older and our demographics may change and we choose to move on to something else, I'll feel more secure that my home is marketable," says Fisk.

It's an investment that's causing Kelly to see tremendous savings. "Between what the market values brought up and with some of the improvements we've made, I'd say about a $20,000 difference," says Fisk.

For him, the difference started with a trip to the local do-it-yourself store. The National Association of Home Builders predicts remodeling will grow this year to about 209-billion dollars.

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