Homeowners in San Francisco are improving their homes instead of selling them. In this market, adding value to your house, apartment or condo is a sage decision, because once the economy rebounds, your residence will be worth more and more attractive to buyers if and when you’re ready to make a move.
Real estate agents are always pushing, pushing pushing--sell, sell, sell. Well, that might have been a good idea a few years ago, but right now the smart people are staying in their homes, especially in San Francisco, where home values haven't plummeted like they have in the rest of the country.
By polling contractors, remodelers and various builders that work in the Marina and Pacific Heights, we discovered three main methods homeowners are using to enhance their homes and increase their overall value: By remodeling kitchens and bathrooms; installing environmentally-friendly windows to capture available rebates and improving their property by doing creative landscaping, building new fences, walls and installing things like fountains and environmentally-friendly irrigation systems, just to name a few.
Many homeowners are opting for taking advantage of the energy rebates and tax breaks associated with changing out those old windows for new ones, for example. Vlad Merabian, owner of SGK Home Solutions Inc., has seen a lot of San Franciscans getting the work done now while rebates and tax incentives are still available, he said.
“It’s a no brainer, because in the end these newer windows will pay for themselves,” Merabian said. “Windows and doors are a big way to save energy and when you add in the incentives, it’s an easy decision. We’re seeing a ton of calls from people who are moving in this direction. Milgard windows properly installed are quieter and less drafty than a lot of the windows on the market today. We can consult homeowners to find the type of windows that are ideal for them. The options for materials are vinyl, fiberglass or aluminum, and each has its own positive attributes.”
Another way people are adding value to their homes during the recession is by remodeling their residences. The idea is build in the value rather than sell, according to James Madden, owner of Madden Construction in San Francisco.
“We’ve seen a trend recently where people want to improve rather than move,” Madden said. “Some folks are adding rooms or re-doing parts of their homes to add value. We’re doing more small projects and a few larger ones. Another benefit of the recession is that I don’t have trouble finding good workers. I can get top-notch skilled help and that makes running my business a lot easier.”
Another method to add significant value to your home is to incorporate new landscaping, walls, fences or earth-friendly enhancements to your yard, according to Janet Moyer, owner of Janet Moyer Landscaping in San Francisco.
“Homeowners want to improve their yards in order to create a nicer environment for themselves,” Moyer said. “With all of the new technology in this industry, you can do a ton of things to enhance, beautify and be greener. Many people are adding high-tech watering systems that use a satellite to monitor the watering of your yards and plants. These systems gauge the weather and will water more or less based on the weather the day before. When it was hot around here recently, they watered more and when it rained they cut back on the water significantly. People obviously like the idea of helping the environment while saving water and money.”
Improve rather than move? Many homeowners like the idea. How about you?