Refinishing hardwood floors is the remodeling project that pays back the most, recovering the highest percentage of its cost—147%—at resale, according to the 2022 Remodeling Impact Report, a joint study from the National Association of REALTORS® and the National Association of the Remodeling Industry.
Home remodeling projects aren’t only offering a potential boost at resale; they’re also making homeowners happier. Painting a home’s interior, adding a home office, installing hardwood flooring, and renovating closets made consumers happiest, the report shows.
The remodeling boom has continued since the pandemic began as homeowners’ desires to spruce up their homes grow, whether through large house additions or simply small one-room painting tasks.
“Quite often, an added benefit to home renovations is the possibility of an increase in the home’s value, which is a reason why some people remodel,” says Jessica Lautz, vice president of demographics and behavioral insights at NAR. “This is especially advantageous to a homeowner who may be considering selling their house or converting the home to a rental property.”
For the report, REALTORS® provided an estimate of the likely dollar value of various remodeling projects that could add to the value of a home during resale that was compared to National Association of Remodeling Industry remodelers’ estimations of project costs.
Besides refinished hardwood flooring, new hardwood flooring also had the potential for a high recovery at resale, at 118%, as did upgrading the home’s insulation, at 100%, the survey shows.
Among exterior projects, new roofing and garage doors had recovery rates reaching 100% of the project costs, according to the report.
Kitchen upgrades also showed a high potential payback at resale. NARI remodelers estimated an average kitchen remodel would cost about $45,000. But REALTORS® surveyed estimated that $30,000 of that would likely be recovered at resale—a 67% recovery rate.
House Projects That Bring the Most Joy
The survey also identified projects that made home renovators want to remain in their homes and those that brought them an increase in the enjoyment of their spaces. The home remodeling projects that received a “Joy Score” of 10, the top score, were:
- Painting a home’s entire interior
- Painting one room
- Adding a home office
- Hardwood floor refinishing
- Closet renovation
- Insulation upgrades
The Remodeling Boom Continues
Americans spent $420 billion in 2020 on home remodeling. Contractors report greater demand for services and for larger-scale projects, such as remodels of more than one room, according to the 2022 Remodeling Impact Report. Eighty-six percent of consumers reported that remodeling one area of their home then inspired them to remodel other areas of the house.
“The pandemic has changed the way we use our homes, and many of those changes are here to stay,” Lautz says. “As a result, homeowners needed to reconfigure or remodel how they use their home and maximize space.”
Thirty-five percent of homeowners said one of the top motivators for their remodel was to improve their home’s functionality and livability.
Also, 22% of homeowners were motivated to have greater durability in the materials and appliances inside their homes. Fourteen percent were motivated to improve the beauty and aesthetics of their home.
“2022 Remodeling Impact Report,” National Association of REALTORS® (April 6, 2022)
As the homebuying and remodeling spree continues amid the pandemic, homeowners are showing they really care about what their home looks like.
Google searches for “interior design styles” have increased 40% in the past week alone, according to a study from Uswitch, a mortgage comparison firm.
Researchers analyzed more than 4 million pins across Pinterest to find which decor styles are the most desired across each room of a home and to determine the most popular interior design trends overall on Pinterest.
Styled, Staged & Sold blog
The most popular pinned style is vintage, the study found.
“It appears it’s ‘in with the old and out with the new’ as vintage comes in at number one,” researchers note.
Broken down by room, other style favorites also emerged.
For example, in the bathroom, contemporary designs that center on clean lines and neutral colors, along with dashes of black, have gained popularity. In the home office, the industrial look was a favorite, characterized by large open spaces, lots of textures, and bare brick walls.
In the family room,
homeowners favored a rustic style that shows naturally aged, casual design and usually includes a color palette of greens, browns, and autumn colors.
In the kitchen,
Pinterest users favored vintage looks, which offered a warm, nostalgic feel. Homeowners are choosing paint colors, furniture, and even some appliances to create a vintage feel in the kitchen.
Don’t hesitate to call The Sierra Lifestyle Team for evaluations of your home’s value or to tour homes on the market you have an interest in. We are here for you, and Alisa (almost) always answers her cell phone, 530-559-4871.
After almost two years of pandemic life, homeowners understand the significant value of having a yard.
Here are 8 ideas for getting creative with outdoor space.
by Barbara Ballinger
- Backyards continue to be a way to extend square footage, even during colder months.
- To get started, homeowners should make a list of their favorite ways to spend time outdoors.
- They should consider decorating “rooms” of the yard but also have a place to store items when storms and winds come.
Spending time outdoors at the height of the pandemic was a way to get fresh air, exercise safely, and expand living quarters. Now, nearing two years later, an outdoor retreat has become even more sought after, causing homeowners and design professionals to get creative in maximizing square footage.
©AleksandarNakic – Getty Images
Whether homeowners have a big suburban yard, rural acreage, or a small urban balcony, there are multiple ways to take advantage of the space, even in winter. They can pile on layers or follow the Swedish mantra of Friluftsliv, which translates to “open-air living and the value of spending time in remote locations for spiritual and physical well-being.”
The key isn’t the size of their space, or which activities homeowners do, but taking advantage of Mother Nature’s gifts—air, sky, clouds, sun, and greenery.
Millennials and other new homeowners have become particularly adept at using their yards for almost everything—from camping out with a tent and fire pit to organizing a staycation, or setting up an alternative office when they need a break from their indoor space, says Kris Kiser, president and CEO of TurfMutt Foundation, the education arm of the Alexandria, Va.-based Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, which encourage enjoyment of nature.
Kiser says there’s even a new term for this trend, which doesn’t need translation: Backyarding!
Here are eight ideas to share with clients to help them make the right investments in furnishings, landscaping, appliances, and more for their yards.
Link the indoors and outdoors by blurring lines.
The most common way to do this is to add more windows and doors to connect the spaces and make the glazing bigger to achieve better views. It can also be done by using more colors and textures found in nature inside the home and bringing in plants. Homeowners can also decorate outdoors as they do inside, according to the online design resource, Houzz. The company’s search data shows that people want their backyards to be relaxing extensions of their interiors, which can be handled with stylish, durable materials, as well as by adding a fireplace or fire pit, outdoor TV, sound system, and comfortable seating, pillows, and rugs.
Set up an outdoor office.
Many people made do with cramped makeshift offices during the pandemic. Others created separate indoor spaces but working outdoors can literally offer a breath of fresh air to ramp up creativity. Flowers, bushes, and trees can become the living backdrop on conference calls instead of the kitchen counters or office bookcases. Essentials to make it work include strong Wi-Fi, an electrical outlet or two for equipment that’s not wireless, a sturdy table for a laptop, a comfortable chair, lighting for night-time work, and a rug to add warmth underfoot. Some may want a small portable generator to keep power running, Kiser says.
Dine al fresco.
Homeowners shouldn’t limit themselves to only eating dinner outdoors. Any meal—breakfast, brunch, lunch, cocktails, and snacks—can be enjoyed plein air. They should have a nice flat area, whether a balcony, terrace, or deck, to set up a table and chairs with enough space to navigate around them. Homeowners also should choose a material that won’t need frequent repainting—many closely resemble real wood and stone and are sustainable. Add the right equipment—a grill, pizza oven, running water from a spigot that won’t freeze (or a sink), and firepit—to make the experience more enjoyable. They can hang some lights, maybe a curtain, and if there’s room and funds, construct a pergola for an overhead cover. If the homeowners like the sound of running water, they can add a recirculating fountain so the water won’t freeze in the winter.
All work and no play isn’t fun, and the outdoors is a perfect place for classic games like croquet and badminton, and board games such as Monopoly and Clue, or jigsaw puzzles. Many families are also investing in large-screen outdoor TVs and movie projectors. And then there are all the pools being built. If there is no room or funds, they might consider a less costly above-ground pool or smaller hot tub. Suggest they position it close enough to the house so they’re not trekking far in the cold or snow.
Establish a wildlife habitat.
Attract pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and birds by planting the right flowers and plants. Add a greenhouse if there’s room, which will allow homeowners to garden all year. A birdhouse and feeder or two, and great additions; even a chicken coop is becoming more commonplace.
Kris Kiser and Mulligan (Mo-Mo) – OPEI/TurfMutt Foundation
Make a yard pet friendly.
Are your clients’ pet owners? If they have a dog, they could add a fence of some type, maybe a sandpile for digging, a doghouse that’s large enough so Fido doesn’t feel cramped, and perhaps an agility course so he or she gets good exercise. Hardscape like bricks, concrete pavers, or stone can be an alternative spot to urinate that won’t ruin your lawn. Also, homeowners can consider some faux lawn choices—many look authentic—and avoid planting things that are toxic to dogs and people, according to The Spruce.
Even outdoor spaces can become cluttered. A shed or closet in a garage can be set up with shelves, bins, and hooks to hang rakes, bicycles, helmets, and more. This will also keep tools out of reach of young children, and provide a place to store fuel safely, too, says Kiser.
Create some privacy.
While homeowners may want to have a friendly relationship with their neighbors, they may also want some privacy at times, especially when working from home or throwing parties. Fences work well, but so can living screens of greenery—rows of trees, bushes, or vines. They should choose native materials that don’t require a lot of watering and consider materials that provide color or texture year-round. Suggest they start small with plantings that will grow over time, which is less costly than investing in big, mature plants.
While many of the tips on this list can be undertaken by a skilled DIYer, homeowners should also consider contacting a contractor, landscape designer, or architect sooner rather than later since many are booked far in advance.
TREX Stretchable Plastics Recycling Program November 2021 – April 2022
Nevada City Rotary
Nevada City Rotary Club’s Environmental Sustainability Committee has initiated a pilot recycling program aimed at collecting plastic bags, shrink wrap, and similar plastic film that Waste Management does not pick up.
We are doing this in cooperation with the TREX company, which turns the returned plastic film into outdoor decking, fencing, benches and other outdoor furniture https://recycle.trex.com(link is external). Our hope is to provide a means for people to dispose of a form of plastic that until now has not been able to be recycled in our county, and typically ends up in landfills, further contributing to pollution and carbonization of the atmosphere.
Trex melts the plastics and combines them with other recyclables in their materials process. Here is a video from Trex on what they collect and their materials process-Trex Eco-Friendly Decking.
Look for bins in various locations around the area including Briar Patch, B&C True Value Hardware, Madelyn Helling Library, Nevada City and Grass Valley CoHousing and other locations to be added.
We are also collecting from AJA Video Systems. Nevada City Rotary team members are monitoring the bins and gather the materials on a regular cycle that have been deposited. SaveMart Grocery in Grass Valley is an established TREX partner collection their own store, as well as customer plastics. They have agreed to bail our collections and deliver them to TREX.
Environmental Sustainability Committee
Nevada City Rotary is proud to form our Club/s Environmental Sustainability Committee in conjunction with The Rotary Foundation’s official launch of the Focus on Supporting the Environment(link is external).
Increasing energy costs are spurring more homeowners to go solar, but an abundance of choices in the field can make the decision daunting. Help homeowners weigh the options with these five considerations.
by Barbara Ballinger
- More efficient and lighter solar modules help to lower energy bills.
- Experienced installers and module manufacturers recommend how many panels a roof needs based on how much power residents use and other factors.
- Federal tax credits are still available.
Installing solar panels or modules to convert sunlight into electricity and conserve energy is not a new concept. Back in 1954, researchers at Bell Laboratories demonstrated the first practical silicon solar cell.
But solar power has been heating up over the last 10 years, with a 50% average annual growth rate in the U.S., according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. This is due, in part, to the Solar Investment Tax Credit put in place in 2006 that now reimburses 26% of the cost for solar systems on residential and commercial properties. Other factors have also played a role, including low interest rates. Homeowners can bundle the cost of panels into their mortgage, says Amy Tovel, marketing manager of Ichijo USA, a company that installs modules on many Pacific Northwest homes.
©MN Custom Homes
Many homeowners are becoming more energy conscious, says architect Nathan Kipnis, FAIA, LEED AP, whose Kipnis Architecture + Planning offices are in Chicago and Boulder, Colo. It’s rare for one of his company’s major projects not to include solar panels or wiring for installation later, largely because of increasing efficiency, he says.
Still another reason is that more areas are enacting mandates. California regulators recently voted to require builders to include solar power and battery storage in new commercial and high-rise residential projects, as of Jan. 1, 2023.
The state of Washington now requires new homes to have energy credits, as of Feb. 1, 2021, and solar panels represent one option to attain them. Homes greater than 5,000 square feet require additional credit. To meet those criteria, MN Custom Homes doubles the amount of solar panels for its larger homes, says vice president Ben Brittingham.
The Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy has shifted numbers, so it’s important for homeowners and the professionals they work with to stay abreast. Before the Biden administration took office, the Federal Solar ITC was scheduled to be reduced to 22% in 2021.
However, In December 2020, Congress passed an extension of the ITC to provide a 26% tax credit for systems installed in 2020-2022, and 22% for systems installed next year in 2023. (Systems installed before December 31, 2019, were eligible for a 30% tax credit.) The tax credit expires starting in 2024 unless Congress renews it.
Lastly, the panels have become less of an eyesore due to improved aesthetics, whether on a roof or in a yard stationed on the ground—sometimes preferred due to the absence of trees—says Suvi Sharma, founder and director of Solaria Corp., a Fremont, Calif.-based solar manufacturer focused on the residential market.
But as the field grows crowded with manufacturers and installers touting longer-lasting solar systems with greater efficiency and less cost, deciding which one to choose requires research.
“The promises some companies make are wildly flowing,” cautions Madison, Conn.-based architect Duo Dickinson. Another caveat is the cost fluctuation of panels due to tariffs on imports, now at 18%. Though these are set to expire next February, China remains a top location for manufacturers.
But home buyers seeking a new home may not have to make choices as more developers and builders incorporate solar during construction.
That’s the case with Pearl Homes’ new community, Hunters Point, in Cortez, Fla. Owner Marshall Gobuty wanted to construct the first NetZero LEED certified community in the U.S. “Anybody can build a house but not everybody can reduce the carbon footprint,” Gobuty says, adding, “Our goal is to build homes that generate more power than they consume.”
Hunters Point home rendering.
When completed by early 2022, all 86 homes, averaging 3,300 square feet, will have roof panels, WaterSense plumbing and fixtures, and GE EnergyStar appliances. Though the company is still deciding which panels to use, they are going with installer my-RESI out of Millstone Township, N.J., and sonnen’s ecoLinx energy storage system, which Gobuty believes offers the most efficient, safest battery, and a 25-year warranty. Homeowners will pay a fixed fee to the HOA for a set amount of power and backup.
©Go Solar Group
But homeowners should be aware that having solar power doesn’t eliminate an electric bill since there’s still a fee to be connected to the grid, says James O’Connor, director of marketing for Salt Lake City-based installer, Go Solar Group.
Here’s what home buyers who are working with a builder or architect on a new home—or retrofitting an existing home—should consider when choosing components from various providers to make solar work.
- Roof and house orientation.
How much surface solar modules cover on a roof or how big the installation is on the ground makes a difference in the amount of energy produced. Generally, they are placed facing south or west to be exposed to the most sunlight, optimizing power, says Dickinson. Pearl Homes’ will cover 88% to 92% of a roof surface. Covering 100% may produce more power than occupants can use.
In recent years, panels have become more efficient, thinner, and better looking, thanks to monocrystalline designs that use a single photovoltaic cell rather than several cells that the older polycrystalline designs relied on. As a result, the updated panels can occupy less roof space because they pack in more power, O’Connor says.
Questions to Ask
To help your clients make the best decision, share these questions for vetting solar companies.
- Is my roof designed so it can accept panels?
- Does it face the right direction for optimal efficiency?
- How much of the roof surface needs to be covered, or how many panels are needed?
- Is the roof in good shape for panel installation or should it first be replaced?
- Does my community have restrictions about aesthetics, such as not allowing panels on a house in an historic district or visible from the street?
- What are the pros and cons of leasing or buying panels?
- How long has your company been in business and how many installations do you regularly do? What accreditations do you have? Are you NABCEP (North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners) certified?
- If we’re not ready to install solar yet, is it worthwhile to prewire to save on costs later?
- What warranties do you offer and for how long?
- What, if any, snafus can happen when going solar?
The number of panels installed is generally based on the amount of electricity occupants use, which is why an installer often asks for 12 months of electric bills, says Mike Koehler, vice president and solar business developer for Gardner Capital, St. Louis.
If the next owner of a solar powered house uses more electricity, they might request a larger array, he says.
What this means for a homeowner who chooses a newer 400W panel, for example, versus older 370W panel, is that they may only need to install 38 panels instead of 41 and save about 33 square feet of roof space, Koehler says. And because the 400W panel is more efficient, it will generate more electricity, he says.
Installers also need to know local ordinances. For example, Evanston, Ill., doesn’t allow panels to stick up past a roof’s ridge line or be visible from the street if the roof is flat, says Kipnis. They also need to know local utility rules since some will buy back excess power, Koehler says. Rocky Mountain Power, which services most Utah customers, gives credit for excess energy, says Scott Cramer, president of Go Solar Group.
Extra energy can be stored in batteries. Different solar panel manufacturers prefer different battery companies. For example, Solaria buys batteries from Sonnen, Sharma says.
Installation costs have dropped as more installers have entered the niche and become more experienced, says O’Connor. Besides the modules and batteries, homeowners who go solar need an inverter to hold panels, wiring in place, and a meter. Sharma suggests homeowners ask installers which modules they use, the price of each panel, number needed, what they look like, how much shipping to the site will be, and if permits are needed.
- Costs and return on investment.
A typical panel system might run between $15,000 and $25,000, which includes ancillary equipment and labor, Koehler says. Yearly savings vary greatly depending on the utility and if it offers incentives, he says. The good news is that a typical warranty lasts a long time; Solaria’s is 25 years, Sharma says.
How much money is saved also depends on how a purchase is made. “If someone pays out of pocket, it may take seven to 10 years for a payback, but if someone leases the system, the savings will be less per month, but the homeowner has no upfront investment,” Koehler says.
One caveat relates to whether a solar system will increase a home’s value. One study from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that the panels are viewed as upgrades and home buyers have been willing to pay a premium of about $15,000 for an average-sized solar system. Additionally, the homes sell faster than those without solar.
Brittingham of MN Custom Homes thinks that the ethical rather than financial reasons are becoming a bigger buyer incentive. “A return on investment is still longer term since there are still big out-of-pocket expenses,” he says.
Another caveat is that not all homeowners benefit equally from having a solar system. Those who live in a house with a lot of trees that block sunlight will see less benefit, as will those who already use little electricity or have inexpensive electricity.
Barbara Ballinger is a freelance writer and the author of several books on real estate, architecture, and remodeling, including The Kitchen Bible: Designing the Perfect Culinary Space (Images Publishing, 2014). Barbara’s most recent book is The Garden Bible: Designing Your Perfect Outdoor Space, co-authored with Michael Glassman (Images, 2015).
Hot Home Trend: A Color ‘Bomb’ of Yellow
Paint firm Pantone chose “Illuminating”—a bright, bold yellow—as one of its 2021 Colors of the Year. Could it become a staging staple?
June 7, 2021
Staging, Design Trends
By: Melissa Dittmann Tracey
The cheerful color of yellow is lighting up home design ever since paint firm Pantone chose “Illuminating”—a bright, bold yellow—as one of its 2021 Colors of the Year.
Yellow commands attention and is often used as an accent color in throw pillows or rugs. It also could make for a great color pop in outdoor accent pillows.
Yellows are being used in more kitchens, too, particularly for a high-contrast look in white or gray kitchens. Consider adding a yellow jar or vase filled with fresh greenery, a bright yellow serving piece, or even yellow kitchen stools to make an island standout.
Yellow is a bold color and should be used sparingly.
It can be overpowering and can change the lighting in a room—making you appear slightly green on a Zoom call. But in small doses, yellow may be just the ray of sunshine to help brighten the mood in your home design.
Get inspired with these designs featured at Houzz.(link is external)
Photo by aMortonDesign(link is external) – Search kitchen design ideas(link is external)
Photo by All About Home Design(link is external) – More entryway photos(link is external)
Photo by Studio KW Photography(link is external) – More bedroom photos(link is external)
Photo by GMD Design Group(link is external) – Discover living room design inspiration(link is external)
Photo by Coastal Home Photography, llc(link is external) – More bedroom ideas(link is external)
Photo by LEIVARS(link is external) – More living room ideas(link is external)
Subscribe(link is external) to receive weekly home staging tips and design trends delivered directly to your inbox from the Styled, Staged & Sold blog.
Melissa Dittmann Tracey is a contributing editor for REALTOR® Magazine, editor of the Styled, Staged & Sold blog, and produces a segment called “Hot or Not?(link is external)” in home design that airs on NAR’s Real Estate Today radio show. Follow Melissa on Instagram and Twitter at @housingmuse.