Originally Published: March 18, 2010 2:11 p.m.
When Rick Kelley and his wife, Lori, decided they needed more room they thought about buying a lot and building a new home. Then the couple, who has three daughters, 16, 13 and 10, envisioned a major renovation to the Prescott home they bought in 1999.
Finally, the Kelleys began a two-year odyssey adding at first a new bedroom, then a new master bathroom, a covered patio with a barbeque and, most recently, remodeling their kitchen.
"We remodeled the home because we knew we were going to stay there a long time," Rick Kelley said. Their new bathroom sports an updated tile and rock shower and tile floors. By adding the new bedroom, they were able to convert a former basement bedroom into an office.
The Kelleys paid a contractor for some of the work while Rick, who's handy, did some things himself. The family's very pleased with the improvements, Kelley said.
Many people decide to remodel because they're thinking of adding value to their homes in order to sell them.
Turc Hartman, a contractor with Able & Ready Painting & Remodeling, said the kitchen is the room most likely to give you the most bang for your buck when you remodel, followed by the master bathroom.
"That's a gathering point for family and friends," said Hartman, of the kitchen. "Generally, the wife spends a lot of time there. It's the gathering point for the family."
In addition to those features, adding a deck or outdoor living area also increases value, he said.
Depending on the type of work done, allow at least three weeks, he said. Some contractors who must coordinate work with subcontractors, might take longer.
Due to the recession both labor and materials can be obtained for less, Hartman said.
"If you're planning on selling your house in two or three years when the market returns, now is the time to do it," Hartman said, about remodeling. "Now is a good time to invest money in your home. Three years from now it could cost you 30 percent more. That's supply and demand economics. If you're planning on selling your home in a year or two, do the remodel now."
Myles Baxter, a real estate agent with Hassayama Realty Services, agreed that the kitchen is the top value room to remodel, followed by the master bathroom. Also, many people look for walk-in closets in the master bedroom, he said. Buyers look for his and her walk-in closets. People also look for conveniences, like a drop-down ironing board in a bedroom.
"The kitchen or the great room areas are where you generally have people congregating," Baxter said. "They're not typically going to be in your master bedroom."
While Jacuzzis remain popular for bathrooms, large walk-in showers are more popular, he said.
If a couple can't decide what project to do, Baxter said, "I would refer the husband to Rule Number One: Always go with your wife wants first. It's always worked for me. Keep mama happy."
One remodeling tip that Baxter recommends is to order the new cabinets before ripping out the old cabinets because it can take weeks between an order and a delivery. The new cabinets can always be stored, he said.