For years, the over-riding question for homeowners was how much money an addition or planned improvement would make to the overall value – and hence resale potential – of their home. In fact, there were several published lists, books, and even radio and TV programs of where someone could spend their money in a home to maximize the return – even if they didn’t particularly need that improvement for themselves. It even got down to the choice of cabinets, flooring, countertops, and appliances.That was then. This is now.
While investing in a home by making improvements that generally provide more comfort and convenience in the living space, and at the same time make the home more valuable in terms of its overall appeal to potential buyers, this is no longer the driving force in deciding on improvements to make.
Rather than trying to determine how much of what might be spent on a kitchen, bath, entry, garage, deck, porch, basement, or other improvement in the home might mean in a few years when the home is sold and basing decisions of what to focus on in a design for return on investment, improvements now focus much more heavily on actual use – and need.
People are looking at what needs to be done to, for, and in their homes to make them more accessible to the occupants of the home, more visitable to visitors and guests, and generally more comfortable to live in and use.
One improvement strategy that can work for both purposes – enhancing value and improving the livability of a home – is to focus on universal design. Adding elements to the home – from switches and controls that anyone in the home can reach and use to other elements that are approachable and easily operated by occupants and visitors to the home alike – is a brilliant design strategy.
Universal design improvements accomplish many objectives in a home. They create more safety, better access and reach, and more comfort and convenience. Because the concept of universal design is that it establishes a use pattern that is non-restrictive and applicable to essentially everyone in the home regardless of their physical size or stature, age, or general ability, home improvements that incorporate this strategy benefit nearly everyone.
As a result, the current occupants of the home will find it much safer and easier to use than would be the case without the modifications. Visitors and guests – and relatives that have extended stays – will find the home equally appealing and convenient to use. Lastly, potential purchasers of that home once it is placed on the market for sale will find it much more desirable – and the home will appeal to a much broader market.
Remodeling for comfort and convenience does not have to exclude creating an appeal for future owners. They don’t need to be mutually exclusive – taking one approach or the other. Homes can be fulfilling to current occupants as well as people who might desire to acquire the property in the future.
While remodeling for use has taken precedence over a purely financial investment approach for resale potential, many improvements will actually enhance the value of the home and will be creating a more favorable lifestyle for the current owners at the same time.