Transforming Your Old Home into Your Dream Home

(ARA) – It wasn’t uncommon a few years ago to upgrade your home by simply visiting your local realtor to find out what bigger and better homes were available in the area.

It was a no-brainer. Sell your existing home, and move into a home with more amenities, features and upgrades. It was a good investment, and it wasn’t unusual for people to “get the itch” and not stay in their existing homes for a long time before upgrading to their next home.

Composite deck with railings

High wood railing makes this deck very safe.

Fast forward to today with a slowdown in home sales, deflated home prices, and a more overall cautious approach on the part of homeowners with the uncertainty in the housing market. As a result of this slowdown, homeowners are staying in their homes longer before moving, or about 12 years, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

Additionally, the age of the average home in the United States is increasing. In fact, according to the Remodeling Futures Program at the Harvard University Joint Center for Housing, in 2005, the median age of a home was 32, up from 23 years in 1985. They also report that as a result of the housing slowdown, homeowner spending on remodeling projects is expected to increase 44 percent over the next decade.

So what does all this mean? Many homeowners are opting to remodel their existing homes rather than buy something new. Why? Think about it:

* Remodeling is less risky than buying during a housing downturn.
* With home construction slowed, more labor is available for remodeling.
* Material prices have decreased in the last few years.
* If you can’t move to a bigger and better home, put upgrades into your existing home instead!

A good place to start is the outdoors. How long has it been since you’ve replaced your deck? More homeowners are increasing their living space into the outdoors with a replacement deck that is bigger, and that has more amenities and a design that reflects their personal style.

“The remodelers and architects we deal with tell us the homeowners they’re working with want to transform their outdoor space into a weekend retreat,” says John Long of GeoDeck, a leading composite decking and railing manufacturer. “They’re adding personal touches to their deck to enhance their outdoor space such as outdoor kitchens, gazebos, fireplaces, and even entertainment centers.”

Gazebo attached to deck

This wood gazebo is a nice focal point on the deck

In fact, according to the 2006 American Institute of Architects Home Design Trends Survey, nearly two-thirds of architects reported an increase in demand for decks, outdoor kitchens and patios as compared to one year ago. The study also reports homeowners are asking for upscale landscaping, pools and a outdoor gazebo, among other things.

“Composite decking is a great choice when remodeling your deck,” says Long.  “Many homeowners are choosing composite decking now over pressure treated lumber, and with good reason. It offers high-end color choices that have a wood-look and feel, has superior durability, and is very low maintenance. Homeowners can actually enjoy their weekend retreat on their composite deck instead of maintaining it.”

According to a recent survey in Fine Homebuilding magazine, the expected annual growth of composite decking from 2005 to 2009 is 23 percent while sales of pressure-treated lumber during the same period are expected to remain flat.

Your dream home might be the house you live in now, with just a few remodeling improvements, such as a kicked-up deck made of composite decking, customized with many amenities to reflect your personal style.

If you’d like to begin creating or improving your outdoor living experience with a deck, and would like some design tips, visit to get started.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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