Facing the 45% of homeowners who live in a home built prior to 1980. Today, the median age of a house in the MOA is 42 years. The Alaska Building Energy Efficiency Standards (BEES) didn’t exist until January 1, l992 when the 4 STAR minimum energy rating was required. That rating was upgraded on January 1, 1995 to 4 Star Plus and on July 1, 2013 to the present for 5 Star energy rating.
These energy ratings, along with building code regulations, make for very expensive remodels for any home built before l980. Homeowners considering a remodel or buyers faced with a daunting home inspection are shocked to find out their electrical, plumbing, floor joists, handrails, insulation and other expensive items will need to be replaced. Sixty-nine percent of all home sales that have closed year to date, or 1,546 homes, were built before 1992 when there were no energy standards.
Most of those homes face functional obsolescence which is the reduction of an object’s usefulness or desirability because of an outdated design feature that cannot be easily changed or updated. So the question becomes, should this home be remodeled or simply refreshed. Refreshing a home is repainting the interior and exterior. (I have had six different paint swabs on my staircase landing for over a year and still have not figured out what color and where to refresh). It also is replacing vanity or dining room light fixtures.
Refreshing is a short-term solution that works for now. Remodeling, on the other hand, is all about my kitchen. In my garage I have a new sink, faucet and stove top. But, those things can not be installed without new countertops. By definition, I am now in the remodeling mode, even though I don’t need to move plumbing or electrical fixtures which require specialty subcontracts that are licensed, bonded and insured. And don’t be hesitant to ask for their paperwork.
Whether remodeling or refreshing, everyone is interested in keeping costs down. Don’t move or resize windows or doors. And don’t use materials with heavy labor time. Tile is a very high labor requirement, especially very detailed showers. Then, plan everything with extreme detail. The more you have figured out ahead of time, the smoother everything will go. Time is money for those subcontractors doing your work. And it is your dollar you are spending. For a major remodel, it’s best to move – even if it is for six weeks or six months. That alone will save you money and frustration.
But the bottom line in today’s market is if you are planning to sell your l975 home, you will need to REFRESH with paint and carpet. Let the new buyer REMODEL. A seller can never out guess what a buyer will want for a remodel so don’t try. A remodel is for your personal pleasure and to enhance your at home lifestyle. And if you are not planning on selling in the next five years, do the remodel but stay away from the geometric tile so popular a few years ago. And be prepared to spend 20-30% more than your budge because its hard to say no to yourself when you’re making selections and add 60 to 90 days to that temporary lease to the completion date through no fault of your own or the contractors. That’s just the way the world is right now.
Thank you for all of your many referrals. If you would like to discuss remodeling or refreshing your home, feel free to give me a call at 907-229-2703.