Sunday, June 12, 2011


More county families are opting to renovate their existing homes rather than invest in new ones. They're upgrading kitchens, adding bedrooms and even adding on apartment units in hopes of transforming something old into something new - at least until the market improves.

Judy Alto, an Annapolis interior designer, said she has seen an influx of people wanting to upgrade their homes, either to meet their evolving needs or to increase the value of their homes.
"It's rampant," she said. "I'd say it's been in the last three or four years."

Alto has seen clients add on an apartment to rent out, as well as build more bedrooms or bathrooms. She's also seen clients expand their kitchens, like the DuValls are doing. "We all know it's not going to be the way it was four or five years ago, but they want to recoup some of their equity," Alto said.

She said the average cost of a home renovation project is in the $50,000 range, far less than it costs to buy an average home. Alto said she used to hear from homeowners who planned to stay in their homes three or five years before moving. Now, they tell her they plan to stay 15 to 20 years.

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