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Monday, August 22, 2011

Stuck Homeowners Spend Big Bucks on Remodels

Stuck Homeowners Spend Big Bucks on Remodels
Doug Magditch

As the housing market struggles, homeowners are staying put. Rather than selling at a loss, many are working with what they've got.

That means big business for home remodelers.

Ralph Stow started a home remodeling business five years ago, and business is booming. He now owns four different remodeling businesses, under the umbrella Dallas Renovation Group, and he doesn't forsee things slowing down.

"I think people are staying in their homes a little bit longer, and by virtue of that, people have a little bit of disposable income. So, they're really looking at ways where they can make their homes more livable, more energy efficient. They're seeing themselves in their homes longer," said Stow.

That includes people like the Ponds, from Grapevine. With retirement right around the corner, they knew they couldn't afford a dream condo on the beach.

"You start looking at what the potential, having to sell one and moving, and relocating away from the family, and the expense of having to find a second home. For us, it was a no-brainer. We just couldn't do it," said Robert Pond.

Instead, they sunk $80,000 into a home over-haul. Robin Pond sacrificed her beach dream for a dream kitchen.

"I'd always wanted a nice kitchen, with spacious cabinets, that was updated. That's what we did," said Pond.

Contractors say, rather then people spluring on media rooms or wine cellars, most remodels these days are kitchens and bathrooms. They're spending their money on updating and upgrading.

"Now we're kind of back to the basics a little bit, doing more kitchens and bathrooms. We're still doing some large remodels, but again, it's people really saying, 'hey, I'm going to stay in this home and I want to upgrade this home,'" said Stow.

Like many owners at the DFW Home Show, when the market was up the Ponds may have considered selling. Now, they're in it for the long haul.

"It benefited us, at our age right now, to spend the money to get things upgraded to a point that it would last us through the rest of our lives," said Robert Pond.

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