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Affordable outdoor improvements offer great return on investment

(ARA) - With the real estate market yet to rebound from its dramatic plunge and credit still tight, housing figures show that more homeowners are staying put. But that doesn't mean they're sitting idly by. People are investing in affordable home upgrades that not only make an immediate impact, but make their property more attractive should they decide to put it on the market later.

"Today, when it comes to upgrades for your home, it's all about bang for the buck. Homeowners are looking for the best return on investment as well as simple, inexpensive ways to make dramatic improvements to their homes," says Leigh Brown, real estate broker in Charlotte, N.C. "Outdoor living spaces, landscaping, decks and patios all make a big difference -- not only in how comfortable your current home is now, but how buyers see it when you're ready to sell."

 

The trend in outdoor living space has moved toward creating outdoor living "rooms," and the options available to homeowners have grown with the number of available products on the market. 

 

"When you're looking at homes in a certain price range, you tend to see a lot of the same things. The features that make a home stand out and make people want to live there are often the outdoor spaces," Brown says.

 

Chris Fox, marketing manager for Universal Forest Products of Grand Rapids, Mich., says his company's outdoor living products, including composite lumber decking and deck and fence accessories, have continued to sell well in this economy, even as new construction has slowed. 

 

"Our decking products, such as Latitudes Composite Decking, continue to be desirable for homeowners who are staying put and updating their existing homes rather than moving. Deck updates and upgrades are projects that make sense in this economy and that create added value for the future, as well as enjoyment and added living space for right now," Fox says.

 

Composite decking products are low maintenance and eco-friendly. Latitudes is made from 70 percent recycled materials. Brown says "green" home improvements can make a difference when buyers are comparing properties. 

 

Homeowners who already have decks find that swapping out balusters or adding decorative post caps or lights can also make a dramatic difference that adds beauty as well as value to their outdoor living space.

 

Deckorators offers aluminum and glass balusters in a variety of styles to accent virtually any architectural look. Deck railing balusters can be installed on a new deck or can be used to update the look of an old one.

 

"In neighborhoods where every home has a deck, the nicer decks sell the home faster. Typically, it's about the details even more than the size. Designer rails, lights and finishes make all the difference," Brown says.

 

Dino Perelli, a real estate agent who specializes in lake property in Texas, says that deck and dock upgrades are one way his clients are setting their properties apart from the many others on the market.

 

"Homes are sitting on the market longer, and that causes property owners to look for things they can do to set their property apart. In our area, that means adding more living space to docks or replacing tired-looking wood decks with long-lasting composite material," Perelli says.

 

 

Whether looking to update an existing home for personal enjoyment or preparing it for sale, outdoor living spaces present opportunities for improvement. Turning a generic deck into an inviting and attractive space to spend time sets a home apart, which is what real estate experts say home buyers will look for when the real estate market improves.

 

Courtesy of ARAcontent



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