Sunday, June 23

Home Renovations Are on the Rise — With Some Restrictions

Since the economy has bounced back from the recessionary landscape that many of us remember all too well, more and more Americans are choosing to make renovations to their homes. Research shows that since 2012, the number of home owners making renovations has increased by 7%. Furthermore, reports that according to the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, the amount spent on home renovations should exceed a whopping $145 billion in 2014.

But home owners shouldn’t break out the paintbrushes and hammers just yet.

Many towns and cities across the U.S. have national and local historical districts which limit what a home owner can do in terms of exterior renovations. The national list, the National Register of Historic Places, is the first place home owners should check.

Since the title is honorary, home owners can technically make whatever updates they want, but they ought to consider preserving the cultural and historic heritage of the home.

A local historical district is usually a different story. In these cases home owners cannot paint their front doors whatever color they like without approval. In Boston’s case, the approval comes from local Boston Landmark Commission (BLC) preservation planners.

For home owners who don’t want to worry about historical preservation or getting approval, there are still a number of improvements that could be made inside the home.

The average cost of remodeling a kitchen was about $18,500 this year, and minor bathroom remodels averaged $16,100. A much less expensive option is to add hardwood flooring, which only costs an average of $5,800. Though none of these change the exterior appearance of the home, they can add value to it and help home owners satisfy that home-remodel itch.

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