A recent study by COUNTRY Financial showed that young people care more about buying a home than getting married, paying off student loans, and traveling. But in the hot real estate market in the Portland area and surrounding suburbs, younger home buyers can’t be too selective. In fact, they’ll often end up with a fixer-upper in need of a little TLC.
In this article, we’ll talk about a few of the home upgrades and modern features first-time younger homebuyers should consider.
Older homes in the Portland area have one big — or rather not so big — drawback: small galley-style kitchens. A kitchen remodel can open up an otherwise cramped space, creating more room for cooking, eating, gathering, and entertaining. It’s a great investment, too. Kitchen remodels offer one of the highest returns on investment of any home remodeling project.
Ideas for your kitchen remodel:
• Kitchen island – Great place for hidden storage, a prep sink, extra counter space, or just a place to sit and eat!
• Modern appliances – Reduce your electric bill and environmental footprint. Plus, modern appliances make cooking more enjoyable.
• Custom cabinetry and built-in storage – Custom cabinets can change how your kitchen looks and feels. Built-in storage is customizable to meet your needs and more flexible than standalone shelving.
Open floor plans
Just like the small kitchens common in these homes, older properties frequently feature heavily closed-off floor plans. Modern homeowners tend to prefer a more flexible open floor plan. Open floor plans make a home feel more airy, spacious, and brighter. More natural light in your home is always a good thing, especially during a long and gloomy winter.
Ideas for your open floor plan:
• Connect kitchen and dining room – Great for families who love to entertain.
• Create nooks and private areas – Use furniture or other design elements to help an open floor plan flow.
• Add larger windows for even more light – Big windows mean big light! Custom window coverings add privacy when needed. Plus new energy-efficient double-pane windows are better at insulating your home.
Whole home transformations
Sometimes it’s better to start from scratch. If your fixer-upper needs a lot of work, you might get the most value out of a whole home remodel. You can create a cohesive design that checks all the boxes you’ve been looking for in your dream home. If you love your neighborhood but don’t love your home, think about a whole home remodel.
Ideas for your whole home remodel:
• Upgrade electricity and plumbing – If you’ve got an outdated electrical system or your plumbing needs some work, tackle those projects while you’re remodeling to save money down the road.
• Expand your closets – Buying an older home usually means fewer and smaller closets. Borrow a little space during your whole home remodel to make your closets bigger and more useful.
• Change your floor plan – Anything is on the table during a whole home remodel! Don’t like where a bedroom is? Move it. Need an extra half bath in the basement? Do it!
Finished basement space
Many older homes also feature a basement, but they’re often unfinished, minimally insulated, and poorly waterproofed. Pest infestations, water damage, and mold growth are all common in unfinished basement spaces.
Younger homeowners may find that finishing their basement can pay off in increased resale value down the road, additional and useful living and storage space, and even improved energy efficiency.
Ideas for your basement remodel:
• Create an apartment or Airbnb suite – Earn extra income and build equity in your new home.
• Add a family room or playroom for kids – When your family grows, your kids will need space of their own.
• Build a home office, gym, or home theater room – Your home is your oasis. Find what brings you joy and make it part of your home!
Outdoor living space
In places blessed with mild and beautiful spring and summer weather Take advantage of it. We’re seeing more and more Millennials looking to create outdoor living spaces like decks and patios. Outdoor living spaces are more than just a great investment, they’re a way to feel more connected to nature.
Ideas for your deck or patio addition:
• Seamless integration with your master suite – Just imagine starting your day by stepping from your master suite onto your custom deck — that’s the life.
• Outdoor kitchen for summer dinner parties – What’s better than an evening BBQ or night around a roaring fire with friends and family? S’mores anyone?!
• Covered and heated seating – Now you’ll be able to enjoy your outdoor living space all year round.
Modernize your bathroom
There’s no better way to pamper yourself than with a truly luxurious bathroom. And it’s a great investment, too! On average bathroom remodels provide a 70% return. But we find that homeowners love their new bathrooms far beyond the return on their investment. When your bathroom is more than just another room in the house, it becomes a place to relax, unwind, and de-stress.
Ideas for your modern bathroom:
• In-floor heating – Warm floors on a cold winter morning? Yes, please!
• Soaking or jacuzzi tub – Who needs to make the trip to spa or hot springs when you have your own private heated soaking tub at home?
• Dual sinks – Save time getting ready in the morning by giving yourself and your partner the personal space you need. No more fights over who’s taking more time in the bathroom!
If your family’s starting to grow, you run a home business, or you just find your home a bit too cramped, a home addition might be just what the doctor ordered. Younger homeowners find that added space helps them truly love and enjoy their homes that much more.
Ideas for your home addition:
• Add rooms – Home offices, extra bedrooms, or a guest bathroom are all popular home additions
• Make rooms bigger – With a thoughtful design and expert construction, an addition can look like a seamless part of your home’s original design
• Add an ADU or MIL apartment – Great for guests or to use as a rental, a thoughtfully designed ADU can add a lot of value to your property.
I hope these ideas have inspired you to imagine the possibilities and create a home you’ll love.
Erin Davis is lead designer of Mosaik Design & Remodeling in Portland, Oregon.