- Mike and Mary Damon, Waynesville
Remodeling Trends, part 1: Windows and Doors
I just finished reading an article in one of my trade magazines about redesign reflecting the realities of the economy ("Changing Rooms: Today's Home Redsign Trends . . ." by Regina Ludes in The Residential Specialist, July/August 2012). The article discusses remodeling trends, but it also details what buyers are looking for when they do purchase a new home which is my focus here.
As far as trends go, kitchen and bath remodels still top the most frequently updated list, followed by the often overlooked or disregarded by buyers, window/door replacement.
I have replaced all my windows and doors, and it is a big expense with, for me, a significant return in comfort and aesthetics. Still, windows and door replacement lacks in the fun factor and often in the big "wow" factor, too, as the change usually doesn't have the visual impact of a kitchen or bath remodel.
Strangely, when I show homes to prospective buyers, most overlook or disregard the age of the windows and doors but do focus on the updatedness of kitchens and baths. I find this strange because, really, the windows and doors have more impact on the livability of the home. I sell many homes built in the early 1900s, and have lived in several from that era. When we bought our last 1920s home in North Asheville, the preservationist in me wanted to keep everything as "original" as possible. After the first winter, I realized that I couldn't live in a museum, and we began saving to replace the 33 windows in the house. It was a HUGE expense, but it made a tremendous difference in the comfort of the house. Aside from the windows no longer getting frost on the inside in winter and being awfully drafty, the new windows were super easy to open and close (no storm windows to deal with!) and easy to clean. The house seemed so much brighter and cleaner!
More recently, we have replaced all the windows and doors in our 1996 modular home in West Asheville. These were just cheap windows to begin with, and after only 14 years were in desperate need of replacement as some had lost the seal between the glass and others just didn't operate properly. Even in a smaller home, this was a big expense, but the efficiency and ease of operation were worth it. As well as the ability to see through them without distortion!
My point is that windows and doors should be a consideration in buying a home. Buyers often focus on updating kitchens and baths that are actually completely functional but just lacking the latest style while ignoring the fact the the windows aren't insulated or in good working order. "Portals" are an expensive replacement item and should be considered in negotiations. If they have been recently replaced, the seller won't see a dollar-for-dollar return, but the buyer should take the value of the replacement into consideration. By the same token, if the windows and doors need replacement, the seller needs to realize that they will take a hit for that. After all, replacing windows and doors can cost as much as replacing a roof!
Authored by Margaret Vestal, August 6, 2012