Best Remodel Pay-backs: A Boomer-Designed Remodel


Holding Real Estate has always been considered a necessity for any diversified investment portfolio. The piece that represents your personal residence is a bonus, because it is the only investment where you can live and create memories to last a lifetime. And your return on investment (ROI) can be greatly enhanced when you consider current demographics and future market demands in your remodel. In addition, circumstances sometimes change, and you can add the flexibility of extending or delaying your transition or move when you consider aging-in-place features as you update. A Boomer-Designed Remodel considers Baby Boomer, Generation X, Millennial and Generation Y demographics.


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REMODELING CAN PROVIDE FLEXIBILITY for your decision to move in the future

Even if your plan is not to age-in-place in your current home, whether or not you are athletically inclined, stuff happens.  A broken leg or sprained ankle or aging pet can have potential difficulty climbing stairs. Maybe you or a loved one has an accident which requires a cast or wheelchair.  Or a family member requires rehabilitation due to an accident or illness. If a few considerations like these are contemplated in the design stages of your remodel, when you have the luxury of time and energy, the result will be a tastefully designed and economical plan. This consideration for making your home more appealing to the greatest number of occupants in a ‘Universal Design’ manner wins hands down over retrofits made in crisis mode.


The movement to Age-In-Place has grown in recent years as it offers more choices during times of unexpected economic cycles, job transfers, and extended family health and financial issues. Adding age-in-place features provides you with options. And, whether you stay in the home, or “right-size” somewhere else, you will most likely reap the benefits:  Your buyer-pool will expand when just one guest room has a curbless shower with a bench. Including Boomer-Designed features in your remodel will significantly increase your return on investment and also provide you with options to live in the home longer.


According to a growing field of expert designers, here are the key elements of a Boomer-Designed remodel: Accessibility, including the essential living areas located on the main level (Kitchen, Master, Laundry, Living, Bathrooms); A zero-step entry (Garage or Main Point of Resident Entry); Quality Indoor Air; and Boomer-Design features when updating your greatest ROI on remodeling investment, the Kitchen and Bathrooms.

ACCESSIBILITY Future wheelchair and walker accessibility in the home requires elimination of steps, wider doorways (32”)  and hallways. Elevators are costly and require additional space that can make them cost prohibitive, while a nicely designed ramp can cost about half. A stair or chair lift is an affordable way to get around in multi-level homes and are available now for under $2,000. Carrying groceries up steps is a deal-breaker and, if not resolvable, may be the catalyst for a transition.

INDOOR AIR QUALITY IS IMPORTANT What is a healthy building, and why should that be important to you? We have all heard or experienced stories about healthy hospital stays resulting in devastating situations, especially for those with compromised immune systems.

Florence Nightingale explained in her 1859 Notes on Nursing:  “To have pure air, your house has to be so constructed as that the outer atmosphere shall find its way with ease to every corner of it. House architects hardly ever consider this. The object in building a house is to obtain the largest interest for the money, not to save doctors’ bills for the tenants.”

And indoor air quality and proper ventilation are just the beginning of a healthy environment. You need to know the questions to ask and the issues to look for.

BATHROOMS & KITCHENS Bathroom remodels can include a few cost-effective measures during the design process such as:  Retrofitting a fan to add a heat lamp helps older adults cope with the common problem of feeling cold; Touchless faucets and lever handled doorknobs for arthritic hands; Grab bars in showers attractively integrated into the design. Under-cabinet lighting for nighttime bathroom visits is always a hit. For both bathrooms and kitchens, custom pull-out shelves can be included or even retrofitted into existing base cabinets as bending and reaching into lower cabinets becomes more difficult. Easy to reach cabinets, appliances and electronics should be considered throughout the home.


Robotic vacuums, security systems and smart-home devices that control lighting, temperature, TVs, music, and single-switch shut-down capability have revolutionized home management. When building new, Smart House technology is economical, but there are many areas available to an existing home. One of the easiest are options to provide remote family members peace of mind.


  • Rooms can be re-labeled and remodeled so that there is an accessible bedroom on a ground floor
  • Avoid falls with: Horizontal storage to avoid footstools; Removal of area rugs; Removal of exposed electrical cords or clutter
  • Vision can be enhanced through the use of brighter paint and finish colors
  • Adding recessed downlights and selecting the newer brighter long lasting light fixtures
  • Lowering just one countertop can improve a wheelchair-bound person’s live significantly
  • Providing easily accessible outdoor spaces increase well-being


There is a growing niche of professionals, ranging from designers and architects, health care advisers, companion concierge services, and Realtors® with the Seniors Real Estate Specialists® (SRES) designation, who can help clients adapt their homes to address physical or cognitive impairments.

About the Author: Denise van den Bossche has been a licensed Agent and homeowner for over 35 years in the Scottsdale Metro-Phoenix Valley, is a Legacy LEED® AP BD+C and certified SRES, She collaborates with Arizona’s top experts to surround and support families facing aging and/or ailments. To request a no-obligation market report, home evaluation, or information specific to your family’s needs, contact Denise at 602.980.0737 or email  Denise’s husband Patrick is President of Realty Executives International, based in Scottsdale, with 500 offices throughout North America.

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Published by Denise van den Bossche

Celebrating 35 years representing owners and buyers of Real Estate in Maricopa County. To request a no-obligation market report, home evaluation, or consumer guide on your specific needs, contact Denise at 602.980.0737 or email Denise's husband Patrick is President of Realty Executives International, with 500 offices throughout North America, REI is one of the oldest and largest Franchisors of residential real estate.

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