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Survey of Remodeling Notes Activity in L.A.

Most homeowners who’ve remodeled their homes in the last few years live in single-family houses with a median market value of $136,678, according to a survey conducted by the Remodelors Council of the National Assn. of Home Builders (NAHB).

The results were released recently in Los Angeles, the nation’s biggest remodeling market.

Nearly half (45.3%) of the houses were built between 1960 and 1979. They average 2,248 square feet of living area and their owners have been living in them for 10 years.

The survey of 3,500 homeowners showed that they preferred to add more amenities, do major maintenance and remodel rather than buy different house, according to Ken Klein, council chairman.

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The greater Los Angeles area recorded $702,500,000 in remodeling building permit values for the first nine months of 1989, more than double the $358 million recorded for the same period in the next largest remodeling market, Washington, D.C.

A different survey of remodeling contractors conducted by the council indicates that the average kitchen remodeling project costs $8,895, that adding a new bathroom costs $7,533; adding a room costs $22,670; a complete residential rehabilitation, $34,983, and a second-story addition, $42,007.

Here are the cost of some smaller jobs: replacing a roof, $3,054; adding a deck, $3,377 and remodeling an existing bathroom, $4,413.

The survey also found that:

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--Savings and home-equity loans are, in that order, the major sources of home improvement financing.

--The most common professionally installed remodeling projects were baths, kitchens, new roofs and carpeting.

--The most popular do-it-yourself projects were painting, wallpaper, landscaping and decks.

--The three most common problems with remodelers were not finishing on time, slowness in completing final details and corrections, and starting later than promised.

--The three most important factors in choosing a contractor were the company’s reputation, recommendation of a friend or neighbor and previous work done at the home by the contractor.

--Nearly half (47.8%) of those surveyed found their remodeler through a personal referral and more than three-quarters (77.8%) said they would recommend their contractor to a friend.

--Three out of four surveyed (74%) said they would have more confidence in a remodeler if the contractor offered a multi-year warranty. About the same percentage (73%) said they would have more confidence if they knew remodelers had to pass screening and educational requirements of a professional organization.

--For every dollar homeowners spent on remodeling, those polled estimated that 95 cents was added to the value of their house.

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The studies--"1989 National Home Improvement Study” and “The Profile of the Remodeler and the Industry"--are available for $100 each ($75 for NAHB members) from NAHB Remodelors Council, 15th and M Sts. N.W., Washington, D.C. 20005.


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