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February 2, 2007
SGN.org
Volume 35
Issue 05
 
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Real Estate
'Generation Young' goes DIY Across the country, first-time homeowners are moving into houses that all too often look their age -- much older than the new occupants.

According to a report from Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies, people under 35 are making the greatest gains in homeownership rates in the United States. Older homes are particularly attractive because of their affordability and family-friendly neighborhoods.

Since half of America's housing inventory dates from 1950 to 1984, today's 35-and-under first-time homeowners, often called "Generation Young," find all the signs of outmoded architecture, including small rooms, inefficient windows and plain hollow-core doors. To make these homes fit today's modern lifestyles, Generation Y is going DIY.

"Today's younger homeowners are undertaking remodeling projects at a much higher rate than their baby boomer counterparts," said Brian Hedlund product marketing manager for JELD-WEN Windows & Doors. "When planning to update a home, a little bit of research can go a long way toward prioritizing and making the renovation a success."

Here is a quick checklist of features that are most important for Generation Young homeowners and a few solutions to consider from home building experts:

- Revitalizing the ranch

Homes built in the 1950 to 1984 time period are predominantly ranch style. As 35-and-under homeowners take over these residences from retiring baby boomers, they bring with them a desire for more spacious floor plans, increased natural light and improved curb appeal.

Reconfigured living spaces with more windows and higher ceilings are major trends for Generation Young. However, allowing more natural light into the home and increasing the size of window openings means that more attention must be paid to UV protection and energy efficiency.

Installing windows with Low-E glass is one way to let the sun shine through while protecting against UV rays. JELD-WEN windows in wood or vinyl come with Low-E glass and are ENERGY STAR qualified. By virtue of its construction, Low-E glass blocks most harmful UV rays.

- Selecting low-maintenance upgrades

Faced with longer commutes to work, job pressures and family commitments, Generation Young homeowners are hard pressed to find time for home maintenance. As a result, there is a rising demand for low-maintenance products that require little time and attention once they are installed.

This applies in particular to exterior upgrades, like windows and doors that are exposed to the elements. Experts advise young homeowners to shop around for new composite products, such as fiberglass entry doors and vinyl windows that are attractive, energy efficient and require virtually no maintenance over time.

- Splashing color inside and out

As a generation that has always known color televisions, color printers and color photos, it's no surprise that young homeowners are incorporating color and vibrancy into their homes as well. Generation Young is foregoing the "builder beige" of previous generations and experimenting with style color palettes from around the world.

Experts recommend that homeowners consider how a change in color will coordinate with millwork and cabinetry in the home, as well as exterior fixtures. Color is a personal choice, so it's important to sample the products available and understand whether warm and welcoming yellow is best for you, or if more bold colors will fit the bill. - Getting wired

Generation Young is a highly tech-savvy group and extremely comfortable looking for product information on the Internet. Companies like JELD-WEN have developed an array of online tools to help homeowners research the latest window and door options. Visitors to the new Your Design Center at www.jeld-wen.com can see firsthand how various styles of windows and doors look in completed homes, learn tips for planning remodeling or new construction projects, and find the right windows and doors to match common architectural styles.

Courtesy of ARA Content

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