But Slocum found the selection disappointing. "We really didn't find anything on the market that 'wowed' us," says the 34-year-old banker. "[Some] might have had more space, but they weren't as updated, or they were well out of our price range."
Despite what some housing experts say is the best buyer's market in years, house hunters like Slocum are finding themselves discouraged by tighter lending standards and the challenge of selling existing properties. Rather than purchasing a new home, some would-be buyers are considering other options. For example, Slocum and his partner, who own a two-bedroom, two-bathroom home, are considering adding on to their existing property, remodeling, or even finishing their basement to create a separate rental unit and another source of income.
"People don't want to sell now because the market is so depressed," says
If you're a discouraged house hunter looking for alternatives, here are a few ways you can adapt your current home to meet your needs:
Whether you're converting a bedroom into a home office or morphing a recreation room into an in-law suite, simply re-purposing your living space can be one of the most affordable ways to adapt your home to a change in lifestyle needs.
High-traffic areas such as kitchens and bathrooms take a beating over the years. The good news is that on average, homeowners recoup 73 percent of their investment for a minor kitchen remodel and 64 percent for a bathroom remodel, according to the most recent
Although this is one of the more pricey upgrades -- on average, finishing a basement costs almost
Some homeowners are choosing to up the curb appeal of their homes. While the Herberts undertook a more complex project to refresh the exterior of their home, simply replacing the front door or even a garage door can spruce up a tired-looking façade. A new garage door costs about
Major construction projects can be pricey, but if homeowners plan on remaining in their house for awhile, they can recoup almost two-thirds of their investment, on average. Popular additions include sunrooms and outdoor living spaces, such as decks and pergolas, according to
But while some renovation choices might be right for certain markets, the same upgrades might not fetch the same return on investment in other markets. "Really know what kind of neighborhood you're in. If only 1 in 10 homes have granite counters, you don't need to install granite counters," Shuman says. "You really need to understand what you're putting into the renovations you do."
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(c) 2011 U.S. News & World Report