[Continued from the post immediately below this, read there then finish here. This will later be consolidated into a blog post]
In my area, many people are buying homes that were built in the 50's that had a lot of wasted space above the garage. They're buying or refinancing and adding additions above the garage. Typically though, a garage's foundation isn't poured to withstand the weight of cars+an addition on top of it so the garage foundation needs to be partially dug out and new concrete must be poured that can withstand a much higher weight per square inch. After that's done, they build the addition and walla, you have a new bedroom!
If you're an investor looking to do some rehabbing, there is a product just like the 203k that investors can use as well or you can use to renovate a second home, say a vacation home by the lake or in the mountains, etc. This post is already extremely long so I'll leave that discussion for a blog or another post. Feel free to check out other posts about rehab financing in my past blogs.
After all this typing, I may turn this into a blog post, don't be surprised if you see me re-post it. :)
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Personally, the design of your home's interior and exterior should guide you in your choice of flooring. Ntohing is more "jarring" than a Cape Code home with a tile floor (when it should be wood plank) and/or a Southwest Spanish home with slick marble floor (when a rough tumbled marble would be far more elegant). Everything in your home should be in line with the overall architecture of the home, as well as your own personal style.
Here in California, for example, wood flooring is far more prized than would be tile. In fact, "distressed" wood (that looks as though it's been outside for a long time) is all the rage, as is wood with an uneven or knobby feel. Personally, I think it's very unsettling to walk on floors with more grooves and bumps in it than quarried stone, but I'm a pragmatist with two left feet, so I tend toward even smooth flooring.
In Arizona, if you have a Southwest Spanish styled home, those knobby wood floors would certainly add to the expected rustic feel of the home, while adding a certain elegance to your floors. Try standing on samplesa at your local flooring company before choosing this bumpy surface flooring. Many of the upscale homes here in California, now sport these distressed or profiled wood floors.
A standard room is pretty large, so if you're planning on tile, try something a little creative--don't just use one color in the room. You have many options with tile. Try a different color of tile around the border. Install the tiles on the diagonal (rather than horizontally and in line with the walls of the room). Placing the tiles on the diagonal is a bit more labor intensive, but it tends to make the room feel larger. Can't afford tumbled marble or glass tiles? Use medallions available at most marble stores as small decorative pieces placed where all four corners of four tiles meet. Interspering these cool and often highly decorative tiles amongst the field of porcelain can create a fabulous look while also breaking up all of that one color tile on the floor. Speaking of one color, try a checkerboard design of two colors with tile. Even a checkerboard made of very subtle color variations can be quite beautiful.
So, in the end, if you choose wood, try for something that compliments the room and the architecture of your home. Think of a higher grade of wood floor to enhance your home's value. If you choose tile and it compliments your home, then be creative. Plain tile--especially with all those grout lines--can get pretty boring if done straight and without any other colors to complement the room.
Finally, if you're curious, check out a few magazines at your library or local bookstore, such as House Beautiful, to see how designers are using tile and wood today. After all, if you're planning to spend money on upgrading your home's interior, why not use this economic downturn to your advantage and purchase materials that are now more affordable, but will really enhance the value of your home!
Grace Morioka, SRES, e-Pro
Area Pro Realty
San Jose, CA... more