97.9 ° F
Full Weather
Sponsored By:

Homeowners Shift Spending from Gas Tank to Home

(ARA) – Declining home values coupled with high fuel costs are leading many to reconsider how they spend their money. In fact, homeowners who purchased their residence during the recent real estate boom bear the greatest risk of finding themselves ‘upside down’ in their mortgage – a situation where they owe more than the current value of the house.

While many of these frustrated homeowners may have stable jobs and continue to pay their monthly mortgages on time, they cannot afford to move even if they want. They are trapped, waiting until home values rebound.

What does a homeowner do until then?

‘Today, we see families investing in their homes, making their backyards more comfortable because they understand that they are not in a position to sell anytime soon. Simple upgrades like luxury hot tubs remain desirable because they don’t require an expensive backyard redesign. Plus, they are portable – they can travel with the homeowner when they eventually move,’ says William Smelley of Jacuzzi brand hot tubs.

Perhaps soaking in the hot tub reduces stress over homeowner real estate woes too.

Anthony Pasquarelli of Sundance Spas agrees, but sees the situation from a different angle. ‘In our experience, homeowners continue to shy away from expensive trips that only last a few days. Instead, they are spending family resources on vacation-inspired amenities for their home. Inviting patio retreats for year-round enjoyment rank high. Hot tubs, pergolas and outdoor furniture are an important part of how homeowners recreate the five-star resort hotel experience in their own home.’

This is no surprise. Shrinking spending on travel is directly related to the rising costs of flying and the fees charged by airlines for everything from food to checked bags. Long lines, delayed flights and security hassles don’t help either. Weekend road trips appear less desirable given the astronomical price of fuel.

But before investing money into upgrades, homeowners need to be smart about their renovation choices. In a challenging real estate market, focusing on projects that add value takes priority.

  • Curb Appeal

    Spruce up the front of a home with a fresh coat of paint on the trim, some colorful flowers and a new door knob. The result: families will feel better about coming home each night and these improvements will help down the road. Make a positive first impression.

  • Repair Obvious Damage

    Don’t ignore the hole in the wall or peeling wallpaper. While some may come to accept the imperfections of a home, damage looks like an eyesore to most.

  • Outdoor Living

    Functional outdoor living areas add the perception of usable square footage to a home. A deck or patio with a self-contained hot tub and picnic table can be a real bonus. They can be enjoyed immediately and when it comes time to move, anything that’s not bolted down can probably go too.

Wondering what expensive renovations to avoid? Experts say that conversions of a bedroom to a permanent home office, the addition of backup power generators and sunrooms offer the smallest return on investment.

For more information, checklists and tips on backyard design, or to get information from experts, visit

Courtesy of ARAcontent