Ranch house renovations have become popular for many different reasons. The original ranch houses were conceived and built in the 1920’s as a way to quickly put up affordable housing for the growing demand of the middle class populations who desperately wanted to buy their own homes. The houses were noted for their long, low to the ground profile, and minimal use of exterior and interior decoration.
The real ranch house boom came to California in the 40’s and 50’s when, once again, new residents were scrambling for cheap housing out west. By the end of the 70’s, the ranch house had a stigma attached to it and became unfondly known as tract housing. Recently however, the interest in these kistchy homes from the fifties has resurfaced and they are now enjoying a sort of heyday all over again.
Inexpensive Starter Homes
Real estate developers have begun scouring the suburbs looking specifically for practically abandoned ranch homes to renovate and sell for a profit to people who want a starter home, but aren’t interested in major renovations. Essentially, these real estate entrepreneurs go into a neighborhood and offer the owner about half of what newer homes in the area are going for, and put the difference into repairs.
This can mean new plumbing, appliances, flooring, paint, landscaping or whatever else the property is in dire need of having repaired. A month later, the home is put back onto the market for the going price of a newer home and the developers make a nice profit while making the neighborhood look better.
Something Completely Different
There are also quite a few families who are now looking at finding the right neighborhood as opposed to finding the right house. Good neighborhoods are community-oriented areas that have great schools, local shops and are places that many people would like to call home. However, they may have something else: an abundance of ranch houses.
Professionals who have six-figure incomes didn’t used to be so keen on the idea of living in what they had worked their whole lives to get away from, but this idea is changing. Because ranch homes were built more or less with an open floor plan, a good architect can take a ranch house and make it into anything the new owner wants.
Knocking down walls, converting attics and basements, and even adding on to the existing structure of the house can double the floor space. As well, because ranch houses aren’t architecturally decorated, a California ranch can be turned into a French chateau or a Mediterranean villa.
Real Life Fixer-uppers
Of course, there is a whole generation who has fallen in love with the style of the ranch house exactly as it is. Generally, these are younger home owners who want to keep the integrity of the ranch house, but with a few improvements. This may involve several months of ripping up old carpet, stripping wallpaper, and removing out-of-date fixtures and appliances. Once this is accomplished, the ranch house becomes an almost blank canvas for do-it-yourselfers on a budget.
Knocking down a few walls to open up the space completes the demolition and the renovation can begin. Because ranch homes are less expensive, homeowners have a lot more resources left over from the purchase to invest in new flooring, paint, tiles, appliances, landscaping, and everything else that makes a ranch house a home.
Photo by joguldi, Creative Commons Attribution