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“For us, at this point in our lives, we might as well do it now and enjoy it when the kids are here,” Kaye said. “We know we’re not going to lose money.”

Others cited the relative affordability of remodels, with builders willing to negotiate on price during slower times and interest rates near record lows. Refinancings with cash outs, home equity loans and renovation loans are among the options for homeowners who can qualify under today’s stricter lending standards.

Susan Zdarko said she refinanced in preparation for adding a second story to her Land Park cottage, also with Abrahams Construction.

“Interest rates are historically the lowest they’ve been in my lifetime,” Zdarko said. “It was the perfect opportunity — and being able to get quality builders who were still on the slow side but recognizing that wouldn’t last for much longer.”

John Caulfield, owner of Landmark Builders in Granite Bay, said the lack of desirable resale inventory is a factor driving many homeowners to do major upgrades.

In Granite Bay, million-dollar homes on the market often still need significant work to bring them up to the standards of well-heeled buyers, he said. Sellers had put off upgrades during the downturn.

“Everything just sort of froze for six years,” Caulfield said.

The result is that a number of homeowners he works with have done remodels costing $200,000 to $400,000, including gutting an entire interior or adding 2,000 square feet. By remodeling their own houses, they avoid hefty real estate commissions and moving costs.

“They see they’re going to have to put money into what they’re going to buy anyway,” Caulfield said. “It makes them feel more comfortable about spending money on their own home.”

©2013 The Sacramento Bee (Sacramento, Calif.)
Distributed by MCT Information Services

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