Residents explore remodels, housing upgrades at annual expo

With prices in Kitsap’s housing market continuing to rise, vendors at this year’s Peninsula Home & Remodel Expo in Bremerton said adding value to your current home via remodeling is still a feasible option.

Dozens of vendors made their cases to prospective customers over the May 3-5 weekend at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds, showcasing a variety of products and services to upgrade home function while also adding value for present and future homeowners.

“Obviously, people with new houses don’t need new bathrooms, but how many of us have older houses?” trade show specialist Suzi Ramsdell said. “And they continue to get older and older, so there’s just always a need.”

While there are certainly some remodels and repairs the average homeowner can do on his or her own, the expo also reminded customers that taking the do-it-yourself route with some projects is not always the ideal choice.

“We see it quite a bit, where the homeowner tries to fix something and we have to go and do it right,” Mark Mills with Port Orchard Plumbing said. “I would say you’re safer with hiring a professional. They’ll do it right, and if it isn’t done right, a rarity, we’re going to honor that and fix the problem.”

There is plenty of old property to be addressed with a great many American homes erected before the 1980s, Amanda McGlynn with The Kitsap Life said. That, combined with interest rates between 6%-8% for new loans, is pushing current homeowners to build around and within what they already have rather than seek out a new address.

“(Homeowners) are more likely to remodel because they don’t have to get out of their really low loans,” she said. “It’s the perfect choice for them right now.”

Remodels and replacements, like the housing market, carry a higher price tag these days, a mixture of increased costs in building material and labor leaving some homeowners hesitant to invest further.

Johnny Guerrero with Creative Countertops Inc. said that while those costs can prove to be too much for some, the cost of materials especially is likely to only plateau before increasing again. “It depends on what your budget and what your finances are,” he said. “Usually, for us, people are retired, and they are in their forever homes. Is it conducive to the economy? Maybe not for your average household.”

There are also more upgrades for homeowners to consider than in years past, hotter springs and summers adding air conditioning installation and upgrades to the list of housing necessities. Service manager Tonya Saenz with Advanced Heating and Cooling said three appointments had been booked with potential customers in the first 30 minutes of the expo.

“People also spent a lot of time in their homes during COVID, realizing that it’s just not so comfortable anymore. So, they are looking to get the new AC systems,” she said.