Coon Rapids to host first home remodeling tour

Six homes remodeled through the city of Coon Rapids’ Home for Generations II program will be showcased in a home remodeling tour from noon to 4 p.m., Sunday, May 18.

During the tour, people can see remodeling options at a number of Coon Rapids homes. Photo courtesy of the city of Coon Rapids

During the tour, people can see remodeling options at a number of Coon Rapids homes. Photo courtesy of the city of Coon Rapids

The city, through its Housing and Redevelopment Authority, provides financial incentives and resources for homeowners to finish home remodeling projects valued at $35,000 or more.

For the remodeling tour of the six homes, one of which has not yet been completed, the city has sent mailings to all homeowners in the city encouraging them to tour the houses to see the valued-added improvements that have been made.

According to Kristin DeGrande, city neighborhood coordinator and Home for Generations II coordinator, the hope is that the tour will give people ideas on remodeling their own homes or a home they are considering buying in Coon Rapids.

A city staff representative will be at each home on the tour, while the homeowners have been encouraged to have the contractor they hired for their job to be present, as well as the architect, DeGrande said.

The homes on the tour are:

• 11510 Foley Blvd., owner Ellaura Ukofia, kitchen and bathroom remodeling, plus exterior work, to a 1979 split-entry house that Ukofia purchased from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in 2012 knowing updates and repairs were needed.

• 991 121st Lane, owners Dan and Mary Sullivan, kitchen and bathroom remodeling to a 1980 split-entry house, plus a new patio in front of the home.

• 12545 Hummingbird St., owners John and Joan Wester, living room addition and kitchen remodeling to a 1964 two-story house where the Westers have lived for 35 years.

• 13104 Xavis St., owners John and Jillian Haussner, finished lower level that doubles the living space, exterior work and energy improvements to a split-entry home, where the Haussners have lived for 10 years.

• 13256 Gladiola St., owners Joe and Beth Knudson, several room additions and a new garage to a 1959 walkout rambler which has doubled the size of the house. Work on this remodeling project is not yet complete.

• 10648 Xavis St., owners Kevin and Annette Barker, kitchen and bathroom have been remodeled to make the house more accessible to a family member moving in, plus a spa-like bathroom addition to the basement.

The program, which kicked off May 30, 2013, has exceeded all expectations, according to DeGrande. “It definitely got a lot more attention and interest than I expected,” DeGrande said.

Part of the reason may be the improved housing market and rising home values motivating homeowners to move forward with home remodeling projects that they had put on hold during the “five or six years of housing issues,” she said.

Fourteen projects have either been completed or are nearing completion through the program and another 50 are at some stage in the process, DeGrande said.

“Now that spring has arrived, I expect another flurry of activity,” she said.

Indeed, she signed one approved agreement with a homeowner two weeks ago and another this week, DeGrande said.

Originally, the HRA had budgeted $20,000 for Home for Generations II, but because of its initial success, another $80,000 was added to the program last summer.

DeGrande anticipates going back to the HRA for additional funding this summer, she said.

The value of the 14 remodeling projects that are finished or close to completion ranges from $37,000 to over $200,000, according to DeGrande.

Home for Generations II is a follow-up to the original Home for Generations program, which began in 2009 during the housing slump to demonstrate how residents could remodel older-style homes in Coon Rapids to meet the needs of today’s families using modest budgets.

During the original Home for Generations program, five existing homes that were vacant or foreclosed were purchased by the city with HRA dollars and remodeled using a contractor hired by the city, then marketed and sold through a local realtor with the goal of the city breaking even.

Open houses took place pre-construction, during construction and post-construction to show the transformation.

When the housing market started to rebound, the city launched the Home for Generations II program with the city offering financial incentives of grants up to $5,000 for eligible projects, plus building permit fee rebates and subsidized consultation with architects.

Project financing has also been available through the Coon Rapids Mortgage Assistance Foundation, which offers up to $50,000 at a fixed interest rate of 4.5 percent.

Besides the $35,000 minimum value, project guidelines include adding living space or a major remodel of such areas of the house as the kitchen and bathroom, moving or removing walls to change the layout, finishing the basement or attic, constructing a covered front porch, exterior improvements and converting a garage into livable space.

The program requires participants to meet with an architect or designer to discuss and help plan the remodeling of the home. Money from the mortgage assistance foundation discounts the cost of this service.

For more information on the Home for Generations program, call DeGrande at 763-767-6517 or go on line to www.coonrapidsmn.gov.

The houses must be at least 20 years old, but there are no income limits to be eligible for the program.

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