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    2-15. Make the house work for you. - Electronic Edition

    2-15. Make the house work for you. - Electronic Edition
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     Keep in mind that your house is intricately involved in the river of outgoing cash that constitutes your cost of living. In many ways a house can obviate the need for or replace costs that you may currently fund:

•Make the house work for you by including such features as a pantry, home office, or home gymnasium. A storage pantry can allow you to capture savings in your grocery budget by buying in quantity and storing items you use regularly when they come on sale. A home office can save you rent and create tax deductions and conveniences that are profitable for many people. A home gym can save you time and club fees.

     Anything you are now spending money on, or want to try in the future can be built in. You can pre-wire for an alarm system that calls the police for you at need and spare you the cost of home security monitoring by an outside service. By planning for information systems using the Internet and your in-home Ethernet, you may eliminate your need for daily newspaper subscriptions.

Home gyms becoming top amenity for buyers
©Pocono Record - Stroudsburg, PA
by Della de Lafuente
For The Associated Press
July 14, 2007

There’s no monthly membership for a home gym, no lines for exercise machines or commute times to the local fitness center. For some homeowners it’s making a lot of sense to stay in to work out.

People who want a private workout whenever they choose are bypassing the health club and bringing the gym into their homes. They’re carving out a personalized fitness space for the same exercise programs offered at a lavish outside facility.

Real-estate developers and builders say homeowners increasingly are choosing to build in-home gyms as a must-have amenity, mainly to get and stay fit, but also to pump up the curb appeal of their property.

Roughly one-third of new and potential homebuyers cite a home exercise room as either essential or desirable, according to the National Association of Home Builders, a Washington D.C.-based industry trade group.

“The home gym is one of the top amenities that homeowners want to incorporate into their homes,” said Gabe Pasquale, vice president and chief marketing officer of WCI Communities’ Northeast region based in Valhalla, N.Y.

WCI Communities is a major developer of luxury residential communities and gated enclaves in six states. Properties such as its 52-acre development Legends at Half Hollow in Dix Hills, N.Y., feature semicustom built homes, ranging in size from 4,000 to 6,000 square feet and valued between $1.5 million and $3.5 million, with design options such as home gyms, theater rooms and other specialty rooms.

Pasquale said today’s active baby boomers see themselves “as being about 15 years younger (than their actual ages),” and they want their own space to work out at home.

“They might bring one or two of their favorite pieces of cardio equipment into their home — whether it’s a treadmill, bike or a recumbent apparatus — to use every day,” Pasquale said, adding, “but they’ll likely also use the community fitness center or go to a health club a couple of times a week.”

WCI began noticing the shifting evolution of luxury home design to a more lifestyle-driven floor plan in the 1990s, as the active adult communities offer new homebuyers pre-designed “flex” spaces, which could be used for a variety of different functions, one being a family gym.

Consumers made significant strides to get in shape in 2006, with 25.7 million Americans, a nearly 30 percent increase from 19.8 million in 2000, working out in a home gym, according to the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association in Washington, D.C. They use the term to describe either a designated specialty room or a space with a one or more exercise machines.

In addition, the trade group said manufacturers’ sales of sporting-goods equipment, exercise equipment, sports apparel and footwear and recreational transport in the United States totaled $114.5 billion in 2006, a 7.6 percent jump over 2005.

Ninety percent of the custom homes designed by Abramson’s firm in Southern California, Colorado and Canada include home gyms at the request of affluent clients. Many of these clients are entrepreneurs who fancy modern architectural homes — which, as Abramson points out, “tend to make a statement.”

The 2006 American Institute of Architects Home Design Trends Survey cites exercise/fitness rooms in third place behind home offices (No. 1) and media/home theater rooms (No. 2) as the most popular special function rooms. In the very high-end luxury homes market, Abramson doesn’t see home gyms as a new home design trend, saying these clients’ desire for them has been a constant share of the market.

“It boils down to personality more than trends,” Abramson said.

HOW TO START YOUR HOME GYM

Here are five basic pieces of exercise gear you’ll need to get a health-club quality workout at home, and what you should expect to pay for quality equipment:

• Elliptical machine, $1,750 to $6,500.
• Treadmill, $1,750 to $6,500.
• Home multi-gyms, $1,500 to more than $10,000.
• Exercise bike, $800 to $3,000.
• Free weights and flexibility equipment (including medicine ball, jump ropes, etc.), $29 to $4,500.

Three important questions to ask:

• Who will deliver, install and test my equipment?
• What kind of warranty am I getting? Note: Reputable companies will have minimum parts and service warranties so be sure you know the details.
• How will I get my machine serviced if something should go wrong?

Source: New York City-based Gym Source

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