Add value to your investment

Triple A Building Center employee Randy R. Richards shows Castlerock Paneling to a customer at Triple A Building Center in Massena. Photo by Jason Hunter/NNY Business.

Simple upgrades, quality materials net biggest return

Thinking about installing a garden tub in the bathroom? Forget about it.
Contemplating turning the garage into additional living space? Don’t bother.

When renovating a home, or building a new one, local contractors and real estate agents would agree: make simple upgrades with high-quality materials.

“What most of our customers are looking for is a low-maintenance home,” Brandon J. Cavellier, of Extreme Builders Inc., said. “People want to enjoy their home, not spend all of their time taking care of it.”

Mr. Cavellier said that in his experience at Extreme Builders, interest in new home building has increased in the last two years. He said that the Watertown-based firm takes on more than two dozen projects a year, many of which are new home builds or major renovation projects.

“[Interest in new building] I think has increased because people in this area that have lived in the same home for years have built up equity in their home,” he said. “Instead of taking that equity and putting it back into their old homes, they’re putting it into new homes where they have nothing to worry about, everything is new and done the way they want.”

Having quality products in a home, especially a newly built home, is important to Mr. Cavellier’s customers. He noted that he has seen increasing interest in customers looking for upgraded windows and siding and looking at superior options for flooring.

“We are still doing a lot of stainless steel appliances and granite countertops,” he said. “A good amount of people are going with higher-end laminate flooring too, in addition to traditional hardwood flooring. We are probably doing about 50 percent laminate and 50 percent hardwood now.”

Appointments such as granite countertops and hardwood flooring are driving sales at north country building centers as well. At Triple A Building Centers in Canton, Potsdam and Massena, Marketing Director John D. Schneider said that trends in purchasing follow what customers see on television.

Triple A Building Center employee Robert D. Hull, right, helps Mark Tylenda, Malone, choose the right spray adhesive at Triple A Building Center in Massena. Photo by Jason Hunter/NNY Business

“The current trends that people are seeing, like granite countertops, even concrete countertops and tile, are in demand,” Mr. Schneider said. “There seems to be more interest in lighting, more decor. Of course, our kitchen and bath sales have been moderate to strong.”

Mr. Schneider said that, as of late, there has been a renewed demand from customers looking for products to renovate the homes they have lived in for several years. The materials that Triple A offers for home remodels are selling swiftly.

“We are starting to see business pick up and we are pinning that on the fact that it’s pent up demand,” Mr. Schneider said, referring to the downturn in the economy and housing market when homeowners might not have had extra cash to spend on home renovations.

Mr. Schneider said that lumber sales are always strong in his stores. Kitchen and bath renovations remain popular, because they are where people “add more value, there is more bang for your buck,” he said.

Although, is that true? Does having a well-maintained kitchen and bath help with resale value?

If you ask Realtor Roger L. Abbey, owner and principal broker of Good Morning Realty in Lowville, the answer is “yes.” However, kitchen and baths are not the only answers to getting money in a resale.

[Editor’s note: This is a truncated version of this story. For the full version, please see NNY Business in print or subscribe.]

Kyle R. Hayes is associate magazine editor for NNY Business. Contact him at or 661-2381.