What Is a Tract Home?
A tract home is typically situated in the suburban area of a city or town. Areas featuring tract homes are quite distinctive because they usually consist of row upon row of identical or near identical houses. Levittown housing in New York is the most famous example of a tract development – and the one most other tract developments are modeled after.
Tract homes are called so because they comprise a collection of homes connected via a tract of land. Each house will have its own plot, but they will all be situated in one tract of land.
What Are the Benefits of a Tract Home?
Tract homes are cheaper than other types of homes because they’ve essentially been mass-produced. Since each house’s style and floor plan is almost identical, it makes it quick and straightforward for developers to build them quickly and efficiently.
While many dislike these homes’ homogenous appearance, they present you with a blank canvas for remodeling and redecorating.
The identical appearance of each tract also puts you on the same level as your neighbors (no “keeping up with the Joneses” here) and the developments tend to be safe areas.
What Are Some Disadvantages of a Tract Home?
The most glaring disadvantage of a tract home is its appearance. If you’re looking for something different and unique, you won’t find it here. This problem makes people desperately want to put their own stamp on their tract home.
Tract homes are nearly always in the suburbs, so if city living is your thing, you may not enjoy suburbia. Driving is a necessity for these areas, so you’ll most likely be stuck if you don’t have a permit to drive.
What Are Special Considerations When Remodeling a Tract Home?
Each tract can be quite different in terms of what you can and can’t do to change the appearance of your home. This is particularly true if there is a Homeowners Association (HOA) where you live. These tend to be on the stricter side than areas without an HOA. Always check with your local authorities before attempting any remodeling project – you don’t want to land in trouble.
You’ll likely find in most cases that you are not allowed to change the exterior appearance of your home too much. While you can probably add basic features like window boxes, you certainly won’t be able to change the color of the paintwork.
The inside of a tract home is what you need to focus on most. There you have far more free rein. And, because the fixtures and fittings tend to be more modern, you’ll unlikely have to replace any plumbing or electrical work, making the whole project cheaper overall.
How Can You Remodel a Tract Home?
Remodeling a tract home is much like remodeling any other type of property. The inside of these homes are bland and neutral, so putting your stamp on it can make your tract home feel special, at least inside.
Start With the Kitchen
The kitchen is one of the most prominent places to begin and can change the whole feel of the home. Here you can select a color that aligns with your taste and go for special finishes to make it feel more luxurious. Some things to consider:
- Accurately measure the space and use it to create your layout.
- Consider if you need any power outlets or plumbing moved to accommodate appliances and faucets.
- If you have alcove spaces, these make great built-in storage cupboards and save space.
- If the existing kitchen layout works fine for you, consider keeping it and changing the cabinet doors instead. Much easier and cheaper.
You don’t need a complete remodel to make a tract home your own. Changing up fixtures and fittings can have a dramatic effect. For example, statement lighting will often change the whole appearance of a room. Painting a wall a bright color or adding some fancy wallpaper is also quickly done and looks great.
Changing small things such as faucets, cupboard handles, window coverings like curtains and blinds, and even adding carpet or large rugs will really make a difference.
Change the Space
Tract homes can feature pretty large rooms, so it is often possible to add a wall here and there to break up the space. Partition walls are a great way to do this and don’t typically require planning permission because you’re not altering the original structure.
Some practical examples of adding walls are to create a walk-in closet, a home office, or a playroom. Some things to keep in mind when adding walls are:
How does adding a wall affect the natural light in each room? Ensure there’s enough of it for each space.
Do you have clearance on either side for the new door?
Will your existing furniture fit in the newly created space?
Play With Your Garage Space
If you don’t use your garage to park your vehicles, then you could consider remodeling it and increasing the footprint of your home. Tract home garages are usually quite spacious, so you may find you can create a couple of separate spaces in there.
Garages are perfect for workshops, home gyms, and home offices. It’s often relatively easy to add an extra bathroom in a garage space too.
Add Outside Elements
While it’s unlikely you can do much to change the outward appearance of the actual house, you can play with the yard space. Depending on how big the yard is, adding extra space like a summer house, shed or workshop may not be off limits.
This could be your opportunity to create something really unique looking that makes the most of your outside area.
While tract homes will always look quite bland on the outside, the real beauty can come from within. Start with your dream setup and see how you can work it into the existing floor plan, and your unique-looking home will start to emerge.