Housing Market Pushes Homeowners to Make Improvements

Owners spruce up properties instead of putting them on market

The tough housing market is encouraging some homeowners to improve their property instead of trying to sell.

Landscape designer Mark Funderberk, president of Dallas-based LandPatterns Inc., said the busy summer season is even busier with people investing in their homes.

"When the market changes, then they're going to have an attractive face to the house that people come in to and they're going to feel this house is worth the money they're asking for," he said.

Joe and Kim Stadleman, of Richardson, decided to start with their backyard when moving was not an option.

"We wanted a place where we could entertain -- and not a formal entertaining area, just real informal -- that fit with this backyard the way it was already," Kim Stadleman said. "We didn't want to take trees down or anything like that."

The Stadlemans wanted an outdoor living room where friends and family could spend time.

Funderberk created a space that's just like a family room -- complete with a couch, sound system and a hidden TV behind some well-placed boards. It even has an observation deck to overlook the backyard creek.

The couple said their investment is a great addition for future buyers, as well as their family and friends.

"People will just stop by unannounced, which is great," Stadleman said. "We love that."

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