3 top reasons to remodel now
A slowdown is also predicted by the Remodeling Activity Indicator,
an index created by Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies. According to the
latest report, remodeling expenditures aren't likely to see much growth until
home sales begin to pick up again.
But even though the days
of skyrocketing home values may have ceased, most homeowners have more than enough
home equity to invest in home improvement. "Consumers should still have the
confidence, and they certainly should still have the equity and the financial
ability to be able to leverage the home to do home improvement projects,"
This real estate downturn is so different
from previous ones that homeowners should not look to the past for guidance, says
"In past economic cycles where we've
seen housing prices really take a hit, we saw some pretty drastic price changes,"
says Bendimerad. "I can understand that it would be hard from a consumer's
point of view to justify putting a lot of money into your home if you feel like
the value is going down. In the case of what we're seeing now, there has just
been so much run-up to home prices within the last five or six years that whatever
slowdown we are seeing is really fairly minimal in terms of the impact on home
equity from the consumer's point of view."
Fewer jobs for contractors
With the slowdown in new construction,
more contractors are in the market for work.
in more recent times, professional contractors that we've spoken to are starting
to feel a little bit of heat under the collar, maybe seeing business slowing,
fewer calls for new work and having a harder time finding referrals," says
For the savvy homeowner, such an environment is
an excellent time to find someone to take on a project. Not only are you likely
to get lower and more competitive estimates, but you'll likely be more successful
negotiating for other favorable terms such as an earlier start date.
how much of an advantage you have may depend upon the type of work you're getting
done. If you're having a roof fixed or some other necessary repair or renovation
done, you might not have as much luck negotiating the price since real estate
downturns don't keep people from hiring contractors to do work on their homes
out of necessity.
However, if you're looking for someone to
add a room to your home or upgrade your bathroom, you might have more luck. "Slow
markets are a time when contractors are having harder times getting their clients
to do projects -- particularly luxury projects and major renovations to the home,
such as the kitchen and bath," says Bendimerad.
of the type of project you ultimately end up doing, the same rules for selecting
a contractor should apply. Seek references and ask for multiple bids to get the
But by leveraging your home equity and your knowledge
about lumber prices and the home improvement climate, you can get the best contracting
bang for your buck.