Remodel Timing

28 03 2009

dsc_0400tIs this a good time to remodel?

That depends on your perspective.  Mine is that it’s always a good time to remodel, it’s my business.  Less selfishly though, I usually begin by asking my customer for all of the facts.  It’s hard to solve any problem without a complete set of facts.

Are you remodeling for resale?  How long do you anticipate staying in the home?  Are you repairing damage? Are you making room for additional family members?  Do you have a handle on the potential costs?  Are the funds available?

In the recent financial climate, a lot of customers who were remodeling for short-term resale have simply vanished.  With values dropping, the short-term pay-back just wasn’t there.  As we head into the later half of 2009, I see that new home sales in my area are up, and renovation permits have turned the corner as well.  So many of the short-term customers may be back soon.

Many people are finding it necessary to share housing, thus driving the need to expand their floor plan.  More families are committed to staying in their homes long term, and want to invest in spaces that drive social interaction.  So if you’re in one of these groups, this is a great time to remodel provided you have access to the funds.  Using home equity to fund your project used to be a no-brain-er for the short-term.  A home equity loan is not “magic money” though, you still have to service the debt!  If you’ve been in your home for a while, have a low mortgage, and have a stable work situation, then you may be able to handle the monthly home equity payment just fine.  A positive side affect of the recent economic climate, is that almost everything is a little less expensive.  Contractors are hungry, and labor in plentiful.

If you are repairing damage, don’t wait.  The consequences of waiting will drive the repair costs literally through the roof.  Insurance companies tend to get a bit fussy if you fail to maintain your property sufficiently.  If you’re making room for additional family members, consider that the average room addition project takes three to six months.  So don’t wait until you need the space, anticipate the need and act with enough time to accommodate the new member.

We have been a society of consumers.  If we want to change this and become “Green”, then we need to fix what is broken instead of replacing it.  Recycle and reuse what we remove, and install recycled, local, sustainable materials.  I believe that when we remodel, we are at the core of being “Green”.  We don’t replace our home with a new one, we reuse, recycle, and renew what already exists.

John Weber,