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When is it a good time to remodel?

QuestionMy wife and I are considering remodeling our house, but with all the news about downturns in the housing market, we wonder if this is a good time to launch such a project. What do you think?

AnswerI think it's a great time to remodel!

You're not alone in thinking about remodeling. A slowdown in home sales means owners stay in their homes longer and remodeling looks more attractive. Recent buyers often update their kitchens and baths, add rooms, and/or make structural changes. Longer-term owners generally choose to maintain the condition of their homes, since their use of space is already well established.

A home remodel can be a challenge to live through, but the payoff can be worth it. As you and your wife consider remodeling and make plans, you'll want to think about how much you like your home and neighborhood, if remodeling will make the home more livable and more attractive should you decide to sell, and if you are willing to deal with the rigors of a remodeling project, whether you do it yourself or hire a contractor.

Even though much of the U.S. is experiencing economic downturn and many homeowners have concerns about investing in their home at such a time, there are some benefits to remodeling. Despite the market, remodeling actually retains and increases the value of the home and puts the home owner in a better position when the market begins to be favorable again. In addition, the homeowner gets to enjoy the freshly updated living space.

There are three important reasons why now is a good time to maintain, renovate, or remodel your home. First, the products needed for the remodeling project are more available and are not escalating in price as much. Second, services and vendors are more available and can give individual consumers more attention. Finally, when the housing market is up again, contractors may get overextended and may be unable to give your project the time and attention it will need.

Finally, I want to caution you that while the market is distressed, you must beware of desperate workers who have been laid off from new construction and create startups but may not have the experience and qualifications to work for the homeowner. You will want to carefully research your planned project and potential contractors.

To help you evaluate your remodeling project and select a contractor, you may want to check out my book The Helping Hands Guide to Hiring a Remodeling Contractor. Learn the process you should follow to find, evaluate, hire, and work with a remodeling contractor.

Depending on your personal needs and your planned project, Remodeling a Bathroom, Accessible Housing, Build Smarter with Alternative Materials, and Builder's Guide to Decks may also be helpful.

To help you communicate with your contractor and track your remodeling project, the business forms featured in the Contractors Helping Hands Packet will prove helpful to both you and your contractor.

Good luck as you embark upon your remodeling project!

Copyright © 2007 LAF/C.R.S., Inc. All rights reserved.
Question answered by Leon A. Frechette.

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