November 18, 2022

Uncertain economy often good time for refurb

Home ownership is generally on much more solid footing today than during the Great Recession (2009-2012).

Despite slowing price growth, borrowers who purchased homes before February 2020 have gained a collective $5 trillion in equity, or about $92,000 each.

If needed, a home "cash-out" refinance loan can provide extra money for improvements. While today's rates are higher, they are still far more reasonable than a credit card or other revolving debt.

Home improvements can raise property values, creating an even better financial situation when you decide to sell down the line. Or, depending on how long you plan to remain in the home, the recession may be a good time to consider updates for comfort and functionality. Either way, remodels are altruistic, stimulating the economy during tough times.

There is typically less demand for goods and services, so theoretically, there will also be less competition for contractors.

Planning any renovation project in advance can save some money. Always get at least three quotes to compare and request daily rates and total price for the job, including fittings and fixtures.

For larger projects, agree in advance with the contractor on price and timeframe. Quotes should include what happens if the price of materials increases during the project.

Many homeowners may also be feeling the economic pinch. Those not enthusiastic to commit to high-cost refurbs can try smaller updates and tweaks.

Prioritize essential upkeep first. Keeping rooms and appliances well maintained can help avoid expensive repairs later.

Next, concentrate on projects which are affordable but high impact, providing a generous return on investment (ROI). Common low-cost projects include painting, landscaping or refinishing floors.

In lieu of a total kitchen remodel, one might investigate a specialist to just replace countertops, drawers and floors for a lower cost “refresh.”

Lastly, those with the skill and confidence can slash costs considerably with do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. One should never take chances when it comes to gas or electricity, and it is always better to hire a professional if you are not comfortable.

Tools and DIY products often go on sale. It is often worth waiting. Many home improvement stores rent tools for a nominal cost, and many modern libraries lend out tools for free!

Historically speaking, uncertain economic times are good times to make home renovations, and with insecurity already well underway, most analysts say full recession could arrive in early 2023.