Homeowners are benefiting from the economic downturn with home improvements.

Financial Crisis, economic slow down, downturn in the housing market has an impact on home improvements that can benefit the homeowner.

Consumer confidence is close to the lowest it’s been since the late 80’s. Home prices are dropping, foreclosures are rising, and fuel costs are high. While the news can be depressing, the impact can benefit homeowners planning home improvements. The housing slump is affecting home remodeling contractors and the home improvement stores that supply the construction materials.

Many home improvement and lumber merchants are starting campaigns to mark down prices. “This is providing the homeowner with more bargaining power and less expensive home improvement projects.” Said Debra, owner of Westmoreland Contractor Referral Service, in Greensburg. Pa. The housing slump is introducing new competition into the remodeling arena. Smaller homebuilders are actually diversifying their businesses to survive the downturn. Construction companies are looking into every aspect of their business and making adjustments. The result for the homeowner is lower material costs and reduced overhead cost, which results in an overall reduction in the cost of home repairs and remodeling.

Contractors are feeling the impact of the economic slow down which provides a unique benefit to the homeowner. Contractors can now purchase materials at lower prices and are able to pass these savings along to the homeowner. The slow down gives the homeowner the added benefit of contractor availability. A few months ago, a phone call might not have been returned as quickly as it will now. Contractors are working hard to find new business and keep their employees working. They’re literally looking for more business that they normally would pass on. “Homeowners now have more remodelers to choose from.” Debra said. “However, caution should be taken to ensure that the contractor is insured and is qualified to do the project.” Debra is the owner of Westmoreland Contractor Referral Service, which is a company that provides a free service to the homeowner by matching a prescreened qualified contractor based on the project specifications.

Homeowners that feel good about their equity situation should consider a home improvement project now. The benefits of home improvements can include not only savings on the cost but also can add value to the home and depending on the type of project can help to make a home more energy efficient.

Prospective homebuyers are now holding off on purchasing a new home and are finding that home updating, additions, and renovations are a more economical decision. “Instead of buying a new home.” Debra said. “They are adding on and renovating.” Even in severe downturns, people need to update and maintain their homes. Where some home improvements were not affordable a few months ago, now they are and homeowners can cash in on the deals. “Bottom line, if you have been putting off the home remodeling project and have the cash, now is the time to start that project.” Said Debra.

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