We are moving into a period of time where the housing market becomes stagnant as mortgage rates reach new heights and homeowners pull their listings off the market because they won’t move. Now exceeding 8% rates, we are at more than double what the rates were just a few short years ago. The Fed has promised that more increases are highly probable in the future and admits they underestimated the efforts required to tamper inflation.
Homeowners must rethink their plans to sell, holding off until they can get better prices. Buyers are down to a trickle, especially in the cooler months of the year, leaving the existing listings to those who can make cash purchases. For young couples, these rates may be another year ahead in an apartment or living with family members. Times like this change everyone’s plans, including new homeowner remodeling projects.
The larger remodeling projects are also getting put on hold. Refinancing a mortgage or taking a home equity loan has also become more expensive and less attractive. These are times for DIY projects and less expensive fixes that can make an impact within a smaller budget. Even credit card rates are topping 28%, a rate that was once reserved for people with bad credit. It just isn’t worth putting a large project on a credit card. By the time it gets paid off, your project cost you one-third more than the original price.
Alternatively, the less expensive projects are easier to take on because more people can afford them using their savings accounts. Inexpensive projects that can be completed for a few thousand dollars or less include:
- Retiling floors
- Refinishing furniture
- New landscaping
- New kitchen cabinet doors
- Update windows or doors
If your goal is to sell, one way to determine where you can get the most value is to have a real estate broker tour your home and recommend things to fix or update. This list won’t include things like fixing a roof or heater which the broker is not trained to evaluate, but he or she can enlighten you about the features of your home that a home buyer will notice when viewing your home.
We may know that the crack in the ceiling had nothing to do with a leak, but that doesn’t mean a potential home buyer wouldn’t be scared off from a sale, suspecting roof and structural damage.
Luckily, the cosmetic issues tend to be less costly to fix than structural ones. Getting that initial offer depends on the cosmetic. If you don’t get past it, you won’t be negotiating to the point of worrying about structural issues.
There is a how-to video for just about every home project you can imagine. Some of the costlier home improvements might be easier to manage if you can learn to tackle the work yourself. Of course, there are some things like electrical that are best left to a professional, but if you can manage the other parts of a big project, there are potentially thousands of dollars of savings.
It’s looking like it’s time for homeowners to roll up their sleeves and do more work on their own. Ultimately, they will get satisfaction that they did it on their own and saving a lot of money is always a big bonus.
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