As a result of spending more quality time in our homes this past year, most of us are now thinking about updating the quality of our homes. But whether you want to buy an existing home, build new, or remodel your current space, you are sure to be entering a marketplace that has changed drastically.
No matter which of these three settings you may find yourself in, the phrase that seems to sum up the current environment is limited supplies.
If you’re buying an existing home…
chances are there is a record-low supply of homes for sale in your targeted neighborhood. Many homes are selling for over their list price and you may need to be prepared to enter a bidding war.
“We’re seeing a unique market trend of historic low housing inventory paired with soaring home values,” says Rachel Ennis, director of marketing with Coldwell Banker Heritage in Dayton. “This has a lot of homeowners eager to list, but they have some hesitation knowing finding their next home could be a challenge.”
In this market, it’s a good idea to hire a real estate professional to help you navigate the process, but here are some tips to keep in mind:
• Be prepared for a longer house hunt. Even though things are moving quickly, it might take longer to find the home that’s right for you.
• Consider broadening your scope. Having too narrow of a target area, limits your options.
• Get your finances in order. If you’ll need a mortgage loan, get pre-approved, not just pre-qualified. If you can make a cash offer, it’ll set you apart from other buyers. Either way, set your budget and stick to it. Don’t get swept up in the frenzy and make a bad money decision.
• Know when to walk away. If you keep getting outbid and think you’ll have to settle for a home you don’t really want, or one that is over budget, consider waiting. Revisit the idea in six months or a year and see if the market has settled down enough for you to restart your efforts.
If you’re renovating your home…
perhaps looking to improve your kitchen or outdoor spaces, you are probably finding it difficult to get a remodeler to quote the project or schedule the work as quickly as you’d like.
“Several of our remodelers are completely booked through the end of 2021,” says Pam Patter, executive director of The National Association of the Remodeling Industry, (NARI) of Central Ohio. “One of our members who used to get 20 or so calls a week, from homeowners wanting to remodel, told me they are now getting around 80.”
Landscapers and pool installers are seeing similar inquiry numbers and project timelines as well.
If you are building a new home…
you’ve no doubt heard about lumber prices skyrocketing as much as 300 or 400 percent. Surging lumber prices have pushed the price of an average new single-family home ($298,500 in 2020 according to the U.S. Census Bureau) $35,872 higher, according to an analysis by the National Association of Home Builders. But the good news is there are signs that supply is catching up with demand.
“While some chaos in lumber markets may continue this year, most of us in the industry expect prices to fall from the record highs set in May,” says Alan Pippenger, president of Requarth Co., a Dayton based building materials supplier. “This is a shortage that began during the initial Covid shutdown and the market has never really recovered.”
Pippenger goes on to explain that although lumber suppliers predicted a low demand, they were actually met with a surge in demand as builders and remodelers continued to work—and try to meet a dramatic increase in home improvement requests—during the pandemic.
“Supply is loosening up,” Pippenger says. “Material is becoming more available. My vendors are even offering specials—which was unheard of a month ago. It will take a few weeks before it reaches the retail level, but prices are starting to correct.”
Whether you are buying, renovating or building…
the supply chain has been affected on almost every level. Along with building materials like lumber, drywall, and PVC, furnishing items such as furniture and appliances—are delayed as well.
“There has been a humongous increase in the demand for appliances,” says Kenny Rieman Jr., of Custom Distributors, Inc. “We’re still in the thick of it. A lot of brands are taking 16 weeks plus to ship.” That “plus” is part of the problem, but manufacturers are working to give a more accurate ship date. Most of the appliances are built, Rieman says, but just need a computer chip to be ready for delivery.
The situation is beginning to improve, especially compared to this time last year when Rieman says it was difficult to get most any appliance. Today, there are appliances available in almost every category, but they may not be the exact style/configuration you want.
It’s a good time to plan…
despite all the logistical challenges. Now is a great time to evaluate what you need in your home and plan your project accordingly.
THE GOOD NEWS
Looking for a post-Covid positive? One of the silver linings of spending so much time at home has been the opportunity to gain a fresh perspective on our surroundings. Hopefully quarantine fired up your imagination about your living space and how you want your home to look and function. Also, we all know that remodeling adds home value, whether you’re looking to make upgrades tailored for your family or looking to sell down the road. So while last year was the perfect time to contemplate a home remodeling project, this year is a great time to put your plans into action.
Quality home remodels take time...
and now is no exception. In fact, current supply chain issues and increased consumer demand are extending project timeframes, but this gives homeowners time to fully plan and determine how to get the best bang for their buck. Dan Dressman, executive director of the Home Builders Association of Greater Cincinnati, has some advice on top home updates that pay off.
“Kitchens and baths have traditionally provided the greatest return on remodeling investment,” Dressman says. “If you have a limited amount of resources but want to improve your home for resale, put your money into these two rooms.”
When it comes to kitchens…
this past year has created a new generation of home cooks who want to keep on cooking. And they want a space that reinforces the kitchen as the heart of the home. So as you remodel, strive for a soothing space that provides sustenance of a different kind. If you’re not looking to make drastic changes, consider making smaller tweaks. Add a fresh coat of paint (hint: white is still in, as are warm colors). Repaint, refinish or upgrade your cabinetry. Even something as simple as new hardware or value-added amenities such as a new faucet or new lighting can make a stylish statement or give the kitchen a fresh feel.
In terms of bathrooms…
the same principles apply: while you wait to fully renovate, make small changes that can have a big impact. Incorporate a unique mirror (or even a full-mirrored wall), illuminate with luxe lighting, or introduce some wooden accents. Along with natural materials in general, wood is an on-trend element, with its ability to add warmth and juxtapose the typically cold, sterile look of bathrooms. Wood look tiles are a chic option, as are wood accent walls. Always popular in bathrooms are space-saving options such as built-in niches, above-door shelving or even simple wall hooks. For those interested in a larger bathroom remodel, consider incorporating a floating sink or freestanding soaking tub. And remember: the bathroom is a place for self-care, and today’s bathroom should provide you with a serene, spa-like experience (hello, heated floors).
Outdoor living continues…
to be popular. “All-season rooms, patios, and other outdoor living projects add value to a home and are great resale features and definitely worth the wait. After all, they are an extension of your home, which you have a new appreciation for. Your little getaway out back may include an amenity-filled outdoor kitchen, fire feature and pool. You may also opt for incorporating some smart technology, ambient lighting and a garden.
There’s no time like the present…
to reassess your kitchen, bathrooms and outdoor living space, especially with remodeling loans at particularly low rates. And though some remodelers are booking over a year out, use this time to set a budget, research remodelers, gather ideas, earmark photos of designs you like, and reflect on the past year in terms of how your home worked for you. Inspiration will come.