Fixing Up When the Market is Down

Shh!  Can you hear that?

It’s the sound of hollow vault doors being slammed shut and masking tape being drawn to piece together shattered family piggy banks.  Smashing the pink porcelain piglet in cases of emergency is the easy part.  It’s putting the starved omnivorous swine back together that requires the patience of Job.

While America has gone for her hammer, we Realtors have been peddling a seemingly contrary message.

Buy.  Now.

While it is difficult to fathom spending money at a time when most are diving under the sofa cushions to retrieve every last nickel and Chuck E Cheese coin alike, we are all familiar with the free market tenet that the best time to buy is when everybody else is selling.  Or trying to sell, I should say.  The worst of times allow for the best of swindles purchases.  The majority of the general public recognizes this, laments the scarcity of available funds to capitalize on the current opportunities, and grudgingly returns to the painstaking task of trying to figure out which of the three credit cards to make a payment on this month.

These prices are crazy!  If I had any extra money laying around, I’d buy five!

Of course, it goes without saying that values are so low because of the very truth that so few are in a position to buy.  As soon as demand catches back up with supply, and more folks are in better places financially, the opportunity for the best values will be gone.  This isn’t a sales pitch.  This isn’t even a sales post.  It’s just the way it is.

Nope, rather I am simply writing to remind you that the same market forces that apply to the current housing market at large apply to your home specifically, even if you are not looking to buy or sell.  I am talking about now being an excellent time to renovate.

Blasphemy, I know.

With prices consistently falling for the past year and a half, why on God’s green earth would you invest more money into a depreciating asset?  Especially when money is not exactly growing on HELOC trees these days?

Because there are a lot of hemorrhaging material suppliers and minimally employed contractors out there, that’s why.  If you haven’t shopped the box stores or general construction supply retailers lately, you might be surprised at some of the prices that can currently buy you a slab of granite or travertine tile.

With starts for new build homes down to a virtual standstill, there is excess material and labor strewn all across the Valley.  Don’t believe me?  Go post a construction job on Craigslist and don’t blame me when your inbox explodes.  Just like winter is the best time to resurface a pool, a slow growth market is ripe for a home renovation bargain.

Whether you are an investor that has adopted a buy and hold strategy for a slow motion flip, a homeowner who plans to sell in several years when the market is more conducive to your goals, or just someone who is simply sick of mauve carpet and laminate cabinets, this just might be the time to take the plunge.

It will be more difficult to finance the rehab, with lines of credit evaporating and home equities diminishing, but again, that’s the rub.  That is precisely why there are bargains to be had.

While counting all of the money you are saving as you pick out those cabinets, thanks to the uncanny insight of a certain friendly Scottsdale Real Estate magnate, please bear one thing in mind as a thank you gift:

The magnate likes cherrywood.


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