Marc Brahaney, Architect

Now Is the Time

by Architect Marc Brahaney

If you are ever going to do an addition or renovation on your home, NOW IS THE TIME! Here’s why:

In this tough economy there have been major shifts in how successful companies structure their businesses, which means that you can have confidence that quality, efficiency AND lower costs are available.

  • Quality — most companies have pared down and kept their very best people -- little danger of getting a junior mechanic who does not know what he/she is doing. You will have seasoned, experienced people working in your home.
  • Eager Contractors — many of us are happy to get work just to keep our carefully trained crews intact and survive until things improve.
  • Willing Subcontractors — they have time to do your project, they really want the work and they are focused on doing it well. They are also more likely to have more people available to do the work quickly.
  • Overhead — has been trimmed by most contractors and subcontractors. That extra administrator was nice but not necessary. Professional affiliations have been let go, the extra layer of project managers are back working in the field using tools rather than computers. Everyone works longer hours but for the same or less pay. All of this translates into lower costs to you.
  • Credit — has opened up and it is inexpensive as long as you qualify — talk to the bank you currently have accounts with, a credit union, and a small community bank and take advantage of the incredibly low interest rates that are available now. Many economists agree that low interest rates are not here forever.

I know there is a lot of hesitation and fear out there. Some folks lost large amounts of money in the stock market. I know many of us fear for our jobs and our futures. However, if you are well positioned and have a little spare nest egg, you have a wonderful opportunity to do projects on your home. The scope of work might be smaller and more focused than you had been dreaming about but as seen in retail stores, it is a great time to get a good deal. There are now contracts being signed with prices that would have been unheard of, even a year ago.

One word of caution though, with all the emphasis on the availability of good deals, do not forget an important bit of wisdom: the low price that seems too good to be true might be just that. There are some contractors who are in serious financial trouble due to the unexpected drop in work. They owe subcontractors all over town and are behind on their insurance payments. You do not want to find out during your project that a seemingly reputable contractor is in financial trouble and now his/ her problems become your problems. So just be prudent — use people you know and ask around about their financial situation.

We’re all out here, waiting for you to call — just think about the new kitchen or bigger family room that will help improve your family’s quality of life. You may not be traveling as much but at least home will feel like a vacation!