|About the Author: Christopher Ryan is a residential home builder living in Atlanta. He has been involved in the development and construction of over 20 new home communities as well as the renovations of many existing homes and multi-family buildings. He has experienced first hand the boom and bust of the industry, and is now working to develop new strategies for success as the market reinvents itself.|
It’s hard to think about investing anymore of your precious time and money into your home at a time like this, but consider the impact that you can have on your future and your peace of mind. In theory, your home is a safe haven and a place to relax, however it can be an enormous source of stress. According to Zillow.com, 26.8% of homes are “underwater”, meaning the loan balance on the home is greater than the current home value. Many people in this situation view their homes as an anchor around their waist, however that is not necessarily true. Consider this; your home is only underwater if you are a forced seller. If your current financial situation is sustainable, then it is quite possible for you to sit tight and make smart choices; everything is cyclical (at least on this planet).
The 24-hour news cycle is driving people to make unwise and likely unnecessary decisions. In addition, it is important to consider the moral obligation that exists upon the signing of mortgage papers. In my humble opinion, too many folks are walking away from homes that they can reasonably afford because they believe it to be a prudent financial decision, rather than an unfortunate necessity. These actions are affecting your homes and communities more than you know.
Here are 3 reasons to invest your time and money into what may be the “Biggest Purchase of Your Life.”
1. Homes require maintenance and updating.
Whether you looking to sell in the short-term or in it for the long haul, neglecting home maintenance will cost exponentially more if you procrastinate. Think of it this way: You wouldn’t neglect the maintenance on your car just because you owe more than its worth, would you? Would you even know that it is worth less? Example: Upgrades in energy efficiency will aid in saving money until you are in a position to sell and also increase the selling appeal. Housing will continue to be a buyers’ market for the foreseeable future, therefore repairs and maintenance will surely impact your sale price.
2. The average homebuyer is shopping for a community as well as a home.
Neglected neighborhoods may attract “investors” looking to pick up properties at low prices, but not necessarily the best candidates for a safe community. Take this time to improve the curb appeal of your home as well as the neighborhood. In this type of market, you must differentiate yourself by making your home shine. Also, engage your neighbors to do the same with their properties and common spaces. This is going to be a long road so we may as well try to work together. Consider it an opportunity to get to know your neighbors and local business owners through a common mission: Community Improvement!
3. Expect construction and labor prices to go up
Due to new immigration policies enacted by several states there has been a surprising reduction in the labor pool for skilled and affordable residential construction workers, which has begun to increase labor costs. In addition, material prices are rising inline with the overall inflation rate which increased in May 2011 to 3.6% and is well above the average annual rate of 2.3%. Depending on where you live rates could be changing more rapidly than others. Given market forces, construction and home improvement prices have nowhere to go but up. Therefore there is no time like the present to consider renovations or upgrades that will improve your lifestyle and increase your home value in the long term.
Just remember to focus on the things that you can control. Take time to consider the best interests of your family and your health. Action taking heals hearts and strengthens souls, leave the worrying to the wicked….
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