NAHB Remodelers Advise Consumers on DIY Projects
May is National Home Remodeling Month, and NAHB Remodelers are getting the word out to consumers about the need to seriously consider the safety risks, time delays and hidden costs associated with do-it-yourself (DIY) home improvements versus hiring a professional remodeler. According to HUD and the U.S. Census Bureau, home owner DIY projects accounted for 37% of all home remodeling projects performed nationwide from 2010-2011.
While many projects may look manageable at first glance, the experts note several considerations that people should keep in mind before sinking time and money into a DIY job. For example, products purchased in the DIY market are not always of the same quality available to contractors, and many warranties are made void by improper installation, resulting in hidden costs to the consumer.
Meanwhile, home owners who do not have the proper training or familiarity with certain tools and techniques are risking the potential for serious injury, which is why it's a good rule for the average consumer to avoid tackling projects that require a license or structural changes to walls, roofs and floors. It's also worth noting that troubleshooting unexpected issues often takes more time and expertise than people expect - so signing a professional contract with a set completion date is very important. NAHB is reaching out with such messages to the media and public, pointing consumers to our Directory of Professional Remodelers to assist them in finding a local expert, and providing special resources for promoting National Home Remodeling Month.
Improving Markets List at 258 in May
The number of U.S. housing markets showing sustained improvement in three key measures fell slightly to 258 in May from 273 in April, according to the NAHB/First American Improving Markets Index (IMI), released this week. The new total includes entrants from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, along with the four newly added markets of Dothan, Ala.; Elizabethtown, Ky.; Salisbury, Md.; and Salem, Ore. While 19 markets dropped from the list this time around, the fact that more than 70% of all U.S. metros are holding onto their spots is good news that's representative of the generally brightening outlook for housing markets. NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe attributed the overall decline in the IMI to "seasonal trends in home prices," explaining that "some metro areas that had previously charted marginal home-price gains dropped off the list as a result of typically softer prices seen in the winter months, which is similar to what the index showed in this same period last year."
The three indicators that are analyzed for the IMI are employment growth, house price appreciation and single-family housing permit growth; a metro area must see improvement in all three measures for at least six consecutive months following those measures’ respective troughs before being included on the improving markets list. A complete list of all 258 metropolitan areas currently on the IMI, and separate breakouts of metros newly added to or dropped from the list in May, is available at www.nahb.org/imi.
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- Joanne Loftus