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The home construction industry is really hurting
Old 09-03-2008, 06:46 AM   #1
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The home construction industry is really hurting

Yesterday I went to a building supply company to get stuff for my latest home project. I've been to this place before and it was usually a beehive of activity. They sell siding, roofing, kitchen cabinets, windows, doors, gutters and about anything else you can nail on a house. In the past it's been come in and take a number to be served.

I was the only customer yesterday morning. Just little old me and four salesman waiting at the counter. I was there about 20 minutes and nobody else came in. The guy behind the counter said I was walk-in customer #3 and it was 10:30 am. He said it's been that way for months.

As a "wholesale only" business, they sure didn't have any qualms about taking my money though.
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Old 09-03-2008, 11:19 AM   #2
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As a "wholesale only" business, they sure didn't have any qualms about taking my money though.
I always enjoy a little schadenfreude at the expense of businesses which used to treat you like crap-- if indeed they paid any attention to you at all.

Hawaii had a retailer in business for over a century that, in the late 1980s, decided the Japanese visitor market was far more lucrative than the locals. When the Japanese visitor market screeched to a halt in 1990, "Liberty House" started a long, slow, brutal decline into what eventually became "Macy's".
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Old 09-03-2008, 11:26 AM   #3
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Good time to get some work done, although building materials are REALLY expensive. Something labor intensive and materials cheap like tile work, countertops, roofing or stucco should be able to be had for the lowest cost in years.

Funny though...all the homes in my neighborhood are getting to be about 20 years old and due to some slight deficiencies in how they were built and the materials used, they all pretty much NEED new roofs, lots of siding work, bathroom tile work, and could use new windows. Yet most of them are sitting on their hands right now, worried that their home isnt worth as much as it was 2 years ago. I guess in 2-3 years when the values are back up, they'll dutifully line up to pay top dollar to the once-again-busy contractors to do the work they need now, and pay extra for stuff like roof and window leakage.

People have weird brains sometimes.
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Old 09-03-2008, 11:33 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by cute fuzzy bunny View Post
Good time to get some work done, although building materials are REALLY expensive. Something labor intensive and materials cheap like tile work, countertops, roofing or stucco should be able to be had for the lowest cost in years.

Funny though...all the homes in my neighborhood are getting to be about 20 years old and due to some slight deficiencies in how they were built and the materials used, they all pretty much NEED new roofs, lots of siding work, bathroom tile work, and could use new windows. Yet most of them are sitting on their hands right now, worried that their home isnt worth as much as it was 2 years ago. I guess in 2-3 years when the values are back up, they'll dutifully line up to pay top dollar to the once-again-busy contractors to do the work they need now, and pay extra for stuff like roof and window leakage.

People have weird brains sometimes.

Mother Nature dealt me a nice blow In October of 2006. My roof and aluminum siding got hammered by hail. I had an estimator come out and look at it, and voila', I got a new roof, steel siding, gutters, etc. About $25,000 worth for my $500 deductible..........

The toughest thing I am finding is that customer service is about zero when things are slow. DW was at a higher end furniture store last week, and it took 30 mintues for someone even to acknowledge her........
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Old 09-03-2008, 04:28 PM   #5
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If you've got cash and you've been thinking about doing some serious home improvements, you might be able to swing some pretty good deals with some unemployed and underemployed builders and tradesmen.
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Old 09-03-2008, 06:30 PM   #6
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Still dealing with a kitchen fire at a a rental. Cabinets coming this week. So I got a qoute for the install ... things can't be too slow: he wanted 50% of the cabinet cost!

Just happens that a tenant is excellent with his hands ... rocked, taped, spackled, and primed the place for a months rent (I supplied materials). Said he'ld hang the cabinets for a grand (less than 1/2 the cost of the "pro"). Could do it all myself; but it would look like I did it all myself.
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Old 09-03-2008, 07:04 PM   #7
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So I have a $50,000 home equity line of credit that I have not cracked into. I got it because I want to fix up my house - but when it came down to it I couldn't make myself use it. My next project is redecorating the master bedroom and turning another bedroom into a home office (just decorating wise). The project after that is the kitchen. Do you think it would be wise for me to use the HELOC and get started on the kitchen at the same time?
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Old 09-03-2008, 07:10 PM   #8
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Wish I had the coin. 4 or 5 years ago we couldn't get a contractor to even call us back. Our jobs were small, and they were all out in the developments working the mcmansion chain gang. It was like a production line.

Now, I bet a lot of them are going out of business and hurting for work. The really good ones are probably doing OK tho.
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Old 09-03-2008, 07:41 PM   #9
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...Could do it all myself; but it would look like I did it all myself.
The classic problem. BTW - check out the post on 1031/121 conversion rule changes effective 1/1/2009 i made. Looks like the IRS is tightening up on a cunning tax avoidance plan i had for a big capital gains place i wanted to unload. Think it's gonna bite ol' Honobob in the shorts as well.
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Old 09-03-2008, 07:45 PM   #10
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Good time to get some work done, although building materials are REALLY expensive. Something labor intensive and materials cheap like tile work, countertops, roofing or stucco should be able to be had for the lowest cost in years.
Yeah, plywood, concrete and stuff like plumbing and insulation are still expensive, but stick lumber has come down a lot. A unit of 2x4's goes for about a third of what it did a couple of years ago.
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