Last year I wrote a blog entitled "Remodeling and the Holidays." The purpose of this entry was to point out how December is typically a time of year when even quality remodelers slow down. This in turn suggests an opportunity for savvy consumers to find some genuine savings while still working with top notch companies. This year however is not a normal year. For a variety of reasons, good companies have seen brisk business continue all the way through the end of November. For my company, Legacy Remodeling, and for a number of other remodelor's who I have spoken to, November was in fact a strong month.
This Fall's strong business climate has taken away the need for contractors and home improvement companies to reduce their prices just to keep their staff busy. Rather, good contractors are in fact working flat out to meet customer demands. That is not to say that good deals still cannot be found, simply that this December is not the normal slow time of year that Remodelor's typically expect. In fact, if a contractor is slow right now, a customer should be concerned and ask themselves why.
The first reason for this is the expiration of certain federal energy tax credits at the end of 2010. These credits cover 30% of the purchase of qualifying efficiency products up to $1,500. This has stimulated activity in replacement window and door sales, high efficiency furnaces and home insulation among other things. With this expiration looming, many contractors find themselves quite busy with customers whose projects must be completed by December 31, 2010 in order to qualify for the credit.
A second reason why many companies have remained busy has to do with the ongoing economic recovery. During the recent recession, the home improvement industry was hit very hard as consumers cut back on non-essential spending. Windows, roofs, siding, kitchens and many other home improvement projects were put on the back burner until people felt more comfortable spending money of thees things. As the recession wore on, this deferred maintenance generated pent up demand among homeowners. Now that we are seeing gradual improvement in the economy, consumers are beginning to gain the confidence necessary to make these types of investments in their homes again.
The last factor that in my opinion has kept good companies busy is last winter. Many people have fresh memories of the cold and snowy weather that plagued the region in January and February. Ice damns, leaking roofs and high energy bills were the norm for many unfortunate folks. For many, these memories have transformed into a motivation to be better prepared for winter this year.
From a consumers perspective however, I would suggest despite these factors, December is still a good time to invest in home improvements. I personally believe that the economic recovery will continue. Assuming that is the case, quality remodelor's will only get busier. With 2011 only 5 weeks away, the spring home improvement season is right around the bend. This is the busiest time of year for the home improvement industry and as such, means that customers wait longer for companies to be available to install their purchases. By placing orders in December, customers are able to beat the rush so to speak.
Also, since many manufacturer's delayed priced increases during the recession, it is my expectation that material prices will rise in early to mid 2011. By deciding to move forward with a purchase in December, customers are able to take advantage of prices which have been essentially flat for the past couple of years.