With a majority of homeowners planning to stay in their homes instead of moving in 2010, they’ll look to preserve or increase their home’s worth by spending an average of nearly 5 percent of its value on making improvements.
According to a recent nationwide poll of Angie’s List members, 87 percent of respondents have plans for a home improvement project in 2010 and they plan to spend an average of 4.8 percent of their home’s value in doing so.
“This optimism might surprise some given the state of the economy in the past year, but we’re encouraged by it and hope it’s a sign of better things to come in 2010,” said Angie Hicks, founder of Angie’s List, the nation’s leading provider of consumer reviews
on local service companies. “Clearly, homeowners plan to take steps this year to invest in their greatest asset; their home.”
Of those with home improvement plans:
- 63 percent want to update or improve their home;
- 24 percent plan to make repairs; and
- 7 percent are looking to increase the resale value of their homes.
- Only 11 percent of all respondents indicated that they have plans to move within the next year.
“Adding value to your home – either by remodeling, making aesthetic improvements or by making simple repairs to lingering problems – is a smart investment for homeowners who plan to stay in their home for a while, or for those who hope to sell once the housing market recovers,” Hicks said.
Of those with plans this year:
- 51 percent want to make an aesthetic improvement;
- 47 percent plan to make a repair;
- 34 percent are planning an addition or remodel;
- 33 percent want to purchase new appliances or fixtures; and
- 28 percent plan to improve the landscaping and hardscaping – things like decks and patios – of their exterior.
“It’s obvious our members have big plans for 2010 – and almost all of us have improvements we’d like to accomplish within our homes – but we also need to plan for the unexpected,” Hicks cautions. “The key to preserving your home’s value is to make sure you first take care of any projects that can’t wait. Changing out countertops
is great, but it won’t do you much good if you have a roof with missing shingles or mold growing in your crawlspace because of a leaky pipe.
“So make sure you have the resources to cover both your desired project and any unforeseen repairs that inevitably will creep up throughout the year.”
For anyone planning to hire home improvement experts, Angie’s List offers 5 tips to hire good contractors and avoid the unqualified ones:
If you run into problems:
- Avoid door-to-door solicitors and those who only accept cash payments, offer discounts for finding customers or pressure you to make a quick decision.
- Verify the business is licensed to operate in your area.
- Ask the contractor you want to hire for several references from happy customers who’ve had worked completed — and check them. Visit the job sites if possible.
- Never sign a contract containing blank spaces.
- Get at least three different estimates for your job. And get it in writing – documentation is often the best ammunition you have if things go wrong. If you have to pay for it, be sure the fee comes off your final bill if you hire that contractor. Also, ask for a guarantee on an estimate. A good contractor will be willing to guarantee their price for 30 days.
1,331 Angie’s List members responded to the poll.
- Let the contractor know you’re unhappy. Ask him or her to take specific action to remedy the situation.
- Follow up with a letter. Keep records of all written correspondence as well as receipts, canceled checks and credit card statements. If a business requests documents, send a copy, never an original. Keep a log of all conversations, including the date and time of the call, what was said and who you spoke with.
- Report suspected unethical or illegal behavior to the proper authorities.
Angie’s List collects consumer reviews on local contractors and doctors in more than 500 service categories. Currently, more than 1 million consumers across the U.S. and Canada rely on Angie’s List to help them make the best hiring decisions. Members get unlimited access to local ratings via Internet or phone, exclusive discounts, the Angie’s List magazine and help from the Angie’s List complaint resolution service. Take a quick tour of Angie’s List and view the latest Angie’s List news.