"Advantage, homeowners" in this Sunday's Boston Globe, discusses how consumers now have the upper hand in choosing a contractor:
But the Robbinses had an advantage other homeowners didn't have just a few short years ago: A slow real estate market that has carpenters, plumbers, and other tradesmen hunting for work. The couple stuck to their rule that at least three contractors would have to bid for each component of their project.
But even though labor costs might be a little lower now, total costs may not be lower:
Eager contractors might be lowering their own prices, but that is mitigated by continued increases in the cost of building materials, which are 40 percent higher, on average, than five years ago, according to data compiled by the Associated General Contractors of America.
So while it sounds like there are more eager contractors looking for work than the past few years, as a homeowner you may not be able to drive a huge bargain because material costs are way up. Still, if you are planning on being in your home for a little while, now could be a good opportunity to remodel. A word of caution though: I wouldn't just hire a contractor because he is not busy and will quote you a lower price. The remodeling market may be a bit slower right now than a year ago, but like good accountants, good attorneys, good Realtors, good professionals in any field really; the best are usually busy through an up or a down market, because they offer excellent service at a fair price and are constantly being referred more business by happy past customers. A cheaper contractor may cost you more in the long run if you consider the time you need to spend supervising and/or correcting mistakes later.
If you are thinking of remodeling, certainly feel free to email me for a contractor referral and/or some suggestions on the type of remodel that will return the maximum value if you choose to sell in the future.....