Real Estate, furniture and paint ... oh my!
If you are like me, you are thinking, “even though I wasn’t planning to move, maybe I should sell and cash in on this hot market.”
After all, houses are selling for well over list within days. I worked with the buyer of this one several years ago to update it and make it their own. It was recently listed, and after I staged it, it was under contract with 10 offers for $110,000 over list in 3 days.
But it’s not quite that simple. And it can be stressful.
Amber Weitzer of Couture Real Estate says, “Experience, proactive strategies and diligence are even more critical in this market. If the inventory isn’t available, it’s our job to find it for the market, for our clients. It’s a necessity to possess strong skills, professionalism and as always remain the calming force for all concerned.”
If you do sell, where will you go?
Many of my clients are empty nesters and wonder if this a great opportunity to downsize. The challenge is finding a smaller home in the DFW area that has the finish quality level to which they are accustomed—if you can find one at all.
But Susan Gilchrest of Ebby.com says, “Downsizing is possible, especially if people are looking into the surrounding communities. Keller, Trophy Club, Colleyville and North Richland Hills offer many possible options and lifestyles to people looking to downsize their home.”
If you find the right smaller home, you will likely need to renovate it to your tastes. Normally, this is a terrific option: adding value to a smaller home and remodeling it to suit your lifestyle. But currently general contractors are very busy and their first available start dates are September or later.
One general contractor I work with frequently confided to me this week, “Ann, I don’t know if we will even be able to get wood after September. I don’t know how we will be able to build cabinets, or do framing.”
The supply chain has been wildly disrupted.
We’ve had a triple whammy: tariffs, COVID, and then the freeze. So much of what we use and consume in the home furnishings industry comes from Asia. Even furniture “made in the USA” may have handles, metal parts or frames that come from overseas.
When tariffs were applied to Chinese goods, many companies sought to move their sources from China to other Asian countries like Vietnam. They anticipated a short term disruption in supply in order to secure a long term price advantage.
But then COVID came. Shipping stopped. Containers sat at both ends of the ocean waiting. Transportation prices increased due to the low supply and high demand. Many companies and contractors absorbed this first wave of price increases in order to stay competitive.
When Texas and Louisiana experienced a historic freeze this year, “most of Texas’ large, sophisticated refineries on the coast stopped normal operations at the request of the power utilities in order to conserve power for consumers struggling to stay warm.”
Unfortunately, you can’t flip a switch and restart refineries: it’s a bit more complicated! All the myriad products made with petroleum products are now in short supply. This includes paint, caulk, primer, plastics and foam for furniture creation and re-upholstery.
The largest residential painting company in DFW shared that they will have to pass on a 15 % pass increase to consumers starting in July to make up for the rapidly rising paint and fuel costs. Fine furnishings manufacturer Bernhardt furniture, has raised prices 15% over the last 6 months.
So where does this leave you?
At this point, I am advising clients to start major remodeling projects no earlier than January. The delays in all products from wood floors to tile to refrigerators make a start date in September seem like asking for your home to be torn up for the holidays. Hopefully the supply chain will sort itself out over the next 6- 12 months.
Please be patient when purchasing home furnishings, and know that prices have gone up as much as 30% and your budget may need to as well. And what about that business of cashing in and selling your big home and downsizing? Well, maybe be ready for apartment living for a couple of years!