There's Always a Silver Lining

As someone who’s always looking for a silver lining, it’s no surprise that I’ve discovered one around the housing slump, and it has many layers. The outside layer, which is easiest to see, is that many bottom dwellers, who had no business attempting to be remodelers, have moved on to pursuits other than remodeling. They no longer are able to tarnish the image of good remodelers.

The next layer, and perhaps just as easy to see as the first one, is that many homeowners, who were either victims of aggressive lenders or perhaps a little greedy, no longer own homes. They can no longer cause damage to the economy for the immediate future.

Peel away these first two layers and you’ll find a third, thicker and more substantial layer. This layer of the silver lining is an increased interest in good home design. In this buyer’s market, which has existed for many years, homeowners know they do not have to settle for mediocre design; bad design doesn’t sell.

Homeowners want high-end design for a low-end price, and are determined to get it with or without your help. As a result, they are more selective when choosing remodelers, and will find one that can give them what they want. Their interest in good design has forced many remodelers to improve their design skills, which benefits the entire housing market.

Remodelers attuned to market nuances such as this are using their design skills as a way to differentiate themselves from their competitors, and they are succeeding. Hopefully, this interest in good design will stick around well after the housing market is back on solid footing.

Even if you’re lucky enough to be chosen by a homeowner to design their home, I’ve heard it from many remodelers during these past few years that homeowners are far more demanding, and sometimes more unreasonable, than they were before the housing bubble burst. Homeowners presume that a buyer’s market entitles them to squeeze every percentage of profit out of a project.

In good times, remodelers can identify this kind of client and will heed the red flags, ultimately turning down their business. Today, however, while remodelers retain their abilities to spot these profit-suckers, some remodelers have had no choice but to ignore traditional warning signs and accept their business, and their bad behavior.

Remodelers can’t always change clients’ behaviors, so their most plausible option is to nip them in the bud. This means stopping them during the sales process, when expectations are set. Successful remodelers are improving their sales skills to counteract homeowners’ demanding tendencies, which is another layer to the silver lining.

It’s a remodeler’s job to tell homeowners exactly how the project will flow, and how far they’ll be willing to bend to make them happy. Setting expectations before a project begins allows remodelers to stand their ground once work starts, rather than giving up the proverbial farm and bowing down to every demand homeowners make.

So you see, there’s always something positive to take away from a bad situation, and there are many layers to the housing slump’s silver lining. I hope you agree.