Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Interest Rates, Labor Costs Make Remodeling Timely/says Henry Benedict

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Interest Rates, Labor Costs Make Remodeling Timely/says Henry Benedict

Article excerpt

"Today's interest rates and competitive labor costs make this a great time to remodel," said Henry Benedict, owner of Benedict Construction, 900 NW 58th St.

In Oklahoma City's depressed real estate market, desperate sellers have been looking for workable sales methods such as auctions, creative financing and trades. Now, many are opting not to sell at all. Instead, they are makiong their houses more liveable with home improvements.

Fixed mortgage interest rates are at a 10-year low, and remodeling or adding on to existing homes can be done at reasonable rates. Sometimes refinancing after home improvements results in a payment even lower than the original.

The bonus is not having to sell in a market the Oklahoma City Board of Realtors says is flooded with 9,741 properties.

And to top off the mortgage interest bargains, the labor costs of remodeling have also declined because there is less building and more fierce competition among contractors.

"You can probably realize a 20% savings in home improvement over the price three years ago," said Benedict, who is featured on KTOK-AM's "Handyman" show and is a member of the remodelers' council of the Central Oklahoma Home Builders Association. "A lot of people shop price. They want a dollar and a dime for every dollar spent. If you want a good value right now, it's home improvement."

But is remodeling worth it?

The most important consideration, he said, is the potential value of the home when it is finished.

"This value includes how much you like the rest of the house, the neighborhood, and the lot size, as well as the resale value," Benedict said. "Ask yourself: Will I be happy here for a long time?"

An improvement does not have to increase the resale value of a home to be worth doing, he said. If a person is going to stay in a house and wants the improvement, then it should be made. Resale value means nothing when the house won't be sold. …

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