This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

May 26, 1999

Building & Remodeling Burgeoning

220 days until January 1, 2000

With the stock market at an all-time high and baby boomers spending money like there is no tomorrow, it is not surprising that the homebuilding and remodeling sectors are thriving. In 1998, more than $130 billion was spent on remodeling, according to Brett Martin, assistant director of communications of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry. In addition, some 1.238 million homeowners are expected to start building some type of new single-family home this year, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

It doesn't get much better than this for the construction industry. But what of the consumers who seek to buy these goods and services?

With demand so high, finding a competent architect, builder or contractor can be exceedingly difficult. (Some folks in Chicago already are paying more than the estimated bid price from one well-known designer to snare a spot on his short list of clients.)

And it gets worse. There's a whole new contingent of less-than-competent and honest work people who are rushing to the fore, trying to get a piece of the action of this billion-dollar market. And consumers sometimes end up paying the price, with jobs left unfinished or poorly done and stressed nerves so frayed that arguments erupt among family members.

As in other fields (e.g., work and health), we're seeing people taking control, getting the information they need and protecting themselves against these would-be perpetrators. If you or someone you know is in the market for these services, "caveat emptor," "Let the buyer beware." Arm yourself with as much advice as you can, be sure to detail contracts, check with friends for quality referrals and investigate any prospective supplier very thoroughly.

Special thanks for the information in this trend alert to Barbara B. Buchholz and Margaret Crane, authors of the new book "Successful Homebuilding & Remodeling: Real-Life Advice for Getting the House You Want Without the Roof (or Sky) Falling In." (To order this book, click on click then the title.)

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