Between 1999 and 2007, there wasn't a single year when fewer than 1,500,000 residential homes were built. Construction rates were high, people were buying homes and everything looked great.
Shortly after, the housing market crashed. In 2009, only 794,400 homes were built, and up until 2016, there wasn't a year where more than 1 million residences were constructed.
There were many problems that resulted from the housing boom and the Great Recession that followed. However, one aspect that hasn't gotten the attention it deserves is the quality of homes that were built during that time.
Professional Remodeler explained that homes constructed in the early 2000s may have gone up quickly, but that didn't mean they were built intelligently or carefully. Today, thousands of Americans who bought newly constructed homes during that period are discovering that craftsmanship wasn't always a high priority, and that quantity was often valued over quality.
"We bought our home from the developer as part of a new subdivision back in 2003," Franco Fournier, a California homeowner, told Professional Remodeler. "Within 14 months we started seeing our floor buckling. It was because there was water in the foundation. Then we started seeing water damage in the downstairs bedroom. We tried to contact the builder, but he never returned our calls."
"Quality craftsmanship wasn't always a high priority during the early 2000s housing boom."
The rapid increase in demand for housing at that time resulted in a serious labor shortage. There weren't enough qualified contractors to create all the housing that was needed. This resulted in poor hiring practices that at times neglected quality standards.
"There was such an influx of work that a lot of contractors didn't know what to do," explained Brad Grossman, a Florida remodeling expert. "They had to hire people to finish the jobs, but a lot of these workers were just unqualified."
Many people were able to buy their dream homes for a reasonable price, but this came at a greater long-term cost. People today are continuing to struggle with the aftereffects of poor hiring practices and neglected quality standards, but it's not the contractors that need to contend with these problems - it's the homeowners.
Making changes to a home, like upgrading a kitchen or adding a deck, should be exciting and fun. However, those people and families who live in homes built during the housing bubble may need to put these renovations on hold until they can fix more serious problems.
In Fournier's case, there was the issue of buckling floorboards as well as water damage. Depending how extensive the damage to the floor was, it may only take a couple hundred dollars to repair, according to HomeAdvisor. However, it could cost up to $1,000 or more if the damage is extensive. The average cost for this repair is just shy of $900.
The more concerning issue is the water damage in Fournier's downstairs bedroom. Water damage can cause a wide range of problems. Water sitting for a long time can damage the materials it touches, like the insulation in the walls, the walls themselves, the floorboards and any fabric, like curtains, carpeting or furniture.
Beyond that, mold and mildew can form in these areas. Dark, damp and warm environments are the perfect places for spores to land and proliferate.
HomeAdvisor reported that the average cost for water damage repair in 2017 is more than $2,000, with some paying as much as $6,500. Mold remediation has a similar price tag, with the average cost reported as $2,158 this year.
It's important that homeowners address these situations as soon as possible. Neglecting them can lead to more severe and more expensive repairs, not to mention potential health risks for people living in the home. However, finding the funds to cover these repairs isn't always easy.
Help your clients address problems caused by builder error in their homes through financing programs that will help them spread the cost out over time. They will be able pay for these necessary renovations while still feeling in control of their finances. Plus, when you show them that you care about the integrity of their home as well as their financial health, they will be more likely to come back to you when it's time to make a more enjoyable renovation to their home.
To learn about how financing programs can help your customers remedy issues in their homes, contact Aqua Finance.