For most of the last decade, people haven’t been all that interested in building new houses: they were worried about their jobs, didn’t have jobs, or were underwater on the mortgage on their current home. While the economy has improved enough that people feel confident building houses, it’s also improved enough that it’s hard to find construction workers. [More]
I was recently alarmed to see a modest-sized house in my neighborhood demolished to make way for a much larger residence that straddles two lots. I shouldn’t have been surprised to see that house knocked down: it was a two-bedroom, one-bathroom home built during the Great Depression taking up space in a wealthy suburb, and the real estate market won’t stand for that. The little house’s demolition fits with a nationwide pattern: older suburbs are turning over. [More]
Never, never open your door to a contractor who randomly appears offering to fix some unseen problem. You would think it’s common sense, but a California senior ended up paying a shady contractor $20,000 to perform $300 worth of work, and it took a sting operation to stop a Long Island contractor who was going door-to-door offering to plug nonexistent carbon monoxide leaks. So how can you protect yourself? Here are a few warning signs to beware….
Bill Whitlatch, longtime owner of one of the leading home builders here in northeast Ohio, is among the casualties. Three years ago, he borrowed from regional banks to start six developments in the Cleveland area. Soon the region’s home market turned cold. Buyers vanished. Mr. Whitlatch drained his personal savings of $2 million to keep his company going.