The political leaders in Washington, D.C., are decrying daily for the Federal Reserve to lower interest rates to spur the economy and housing market. The Federal Reserve interest rate the first week of September was 2.25%, while the corresponding average 30-year mortgage interest rate hovered around 3.75%. By all metrics, these interest rates are still at historic lows. For perspective, when I started in the construction supply business in 1979, the average 30-year mortgage rate was over 11.2%, and until the Great Recession most homeowners would have been thrilled with an interest rate of 6%.
We all want to save money, and many times our quest to save a few dollars alters our decision-making process. It’s amazing how the shine of a couple of nickels and dimes will make us lose our common sense. When you build or remodel a home, there are countless numbers of buying and construction decisions that must be made which will last, in some cases, the lifetime of the home. If every decision you make starts first and last with the almighty dollar then plan for disappointment in the end product.
You would think that someone whose livelihood depends on selling building materials would have a negative view of repurposing and recycling building materials. However, I don’t. In fact, our society and construction paradigms need to change. Americans are some of the most wasteful people on the planet and what we throw in the landfill would be accepted and used by most of the world as premium materials.
Everybody thinks they can be a plumber, and this is the one area where many construction projects fail to maintain standards. Maybe it is because plumbers do grimy jobs at times that the quality issue gets overlooked. Or, it could be unlike the dangers of electrical work, amateurs and handymen feel emboldened to do work in plumbing with limited skills. Whatever the reason, there is an epidemic of poor-quality plumbing work throughout Lake and Sumter counties. Many times, the homeowner or business owner doesn’t realize it until there is a failure, which floods the structure, or a major tear-out because of incorrect placement.
There has always been a free entrepreneurial spirit in the economy for individual jobs and people working for themselves. According to Upwork, 56.7 million people are working in what is called the gig economy, which is defined as a free market system wherein temporary positions are common and organizations contract independent workers for short-term engagement.