The Paradox of Expensive Rent for Low Income Ohio Residents

The economic recovery is finally starting to gain traction in Ohio. However, the turnaround isn’t benefiting everyone equally. The prices of rent in low income communities are rising rapidly, although the incomes of those residents have remained tepid. Many housing experts, economists and policymakers argue that this trend underscores the need to create more affordable housing units in Central Ohio.

Average Resident Struggles to Afford Local Rent

The National Low Income Housing Coalition recently released the 2015 Out of Reach Report, which studied the number of residents that could afford a two bedroom apartment. The report showed that the highest wage needed to afford such an apartment was $14.13 an hour. This actually made Ohio the 10th most affordable housing market for low income families. On the surface, this sounds like Ohio residents are faring better than their counterparts in other parts of the country, but this analysis only factors one side of the equation.

The problem is that median wages in Ohio are lower than 34 other states.  Wages for low income residents are even more problematic. The state has a minimum wage of $For-Rent-Yard-Sign8.10 an hour and an average wage of $12 an hour, which is over $2 less than needed to afford an average two bedroom.

Bill Faith, executive director of the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio (COHHIO) said that the situation is fairly grim for many low income workers. “”Everyday in Ohio, people are having to make the tough choice between food and rent,”” said Faith. ““These are people who have served our country during wartime, people with disabilities, senior citizens, and people who are working multiple minimum wage jobs and still not making ends meet. So while Ohio is far from the most expensive housing state in the country, it’s unreasonable to have to work 70 hours per week to put a modest roof over your head.”

The situation may not be as dire for the average worker as Faith and some advocates argue. It fails to take into account that most people renting two-bedroom apartments are sharing with spouses or roommates, which means that they will multiple streams of income to help make the unit more affordable. However, even many of these people may struggle to pay housing with additional bills that arise. It also shows that single parents are struggling to pay for an apartment that accommodates themselves and their children.

Need for New Housing Units

The real solution to the problem will be to create new housing units for low income families. The problem will eventually correct itself as prices decline to reflect a larger supply of housing for working families. Governor Kasich established  Ohio’s Housing and Homelessness Collaborative to help rectify the problem, which is expected to show results in the coming year.

Know When to Hire a Professional for an Ohio Remodeling Project

A study from the Join Center of Housing Studies at Harvard University suggests that fewer Columbus homeowners remodel their property than people living in other major cities. One of the main reasons may be that many people are more likely to do their own remodeling without seeking a permit first. While it may be tempting to save money handling the project on your own, there are instances where it is clearly necessary to hire a professional.

Columbus Real Estate Journalist Discusses Importance of Hiring Professionals

home-improvement-and-remodeling-contractor-in-great-falls-virginiaJamie Curtis is a well-known writer in Columbus. She does a lot of DIY remodeling projects with her husband and discusses their progress on her blog, Living the Dream House. Curtis points out that many projects can be handled by amateurs, but states that they need to recognize their limitations and know when to hire an expert.

“Start with the easy projects first, like painting trim and doors,” she told This will help you gauge your skills and how much time you can dedicate to a bigger project.

Curtis states that the average homeowner can remove old fixtures, take down wallpaper and do minor woodworking. However, more complex projects are beyond the average homeowner’s skillsets. Electrical and plumbing work should almost always be handled by an expert, because they can lead to very expensive damages if anything goes awry.

Hire a Professional that Pays Close Attention to Detail

Many different factors need to be taken into consideration while remodeling a home. Unfortunately, the average homeowner doesn’t usually understand all of the intricacies involved, so they will need to hire a professional if they want to make sure the job is handled properly.

Unfortunately, it isn’t always easy to know which expert to work with if you need assistance, because the abilities and work ethic of remodelers vary as much as any other profession. However, you will be on a much better path if you choose a contractor that has a solid track record with their previous clients.

We recently received an excellent recommendation for a client on Houzz for our attentiveness and professionalism. “Quality of work, attention to detail and related communications were exceptional. At end of every day the work area and areas of traffic were cleaned as if no one had been there. Exhibited great professionalism along with care and concern about getting things right. Of all the work I have contracted out as a homeowner in over 38 years, this was the best experience I have ever had.”

We take pride in our work and are always pleased when a client appreciates it. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you need any assistance as well.

Ohio Scam Shows Homeowners the Importance of Selecting Contractors Carefully

The Better Business Bureau recently warned homeowners about a Columbus contractor that has allegedly taken money from homeowners in exchange for work that was never completed. The story illustrates the problems that can arise if homeowners don’t verify the credentials and integrity of contractors.

Background on the Story

On Thursday, 10TV reported that the Better Business Bureau warned Columbus homeowners that a local contractor was taking payment for home improvement services and never completing them. The contractor allegedly approached Darryl Sheppard after a story caused extensive damage to his property and offered to make the necessary repairs. The homeowner in question paid him $2,000 but was never contacted again.

The contractor reportedly has a longstanding record of swindling local homeowners. In 2013, he took payments under the brand name AC’s Home Restoration and never conducted any work. The Better Business Bureau has given him an “F” rating, but he still continues to dupe unsuspecting homeowners.

The contractor has responded to the accusations against him. He assumed some responsibility for mistakes that he has made in the past, but insists that the accusations aren’t entirely accurate. He pledged to resume work on Sheppard’s property.

Lessons from the Recent Scandal

The recent scandal shows that homeowners need to be cautious while choosing a contractor. Here are some important takeaways from the story.

Always Do a Background Check

You need to thoroughly research any professional before signing a contract or handing them money. The contractor in this case was a repeat offender, so the homeowners that he scammed would have known to avoid him if they did a background search.

Be Cautious of Contractors Knocking on Your Door

Joan Coughlin, a spokeswoman for the Better Business Bureau of Central Ohio, warns against working with contractors that knock on your doors. Credible contractors expect people to seek them out and you won’t have trouble finding one if you do a simple Google search or ask for recommendations.

Seek a Small Down Payment

You should always negotiate down payments before agreeing to hire a contractor. The general rule of thumb is that you shouldn’t pay more than a third of the cost of the project, but you may be able to receive a lower down payment if you work with a reasonable contractor and the cost of the project isn’t very high.

Get Everything in Writing

This may seem obvious, but many homeowners fail to get agreements in writing beforehand. This is particularly risky if you are planning on making a large down payment first. The contractor should stipulate the exact specifications of the work that you need done and the time it must be completed.