Handy homeowners improving houses to sell

By Sylvia Hall - bio | email

GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) - Like most shoppers on a Saturday morning at a home improvement store, Robert Arceneaux arrived with a mission.

"I want to put some gutters up in front of the house," Arceneaux said. "Also, I want to make some improvements to my entrance sidewalk."

His house is up for sale, but he hasn't had any offers so far. Arceneaux believes the economy is to blame, but he hopes do-it-yourself improvements will set his house apart in this difficult real estate climate.

"Where I live, the houses that were for sale before I put mine up for sale, are still for sale," Arceneaux said. "I put up fences. We've put in flower beds or railings around the front porch, more or less to [improve the] curb appeal."

Thomas Jones is improving his home as well. His house isn't on the market yet, but he said it will be soon. He's using the time beforehand to fix odds and ends in preparation for what could be a tough sell.

"We just feel like with all the houses on the market for it to be able to compete we're going to have to clean it up a bit," Jones said.

Home improvement store employees said they are seeing more and more people like Jones and Arceneaux.

"A lot of people aren't buying right now," Administrative Manager Julia Howell said. "They're kind of sitting in their homes because its hard to sell. They are focusing on fixing and upgrading."

Howell said it's not just the handiest people who are taking on home projects themselves.

"It's not the typical 'do-it-yourselfer,'" Howell said. "A lot more people, a lot of women are coming in and asking how to fix it because you know a lot of people just can't afford to do it right now."

These men said they like the work involved, but now the result is more important than ever.  Arceneaux said he hopes the work he's putting into his home now will make it a better sell when the time is right.

"I mean I know it'll improve," Arceneaux said. "It's just a matter of time."

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