Fixed-Fee Home Repairs Are Here
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Fixed-Fee Home Repairs Are Here

A new feature from Angi to bring price transparency and standardisation to booking household services.

By Ann-Marie Alcántara
Wed, Jul 7, 2021 10:19amGrey Clock 3 min

Angi Inc., the home services company formerly known as Angie’s List, is rolling out a feature that allows consumers to browse and buy common household services at set prices. Its goal is to offer tasks such as mounting a television, painting a room or repairing a roof in a format that mimics models in industries already transformed by tech, like ordering a taxi via a ride-share app.

The new option, which is available first for certain Angi subscribers, supplements the current system for booking services on Angi in which consumers browse vetted professionals or submit a project request, then take up details such as cost estimates directly with contractors.

Angi executives said they are trying to bring the price transparency and standardization of other businesses to home improvement.

“There’s all these barriers in buying service that we’ve been breaking down piece by piece over the last nine years, pretty much to get to a place where we’re now able to offer a productized service experience across hundreds of different service categories across the country,” said Oisin Hanrahan, chief executive of Angi. “And that’s the big shift that we’re making, so that you can essentially go and buy home services the same way you can buy products for your home.”

The feature comes amid a housing boom as well as a surge of growth in home improvement. Sales of home improvement materials, such as tools, lumber, paint and lawn and garden supplies, totaled $86.4 billion in the 12 months ending this May, an increase of $8 billion from the year before, according to NPD Group, a market research firm.

The Covid-19 pandemic opened consumers’ minds to digital services in areas that had still been largely analog, from car sales to home improvement, said user experience designers, who focus on product usability.

“More people across the board, not just millennials and Gen Z, are going to be more comfortable just going online and using an app to find a service,” said Janvi Jhaveri, founder and chief executive of Jack Strategy LLC, a product design and strategy studio.

Angi added language to the booking process to ensure people understood they weren’t scheduling an estimate with a contractor, but actually employing their services, said Mr. Hanrahan. The layout, designed to resemble an e-commerce store for more traditional goods, also helped, he said.

“The more we can merchandise and display to the user in a visual way, like the same way you’d scroll an Amazon or a Target catalog online, the more we can make it easy for people to digest,” said Mr. Hanrahan.

Other companies have taken different approaches to modernizing home contracting.

Home service platform Thumbtack Inc. in February introduced a feature that lets consumers book professionals for small service jobs like a television installation or to receive estimates on larger projects. The company previously offered information on professionals and their services but left it up to customers to schedule a day and time for the project.

It has stayed away from a model like Angi’s for larger, custom projects because the company believes it is impossible to reliably price many home jobs remotely, said Marco Zappacosta, co-founder and chief executive of Thumbtack.

If a professional arrives at a home and a customer asks for additional services, such as mounting two televisions instead of one, Angi will update the price, the company said.

Not all services lend themselves to pricing ahead of time because every home and homeowner is different, said Liz Young, founder and chief executive of Realm Living Inc., a home property analysis company.

But for tasks that don’t require extensive financing or massive renovations, some homeowners will forgo a human touch, or vetting process, she said.

“For the smaller projects, like a paint job or an installation of a ceiling fan, all consumers care about is this relatively accurate price instantly,” Ms. Young said.

 

Reprinted by permission of The Wall Street Journal, Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Original date of publication: July 6, 2021



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Expert tips for prospective buyers looking to purchase a home in 2024.

By Josh Bozin
Fri, Apr 12, 2024 3 min

For aspiring homeowners, be it a first-time buyer, downsizer, or investor, picturing your idea of homeownership bliss is the easy part. But before deliberating on furniture choices or scouting for that perfect neighbourhood coffee, understanding your purchasing power stands out as the most important step in ensuring your success in homeownership.

And with the Australian property market gaining momentum in 2024, there’s never been a better time to come to grips with your financial options.

In 2023, amid the changing financial landscape that saw rising interest rates and the cost of living skyrocket, among other factors, the total amount borrowed for property purchases across Australia was estimated at $300.9 billion, a 12.7 percent decrease from the previous year, according to PEXA’s latest Mortgage Insights Report.

Each mainland state also experienced a decline in new lending, according to the report, with Victoria and New South Wales seeing the biggest drops to $84.1 billion and $109.5 billion, respectively.

While this trend reflects the repercussions of such financial hardships on the everyday Australian, John Morello, director and auctioneer at Jellis Craig, said we’re seeing renewed confidence in the property market during the first quarter of 2024, particularly in Melbourne.

“Auction clearance rates have started the year strongly and consumer sentiment is rising. This lift is driven by cooling inflation and an improved outlook on interest rates. At Jellis Craig, as with the rest of the market, we are experiencing an increase in volume of property compared to the same period in March last year (up 28% in 2024),” Mr Morello said.

“Melbourne’s property market, in particular, is showing its ongoing evolution and resilience.”

PEXA’s report revealed that, while borrowing saw a decrease in 2023 in Australia, Australians still invested $613.0 billion in property purchases in 2023. In 2024, purchasing confidence is only going up, as prospective first home buyers, seasoned downsizers, and savvy investors look to capitalise on a flood of new property hitting the market, coupled with the lowering of interest rates across the board.

“With more certainty in the economic outlook, along with an increase in volume of property available, we are seeing these factors translate to early signs of a boost in confidence in both buyers and sellers,” said Mr Morello.

“Further encouraging data shows that whilst there is more property available to purchase, more people are inspecting property, again indicating that demand has increased broadly across our marketplace.”

If you’re in the market for a new property, the biggest question you must ask yourself is how much house can I afford?

A great starting place is to speak with your mortgage broker or financial professional, who can guide you on your lending options. This is critical, as you need to know what your future repayment options might look like, and ultimately, what you will typically be able to afford.

A useful tool for judging whether you can afford a specific property is to factor in the 28/36 rule — a rough guide that suggests you should not spend more than 28 percent of your gross monthly income on housing, and no more than 36 percent on all debts. Another useful tool is the idea of a debt-to-income ratio (DTI); a formula whereby an individual can divide all of their monthly debt payments by gross monthly income to arrive at a number that one can measure as a way of managing monthly mortgage payments.

Mr Morello emphasised the need to understand affordability and what’s feasible for each individual when looking to make a purchase, no matter the budget, on a property in 2024.

“It’s pivotal to work out what you can afford. Get your finances in order. Consider all associated costs with buying, and research what concessions and grants are available,” said Mr Morello.

“It’s easy for individuals to begin the process today. Start actively searching potential properties on a weekly basis, and research areas you are interested in. Check weekly sales results, attend inspections and auctions, to get a feel for the process. Just remember, it’s important to be really comfortable in understanding your living expenses, and what the ongoing expenses will be once you have bought a property.

“For example, mortgage repayments, council rates, water, power, owners corp fees, insurances, maintenance costs; if you are buying as an investment, the Land Tax payable on that property which is an ongoing tax. There’s many factors to consider.”

To see what’s possible for your specific circumstances, visit our Finance Portal for specific tools, guides and tips—as well as our own mortgage calculator—to assist you on your property journey.

 

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Consumers are going to gravitate toward applications powered by the buzzy new technology, analyst Michael Wolf predicts

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