Area handymen say "flipping" houses -- investors making improvements on homes they plan to turn around and sell -- is out. Things like tile flooring also have gone out of style, said Sean Bohannon, owner of Complete Home Care. He said luxury work of the past has started to decrease and not as many people are looking at building new homes or extravagant home additions.
Paul Barnes, owner of Scenic City Lawncare, said the largest trend he has seen so far is decreasing size of property.
"The yards in the newer developments are smaller," he said.
He said he did not know if it was because buyers want less property to maintain, the developers want to place more houses in a community or a combination of both. But business has not slackened since the recession, he said.
"More people are wanting to do less of their own yardwork because of less time," he said.
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The tastes of consumers have changed during the last year and could change once again since the economy is in recession, several local handymen said.
Sean Bohannon, owner of Complete Home Care, said people have become more thrifty and selective about what they want fixed up.
"They're putting more money into their existing homes," he said.
The calls many local contractors receive are for fixing and maintaining homes instead of building luxury-type items, Mr. Bohannon said.
But one thing Mr. Bohannon sees as a new "in" item this year is hardwood flooring instead of tile. Granite countertops continue to be popular, he said.
People have asked about outdoor decks made from synthetic materials rather than wood, but the pricing sometimes scares them, he said.
"They're still being cautious and thrifty," he said.
Stanley Lolley, owner of Home Repairs, said work only started picking back up in the spring. Mostly what he has seen is a lot of necessary upkeep -- gutters, vinyl siding or pipe replacements, he said.
"I'm not seeing a lot of remodeling," he said.
Jasper Ellis, owner of Jasper Remodeling, said he is seeing more volume in roofing, bathroom additions and new windows.
The bottom line is that more people want less-expensive options, he said.
"They're doing what they have to do to keep their house in shape," he said.