As Grand Island dug out of a Friday morning snowstorm, opening day of Central Nebraska Home and Builders Show, which is celebrating its 45th year in the community, went on as planned.
January, with all of its uncertainties when it comes to weather, the Home and Builders Show is an ideal time to look, dream or buy ways to improve your home. With more than 100 exhibitors at Pinnacle Bank Expo Building at Fonner Park, the show is a great time to catch up on the latest in home improvements. Visitors can attend one of the many seminars that will be featured at the show on Saturday or Sunday, or browse and ask questions about homebuilding, remodeling, landscaping and more.
The home show takes on an added emphasis this year as the release of the 2020-2025 Grand Island Housing Study on Thursday. The study is a comprehensive look at housing in Grand Island and where it may go in the next five years. The study shows a need for additional housing units as the community is expected to grow. But the housing study also reveals an incentive for existing homeowners who want to improve their property as the demand for homes grow and values increase.
The sponsor for home and builders show is the Central Nebraska Home Owners Association. They have been a sponsor for all 45 years the show has been held in Grand Island.
Dana Jelinek, executive director for the Grand Island Habitat for Humanity, is a board member of the Central Nebraska Home Owners Association.
“The housing study talked a lot about housing that need renovation,” Jelinek said. “Whether you are currently a homeowner that is looking to renovate, the home show has a lot of vendors and some subcontractors that are showcasing what they do.”
She said the show is an opportunity to visit and ask questions of the vendors and exhibitors rather than “putting it off” to a later date.
“The longer people who it off, the worse the situation gets,” Jelinek said.
Among the vendors are lenders who can help people finance the improvements needed to increase the value of their home, such as a loan to make your home more energy-efficient.
Jelinek said there has been a housing demand in Grand Island for some time.
“We have made some headway since the last housing study,” she said.
The housing study is mandated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development every five years.
“There are a number of homes that can be renovated,” Jelinek said. “Sometimes that is going to take a new buyer who has vision about what can be done.”
She said one thing that can be done, which is a challenge, not only in Grand Island, but across the country, is finding builders and subcontractors.
“There is a huge demand for them.” Jelinek said. “There has been this push for people to fill white-collar jobs, but now we are finding that we don’t have enough plumbers and electricians.”
Jelinek said finding those qualified contractors has become difficult and has driven up the price for their services.
“The pricing is a big challenge,” she said.
As executive director of Grand Island Habitat for Humanity, which also had a booth at the home and builders show, Jelinek said her organization emphasizes homeowner education with their clients.
“We talk about how you have to maintain your home value,” Jelinek said. “The more you keep your value, your investment grows. That is something all of these folks at the home show understand that when you do something as simple as putting in an energy-efficient door or a more functional door, you start increasing the value of your home.”
Jelinek said it is important for homeowners to keep up on their home maintenance as the longer you put off an improvement, the more costly that improvement becomes.
“So you should start to plan for that maintenance and those improvements and do it,” she said.
One of the factors that has kept the show going for 45 years are the exhibitors. Good, solid companies in the Grand Island area bring in new ideas and new concepts to help people improve their homes, whether it is putting in a new kitchen or new insulation or other improvements.
“I am a total proponent of buying in your backyard,” Jelinek said. “That is because not only with your subcontractors and your suppliers, if something goes wrong and your ordered it online, sometimes you don’t have the warranty that you thought you had, or have the quality you thought you were buying or you don’t have somebody to talk to if something goes wrong. But if you buy locally, you are right there with the people who bought from.”
Show hours Saturday are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday, from noon to 5 p.m.
Admission is $5 to the show and daily seminars, and children under 12 get in free.