Real estate agents aren’t the only ones cashing in on the housing renaissance.
Home inspectors, mortgage brokers, moving companies and other related businesses also are watching their bottom lines grow again after six years in a deep slumber.
“It’s been very busy,” said Scott Dooley, a Fort Lauderdale appraiser. “There aren’t enough hours in the day.”
During the housing boom of 2000 to 2005, speculators drove up prices, forcing some buyers to take out adjustable-rate mortgages and other risky loans for homes they couldn’t afford. Prices plummeted and a wave of foreclosures followed, leading to an epic collapse.
Oppenheim’s title company, Weston Title & Escrow, lost 80 percent of its business during the bust. While he avoided layoffs, employees had to take furloughs and pay cuts to keep the family-owned firm afloat, he said.
Now business is booming again, although revenues are still down because home values are nowhere near the record levels of 2005, he said. Oppenheim also has noticed an uptick in his real estate law practice, with more construction leading to more liens and building disputes.
“People are calling me now that I haven’t talked to in six or seven years. They’re back in business,” he said. “The last eight months have been good ones for people in real estate.”