In 2020, Americans spent $420 billion remodeling their homes, according to a new report by the largest real estate association in the US. They remodeled to upgrade outdated worn-out surfaces, finishes and materials (30%), add features and improve livability (20%), and just enjoy a change (16%.) While most consumers (83% of those surveyed) said they would have remodeled regardless of the pandemic, most found that they were happy with the results (57%), satisfied (39%), and felt a sense of accomplishment (69%).
Homeowners reported that the best results from remodeling were better functionality and livability (35%), durability (22%), and beauty (14%). A whopping 84% of homeowners said they enjoyed their homes more than before they remodeled. Although most projects were completed with standard quality fixtures and materials, and some with better-quality installations, the survey calculated the consumers’ typical “Joy Score” at 9.6 out of a possible 10.
So which renovations brought the most joy to homeowners? Interior projects that received a perfect Joy Score of 10 include: painting entire interior of the home, painting one room of the home, adding a new home office, hardwood flooring refinish, new wood flooring, a closet renovation, insulation upgrade, and attic conversion to living area, said the report. Scoring 9.8 were complete kitchen remodels and partial kitchen upgrades. A basement conversion to a living area scored a 9.7, and a bathroom renovation scored a 9.6. Adding a new laundry area and a new master bedroom earned a 9.5.
In our experience, many homeowners wait until they plan on selling their homes before doing major upgrades. The reasons for this are many, including not wanting to “dip” into the capital of their property or being uncomfortable with refinancing or taking home equity credit to finance the improvements. Others don’t want to live through the inconvenience of construction projects, even though they ultimately end up doing just that.
The truth is, upgrading your home should be for your own enjoyment of the space and the value of the improvements can be extracted later at the time of sale. Additionally, construction prices are always increasing and almost always cost a homeowner more the longer they wait to invest in their own property.
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