Home Improvement Franchise Report 2011
Making the Most of Current Home
Moving can be expensive, even before factoring in the non-monetary costs like the stresses of packing and unpacking. As a result of this, and the previously mentioned lingering uncertainty about the housing market, a significant number of consumers have forgone relocation and are remaining in their current homes. However, many of these homeowners aren’t simply staying put, they’re making changes. Some of these changes are possibly being done with the hope of capitalizing on the market when it (hopefully) returns to normal, but in some cases property owners are making changes to transform their home closer to what they love and have been looking for. As Rich Cowgill, the Chicago-area chapter president of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry says, “People are dressing up their homes because they've come to the realization with housing devalues that they're not going to move.” 5 Whatever the motivation, these objectives are being accomplished by:
|The Changing Face of Home Improvement
Home improvement has long been considered a man’s domain, however, that conception is changing. According to a study done by the Home Improvement Research Institute, women make up about 44 percent of the DIY market, and just over half of the home improvement projects that are contracted out are initiated by women.3 Women are also playing a larger part when it comes to the providing of home improvement services by working in traditionally male-dominated roles such as carpenters and contractors. The increase in the prevalence of women doing home improvement projects parallels the rise in female ownership of houses. In 2010, unmarried women made up 20 percent of all home buyers versus the 12 percent of single men who purchased homes in 2010, according to the National Association of Realtors.4
- Basic Freshening Up: It’s been said that the easiest way to update and/or transform a room is to paint. Regardless of the color, or if it’s by DIY or contracting out to a painting franchise, look for homeowners to look to breathe new life into their homes by painting one or more rooms in their homes among other ways of reviving their residence. Another basic change homeowners can make is switching out hardware pieces like pulls on bedroom furniture and kitchen or bathroom cabinets.
- Minor Renovations: Projects that help consumers improve the quality of life they experience, but don’t cause a major disruption to their routine fall into this category. Examples include closet reorganization and similar undertakings that simplify and reorganize existing space.
- Larger Scale Renovations: If property owners foresee remaining where they are for an extended time, or see value to making larger changes to their home, they may be willing to invest. But larger scale renovations don’t necessarily mean that homeowners have to endure weeks of work. Many franchises, like Re-Bath and Granite Transformations, have streamlined their processes, making changes that have a drastic effect to homes in less time than in the past.
Another aspect of this trend is what Hunter refers to as “aging in place.” “‘Baby boomers’ are now becoming the ‘seniors of tomorrow’ and they still want to live in their homes,” according to Hunter. “‘Aging in place’ modifications that allow them to live longer at home are the fastest growing part of the remodeling industry today.”
The push for sustainability is also a key driver of the home improvement market. Consumers not only want to do something good for the environment, but also experience the health and monetary perks that come with green living. Here are some ways sustainability is being integrated into home improvement:
- Taking Steps to Promote Healthier Home Environments: Consumers are becoming more and more aware of the effects the products use within their homes can have on their health, and a number are taking steps to improve their household environments. One way this is happening is the use of items like low-VOC or VOC-free solvents (examples include paints, cleaning agents, varnishes, etc.) to decrease potential health impacts.
- Converting to More Efficient Appliances: Because there’s also monetary perks in becoming more efficient, not only environmental benefit, switching to items such as Energy Star appliances, water efficient faucets, toilets, and showers as well as tankless water heaters will likely become a priority in more homes in the near future. Solar panel installation along with installing skylights and larger windows for greater use of natural light are additional ways consumers can be eco-friendly while gaining efficiency for needed utilities.
- Greater Recycling and Reuse: The economic downturn has taught many home improvement consumers how to be thrifty. As a result, finding new uses for old items through reupholstering furniture, or bargain hunting at flea markets, local stores and online has become commonplace.
- Using Eco-friendly Materials: As consumers become more aware of the origin of household materials, the use of resources that can be harvested without harming the environment, like cork and bamboo, will play a larger role in home improvement, especially with flooring products and in furniture decoration.