Next month marks the start of the spring season, a time when many homeowners across the country will dig out of the winter weather with a renewed interest in refreshing and remodeling their homes. While this increased interest in home improvement during the warmer months may be nothing new, the most recent Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA) from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University forecasts a significant increase in activity through the third quarter of 2013. This prediction of growth in the double-digits is a promising sign that the industry is on the rebound and slowly, but surely, recovering. Coupled with the typical spring upswing, this could prove to be a very busy spring for many remodeling companies throughout the country.
In a customer service-oriented industry like ours, it is important that we take the time to understand and anticipate what projects may prove popular this year so we can best serve our customers, and if necessary, adjust and promote our offerings. If the past few years have taught us anything, it’s that homeowners have become critically aware of the importance of energy efficiency, home weatherization and home maintenance as the cost of home ownership rises. It seems that less people are focusing on making luxurious or purely cosmetic updates and instead devoting their extra budget to projects that will help their bottom dollar in the long run.
With that in mind, here are the projects we expect will be most popular among homeowners this spring:
Repair and Refresh: After a long fall and winter season — which for much of the country included a variety of hurricanes, tornadoes and blizzards — many homeowners will be looking to repair damage done to the exterior of their homes. Installing new roofs and siding is likely to be a popular project this spring, as those areas may have taken a serious beating over the past year. When it comes to style trends, we’ve seen an increasing interest in neutral, modern colors in recent years among those homeowners who are paying mind to the fact that classic combinations will highlight a home when it’s time to sell. Popular color palettes will continue to include beige or clay siding with midnight blue shutters, slate blue with black shutters or white siding with a red door.
Energy Efficiency Remains Key: Increasing a home’s energy efficiency will continue to be a huge area of focus in 2013, and beyond. For those who are still struggling to recover from the poor economy, in particular, this is one of the most cost-effective improvement options available to homeowners who are hoping to update and save money in the post-recession. Offer insulation updates that can be a great ‘whole house’ approach to reducing energy waste. Customers will also be interested in energy efficient windows that can reduce heat flow in the winter and solar radiation in the summer while protecting their investment in carpet and furniture from fading due to sun exposure. With the subject of climate change and green living top of mind after the recent election, and as some states continue to offer tax incentives, homeowners seem to be more aware than ever before that they can make changes that impact the environment and save money.
Crazy About Curb Appeal: Some of the most popular projects this spring will be the simple fixes and quick updates that increase a home’s curb appeal — especially among those homeowners who are preparing to put their homes on the market. Replacing front doors, shutters and garage doors are popular and relatively easy ways to refresh and update a home before putting it on the market. Customers are also likely to look to their home remodelers for additional curb appeal projects, such as landscaping, replacing walkways, sidewalks and patios and driveway paving.
With the economy on the upswing, some homeowners may be tempted to splurge on larger and more extravagant home remodeling projects. However, many will remember what they learned during the recession and focus more on those projects that can increase a home’s value in the long run. If you anticipate your customer’s wants and needs, you’ll be more successful in increasing your business’s value as well.