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Why do Homeowners Renovate and What do They Care About Most?

Why do Homeowners Renovate and What do They Care About Most?

Is it resale value that matters when renovating? Or is it design and functionality that drives homeowners most? The 2019 Houzz & Home report reveals all.

While most people dream of making improvements to their home, the actual catalyst for them starting a renovation project varies. So, what makes them finally take that leap from dreaming into action? The 2019 Houzz & Home report — a national study conducted earlier this year that collected responses from more than 142,000 registered U.S. Houzz users — found some key reasons.

In short, the top reasons are:

  • Wanting to do it all along and finally having the time/financial means — 57%
  • Wanting to customize a recently bought home — 26%
  • Addressing damage due to home age, insects, etc. — 16%
  • Planning to sell the home soon and wanting to increase its value — 11%
  • Addressing damage from a natural disaster — 6%

As you can see, finally having the time or means drove most 2018 remodeling projects, while customizing a recently purchased home was the second most popular reason.

Damages to the home was chosen by 22 percent, with 6 percent of damages being due to natural disasters. Others (11 percent ) were looking for a return on investment for selling purposes.

Renovating Vs. Buying a More Suitable Home

Instead of putting money into renovating a home that isn’t exactly what a homeowner wants, why don’t they just purchase a more suitable home? This question was also part of Houzz’s report, with the top reason being that people simply want to stay in their current home. A close second was that homeowners want to personalize the home to their tastes.

Along the same lines, a third of homeowners were attached to their area/neighborhood and didn’t want to leave it. Twenty-eight percent found renovating was more affordable, while 24 percent said renovating was a better return on their investment than purchasing a new home.

Here’s a complete summary of the results:

  • Wanted to stay in their current one or on the current lot/land — 48%
  • Wanted to personalize the home or its features — 46%
  • Wanted to stay in the same area/neighborhood — 33%
  • Renovating was more affordable — 28%
  • Renovating was a better return on investment — 24%
  • Wanted a project that I could build/be involved in myself — 12%
  • Needed specific features — 4%

Top Priorities: Design and Function

Once the decision was made to renovate, homeowners were asked their top priorities for the outcome of the renovation. These results were crystal clear: 88 percent answered that improving design drove the process, while 81 percent said functionality. Financial considerations like increasing resale value (67 percent), minimizing costs (63 percent) and improving energy efficiency (62 percent) were other priorities.

For those interested in health, eco-friendly or smart-tech, these considerations appealed to a subset of renovating homeowners — roughly a third considered them a high priority. Conversely, similar-sized groups considered these same factors low priorities.

Top Challenge: Staying on Budget

When homeowners were confronted with naming the top challenges they encountered when renovating, three answers rose to the top: Staying on budget (32 percent), finding the right service providers (32 percent), and finding the right products (31 percent).

Other potential challenges were cited as well, but to a lesser degree. Twenty-two percent said dealing with the unexpected was a challenge they faced, and 22 percent said staying on schedule.

Full results from the study, as well as the actual report is available here.

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