While the economy has definitely slowed during COVID-19, the housing market is currently hot with year-over-year gains in home prices. While people are still buying up properties at a brisk rate, they’re also focusing on home improvements to increase the value of their property, says Jaime Westenbarger of Brentwood, Tennessee, director of sales at Bluebird Roofing.
According to recent reports, home prices were 5.5% higher nationally in July 2020 than a year previously. The jump in prices is due to a very high demand for housing combined with historically low mortgage rates of under 3%. However, at the same time, the amount of money being spent on renovations is also exploding, with a 58% jump in professional projects in June compared to a year prior.
As more people decide to stay put to reduce exposure risk, they are putting more money into upgrades to get more enjoyment out of their own homes.
Renovations Boom During COVID-19
When the lockdowns began around the country in March, there were limited options for entertainment, notes Jaime Westenbarger. While many restaurants and other leisure activities temporarily ground to a halt, Americans turned the focus to their own homes. With home prices increasing during the pandemic, many Americans find themselves with more home equity to access for renovation projects.
That means people started to unlock the potential of their homes as both a place of enjoyment and work — as remote work has also increased dramatically (even before the pandemic forced people out of commercial buildings.) Homeowners are now adding home offices, but they’re also focusing on other projects such as adding backyard decks, patios, and even pools.
As far as roofing goes, demand is strong and is expected to keep increasing through 2024. The findings suggest that demand will steadily increase as homeowners look to replace their older, less durable roofs that don’t stand up well to inclement weather. While residential roofing slowed during the beginning of the pandemic, a strong summer recovery was expected along with more home construction starts requiring roofing contractors.
Roof Replacement A Solid Investment
Roofing may be underrated as a way to add value to your home: a bad roof can make or break selling your home down the road and you’ll recoup most of the value from a new roof in return on investment, as well as attract a wider number of buyers. However, says Jaime Westenbarger, be sure to choose a quality shingle or it might end up putting off some buyers. At the same time, signs of damage from an inadequate roofing system can also break a deal, not to mention potentially threaten the structural integrity of your home.
Meanwhile, while outdoor projects are currently highly popular, people are also looking at the interiors of their homes and sprucing up their kitchens in lieu of dining out. In some cases, people are adding extensions to their homes to provide more interior space.
Jaime Westenbarger On Doing Home Upgrades The Safer Way
While many businesses have adapted their practices to make it safer for customers, general contractors are no different. Bluebird Roofing and others in the construction industry are changing their approach in order to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, explains Jaime Westenbarger.
For example, when meeting to discuss a home improvement project such as roof repairs, some contractors are ensuring contactless appointments to discuss details with customers outside from a safe distance. In some cases, the contractors can use FaceTime or other video conferencing technology to show customers what needs to be done.
Roofers are making use of technology in other ways to keep customers safer, including for insurance inspections. Drone inspections have become a more popular way to accurately check out the condition of a roof without even having to set foot on the property.
Also, once inspections are completed to determine the scope of work, companies can forward estimates and even contracts electronically, says Jaime Westenbarger. This is not only safer as fewer materials are being physically handled, but it can also help organize and track documents more easily and cut down on paper use.
Buying Or Selling A Home During A Pandemic?
While the home improvement industry is taking precautions to ensure the safety of clients, so is the real estate industry. Many agents are offering virtual tours to let potential buyers check out properties without having to step inside, notes Jaime Westenbarger. Agents are also offering more options such as allowing electronic signatures on real estate documents.
Meanwhile, buying up properties as an investment to flip them is also booming during the pandemic, at least in some regions.
Of course, upgrades to your properties such as new roofing will increase the curb appeal and selling price, so it’s a good plan to invest in your own real estate. While making your home more attractive and functional if you plan to stay for the long-term, it will also increase your home’s value if you do choose to put it on the market.
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