More than half of homeowners planned home improvements during the COVID-19 lockdown
It’s not surprising that so many Americans wanted to upgrade their place during the lockdown.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the US in full force, states across the country demanded lockdowns and Americans withdrew to their homes.
What started as two weeks of slowing the spread has now expanded to nearly a year of social distancing. Many people work from home and rarely leave home to attend to essentials.
As everyone crouched down, many Americans began to look around their rooms and decided that they weren’t quite enough. In fact, according to recent research by Discover Home Loans, interest in home renovations has increased dramatically during the pandemic.
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The majority of homeowners want to upgrade their property
Discover homeowners surveyed in March and August 2020 to understand how the novel coronavirus has impacted attitudes towards the home improvement economy.
By March, shortly after the lockdown began, people were already eager to upgrade. In fact, 53% of respondents said they plan to renovate in the coming year.
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This was already a majority of homeowners. But interest in renovations only grew over time. As of August, a whopping 58% of homeowners reported home improvement plans.
Most of these homeowners were motivated by the same basic desire: 83% said they wanted to feel more comfortable in their homes. Improving health and safety was also a top priority, with 62% planning to upgrade to make their home safer.
Unfortunately, while the pandemic piques interest in home upgrades, it also makes it harder to afford them. In fact, Discover’s survey also found that 49% of people delayed starting projects due to the financial impact of COVID-19.
Be smart about home upgrades, especially during the pandemic
It is very natural that if you spend more time in it, you will want to improve your home. However, it’s also important to think through the financial implications.
Home improvement can be expensive, and you probably won’t add the same amount of value to your home as you spend. There are several ways to finance a home renovation. Some people take out a new mortgage loan. Others can use a personal loan or even a credit card.
When you take out a loan to beautify your home, you also take on a monthly obligation that you have to pay even if your income falls.
Therefore, it is best to think carefully about whether an upgrade is affordable or sensible. To judge whether a home upgrade is a good idea:
- Think about how long you will be staying in your home. If you are likely to be moving soon, it probably doesn’t make sense to invest the money.
- Explore your payment options. If you can cover it with cash, you will avoid the interest cost to your upgrades – but will you regret it later when you need that money? Does this affect your ability to meet other financial goals when you need to borrow?
- Think about how stable your income is. If your job is unsafe, you may not want to invest money in home renovations – especially during periods of high unemployment.
- Consider whether the upgrade will add value. If you have to sell, can you get the most money back? It depends on the type of improvement as well as how your home compares to others in your neighborhood.
Use these questions to help you decide if you want to make improvements. You may find it more sensible to try to love your home for the way it is. We can all look forward to a day when the lockdowns end and we can spend more time elsewhere.