May is National Remodeling Month — appropriately selected as spring is the season of renewal. Amidst the May flowers and Run for the Roses, the spotlight shines among HBAL members who work hard to assist homeowners in remodeling environments that are up-to-date with technology, energy efficiency, modern designs and more functional and safe living spaces. Remodelers play an important role in the local construction industry and most certainly within HBAL.
Like builders, remodelers have faced challenges during the economic slowdown. Many have diversified to provide a broader range of services that better serve their clients’ specific needs. Some homeowners are choosing to adapt their home to fit their current lifestyles. Others are making improvements to enhance their home’s marketability in the future. Remodelers today need to be armed with solutions to homeowners’ unique needs, whether it’s aging in place renovations, increasing energy efficiency or simply making their home more functional.
It’s no secret that many homeowners are facing tough questions in today’s market, and for some, remodeling their current home makes sense. HBAL’s Remodeler’s Council is comprised of remodeling experts who can answer those tough questions. For more information about finding local remodelers, visit bialouisville.com.
What are Local Homeowners Asking of Remodelers?
Joe French, Louisville Handyman, described what he’s being asked to do to improve or enhance efficiency in existing homes? “We regularly do energy retrofits to improve the efficiency of existing homes. This includes air sealing, insulating, weather stripping, replacing skylights, etc… These projects can range from a few hours to a few weeks depending upon the need and budget. On a recent project, we achieved a reduction of more than 20 percent of air loss after the retrofit. That has made the home much more comfortable as well as energy efficient.”
Jeff Smith, Insuramax Contractors, said that clients are commonly asking for higher efficiency HVAC systems. “Homeowners also want options on insulation. We have a few conversations regarding energy effiecient lighting, LED, CFL, etc … I feel like most of these alternative choices made by homeowners are driven by operating cost, not by a drive to be more ‘green.’ The more we can educate our clients on new trends, the more interested they will become.”
French noted trends that that he believes are encouraging homeowners to remodel. “With people staying in their houses, we are getting more requests to remodel bathrooms, kitchens and basements. We have also seen an uptick in our handyman service with getting houses ready to go on the market or addressing issues to allow sales to go through.”
Smith said he believes the popularity of the DIY and home improvement television programs gets people excited about working on their homes. “The outdoor kitchen/fire circle/screen porch trend has helped us, along with the early warm weather. It has pushed people to call us regarding outdoor projects that may have usually been pushed off until summer.” Smith also noted his impression that banks seem to be lending more, which is improving his business.
On the National Level
According to NAHB, energy efficiency is the most popular reason why consumers choose a green remodeling project. The U.S. has approximately 125 million single-family homes, the majority built before energy efficiency developments, suggesting a huge market for green remodeling.
How big is green remodeling on the national level?
According to NAHB …
• 91% of remodelers use energy efficient windows.
• 87% of remodelers surveyed by NAHB already in corporate low-emmisivity windows into their projects.
• 86% install Energy Star®-rated appliances.
• 72% of consumers report energy efficient features in a home would influence their purchase decision.
• 70% upgrade existing insulation.
• 70% of remodelers already incorporate recycled or recyclable materials into their projects.
• 61% of consumers would spend more than $5,000 upfront to save on utility costs.
• 60% install argon gas windows.
Industry News for Remodelers
HBAL remodelers can stay up-to-date on industry news through NAHB’s online newletter, ReNews. Remodelers can keep up with current issues affecting their businesses, including developments with the Lead Exposure Reduction Amendments Act of 2012, which could amend the Lead: Renovation, Repair, and Painting rule (RRP). Information on the growing trend of renovation loans is also offered, such as the FHA 203k program and the Fannie Mae HomeStyle Renovation Mortgage that allow homeowners to borrow money based off their home’s future value after the improvements have been made.