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Home Improvement Continues to Surge — What Homeowners Need to Know Before Starting a Renovation Project
By Jesse Rivera, CEO at New Vista Solutions
Home improvement spending spiked in 2020 as homeowners found themselves confined to their living space due to COVID-19. According to a report released by HomeAdvisor, the top reason for home improvement spending in 2020 was to make the home more suitable to lifestyle needs — but what about 2021?
Some researchers say increased spending on owner-occupied home improvements is expected to continue. A nationwide shortage of homes for sale and escalating home prices are good reasons to stay put and renovate rather than venture out into the real estate market.
The latest Housing Health Report from BuildFax finds that homeowners have turned to exterior home renovations, including secondary structures, decking, pools and solar panels.
“As we approached one year since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we saw some clear trends emerging related to homeowner behaviors that may be here to stay," said Jonathan Kanarek, Managing Director of BuildFax. "Increasingly, homeowners have turned to projects outside of the home, as they look to improve or expand their livable spaces—like installing a pool or backyard office space. These projects reflect shifts in how Americans use their homes following adjustments to remote work and less travel amid the pandemic. As a whole, investment in the existing housing stock has seen remarkable growth, as Americans continue to spend time at home and prioritize home improvements, rather than re-enter the competitive housing market.”
As homeowners spend more time at home, they’ve seen an increase in their utility bills. More attention is now being paid to energy efficiency and ways to lower energy costs. The installation of solar panels has already risen 14.6% over 2020. Lifestyle and functionality are important aspects of a comfortable home, but the benefits of energy-efficient upgrades are becoming more of a priority.
The price tag for most energy-efficient upgrades can be hefty, but low-interest financing and financial incentives can reduce the cost significantly — and the savings will help pay for the improvements over time. Many lenders now offer ‘green’ loan programs to borrowers who want to make their home more energy efficient. Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, VA and FHA offer energy-efficient loan programs — but let’s talk about the one thing that most homeowners don’t know about — green energy incentives.
There are over 24,000 federal, state, county, city and utility (gas, electric and water) incentives available to homeowners when they include energy-efficient upgrades in their home improvement projects. These financial incentives are paid in the form of tax deductions, fee waivers, rebates, grants and bill credits, to name a few.
Types of improvements include lighting, heating/cooling equipment, windows and doors, weatherization, insulation and water-conserving irrigation systems.
Here is an example illustrating how incentives can have a significant impact on a home improvement project:
A 40-year-old house in Los Angeles saved $7,900 on a renovation project using green incentives. Incentives cut the homeowner’s total cost by 17%.
In years past, finding information about green incentives was a challenge, but that’s no longer the case. New Vista Solutions has partnered with IncentiFind to create The Green Report. IncentiFind maintains the nation’s only comprehensive database of green incentives. The Green Report provides a detailed listing of all incentives available for a specific property. Homeowners can register their project on New Vista’s website and purchase The Green Report to find a list of all incentives available to them for that property.
For more information, visit https://green.newvistasolutions.com.
To access training videos on green energy incentives, go to New Vista’s YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCq9Z-ln61wGLRelya_9xLqQ