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Remodeling During COVID? These Home Improvement Projects Offer the Best ROI
Andrew Koenig
May 16, 2023

The COVID-19 pandemic and seemingly unending months of lockdown and quarantine have meant people are spending more time at home than ever before. Combined with the millions of Americans still working from home and children participating in distance learning rather than in-person classes, our home spaces may be starting to feel a bit cramped.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, families are taking this as an opportunity to remodel, reorganize, and reimagine their living spaces, but not all home improvement projects offer homeowners an equal return on their investments. In a new study, Stoneside Blinds & Shades surveyed over 1,000 people about what’s been lingering on their renovation to-do list, what they’ve gotten done since the pandemic began, and how much money they’ve spent along the way.

Related: 7-Step Process for Finding Great Contractors for Home Renovations

Getting the Most Bang for Your Buck With Home Renovations

More than half of respondents (51%) indicated their kitchen offered the best return on investment (ROI) for their renovation dollars, followed by the bedroom (17%), living room (10%), and bathroom (9%).

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As roughly 1 in 5 people also reported they were planning to move within the next year, we found the perceived value of specific home renovations changed based on how long homeowners expected to stay in their current location. Compared to 58% of people staying put for the next 12 months who said the kitchen was best for ROI renovations, just 30% of people planning to relocate said the same. Instead, those expecting to move indicated the bedroom (37%) and bathroom (14%) were the best investment opportunities for their home.

Related: 13 Proactive Ways to Increase Rent & Add Value to Your Rental Property

For a majority of homeowners, the return on the money spent during home renovations is a major consideration with regard to which projects to take on and which to forgo. Over a quarter (28%) of respondents said ROI was a major motivating factor during renovations, followed by 43% who said it was a moderate factor and just 18% who deemed it a small factor.

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Younger homeowners were the most likely to consider the long-term value implications of their home improvement projects. Almost 30% of millennials said ROI was a major factor in their renovations, and 48% said it was at least a moderate consideration. In contrast, 14% of baby boomers and 13% of Gen X homeowners said ROI was not at all a consideration in their decision to renovate.

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Lingering Home Improvement Projects

Kitchen repairs or remodeling were a top priority for 21% of homeowners, including 22% who had no plans to relocate in the next 12 months. As the survey found, kitchen remodeling was also the project most people wanted to do, according to 28% of respondents. Although deck and patio repairs had a much lower level of necessity (6%), 19% of homeowners indicated it was a project they wanted to take on.

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For those deciding what to tackle and what to let go of, cost can be a major consideration. Generation X homeowners spent the most on home renovation since March 2020, with an average of $1,178. Baby boomers ($1,099) and millennials ($999) spent only slightly less.

For those looking to make their home improvement dreams a reality, the DIY route may offer some crucial cash savings. A majority of homeowners taking on new renovation projects during the pandemic indicated doing them as DIY and saving just over $600, on average.

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Increasing the Comfortability of Our Homes

Whether they were planning to move in the next year or not, many of the homeowners polled have home improvement projects on their mind. What to do and when may be a product of timing and cost, though.

The priority of some "want to do" projects (including major kitchen renovations) diminished significantly among those not planning to move. On the other hand, projects like the bathroom, bedroom, and deck and patio were higher priorities for those expecting to relocate. And whether you're trying to make the most out of your home during the pandemic or looking for the best return on investment, DIY renovations could save you hundreds of dollars along the way.

What areas of your home or rentals are you renovating this year? Why?