Real Estate

Home Improvement Projects Continue to Keep Owners Busy


The pandemic has fueled a trend of home improvement projects as homeowners have spent more time at home. But to-do lists remain long. In the meantime, homeowners also have grown increasingly comfortable securing financing online for these projects, according to a new survey from Discover Home Loans.

The top motivators behind home improvement projects during the pandemic have been comfort, health, and safety, according to the survey, which was conducted last summer and released this week. Kitchen and bathroom updates remain the most popular renovation projects. But adding or remodeling home offices, replacing hard-to-clean surfaces, and installing air filtration systems also are making it on to more remodeling lists.

According to the survey, just over half of more than 1,100 homeowners surveyed—58%—said that they were planning home improvements within the next year, according to the Discover Home Loans survey. Eighty-three percent said they view home improvement projects as a way to improve their comfort while spending more time at home. Also, 62% are making improvements to add health and safety to their homes, the survey found.

“In light of the pandemic, homeowners are looking for new and better ways to improve their homes as they spend more time than ever in them,” said Nicole Straub, general manager of Discover Home Loans. “Mortgage rates are very low right now, and homeowners can take advantage by using the equity in their homes to pay for projects such as remodeling a home office, installing an air-filtration system, or even consolidating high-interest debt.”

To pay for these home remodeling projects, more homeowners are turning to home equity loans, particularly as home prices continue to surge and their equity position increases.

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased homeowners’ desire to use digital options during the mortgage and refinancing process to get access to these loans too. Fifty percent of homeowners said they prefer securing financing online compared to 43% prior to the pandemic. Homeowners reported digital preferences for several steps throughout the process, including a preference to filling out the application online, selecting loan options, and submitting documents and scheduling closings electronically.

“Our borrowers already appear to be comfortable with the digital mortgage process with more than 80% of applications initiated online,” Straub said. “With COVID-19, borrowers have been looking for ways to avoid in-person contact during the mortgage process. … We anticipate that post-COVID-19, this comfort with the convenience of digital processes will continue.”


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