Homebuilders are continually being challenged by changing business trends and climate cycles. Small businesses struggle to find ways to cut costs, increase profitability, and provide the best customer service. The bottom line is to find common ground between consumer demands and determine what services to provide. In the past year, there has been a significant change in trends – people are still unemployed, home values are down, and new home starts are down.
The Kitchen is a Culinary Laboratory
With the growing trend of food cooking shows and classes, consumers have expressed a growing interest in the culinary arts. On the one hand, basic cooking at home is the most efficient way to save money, especially if it can be done fast, cheap, and “where the heart is.” Consumers see these appliances not only as an investment but also as an improved resell value in the home.
Home remodelers are rushing to take advantage of providing the most specialized service to these eager home chefs. Consumers are craving products on scales that have never been seen before, for products from famous chefs like Emeril, Rachel Ray, Glada, Paula Dean, and Bobby Flay.
The Restroom a Necessity
Many realtors expressed that the most profitable room in a home to remodel before selling a home on the market is the bathroom. The state of a bathroom can make or break a deal with the buyer. At the same time, consumers are surprisingly driven to remodel their bathrooms more than ever before. Whirlpool bathtubs, saunas, and new tiles were some of the hottest trends. Now people want the bare necessities to create the highest possible resale value.
Tax Credits and Efficiency
In the current economy, the majority of consumers are not spending money on luxury items; they are spending money on improvements that will improve their quality of living as well as their pocketbook. The Energy Tax Credits available through the Department of Energy are an added incentive for homeowners. They have encouraged consumers to be kind to the environment by replacing with energy-saving products, which start showing savings the day they are installed.
Window companies like Allgood Home Products and AirTight Home Products state that consumers are also concerned about their increasing the value of their home. Products like windows and doors not only improve the home’s curb appeal but also provide homeowners with a return on their initial investment.
Consumers are more concerned about conserving energy and saving money. Windows are their most popular items, above roofing, doors, gutters, and insulation. They emphasize that consumers seek a good return on their investments that generate the best energy efficiency, a credit on their taxes, and therefore providing a greater resell value.
As people spend more time at home in a recessionary environment, they are more likely to perform maintenance themselves than hiring someone to make installations for them. Bob Shiflett, at Aquatic Garden Designs, said the most growing trend that he noticed in the past year was that people wanted to install their own water fountains than paying extra for labor costs. Even though the same amount of people demand water fountains installed in their homes, people have more time to spend installing new improvements themselves, than paying a professional to do it.
David Nelsen, with The Lawnkeeper in Ohio, said, sees a growing trend in longer service contracts in lawn maintenance services. “Since people are staying home, more people are demanding their grass cut and bushes trimmed on a more regular basis. Instead of leaving on vacation and neglecting their lawn, they are staying home and paying someone else to upkeep their lawn.”
A Vacation at Home
Consumer spending is the largest component of the Gross National Product. People are constantly spending hard-earned dollars on home improvements from a new sink to planning mulch designs and home efficiencies to conserve resources. Trends are constantly changing as consumers are driven to purchase tax credit incentive products and installing features on their own. The new trend of creating a “staycation,” is staying closer to home.