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Home Remodeling and Renovation Trends During COVID-19

remodeled backyard

Sell or remodel? It’s an age old question in the real estate world.

And now amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, that query is even more at the forefront of the minds of homeowners as they determine whether to upsize or revamp their existing quarters.

Over the last four months, lives have been upended and changed in ways never imagined possible. From lockdowns to quarantinis, hand sanitizer to social distancing, there is not only new terminology but an array of human behaviors that would have been hard to fathom even a year ago.

Home Needs Change as a Result of the Pandemic

The Safe at Home mandate in Colorado saw children and teens participating in remote learning at home as their working parents often conducted business via Zoom and a myriad of other software platforms. One of the results of this heightened family interaction has become an increased focus on our homes, and how we can best function under one roof.

Homeowners often choose to move into a larger home as their needs change. Whether it’s to accommodate new family members or the desire for more space, a person’s first home may no longer suit their lifestyle. 

But Denver’s chronically low housing supply and elevated prices are causing many to forgo listing their homes and instead make renovations and updates to augment and complement their lifestyle. For some, it may mean a whole new addition; for others, it may be something as simple as repurposing a room.

Denver’s chronically low housing supply and elevated prices are causing many to forgo listing their homes and instead make renovations and updates to augment and complement their lifestyle.

According to a recent article in Remodeling, a survey by Bank of America polled 1,054 Americans about their attitudes and shopping habits during the coronavirus and found that 70% have decided to undergo home improvement projects, with more projects planned for 2021. In particular, the findings revealed that millennials' desire to remodel may kick off "a wave of renovation activity by a generation that has been relatively slow to enter the house market," according to Bank of America. 

The Remodeling article goes on to point out another survey conducted by Realtor.com, which found that upgraded kitchens, more space, and home gyms are among the top desires of homeowners sheltering-in-place. 

A recent survey found that upgraded kitchens, more space, and home gyms are among the top desires of homeowners sheltering-in-place. 

Furthermore, an article in domino.com claims that many people are re-thinking how their homes are functioning and are making plans to make their space multi-dimensional to accommodate work, school, entertainment and relaxation pursuits. Allison Petty of the New York based Hyphen & Co. states, “Our houses are becoming our new offices, classrooms, restaurants, and bars, and our remodels are reflecting that.”


Home gym set up at 1450 Wynkoop, #5C | Historic Denver Loft For Sale

Best Projects for ROI in Denver

Historically, people will select home renovation projects based on both need and the return on investment (ROI). According to the Hanley Wood Cost vs. Value 2020 research, the top five home improvement projects that get you the most return for your money in Denver are:

  1. Garage door replacement
  2. Putting manufactured stone veneer on the exterior
  3. Replacing windows
  4. A minor kitchen remodel
  5. Siding replacement. 

While those projects may offer the best ROI, some experts are expecting home renovations to start reflecting specific wants and needs of families as a result of the pandemic. Although the ROI may be part of the equation, people may want to make their homes more livable and enjoyable while they are actually owning the property. For example, a minor kitchen remodel may include a homework station and better lighting. Or, it may come in the form of redesigning a neglected sitting room to accommodate a desk or workstation.

The Need for Workspaces and Outdoor Spaces

The focus on viable work areas may also require sound-proofing and privacy measures in dedicated rooms used for video conferencing and remote learning. Additionally, enhanced lighting in those study and work areas allows for a better learning and working environment. Overhead as well as floor and table lamps should be evaluated to determine if there is adequate illumination.

office nook - denver condo

Work Space at 837 E 17th Avenue, #2D | Uptown Condo For Sale

Not to be forgotten in the mix is the appeal of the outdoors and how to incorporate a patio or deck into the overall living area of a home. Colorado’s 300+ days of sunshine and low humidity make for perfect conditions to integrate the outdoors with indoor living space. It’s not surprising that a deck addition is ranked #6 in the Hanley Wood report for cost recouped.

During the pandemic, many Coloradans have rediscovered the simple joys of being outside and see the value of backyard improvements. Whether you are considering a covered patio, pergola or a simple outdoor umbrella, your outside areas can become a critical part of the value of your home.

What’s better than eating outside as the summer sun starts to set? Or the simple pleasure of enjoying a cool drink in a lounge chair while your kids roast marshmallows for s’mores at the firepit? Even when the leaves start to fall, homeowners can add relatively inexpensive patio heaters to extend the enjoyment of your outside living areas well into the cooler months of the year.backyard remodel

Another popular home improvement continues to be accessory dwelling units (ADU). Often referred to as granny flats or mother-in-law suites, ADUs provide additional space for a home office, housing for a family member or rental income. A recent article in Housing Wire indicates that between 2009 and 2019, the number of first-time ADU listings on the Multiple Listing Service grew an average of 8.6% year over year. Furthermore, research from Freddie Mac indicates there are 1.4 million single-family properties with ADUs.

Most homeowners understand that to keep a home vibrant and livable, and to enhance its resale value, projects and updates are a necessity. What remains to be seen is if the home improvements and renovations that emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic will have staying power or move into a category of something that served its purpose for a moment in time.

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