It’s Home Improvement Month, and we want to empower and celebrate home improvement contractors. More people at home, and working from home, has caused an increase in the wear-and-tear on their houses—and the need for home improvements and home improvement financing options.*
This month, we’ll share blogs on:
- How financing know-how can simplify your home improvement business
- Contractor tips to a more consultative approach to financing options
- How contractors can position financing to meet client demands for more energy-efficient upgrades
- A celebration of contractors during a past year unlike any other
This is the fourth blog in our Home Improvement Month series.
Our homes have played a unique role in our lives throughout the coronavirus pandemic, and home improvement contractors have been critical in keeping our houses comfortable and safe. Almost overnight, some of the day-to-day operations of home improvement professionals were disrupted. Despite pandemic-related obstacles, contractors stepped up to the challenge when the home improvement trades were deemed essential from day one of the quarantine that began in 2020.
These essential workers have our sincere gratitude and praise for navigating uncharted territory to improve the instantaneous work-, school- and everything-from-home lives of so many. In celebration of Home Improvement Month, we’d like to take a moment to recognize all that they’ve done and continue to do.
COVID-19: A Home Improvement Disrupter Like No Other
In early 2020, with so many unknowns around the pandemic, some homeowners immediately cancelled or postponed home improvement projects already under contract. Other factors also prevented work from moving forward:
- Local municipality building departments and inspectors were closed or had reduced hours, limiting ability to get permits and inspections
- Many subcontractors, suppliers and vendors were not deemed essential, making it nearly impossible to complete projects
- Supply chain disruption slowed or completely derailed home improvement projects
- New safety protocols had to be instantly implemented for the protection of crews and customers
- Rising labor costs increased costs of supplies and, ultimately, overall project costs.
The extremes of the initial lockdown impacted consumers’ willingness, desire and ability to take action on home improvement financing and control cash flow for projects. Furloughs, layoffs and unemployment skyrocketed and created a cascading economic hurdle for the trades—initially. Then, home improvements went to the other extreme.
Shifting Funds Toward Home Improvement Projects
Homes quickly became the new office, school, cafeteria, vacation destination and long-term care facilities. Home Advisor even dubbed its 2020 State of Home Spending Report “The Year of the Home.” Home improvement contractors had to navigate these “command centrals” with increased safety and many more at-home obstacles.
More people working, schooling and vacationing at home naturally increased wear and tear—and resulted in additional spending on home repairs in 2020. This also created a log jam for many contractors, with unparalleled waiting lists. According to HomeAdvisor, homeowners shifted budgets from travel and entertainment to home improvements, which also drove up spending. Also, younger generations started to buy more homes.
“Homeownership rates for millennials have jumped significantly, especially as COVID-19 has reemphasized the importance of the home, and many companies move to flexible work location options,” HomeAdvisor stated in the report. “Millennials are not only rapidly becoming homeowners, but they are also spending more on home improvement than any other generation when they do.”
The extremes of an instant slow-down and then a sudden ramp-up continued to challenge the industry.
A Revealing Focus on Utility Efficiencies and Costs
Utility usage and bills increased for many with all-the-things from home. The wear and tear, along with rising utility bills, motivated many homeowners to look at different energy sources such as solar. In fact, residential solar installations were up 14% from Q2 to Q3 2020, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. Installers wanted to be able to offer their customers multiple payment deferral and loan term options** to make it easier for their homeowners to switch to solar.
Additionally, with fires and floods, utilities took a hit, and so did the homes that rely upon their energy. According to HomeAdvisor, people had more emergency projects and in its 2020 report, “one major reason for the increase in emergency projects has been the volume of severe weather over the last year and unseasonable or extreme weather is a key driver of unexpected home emergencies.” On top of already stressed backlogs, HVAC, roofing and solar contractors were called to high priority emergency projects.
Your Partner in Home Improvement Projects
When contractors came to the aid of homeowners and their increased home repair needs, Mosaic aimed to simplify home improvement financing options for them and their customers. Together, we can help more people afford clean energy and sustainable home improvements.
As home improvement month comes to a close, we want to thank all of the home improvement professionals who help us keep our homes cleaner, more comfortable and more resilient.
* Home Improvement Loans through the Mosaic Platform are made by WebBank, Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender.
** Interest accrues during the 12-month or 18-month promotional period and is waived if the loan is paid in full by the end of that period. Otherwise, if the principal balance is not paid in full by the end of that period, interest will be charged from the start date of the loan.