Remodeling can be a trying, disruptive process for homeowners: they must arrange the financing, do hours of research, find and hire a kitchen designer and contractor they trust, make design decisions, and wait while their space is under construction. They are most likely managing a job and family as well.
Knowing all that, what motivates homeowners to renovate their kitchens? Is there one deciding factor? Or a work-from-home situation? Or possibly having family home more than previously? Or other changes to work and home life? Or a series of events that align and they finally say: “Let’s do it”? In this article we’ll look at what influenced homeowners to decide to get the kitchen remodel started.
Determining each homeowner’s motivation to remodel can be a powerful tool for winning new business. Understanding why they want to take on a kitchen renovation project can give you an edge when it comes to putting together your design, quote and proposal.
Houzz Study Reveals Why Homeowners Renovate Their Kitchens
The activities that come with a kitchen remodel represent a major disruption. It’s not only the cost. Despite all the negatives, homeowners can always find good reasons to take on a kitchen renovation. Their reasons vary.
According to Houzz, many people decided to invest in a kitchen project during the pandemic. Its recently released 2021 Houzz & Home Study reveals some of the reasons for remodeling. Based on a survey of more than 70,000 U.S. respondents, the report found that home renovation projects were up in 2020.
Homeowners Still Hiring Pros for Remodeling Help
The pandemic forced many people to evaluate how they actually use their kitchens. Many made improvements to accommodate changes in work and life, resulting in increased demand for home improvement professionals. 85% of renovating homeowners hired design professionals to guide their kitchen remodels. General contractors are the most commonly hired pros, with kitchen designers coming in close second.
Finding the right kitchen designer, contractor, architect or interior design professional to suit a homeowner’s needs can be a big challenge for a homeowner. Houzz survey respondents said they relied on recommendations from friends and family and online ratings and reviews when selecting a design professional for their project.
What matters most to homeowners when choosing a contractor or kitchen design professional for home renovations?
16 Reasons Why Homeowners Remodel Their Kitchens
While pandemic-caused life and work changes was a key factor in making the decision to remodel, it isn’t the only one. Listed here are 16 other reasons homeowners gave for starting a kitchen remodel.
- They wanted to do the project all along and finally had the time or the money. “We can finally afford a new kitchen!”
- They want to improve an inefficient design
- Their kitchen is worn out. “We can’t stand this old kitchen any longer.”
- They want to customize a recently purchased home, to make it their own
- High prices in the housing market. “We’ll renovate our kitchen rather than move.”
- They want to lower energy costs
- Millennials want to personalize their first homes
- Baby boomers want to age in place
- Accommodating multi-generational living
- The desire to create a dream gourmet kitchen
- They got inspired watching home improvement shows on cable television
- Increasing property value before selling
- Keeping up with the Joneses – peer pressure from neighbors
- Repairing damage due to the home’s age, water damage or other damage from extreme weather
- They want to change the style or colors of their kitchen
- Adapting to a major lifestyle change, such as a growing or shrinking family or changes made to accommodate aging or disabled family members
Additional Remodeling Motivations
Homeowners may have other motivations that they reveal to you only after questioning during your client intake process. Asking follow-up questions to get at their underlying motivation will help you better understand your client and what they want.
If a homeowner shares that they have wanted to do the project for a long time, ask:
- Why are you starting this kitchen remodel project now?
- What prevented you from doing it on earlier?
If the client shares that they just bought the house, ask:
- How long do you plan to stay in this home?
- Why did you choose this home?
If a homeowner shares the home is old, ask:
- Is there damage to repair in the project?
- Was the kitchen remodeled previously?
If a homeowner mentions any upcoming lifestyle changes, ask:
- Will you have any family members joining the household soon?
- Will any family members retire and spend more time at home soon?
- Will any family members be moving out soon?
To get a better understand of why a potential client wants to renovate, the questions below can help you get them to open up.
- Why do you want to remodel?
- Why did you decide to move forward with this project now?
- What are you looking to accomplish with this project?
- What is the age of your home?
- Has the kitchen been renovated previously?
- What about your kitchen do you like?
- What about your kitchen do you not like?
- How long do you plan to stay in your home? Are you concerned with resale value?
- Does anyone in your family have specific needs for work and/or study?
- Do you anticipate changes to your family size in the next few years?
- How much time does each family member spend at home?
- Does any family member have physical or mobility limitations?
- Do you socialize in your kitchen? How often do you entertain?
- What time of day is your kitchen most frequently used?
- Do you have any furniture you want in your kitchen?
- What type of specialized storage do you want/need?
- If you want an eat-in kitchen, how many seats?
- Besides cooking, what other activities will take place in your new kitchen?
Staying in One Place Longer
Homeowners are staying in their homes longer. The typical homeowner in 2020 had remained in place for 13 years, up slightly from 12.8 years in 2019 and well ahead of 2010’s reading of 8.7 years . About one in four U.S. homeowners has lived in the same home for more than 20 years, the study showed.
According to AARP, the majority of older adults are planning to stay in their homes for the rest of their lives.
A study from NAHB found that people frequently remodel to avoid moving, a motivating factor that has increased in importance over the years.
Knowing these trends gives you the opportunity to present kitchen designs with long-term functionality and accessibility in mind. If you are knowledgeable about universal design, you will have a definite advantage with Baby Boomers. Over half of renovation spending comes from homeowners aged 55 years old and older.
Multigenerational living is on the rise in the US for several reasons:
- people want their children to know their grandparents
- so adults can take care of their aging parents
- adult children can live at home to save for their own homes
Personalize the Space and Improve the Kitchen's Style
Remodeling the kitchen allows your clients to customize their homes the way they want and in a way that meets their unique needs. It is the ideal opportunity for them to create a comfortable space and make it useful and enjoyable. Working with you as their guide can help them narrow down their choices and get the best results within their budget.
Improving an Inefficient Layout
Homeowners want a kitchen that works for their individual needs. They may think it’s all about how the kitchen looks, but they need to ask themselves: Is the working area too small and too cramped? Maybe they can’t open certain cabinets if someone has the refrigerator door open. They might need more countertop space for meal prep. These inconveniences can be fixed and greatly improved with the right remodeling job.
Ideas for improving functionality:
- Add storage organizers in the drawers
- Reconfigure the space to add a peninsula or island
- Add under cabinet lighting
- Install a food pantry for the ultimate in storage area
Replace a Worn Out Kitchen
When helping your clients plan their new kitchen, it’s the time to update deteriorating materials. No matter how shiny everything looks when first installed, the wear and tear of life and general use takes its toll.
The most important things to update in a kitchen include the cabinets, countertops, sink, faucet and flooring. You can guide your clients to invest in high-quality, durable products that will last many years.
Peer Pressure | Keeping Up with the Joneses
Some homeowners are inspired to update their kitchens after seeing their neighbors remodel. Many people are motivated by a desire to make their kitchen as nice as they perceive other homes in the neighborhood to be.
Millennial respondents, in particular, said they felt peer pressure to improve their home, especially the kitchen.
Many homeowners are well aware of how the value of their home is impacted by surrounding homes, i.e., neighborhood “comps”. Wanting to keep up with the neighbors may be one motivating factor behind hiring you or determining the scope of the project.
Boost Property Value for Resale
Homeowners may be motivated by their plans to improve their home before putting it up for sale. Realtors report that the kitchen can make or break a deal. A remodeled and up-to-date kitchen will appeal to potential buyers more than a worn out and outdated kitchen.
Encourage your clients to think beyond themselves and what they like when renovating their kitchens. The updates should appeal to potential home buyers and not just themselves.
Statistics show that a homeowner will likely recoup a good portion of what they invest in a kitchen remodel. According to Remodeling Magazine’s 2021 Cost vs. Value Report, they will get back 62% - 77% of what they paid for the remodel.
Improve resale value with updates, such as:
- Wood floors
Lower Energy Costs and Increase Savings
Energy savings can be a huge motivating factor for renovating a kitchen. From ovens to dishwashers to stoves, kitchens are full of energy-sucking appliances. A kitchen renovation provides the opportunity to bring in energy-efficient appliances. And go eco-friendly for savings on energy costs.
The Houzz survey found homeowners are considering technology products and environmentally conscious “green” features to update their kitchens. Almost half of renovating homeowners said they plan to buy “smart,” internet-connected products for their new kitchens.
The most-wanted products with green features are:
- energy-efficient lighting
- energy-efficient dishwashers
- water-conserving faucets
Other energy-saving measures that can be included in a kitchen remodel include adding more windows, adding more insulation and adding skylights to bring in more sunlight.
Upgrade to Fit Homeowner's Personal Style
If your clients tell you that their kitchen is not the style or color they would like and they’re ready to upgrade, you can guide their decision-making process with your experience and expertise.
Their kitchen should be somewhere they want to be and spend time in. That means it should reflect their personal style.
Ask your clients: “What would you like your kitchen to say about you?” Houzz survey respondents answered this question:
- 48% said they want their kitchens to say: “I’m modern,”
- 39% want their kitchens to say: “I’m stylish”
- 35% want their kitchens to say: “I work hard, and I deserve this.”
Some areas for style personalization can include:
Upgrade to Meet Family's Needs and Lifestyle
The kitchen layout may have worked great at one time, but not any longer. It’s important the family plans their remodel with their specific needs in mind.
- They may need a breakfast bar so they can eat in the kitchen without going to the dining room
- Maybe they want a large table in the center of the room.
- A place for the kids to do homework at the island
- They probably want more storage, like many homeowners who reported in the Houzz Kitchen Trends Study
- They may want more counter space because they love to entertain.
Kitchen needs for your clients to consider:
- Storage: Cabinet and pantry storage or a place for a china collection
- Appliances: Double ovens, cooktop, range, beverage fridge, microwave drawer, etc.
- Seating: an eat-in kitchen, island, breakfast nook and/or banquette
- A coffee center
- A wet or dry bar
- Extra space for entertaining and storage for seldom used entertaining dishes, glassware and serving utensils and silverware
Most people look at their kitchen and dream of making improvements. But the catalyst for actually beginning a renovation project varies. A kitchen remodel is a major disruption, and it’s not only the cost. Despite all the negatives, homeowners can always find good reasons to take on a kitchen renovation.
For Further Reading
Bob Aungst Cabinet Sales is a full-service rep agency with the goal of matching kitchen designers and remodelers with the cabinet manufacturers best suited to their business’ style and clientele. Owner Bob Aungst III represents Brighton Cabinetry, US Cabinet Depot, Jay Rambo Cabinetry and Great Northern Cabinetry.