Planning ahead: What are your home improvement goals for 2024?

Key takeaways

  • Planning for the new year often includes ways to improve your home.
  • Real estate agents can proactively ask clients about their goals for their home for 2024 and see how they can help.
  • A home assessment is a great place to start planning for home improvements and many homeowners can use the expert advice of a trusted real estate agent to make decisions.
  • A home warranty can protect homeowners so they can focus on renovation rather than worrying about repairs.

January, traditionally a time to make plans and promises for the year, can be an excellent time to evaluate a home and consider potential improvements. You may want to contact clients to discuss their thoughts about their home, such as whether it needs updating or an addition, or perhaps they want to get it move-in ready to sell. Your expertise in real estate values can help them, and so can your connections to reliable and skilled professionals.

Whether you’re considering a home improvement project for your own home or want to provide trusted advice to your clients and potential clients, taking a step-by-step approach and allowing plenty of time to plan can make for a smoother and more cost-effective experience for the year ahead.

7 steps for 2024 home improvement planning

In 2023, the top motivations for homeowners to spend money on their homes were to maintain its condition or to adapt their homes to meet their lifestyle needs, according to the State of Home Spending report by Angi, formerly known as Angi’s List. Homeowners who spent money on home improvements, maintenance and repairs spent an average of $13,667, up 6% compared to 2022.

Top projects in 2023 include regular maintenance such as lawn care and gutter cleaning, followed by interior painting, new appliances, bathroom remodeling and the installation of smart home devices and new flooring.

Whether you or your clients are considering some of those popular projects or have other ideas, the following steps can start the planning process.

  1. Start with a home assessment. As a real estate agent, you know the importance of touring a home from a buyer's perspective. Whether your clients think they may sell now or in several years, you can provide insight about resale value and suggestions about simple (or more complex) ways to improve their homes. Walk with homeowners room by room to review the condition of their house and help them think about the spaces they enjoy as well as those they could improve to enjoy more.
  2. Create a list of potential projects. Creating a list of projects and repairs to improve the home is a great way to start the process. Brainstorming creative ideas can be fun, even if the projects don't happen right away. Ideas often lead to insight into what would make a home more livable and appealing. A master list of home improvements can jumpstart the planning process, from small items like swapping out kitchen cabinet hardware to big-ticket items such as a bathroom addition or remodel.
  3. Rate your ideas in order of importance. That master list can become more valuable when homeowners determine which items are the most urgent for safety and security, which will add the most to livability and which ones can be delayed. Rating the ideas can provide clarity for homeowners about their home and its condition, rather than taking a haphazard approach.
  4. Determine whether seasonal issues may impact the project. Depending on the project, weather conditions can be a factor when determining when to begin a project. For example, while a homeowner may want to revamp their outdoor space with a gazebo, seating area or garden, these projects may not be possible in the midst of winter. Similarly, window replacements may need to be delayed to avoid exposing the house to extreme weather.
  5. Assess your resources. Homeowners can easily accomplish some projects, such as replacing doorknobs or heat vents, while others, especially those involving electrical or plumbing expertise, are best left to professionals. Going through the list and considering what can be a DIY project, which will depend on each homeowner’s abilities can help with prioritization.
  6. Create a budget. Estimate the costs for various projects with online product searches and an online home renovation cost estimator. As a real estate agent, you may also be able to provide an idea of costs to your clients – or connect them with professionals who can. Next, consider potential funds for projects. Most homeowners (62%) pay cash from savings for their home improvements, while 37% use credit cards, 30% use a payment plan and 24% borrow funds with a home equity line of credit, according to the State of Home Spending report.
  7. Rank your projects and create a home improvement schedule. With plenty of insight into their priorities, resources, costs, and budget, homeowners can rank their projects and create a timeline for home improvements. To stay motivated, it's good to keep a few projects in the pipeline that can be done inexpensively yet provide satisfaction to homeowners.

When your clients plan a home improvement project, it's a great time to remind them that a Cinch home warranty can provide extra protection for their home. No one wants to be in the middle of renovation projects only to be surprised by the unexpected appliance repair or replacement expense. A Cinch home warranty provides access to a professional network of contractors providing homeowners the peace of mind knowing that a covered incident can be made quickly and competently.

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