Some home remodeling jobs bring more “joy” than others

The National Association of Realtors and the National Association of the Remodeling Industry conducted a joint study to identify homeowners’ most popular renovations.

Spending more time at home has led to more home renovation projects. Americans spent $420 billion on renovations in 2020.

And for homeowners on a budget, remodeling can be addictive.



“What I find really interesting is that they didn’t just want to remodel one room, but after completing a major remodel, they went to another part of their house and said, ‘Wait, I want to do that too.’ said Jessica Lautz, vice president of demographics and behavioral insights at the National Association of Realtors.

The National Association of the Remodeling Industry reports that 60% of its members said the scale of remodeling projects had grown due to the pandemic, either to a larger project or to remodel more than one room.

The National Association of Realtors and the National Association of the Remodeling Industry conducted a joint study, the 2022 Remodeling Impact Report, to identify the most popular homeowner renovations that resulted in the highest owner satisfaction with a “Joy Score.”

The Joy Score is a combination of happiness and satisfaction on a scale of 1 to 10. And many of the top-scoring projects aren’t major projects.

“Just paint. Putting on a new coat of paint is really a high Joy Score. Also things aimed at energy efficiency, like new insulation. And a closet,” said Lautz.

A new garage door, a new roof and adding or upgrading a study also get top marks.

Renovations add value to a home when it’s time to sell it, and the report also examined projects with the highest return on investment.

Not only does installing or refinishing hardwood floors top the Joy Score scale, they both top the list for best return on investment. Interestingly, refinishing old hardwood floors has a better return on investment—147% on average—than installing new hardwood floors—118% on average.

“I think it shines in photos. Maybe people want the character of the house still there. It could very well be that people just like older houses and the character,” Lautz said.

Among the exterior projects, new roofs and a new garage door both cover 100% of the project cost.

While the pandemic may have increased the need or desire for home renovations, the report found that 83% of homeowners who recently completed projects said they would remodel regardless of the pandemic.

The full NAR and NARI 2022 Remodeling Impact Report is published online.

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