MRA offers three keys to home improvement investments during economic uncertainty
With talk of recession looming, homeowners are re-evaluating home renovation projects that may make the most sense—and dollars—in an uncertain economy.
While concerned homeowners tend to pull back on extras and luxury upgrades when times get tougher, experts say improvements that fall into the “must-do” category and offer a longer-term return on the investment are far more recession-resistant.
Making smart home improvement decisions to weather economic uncertainties is a lesson that lingers for homeowners who lived through the 2008 housing bubble. Now, signs indicate that homeowners are again increasingly interested in renovations designed to maximize returns, according to the Metal Roofing Alliance (MRA), an industry trade group that tracks consumer metal roofing demand trends.
“When news of a potential downturn hits, homeowners start focusing more on long-term value and savings; essential home improvements that have maximum impact over the long haul,” said Renee Ramey, MRA executive director. “That’s why we often see that demand stays steady, even when homeowners pull back on other improvements due to tightening budgets.”
No matter what the economic future holds, the MRA points to three rules of thumb when it comes to recession-resistant home improvements, including:
When times get tough, up the ante on efficiency
Most homeowners understand that increasing efficiency can help save money on utility bills year in and year out, but they aren’t always aware how projects like re-roofing offer opportunities to increase that savings in significant ways.
If you have to re-roof, choosing better roofing material and installation methods adds up to real dollars and cents. Research indicates homeowners can save up to 40 percent on annual energy costs by selecting the right type of roof and installation practices.
“Re-roofing is a great time to consider spending a little extra on better materials and making sure your insulation meets or exceed local codes for your area,” said Ramey. “Good installation practices and quality material will pay off significantly in the long run.”
Weather market unpredictability: Think long-term
The lowest bid is always the right bid? Wrong, says Ramey. While tempting, selecting the cheapest estimate can end up being much more costly over the long run.
For example, choosing a 15-year asphalt roof instead of a metal roof designed to last 50-plus years could mean having to replace it three times instead of just once. Factoring in the extra material and labor costs, not to mention the potential repairs or additional damage that can result from choosing lesser quality materials, and it’s easy to see how spending a little more upfront can save on major expenses, headaches and hassles down the road.
Choosing materials that reduce maintenance costs or even allow homeowners to tackle maintenance projects themselves vs. having to hire a professional also can help save on ongoing expenses and should be factored in when budgeting for any large-scale project.
Guard against threats to shield investments
Hurricanes, hail, wildfire and winter storm damage: they happen, and more frequently than ever.
According to U.S. News & World Report, fixing up homes after a natural disaster barely used to register in home renovation data. However, in 2016-2017, spending on disaster repairs exceeded $27 billion in the U.S., as compared to $14 billion in 1996-1997.
For areas increasingly prone to climate extremes, insurance coverage for specific natural disasters is rising in costs, if it’s even available at all. When budgets are already tight, home damage caused by a disaster can quickly wipe out emergency savings. The best defense is a good offense. Make informed decisions about home improvement projects that can help guard against potential regional threats before they strike.
“A home’s roof often bears the worst of what Mother Nature can dish out. It can play a significant role in whether a home survives relatively unscathed during a natural disaster,” said Ramey. “Protect yourself and your investment by installing the best quality roof you can afford and make sure that it offers strong protection against regional threats that occur in your area.”
About Metal Roofing Alliance (MRA)
Representing metal roofing manufacturers in the United States and Canada, the Metal Roofing Alliance (MRA) was formed in 1998 as a nonprofit organization to help educate consumers about the many benefits of metal roofs. The main objective of MRA is to increase awareness of the beauty, durability and money-saving advantages of quality metal roofs among homeowners, as well as to provide support for metal roofing businesses and contractors. For more information, visit MRA.