33% of Home Buyers Plan ‘Automation’ Upgrades

33% of Home Buyers Plan ‘Automation’ Upgrades

Jun 22, 2016

Massive study by home remodeling website Houzz reveals home automation is third most planned system upgrade, but still less than 1% of homeowners plan to hire a ‘media’ contractor; however, 4% are seeking ‘window treatment’ professionals.

Integrators or “media” contractors as the term used in the Houzz study, continue to be invisible among consumers. The average amount spent on home renovations in 2015 was $59,800, but only one out of every three homeowners even sets a budget before starting a renovation.

There good news and there’s bad news for integrators from the results in a new huge study from online powerhouse Houzz related to home renovations.

First, the good news from the 2016 Houzz & Home Study, which had 121,639 respondents:

Home automation is the third-most-likely home “system” to be upgraded by both those who are buying a home and those who plan to sell their homes. One-third (33 percent) of people who bought a home in 2015 intend to upgrade or add home automation to their new home. Meanwhile, 16 percent of those who plan to sell in 2016 intend to upgrade or add home automation to make their home more attractive for purchase. Home automation trailed only plumbing (41 percent of buyers/24 percent of sellers) and electrical (42 percent of buyers/18 percent of sellers) and the most common home system planned for upgrade.

Also, home entertainment systems fared well. Across the board for all types of home systems (HVAC, water treatment, security, solar, basement waterproofing, water heater, etc.) buyers are much more likely to renovate than sellers.

Interestingly, while individual rooms like kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms and master suites draw a lot of the attention for renovators, 60 percent of homeowners plan to focus on renovating “systems” in the home, not just individual rooms. That trend is beneficial to integrators, who typically work throughout the home vs. just a single room.

Another piece of good news for integrators: All generations, 85 percent of homeowners are keen to hire a professional to do the work. Among those who recently purchased a home, 91 percent said they plan to hire a pro. Plus, two-thirds said “quality of work” was the biggest reason to hire a contractor.

In terms of budget, the average overall expenditure for a home renovation in 2015 was $59,800. Again, home buyers plan to spend more than those selling a home. Meanwhile, nearly one-in-three homeowners (31 percent) do not have a budget when they start a renovation project. Also, eight out of 10 homeowners say they paid for their home renovations out of their savings account, compared to about 20 percent who paid with a credit card and even less with a home-equity loan.

Integrators Still ‘Invisible’ Trade

Now the not-so-good news: Among homeowners who plan to hire a professional to do the work, just 1 percent said they would hire a “media contractor” and only 1 percent would hire a “lighting designer.” Among the specialties of integrators, a window treatment contractor was the most in-demand at just 4 percent. The No. 1 contractor planned to be hired is an electrician (20 percent). Of course, because integrators are still a relatively unknown trade among consumers, many of the survey respondents may think A/V integrators are electricians.

More bad news, outdoor A/V doesn’t fare too well in terms of renovation priority among homeowners. Upgraded outdoor lighting (19 percent of buyers/14 percent of sellers) is No. 1, followed by security (9 percent of buyers/4 percent of sellers) and A/V (3 percent of buyers/2 percent of sellers).
The Houzz study shows that lighting is the most popular outdoor systems upgrade planned by both buyers and sellers.

The annual Houzz & Home survey is the largest survey of residential remodeling, building and decorating activity published, according to the website. The survey covers a wide range of renovation projects in 2015, from interior remodels and additions to home systems, exterior upgrades and outdoor projects. Data gathered includes historical and planned spends, professional involvement, motivations and challenges behind building, renovation and decorating projects, as well as planned activities for 2016. The 2016 study includes more than 120,000 respondents in the U.S., providing insights into the home improvement activity of the more than 40 million monthly unique users of the Houzz site and mobile apps