By WP BrandStudio
So much goes into finding and buying a home. It’s a place to live, yes, so of course there are practical concerns to take into account—making sure the foundation is stable, that there are enough bedrooms, that the commute to work is reasonable. But it’s also about choosing where to put down roots and form a community: the local parks people grow to love, the neighbors they bond with, the coffee shops they come to depend on. People have been staying in their homes for years for these reasons—only now, they’re staying even longer.
In 2019, the average U.S. homeowner had spent 13 years living in their home, compared to only eight years in 2010. And in the last year, people have obviously spent more time in their homes than ever before, due to pandemic-driven shutdowns and travel restrictions. The result is an increased desire to remodel homes and invest in repairs for an owner’s enjoyment rather than for the express purpose of improving resale value—although it does that, as well.
Pandemic aside, there are many reasons people are staying in their homes for longer stretches—attachment to their neighborhoods being just one of them. Older adults deciding not to downsize, as well as tax incentives, are some others. Rising home prices are another factor, says Avery Boyce, a real estate agent with Compass, which serves the D.C., Maryland and Virginia areas, “A lot of people [have] been priced out of the place that they bought five or 10 years ago because the city prices have gone up so much, and it does just wind up being a better financial choice to stay in the house that they have and make changes to it.” When the opportunity to remodel or repair and stay put is a possibility, she said, more people are choosing to go that route.
Besides, certain changes, like closing up an open floor plan to create more privacy, can be relatively easy to make. “I think even before the pandemic people want more walls, but it’s definitely been exacerbated by the pandemic,” Boyce said. “We’ve gone from, ‘Oh, I love the openness of this floor plan’ to ‘I wish there were just a little separation.’” Even if it’s more square footage people are looking for, moving isn’t the only way to achieve that. Building a three-season room or enclosing a patio are some other ideas.
In addition to spatial and cosmetic improvements, people are also investing in everyday repairs. While the ubiquity of information on the internet has allowed people to feel empowered to do home repairs themselves, 63 percent of self-done projects fail. According to Matthew Mack, senior sales manager at home-service company Long Roofing, hiring an expert really makes a difference, because professionals have the capacity to handle all of the unforeseen scenarios that come up during home improvement projects, not to mention the efficiency with which they work. “They’re going to get it done two to three times as fast as somebody who doesn’t [do] that every day,” he said.
Boyce said that most of her clients see it that way as well. “I would say, in my experience, there’s almost no one who thinks they’re going to do the work themselves,” she said. “They don’t know how, and it takes a lot of time, and they just budget for it from the beginning.”
Davy Meister, a retired English teacher and homeowner in Culpeper, Va., noticed a few years ago that the roof on his ranch-style home was in need of repair. After every severe thunderstorm, there would be pieces of roof in the yard, and although he hadn’t noticed any leaks, he wanted to get ahead of it before he did. So in the spring of 2017, when he saw that Long Roofing was offering a special on a roof replacement plus free gutters — with an attractive financing package — he gave them a call.
Meister knew from the beginning that trying to do the job himself was not in the cards. “I [can] take care of your dangling participles and your misplaced modifiers,” the retired English teacher said, “and I can help you with run-on sentences, but I cannot take care of a roof.”
Making the choice to go with Long Roofing was an easy one for Meister, who felt that the company went the extra mile. Of the sales representative he first met with, he said, “Financially, he knew that we were retired individuals on a limited budget…and he was doggedly determined that he was going to find a way to make sure that this worked out for us.”
Another one of the major appeals for Meister when it came to choosing Long Roofing was the company’s unparalleled warranty policy. Most companies have warranties in which the coverage decreases over time, or that last longer for products than they do for labor. With the latter, for instance, a homeowner might be eligible to get an item replaced under warranty but will still need to find someone to do the work of replacing it. This is inconvenient, to say the least.
With Long Roofing—which, despite its name, also installs and remodels windows, siding, doors and baths—warranties are all-inclusive. “We have warranties because we understand issues happen,” Mack said, adding, “It’s something that we definitely pride ourselves on.” Long Roofing offers lifetime warranties on windows, doors and siding, and 50-year warranties on roofs. Warranties are even transferable to the next tenant—on roofs, they are fully transferable for the first 12 years; and for windows, doors and siding, they are transferable once with no time restrictions.
Since getting his new roof installed—a job Meister found to be speedy and efficiently done—he has put the warranty to the test, and he felt it was as straightforward and easy as promised. After discovering a minor leak in the garage, a crack was found near the chimney that was affecting part of the roof. Meister dialed up Long Roofing, and within a short time, somebody came out and took care of it. “They were true to their word,” Meister said. His roof has been as good as new ever since.
Meister, who bought his house in 2011, is one of the many following this current trend of continuing to stay put. “We’re going to be here for as long as we can possibly be,” he said. The success of the roof repair has made him realize the importance of home maintenance in general. “We knew that…if you are going to take care of your home, it should start at the top. If you can’t take care of covering your home before you take care of the insides, you might not have an inside to take care of,” he said. Next, he’s considering having the bathroom remodeled and some fence work done—and he knows who he’ll call to do the jobs.