Cashing in on ‘improve don’t move’ society

Friday 21st January 2022

Man and woman redecorating their hallway

The last couple of years have brought an unprecedented feeling of uncertainty, and this has extended to our home lives, with people now more keen than ever to make the most of what they’ve got rather than risk moving.

As well as more security, improving your current home has other benefits too, including being able to bring your own vision to life and get everything you want and exactly as you want it – no compromises.

It also seems that people are appreciating the community spirit more than pre-pandemic. It’s almost as though our lives got too busy for us to remember everyone else in our local village, and when the world slowed down, we started to see people again.

We remembered how good it feels to step out of your door into a community of likeminded people who want much of the same things as we do. The VE Day street parties made us see the power of coming together as a community and though the world around us is starting to pick up pace again, we haven’t forgotten who we relied on during those times. Dark times of isolation, eased by our loving neighbours dropping off a much needed carton of milk on the doorstep.

I think this also partly stems from the newfound sense of belonging we all have. In our pre-pandemic lives, we had a handful of places where we would spend most of our time. At home, sure, but also at work, at the local park, in the local pub or restaurant or takeaway. But we never felt as unapologetically comfortable as we do at home. It’s natural. It’s an environment that you have created for yourself entirely and you only choose to share with those closest to you. So when home became our only place to be, it makes sense that we also became increasingly comfortable. A feeling we never knew we were missing.

What does this all mean for the home improvement sector?

It seems there’s been a slight shift away from the money-making improvements that often drives the market, and more of a focus on making it right for you. After all, you’re the one living there until you do decide to move on. Sure people are still adding space via extensions and loft conversions, but they’re more focused now on making the space work for them – for their present needs without too much concern for the future. After all, if the last two years have shown us anything, it’s that none of us can predict the future.

The current housing market is showing us we have less influence over the value of our own homes than we thought.

Most popular home improvement trends

DIY decorating
With lots of people learning new skills during the many lockdowns and keeping a much closer eye on their money than they maybe used to, there’s been a real spike in people doing jobs once reserved for a trained professional. Of course, we’ve all picked up a paint brush and some frog tape in our time, but now we’re talking tiling, refitting lighting and creating panelling effects. You name it, people are attempting it.

Letting in the light
There’s a real trend at the moment for big windows – a kind of follow on from the ever popular bi-folding doors. You can get the benefit of the extra daylight in a room by adding big feature windows that bring the outdoors in without the expense or compromise on privacy that can often come with the sliding glass door.

Finding a place for everything
If being in our homes nonstop for the last 18 months has taught us anything, it’s that an organised house is a happy one. Gone are the days when you could leave things in another room, close the door and not have to deal with them. Now, most of the time, that room is not only your home office, but also your gym, your walk-in wardrobe and your spare bedroom. Our houses have become so much more to us than ever before so clever storage and making use of every inch of spare space is crucial.

Kicking up the kerb appeal
During lockdowns, we spent so much time making our homes our own little safe havens that when we finally stepped back outside and saw that other people see on the outside, we discovered they were often missing the charm and personality that oozes from the inside. This is why we’ve seen a huge uplift in people focusing their efforts on the outside of their homes..

Added luxury
Not only did our homes become where we worked and spent the mundane days of our lives during the lockdowns, but they also became where we ‘holidayed’ and spent the special times too, meaning lots of people began to understand the allure of having some luxury at home. In fact, last summer it was estimated that hot tub sales rose by 1,000%. Other at home luxuries on the rise include summer houses and garden saunas.

Making it multi-use
It really goes without saying that the stay at home order came as a shock to everyone. Suddenly, overnight, our homes became our offices, whether we were ready for it or not. We had to get smart about where things went and how we could repurpose rooms. Many people didn’t think it was practical to pack away office equipment every night and get it back out every morning – so what’s the alternative? As it happens, a desk and a laptop take up very little space, it’s just a question of where that small piece of extra space may be. Practical but pretty workspaces started popping up all over – under the stairs, in the hallway or on a landing. And you know something? It works.

Adding lightweight doors
Pre-2020, it’s fair to say most modern families, were keen on a more open plan living space than traditionally was preferred. We wanted all the doors gone, we wanted to be able to see and communicate with our families at all times. From cooking while the kids do their home work, to entertaining guests without having to run into the kitchen every 5 minutes to check on the pizza. Then lockdown happened. Suddenly, we were all in our houses, all the time. Children were there instead of at school, and their parents were working right next to them instead of in the office. In many ways, it was a nightmare. So up pops the new trend of reintroducing doors. They’re more lightweight and easily opened when the family spaces we all know and love are required, but can be closed in order to create separate rooms when we need it, and that is suddenly a very highly sought after experience.

Garden rooms
Another element of making the most of the limited space we have is making sure our gardens are usable all year round. We Brits are generally proud of our gardens, yet had mostly accepted that we can only use them for half of the year. Well no more. From fully insulated buildings with electricity and all the other home comforts, to more modest covered seating areas complete with soft furnishings and a heater, we are truly making the most of every inch we own.

How can we help?

Offering home improvement finance options can allow customer to get what they want more easily by spreading the cost. It has always a great tool for supporting your customer and standing out against your competitors but never more so than now as people are happy to spend a little extra – they never know when they might need it!

Tips for selling in finance

Have the conversation at the start of the sales process. There’s no need to wait until their mind is made up. It may be too late by then and upselling will be much harder if you then discover the customer is eligible for more.

Our in store system allows you to run an eligibility check on your customer before the full application to save you both time down the line, helping you to convert browsers into buyers.

If you are solely online, use our downloadable banners on your website to make your customers aware of your finance offering. Don’t just include it on the payment page – make sure it features on your homepage and product pages across the site too.