Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Learn How to Capitalize on Homeowners' Desire to Improve Their Home Before Selling

Whether they read it online or are told by a real estate agent, by the time most homeowners are ready to list their home, they realize that making some investments in repairs or even strategic upgrades can increase what their home ultimately sells for by as much as 15%.

Since homeowners are definitely willing to spend money in order to make more from their sale, this provides a really appealing opportunity for House Doctors franchise owners. Because homeowners are actively seeking help with these types of tasks, it really is an ideal opportunity to start what can easily lead to an ongoing relationship.

To understand exactly what home sellers are interested in, let's take a look at the most common pre-sale repair requests we receive:

Front and/or Garage Door Damage

Everyone knows that when it comes to selling a home, first impressions are very important. That's why no seller wants potential buyers to start their tour of a home by walking through a damaged garage or front door. Depending on the extent of the damage, a homeowner's exact needs can range from a fresh coat of paint to needing a brand new door installed.

Minor Roof Repairs

While plenty of homeowners are fine with a few missing shingles or minor gutter damage, when the time comes for them to sell, these are issues they want to fix. In addition to repairs, a homeowner may be interested in a thorough exterior cleaning so that their home looks great whenever someone passes by.

Deep Interior Cleaning

This is especially relevant for a seller who previously smoked in their home. In order to keep non-smoking potential buyers from losing interest as soon as they walk inside the home, sellers in this category are going to want their carpets deep cleaned and their walls washed.

Because homeowners are going to turn to your professional team for guidance, a potential upsell is recommending that once the walls are clean and dry, an undercoat of Kilz primer, followed by a fresh coat of paint be applied. This will help seal in the remaining smell of smoke and eliminate any discoloration issues.

Replacing Bathroom Flooring

Bathroom flooring that's in bad shape is a big turnoff to buyers. That's why many sellers are willing to invest in having their vinyl flooring replaced. When this job is quoted, be sure to factor in the cost of pulling out the toilet, replacing it, and then resealing.

Dealing with Drips

Whether it's a faucet or the pipe under the bathroom sink, getting ready for a sale is often when many homeowners finally decide to take care of a drip, as well as any mold that may have resulted from previous neglect.

Thanks to the fact that House Doctors provides so much branding and marketing support to our franchise owners, we ensure that when a soon-to-be seller realizes they need repairs done, House Doctors is the first company that comes to mind!

The Demand for Green Living is a Major Opportunity for Home Improvement Franchises

Research conducted by the NHBA found that not only did the green home building market increase from 2% to 17% between 2005 and 2011, but that figure is expected to increase all the way to 30% by 2016. Because so many new homes are being built with green features, it shouldn't come as a surprise that more homeowners than ever are interested in having these features added to their existing home. As a future House Doctors franchise owner, this presents a very exciting opportunity for your business.

What Green Improvements Do Homeowners Want?

When it comes to living a green lifestyle, homeowners want to be energy, earth, health and water smart. That means they need professionals who can make those types of changes to their home at an appealing price point. A common example of what a homeowner may be interested in is a programmable thermostat. By utilizing this device, they'll be able to reduce their energy usage without compromising the comfort of their home.

Another example is sealing someone's home and/or upgrading their insulation. Both of these options will significantly reduce the amount of energy that goes to waste. Other options that have ongoing demand from homeowners include solar water heaters, tankless water heaters, and energy efficient windows and doors.

Keep in mind that not every homeowner who's interested in green living knows exactly what they want. Instead, they're just as interested in getting advice from a source they can trust. Because the House Doctors brand is in that exact position, it provides the opportunity for your business to capitalize on fulfilling the role of being a consultant. That role will provide even more leverage throughout the sales process.

Energy efficient lighting is the perfect example of what can come from that kind of role. Making this transition may be as simple as swapping out existing bulbs for compact fluorescent lights. But since that's not something every homeowner knows about, they need professional guidance, as well as any additional recommendations.

What About Remodels?

In addition to adding a few features throughout a home, there are plenty of homeowners who are interested in taking things a step further by doing a complete remodel on one or more areas of their home. The best way to appeal to this type of homeowner is to provide a comprehensive solution for what they want. For example, you can communicate that not only will you put thought into what materials are used for the project, but also that any materials that get removed will be handled in an environmentally responsible manner.

Speaking of materials, some of the specific topics you can address are that linoleum is a greener choice than vinyl, paint should be low or no-VOC, and reclaimed wood, cork or bamboo are excellent choices for flooring materials. And when it comes to choosing new appliances or similar additions, options like Energy Star appliances and low-flow toilets are very green.

Home Offices: What This Trend Means for Your Future Franchise

There are more than thirty-three million Americans who complete some percentage of their work from home. And because movements like remote work and entrepreneurship in general have gained a lot of momentum in recent years, all signs point towards this occurrence only continuing to become even more prevalent.

While plenty of homes have a spare bedroom, that doesn't mean these rooms are optimized to be used as an office. As a result, more homeowners are turning to professionals like those affiliated with House Doctors franchises for help. The type of work that's done in this area can range from helping guide design choices all the way to doing a custom remodel of an existing room.

What People Want and Need from Home Offices

Although there are a lot of benefits that go along with working at home, that doesn't mean it's without its challenges. For example, if someone has kids, it's nice that they can be at home to help. At the same time, the challenging part can be finding quiet times to actually get work done. Because of this, it's important for a home office to provide ample privacy. It also needs to contain everything necessary for someone's job so they don't have to constantly be moving to different rooms in the house.

It's also important for homeowners who want to invest in a home office to realize that not everyone's ideal space is going to be the same. For example, the needs of someone who's going to see clients in their home on a regular basis are going to be significantly different from someone who's only working alone as a remote employee.

When it comes to creating a great home office, it's easy for homeowners to overlook details that may seem minor, but will actually have a huge impact on the overall effectiveness of this space. Lighting is the perfect example of this type of detail. At first, it may seem like a few lamps will be enough to illuminate this space. But since people will likely end up spending a lot of time in this area, inadequate lighting can take a toll on their eyes and mood. That's why they need a trusted professional who can guide them in the direction of illuminating the space with plenty of actual or simulated natural light.

The Opportunity for Franchise Owners

Once you start looking into this trend, it becomes clear that creating the right home office requires significantly more effort than simply putting a laptop on a table in the corner of a room. Since there are many choices that need to be made, your future franchise has an opportunity to act as a guide and authority on this subject. For example, while someone may not initially think about the importance of space that will keep their equipment at the right height for maximum comfort, those are the types of things they'll be willing to pay for once they're educated about it.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Aging in Place: Impressive Stats and Popular Trends Potential Franchise Owners Should Know About

One area of the home improvement market that has seen a huge spike in demand in recent years is the aging in place segment. This term refers to senior homeowners who want changes made that will allow them to maintain their comfort and independence by staying in their home. Research conducted by the AARP found that a full 90% of seniors want to stay where they're currently living. Even for people who require daily care, only 9% would rather live in a care facility. A big part of this is seniors are afraid that even if a facility provides a safe environment, they're going to be burdened by unwanted rules.

What Do Seniors Want?

Getting older creates a lot of mobility and safety challenges. Since seniors are aware of these issues, it shouldn't come as a surprise that they have strong opinions about what they want in terms of aging in place services. When surveyed, the eight improvements seniors feel are most important are:

·         Safety features (ex. non-slip floor surfaces)
·         Bathroom aides (ex. grab bars)
·         A way to call for help in an emergency situation
·         Entrances with no steps
·         Wider doorways
·         Doorknobs that feature a lever handle
·         Electrical outlets that are higher up the wall
·         Electrical switches that are lower on a wall

In terms of why seniors want these features, the most common is for their own safety. However, their decisions are also influenced by wanting to make their home more convenient for everyone, ensuring they can continue living independently, and providing features that another family member absolutely requires.

It's also worth mentioning that seniors themselves aren't the only people who are thinking about these issues. A full 88% of adult children think about their parents getting older on a regular basis. And of those, 54% feel strongly that their parents are going to need some form of help. Thanks to all these factors, the National Assocation of Home Builders believes this market will grow all the way to $25 billion in the near future.

Key Aging in Place Issues and Trends

Entering and exiting, going up and down stairs, and safely using the bathroom are three of the biggest issues related to aging in place. Because those issues present a wide range of challenges, many of the most popular trends address them in at least one way. For example, a lot of seniors are looking for ways to create a level entry and open up the space throughout their home so it's easier to navigate. This ties into many seniors' desire to be able to live on the ground floor.

Ensuring that storage is easy to reach and open is another significant trend that helps drive aging in place designs. This also influences many other design choices that enable someone to access what they need without having to bend. Also, creating bathrooms that balance comfort and safety plays a big part in satisfying the desires of aging in place customers.