As COVID-19 continues to reshape our lives, changing our daily routines and mandating precautionary measures that involve staying in our homes more than ever before, home improvement projects are increasingly becoming top of mind for homeowners. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), homeowners are incorporating renovations into the “new normal” of homeownership.

Remodeling home projects takes time and patience, and Realtors along with homeowners recognize the feelings of accomplishment, satisfaction, and potentially higher home values that come with it. During this pandemic, homeownership is invaluable, and we all know that a home means everything to our families — from protection to safety to comfort — so we’re seeing people across our region dedicating themselves to improving their homes to better accommodate their needs.

Here are some facts about home renovations during the pandemic, according to an NAR survey:

• The top three home renovations that homeowners hope to complete within their budgets in 2020 are a new bathroom by 28 percent; a new kitchen by 23 percent; and fencing in their yards by 21 percent.

• Homeowners are attuned to how the pandemic may influence prospective buyers’ preferences. A fenced-in yard, for example, the third most popular project for 2020, didn’t even make the top 10 Realtor-recommended projects in NAR’s 2019 Remodeling Impact Report, which examined a variety of remodeling projects and their appeal, value and potential return on investment.

• An additional 21 percent of homeowners expect new investments such as a home office, gym, or other space will offer the greatest return — other projects Realtors would not have recommended as a top priority based on 2019 data.

• Some renovation priorities remain unchanged: kitchen and bathroom upgrades and remodels were highly recommended by Realtors in 2019 and continue to be at the top of most homeowners’ current lists.

Homeowners and renters remodel, redesign, and restructure their home for a variety of reasons. The 2019 Remodeling Impact Report takes a deep dive into the reasons for remodeling, the success of taking on projects, and the increased happiness found in the home once a project is completed. Access the current report at www.nar.realtor/research-and-statistics/research-reports/remodeling-impact

Realtors can help homeowners understand their local real estate markets while identifying which home renovations improve quality of life and provide a greater return on investment during this ‘new normal’ of homeownership. If you are interested in selling or buying a home, contact a local Realtor. Visit www.sfar.com to find a list of questions to ask when choosing a Realtor.

Paco Arguello is chief executive of the Santa Fe Association of Realtors. Contact him at 982-8385 or [email protected]