What Are Renovators Stressed About? Depends on Where They Live

The results may surprise you

With thousands of projects on Sweeten’s platform, we’re always looking for ways to minimize the stress of renovation—we do that by providing budget, estimate comparison and payment tools, matching homeowners with the best general contractors, following every project to completion, and sharing our homeowners’ stories. 

To dig deeper into people’s biggest remodeling fears and pain points, we enlisted global market research firm Schlesinger Group to conduct our 2nd national renovation stress study. The survey of past, current, and future renovators across seven major U.S. cities gave us insight into what makes renovators’ hearts race—not in a good way—and how they approach a major project. 

Of course, seeing that 85% of homeowners consider remodeling stressful is not a shocker (though the fact that Los Angeles homeowners top the list of saying it’s “extremely stressful” was of note). Below are just some of the highlights from a hefty report that includes interesting geographical differences. We read every word to problem-solve and make the process as transparent as possible.

1. Planning is the most stressful stage.

Yes, even more than demolition or relocation. Fifty-nine percent of those surveyed placed planning in their top three most stressful renovation steps. The good news? Our blog has plenty of guides on pricing, timing, and other must-knows to make renovation easier. 

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2. Going over budget is a top concernbut most people don’t do that.

It’s not so surprising, but important nonetheless. Of those who said they went over budget, the majority actually only spent 10% more than they’d budgeted, so even though missing the money mark is a big-time fear, the amount overspent is less than you’d think. We actually advise renovators to build in a 10% cushion to the budget on all projects. 

NOTE: When you post a project on Sweeten, our platform pre-populates the various elements involved and pricing down to every last detail, from cabinet installation to floor replacement, providing a much simpler way to look at the big picture (and granular) costs. Our platform also provides a bid-leveling service to compare contractor estimates for an apples-to-apples analysis to make the smartest decision for what you’re trying to accomplish.

3. Renovation shows and videos are a major learning source. 

While a renovation is really not like what you see on a 30-minute TV show, 57% of survey participants watch homes transform on TV and/or the Internet. Our advice? Get inspiration and ideas, get a sense of what a post-demolition space looks like—but don’t make assumptions about how your own project or experience will turn out based on the made-for-screen remodels. (You don’t REALLY believe you can overhaul your living space in 48 hours, right?)

4. Men are more trusting; women need a call.

When it comes to general contractors (GCs), men have a higher overall opinion of them (68% vs. 62%). Women place the highest importance on contractors returning calls quickly (67% to 58%) and are most often deterred by a contractor who’s difficult to get ahold of (67% to 58%). 

At Sweeten, we agree that communication and chemistry are key!

5. Where you live affects what you worry about.

Check out our map below!

Dream homes are universal and renovators have similar questions and concerns across various cities nationwide—some might even be ones you have now. Sweeten is a free service matching renovators with vetted general contractors. We also check in with you and the contractor until the project is complete. Read Before + After stories from homeowners to get a personal perspective on their experience.

*The online survey was conducted by research marketing firm Schlesinger Group; it consisted of 875 consumers who had either completed a home renovation within the past 2 years, are currently in the middle of a home remodel, or plan to begin a home remodeling project within the next 6 months. All respondents spent/plan to spend at least $15,000. Markets: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami, Atlanta, Boston, and Philadelphia. The previous study was conducted in 2017. For more information, please email [email protected].

Anxious about your own remodel? First-time homeowners who renovated with Sweeten share their advice and tips here.

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, scope, and style. Follow the blog, Sweeten Stories, for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation on Sweeten.

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