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For the residential building sector, the COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the old adage that a homeowner’s work is never done. People across the country have spent extra time at home tending to projects they have been putting off for weeks, months and maybe even years.
For some homeowners, the pandemic has led them to think about projects beyond the four walls of their home. Whether you call them bonus builds, accessory dwelling units, she sheds, or casitas, these extra-on property spaces have been growing in popularity for the past few years. In fact, according to a recent study by mortgage loan company Freddie Mac, there are over 1.4 million spaces of this nature across the country. As people spend more time at home with their entire family, the thought of having an additional space on their property is even more appealing.
With a growing interest in bonus builds, building material retailers have an opportunity to not only provide their expert insights, but also showcase a wide range of product offerings. To begin, ensure your customers have done their homework in terms of homeowner association or local and state regulations before diving into this type of project.
Once that is confirmed, it is time to talk products. What is needed for a bonus build will vary according to the purpose it is serving, i.e., a guest house vs. a home office, but there are a few items that will be standard throughout.
Unless the homeowner wants their space to be completely void of sunlight, windows will be a key component of the project. What is great about bonus builds is that they are an opportunity for people to think about new types of products, beyond what is currently being used in their primary living spaces.
This is a chance for homeowners to think about more energy efficient windows and even windows in different colors, shapes, styles and grill patterns, so consider the full range of window products at your retail location. Some homeowners may even prefer a more trendy or customized look for their windows, with different colors on the interior and exterior.
Homeowners need a way to get into their bonus builds, but do they want to go the traditional front door route, or might they consider a patio door for their new space? Sliding, swinging, pocket or French patio doors can open a world of possibilities for a bonus build and complement any design style.
Beyond aesthetics, how does the homeowner need the door to perform? Do they want the look of a traditional wood door minus the maintenance? Aluminum-clad wood or wood composite doors will do the trick. Superior energy efficiency can be achieved with vinyl doors, while aluminum doors offer strength and a narrow frame for more natural light.
Additionally, with hand hygiene top of mind today, another area to consider for doors is remote control functionality and keyless door locks.
When it comes to the exterior of the bonus build, does the homeowner want this space to be an extension of their home with similar coloring and aesthetics or do they want to pursue an alternate style? Do they have any specific requirements for the space? For example, some homeowners may require soundproofing to keep out as much noise as possible, and for those customers you will want to share information about siding (and window) products that have been designed to reduce the transfer of outdoor noise.
Additionally, consider the location of the home. Bonus builds in hurricane prone areas or extreme temperatures, for example, will require more from their siding products and windows, so homeowners will benefit from learning the features and benefits of those specialty products relative to other offerings on the market.
These are just a few of the topics to consider as customers approach you for help with a bonus build project. As with other home design projects, the important thing to keep in mind will be what the homeowner wants from their new space. From there, the opportunities are endless.