SC Homeowners Use Pandemic Downtime to Renovate Homes | characteristics


Kristen Brittingham wasn’t fully enjoying her dream home.

She had a job that involved traveling three days a week to separate her from her family and her three-story home, which was right on the swamp and tucked away in a quiet North Charleston community.

But then the 2020 spread of COVID-19 suspended their travel, forcing Brittingham to work from home. It was then that she saw that her house needed some improvement.

“When you are at home that much … you start looking at your house and noticing things,” she said.

Brittingham is not alone.

According to the Hearth Home Improvement Index – which studies the number of home loan applications on – homeowners in South Carolina have significantly increased their home improvement project creation rate, prioritizing pandemic-related projects related to interior remodeling, windows and doors, fences and decks, Landscaping and solar panels.

At the national level, South Carolina ranks 11th in the top 20 states with the most home loan applications, according to Hearth. Wyoming, Texas, and Florida top the list of those getting a big boost in home improvement projects, in addition to several southern states.

Hearth’s Dago Garcia said the increased number of home improvement projects was due to people wanting to make changes after spending more time in their homes during the pandemic.


Kristen Brittingham recently did some home improvement, including renovating the deck of the Park Circle house and adding an infinity pool. Brad nettles / staff

Homeowners have saved money by less travel, and many have invested those extra funds in home renovations, Garcia said.

Areas in South Carolina that have the most home finance loans include HVAC, roofing, general contracting, and fencing.

Landscaping has the largest average loan amount at $ 15,563, according to Hearth. Construction loans had the second largest average amount at $ 10,120 per loan.

“People are very proud of their gardens,” said Garcia.

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Plus, people are trying to capitalize on the hot seller market by upgrading their properties to get the selling prices they want, Garcia said.

“People see it as an opportunity to change something for themselves,” he said.

Brittingham’s home renovations included some minor fixes, like replacing ceiling fans and lighting fixtures. She also touched up some spots with paint.

Her Park Circle home has also undergone some major renovations.


Kristen Brittingham recently did some home improvement, including renovating the deck of the Park Circle house and adding an infinity pool. Brad nettles / staff

Brittingham refinanced her home last year after interest rates fell and provided her with the funds to build a 6-foot-wide, 47-foot-long infinity pool. Bar stools in the pool allow you to take a break from swimming and sit on the terrace.

Brittingham struggled to find someone to do the renovation.

She contacted the pool company in May 2020, but her project wasn’t completed until July 2021 as it was difficult to find a contractor to install the pool.

“They are definitely understaffed in the pool industry,” she said.

As more people improve their homes, local homeowners struggle to find contractors.

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Tristan Tahara moved to Park Circle from the Brentwood neighborhood of North Charleston in May. Shortly thereafter, he began looking online for a contractor who could expand one of the rooms into a master bedroom.

Tahara went through 10 contractors before finding someone to do the job. All contractors either didn’t respond or set deadlines and then never showed up.

“It was very frustrating,” said Tahara.

Tahara doesn’t just want to create more space in his house. He also wants to address environmental issues.

In addition to planning to expand his bedroom, Tahara plans to build a French drain in his home to help mitigate flooding.

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Reach Rickey Dennis at 937-4886. Follow him on Twitter @RCDJunior.

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