How to Gain Wallet Share From the Rural Home Improvement Customer

In rural parts of the country, it’s easy to find the home of your dreams at a reasonable price. If you’re looking for a historic home, chances are you can find one not far from Main Street in many small towns. Want to do a “Fixer Upper” style renovation to a 1975 ranch? There are many available in rural areas. Rural residents know this – and they take great pride in their home no matter how old it is. In fact, some might tell you that the older the home, the higher the quality.
That doesn’t mean that windows last forever or that decks don’t eventually succumb to Mother Nature. Sheds get damaged, kitchens and bathrooms get outdated, and sometimes additional square footage is needed. For companies in the home remodeling business, it is worthwhile paying attention to rural homeowners and getting their messaging out to these people. With great deals on older homes and young professionals moving to the countryside, higher demand for your products and services may be imminent. So, let’s dig into some numbers and see if we can get a better understanding of rural home improvement – and also how companies can reach rural consumers.

The Aging Rural Home

While there are many new subdivisions and new homes in rural areas, most housing units are aging, with 1970s-era homes taking a big chunk of the pie. We also see that homes built in 1919 or earlier also account for a significant portion of housing units in rural geographies.
When we look at the landscape of older rural homes, it’s easy to overlook how vastly different they are from the average new home. For example, in terms of square footage, homes built in the 1970s average about 1,576 sq ft. In 2010 the average was 2,430 sq ft. That’s a massive increase in space in the home. When new homes are on average almost 1,000 square feet larger, perhaps it’s no wonder that rural homeowners are 37% more likely than average to have added another room to their home in the last 12 months.
What about other home improvements? There are two places that can easily show the age of a home – kitchens and bathrooms. For rural homeowners, they have not gone unnoticed.There are a few specific things they have bought recently to update and improve their property. Exterior siding is a big one, especially when adding square footage to a home. Replacing old doors and windows is also high up on the list. Storage sheds, which are very popular with rural residents, make the list as well.

Looking Ahead – Rural Home Remodeling Opportunities

So, we have an idea of what rural homeowners have been remodeling and spending money on over the last year – but what’s on their list for the next 12 months?Bathrooms and gathering places like kitchens and dens are high on the list here.
For companies doing business in the home remodeling industry, it should be known that these rural homeowners have big plans. In fact, according to another survey, they are 5% more likely than their urban counterparts to plan a major home improvement or repair in the next 6 months.
Looking ahead, how can companies make sure they are staying top of mind when homeowners are window shopping – literally? One thing they can do is let them know that their experts are resources rural customers can rely on, their products are a great value, and the customer’s vision for their home can be a reality. Rural homeowners have a greater tendency to do the renovations themselves; they are 41% more likely than average to DIY their reno projects and 17% more likely than their urban counterparts. This means that companies should be reaching out directly to rural consumers for messaging, installation guidance, safety information, and other key messaging.

Attracting the Rural Consumer for Home Improvement Purchases

We know the rural homeowner tends to have older home and is likely to have home improvement projects in mind, but let’s look at how media influences the rural resident’s home improvement purchases.
In this chart, our shared mail products would fall under advertising inserts, which for rural survey respondents, is slightly more influential than magazines and about as equally influential as social media. Internet tops the list. But why is that? For one, there is a wealth of information, advertising, product reviews and more online, which fuels the decision-making process. But with the wealth of information, there is chaos and it is easy for a great brand to get buried. A good way to overcome this is to get their attention offline, and then point them to a place online to gather what they need to make their vision a reality. Precision targeting with shared mail can achieve this at a fraction of the cost of other print media.
For home improvement brands looking to complement their digital strategy with highly targeted print, we can help. Give us a call today and let us help you stand out both online and off.

United States Census
Prosper Insights & Analtyics 2019
NHCS Adult Study 2019