To Do A Home Renovation Or Not That Is The Question

ByMarc Silberberg


Be it that we have now become homebound due to the pandemic, homeowners want to make their homes more comfortable and more livable. Home offices are pretty much part of everyone’s home, the only question is how much office space does your house need? When both parents are working from home some couples may choose to work in the same space and a double desk will suffice. However, there is always the couple that needs their space and will require two separate rooms for their work space. One of the trending home offices are office pods which create a perfect enclosure for your work space practically anywhere. All these are great ideas for improving your at home work space and making you more productive at your at home work station.

Besides at home work offices there are other things which homeowners are looking to renovate like bathrooms and playrooms to make their homes a bit more comfortable for themselves and their families. Our living spaces are being used more than ever and though it means hiring a contractor many are contemplating to make these renovations in an economically friendly way. If you’re working at home chances are that you don’t have the time to do it yourself. The last thing you need is to be bogged down with a home renovation project and not get your occupational work done. 

Getting The Project Cost Right

Prior to doing any home renovation you want to get an idea of what the project will cost to the best of your ability. Contractors happen to be quite busy these days so make sure that when you call them down they are focused on exactly what you need. Be clear and make sure to mention everything you have in mind for this home renovation and don’t expect them to know that you want a window cut out for your new bathroom renovation. After the meeting, request a formal estimate from the contractor so that you have it in writing and be clear about the terms of payment. Some contractors will require a deposit while others might allow you to spread payments out. It would be wise to have multiple contractors come down to price it out and determine which one is right for you. In addition, try to get references and see if the homeowners were satisfied with the contractor’s work. Keep in mind that you need to feel comfortable with the contractor because they will be around your home when you may not. It’s worth it to spend a little more and go with a contractor that you trust rather than go with one that you don’t.

One of the challenges of construction is the expense that comes along with it. Homeowners will anticipate the price to be what the contractor had provided in the estimate but not always is that the case and it’s no one’s fault. Construction prices are increasing at historic rates and the price for building materials now might be totally different in 30 days. The idea of an estimate is to provide the customer with a ballpark number. Hopefully it’s accurate but there could be a +/- 15% on home renovation cost. With that said, it’s worth your while to tack on an additional 15% to the project cost on the estimate. Before going into any home renovation you want to be clear on what your expenses are to allocate the necessary funds towards this project. The last thing anyone wants is to put additional expenses on a credit card.

What Can Cause A Project Price To Increase?

On rare occasions it’s the actual expense of the construction that will cause a project to increase. Homeowners envision how they want their office, bathroom, or playroom to look but have not taken into account the cost of all the items that will accent the room for that specific look. For example, economical flooring can be installed that’s made from material like laminate and vinyl rather than using a more upscale material like wood or marble. As per the bathrooms tiling, there are the more economical options and then there are the more expensive options. The same thing is with the furniture and window treatment, there will always be two options and if you are the type that leans towards the more upscale options it will reflect on your final bill. What’s included in the contractor’s estimate are the basic costs to construct your newest renovation, not that it will look like a room from Frontgate. 

Has The Price For Construction Gone Up?

Yes, the price for home renovations have gone up due to multiple factors. First, building materials like lumber, concrete, steel, stone, and masonry have all gone up and there is limited availability. The demand for construction is high and the lumber yards are having a hard time supplying wood for these orders and often can only fulfill them partially. This causes the price tag on the building materials to increase which can somewhat diminish the demand by discouraging the smaller customers from purchasing the products. Naturally the ones that are still willing to pay top dollar will renovate and most likely the contractor you plan on hiring and will pass along the cost to you. 

In addition, to the increase in the price of building materials, the price for labor has increased as well. The United States and the rest of world are still dealing with a worker shortage which means that there are less laborers available to do your home renovation than prior to the pandemic. This allows contractors to raise their price due to the increase in demand for their work. If no one would hire them, then chances are their costs would remain flat, but that’s not the case. Homeowners are doing construction like never before. It’s quite common to see a dumpster in a neighbor’s driveway to handle the waste from a recent home renovation. With the increase in cost for building materials and labor it’s no wonder that prices for construction have doubled.

Giving Your Contractor Enough Time To Schedule Your Home Renovation

Today you can no longer anticipate that the contractor you hire will have immediate availability. There is a good chance that they are currently handling multiple jobs that were supposed to be completed two weeks ago. That’s why it’s a good idea to give your contractor some time to schedule you in a month from now. It’s important to communicate with your contractor to let them know that you’re serious about this project and ask them if they want a deposit to show your commitment. In regards to the cost of building materials you may luck out as the longer you wait the better are the chances for the prices to decrease. Eventually the companies that manufacture building materials will catch up to demand and the cost of construction projects will begin to lessen as homeowners settle down in their homes during the winter months. 

Preparing The Home For Renovation

Whether you’re adding on a room or redoing a bathroom, you want to choose the flooring and décor for the project. Once your contractor is ready to begin the project don’t be indecisive as any delay will cause them to move on to another project. This is not to say that they won’t begin your project, it’s just that yours will not be their primary focus. Just like you want the renovation to be completed sooner than later, so does the contractor. Keep in mind that they are not going to be paid in full until the project is complete. 

Other basics like clearing the room from furniture and clutter will allow the contractor to get right to work. For example, modular closets are trending and people are making their walk-in closets into a complete wardrobe station making their current bedroom furniture useless. If you plan on doing this make sure to have the furniture moved out of the room that will be renovated. Perhaps you may want to list the furniture on Craigslist in order to make some money before placing it in storage. Whatever you decide, make sure the room is clear from furniture and clutter so the contractor can get right to work. 

Final Words

With any home renovation comes a mess. Most contractors will try to clean up but need the flexibility to work in and around the room. It would be a good idea if you’re able to vacate the room to give the contractor the flexibility to work there. Otherwise they will have to do the work outside and bring the material into the area which is being renovated. During the renovation, people who are sensitive to saw dust will feel the effects as even with the most immaculate contractor there will be remnants of dust and debris left on windowsills and air vents. Eventually this dust will disappear and get into your air ducts which can circulate around the house. That is why NADCA recommends having an air duct cleaning post a home renovation. Regardless of whether you decide to do it or not you want to make sure the room which was renovated gets a good vacuuming and dusting to get rid of any leftover dust and debris. 

As per the initial question of “To do a home renovation or not?” The answer can obviously vary depending on each circumstance. But one thing for sure people are noticing post pandemic is that there is no place like home and that’s exactly why homeowners are choosing to invest their money there. Wishing everyone luck on their next home renovation.

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