Post-Covid Renovating: What It Looks Like And How To Do It
Are you thinking of renovating your home? With the soaring mortgage interest rates, a
lot of people are opting to renovate over move. Making their existing homes work better for
them seems more economical with a more controlled outcome versus the gamble of
buying /selling in the current market.
Then what exactly does it look like to renovate your home post-covid? To answer this
question, it’s important to understand what renovations looked like during Covid.
During the Pandemic, everyone spent more time in their homes than they ever had
before! Working from home was not a new trend, however a “stay-at-home” mandate was.
Almost EVERYONE had to do work and school from home. It was an unprecedented time. Kids were in virtual classrooms as parents worked from makeshift home offices. Meetings, grocery shopping, parties and a host of other regular life events happened virtually. As inconvenient and catastrophic as this time was, some people ended up saving money. Family funds designated for lessons, childcare, gas, memberships, etc., stockpiled for some households. People had more time to try new recipes instead of eating out and the walls that we called home for ALL of our waking and sleeping hours moved to the top of the to-do list. During this time though, lumber and metal prices, amongst many other things, skyrocketed. At one point there was a shortage of paint and MDF on the market (insert gasp face here). The supply chain issues meant longer wait times for building materials and understaffed city workers (because of new work protocols) resulting in permit delays for projects approved a “go” prior to lockdown. As a result, the renovation estimates were exceeded across the board, and the final project cost more than originally predicted. With a little patience from our understanding clients, a thorough and prioritized budget reset, and a well-organized team, we were able to deliver beautiful and well executed finished products. Hooray!
Thankfully normal life as we know it, since then has somewhat resumed. Permit wait times are almost back to normal. Running out of MDF or paint is no longer a thing. The supply chain, however, is still recovering and as a result, some items are backordered until who knows when. The wait times aren’t nearly as bad as it was during the pandemic thankfully, but it warrants being said that lead times certainly have not recovered to where they were pre-pandemic. Why is this? Notably a combination of replenishing supplies from nothing to something, along with the work protocols in the different manufacturing countries. There are a lot more reasons as well which play a part in the post-covid aftermath.
Our team approaches renovations and builds very systematically. We like to know as much as we possibly can, where we can, before we tackle any renovation and build. We anticipate as much as we can early on to make sure the job goes as smoothly and as “on-budget” as is possible. From entering actual costs into a spreadsheet, engineered drawings of the finished product, and permit applications, we run a tight ship. Even with this hyper organized approach, covid did a good job of derailing our best efforts.
What we’ve seen post covid during renovations and builds, is an influx of new ideas in
response to the pandemic…
Touchless technology: With an obsession to mitigate germ transfer, touchless
technology is on the rise. They have motion activated garbage cans, touchless bathroom
and kitchen faucets, voice activated lock and security systems and I’m certain other
touchless technology out there that I’m not “touching” on. We used this kitchen faucet
in a home overall recently (add link). [we could also add the video of the foot motion
garbage from Crawford?]
Home office: Now more then ever, people are regularly working from home. A
home office, previously thought of as a luxury, is now a necessity for many. I recently
finished an office for someone in IT and it was mindboggling how many screens they
needed. Creating a home office for many, have recently included reconfiguring home
layouts. Reimagining a first-floor layout to include a home office has been super exciting
“Staycation”: The stay-at-home mandate during the pandemic meant travelling
was not an option. The backyard renovation, once a distant thought, became a priority
for many families. Reimagining the backyard, was a popular renovation for us last year.
Landscaping, pools, outdoor irrigation, and lighting designs to name a few, were big-
ticket items on peoples wish lists. Basement and first floor overalls designed to make regular life feel like a vacation seems to be the trend. Theatre and game rooms, wine cellars, built-in coffee makers and master ensuites mimicking amenities you’d see in a spa, are just a few
trends we’ve tackled post pandemic.
And finally, I’m going to touch on the dreaded “B” word - Budget! Everyone has a
budget. Whether your budget is $150,000 or $2,00000, the running theme is that everyone
imagines more than their budget allows. In all honesty, this has been true pre and post
pandemic; that being said your dollar could afford you more pre-pandemic than it can now.
We’ve been experiencing this inflation in other avenues, such as the grocery store, so I’m
certain this isn’t a surprise. The cost of materials has gone up considerably. Even though the
cost of lumber has come down, it isn’t what it was pre-pandemic.
Wages: To combat inflation, trade worker wages have gone up as well.
Plumbers, gas fitters and electricians, to name a few, have increased their cost per visit
and hour and ultimately, this is reflected in your overall bill. Unfortunately, what your
money could buy two years ago is very different than what it can buy you now.
This all being said, it is still cheaper to renovate in many instances then to move.
Most people between the ages of 30-50 have experienced low interest rates as the
norm so hearing that our dollar gets us less is tough. My Mom tells me about the
interest rates that were normal in the late seventies and early eighties and it’s mind
boggling. Although the cost of houses have dramatically increased, interest rates for
most of us Gen x and Millennials are laughable to our boomer parents. Perhaps having
to pick and choose isn’t a bad thing. We’ve lived with the norm of ordering a
complicated custom latte and having it in our hands in 30 seconds or less for a long
time. As nice as this is, perhaps this way of life has arrested our ability to wait. We’ve
also been getting “a lot” for “a little” for a very long time. As tough as it may seem, we
could take this opportunity to discover the real cost of things.
Lindsay and I got into this business to serve people and built this company
around that concept. We can help you determine your priorities, and help you best
allocate your funds accordingly. Learning where to splurge and where to save is our
specialty. Meandering a renovation can feel like unfamiliar and scary waters. You are not alone though! Call us and allow us to help you realize your homes potential, especially in this post-pandemic craziness.