Even before COVID changed the world, the remodeling industry experienced a significant rise in demand. As homeowners spent an increasing amount of time at home working, going to school, and learning to enjoy life in our new normal, home values skyrocketed. In fact, the demand for every type of remodel has boomed over 100% in many markets.
To meet such unprecedented demand, the industry is transforming in front of our eyes. If you are like many Southeast Oakland County homeowners, you are taking advantage of the lower interest rates and fulfilling your dream of a larger home, new kitchen, master suite addition, home office or gorgeous exterior makeover now. As you get started on your remodel, you need to be equipped with the latest, current information.
Here are answers to a few common and important questions to help ensure you have a positive home remodeling experience.
What products have been affected by the rise in demand?
Most manufacturers are seeing a historic rise in product demand, extending lead times for windows, siding, garage doors, cabinetry, and appliances. Some of these companies are having difficulty securing parts or they are experiencing employee shortages, ultimately making it difficult for them to increase production to meet this surge in demand.
How do I deal with product delays?
Some or many of the items needed for your renovation will have an extended lead time. The best way to ensure that these delays do not affect the final outcome of your project is to work with a trusted professional with excellent vendor relationships.
Many vendors are updating their preferred client base weekly, even daily, on shipping times. Some appliance dealers are sourcing temporary products, while clients wait on longer lead time items like microwaves and certain cooking and refrigeration products. A resourceful remodeling company will utilize up-to-date scheduling software that has the ability to “bob and weave” with the movement in the supply chain.
Having an open dialogue with your contractor is crucially important, ensuring you don’t begin the project before you’re ready. You may want to start work on your new kitchen as soon as possible, but it is better to trust a reliable, approved schedule so you are not sitting in an empty kitchen waiting for cabinetry to ship, or worse.
Why am I waiting so long for someone to come see me?
You have likely been thinking about your home renovation for quite some time. You might even have waited for “just the right moment” to put your project in motion, and now you are anxious. That’s completely understandable. But now is not the time to become over-anxious and pick a company just because they can start tomorrow.
In fact, a respectable remodeling firm will have a backlog of projects right now. If they don’t, they may be a “fly by night” company that is trying to capitalize on the market without having the experience to deal with current market demands. You really don’t want your “dream” project to be handled by someone not experienced in the industry, especially during this time of product unpredictability.
Instead, now is the time to hold onto your vision, the one you’ve dreamed about for a long time, and accept and enjoy the process. Take a deep breath and trust that a reliable, well-established, highly regarded company is going to have your best interest at heart and give you honest answers on project timelines. And most importantly, get the job done right while working within your fixed budget.
I’ve heard that prices are increasing, should I wait this out?
The primary product in home building/remodeling that moves up and down with the market is lumber. The good news is that the volatility in the lumber market from early 2021 is finally stabilizing, and lumber prices are starting to drop. The end-user should be seeing this reduction in overall wood costs by Fall of 2021, so no need to wait.
Historically, most manufacturer’s product price increases happen yearly based on market demand and production costs. In this current high-demand market, most manufacturers are carefully assessing labor and product costs to ensure the least amount of increase possible.
What should I expect the overall process to look like?
Any large scale renovation has three distinct phases:
Share all of your dreams, ideas, and budget with your design team. You will want to work with a firm that communicates openly with you. The design process is a two-way street. A dedicated design-build firm will share their knowledge and inspiration, while working toward an agreed-upon vision and goal. Once you have a design team working on your project, they should absolutely have a scheduled timeline. All of this should be shared with you regularly in multiple meetings in your home, virtually, and in the design studio until you come to a final project plan that you are excited about.
Once you have a design and construction agreement in hand, you will likely be chomping at the bit to get going. This waiting period can cause frustration, however, many details should be discussed and handled before dropping the dumpster in your driveway.
During pre-construction, you will be working with a designer to select all of the finished products for your project. The final details will be worked through to complete your buildable blueprints. During this time, a permit set of prints will need to be finalized and submitted to your city or township. All of the mechanical plans will be completed and approved. Then every material selection will need to be ordered.
Throughout this phase, your designer and project manager will be working together to put the construction schedule together. They will stage product timelines, along with predicting exactly how long each phase will take. Once this is all complete, a start date will be confirmed.
It’s a toss-up whether the design phase or construction phase will be more fun for you. Many homeowners love seeing the demolition start with walls coming down and all of the outdated materials going into the dumpster. Once rough carpentry starts, watching your project take shape is also a thrill.
The middle of a construction project, however, can be quite mundane and is often where anxiousness sets in. This is the part of construction where you might not see as many details taking shape. After the foundation and framing are complete, then mechanical installation takes place and building inspectors are called in to approve each phase of the job. This phase has often been called the “slump” of the job. Progress may seem slow at this point, but don’t forget that all of the inner workings have been put in place to ensure your home meets comfortable living standards. Once drywall is installed, you will start to see your space taking form, and the excitement comes back. What follows is the installation of fixtures and finishes, rounding the corner to your project completion.
An important part of the remodeling process is the warranty, which most people don’t think about. Choose a remodeling company that has a proven process and noteworthy credentials. You don’t want all of this hard work, and money, to fail you in the long run. You should be able to move into your new space without worrying about faulty workmanship, for example. Work with a design-build team that takes their warranty seriously, a company that handles every issue and deals with vendors, suppliers, subcontractors even after the fact—one that has your best interests at heart.
The construction industry is bustling, an exciting time. If you are ready to get a project going, now is the time to jump! Roadblocks may seem in the way, but by working with the right team of people (do your research) you’ll get to the finish line smoothly, and have a home to enjoy for many years to come!