Find out how a home renovation during the pandemic might be easier than you think.Minnesota’s stay-at-home order has many of us spending more time inside our houses than ever before. We’re growing tired of our surroundings and making long lists of home improvement projects. Some of these home renovations are easily accomplished, even for a novice DIYer: a fresh coat of paint in the living room, a little landscape cleanup, or new hardware on the bathroom vanity. But what if you’ve got a bigger project in mind? All the hours at home might be highlighting some serious deficiencies in your space. After all, you’re probably using your kitchen more than ever. Could it use an upgrade for better storage or workflow? Maybe you’re trying to keep up with workouts without a gym, or navigating remote work without a functioning office. Inefficient and insufficient spaces make all of this incredibly frustrating. But can you safely take on a home remodel during quarantine? Or should you delay your renovation during the pandemic? Scott Rajavuori, an owner of Titus Contracting, says now is a great time to begin a home improvement project.
In fact, many residential construction projects during coronavirus are now cheaper, faster, and more efficient than before.Because of COVID-19, many people have put their renovation plans on hold. But like any recession period, this can be good news for those looking to start their home improvement projects now. Construction costs during a recession are almost always less. “Because things are a little slower, pricing is a bit more aggressive,” Scott says. “In our industry, it’s better to have some work and be able to pay the bills than to try and maintain the old pricing models.” This means homeowners can get a good deal on their remodels. And, if you’re planning to finance your project, interest rates are extremely low which means even more savings over time. Construction schedules are also easier to maintain because subcontractors are less busy. This typically means your remodel can be completed in less time and with fewer delays.
So how do you begin a home remodel right now?“A lot of our meetings with clients can be done via video,” Scott says. “Even initial meetings sometimes... [homeowners can] just share photos with us, walk us through their homes, send rough sketches and measurements.” From there, his team can get to work. Pricing and timeline estimates, product sourcing, even renderings can be done remotely and shared via email or video chat. Once plans are approved, then the actual construction begins!
Is it safe to remodel during the pandemic?In short, yes. Titus Contracting crews are dedicated to rigorous safety and sanitization protocols at every single job site. “They all carry spray sanitizer and hand sanitizer,” Scott says. “When they enter a job site, they spray down any surface they might touch. Then the space is contained — we always use zip walls and contain our work areas.” The team also cleans up and sanitizes before lunch, including their tools. Then again at the end of the day. “Normally we would leave tools behind, put them out of the way for the night. Now, everybody packs up their tools at the end of the day and everything goes home with them.” That way they can minimize the number of shared surfaces being touched if homeowners need to enter the construction zone. They also issue masks to every team member to wear at job sites. For added safety and to minimize in-person interactions, many meetings are being done virtually.
What’s the typical timeline of a home renovation?Despite what home improvement shows portray, there are actually a lot of steps between an initial consult and the construction. Getting everything in order at the onset saves a lot of time (and potential headaches) down the line. “Right now it’s a minimum of 4 weeks to get everything together, depending on the size of the job...a larger project might be closer to 8 weeks,” Scott explains. Once the plans, estimates, and permitting are complete, your contractor will be able to provide an accurate timeline for the rest of your remodel.
Recession-proof renovationsIt’s tempting to forgo a home remodel during a recession or in times of economic uncertainty. While everyone’s circumstances are different, some home improvements provide an excellent return on investment, even in a recession.
Increasing your home’s square footageLower level remodels are a great choice. “Right now, one of the things people wish they had the most was that finished lower level. It’s great space for the kids, for homeschooling, for offices,” Scott shares. “We’ve seen a lot more calls regarding lower level finishes lately.” It’s also the ideal project because it’s easy to isolate the construction area even while the family is at home.
Updating your kitchen“In terms of return on investment, kitchens are probably one of the highest ROI. The investment is usually close to paying for itself after you’re done,” Scott says. Summer is an easier time of year for kitchen remodels in Minnesota because much of your cooking and dining can happen outdoors. Plus, it’s a great time to support local businesses and restaurants by ordering takeout.
Boosting your home’s curb appealIf you have plans to sell in the near future, curb appeal is one home improvement project you can’t afford to ignore. According to The National Association of Realtors®, 63% of house hunters will drive by a home they found online before booking a showing. If your home looks dated and drab from the outside, more than half of the potential buyers will never book a showing to see all your gorgeous renovations and staging. So take inventory of your home’s exterior and see what improvements you can make today.
Now’s the time to take advantage of lower interest rates, construction costs, and lead-times on your home remodel.Whether you want to get started with your home renovation ASAP or have more questions about residential construction during quarantine, Titus Contracting is here to help. Contact our team of interior design and residential construction experts today. 952-746-7817
Written by Scott Rajavuori on May 12, 2020