COVID-19 has changed everything: Should I remodel now or later?

During lockdown, we were able to take walks around our neighborhood while practicing proper social distancing. If you did the same, I bet you saw what I did: Home improvements everywhere! New roofs going on and old flooring being hauled away to be replaced with shiny new tile.

If you spent your isolation time doing home repairs, you’re ahead of the game. Upgrades and repairs always add value to your home.

You may have seen our ongoing tips on real estate and COVID-19, but if you haven’t, no worries. We’ve got them right here.

Tip 1: Secrets of Home Buying in COVID-19
Tip 2: What you need to know about buying a home and your debt during COVID-19
Tip 3: Finding focus in a tumultuous economy
Tip 4: Won’t you be my neighbor?
Tip 5: Applying for a loan
Tip 6: Can your home value recover?

As things open up, people are finding ways to cope with the “new normal.” That applies to home remodels, as well. Builders are changing the way they operate to keep work crews and homeowners safe. Zoom meetings can take the place of in-person consultations and homeowners can take their own photos of the jobsite. In addition to handwashing and wearing masks, job-site safety protocols often include things like limiting the number of subcontractors allowed inside the home at one time and being sure to sanitize all work surfaces, including door knobs.

Social distancing is used as job measurements are taken. The rest of the planning takes place online. 

With measurements in hand, the design of your new space, whether it’s a room addition or a remodel, can be done as Zoom meeting with screensharing. As a client, you can watch as your ideas and wishes are designed right in front of you. 

Of course, budget remains one of the biggest considerations whenever you think about construction. If COVID-19 put your income in a tailspin, the best thing to do is to wait until you’re on solid footing again before moving forward with anything other than emergency repairs.

In May, 2020, a new report from Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University looked at how much Americans are expected to spend on home improvements in 2020 across the country’s 47 largest metropolitan areas.

Before the pandemic hit the U.S., researchers at the Joint Center for Housing Studies had forecast remodeling spending to increase in 37 markets nationwide. Only nine metro areas were expected to decrease. Once COVID-19 came along that shifted significantly. Now, a majority of metro areas (24) are expected to see a dip in home-renovation spending, with 15 other cities expected to increase remodeling spending between 1% and 3% compared with last year.

The Inland Empire, itself, is expected to see a 2% decrease in remodeling expenditures. 

This can be good news for those of you with the cash to spend on renovations. Less demand means the construction crews you want will be more readily available. Beyond that, they’ll be bidding vigorously to do your project. 

Want to completely change the look of your home? It’s always so much fun to play with different plans and ideas! But before you invest in the fun stuff, check out your roof and foundation. If there are problems with either of these two areas, that’s where you want to start. I know it isn’t glamorous, but trust me. You need the stability of a good foundation and the protection of a good roof more than you need those darling new kitchen cabinets and that chic subway tile backsplash.

Roof and foundation good? Pocketbook ready? Great! Then go ahead!

It‘s true that kitchen and bathroom remodels raise the resale value of your house, but did you know you get the most bang for your buck with replacing your entry door and adding a manufactured stone veneer? According to Remodeling magazine, for Riverside County, adding manufactured stone veneer recouped 109.6% of the project cost while replacing the entry door recouped 100.1%. 

The next project winners in the cost-recouping derby are garage door replacement at 86.3% and a deck addition at 85.1% for wood and 80.2% for composite. These are followed by window replacement (79%), siding replacement (77.5% for fiber-cement, 75.2% for vinyl) and a minor kitchen remodel valued around $25,206 (74.4%). 

It’s all about curb appeal, baby! That’s what makes a lasting first impression.

Of course, if selling isn’t top on your list, focus on the inside areas where a new look and new functionality will give you the most joy. Get the spa tub, build the extra space, put in that kitchen island. You know I take the knots out of Real Estate, but did you know that I also do consulting and coaching? If your project management skills aren’t the best, let me be your coach. Here’s a testimonial from one of my clients:

P.D., Entrepreneur (client) testimonial: “Stephen is a dynamic coach who brings passion, integrity, humor and strong listening to his coaching. He was my coach earlier this year, and he helped me add some very powerful people-management tools to my project management toolbox. I appreciated the fact that he walks his talk and shares real-life examples of successes and failures from his own life. Another noteworthy aspect of working with Stephen as your coach is his total commitment to your success.