6 tips for a successful and sane renovation during Covid-19

August 11, 2020

You’ve surely seen a list or two of how to best manage your home renovation, but everything has changed with Coronavirus. Here, we want to share home renovation best practices for the homeowner - updated for the Covid era.

1. Do your research - and have backups

You probably know that making product selections ahead of time will make the reno run smoother and give you a better idea of budget. But pandemic-related production and supply chain delays may mean that the sink you had your eye on a couple of months ago is no longer available. So make sure that you have a few alternatives planned for each item, as well as the room as a whole. Use digital room planning apps to see how things will come together. Bigger stores, like Lowe’s and IKEA offer planning tools that use actual products, so you can be sure you’ll still like the result. 

2. Set a budget - and take advantage of financing options

The housing market has done well with the Coronavirus. According to ATTOM Data Solutions, “More property owners rose into equity-rich territory and escaped the seriously underwater lane, putting more money into the average household.” All this added equity, coupled with low interest rates, means that now is the perfect time to invest in improving your home. You may be able to take on a bigger project than you previously planned.

3. Find the right help - and broaden your search

With shelter-in-place requirements, you’re not the only one wanting a better home - the demand for qualified contractors has increased. The builder your friends recommended may not be available, so you may want to check out online marketplaces, like  HomeAdvisor or Sweeten. Make sure to check your builder’s standing with the National Association of the Remodeling Industry and Better Business Bureau. Make sure that you contact their references before you commit.

4. Plan your timeline - and know it will take longer

Social distancing guidelines and ensuring a safe job site likely means that your builder will have to reduce the number of workers on site on any given day. With fewer opportunities to parallel path the work, you should be prepared for your project to take longer. And that’s before you factor in the delays that are present with every project.

5. Decide where you’ll stay - and make sure you can be safe

If you are planning to live on the property during the renovation, be thoughtful and realistic about how much space you’ll need to feel both safe and comfortable. You’ll likely want to have workers work on just one area of the house at a time so that you and your family can maintain distancing, while having enough room to stave off cabin fever. If you are working remotely, ensure that you have a quiet area far enough from construction where you can take meetings.

If you want to move faster and can afford it, consider getting rental nearby. The Coronavirus-related drop in tourism means that many short-term rental properties like AirBnB are now available at much lower rates. If you do this, consider putting your valuables into storage so you have peace of mind.

6. Agree on a communication plan with your builder - and make sure it’s remote-friendly

Communication is the key to success on a home construction project. According to HomeAdvisor, “problems stem from miscommunication.” With Coronavirus making face-to-face meetings more challenging, having a clear remote communication strategy with your general contractor is more critical than ever. Decide on the primary channel of communication, so you don’t have to wonder whether you should be looking for an email or a text from your builder. Create a shared document to keep track of agreed-upon work and notes from the latest progress updates. Or, use a tool like Tāne, which helps your builder provide regular progress updates and keeps all project-related communications organized for you.

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We hope these tips help you get back to work on the home of your dreams safely & sanely during the Coronavirus pandemic. Let us know what you think!

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