Asking, “What’s the best time to begin a remodel?” is a bit of a loaded question. It brings to mind the old Chinese proverb, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second-best time is now.” That proverb actually makes a lot of sense when applied to home remodeling, because successful remodeling requires some careful thinking on your part. If you’ve never been involved in a home remodel before, you may want some help in identifying what you should consider before beginning construction. The point is, If you want to be delighted with your remodeling results, take your time.
WHAT DO HOMEOWNERS CONCERN THEMSELVES ABOUT THE TIME OF YEAR?
There are a couple of reasons homeowners look at the calendar when considering the timing of a remodel. Special events are often a big impetus for beginning a remodeling project. It could be a holiday such as Thanksgiving or Christmas. Or a special family event, such as a wedding, maybe the catalyst for the project.
The other major factor has more to do with the weather. Homeowners can sometimes be averse to remodeling in colder, wetter weather. And then some homeowners are convinced that if they remodel in the "off-season" they'll get a better deal. Let's look at each of these briefly.
Many of us love entertaining in our homes. It’s a comfortable and familiar place that puts people at ease. Plus, holidays and special events just seem to be more enjoyable at home—if that home is inviting, comfortable, and convenient. Frankly, holidays and family events are a great reason to consider a remodel. However, allow yourself plenty of time to think through what you want to accomplish—and allow your builder enough time to create the plans and do the work to your satisfaction.
When homeowners decide to renovate because they are planning a big event, they often go large on the big ideas but forget a lot of the little details. It is worth keeping in mind that remodeling your home is supposed to solve problems you have with the existing structure and improve your enjoyment of the property, while giving you a reasonable return on investment. You will be happier in the long run if you make choices that meet those criteria, even if it means that you have to make a few temporary adjustments for the event itself.
WEATHER ISSUES FOR REMODELING
Some weather-related delays can occur, but that's generally not an issue in the Portland area. There are very few times during the year that your builder won't be able to make it to your house to work. You could have some delays because of weather-related delays in the delivery of some materials. Generally speaking, however, that's not going to impact your schedule dramatically.
And as far as being too cold or wet to work, that's just not a big problem for the Portland area. Even in the winter, our average low temperatures average around 37 degrees. And while remodeling (particularly during the deconstruction/tear-out stage) can be a bit of a dusty proposition, it's not as if your builder needs to work with the windows open.
If you’re doing some outdoor remodeling, such as adding an outdoor deck or outdoor kitchen, you could run into some delays in the rainiest season (from x to x). But if you plan ahead and allow a little bit of time for that, it’s not going to be a problem.
Many home remodeling projects are large enough that a single paycheck is not going to force your plans to sink or swim. And yet, budget and investment are things that everyone has to keep in mind. There are many financial issues that may set limits on the timing for your project. For example, if you want to take advantage of a local or federal tax credit on certain kinds of improvements, you must complete the work within the defined dates. Similarly, if you’re remodeling so that you can sell, you need to target the project to be done by the best time to list your home.
There are sometimes concerns related to the supply chain that may change throughout the year or related to the political climate. Many of the materials commonly used in construction are sourced or manufactured out of the United States. If the political climate changes, it may be more expensive or time-consuming to source certain aspects of the project and have them transported to the site. Although this largely relates to foreign transactions, it can happen within the country as well. If you’re expecting to get something delivered from California in the middle of huge wildfires or flooding, you may have to wait.
OFF-SEASON SAVINGS OR SPEED
To be honest, the idea that certain times of the year are “off-season” for remodelers is a bit of a myth. It’s true that in some parts of the country, homebuilders can be slowed down by cold or snow. Some of them turn to home remodeling in those times. To be honest, that's not an issue in the Portland area. And while it's sometimes true that remodelers can be extremely busy right before the holidays, there isn't a "slow time" for them. So, waiting for a remodeler to be less busy isn't a good strategy if you're hoping for a better price or schedule.
Realistically, you should probably plan at least a few months in advance. Unexpected remodeling projects happen, and you wouldn’t be able to anticipate a need to fix something like water damage anyway. For everything else, it’s best if you can get on your remodeler’s schedule at the perfect time for you. If you wait too long to schedule the work, you might underestimate how long it takes and end up with an undesirable finish date. You may also discover that the best companies are already booked up.
ADDING TIME FOR THE FULL PROJECT
To make sure that you have enough time for the project, start with the absolute date that you need the work completed. Many people try to remodel in advance of a big event like a wedding hosted on the property or a large company party, but others might simply need to get it done at a time that runs well with school or work schedules. Be sure to add in a few extra weeks for unexpected delays. The best part of working with a professional design-build firm is that we can help you determine how long a project should take, so you can plan it out in advance. That way, you’re not panicking because it isn’t done in time.
WHEN AND WHERE SHOULD YOU START?
The right time to begin a home remodeling project is when you’re ready. Making sure you’re ready involves educating yourself about the process to ensure that things go smoothly and that you don’t put yourself under unnecessary stress. If you take a look at our design-build process, you’ll have a better idea of what you’ll be dealing with (and why the process shouldn’t be rushed).
If you are already thinking about remodeling your kitchen, we can help you prepare yourself so that you get the results you’re after. Download our free Designing the Ideal Kitchen ebook for great tips on how to create (plan, design, and work with your builder) for a kitchen that fits your personal style.