Let’s be honest. Expectations can either make or break many things in life, especially a home remodel. Managing and communicating expectations is a critical success factor for any remodel – including right here in Austin – for both you and your contractor.
In case you haven’t heard, the housing market in Austin, Texas is HOT! Pair that with this wild and crazy world of Covid-induced shipping/manufacturing delays, and we have ourselves a pickle. Navigating a remodel in these times presents all kinds of challenges, but none you can’t handle with the right team! Being prepared is the key to making it through an Austin home remodel, without losing your sanity.
Up next, we have six tips to help you prepare for your upcoming home remodel, so you can actually look forward to the process and the end result.
Prepare Your Budget
Remodels often come with a hefty price tag. They’re a significant investment; however, the return on investment can be much greater. Since you’re the homeowner, you’re ultimately responsible for determining the overall budget. It is, after all, your investment, and the budget has to be a number with which you’re comfortable. But, at the same time, the budget has to allow room for the complete project, with a reasonable cushion for any surprises (i.e., contingencies) that are uncovered along the way.
Thoroughly research home renovation costs in your area to check that the project is financially viable. For those of us here in Austin, Texas experiencing the long-standing BOOM housing market, it’s probably safe to say it’s a good investment to remodel, but always do your own research.
Once you’ve decided you’re ready to move forward with your remodeling project, research and contact a few local contractors to determine who you trust and who has experience doing the work you want done. You need a team that’s going to work with you, while keeping your budget and schedule on track. It’s also important to find a trustworthy team that maintains open lines of communication. Your team should be able to help you manage your expectations, while respecting your overall vision.
“The right contractor thrives on helping their clients navigate a comprehensive, multi-faceted construction project,” says Dylan Martin, owner of Absolute Design Build “Their primary goal is to take the headache out of managing the process, so their clients can just enjoy the results.”
Keep in mind that a true professional isn’t going to be a “yes man.” They’ll be able to tell you “no” if something just isn’t going to work, and suggest alternatives (while still paying attention to your anticipated outcomes.
Prepare for Inconvenience
There’s nothing comfortable about getting your home remodeled. Although the end result is absolutely worth it, you’re going to have to make a few sacrifices to get that dream home. Yes, your team will be doing the heavy lifting, but there’s also a significant amount of time investment on your part.
The most obvious disruption will be the fact that your home is a living, breathing, construction zone. The areas being remodeled will be off-limits; so, just consider them out of order completely. Depending on the remodel, you might need to make alternative living arrangements. However, it might also be possible to recreate the area in a different part of your home- such as setting up a mini-kitchen in the garage.
Also, there’s no such thing as quiet time during a remodel. So if your family is noise-sensitive, plan on being out of the house while the remodel is happening. There’s no way for power tools to do their job without making loud noises… it’s just not a thing.
You also need to be ready for lots of new faces in and out of your home. Your team will also have a team… and a big one at that. Each person has a specialty; so, there will be drywallers, plumbers, tile installers, etc. There will be another person installing cabinets, a flooring expert, a countertop specialist… you get the picture. So be ready for a few strangers here and there.
Prepare for Proper Signage and Communication
This is another area where a true professional is needed. Someone with experience will be able to secure the proper signage and obtain the necessary permits. That doesn’t mean your city will always cooperate right away. However, your team will be able to advise you on the necessary steps to making sure the process is as smooth as possible or handle it for you.
It’s also important to notify your neighbors at this point. They’re going to be going on this remodel journey with you, with extra vehicles in front of the house, unfamiliar faces around their property, and excess noise. These are all things that neighbors should be aware of beforehand, to avoid any awkward tension down the road.
In all areas of your remodel, communication is of the utmost importance. Communicating with your team, communicating with your neighbors, and communicating with your family. There’s really no such thing as over-communicating when it comes to a remodel. It is best to have potentially uncomfortable conversations prior to them becoming volatile conversations.
Prepare for a Mess
Construction is messy. If you can, it is highly recommended to close off the construction area from the rest of the house to limit the spread of dust, dirt and debris. But even with this precaution in place, it is possible for a fine layer of dust to gather in areas of your home far from the construction site. Move your valuables to a location far from the remodel to ensure they stay clean and far from the paths of construction workers.
Prepare for Delays
Just having this thought in the back of your mind will help you avoid disappointment more than once during the remodel project! Things always take much longer than expected, and things never go according to plan. There are always issues, what matters is how they are handled.
Today, you must also factor in post-Covid product shortages and higher materials prices. This can, and will, have a huge impact on your overall timeline. What your contractor and supplier can do is typically limited in this regard, so it’s best to just mentally prepare for delays and make decisions more quickly. This will avoid further delays overall, and keep your project on schedule as much as possible.
In some cases, certain materials and appliances aren’t available or on backorder, and there’s no set time frame of when they’ll return. It’s disappointing, to say the least. So keeping this all in mind will help ease some of the frustrations.
“Although the construction industry is still recovering from the supply chain impact of the pandemic, good contractors will find ways to keep your project moving while certain materials and supplies are on backorder, “says Dylan Martin, owner of Absolute Design Build. “Contractors who take a broad view of the project, but keep a firm hold on the budget, can find workarounds for unanticipated interruptions. Proper planning is a key factor.”
Your remodel will be perfectly imperfect. Always remember that your remodeling team is composed of professionals… and humans. Not machines. It’s easy to get discouraged during the process, especially when you see your home torn apart. Maintaining an open mind with room for creative surprises will make your life so much easier during a remodel.
Remodel anxiety just comes with the territory. You’re naturally going to be excited about the finished product, and less enthused about the path to get there. There will come a time when you just want it all to be done and you feel like you might snap if you have to make one more adult decision… but keep your eyes on the prize!
Remember, your team is working hard to ensure you’re pleased with the end result. They want everything to be exactly as you want it, and they’re there to make it happen. So when you’ve reached your breaking point, just remember, your dream team is making magic happen, and this will all be forgotten when you’re soaking in your new master bath tub, or hosting the next Thanksgiving dinner in your beautiful new kitchen.
This sentiment also carries over into your budget. It’s 100% necessary to allow room for bumps in the road and changes, and finding the balance between high end and more affordable options when you’re making decisions. Adjusting your mindset to accept a finished project that’s your perfect vs. someone else’s (i.e. a Pinterest board) will set you up to love your remodel.
Be Patient… the end result is worth It. Remodeling is an emotional roller coaster. When your remodel is wrapped up and you’re popping a bottle of champagne to toast your newly remodeled home, you’ll feel satisfaction on a whole new level. It’s a wonderful blend of relief, accomplishment, and a sense of excitement to have a home that perfectly suits you and your family.
Your newly remodeled, cozy, customized space is now more functional and beautiful than you’d ever imagined. Are those fabulous cabinet knobs you had to have, still stuck on a shipping crate in a harbor somewhere? Yes. But are the ones you chose to replace them even better? Absolutely!
Thank you to Austin NARI member, Absolute Design Build for contributing their expertise to this blog.
“Working with Dylan Martin and his team at Absolute Design Build has been an absolute joy! The work was amazing. We enjoyed walking back into the house at the end of a long day to see what magic had occurred while we were gone! We have a busy household that includes pets. Absolute Design Build was courteous and understanding. We also weren’t stuck cleaning up a mess. They took care of everything… down to wiping things down before they left. I love looking at what was done every single day. I would highly recommend this company.” – Happy Customer, Beth C.
The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) is a not-for-profit trade association committed exclusively to serving the professional remodeling industry and to serving as an ally to homeowners. NARI has over 7,000 members nationwide and over 300 in the Austin NARI Chapter. The members of Austin NARI include professional remodeling contractors, product manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, lenders and other professionals.
Trust your home remodel to a professional, experienced and trustworthy home professional. Visit austinnari.org to find a reputable Austin, Texas trade professional for your next home project!