Home Reno: now or later
November 21, 2021 1:40 AM   Subscribe

Given the spike in building material costs and supply chain issues, would it be better to delay a home renovation for another year?

I have a very small second home (~1250 sq ft 4 bed cottage). it’s 100% livable but it’s in poor shape. After 12 years, I’ve decided to reno and expand. Pretty much a full gut reno. Prob adding ~750 sq ft of space plus swapping electric heat for propane (not on town gas or sewage). Adding ac. New windows. May Need to replace/add additional septic. Of note, the house in a very expensive area. Architects I met with are using a $500-600 sq ft costing factor and their fees have ranged from $50-70k plus any consultants, expeditors, etc. Was planning to begin in sept/oct of 2022. Would I benefit from pushing until 2023 (materials and timing)?
posted by anonymous to Home & Garden (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It's nearly impossible to answer this question without knowing a lot of details you haven't provided - location, specific nature of work, cost breakdown, etc. - but two things: (1) There is no way to forecast building expenses 12 months out, let alone 18 months or more. (2) Items like lumber, which spiked in price this year and garnered many of the headlines that probably led you to ask this question, have already fallen significantly from their peak. But again - no way to forecast the future.

Do the work you need to do, when you need or want to do it.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 4:54 AM on November 21, 2021 [6 favorites]

Pursuant to the above, the reason I originally got into the construction business was specifically because there is always something going wrong, and you can never tell what it'll be. Material prices? Crew shortages? Major subs going bankrupt in the middle of everything? Who knows! Makes it fun, from a certain perspective.

You cannot time the market. Some people try, and spend their life doing forecasts based on the Dodge Reports etc., but that's a pro game and they screw it up too (although, usually, the ones I know speak in sufficiently general terms that they're rarely pinned down as "wrong". Just "suboptimal on that axis").

Do it when you need to, when you can afford to, and when you can stand to have your living space completely fucked up for months on end. The main thing, besides money, is being willing to pivot when something goes wrong. Like, pivot on a dime -- be maximally available to answer questions from the GC so when they say "we can't get this tile, the supplier collapsed" you're right there to say "well shit, OK, can we use this other tile instead then?".
posted by aramaic at 10:14 AM on November 21, 2021

I did a reno on a small bathroom at the start of the pandemic - so, we used small amounts of lumber, drywall, insulation, plywood, and tile - all of that was fine.

But it was a big pain getting a single replacement window that would fit the existing hole in the bricks. That took about 2 weeks longer than promised, delayed the reno, and I had to settle for a new window that is sadly about 2 inches smaller than the previous one since that was the only option they were able to manage.

So I would check for windows before deciding- much of the other stuff you need for a reno you can pretty much find some version of somewhere, but windows have fewer sources and are quite project-specific.
posted by nouvelle-personne at 1:10 PM on November 21, 2021 [3 favorites]

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