There’s mythology out there that renovating a house is usually a nightmare project, with budgets and deadlines that inevitably spiral out of control. It’s unfortunate but understandable. It’s the horror stories that stick in people’s minds and get retold time and time again, and like all tall tales, there’s more than a grain of truth to some of these stories. There are so many factors that go into creating a timeline for a home renovation project, and unexpected issues often crop up along the way, with consequences for the final move-in date. Whether a project stays on schedule depends on a lot of things. That’s what I want to talk about in today’s post.
Updating your home’s look is a great way to add functionality, comfort, and value to your property. However, one of the most common questions homeowners ask our renovation team is about timelines. This is often difficult to answer, as each project has a unique set of needs that affect the overall completion rate.
But it is essential to keep in mind a few basic guidelines when determining how long your project should take. Here’s what you need to know about the home renovation process and various rule-of-thumb timelines.
Schedule Of Work
Contractors often get a bad rap for not finishing projects on time. With dust sheets on everything and strangers tramping through your home, a building project of any sort can feel like a lifetime. For the sake of your sanity, go in with a realistic awareness of how long your project will take.
Any good contractor will draw up a schedule of works before starting on your home. This will essentially outline every job that needs to be done from start to finish, and where possible, it will include who is doing what and how much it will cost. Communication is key. On a typical schedule of works, your contractor will be able to advise you on things such as:
– Current condition assessment
– Decay prevention
– Demolition work
– Damp prevention
– Site access
– Major building work
– Final clean
Starting, you should know that delays are expected. For larger projects, especially like a room addition or a complete kitchen overhaul, there will probably be days when not much happens because the contractor is waiting for an inspection or products to arrive. Most contractors worth their salt will anticipate delays or time spent waiting and build those days into the schedule. Other things that might cause uncertainties include products being out of stock, subcontractors running behind schedules, such as an electrician who’s working on another project, bad weather, which can affect outdoor projects, and unexpected issues such as mould or rotting wood. Planning for a new look for your house? Look no further! MJS Construction Group is here to help in your home builders.
Depending on the type of work you are carrying out, and certainly, if the house is listed or in a conservation area, you may require planning permission. Under Permitted Development Rights, some extension projects can be undertaken without the need for planning permission. Still, if you plan to build something new, make a significant change to the building – for example, if the extension increases the overall height of the building or is more than half the width of the house, or if you change the use of the building, you will need to obtain permission. An extension of any kind must comply with building regulations. This is different from planning permission; you may need to apply for both. You will need to use the work to your local authority’s building control department. In most cases, planning applications are decided within eight weeks. However, for unusually large or complex applications in England, it could take up to 13 weeks.
Types Of Renovation
Different renovations will take different amounts of time and effort to complete. Repainting some window frames obviously won’t take as long as redoing bathroom tiling or gutting old kitchen cabinets. When you’re taking on a flip property, you need to carefully evaluate the scale of the projects you plan to take and how much work they will require.
Typically, house renovations can be broken down into three categories: cosmetic renovations, medium renovations, or complete rehabs. Cosmetic renovations refer to properties that need only a few basic repairs and are the most accessible type of renovation to take on. Often, fix and flip investors will take these types of projects on themselves to save on labour costs. Medium renovations are not as minor as cosmetic renovations but less intensive than complete rehabs. You could take them on yourself, but it would mean doing some research, getting your hands dirty, and committing to something that can take up to a few weeks.
Complete rehabs are properties that require a lot of intensive renovations and should be reserved for more experienced flippers. You may be dealing with significant structural changes in this category, redoing electrical, plumbing, and other intensive projects that are not for the faint-of-heart. These types of renovations are the most expensive and take the longest to complete on average. In the hands of a less experienced investor, these projects can take up to twice as long due to trial and error.
When doing mainly cosmetic renovations, there are specific projects that you can expect to take on from the get-go. For example, it’s considered good practice to paint a property before selling it or renting it out. This is a task that you can do on the cheap, and save even more by painting yourself.
Cosmetic renovations usually mean less intense rehab work and are more associated with painting, carpeting, or drywall repairs. These renovations do not refer to significant changes like changing the property structure or doing any demolition work. Therefore, this is the best type of renovation for a beginner investor to take on. You can expect to have a time frame of a week to a month or two with cosmetic renovations. This largely depends on whether you do the work yourself or make use of professionals.
Hiring professional painters can cost anywhere upwards of $200, depending on the size of the property. Replacing carpets will cost you more, ranging between $759 and $2,546. This cost will again largely depend on the size of the rooms you are planning to carpet and the type of carpet you choose. Fixing drywalling falls in the same price range as replacing carpets. These costs are what drive many flipping investors to DIY these and other smaller projects.
Less experienced investors are advised to look for turnkey properties. Turnkey homes are houses that need only cosmetic repairs before being suitable for sale. These properties are particularly beneficial as they can be resold or filled with tenants quickly, which means faster profits for the investor.
This middle category is somewhere between short and long-term renovation projects. The repairs associated are more expensive and time-intensive – think moving walls, replacing kitchens, and putting down new roofing as a few examples. These renovations are typically more intensive than cosmetic repairs but less work than a complete rehab.
Depending on the scale of the work being done in the kitchen, the actual installation can take up to a month or more alone. With more severe renovations, there has to be some time set aside for planning and sourcing materials. It’s essential to take the time to measure everything, order samples, organize any permits you need, and put things in motion.
Since medium renovations are more time-consuming, these renovations can take between 3 and 6 months to complete altogether.
This is because, for many larger renovation projects, you’ll need to do significant planning and preparation, including getting permits if you want to move walls inside the property. These renovations will also likely need more work from professionals versus cosmetic renovations, essentially DIYed. It’s important to remember that depending on the materials you choose for these renovations, and you may have to wait for materials to be shipped and delivered. At MJS Construction Group, we have the best dual occupancy selection to make your house a dream come true.
This is the category of house renovation that should not be approached lightly. Usually taken on by more seasoned flippers, complete rehabs are extensive projects that require a lot of resources and time to complete. Major home rehabs like these can include floor replacements, structural repairs, redoing electrical and plumbing, and other intensive projects. In other words, it’s essential to know what you’re doing before jumping into a project like this one.
House renovations of this nature can take up to 180 days to complete on average. This is also the category that requires the most financial resources to do and will require input from various professionals. Some real estate experts recommend budgeting for around $1000 to be spent a day during the house flipping process. Since complete rehabs will need the most significant amount of work with the highest budget, sticking to the timeline is essential. Since fix and flips need to be resold as soon as possible, your project will deviate from the timeline to eat into your profits every day.
Cosmetic Renovations – A Weekend to Three Months
If your home is already reasonably new or doesn’t require a lot of work, you might be looking at a simple cosmetic remodel. In most cases, short renovations requiring only cosmetic repairs can take from a weekend to over three months. This includes interior painting, exterior painting, new countertops, new appliances, or essential flooring replacement. It can even be something as simple as new landscaping or changing a basic sink for a more fashionable farmhouse design.
Essentially, a cosmetic renovation timeline is reserved for minor repairs or in situations where the essential bones of the house are still in excellent condition but need a small amount of updating. Many of these tasks are quickly completed by a do-it-yourselfer within a few hours or days. Larger jobs requiring plumbing or major carpentry work often require a licensed contractor but still might be considered relatively cosmetic.
Medium Renovations – Several Weeks to Six Months
The following timeline approach for home renovation completion is medium renovations, taking around several weeks to six months to finish. This generally includes situations where you must come close to entirely gutting the space or need additional repair work that’s beyond a basic cosmetic repair. As a trusted Houston contractor, this is the category that most of our projects fall into.
There are numerous types of average medium renovation scenarios. Most repairs easily fall into this category. For example, completely remodelling a kitchen and relocating sink plumbing to a new centre island would be considered a medium renovation. Another example would be adding a new fireplace to your existing living room or adding a new garage to the side of your current residence. These are situations where it might take a few weeks to complete tear-out and replacement, but you aren’t looking at any structural severe repairs or changes.
Major Overhaul – Six Months to Over One Year
The last type of project to consider when determining renovation timelines is the major overhaul. If it is necessary to gut the whole home, it will take longer to put it back together. These types of construction projects often take six months to a year or more to finish.
Generally, many house flippers and rehab owners look for when they decide to take on a project. These are the scenarios where a home is in a great location but requires enormous repair work to bring it up to modern sensibilities. It’s also important to note that a significant overhaul may also include large scale issues like foundation repair, structural repair, house lifting, second-story additions, and more.
Alternatively, significant projects with lengthy deadlines are sometimes not complete overhauls themselves. Sometimes, opting to do several small or medium projects can turn the overall effort into a large project. An example of this would be a homeowner who opts to refinish a basement, add an extension to a brand-new gourmet kitchen, and create a luxurious master bath—all at the same time. While these projects would usually be simple enough on their own, completing them simultaneously could extend the overall deadline. Again, it just comes down to the project’s essential elements and how many different aspects are going on at once.
What Factors Can Affect the Schedule of My Renovation Project?
Let’s talk about some of the most common factors we need to consider when creating a projected timeline for a renovation. Some of these are things we can control, while others are out of our hands. A renovation project calls for a balance of careful planning and the flexibility to adapt when those plans need to change. If your team knows how to do both, they can make sure that delays are kept to an absolute minimum, no matter what happens along the way.
The Size of Your Home and the Scope of the Renovation
This one is obvious but so important. Is this a single room renovation, or are you reimagining the whole house? Are there structural changes involved? Are you planning to build a new addition to your existing home? Every planned change takes time to do right.
This is one of those act-of-God things that can throw a wrench into the best-laid plans. Experience has taught us to leave some extra room in the schedule for the vagaries of fate, like out-of-the-blue storms and cold snaps. Most builders and their teams are used to working through all kinds of weather.
Construction Permits and HOA Delays
When your builder has a super-organized and efficient office team handling the paperwork, you know that everything possible is being done to move the process along. However, sometimes there are hold-ups on the other end, whether that’s because the permitting office is dealing with a backlog or because someone on the Homeowners Association board is out-of-pocket for some time.
Uncovering unforeseen issues with the current structure
I know. This is the most stressful variable. As demolition begins, we sometimes find issues that cannot be ignored. Dealing with these problems can change the projected schedule.
Changes in design
Sometimes, you change your mind. A good builder should be flexible enough to roll with it. However, you should be aware that design changes can delay the completion of your renovation project and can also be a serious budget-buster.
This article lists only a few common examples of house renovation projects and how long they may take. Remember, when doing a house renovation as a flip, the faster you get the house on the market, the better. You need to reach the fine balance between finishing the renovation quickly and maintaining the quality that buyers will be looking out for. Every extra day spent on renovations will cost you – whether it be fees, taxes, or contractor costs. The problem is that these costs can quickly build up and start eating into your profits.
Knowing which category the majority of your renovations fall into will help you understand how long the project will take and what it will cost you. That’s what makes planning your timeline, including the sequence of jobs to be done, is so important. Think carefully about the order of renovations, and rely on your contractor for additional guidance.
It’s highly advisable to create a timeline spreadsheet for your renovation and get materials ordered and ready to go by the time you are prepared to start the rehab. This also goes for any service providers you have in mind – make sure to contact them early. When working with other professionals on a renovation project, always make sure to vet them carefully. At MJS Construction Group, we have the best home builders selection to make your house a dream come true.
Depending on what needs to be done and whether you’ll be taking these projects on yourself, the time it takes to renovate can vary. House flipping investors that are good with their hands.