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How to move forward with a home renovation during COVID-19

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The more time you spend at home, the more you might be thinking about how to make your home better suited to your lifestyle needs and aesthetic tastes. After sheltering in place for months on end, your home renovation dreams have probably doubled in size, rather than dissipated.

You might be unsure about how to make progress on a home renovation during COVID-19. Here are a few tips for keeping those dreams alive and moving forward with your plans safely.

Set up virtual consultations with renovation partners

Even though it may not be possible to book an in-person consultation and close the deal with a handshake, plenty of businesses and contractors are still available virtually to help with your home renovation during COVID-19.

Do some research into the contractors you might like to work with, and schedule some virtual meetings to show your space via video, talk through your renovation ideas, gather quotes and start building working relationships with the companies you might partner with once renovating becomes possible.

Gather home renovation advice and contractor recommendations

If you can, spend some extra time reading reviews or contacting references to get some fresh perspectives on the contractors you're considering.

It's helpful to get vendor recommendations from friends and family, too. And even hearing about their past home renovation trials and tribulations can better prepare you for a successful project, especially if you're a first-time homeowner or property investor.

Asking around for stories and tips will help you become more confident in knowing which questions to ask, what surprises to prepare for and which red flags to look out for.

Keep moving forward on your renovation plans through virtual consultations with architects and contractors.

Create a comprehensive design plan with a shortlist of finishings

Move beyond mood boards and inspiration images clipped out of home decor magazines. Narrow down your general ideas and focus on choosing the specific design specifications, trims and other features you'll want to incorporate into your renovation.

If your plan includes architectural work or an extension, see if you can collaborate with your renovation partners remotely to get your design plans on paper. With at least a first round of plans to review, you'll feel like you're making meaningful progress on your home renovation during COVID-19.

As for the finishings, make a shortlist of vendors and products you're considering, then reach out for more product and pricing information. Request some swatches sent to you or made available for curbside pickup. Then, once it's safe to do so, you can make some in-person visits and final decisions.

Work out a realistic budget

Under normal circumstances, some homeowners simply jump into a home renovation with both feet before really crunching the numbers. Whether you're just starting to formulate your big dream or you're part-way through a project that's currently on hold, now is your chance to get all your i's dotted and t's crossed.

Keep putting money into your renovation savings account, gather as many quotes as possible, develop a detailed budget and factor in a contingency of at least 20%.

Move forward with outdoor projects first

Indoor projects pose health concerns and social distancing challenges, so contractors may be more likely to undertake an outdoor home renovation during COVID-19 and its aftermath.

If your renovation dreams include landscaping or having work done to your roofing, siding, windows, driveway, patio or deck, you might be able to get started sooner. Speak with contractors about booking these projects in first, before moving ahead with interior updates.

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