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Prepare to be Flexible: Some advice on approaching your Bay Area build

At some point during every Bay Area remodeling or home building project, the same question creeps into the homeowner's head: Is all this time and expense worth it?

It's easy to understand why. Global supply chain issues are wreaking havoc on construction schedules. Material prices skyrocketed by more than 20% between January 2021 and January 2022. And labor costs, driven by a widening gap between available jobs and skilled applicants to fill them, are following the same budget-busting trend.

So is building or remodeling your home worth it right now?

Our answer is a resounding YES. We see no good reason to delay getting started on the planning of your project. And lest you suspect a company with "Builders" in its name may not be the most objective source on this topic, consider this fact:

Real estate analytics firm CoreLogic predicts that while a looming recession will slow the remarkable growth of Bay Area Home sale prices by next summer, those prices will continue to climb in 2023.

Translation: Bay Area home ownership remains one of the best long-term investments you can make with your hard-earned money. And unlike your other investments, this one improves your quality of living while it accrues value.

That said, to help manage the costs and duration of your project, it has never been more critical to work with an experienced team. MN Builders is always here to help you with your home building or renovation investment, starting with some quick words of advice we hope will help you keep today's challenging construction climate in perspective.

It's never too early to start planning.

If you have spent any time on our blog, you already know that proper pre-construction planning is the cornerstone of our success and solid reputation. Planning also happens to be the least expensive component in any building project, so now is an excellent time to get started.

The key here is to work with an experienced, objective professional to construct a plan that extracts the greatest value from every dollar you put into the project. Adding square footage, for example, will add more resale value to your home than remodeling a kitchen or a bathroom—especially if that added space can accommodate older children or live-in parents.

Regardless of your intention with your build or remodel, it's important to remember that all the valuable decisions happen during this planning stage. Getting everyone on the same page: you, your architect and designers, and your builder is the most crucial step you can take to assure the best results—and it's relatively easy to do if you take the time to plan it all out as a team.

From there, the team can keep you constantly updated on changes in material prices and supply chain issues and how those changes impact the cost of the actual build. We all know that, much like recent gas prices, materials prices may come down once the supply chain catches up, but getting all your ducks in a row now assures you are ready to move forward once you begin actual construction.

Unleash your inner yogi.

Flexibility has always been as critical to navigating a remodel or home build as it is to touching your toes. The reality today is that it's challenging for any building project to adhere to a strict timeline. You can only build with available materials, and even the most carefully considered construction schedule is no match for port congestion in Asia. In certain Bay Area cities, too, planning approvals are delaying things once those materials arrive.

Ask any homeowner (or home builder!) who's currently building or remodeling. They'll tell you that being flexible—mentally, budgetarily, and with your schedule—is essential. For us, that means being increasingly flexible about the traditional sequence of a project. To accommodate the delivery of longer lead-time items while still meeting critical path dates, we’ve learned to be more creative (i.e., more flexible) with the usual order of how things get done. This is our new normal for now, but as with every industry challenge we’ve encountered in our 40+ years on the job, we’re finding new ways to ensure all those decisions you make in the planning stage ultimately pay off in the form of a sound investment that genuinely feels like a home.

Take a breath. Make a plan. Engage with a professional team.

We get it. It's easy to be daunted by all the headlines about cooling housing markets, inflation, and a looming recession. But the truth is that none of these things should stand in the way of getting your head (and your heart) around a solid plan for your dream home or remodel. Now, more than ever, the key to taking advantage of the one-of-kind opportunity represented by homeownership in the Bay Area is being prepared and being flexible. MN Builders can help you be both.


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