An Honest Look at Investing in a Bay Area Renovation in 2023

Whether you are ready to embark on your renovation journey or still deciding on the perfect timing, you are likely aware of the significant undertaking involved. From coordinating permits to understanding proposals, from hiring contractors to navigating lead times, renovating is difficult even in the best of times. 

These days, however, we still face several remaining obstacles from 2020 and several new challenges that have cropped up since then. What challenges can you expect in 2023? How can we avoid or navigate them with professionalism and efficiency? Come take a look…

Renovation Realities in the Bay Area in 2023

Material Prices and Shortages: While prices for materials aren’t decreasing, they are beginning to stabilize — and this is good news! Stabilizing is much better than the monthly increases we’ve seen over the last 2 years!

Let’s hope it lasts. Regarding past supply chain issues, we’re still experiencing some delays, but we’re also noticing growth in the availability of materials. Another challenge but definitely an improvement.

A Bay Area Labor War: The Bay Area is experiencing what feels like a labor war. This may sound extreme, but it’s true. There is a shortage of qualified trades, and as a result, the competition is fierce. And I’m not just talking about homeowners trying to get on a contractor’s calendar. We’re talking about the firms themselves competing over skilled tradespeople. It has become an all-out fight!

We have personally experienced this as competitors have approached our team members with promises of company cars, astronomical salary increases, and unheard-of benefits. Now, we must go to great lengths to attract and retain experienced and quality team members. This means salary increases that are, unsurprisingly, being passed on as increased labor costs to clients. This is an industry-wide phenomenon that I have never seen in my 25+ years!

Inexperienced Design-Build Firms: Another result — and cautionary tale — of increased demand are the number of new construction companies emerging. Surprisingly, many of these companies have received seed money, which finances those high-salary offers and company cars. However…

…while filling a need is an essential part of market economics, many new businesses are largely inexperienced, which only creates, not solves, problems for clients. Again, I speak from inside experience — one of our poached team members was so shocked that they returned to us!

Now that you can clearly see the concerns, how do we solve them?

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1. Awareness & Expectations

To avoid mistakes and achieve your desired results, it’s essential to be aware. Good news — if you’re reading this, you’re already halfway there. With a deeper understanding of why costs have increased industry-wide, you can confidently move forward with clear expectations and prepare to invest wisely.

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2. Invest in Experience

It’s no secret — hiring experienced professionals is an investment regardless of the industry. There’s a reason for this: you can expect high-quality results and superb customer service with a trusted expert. If these are high priorities for you, I recommend seeking a well-established design firm with deep team member experience, organized systems, and a strong business foundation. That way, you can rest assured that they’re not just running on talent alone.

For example, we’ve been in business for 25+ years, have weathered everything the industry can throw at us, and are licensed in Architecture, Kitchen & Bath Design, General Contracting, and more. Whether you choose us or not, those are the unique qualities to look for in your team. (Check out this complete home renovation in Danville to see our high-quality work.)

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3. Interview Past Clients

If you’re ready for an experienced team for your project, how do you sift through the options? We suggest talking to past clients. This approach will help you get to the heart of the firm’s expertise and discover if they’re the right fit for you. Ask questions like:

  • Did you feel supported during the entire process?
  • Were your expectations clearly communicated and met?
  • Was their team organized?
  • Does the finished home exemplify high-quality craftsmanship?
  • Would you hire this firm again?
  • And most importantly, were problems resolved efficiently and professionally?

 

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During a renovation, issues are bound to happen. It’s normal. But how they are handled is what separates the professionals from the amateurs. The answer to this, and the other essential questions, will provide you with all you need to make an informed decision.

So, is investing in a renovation in the Bay Area a wise idea in 2023? The answer is a wholehearted yes — as long as you have a highly experienced, trustworthy team with the bandwidth and industry knowledge to achieve your goals. 

After many years of luxury design-build projects in the Bay Area, we feel confident sharing our services and seamless design process with you. Yes, we welcome you to vet us with the exact questions we recommend!

If you’re ready to get started, book a discovery call with us here.

Until next time,

Leila