Local homeowners find that spring is a time for new beginnings… and projects | South County Life Magazine

It’s a busy spring season for construction, whether it’s major renovations or just a few small projects like Matt Cavaco’s at his home on the corner of Woodruff Avenue and Robinson Street in South Kingstown.

“I’m looking to finish this project in April so I can have some time to myself over the summer and it’s important to get it done now as my son loves to run around,” Cavaco said recently as he and some friends nailed boards to posts for one Setting up a fence for his two year old son Callan and the family puppy Lennox, a Golden Doodle.

A South Kingstown native, the Point Judith-based U.S. Coast Guard corporal moved back in 2020 with his wife Jackie and bought this two-story fenceless home for the family they are starting.

Cavaco said he’s also doing some interior work this spring, like painting and some other necessary repairs.

Over in Narragansett, James Doyle, who calls himself Handyman Jim, is a home improvement company that does small to medium sized jobs. This spring is closets sanding, painting, a new bathroom, and crown molding.

At a home in Narragansett, he hung a barn door and put the finishing touches with a tongue-and-groove board for an outdoor patio.

“I wouldn’t say there has been an upward trend as the pandemic has eased, but there has certainly been very consistent work that hasn’t eased off. People still have things to do. They don’t wait to get it done,” said Doyle, who has his place of business in Scituate but does a lot of work throughout South County.

Investing in home improvement, whether by home improvement, small contractors, or large builders, is something homeowners are spending more money on this year than they were last year. Project costs range from a few thousand dollars to over $1 million.

The main reason: working from home and relocating to a more preferred South County environment for many from abroad. Those who spend big want to live on the coast near the ocean in Rhode Island, so many second home owners are remodeling to make these locations their primary residence.

Whether it’s full renovations or just small jobs, people are pushing to make the most of the land. This is partly due to the tight housing market and rising interest rates, both of which are causing many homeowners to stay and improve their wealth.

Industry analysts said 2021 was a significant year for home renovations as extra money accumulated during the pandemic went unspent. This trend will continue in 2022. Spending on home renovations is expected to increase by 9 percent in the first quarter of this year and further increase by 8.8 percent in the second quarter.

According to Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies’ Improving America’s Housing Report, the home improvement market hit $281 billion in 2021 and is expected to continue growing over the next year.

New paradigm

Jeff Sweenor, owner of Sweenor Builders, which builds and remodels custom homes, said most of his work is high-end and requires “a complete belly for the stud or a supplement. These are truly “complete renovations” for those coming from out of state to recently purchased homes or remodeling already owned ones.

“There’s a new paradigm – we have a great place to live on the shore in Rhode Island and we’re getting a lot of people who haven’t lived here but want to and COVID is changing work to work from home be able. ” he said.

He noted that he is tearing down a house for a CEO from California but with Rhode Island roots so he can now work from home in Narragansett and maintain a small apartment on the west coast.

David Whitney, vice president of Davitt Design Build, Inc. of West Kingston, said his firm also does expensive total remodeling for people looking for permanent homes in South County.

“Since the pandemic — let’s say mid-2020 and now all of 2021 and into 2022 — we’re seeing a lot of New Yorkers, Bostonians and people from elsewhere coming to their second homes as they have the opportunity to work from home . ” he said.

“We see people who don’t come back but stay here,” he added.

Mike Virgilio, owner of Virgilio Builders in Narragansett, said that while his work also focuses on transitioning from working at home, he also does some smaller jobs for those looking for slight changes for a more comfortable work style.

In addition, the tight housing market is also increasing the number of people living in their own homes, he said.

“We are seeing a lot of renovations to accommodate more people and larger families in the home. They need places to work, places for kids to go, more basement space, just extra space,” he said.

The demand also means some contractors with small jobs won’t start or expect to complete them for several months. And Rhode Island isn’t the only state seeing an increase in renovations and home improvements.

Oklahoma, California, New Mexico, Nevada and Texas could become important hotspots, real estate analysts say.

trends this year

Some trends for home improvement projects in 2022 include the need for people’s current spaces to become a touch of everything.

According to a report on Bobvila.com, a website overseen by television builder Bob Vila, it’s a place to work, have virtual classes and entertain guests while observing social distancing, while also being a cozy home with corners for some well-deserved privacy, formerly from the This Old House series.

Environmental issues have also settled in the collective American consciousness as more intense weather patterns and changes in nature’s cycles begin to affect daily life. As a result, some homeowners are looking to more sustainable, eco-friendly products and techniques for their homes, the Vila report said.

Rob Ferraro, owner of Jerry’s Hardware in Narragansett, said lawn and garden supplies are the top sellers this year, along with supplies for outdoor living, which includes gas grills

“It seems that people here in South County also want to get back together with people,” Ferraro said. He noted that the traditional yearly home repair and maintenance still brings in a steady stream of customers, especially since the pandemic when people were spending more time at home, particularly working there.

“They stare at the wall and say, ‘It would be nice to refresh the paint here,'” he said, laughing.

Echoing the big builders, he also sees more home improvement, with new customers accounting for about 30% and the majority coming from overseas, he said.

Increased costs

These local builders and timber companies say the cost of projects is increasing due to delays in the delivery of materials for projects. These delays, whether due to shipping, manufacturing or other causes, are known as supply chain delays.

Some insight into this problem came from Bob Gillette, estimator at Arnold Lumber in South Kingstown. He reviews builders’ house plans and provides price quotes on what is needed to build the skeleton of the house, which includes a full weatherproof outer shell.

“We are seeing supply chain issues due to the pandemic for window, door and truss manufacturing,” he said, adding, “The lead time (for delivery) has tripled a year ago. This makes work planning very, very difficult for a contractor.”

He noted, for example, that in the past orders were given to manufacturers when the job was done and items were needed. Now they have to be ordered as outlined on a plan so that they arrive on time,” he said.

However, this can cause problems when site-specific changes are required, and “if a framer makes a mistake, they’re in big trouble,” Gillette said.

Whether you are a do-it-yourselfer or contractor, you too must expect higher prices this year.

“A lot of materials have gone up in price – decking, railings, kitchen cabinets, along with shipping going from four or six weeks to over 12 weeks to arrive,” he said.

He also noted the increases for the variety of materials supplied from the lumberyard to build a house.

“In April 2020, for a starter home that would include the skin, roof, quarter panels, and windows, it cost $30 per square foot. It’s now $50 — a 66% increase,” he said.

That kind of lumber and installation costs has led Matt Cavaco to build his own fence and solicit some favors from his friends Vin Mancini and Jeremy Marcantonio to help.

He negotiated his job with a fencing company, which included labour, wood, nails and cement.

“They wanted $20,000. I’ll do it for $5,000. They don’t know when they might have it ready. I live on a busy corner and I need to lock up my son and dog immediately,” he said.

Not only does he want the job done right away—rather than waiting weeks for a contractor to be available to do the job—he also believes in the weld-justice of DIY.

“It feels really good to be working on something that I actually own. I’m putting equity into something for the future,” he said.

About Rachael Garcia

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