The changing seasons bring a lot of color to our world, but they can also mean putting projects you want to do on your home on delay. You don’t want to be redoing a roof in the middle of rainy season, or pouring concrete when the ground is frozen. Picking the right time of year for your remodel goals can mean the difference between a successful project done on time and on budget, and a remodel that drags on for weeks and hits half a dozen snags. Below, we’ve compiled a list of just a few things to consider when deciding if the time is right for that remodel you’ve been planning.

1. Question your own motives.

The first question to ask yourself is what inspired you to want to do this project. Are you replacing the back deck because your friends replaced theirs, and you liked the idea? Are you getting the roof re-shingled because you suddenly realized winter is only a couple short weeks away? All too often, homeowners only think about the remodels and fixes they need to make when external forces inspire them to notice the problem. Unfortunately, this happens to everyone at the same time, meaning that contractors and other home professionals are already going to be swamped doing the same work for everybody else in your neighborhood. That can lead to delays in your project, and problems accessing supplies.

To avoid this, take stock of your home twice a year, to see what repairs might be coming up in the future. Don’t just look at the things that are immediately relevant. Try to think about what problems will suddenly become more serious in three or four months, so that you can address them before the time crunch sets in. Get your furnace cleaned in mid summer, instead of fall when everybody else will remember to do it. Engage that landscaper you’ve been considering in late winter instead of early spring, when his or her schedule will already be booked up. Have a pest control expert examine your home for potential future infestations before they have a chance to take hold. Planning your home improvement slightly off-season means you get first pick among talented home professionals, and they won’t be too stressed out yet trying to balance multiple projects.

2. Consider supply and demand.

Just as different projects become more popular during different times of year, so too do supply sizes wax and wane. Finding the perfect type of wood for that dream deck you’re planning is going to be a lot more difficult when everyone else has already bought all the hardware store has to offer. Before you hire a contractor, do some research to find out what the current supply situation looks like. Ask around at hardware stores. Most stores have customer service representatives who would be more than happy to talk shop with you, and they might even let you in on a secret or two about when the best deals on materials come around. That way, when you do hire that contractor, you won’t be asking the impossible when you tell them you want something the stores sold out of weeks ago.

3. Ask professionals for advice.

You can’t be expected to keep your finger on the pulse of every different home industry in town, but that doesn’t mean you have to go into remodel planning blind. If you’re considering a project that you know many other people are also considering, call up a home improvement professional and ask them when the best time to start that project would be. Make it clear that you want to start your remodel on a schedule that is convenient for them, when they aren’t having to deal with a lot of other customers who don’t realize how much work a remodel actually is. A little empathy can go a long way, and many professionals will be eager to help you work out a schedule that’s efficient and works well for both of you.

Ultimately, foresight and flexibility are key when it comes to getting the remodel you want without losing your mind. Try to anticipate problems in advance to avoid the last-minute panic, and always seek out advice from professionals. It will save you a lot of time and stress in the long run, and you’ll be sitting pretty every season while everyone else is rushing to finish construction in time.

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