The Renovation Road to Success

We recently became members of the Canadian Home Builders’ Association (the Sea to Sky Chapter) and we really enjoy the articles that we come across written by the association. We found this article (below) about renovating with confidence and wanted to share.

Please note: This backgrounder has been prepared by the Canadian Home Builders’ Association.

Know what you want. A successful project is based on a clear vision of what you are trying to achieve and why—how do you want your home to look, feel and work for your family? A renovation is an investment, and the decisions you make, large and small, will have an effect on the value, and your enjoyment, of your home for a long time. Take the time to explore the possibilities and develop a detailed plan.

Get professional advice. Consulting with a renovator, designer or architect before making firm plans can make a big difference to the final result. It can also help to save you money. Renovation professionals have a wealth of experience and can advise you on budgets, work with you to develop the right design and help you choose appropriate products and materials.

If you opt to do the design work as a separate first step, a designer can also prepare a firm plan for you to get bids for the actual work. Alternatively, you may wish to hire a design/build renovator to look after all facets of your project.

Set a realistic budget. It usually takes time to determine the accurate cost of a renovation. A lot of factors have to be considered—some obvious, some less so. The cost of finishing products varies tremendously. Special trades may be required for tasks such as rerouting plumbing and wiring. There may be costs for waste disposal. And so on.

That’s why it is so valuable to consult with a professional. For instance, what are the basic costs for a project like yours? Is your intended budget adequate for the project? There is little point in spending time developing your dream project if the funds available are not adequate. Instead, an experienced renovation professional can help you develop a plan to fit your budget.

Set realistic timeframes. Not surprisingly, homeowners can underestimate the time it takes to do a renovation, not recognizing the number of steps involved in a project. For example, a simple bathroom makeover can take weeks, as it involves many different tasks that must be done in the right order, and a number of different trades that must be coordinated.

“You can’t rush quality.” Discuss the timelines for your project with your renovator and any concerns you may have about the scheduling. Be prepared to accept that it may take longer than you initially thought, to get the work done right and to your lasting satisfaction.

Hire a professional renovator. No doubt, the single most important factor in the success of your renovation is the company you hire to do the work. Spend the time needed to find the right renovator – one who can demonstrate the experience required for your project and give you references.  A professional will always provide you with a detailed written contract, and also stand behind their work with a written warranty.

Hire for value, not price. If you invite bids from a number of companies, it may be tempting to go for the lowest price, but you need to consider the implications. Does the renovator understand what’s involved in the project? Will you get the quality you expect, or will the renovator cut corners to stay within the budget? Will you be hit with extra charges for items that other contractors included in their bids? Sometimes the lowest price bid ends up costing the most.

Some price difference among several bids is normal, but if one bid is significantly lower than the rest, you need to proceed with extra care.

Be a knowledgeable client. It is your home, your project and your investment. It’s vital that you are comfortable with the renovation process and understand what is going on. Experienced renovation contractors will explain the process, step by step, and keep you informed of progress throughout, so you never have to guess or worry. And never hesitate to ask questions or bring up any concern you may have.

In conclusion, if you are thinking or starting to plan a renovation, do your homework and feel confident in who you decide to choose as a contractor. It will make your experience that much better and stress free and your renovation will provide your family with the functional space you have been dreaming of!

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