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Before You Renovate

Renovating your house is very exciting, but so many things can go wrong if you haven't planned for the inevitable pitfalls. You may go over budget or hire a less than reputable contractor. You may find that you don't love the choices you've made in paint colour, counter tops etc.

Research Products

You need to do your research. Study interior design images in magazines, watch design shows on T.V., stroll the halls of IKEA, and moon over the boards on Pinterest.

Research current paint colours and companies (quality makes all the difference). Look at updated light fixtures, backsplashes, flooring, cupboards and cabinets. Order samples of absolutely everything you can, from carpet and tiles to fabrics.

Your renovation dreams are about to come true. Here are a few tips to help your renovation project run smoothly.

Research Your Team

If you are very handy, you may want to do some of your own work but be realistic about your skills. Consider the time you will have to put into the project.  What if everyone in your home must use your master bathroom for a month because the one downstairs is torn up? Not very convenient. You may want to hire a professional contractor.

Before you begin contacting contractors for quotes, have a designer do a sketch of your renovation vision. A designer can help with design decisions and decorating as well as possibly arrange for special discounts on building supplies and furnishings.

It is necessary for the contractor to have an accurate set of design drawings in order to price the project properly. Your verbal description of what you want can be up for interpretation and wildly inconsistent. Sketches provide proof of precisely what the contractor is being hired to do.

You need to do your research to find a good, reliable, professional contractor. Don't make this decision lightly! The wrong choice can radically impact more than your pocketbook. It can cost you extreme stress and anxiety when your house turns into a disaster zone.

Legal Contract and Credentials

Be sure to get a solid quote for the work and get a contract that includes everything in writing. Safeguard yourself against unscrupulous companies and individuals. View his contractor's license, warranty and insurance. Read reviews and testimonials and get references from other clients.

Establish a payment schedule and don't make the final payment until you are totally satisfied with the completed work. Develop a timeline with potential penalties for missed deadlines.

Detail all aspects of the work being done. Be precise about the number of cabinets being installed, how many square feet of flooring to be laid etc. This document should contain protective clauses and demonstrate to your contractor that you are knowledgeable about business practices. Proper preparation can help to prevent future drama.

You will be spending a great deal of time (and money) with your contractor, so make sure he is going to be a good personal and professional fit with your family. In-person interviews are a must!

Be sure to take lots of "before" and "after" photos. You will want to have photos of how it originally looked before the makeover.

 It’s very important to bring in a structural engineer that can look at the house before you begin any major renovations. An engineer won't be able to identify every issue that can arise, but they could detect potential problems. Possible water damage, problematic zoning and compromised structural integrity can be detected in advance of your project.

Prepare to Exceed Your Budget

Even with careful planning, issues can arise that will inflate your costs. Because there can be electrical, plumbing and structural integrity problems, you should always budget for at least 15% more than what you anticipate the end cost to be. Budget for the unexpected. Protect your savings and your peace-of-mind. 


Invest in the Future

Invest your money on things that are going to save you money in the long run. Installing double-glazed windows and insulating your roof will save on energy costs. Don't scrimp on your flooring either. Spend that little extra on trim, baseboards and casing, it will make all the difference in the appearance.

Over Schedule

Renovation projects notoriously run over the original time schedule. Delays can be caused by many unforeseen factors such as: materials being on back order; tricky wiring, illnesses etc.

A properly planned and executed renovation is a deeply satisfying experience. You will be thrilled when the project is completed and you can see the results of all your efforts. When your home is more efficient and attractive while reflecting your unique personality, it's a wonderful feeling to come home to.

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