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General contractors have your home upside down? Make home renos a smooth transition

Ok, maybe your house isn’t actually turned upside down, but it can sure feel like it when you’re in the process of renovating your home. Don’t feel intimidated by the renovation process. Being that we’re experts in the industry, we’ve developed a plan that will not only benefit your general contractor, but will keep you sane while the renovation is ongoing.

First things first

If you’re reading this, you probably fall under one of these two categories:

  • You’ve started your home renovations;
  • You’re in the middle of them.

That means you’ve already gone through the process of hiring a general contractor or other home service professional to complete the work. If you haven’t, then you’re in luck! We have a ton on resources to guide you through the process of hiring an expert. We’re not going to lie: it’s not easy, but if you follow these tips, you’ll find the right person that fits the scope of work.

Trust your contractor, but do your research

Working with a contractor is a partnership between the homeowner and contractor. Therefore, there should be a level of trust between both parties in order for the home renovation process to move smoothly. Otherwise, you may find yourself constantly questioning the GC’s work, which causes delays and animosity between both parties.

Having said that, that doesn’t mean you should give them the keys to the house without being involved in the process, either. Instead, here’s what you should do:

  • Be fully aware of what the project entails. This will allow you to spot a mistake or shortcut should a problem occur.
  • Do some research about the project. If a problem does arise during the home renovation, having knowledge of the scope of work will allow you to pick out those problems.
  • Know when to step away. You chose to hire an expert over doing the work yourself. Why? Because you trust an expert. Let the experts do what they were hired to do, but knowledge is power.
Proper research and planning will lead to less disappointment during your next home renovation!

Proper research and planning will lead to less disappointment during your next home renovation!

Plan Ahead

Any good home renovation begins with a strong plan and the knowledge that it will take time. The following steps are imperative to the home renovation process:

  1. Generate a wish list. If you do this BEFORE you start your home renovation, you won’t be disappointed. Otherwise, you may find yourself in the middle of the remodel wishing you had made room in your budget and timeline for specific projects that can no longer be completed for whatever reason.
  2. Talk to an architect. No matter who you hire to do the remodel, it doesn’t hurt to have a second set of eyes go over your remodel plans. A designer or architect may have additional input to the reno that could generate a much higher ROI.
  3. Obtain permits in advance. Whether you’re doing this yourself, or your GC is arranging them for you, it’s imperative to have this step done during the planning stages. Not having permits on time could delay your renovation, pushing the contractors’ deadlines.
  4. Secure finances. Big or small, the home renovation project will cost money. Don’t wait until the last minute to secure your funds, be it refinancing your current home or applying for a mortgage. Any delays or hiccups along the way could put the project at risk.

Here’s McGillivray on the importance of doing research:

These steps will ensure that the home renovation process moves as smoothly as possible when it actually starts. Plus, it’ll reduce a lot of headaches for you!

home reno planning

Communicate effectively

Communication is key both before and after you hire a contractor. In fact, poor communication is one of the reasons why home renovations are so difficult. During both the hiring and renovation process, be clear on what your budget is, what your timeline is, and what your expectations are. Your contractor won’t know what your concerns are unless they’re expressed. Once those communication lines are opened, it’ll make it much easier to avoid budget problems and renovation complications.

speaking with contractor

Stick to your budget

It’s one thing to properly secure funding for your home renovation. It’s another to stick with the budget you’ve given yourself. Picture this: you’ve hired a contractor to do the work and their quote is within your budget. You’ve chosen your fixtures and materials, also within your budget. Avoid the temptation to opt for different fixtures you see when passing by a furniture store or friend’s house. Making changes to an established plan could cause delays, which costs you more money since you need to pay the contractor. Furthermore, you’ll be dishing out extra money for fixtures you already built into your original plan.

Stick to the plan you developed at the beginning of the renovation to avoid extra cost hiccups along the way.

McGillivray recommends setting up a contingency for your next home renovation:

Consider finding a temporary place to live

Close your eyes and imagine this scenario: You’re gutting your home and making room for brand new, state-of-the-art kitchen cabinetry, flooring, bathroom fixtures, the works. Your main floor is covered in construction paper, plastic wrap is taped to the corners of entryways, construction workers are walking in and out of the house with their boots on. Oh, and there’s a film of dust two inches high over everything. Even if you’re not doing the upstairs floor, dust seems to finds its way there.

Do you really want to live in your home during a home renovation?

The process itself will be much smoother and easier if you’re not living in the midst of the renovation. Why? It will be very difficult to keep your home in livable condition with all the construction. Not only that, but having a full family living in the house, sticking to their routine may prove difficult for the contractors working.

Instead, consider finding a temporary place to stay for the duration of the renovation. Perhaps you can stay at a friend’s house or find a short-term rental. This will give the contractors space to get their work done and keep your lives in order at the same time.


We hope you haven’t changed your mind about the home renovation process. Home renos are a great way to update the look of any space. When you hire the right general contractor, do your research and enjoy the process, you’ll be happy with the results!

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