As housing prices in the GTA continue to hit record highs, more and more homeowners are choosing to renovate their existing homes instead of looking for something new.
The first step to a successful renovation is to do your homework and carefully plan your project and determine what your goals are for the renovation.
Your long term plans will play an important role in what renovations you decide to take on. Will you be staying in your home for many years to come? Or are you planning to move in a few years?
What improvements are important to you and will allow you to enjoy your home more? Perhaps you’re considering practical renovations such as expanding a bathroom or increasing the energy efficiency of your home. Or are you looking to add space or replace or upgrade your kitchen?
The scope of your renovations will be influenced by how much money you have available. Once you determine your goals and priorities, you will need to establish your budget. Knowing this before you start will help you make the right decisions about your project.
The next step is to hire a professional renovator as they have the knowledge and experience that can help guide you through the budget and renovation process. When you work with a professional, you can renovate with confidence, knowing that you’re working with someone who understands the rules and regulations that go along with home construction.
Talk to several renovators and choose one that you are comfortable working with. A great resource is RenoMark.ca, an online database of professional renovators, trade contractor or custom builders.
Professional renovators have legitimate business licenses, are insured and offer warranties on their work. They regularly attend educational seminars and have a strong knowledge of municipal by-laws and the Ontario Building Code – two very detailed sets of standards that rule projects large and small.
Before you start construction, your renovator should provide you with a detailed written contract outlining the scope of work, project timelines, payment schedules, warranties and how to handle any changes. If you don’t sign a contract, chances are that you’re not working with a professional and will have no legal recourse should you receive substandard work.
Your renovator is your partner in realizing your vision for your project so keep the lines of communication open and check in on progress regularly to ensure everything is going as discussed.
BILD created the RenoMark program in 2001 so that consumers could easily identify professional renovators who are committed to high standards. They follow a renovation-specific Code of Conduct which includes things like providing a written contract; offering a minimum $2 million in liability insurance; providing two years warranty on all work; and having all applicable licenses and certificates.
Today, RenoMark is used to distinguish professional renovators in nine provinces and more than 40 municipalities across Canada. RenoMark.ca is a great resource to help you find the right renovator.
Bryan Tuckey is President and CEO of the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) and is a land-use planner who has worked for municipal, regional and provincial governments. He can be found on Twitter (twitter.com/bildgta), Facebook (facebook.com/bildgta) and BILD’s official online blog (bildblogs.ca).