What to do before renovating your home

Articles & Interest

Peter Danas, Apex Transformations

By Peter Danas
Apex Transformations

It’s spring time in Canada, and that means renovation season! Many homeowners are ready to tackle their next home renovation project. Did you know that the success of your renovation starts with the work you do before the hammers start swinging?

Having a proper and complete plan of your project before you get quotes is the most important thing that many homeowners don’t do. Missing this important step will lead to going over budget, not getting what you really wanted and to frustration for you and your renovation team. 

The following the three steps will help you better understand “why” you’re renovating. Are you planning to sell your home? Is your home showing its age and is in need of repair? Or, do you need more space? This reason why you’re renovating will have a different impact on how much money you are willing or need to spend.

Proper planning is your path to a successful renovation. Before you talk to a designer or contractor, here are the three things you need to do. 

3 Things to Do Before a Starting A Home Renovation 

Dependable Renovations 
Kitchen renovation by Dependable Renovations – RenoMark member & winner of 2019 CHBA National Awards for Housing Excellence

1: Define your project. Outline the work you would like completed. For example, if you’re renovating your kitchen, you might replace the flooring, cabinets, backsplash, appliances, plumbing and lighting fixtures. It is just as important to list things that you don’t want to change like a window, door or crown moulding. 

By defining the scope of your project you will have a better understanding of how much your renovation will cost, and help you communicate exactly what you want to your renovator.  

ARTium Design Build
Whole home renovation by ARTium Design Build, RenoMark member & winner of 2019 CHBA National Awards for Housing Excellence

2: Set a budget. It is important to understand that the value of your home is influenced by the neighbourhood in which you live.  This means that, for example, if you install premium finishes, you may not recover your full investment. So it is important that to set a realistic budget that relates to your overall home and the community. 

The quality of the finishes you choose will also have the highest cost implications. For example, choosing a quartz countertop will cost you seven times more than a laminate countertop. Try to keep your taste in finishes in line with your budget. Staying true to that rule will help you keep on budget. 

Once you’ve set a budget, ensure that you have the money available. If you are getting a loan, speak with your lender about all the details involved. If you are using your savings, it’s a good idea to place the funds into a secure account where it’s not susceptible to financial market changes.

SLV Homes
Whole home renovation by SLV Homes, RenoMark member and winner of 2019 CHBA National Awards for Housing Excellence

3: Find your design inspiration. Don’t rush, everyone has a different design style. This is your home and you will enjoy the finished renovation for years to come. I like to look at magazines because I can cut out the pictures and save them. Be aware that the newest design trends may become outdated quickly. I suggest a simple time-tested design with simple accents that can be changed easily in the future. I like to make simple updates by changing things like light fixtures, wall art, vases and movable furniture. These simple considerations will change how and where you spend your renovation budget.

Once you’ve finished planning, you will have a great set of documents and images that you can use to communicate what you want to your renovator and designer. This process should reduce the “low-bid” syndrome, where a contractor misses some of the work that you wanted and ends up charging you extra, making your renovation go over budget.

When you start your search for a renovation contractor, you should look to an industry association like the Building Industry and Land Development Association and the RenoMark program. RenoMark renovators must adhere to a Code of Conduct and are subject to a formal consumer complaint process. A professional RenoMark renovator is the best choice for your next renovation.

Questions or comments?
If this column has generated any thoughts or questions regarding a past or future renovation, please email RenoMark@bildgta.ca and look for our answers in the next Ask a RenoMark Renovator column.

Peter Danas is the president and owner of Apex Transformations Inc. He is a professional Builder/Renovator with more than 28 years of dedicated construction experience in the residential and commercial renovation sectors. Apex Transformations Inc. has been a member of RenoMark and the Building Industry and Land Development Association since 2015. You can follow their work on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or visit www.apextransformations.ca.