Our clients come to us with different experience levels when it comes to building and renovating their homes. We have found that building or renovating is usually an anxious time for homeowners so its really helpful to know what to expect beforehand in order to be well prepared and confident in dealing with the challenges of taking on a major home project. Here are a few of our recommendations to get you started.
1. Pick the right people to work with! We cannot stress this enough. Pick your contractor based on recommendations, professionalism and character. You should feel comfortable asking questions and working with your service provider. Communication is key to making your project run smoothly. Ask lots of questions about what they charge for labour, how much their mark up is and what type of contract they use for their projects. It takes a long time to do an accurate budget that is realistic, beware of vague budgets with little detail.
2. What is your budget? Not having a defined scope of work and an accurate budget is the most common reason for cost over runs and schedule delays. Discuss the payment schedule and the budget with your contractor at the very beginning so there is no misunderstanding.
3. Your needs. Do you have a family, what are special considerations your family may need, will you be caring for your parents or do you expect to spend your own retirement in the home. Are you keeping the property for an extended timeframe or is this a short term investment, all sorts of things factor in when deciding on a plan of action for your home and where you will want to invest your precious resources.
4. Schedule. The scheduling of any project makes a big difference in its execution. If at all possible it is best to schedule your renovation at a time when you can be away, If this is your primary residence I encourage you to rent elsewhere, construction is dirty, messy, busy, and has many moving parts with different tradespeople in and out. This makes it very disruptive to daily life. It is best to live offsite in all but the tiniest of renovations.
5. Discipline. If sticking to a strict budget and timeline are high on your must haves than discipline is crucial when making decisions. It’s important to stick to your choices, scope creep happens quickly when you start justifying upgrades. The size of your project as well as expectations of level of finishings will drastically affect your budget and timeline. Your contractor will help you through the process but it is your home and you make the final calls so use your best judgement.
6. Be organized. One of the best was to accomplish this is to use a designer and pick everything beforehand. It’s impossible to do an accurate budget before your selections have been made. The more that is figured out ahead of time the easier things will fall into place and the less likely there will be additions to the budget that catch you off guard.