It is a familiar story that the excitement of a renovation soon becomes bogged down in the details. These twelve tips will help you bypass these hurdles.

  1. Before you renovate
    Go window shopping to get educated on the price of materials. This will help in developing a realistic budget. For example, a bathroom tap can cost $70 or $450. You don`t want to receive this wakeup call part way through construction.
  2. Before demolition begins
    Have the plans complete and the permits in place. Have your product / material selections complete and identify the lead times. This allows for finishes, fixtures and appliances to be ordered well before they are needed and to have them available for exactly when they need to be installed. It is much more cost-effective to store items in a storage facility, if that becomes necessary, than to delay construction waiting for things to arrive.
  3. Think carefully
    You will often be required to make quick decisions, but don’t rush anything. Ask for a day to figure out important details like kitchen counter height. These things will impact you every day you live in the renovation.
  4. Only pay for what is in the contract.
    Never pay extra for something you didn’t ask for. The contractor is obligated to seek your permission before proceeding with any work not outlined in the original contract. If you agree to additional work, then you can amend the contract accordingly.
  5. Put wiggle room in your budget.
    After getting a fixed quote from your contractor anticipate spending an extra 10% of the price to take care of unexpected costs. Once walls start coming down, there could be rusting pipes, or other structural problems that need to be addressed. Be realistic. Admit that plumbing or wiring needs replaced and determine what that will cost, before the walls are down. Also, provide a small amount to allow you to upgrade at times. It makes for a better finished product when you love the products that are installed. You may want to change or upgrade products along the way to make for the perfect finished project for you in the end.
  6. Accommodate you first.
    For a large project, like a second-floor addition, consider budgeting some money to move to a temporary dwelling for a few months. It will be less disruptive, especially if you have a family, and will let you retain a sense of normalcy. Just ensure that you are close enough to visit the work site often. Alternatively, transform another room into a pseudo kitchen using a microwave and small fridge. Realize that there will be many times when take-out food will become the last resort.
  7. Costs rise with age.
    If your home was built at the turn of the century, anticipate that it might require extra TLC and more cash. For example, older, unrenovated homes often have knob-and-tube electrical wiring, which can be a fire hazard and may need to be replaced with conventional copper wiring.
  8. Schedule realistically.
    Last-minute changes by the homeowner to details like structure and materials create more work and can delay the project. To avoid this, set deadlines for each phase. For instance, you can only alter the placement of windows prior to receiving the building permit. An experienced contractor will know the ins and outs of a project and be able to stick to realistic deadlines.
  9. Every renovation has its own pace.
    Even when a renovation is on schedule, its pace can vary. You can be alternately overwhelmed by all the decisions that need to be made quickly, or upset because nothing seems to be happening. Have a clear vision so you can make decisions fast and confidently when you are called upon to do so. And have confidence in your contractor and designer if the job seems to stall.
  10. Keep a log book
    At the house to jot down notes between homeowner and contractor. It lets you stay on top of the project. For instance, note when various aspects of the construction will be inspected, so that the right people are on site as needed.
  11. Stay involved
    Prescheduled weekly meetings with your Project Manager and understand the schedule of events that are explained. Ask questions. Even though you have hired a Remodelling Contractor, you are still in charge. Keeping updated on the progress week to week will also ensure that your expectations are being managed as well and will minimize the surprises.
  12. Always get a building permit
    So you’re not surprised by an inspection shutting work down halfway through the project. The increase in property taxes are minimal and the consequences for not having a Building Permit can be devastating to the overall quality of your project and budget.

With these twelve tips, you will be able to make your renovation a positive experience that stays on track, on budget and on time.