Renovating can be FUN!
(so could a root canal under the right circumstances….)
Hmmmmm, now you’ve decided that the almond coloured appliances you have are clashing with the lime green counters and terra cotta flooring in your kitchen. Or maybe you are wondering what to do with the $100,000 you have saved in quarters that’s in the swear jar. I know, how about a renovation? There are lots of things to consider before undertaking a reno, so here are some sage words of advice (Sage might even be a colour you choose!)
1. Uh, is a permit different from just getting permission?
Little changes to your place are a-ok to do by yourself, but once you start thinking about things like messing around with plumbing, electrical or adding onto your house, now you are in a different ballpark that requires getting building permits and even development permits (depending on the nature of the changes you are making). It’s best to consult with the right professionals before you stick a fork in the electrical outlet to test it for yourself. If you do, send us a photo of you with your new hairdo!
2. Who doesn’t love to eat sawdust and walk around live wires all day long?
A reno is a messy undertaking and will for sure disrupt your life. Part of your budgeting should factor in whether or not it makes sense to move out for the duration. Lots of people live through it and come out even stronger (or so they say…) but it’s a decision you have to make up front. If you are ok with cooking on your stove as it moves nomadically from room to room as each room gets finished, then this is the life for you! Otherwise, call up mom and dad and see if your old room with the Backstreet Boys posters is still available for a bit of a move in.
3. But they said they built houses as well as sold used cars….
Does the contractor you chose also have a pizza delivery sign on their truck? Make sure you have qualified the contractor you choose. It’s simple, make sure you get a look at some of the work they have done, call a couple of references they have and do as much research on them as you can before you hire them out. This may save you a lot of grief.
4. To paraphrase Billy Joel, “When we started this renovation, I wore a younger man’s clothes”…
A renovation is not an exact science and neither is predicting the amount of time it may take or the final budget number. It may take longer if there are “surprises” that come up and coincidentally, this may also impact the budget number. Take the number you have in your mind to do the job and make sure you add a buffer. You may not need it, but if you do, it will be there for you to cover off unexpected items. If it all goes according to plan and stays at budget, there’s a nice bonus waiting for you at the end of the rainbow.
5. You mean I can choose my contractor? Say it ain’t so!
Unless you live somewhere so small that the mayor is also the owner of the bridal shop, the cake store and happens to be the only contractor, you should probably have access to a plethora of choices to tackle your reno. It’s not an exaggeration to say that you should have a minimum of 3 quotes and preferably as many as 5. (if you are an engineer, that may go up to 10…go on, we know you want to)
6. And they’re off!
You’ve made your choice on contractor, you’ve set aside the money and you are ready to make the decision. Make sure you are as thorough as you can be and that you’ve done your list of pros and cons. This could be an awesome thing to go through if you have done your homework!