Our eReno guide helps you pre-plan for a successful project, and provides
a renovation roadmap with expert advice and tips before you begin.
A home renovation is an investment. Understanding the value of your renovation is a good first step. Do you want to increase the selling price? Are you planning on staying put and enjoying the renovations for many years to come? Are you maintaining your property value by keeping your home in tip-top shape?
Refer to the below lists of top renovations from the Appraisal Institute of Canada to better understand how your renovation project contributes to the overall value of your property.
When renovating to sell, keep in mind that the quality of materials and workmanship should be consistent with the location of your home. Paint with colours that appeal to a wide market. Look to update lighting and plumbing fixtures, countertops and flooring.
You may want to make your home more comfortable and functional for your lifestyle. For instance, if your family is expanding, instead of moving you can add more room with a finished basement or addition.
Home repair is essential to protecting your greatest investment. If your home is in need of repair, don’t procrastinate. For instance, a leaking roof is only going to get worse. If ignored, it will lead to interior water damage and mold issues. Regular, seasonal maintenance of these systems is also a very good idea.
Whether you’re looking to increase return on investment, improve functionality or keep your home in good repair, hire Bonded by eRenovate™ Pros by using the eRenovate Post My Project tool. Enjoy Peace of Mind with the eRenovate Guarantee which offers $25,000 Deposit Payment protection.
Set a clear budget. It should include products, materials, labour and a little extra set aside for unexpected expenses. Staying within an established budget is crucial to a successful renovation.
Many factors will determine a budget. For instance, project size and scope, the quality of craftmanship and materials used, and whether major structural changes are required. Ensure the workmanship is of good quality and the materials used are consistent with other homes in your neighbourhood.
Scope. Begin by clearly defining what you’d like to accomplish. Create a list of everything you’d like to do. Next to each item note whether it's a need or a want. This will help you work out your priorities and prevent overspending. Cover all of the important renovation requirements and involve your family members in the planning process. Make a list of exactly what you want done. Remember, changing plans in the middle of a project will cost extra money.
Manageable Milestones. When work is done in small, doable stages, you can achieve the desired results without overspending. A professional renovator can come up with a master plan that outlines how tasks will follow each other, when they should be completed and how much they should cost. Keep track of your renovation milestones via the Project Tracker tool when you hire Bonded by eRenovate™ Pros by using the eRenovate Post My Project tool.
Be Creative. Do you really need more floor space or can your interior home design be reorganized? Interior walls can be rearranged, separations eliminated to create more space. All you need is a home professional that can alter your current space in a creative manner.
Reuse, Refinish and Repair. Consider purchasing gently-used or refurbished items. Your contractor may be able to find leftover stone slabs from previous projects. Maybe your old hardwood flooring can be refinished as opposed to replaced. Instead of buying brand new kitchen cabinets, you can repair the old ones. A fresh coat of paint and changing broken hardware can make a difference in the current appearance of your kitchen cupboards.
Save on New Materials. Depending on the type of materials you select, your project budget could vary significantly. Although you want your renovation to be of high quality, there are some materials that don’t affect performance. Consider using less expensive alternatives that work within your budget. For instance, you may wish to select ceramic tiles instead of marble or slate, shorter baseboards, and so on. When selecting materials, work with your renovation professional to the discuss pros and cons of products. Remember, there is a product for every design aesthetic and every budget.
Consider Future Operating Costs. It’s advisable to have water-conserving appliances installed to reduce water costs over time. In addition, you may want to adopt energy efficient lighting, electronic thermostats and high-efficiency heating systems to save money in the long-run. Modern renovators are aware of modern technologies. They can give you current information so you make wiser decisions and save on future operating costs.
After you’ve decided on the nature, scope and budget of your renovation, it’s time to select the right type of home professional(s) for your situation.
Renovation contractors can perform large and small,interior and exterior renovations. They coordinate all areas of renovating work including licenses, permits, employees, sub-contracting tradespeople, building products and materials, home inspection and supervision. If you’ve had your project designed by an architect or designer, a renovation contractor will manage the construction of those designs.
Major renovations need construction drawings for the purposes of defining a contract and obtaining permits. A professionally trained architect produces drawings and project specifications. This professional works closely with your renovation contractor.
A certified designer produces construction drawings for home interiors. Designers may have proficiency in specific areas of the home such as kitchens, bathrooms and space design. This professional works closely with your renovation contractor.
Trade contractors consist of professionals like electricians, HVAC technicians, plumbers and roofers. They collaborate with renovation contractors to achieve your goals. Trade contractors are also hired directly when you want to install or replace one item.
This expert is trained in certain aspects of the home renovating process and specializes in a certain area such as kitchens, bathrooms, windows or basements.
Kitchen and bathroom renovating projects are very popular. Therefore, many manufacturers have created showrooms and store outlets where you can find interior design items with ease. These may include fixtures, cabinets and counters. Bathroom and kitchen retailers collaborate with renovation contractors to provide customer service.
If you wish to hire only one company for design and construction services, look to a design and build contractor. They provide both design and construction services within the same general contracting company. A design and build contractor will see your project through from beginning to end.
A home energy advisor can help you save money and enhance the comfort level of your home. Their work is to determine your energy upgrades. They will do a meticulous inspection of all energy areas of your home and use modern tools to identify areas that need upgrades to save on energy. They will release an energy upgrade report which you can use to determine your renovation priorities.
The work of these third-party professionals is to inspect your home before you can even plan your renovating exercise. They can give you essential information about the condition of your home and identify areas that urgently need repairs or replacements.
As you look for a home professional, focus on their qualifications and whether they have past experience and adequate insurance.
The best way to find qualified, home professionals is through referrals. Ask for recommendations from:
Hire a local home professional. It’ll be more convenient to check up on references or have follow-up work completed. Another benefit to hiring a local home professional is that they will know the local building code and permit requirements.
Always check references with a site visit or phone call. Confirm that the home professional has adequate, up-to-date Commercial General Liability insurance. If the company has employees, request a copy of their current workplace safety certificate. Trade contractors should provide you with a copy of their license. For instance, an Electrician in Ontario should provide you with a valid Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) License.
Estimates should describe the work to be done, and include an itemized list of services and materials and their prices. Ensure that everything you’re expecting is listed. Obtain written estimates from at least 3 contractors. Confirm that they are all working off the same scope and quality of work. Discuss disparities in prices, and be very cautious of any estimate that is significantly lower than the others. Never accept an estimate over the phone or without the contractor inspecting your space. Good contractors will ask many questions so they can methodically plan out the renovation.
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To help ensure a stress-free renovation it's very important that you and your home professional are on the same page. Communicate clearly. All aspects of the renovation should be put in writing. This will protect the interests of both you and your contractor should future complications arise.
A renovation contract is a legal agreement between you and the company you hire to do your renovation. It lays out the responsibilities of you and your contractor as it pertains to the renovation and provides detailed information on the scope of work, payments, permits, inspections and the warranties provided.
The contract should include the contractor’s name, address and contact information. The home professional should also provide documentation showing that they have adequate business liability insurance and a Business or GST/HST Number. If required, they should also provide a Municipal license number and proof that they are enrolled in your province’s Workers’ Compensation program.
The renovation contract should include all aspects of the work to be done and the materials to be used. It may seem monotonous but it’s very important to get every last detail of your project ironed out with the home professional. Changing plans in the middle of a project is costly. List all of the home contractor’s responsibilities, right down to who’s responsible for clean up after the job is completed. If sub-contractors are to be used, include who is responsible for hiring and paying them, as well as guaranteeing that their work is done properly. Include a work schedule, as well as the start and estimated completion dates.
If your renovation is modified while work is being done, ensure your home professional creates a written change order. Both parties should sign the amendment.
Tip: Keep a job file which includes contract, plans, specifications, invoices, change orders and all correspondence with the home professional. eRenovate offers the handy Project Tracker tool for free when you hire Bonded by eRenovate™ Pros by using the eRenovate Post My Project tool.
The contract should include the total cost and the payment schedule. A good rule of thumb is a 10% deposit up front and then incremental payments should be made when each major target is reached in the renovation process. Remember to clarify if Goods and Services Tax (GST) is included in their quote. Do not accept tax-free offers, you may not get a receipt, which is your legal proof of payment for services and/or materials. Trustworthy companies meet all legal requirements, like charging and paying applicable taxes. Avoid cash deals.
It’s the responsibility of the homeowner to ensure that all the necessary permits are obtained and inspections are done. Your contractor can get permits and schedule inspections on your behalf; just make sure this is clarified in the contract and do not allow construction to commence until you’ve seen the permits. Note, the contractor will charge you for this added service. Your municipality will provide helpful direction on this issue.
Make sure you have a clear description of any warranties. Know whether the contractor is providing a warranty on their workmanship. You should also know the warranty on the materials used in the renovation. Keep track of all product warranties and ensure that you register.
It’s prudent to include how you and your contractor will handle any disagreements or disputes. You can stipulate that mediation or third-party arbitration is required when disagreements cannot be resolved. The renovation contract can include a clause to outline the consequences for either side if you or the contractor fails to honour the contract. Additionally, if you’re embarking on a major renovation, have a lawyer go over the contract with you before you sign. Hiring Bonded by eRenovate™ Pros and using the Project Tracker tool, will help you report and resolve disputes.
When your renovation is nearing completion, it’s only natural that you’ll be anxious to get your life back in order. You’ll do anything to expedite the process. But not too fast. There may be a few renovation details that might have been missed; items that still need finishing, fixing or replacing. Don’t forget the final phase of the renovation process.
A punch list, prepared near the end of a renovation, is a list of tasks that need to be completed before a renovation can be considered finished. Do a walk-through to ensure all of your expectations have been met. Identify remaining deficiencies and make a detailed list of necessary modifications. For instance, unfinished or improper installations or incidental damage to existing finishes, material, and structures. If you’re uncertain about anything, ask your home professional. It’s preferable that all issues are brought to light during the final stages of the project while your contractor is still on your premises.
Confirm that you have all of your signed permits, change orders, receipts, product warranties and manufacturer user guides.
Clearly understand your home professional’s guarantees of quality and warranties. Your contractor may provide complimentary repairs for a limited time period. Learn exactly what their guarantees cover and the time period they are covered.
Contractors depend on word-of-mouth references to promote their services. Therefore, if you’re pleased with their workmanship, pay it forward. Let friends and family know how satisfied you are with their services. Provide a complimentary online testimonial and allow them to photograph your space in order to showcase their workmanship.
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