Nothing gets a homeowner’s juices flowing quite like the prospect of a remodelling job or major home renovation. You’ve been paging through magazines for years and checking out Houzz and other online home design and architecture websites so much, in fact, you feel like an expert.
Here’s the thing: you’re not. You may know precisely what it is you’re after but there are obstacles that no amount of studying can prepare you for. And while the thought of hearing workers inside your home sawing, hammering and drilling fills you with excitement, be cautious and don’t jump into a project feet first.
Here’s a list of don’ts you should avoid if you want a fairly uncomplicated dream renovation project.
Don’t Hire Harry the Handyman – Unless he comes with stellar references from folks you know and trust using your sister-in-law’s unemployed step-cousin to remodel your ground-floor bathroom is probably not a good idea. Sure, he’s super handy, reasonable and can refinish hardwood like nobody’s business, but his limited or non-existent experience leaves you in doubt. Best to keep on looking.
Know that your Reno Budget will Grow — Like death and taxes, it kind of goes without saying that spending more on your remodelling project is a sure thing. There are online resources that will help you hammer down the precise cost of your renovation, spreadsheet and all. Know that it’s best to have a budget for your budget. According to Scott McGillvray, surprises invariably happen so homeowners should squirrel away a sizable contingency fund. The home reno guru recommends in the neighbourhood of 15 to 25 per cent of your budgeted renovation, depending on the size of the project and the condition of your house.
Don’t Expect a Punctual Contractor – It’s not that builders and contractors enjoy falling behind time-wise, it’s just that issues arise due to the wild unpredictability of transforming an existing structure into your dream home. Don’t look to house-and-home shows on television as your yardstick because that is flat-out unrealistic. Since there is no way of knowing if the job will be completed by the estimated time, bear this in mind and expect a later date. And who knows? Your contractor might surprise you. Just don’t hold your breath.
Don’t Think Your Day-to-Day Routine will be Unchanged – Having strangers in your house can be unpleasant and disruptive, especially if you’re somewhat of an introvert who enjoys peace and quiet. Expect the objectionable: noise, dirt, dust, disarray and disruptions to your regular way of living. If your kitchen is being remodelled or a heavily used bathroom, you need to find alternatives. Can you use your fridge in another room of the house and cook on a hot plate or in a microwave oven? Eating out is well and good but that can add up in dollars, calories and diminishing health. Think ahead about potential disturbances and how you can best deal with them.
Don’t Assume Your Contractor is Certified – If you’re a little casual when it comes to rules, this might be a good one to jot down. Ask to see your contractor’s certification. You want to ensure they have liability insurance and are covered by the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board so that if a worker gets injured, the contractor is covered and you’re not at risk of being sued.