Doing a home renovation is probably one of the largest expenses you’ll ever have in life. Your home is a place you live in day and night so it’s important you love and enjoy your living space. A home renovation can be an amazing experience if you do it right… if you don’t do it right it can add a lot of stress and end up being a nightmare.
Here’s 5 things you need to know before renovating your house:
1. Don’t be cheap: You’ll end up regretting being cheap. When it comes to things like your kitchen cabinets, floors, countertops, vanities… don’t cheap out! Labour is expensive, upgrading materials are not. So spend extra on quality, it’s always worth it in the long run.
2. Get a clear, accurate estimate: A lot of contractors use “allowance pricing” which means you don’t really know what your final price will be until you make your selections. So if your budget is $200k and your estimate is $200k but it’s based on allowance pricing then you will end up way over budget. To avoid this your contractor should use software like CostCertified that allows you to make your selections in real-time within the quote while seeing the price change.
3. Love your design but make it practical: There are so many stories of people who renovate their house and build their “dream” kitchen and focus on the look and feel of it only later to realize the home layout isn’t very practical. And there’s nothing worse than an impractical house. Sure, make sure your newly renovated home is something that looks amazing but is also very practical. Put a lot of thought into rooms that you use most often like your kitchen, master bedroom, ensuite, and basement.
4. Get a good project manager: Are you hiring a company or the contractor actually doing the work? It really doesn’t matter as long as you know who’s managing the project. The project manager is very important since they will be scheduling everything and make sure your project runs smoothly. A bad project manager can ruin a project even if the company you hired seems good.
5. Be confident with your design choices: Designers are paid to help you make decisions. But, sometimes they can really persuade you to do something that you really don’t want or like. Be strong and know what you want. It’s your home and you’ll have to live with it, not your designer.
6. Use neutral colors: Are you going to sell your home one day? Most likely you will so make sure the colours you choose will still be in style 5 years or 10 years later. That means you should pick “neutral colours”.
7. Go bigger if you can: Knock down that wall that’s closing in your kitchen… yes, it is worth it to open it up! An open kitchen with lots of room is never something you’ll regret. A closed kitchen that doesn’t have as much room will be something that you’ll end up regretting. Open spaces are a great way to create a feeling of a larger home while encouraging your guests to congregate and mingle.
If you do it right, you’ll probably never regret renovating your home. But, it is definitely a pretty major decision and a lot of thought and care should be taken before moving forward. It all starts with the estimates you receive from the contractors you have requested to give you a quote. If the estimates you get are static, vague or unclear in any way then don’t sign off on it. The more clear you are on what you’re getting for the quoted price the better off you’ll be when the project begins. There’s no excuse for a home renovator not to use a really good construction estimating software that gives you clarity. At the end of the day, what you sign off on is all you can hold your contractor accountable for.