As a licensed interior designer, a massive part of my job is simply educating people on exactly how the process works when it comes to renovating their homes. I know all too well that the whole thing can feel incredibly daunting, and while I hate for anyone to feel stress in any form, I love that I’m able to provide my clients with a sense of peace and relief, knowing that I’m able to seamlessly walk them through the process to the best of my ability. All too often I see folks making major mistakes (including possibly voiding any home warranties they may have) and thought it’d be helpful to share a few key steps to ensure you tackle your home renovations correctly.
I’m certain I’ve said this before, but whether you’re gutting your home, retiling your kitchen backsplash, or simply decorating your living room, I always recommend creating a solid design game plan prior to making any major purchases or bringing any contractors on board. Measure your space, draw your floor plans to scale, pick your finishes, locate your electrical and mechanical components, etc. etc. It’s only at that point – once everything has been fully designed and thought through – that you can get an accurate quote that won’t yo-yo as you go.
If you do decide to work with a designer, this is where it’s best to get us involved – right at the onset. More often than not, folks are under the assumption that it’s best to line up a contractor first as they book up quickly, but that isn’t typically the case. In reality, the relationship between your designer and your contractor is almost more important than your relationship with your contractor as we’re the ones that are going to be working closely alongside one another to deliver you the best results. Any good designer will have already carefully vetted their contractors and know who they work best with to ensure the entire process is as seamless, stress-free, and cost effective as possible.
Whether you work with a designer or not, it’s always best to get all of your designs down on paper – a set of construction drawings, if you will, that you can then send off to a handful of contractors so that you can get accurate quotes. Because each contractor will be providing you with a quote based on your exact set of designs, drawings, and finishes, you’ll then be able to review said quotes and know that you’re comparing apples to apples.
If you aren’t working with a designer, I highly encourage you to at least work with a reputable contractor (please, please, please don’t DIY your renovation projects, I implore you). When it comes to hiring a contractor it’s always best to go with someone who has been highly recommended by a trustworthy source. I mean, I’m sure that goes without saying, but it’s always nice to reiterate just in case. If you don’t have any trustworthy sources, I highly recommend checking out Homestars.com. It’s a great resource to find candid and authentic reviews of local contractors and tradesmen in your area.
In addition to ensuring that your preferred contractors have come recommended, you want to ensure that each candidate, as well as any subcontractors they work with, carries the following and that each is in good standing. If not, I encourage you to just walk away:
Once you’ve awarded your project to the successful bidder, you’ll also want to ensure that no work begins without a proper, signed, contract in place.
It’s always wise to do a bit of a background check to see if you’re eligible for any additional perks or benefits. Government rebates are aplenty for things like making your home more energy efficient. And if you’ve recently bought a new condo or new build home in Ontario, you actually have a terrific leg-up here. All new builders are legally obligated to be registered and every home they build is protected under a warranty program, which protects your investment for up to 7 years. With that in mind, if you are tackling any renovation projects within your new build, you need to ensure you do your due diligence to make sure you aren’t voiding your warranty – something I’ve unfortunately seen time and time again.
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