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Top tips for a stress-free renovation

10 quick questions to ask your contractor BEFORE renovating

Gain confidence by asking friends to recommend top-notch contractors. Then narrow the pool and set expectations with these 10 must-ask questions.

  1. Cost: Is your quote an estimate or fixed price, and what’s the payment schedule?
  2. Supervision: Who will supervise the job site and how many hours a day/week will they be here?
  3. Permits: Who will get the permits and co-ordinate inspections?
  4. Protection: Do you have full liability insurance for people and materials? Beyond insurance, how will you protect my property (for example, if you’re building an addition and it rains)?
  5. Timing: What’s our start-to-finish schedule, and when will I be needed on site?
  6. Communication: How will you communicate updates to me, and how can I reach you after hours?
  7. Experience: How many years of experience or similar projects have you completed, and can I visit one of your past projects?
  8. Employees: Do you work with the same pool of subcontractors/construction workers on every project, or will there be new tradespeople?
  9. Savings: How can I save some money? For example, can I buy some supplies myself?
  10. Codes: Are you up-to-date on all current building codes, and how will you handle any violations/changes if the project doesn’t meet code (important for older homes)?

3 tips to ensure your renovation increases your home's value

Renovating should increase the value of your home, but it doesn’t always. Consider three things before you start:

  1. Your neighbourhood’s market value. Will an expensive open-concept main floor reno put your home’s value above the market value in your neighbourhood?
  2. Future buyers. Even if you're not planning to sell soon, it’s wise to think of your project in terms of what most buyers would want. For example, eliminating a bedroom to expand another room may not appeal to every buyer, especially those with families.
  3. Return on investment. Some renos add insta-value, like updating kitchens and bathrooms, adding square footage, or changing carpet to hardwood. Likewise, replacement renos – like swapping out an old roof or rotten deck – are smart.