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3 Important Questions to Consider Before Starting Your Home Renovation

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3 Important Questions to Consider Before Starting Your Home Renovation

The day has come. Maybe the years of saving up have now paid off, or maybe you just can't look at that old tile any longer. No matter how you got here, renovating is exciting. And while you may be tempted to dive right in and take a sledgehammer to that bathroom, here are a few things to consider when planning a renovation.

What's my real budget?

On the surface your budget might seem simple - it's the amount of money you can spend on the project. Right? Well, while that may be technically correct, we advise breaking things down a little further to make sure you are covered in case of the unknown.

Unexpected costs happen, trades can be delayed. Even with the most meticulous planning most projects sees some sort of surprise expense - be it in dollars or in time. For this reason, we recommend building a contingency into your budget - 10-15% of the estimate from your contractor, set aside for those unexpected costs.

You should also be considering the budget of time you have for your project. With major renovations, it's often best to temporarily move out of the home - which could mean renting or staying with others. Be sure to communicate often with your contractor about your project's schedule and any proposed move in date. While moving in as soon as possible might seem like the best case scenario, your presence in the home may actually slow work down and cost more in the long term than an extra month of renting.

Your contractor should also have some insight and advice about how much contingency you should carry in your budget based on your contract, specific project's scope, and possible unknown elements.

Am I renovating for me, or for a future buyer?

This may seem like a fairly simple answer, but think a bit longer term. Do you plan to stay in this home for 5 years, 10 years, or is this your forever home?

For example, elements like aging in place might not be a consideration for you right now, but may come to use for you one day, or potentially be attractive to a future buyer. Understanding your longer term plan for the property can help you narrow down what's important to you in this renovation.

And just because you plan to sell your home eventually doesn't mean you should make all your decisions based on that future plan - surface elements like fixtures and paint are easily replaced down the line, so go ahead and go for that gorgeous matte black faucet!

What should I do as a homeowner to make sure the project stays on budget and schedule?

After you've turned over your home to your Design Build team you may be left wondering, "what's my part in this"? While we don't anticipate homeowners to be swinging hammers, it is important to discuss your role in the project with your team. There is a fine balance between staying informed and making timely decisions and having the project become your second job. You hired a team for a reason, they should do the heavy lifting, not you,.

Trust me, your contractor understands (and shares) your excitement. And in order to give you the best result, you need to trust your team will keep you informed with everything you need to know. That's not to say you shouldn't ask questions or raise concerns, of course.

The greatest thing you can do for the success of your project is really quite simple. Communicate. Before embarking on your project, sit down with your Design Build team and review expectations. Who is the point of contact on the Design Build side and who is the contact on the homeowner side? How often will you meet in person on site, and what methods of communication will be used between meetings? What is a reasonable response time to questions both from the contractor side and the homeowner side?

Laying out these details at the beginning can help prevent confusion down the line. Likely, your chosen Design Build team already has a structure or idea of how to execute communication, so you can always follow their lead.

Looking for more advice on how to be successful in your renovation? Come see us at the Vancouver Fall Home Show October 24th-27th at the Vancouver Convention Centre and don't miss our Principal Designer, Laurel at the Ask an Expert Stage Saturday and Sunday!

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