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How do I… renovate my home

Imagine cooking in your dream kitchen or revitalizing your office space to be more productive. There's a lot to consider when planning a home renovation. We'll guide you through the various stages of a home renovation process to turn your vision into a reality.

Dream it, plan it, live in it

Before jumping in, think about your goals. Are you looking to freshen up your space and make it more current? Do you need your space to be more functional? Are you looking to add value to your home? Do you see yourself living in the home for a long time, or will you be selling soon? This is also the time to think about things like your budget, the timeline, whether you’ll need a permit, and whether your renovation can be claimed on your taxes. Doing this extra research will really pay off in the long run.

When to hire a contractor

Sure, we all love a good DIY, but for many projects hiring a professional can save you a lot of time and money. Being ambitious is great, but many tasks can be less straightforward than they seem. Here are some instances where bringing in a professional is recommended:

  • Structural changes – if you’re moving walls or adding an extension, a contractor will make sure the work is done safely and up to code. They can also help you with the permit process to make sure your project is in line with any municipal codes. 

  • Plumbing and electrical – this type of work should always be left to licensed professionals.

  • Tight turnarounds – if you need a renovation completed quickly, hiring a professional can make the process quicker and smoother while still ensuring the work is high quality.

  • Tax benefits – hiring a professional can help you figure out what you have the right to claim, and how to get the biggest tax return on your renovation.

Understanding renovation budgets

Cost will be one of the biggest things to consider in your renovation. Let’s break it down simply so you can make the right choices along the way.

First, consider the scope of your project. The complexity will be the biggest factor affecting the final cost. Materials and labour can also vary a lot, so getting multiple quotes is important. Research suppliers and contractors to get a sense of the range available to make an informed decision. Don’t forget to factor in permits and tax write-offs! Again, this is where hiring the right contractor will be well worth the upfront cost and effort.

In some cases, your project might qualify for financing. A renovation loan or a line of credit could help you spread the cost out over time. This is also a good time to estimate the ROI (return on investment) of your project. Kitchen and bathroom renovations, for example, can really boost the value of your home. Looking at the ROI can help you figure out which projects around your home to do first.    

Finally, expect the unexpected. Renovation projects can be full of not-so-fun surprises like hidden damage to your home, or problems and changes that come up in the middle of a project. In general, you should have an extra 10-15% saved up, just in case.  

Remember to keep track of all expenses. This will not only help you stick to your budget, but it can also come in handy for maximizing tax claims or selling your home.

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A step-by-step guide to set yourself up for success

Keeping these steps in mind should help you start the planning process and make sure details don’t fall through the cracks:

  1. Create a timeline – break your renovation down into smaller tasks and set realistic deadlines for each to stay organized and on track.

  2. Research and hire professionals – find the right contractors and subcontractors for the job by comparing credentials, past work, and pricing.

  3. Get all necessary permits and approvals – avoid legal issues and keep your project moving along.

  4. Demolition and construction – clear out your space and work with your contractors to get your home ready.

  5. Installations and finishes – once construction is done, it’s time for finishes. This includes plumbing fixtures, cabinetry, electrical wiring, flooring, and painting. Work closely with your contractors to make sure you’re happy with the results.

  6. Enjoy your new space – This is what you’ve been waiting for! Add your final personal touches and relax.

Quick tips for peace of mind

Renovating is an exciting process, but it can also get stressful. These tricks can help with peace of mind along the way:

  • Open lines of communication – stay in touch with your contractors, get frequent updates, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

  • Stick to your budget – be realistic, add a contingency fund, and track as you go.

  • Be flexible – prepare to adapt and work with your contractor to deal with the unexpected as it comes up.

  • Get and stay organized – keep track of all paperwork, contracts, receipts, and communications to avoid confusion.

  • Take care of yourself – get rest and remember to celebrate your progress at every step.

Get help maximizing your renovation value

Don’t hesitate to get in touch. Our advisors know the local markets inside out. They’ll be happy to share insight on where to spend your money to create the most value.

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Get advice on the go

Life gets busy, but don't let that stop you achieving your goals. Whether you’ve got $50 or $50,000, we want to help power your possible – and we'll come to you to do it.

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