How to Take the Scary Out of Renovations

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Renovations are one of the largest investments that homeowners will make in a lifetime; hence why they are probably recognized as one of the most stressful events that a homeowner might endure.  With life being thrown into turmoil for a period of time dealing with dust, finances, a multitude of decisions; the stress can be overwhelming. There are some very clear steps to take to reduce these stressors when making the decision to proceed with a renovation.

The Value of Staying in Your Home

Many people find that once they start looking at changing their surroundings, the high cost of upgrading to a new home versus keeping their existing home with the lower mortgage and simply investing some money into renovations, are significantly different. For example, a 1998 home with a small remaining mortgage plus a $200,000-300,000 renovation, designed exactly to suit their needs and wants, will cost less than moving… and they get to keep the neighbours and the yard that they love.  Not only that but if the investment is done with the correct professionals, there is a large return on the investment, which increases over time.


Ask a Realtor

Realtors have the knowledge and experience to help you determine what size of renovation might be of the best value compared to other listed and sold properties in your area.  Common advice they give is, “If clients want to get their money out of their renovations, they do not want to overspend and be the most expensive house on the block.” Realtors help provide the confidence homeowners need when determining how money could be best spent in that specific neighbourhood.

Hire an Integrated Design and Construction Team

Once homeowners have decided to proceed with a renovation, the next big question for people is where to start.  What are the possibilities? How much will it cost? Who do they hire first, the designer or the contractor? Renovating is a difficult task as it is, so hiring the right people to work with is key. The qualified contractor has experience and knowledge in the construction process, as well as access to loyal and reliable trades. They handle the quoting, planning, ordering, scheduling, billing and insurance and can offer advice as needed. An Interior Designer, on the other hand, has the vision and the creativity, advanced knowledge of products and trends, and is an expert in maximizing space.

That being said, it can be difficult to work with the two different design and construction teams as the homeowner ends up being the project manager. Not only that, but the personalities and processes of the different teams might not agree, leading to finger-pointing and red tape.

The solution to reducing the stress of this situation is to hire an integrated design and construction company. Combining the Design and the Contracting under one roof means you can rest easy having one group take care of all your needs. The integrated team has a solid process based on communication and transparency that they are used to working with, as well as an understanding of the common goal they are working towards. Having the creative ability, the structural knowledge, and access to all the trades under one roof, is truly a one-stop shop in renovations, leaving your renovation to be as stress-free as possible.  The best part of a team like this is that there are rarely any extra costs.

Get a Budget From a Preliminary Design

This is where hiring an integrated team has the most value.  Often, homeowners put an abundance of time and money into a beautiful design, only they have the quotes come in double or triple their allotted budget. When they hire an integrated team, they are able to have the input of the designer, contractor and trades from a preliminary design to help them make decisions on the scope so they can focus their design dollars on the areas that fit within the budget.  This step saves time and money and has helped some homeowners decide where they want to spend their money and where they can save, allowing them to move forward confidently and realistically with their renovations before they sink too much money into a design.

Move out During the Construction

So much of the renovation stress comes from the inevitable dust that arises from general construction — especially drywall.  The more that you can be away from your demolished home, with dust in places that will only drive you crazy, the easier the process will be.  If you meet with your contractor weekly or bi-weekly at a set time, they will usually have the site cleaned up for a walkthrough to review specific details and then you can return back to your clean, temporary living space.  Some contractors specialize in completing the project while the homeowners leave town completely; this is a great option for people who trust the designer and contracting team completely and an even better option for people who hire an integrated team.  

Be Realistic and Aware

There are so many moving parts of a renovation involving products, schedules, trades, equipment, and unknowns; being realistic and aware of the dust, schedules, changes, decisions, and issues will help to reduce the stress on clients.  Problems almost always come up; it’s just a part of the renovation world. But, by hiring a qualified expert, you are essentially hiring an expert problem solver who will remedy a situation as it arises and often come to you with a pre-planned solution so you don’t have to stress. Starting a renovation with a calm, aware mind helps alleviate unnecessary stress and you will have a beautiful, functional space for years to come.

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