If you’re reading this you probably want to renovate your home. So where do you start?

There are two ways to begin. One way is to call a contractor and arrange a meeting on site. Take them on a tour of your home and let them know exactly what you envision for your renovation. This will give them an opportunity to look at the size and structure of the space, and give their initial assessment. They can let you know whether your project requires a set of building plans and a permit and they can then refer you to a designer or architect if you don’t already have one in mind. This is also when you can get an idea of whether or not you would feel comfortable working with them. After all, a renovation can last a matter of days or months depending on its size, and the working relationship between client and contractor is crucial.

Alternatively, if you’re planning an addition to your home, you will definitely require building plans and a permit and if you prefer, you can start by calling an architect or building designer in your area. They can work with you to come up with a design which you can then take to a builder to obtain a quote. Having a set of plans not only makes it easier to obtain prices from several contractors, it can also make it easier for a contractor to come up with a more accurate estimate. Once the estimate has been accepted, you or your contractor can take the plans to the local municipality to apply for your permit.


How much is it going to cost?

There are two methods of construction pricing: Fixed Price and Cost-Plus. Every contractor has a different method of accounting for the variables and potential costs of a renovation. Keep in mind, the only way to get an accurate idea of how much your renoavtion will cost is to help your contractor understand exactly what you want. Items such as flooring and plumbing fixtures can vary a lot depending on your style and personal taste. Once they have an idea of what that is, they can start putting the numbers together.

How do I know costs aren’t going to spiral out of control?

There are several reasons why the costs of a project can get carried away.

Poor planning: without taking the time to complete a really thorough estimate it would be very easy to miss something in a large renovation. This is why ballpark estimates are a good starting point but not something you should count on.

Unforeseen costs: There is always the chance that despite all your careful planning, along the way you will uncover things that you could not have predicted such as old water damage or faulty wiring that you will need to repair before you continue.

Fixture/Material selection: Deciding on a flooring budget is one thing; sticking to it in the face of hardwood samples is another. Make sure you know exactly how much you can spend on each fixture before you head out shopping so that you are free to go over or under your budget as you see fit; no surprises.