October is Renovation Month. For me, this is an exciting time of year — we are closing up homes and protecting them from the winter storms that are right around the corner, but it also means that we get to do more interior work and make people’s homes beautiful.
The reasons for renovating your home can be anything from addressing a real problem or just a style update, but the way you go about getting the work completed should be the same.
This month we will talk about how to legally convert a basement into a rental apartment and how to modify your home as accessibility needs change. No matter what type of renovation you undertake, it all starts with you, the homeowner.
In any renovation, you need to start by thinking about why you are renovating. This important first step is something that many people skip over. Knowing why you’re renovating will help you decide what you are going to renovate, set priorities and set an appropriate budget.
As the homeowner, you play the most important role in the renovation team. You are the decision-maker! At every step of the project you have the responsibility to make decisions, make approvals, and hold all of the people who are on your project accountable for their roles.
Early in the process of renovating you will choose your renovation team members, like the renovation contractor, architect or designer. I can’t stress enough that you should work with professional companies that are associated with their respective industry association; this means that the company will abide by industry standards and not take shortcuts.
Renovation contractors should be members of the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) in the GTA, or the local Home Builders Association in your area. This first check will get you going in the right direction.
The next thing to get ready for is reading. You will have many quotes and contracts to review and just like any contract, the details are in the fine print — so be ready to read everything. If you don’t understand something or if it seems like something is missing, don’t sign it.
Lastly, during construction and at the end, the homeowner is the only person who can approve the work that has been done. This role is very important at every point of the project. During construction you should visit the project and approve items like wall and electrical locations. At the end of your project, you need to be thorough when you complete your final walk-through. If there are any issues, this is your last opportunity to rectify them.
I hope you enjoyed this overview of your role in the renovation process, and I look forward to the next couple articles during the Renovation Month.
If this column has generated any thoughts or questions regarding a past or future renovation, please send your questions to RenoMark@bildgta.ca.