What Toronto Millennials Renovating Should Know

My husband and I recently purchased a fixer upper and with the ups and downs of taking on a home renovation I haven’t had much time to stop and breathe. There are so many details to constantly keep track of and through the process we have learned quite a bit about ourselves, each other and our home. Thankfully we did quite a bit of research before and had a solid plan in place – both of us come from construction background jobs so this definitely helped us. However, as much as we thought we knew going into this, there was a lot more we didn’t realize we would have to factor in!

Here is our list of home renovations must knows before you begin!

  1. ¬†Obviously create a budget! So, you decided you want to renovate. The first thing we started to do once we realized we wanted to renovate the home was talk to our friends who had done similar renovations and looked at realistic pricing, costs, and other factors that would affect our budget. Secondly, we started to “window shop” by getting quotes or looking at costs of items and formulating a list. Lastly, whatever that budget is factor in an additional 10-20% for any issues that may arise. Even if you think there will be no issues, I promise you there will be! If there isn’t you have some savings at the end.
  2. Ceiling Plans are just as relevant as Flooring Plans! We knew immediately what we wanted to tackle when it came to the room designs and layouts, but a great point my husband brought up was lighting. Since the house was empty we were able to get an electrician in first. We had quite the electrical list which included moving and adding lights, outlets, switches. It was so important for the electrician to go in first because of access through walls and ceilings was simpler and any holes could be patched before paint.
  3.  Take Before Photos! A few of our friends have done major renovations to their houses and the first regrets they mentioned were not taking before or progress photos. The first thing I made sure I did was get those before photos, and we have been taking progress photos throughout the renovation as well.
  4. EMAIL! If you are working with contractors or sub-trades always try to communicate by email as much as possible. This way there is a record of conversations and little details shouldn’t fall through the cracks.
  5. 10% Hold Back – FYI many people do not know this but you can hold 10% back from contractors until the job is complete and any deficiencies have been taken care of.
  6. Review your Invoices & Receipts¬†– always review any invoices prior to paying them, and ensure you have documentation on any work or transactions done in the home. Keep copies of all the invoices as well. We made a renovation binder where all receipts are kept just in case we need to verify something, this also helps us stay on “budget”.
  7. Don’t forget the style of the house! Everyone has different preferences, but the one thing we were very clear on was keeping in mind the type of home we purchased. My husband loves modern looks and I find myself more drawn to contemporary. Our house, well it is more on the traditional side so we have been working on blending our personal preferences with the style of the home as well.

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