Renovating your home can bring a rollercoaster of emotions into your life, with the excitement of a new and functional space, brought on by the flood of ideas you see on TV and online. You’re not alone! The majority of homeowners think about renovating their space at some point. Whether you’ve owned your home for years or are a recent buyer, renovating can update your space by incorporating current styles upgrades and repairs, which can ultimately add value to your investment.
There are several factors to consider before you jump into a renovation. Depending on your budget, or whether you want to live in your home during the renovation, you may consider renovating a room at a time. Alternatively, you can do an overhaul of your home and renovate all at once. Learn more about what you should think about prior to embarking on your project.
What to do before the home renovation
Before turning your home into a construction site, the first thing you need to do is to check if your home is covered from start to finish. Also, ask yourself:
- What is the reason for your renovation?
- What are the things that you want to change or add?
- Is there a type of design that you would like to get inspiration from?
Home renovation inspiration is all around! There are several TV channels dedicated to home remodelling; series are available on your favourite streaming service; there are oodles of websites and social media platforms to browse, and you can even go old-school and pick up some magazines at your local store.
Establish your budget when performing a home renovation
There is a reason why people refer to a “dream house,” and that may be mostly due to financial budget limitations. If your house is in a great location but the interior or exterior doesn’t match your style, this may solved by renovating to create the home of your dreams!
First, you need to know how much your renovation will cost. It’s a great idea to consult local professionals, discuss your project, and receive appropriate estimates for the labour and material costs. Depending on your project, you may need to consult the following professionals:
- Contractor or renovation project manager*
- Flooring installer
*You may be able to work with a contractor or renovation project manager who will in turn sub-contract the other trades, such as plumber, electrician, etc.
Once you have your quotes, you should see if these fit within your budget. If the cost of the renovation seems too expensive, you can consider saving up and completing the project at another time, scaling back the remodel, or asking your bank for a loan.
If the quote you received is within your budget, remember that there can be unexpected costs, including an increase in material cost, structural issues or environmental factors for exterior remodelling. You should consider allotting at least 20 per cent of the actual budget to contingencies, as this can give you a cushion for any unexpected costs.
Should you do your own home renovation?
If you want to do some of the work yourself, be realistic about the skills you have to complete it! Also, consider how much free time you have; no one wants to have to use the downstairs bathroom for a month because the convenient ensuite is not available.
Taking a home renovation on by yourself can save you money, however, not all projects are DIY. Some require specific skills, like electrical and carpentry. It is important to have the right knowledge for the work that you need to carry out. This will save you time and money by avoiding costly mistakes.
If you don’t have the time and skills for the project you want to complete, you should contact a reliable contractor and be sure to obtain copies of the information below, before you hire:
- Contractor’s license
- Certificate of insurance for general liability and workers' comp
- Lien history
- Bond number and certification
You may be on a budget, but the contractor offering the lowest bid, may not the best option. This is your home and your safe space, so make sure you take the time to research the people who are doing the work.
Once you’re satisfied with the contractor you have chosen, they may ask you to sign a contract, and if not, you can request that a contract be signed. This can protect you in several ways:
- Establishes a timeline
- Shows potential penalties for missed milestones
- Provides details on the scope of work agreed upon
- Provides a payment schedule (make sure you never complete final payment until 100 per cent of the work is done and you are satisfied)
Planning and design
Home renovations are not always easy to do. No matter how small or how big the project, you need to have a design plan. Planning plays a major role in successfully delivering a renovation project, so consider doing the following:
- Measure the area(s) you’re remodelling.
- Make a floor plan and layout of the renovation.
- Sketch your design and list down the items that you need to implement the design.
- Have this translated into a clear 2-D floor plan that can simultaneously create a 3-D plan (software can help with this)
Proper preparation before home renovations can produce effective and long-lasting results.
Do I need insurance coverage for my renovation?
This depends on the scope of your renovation. A complete gut-job in which you move out of your home may require special coverage during the renovation period. It’s best to discuss your options with a licensed insurance professional before you take a sledge hammer to any walls.
A discussion with your insurance broker should also take place after your renovations are done, to ensure your coverage reflects the increased value that you’ve added to your home, in the event that you ever have to replace it due to damage, for example, by fire or water.
Contact an insurance expert at BrokerLink
Ready to renovate? Learn why it’s a good idea to speak to your insurance broker with our renovating and insurance blog post!
Contact a BrokerLink insurance advisor today! Our insurance experts can answer your questions about insurance coverage during a renovation and they will customize your home insurance policy to fit your specific needs.
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FAQs for renovating your house
Do I need additional insurance coverage for a home renovation?
That depends on the size and scope of your renovation. Large renovations may require additional insurance coverage. A small improvement like painting likely won’t require additional insurance. You should talk to your insurance broker before doing any renovations. They will advise you on what kind of additional insurance (if any) is required.
How long does a home renovation last?
This depends on multiple factors, including whether the work is high quality or whether an unforeseen incident happens to your home. If you’re ready to keep renovating, talk to your insurance broker before it’s time to remodel again!
Are building permits required when doing home renovations?
Building permits are generally required when doing extensive renovations to a home outside – and sometimes on the inside. This is to ensure the safety of those on site and to make sure your building is to code. If you’re looking to resell your home in the future, potential buyers will likely want to ensure the home is to code, so you shouldn’t cut corners on obtaining proper permits. Your contractor often handles the permits on your behalf but you may also contact your city, town or village to see if you will need building permits based on your plans.
Do I need to move out during the renovation process?
Depending on the scale of your project, you can live in your home during the renovation. You can do this by renovating room by room and ensuring that you have what you need available to you, including running water and electricity. Alternatively, you can do an overhaul of your home and renovate all at once, which may require you to find temporary accommodations while your home is being remodelled.