Keeping your cool during renovation season

You've fallen in love with your tile and found the perfect paint. You have all the necessary components for a flawless reno. Our experts lay out a few pointers for if -when- they do. 

Find a good contractor
Get leads from friends, relatives, colleagues or local review websites. You can find a reliable pro by checking references and asking not only about the work itself but also about the contractor's reliability. Did they return calls? Did the crew start on time? Were they on budget? When you hire a contractor, make sure they are fully insured and bonded. Also, be sure to get all agreements in writing and clarify payment schedules and which party will be responsible for permits, even things like upfront payment for materials. It can save a lot of time and drama down the road to get this out in the open right at the beginning.

Be Realistic
It's unlikely that your contractor will be able to turn your starter bungalow into a 5-bedroom sprawling ranch house in the budget you've outlined. So work with what you have. Flip through books and magazines for attractive similarly sized homes and rooms. Who knows? Your bathroom could have the potential to become a cozy Moroccan-inspired escape.

 

Come up with a budget, and stick to it!
Go to kitchen and bath showrooms and see what your renovation budget can buy. Labour and materials add up fast, as do miscalculations both big and small. Keep in mind that unplanned expenses can be up to 10% of your initial budget.


Expect waiting times

Stock cabinetry can take more than a month or two to arrive; custom cabinetry takes even longer. Murphy's Law dictates that that perfect shade of travertine will be out of stock when you want it. Ask your supplier how long it will take for your product to arrive, and follow up on your orders – yes, this is the time to be a squeaky wheel. Do the same with your contractor. But remember to always be polite!


Don't sweat the small stuff
If your demolition created a month's worth of plaster crumbs, wood splinters and dust, consider hiring a heavy-duty cleanup crew. You should expect to pay around $675 for a one-day visit from a team of four. But have no fear: if they run out of renovation-related tidying, they'll get busy reorganizing your closet or garage. Besides, you have better things to do with your time, like enjoying your newly remodelled home.

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