Right now may be the perfect time to consider a remodel of your home. The Canadian Federal Government is offering a home renovation tax credit, interest rates are very attractive and contractors are available. And if you live in New Brunswick, you may be eligible for energy efficiency grants and loans. Check out the Efficiency NB website for details.
As you plan your remodel, here are a few ideas that will save you time and money, now and for many years to come.
1. Select your contractor carefully. Visit the contractor’s job sites and see what type of work they are capable of. Talk to people and gain recommendations. And get a full and detailed estimate of the work to be completed.
2. Be Realistic. It is a romantic idea to remodel a house. And how hard could it be? It only takes an hour on HGTV to remodel a house from the 18th Century! Your contractor should set reasonable expectations for the time needed to complete a project.
3. Use a standard form, detailed contract. This protects everyone and keeps expectations vs. reality, in check.
4. Arrange your financing in advance. This will save many dollars in expenses and fees and may prevent devastating financial ruin in the future. Establish a budget and stick to it.
5. Consider the builder’s schedule. You will save time and money if you do your project when the builder is slow. Think about scheduling an interior project in the winter months.
6. Design according to standards for fixtures, building materials, windows and doors. This will save you a fortune in materials, waste and labor.
7. Plan ahead and stick with the plan. Change orders are costly, time consuming, frustrating and can lead to errors.
8. Plan living space according to how you live. Do you really live “The Great Gatsby”? I didn’t think so. When planning your living areas, carefully consider how you live. How meals are prepared. How you and your family get ready for their day. How you spend your free time. Plan accordingly.
9. Make reasonable living arrangements. It is labor intensive and time consuming for the contractors to return the house back to living conditions at the end of each work day. Decide to either move out or into a section of the house that is not under construction.
10. Protect your valuables. Damage and theft are two possibilities. Remove anything that can be removed and safeguard fixtures from damage through construction. Dust and paint, can and will go everywhere!
11. Recycle. Reuse. Donate. Talk with your contractor to see if gently used or recycled products are a fit for your job. Always look for ways to recycle or salvage the materials you will remove.
12. Don’t save in the short term to spend in the long term. High efficiency appliances and fixtures, good quality windows and doors and good building materials will save you on long term maintenance, energy loss and repairs.
13. Avoid relocation of electrical and plumbing fixtures. This will reduce permit costs, time and labor.
14. Maximize efficiency. Make the most of storage spaces and be sure to plan plenty of storage space. A smaller space will operate as a much larger one if it is not full of clutter. Open up rooms. This will make your space much more livable and enjoyable.
15. Leverage your contractor’s contacts. Look for the best discounts on materials and sub-contract work from those people your contractor knows, likes and trusts. They will look to your contractor, not you, for an ongoing relationship.
16. Build a relationship with your contractor and maintain communication throughout the remodeling process. This will save time, money and frustration. Remodeling never goes exactly as planned but communication will keep it running much smoother.
17. Consider consulting with an architect instead of hiring one for the full job. Depending on the scope of the work, the skill of your contractor and local laws and practices, this can make for a significant savings.
18. Limit recessed fixtures. Cutting the holes for the lights is labor intensive and the loss of light will require that more lights be installed.
19. Consider high quality knockoffs where applicable. Do your research and then consult with your contractor to make the best decision for your remodel.
20. Consider doing some of your own work. Decide if it makes sense for you to do some of your own demolition, trash removal, cleanup and painting.
21. Look at the cost of a remodel vs. new construction. Does it make sense to just rebuild? Look at codes; removal of asbestos, lead and mold; and structural inefficiencies.
22. … any more good tips?