Top Ten Tips on Tackling a Home Renovation in Vancouver

Vancouver renovation

Head into it with the right approach, and your home renovation in Vancouver will enhance daily living, increase your property value and help you realize your dreams for the space you call home. Follow these top ten tips for a better home improvement.

# 1 - Understand the Local Building Codes

Construction in Vancouver must follow national and provincial building codes. Designed for safety and sustainability, the latest codes can be accessed at the British Columbia Building and Safety Standards Branch web page. These apply to structural design and plumbing work. Experienced contractors know and work within these codes, and will design and build your home renovation to suit the standards.

# 2 - Search for Trusted Contractors

You have big dreams for your new living space, and require the help of a trusted contractor to make those dreams come true. Ask for recommendations and do your homework before signing a contract with any company.

General contractors handle large scale Vancouver home renovations, hiring out the subcontractors and managing materials delivery, building code inspections and administrative tasks. They tend to cost between 15 and 20 percent of the overall project budget, but often save homeowners immeasurable time and frustration.

If you are acting as the general contractor or your plans include a smaller home reno, gather a list of names for each of the project elements, including electrical, general construction, plumbing, mechanical, painting and flooring. Check references and compare prices, warranties and scheduling details.

# 3 - Set a Realistic Budget

Budget dictates most of the activity in a home renovation project. Once you've designed the space or brought together your ideas, draw up a preliminary budget. Be conservative and overestimate on labor costs and materials, providing you with greater flexibility later on.

Add a buffer to the final budget number for incidentals. Most contractors agree that 10 to 15 percent of the overall budget should cover things like mid-project changes, delivery delays, weather issues and other incidentals that undoubtedly come up during a home renovation in Vancouver.

Remember that your construction project will require a building permit. Various fees come along with that process, including the inspection fee and construction damage deposit. A portion of these fees is refundable after final inspection.

# 4 - Plan for Daily Living

Think about the state of your home during the renovation project. Will you be able to maintain your standard of living safely? Seasonal changes, electrical and plumbing issues and the scope of your project affect daily living.

In some cases, homeowners are wiser to move out during the construction phase, allowing the contractors to work unimpeded. Other projects allow for restricted living, saving you the cost of hotel rentals and moving fees.

# 5 - Determine Your Style

Home improvement projects provide the ideal opportunity for redecorating. Has your style evolved? Are you combining two households or moving on to a new phase in your life? Or perhaps you're merely ready to experiment with bolder colors, more expensive furniture or alternative styles.

Whatever your situation, take the time to determine your decorating style before construction begins, and then implement that style into the design and furnishings. Speak to professionals, visit showrooms and browse the Internet to discover more about what spaces soothe, excite and inspire you. Give everyone in your family a chance to add input and invest in a space that works for all.

# 6 - Think About the Neighborhood

Your personal style plays a major role on both interior and exterior finishes and design. But the overall atmosphere and style of your neighborhood must be accounted for as well.

Consider the homes around you—what type of architectural style is represented? What natural features must be worked into the design and how can you make the most of grading, elevations and curb appeal? Remember to look at your street or neighborhood as a whole, as well as concentrating on the uniqueness of your own property.

# 7 - Recognize the Value of Professional Design

Professional design services add value to many Vancouver renovations. From bathroom remodels to home additions, kitchen renovations and landscaping projects, the skills and expertise of an experienced designer help to take your reno to the next level.

Professionals know how to deal with strange situations. They are well versed in the latest building practices and can help to create a carbon neutral home, as dictated by the Vancouver Green Homes Program.

You may be able to draw up a simple design, but in order to create a durable, attractive and valuable living space, hire an experienced designer to create blueprints and specs.

# 8 - Remember Resale

Homeowners often embark on renovations to improve their living space for today. But it's wise to consider how that project will affect the resale value of your home. Adding a second bathroom, upgrading the electrical systems, replacing your roof and redoing the kitchen all enhance property values over the long term. How will your renovation plans change or help sustain the market value of your home?

Some home improvement projects limit the market by narrowing appeal. Swimming pools and certain types of alternative energy projects are both well known examples of home improvements that may have a negative effect on your home value. Do some research about which exterior and interior projects add to your property value, and which limit the potential resale market.

# 9 - Do DIY Where Possible

Assess your own skills and consider how you can put those skills to work in DIY fashion. Even simple tasks like clearing away your furniture or tackling a demolition help to cut down on costs and give you a greater sense of accomplishment.

Be honest about how much you can realistically take on. It's best to bypass the DIY route if you'll need to pay a professional to fix your mistakes later. Use common sense and work with the skills on hand.

# 10 - Be Prepared for Challenges

All home renovations come with challenges. Anything from a nasty neighbor to rotten framing, mold, delivery delays and unusual weather patterns can affect your best-laid plans. Be flexible and realistic through the entire process, and commit to open communication with your contractor. Keep each other up to date and you'll be more able to cope with renovation challenges.

These ten tips will guide you through planning, budgeting and dealing with a home renovation in Vancouver. Realistic expectations, professional guidance and a good sense of your style are invaluable, as are building code knowledge, some DIY skills and a healthy view of the future. Find out how to thrive during your Vancouver home reno.

Posted by: TrustedPros
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