Jul 7, 2014

Did the most recent marathon on HGTV have you craving a renovation of your own? You’re not alone. The Vancouver Sun reported recently on what they call the “HGTV effect”, where homeowners, inspired by the latest home improvement shows, are completing home renovations in record numbers. Data compiled by real estate consultants, Altus Group, shows that “renovation spending has been rising for 15 straight years and reached a record $63.4-billion in 2013.”*

So you may be feeling ready for a change and have a budget to work with, but what happens if you aren’t exactly Bryan Baeumler? The desire to renovate is one thing; actually tackling the project is another. Sure, you can add a fresh coat of paint and refurbish some old fixtures like it’s nobody’s business, but anything beyond that might be a little much. When the update you’re planning is more technical than you’re comfortable with, it’s time to call a professional.

Many homeowners have reservations when it comes to hiring a contractor (it’s not hard to find a renovation horror story), but we don’t want that to hold you back from creating your dream space. Our four tips below will help you find a good contractor and keep your project on track.

1. Plan aheadDecide what work you’d like completed and establish a budget before you start looking for a contractor. It’s important that you stay in control of your project, both creatively and monetarily.

2. Narrow it downCompile a list of contractors in your area and narrow it down to your top three choices. Not sure where to start? Websites like HomeStars and Angie’s List are a great resource. They consist of user-submitted reviews of tradesmen – like electricians, plumbers, and contractors. On these sites you’ll be able to see a contractor’s rating and the experiences their customers have had with them.

3. Choose your contractorAfter you’ve narrowed down your list, it’s time to cast your vote. Get references from each contractor, (we recommend asking for one to three), and follow up with them. When you’re making your final decision, remember: the cheapest option isn’t always the best. Don’t let money be your only motivator. Think about who you’ll be comfortable seeing in your kitchen every morning for several weeks, whose references stood out, and who you think will do the best job.

4. Confirm a payment planIt’s not uncommon for renovations to take longer and cost more than what was originally planned. If your contractor uncovers something that will impact their work, like older wiring, it can affect the whole job. Having a payment schedule will help to keep the project on track. Instead of simply making payments every two weeks, consider providing payment only when certain milestones are reached. With the help of your contractor you can breakdown the project into major tasks that should occur approximately every two weeks. When payment is dependent on the completion of these tasks it’s an added incentive to stick to the schedule.

We’re always here to help with your next home project, whether it’s a DIY or a DDIY. Are you after more renovation or decor advice? Look no further than any of our Marketplace Events shows and get inspired.