The Pre-reno checklist :
1. Know the rules. Building codes and local by-laws may limit what and how you renovate. There’s nothing worse than discovering the project you’ve painstakingly planned is not allowed. Talk to your municipal building department and find out about zoning and permits.
2. Know what’s possible. Your home’s heating, plumbing and electrical systems will also affect how you can renovate. For big projects, it’s wise to check with an architect, home inspector or contractor before you begin.
3. Create a budget. Doing a detailed financial analysis of your project in advance of the physical design allows you to evaluate your situation and study a variety of options well before you get to the construction stage. It’s a low-cost exercise that allows you to clarify your needs versus your wants.
4. Do the math. Get quotes from at least two reputable local renovators, architectural firms or material suppliers. Take the most reasonable quote and add 10 to 15 per cent for unexpected costs.
5. Spend wisely. If you need financing, you may be able to renegotiate your mortgage or apply for a personal loan to cover the cost of the reno. You may even be eligible for assistance, as some utilities and governments offer incentive programs for energy-efficiency upgrades.
Sources: Dianne Nice, CMHC, House Calls Project Management