Thursday, 14 December 2017

Canadian Renovations On The Rise

Written by Posted On Tuesday, 01 August 2000 00:00

Canada's home renovation market is booming. Our federal government predicts renovation spending will rise to $25.9 billion in 2000 and $27.1 billion in 2001 - healthy increases from $24.9 billion last year. Canadians are flocking to "big-box" hardware/building stores and home improvement firms are flourishing. But how many Canadians stop to ask whether they are getting value for their portion of the billions of loonies being spent?

Here are few renovating tips to ensure you are among those who find renovating a wise investment:

  • If this is your first renovation, talk to family and neighbours who have gone through similar construction and find out what they learned the hard way. While this should save some grief, be prepared for inconvenience and unexpected problems, especially if your home is more than 10 years old.

  • Before you start renovating, set a realistic budget and reasonable expectations. If you renovate beyond the value of similar homes in the immediate area, you may run the risk of not getting any of your investment back or of wanting to price your home out of the real estate market when it comes time to sell. Check with local real estate salespeople and have at least one complimentary market evaluation done on your home that addresses the renovation value question.

  • Contact your municipal office, local politician or area Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation office to find out whether you and your proposed renovations qualify for grants or low-interest loans. For instance, the Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program (RRAP) provides loans and grants to low-income homeowners bringing their homes up to health and safety standards. The program can also be used to make homes accessible for disabled residents, enabling them to live independently.

  • Arrange written estimates from at least three reputable renovators. Ask neighbours for references and take a look at the work that was done. Your standards may be higher than your neighbour's.

  • If you deal with door-to-door salespeople, ask for identification. Write down the details and check with the Better Business Bureau, municipal office, police community support division or neighbours who have hired these people already. Do not sign up the first time you talk to anyone.

  • Do not pay for work in advance. Deposits of between 5 and 15% of the total price are common, with another 20% or so paid as work progresses.

  • Read any contracts carefully. Once you have signed you are committed, so be sure you understand what you are agreeing to and responsible for. In some areas, brief "cooling off" periods may exist but check with the provincial government's consumer protection branch to be sure. Never sign a blank form or piece of paper.

  • Be sure the contract allows you to withhold at least 10% of the total cost for a reasonable period, i.e. 45 days, after completion if you are using a general contractor who hires other workers to do the job. This protects you from overpayment should you have to pay subcontractors who were not paid by the general contractor.

  • Warranties vary with manufacturer and contractor. Collect the warranty cards from any parts used and file them in a safe place so you'll be able to find them if the need arises.
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