Four things to check when hiring a renovation contractor

By Cindy-lou Schmidt

Summer is a popular time to for renovations but how can you help to make sure you hire a contractor that is reputable and won’t dissappear into the night?

There are no guarantees in life, but there are ways to address this issue. One popular way is to hire a well-known company that has been around for years, or a company with the biggest advertising.

But what if you’re looking for someone who you can have more of a personal relationship with, that fits your budget, and maybe you just like giving the small guy your business?

I recommend the following four things to look into when hiring a contractor.

  1. References – ask for references from homeowners who have worked with the contractor (preferably within the last 3 months)
  2. Reviews – check for Google reviews and see if they have a website and and if it corroborates an idea of how long they have been in business. Now not everyone gets a website going right away or is on top of reviews so cut them some slack if the timeline doesn’t line up perfectly).
  3. WSIB- An owner who hires a contractor to perform construction work should obtain a WSIB Clearance Certificate unless the contractor is performing “exempt home renovation work”.  To contact WSIB with your questions and to confirm registration here
  4. GST registration number – Use the GST/HST Registry to confirm that the business charging you GST/HST is registered. This will help ensure that your claims for input tax credits only include GST/HST charged by someone who is registered for GST/HST. You can get more information here.

Finally, check or get a copy of their driver’s licence so all the information you look up matches and you have the correct information to cross-check!

Happy reno adventures!



Simplified Market Update – July 2018 – Home sales down, prices up

By Cindy-lou Schmidt

Home sales in Kitchener-Waterloo have continued to balance out with home sales numbers dropping with home prices continuing to rise.

Cindy-lou’s Simplified Market  Update:

  • In June, a total of 604 residential properties sold in June compared to 716 the same time last year.
  • REALTORS® listed 850 residential properties in K-W and area last month, down 21.5 per cent compared to June of 2017, but fairly close to the historical (2007-2016) average of 859.
  • There were 1030 active listings by the end of June, which is 11% higher than June 2017.


June’s  residential sales units included (compared to June 2017):

365 detached (down 21.2%)

151 condominium units (up 6.3%) {includes semis, townhomes, apartment, detached etc.}

38 semi-detached homes (down 29.6%)

43 freehold townhouses (down 15.7 %).

The average sales price of all residential properties sold last month increased 5.2 per cent to $572,206 (down 3.4%) compared to June 2017. Accordingly:

Detached homes sold for an average price of $575,003 (up 5.2%)

Average prices for an apartment style condominium was $314,180 (up 13.2%)

Townhomes sold for an average of $378,562 (up 10.8%)

Semis sold for an average of $391,830 (up 2.09%)


What does this mean?

The market continues to balance out as people adjust to their buying power, while the desirability of homes in Waterloo Region remains high. 



Would you  like an practical valuation of your home to help you make an informed decision about selling? Contact me for a complimentary assessment. The condition of your home, location, and other key factors matter. For more on the official report on our K-W Market Update including statistics from Wellesley, Wilmot and Woolwich Townships, click here.