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?

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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!

Kindly,

 

Home Renovations — Building Value with Equity

In a healthy real estate market, with steadily increasing appreciation rates, purchasing a home can be a great investment! But buying property isn’t the only way to benefit — you might want to consider taking advantage of the equity you’ve built since purchasing your home.

But before you grab the cheque book and credit card, and start logging on to Houzz.ca and Instagram for inspiration, remember that your home’s equity and the return on investment from each project is not realized until you actually sell your home. So what to do? Renovate S.M.A.R.T.:

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Stay on track
When you have your budget lined up, stick to it! The middle of a kitchen reno is not the time to go over budget by falling in love with Italian sourced marble rather than domestic quartz. Remodelling projects inevitably have some bumps and delays, so staying on track, with some financial wiggle room for delays, will help you keep your sanity and keep your finances on track.

Make sensible choices
Your budget, no matter how big it is, is limited. Prioritize the bones of your home, including HVAC, roofing, structural issues, and the correction of problems such as mold or moisture problems before you decide to add a patio in the yard, or change the flooring in the main floor because you think it’s outdated. This will not only help you maintain your home better, it will also add buyer confidence when you decide to sell.

Always check your finances and see your REALTOR®
See your financial advisor or mortgage broker to find out what your options are for secured credit lines, home equity lines of credit, and more. Not only will they be able to help acquaint you to the products available to you, they will also help you come up with a budget that is compatible with your financial goals.

Alongside your financial planner, make sure you ask your REALTOR® for a valuation of your home’s value, which is changing all the time in this dynamic market. Your REALTOR® will also have their finger on the pulse when it comes to understanding the impact of renovations and remodelling decisions that will either help or hinder the sale of your home. Getting your real estate agent’s input on these decisions is a great way for your to balance your desires with saleability and market value.

Research, research, research.
Whether you choose to use a company that is well-known in the trade, or a smaller one-man-show, do your research. Get references, read online reviews, and even ask for their HST number, official business name or full name, WSIB number, and insurance number. This way, you can keep track of who you are paying and may also use this information to confirm that they are a registered business that is legitimately covered by insurance. You might also want to check that they have the intention to submit the HST that you are paying as part of your work order invoice by confirming the registration of their business with the Canada Revenue Agency.

Try small projects before large ones
A full kitchen gut isn’t always necessary and fresh paint, new knobs, and updated quality flooring can go a long way. What else can help you make an impact? Replace builder-grade and outdated lighting with new custom options. Increasing your curb appeal is also a great place to add value, such as adding perennials, or simply replacing old hardware on your entrance door.

If you’re intent on making an impact with your remodelling project, you’ll see a higher return on kitchens and bathrooms. You can also stretch your dollar more if you sway more toward classic finishes rather than more trendy colours, such as bright red or sunshine yellow when it comes to more permanent features such as tile or appliances.