Some renovations and additions, such as converting a bungalow to a two-storey home, will require that you move out during construction. Others projects, such as an addition above an attached garage or a refurbished kitchen, may allow you to live with the building project – but there will be inconvenience and disruption that you’ll have to plan for.
Major projects may require the services of an architect and other professionals such as engineers and heating contractors. Their drawings are not only required to obtain building permits and other municipal approvals, but they provide the basis for your renovation contractor to price the project.
Be realistic about the time a project will take to get started and to complete; its full costs, including at least a 10 per cent contingency for changes and unexpected conditions; and the impact the project will have on the daily operation of your home and family activities.
If your project is likely to last more than a few weeks, it’s wise to discuss your project with neighbours. In addition to unavoidable noise and dirt, there will be vehicles parked on the street, disposal bins in the driveway, and plenty of truck deliveries. Most neighbours will be understanding and accommodating, especially if notified first.
Include a requirement for daily clean-up in your contract, so that your home, your street and nearby lawns don’t end up resembling a construction site.
You've made a big investment in your home and proper maintenance not only keeps it in good condition, it also helps ensure your statutory warranty rights are protected. Proper maintenance is not only a prerequisite for certain warranty claims, it's for your safety. Check your homeowner's manuals for maintenance of products such as exterior siding, appliances and floor tiles.
Tarion has developed the following checklists with a monthly breakdown of items for inspection along with tips on maintaining proper humidity levels. Visit Tarion.com.
Now you are ready to see what's available. As you drive around visiting builders' model homes, sales centres and offices, it's a good idea to take notes. That way, it is much easier to make clear comparisons later. The key to successful home hunting is to take your time. Don't rush. Take a thorough look at everything and ask questions-lots of them. The builder or salesperson should be ready and pleased to answer each question. Sales centres will often have a complete information package on the homes, the development and the community, including schools and other facilities. Keep in mind that a builder's model home is usually just one of several designs offered by the company - a starting point.