10 Things You Need To Know Before Starting a Renovation
November 5, 2019
Unless you’re interested in living in a time capsule, bathrooms and kitchens need to be updated on a regular basis… so renovations are a necessary evil. If you’ve ever redone a kitchen or a bathroom, you know what a reno can be like, especially if you live in the home while construction is happening. (Not recommended.)
I’m currently preparing for a renovation on an investment unit I bought at Radio City in 2005. I’ve always wanted to renovate it but because it’s an investment property, it’s always been tenanted. I have been itching to do a project and when my most recent tenant left, I thought now is the time to get rid of the ugly backsplash with the floral motif and update the counters and white appliances. I want to create amore modern aesthetic.
I am probably doing far more than is really required or that makes sense in terms of an investment, but I don’t care. I’ve always wanted to be a bit of a designer and this is my opportunity.
I bought the unit for less than half of the condo’s current value and if I spend $70,000 renovating (which is a lot of money) I’m still making a profit. Of course, I’m eating into that profit but investing in something that makes sense. One option is to give the place a facelift with laminate flooring and some new stainless steel appliances, but I feel like this is the time to make it something special.
It’s a 600 square foot, one bedroom on a high floor.
Scope of project:
• New engineered hardwood floors
• Change the entrance to the bedroom and build a new closet
• Take the bathroom back to the studs
• Redo the kitchen. Not custom, but with Ikea cabinetry and high-end appliances
Right now I’m interviewing contractors, and am about to interview #4. Finding a contractor is difficult and everybody has a different way of doing business. I met with one who gave a quote by text. Another said they’d send a quote but never did, even after I called them repeatedly.
The other contractor gave me a quote that was double the text quote due to the fact that they put in a margin of 40%. The cost was going to be $29,000 but ended up being $50,000, which is interesting as this general contractor doesn’t actually do anything, but he pays subcontractors and gets paid to find the workers.
The fourth is with a company that specializes in condo renovations. Some contractors don’t want to work in condos because they have to navigate the rules, not to mention booking elevators and finding parking. It takes them extra time so not only will they charge you for the time, they’ll also charge more because they don’t like to work in condos.
Condo corporations also require anybody working on site to have WSIB insurance, liability insurance and proof they are certified plumbers or electricians. Work done can affect other people’s units and if they don’t have insurance, you’re on the hook for repairs.
And this legwork is just for the labour involved. The appliances, flooring, tiles and all other bits and pieces are completely separate. Although I have a vision of what I want it to look like, I’m working with a designer and have been to all the showrooms. This needs to be done as soon as possible so that everything is ready for the contractor, otherwise there can be delays while you wait for pieces to arrive. Most products I’ve been able to find I can get within a number of days, but if you’re working with custom products, you need to have 4-6 weeks sometimes it’s 8-12 weeks. Definitely order as much as you can in advance.
Here are the before photos….and keep an eye out for the next blog, 10 Things You Should Know Before You Start Renovating, part 1. First thing: Nothing is as simple as it seems.