| |Planning a renovation? Don’t make this potentially expensive mistake
Warmer temperatures and longer days prompt many homeowners to think about renovations.
Hours are spent mulling floor plans, picking out the perfect paint colour and selecting the granite for the countertop. Unfortunately, little or no time is spent on other important steps that could cause grief down the road.
Most Canadians don’t do their homework before hiring a contractor – and this can lead to some major problems for your project and your pocketbook. Before jumping into a renovation project, understand you, as the homeowner, have responsibilities. Protect yourself and your family by taking the following steps:
Hire a qualified contractor
A recent Canadian survey found that nearly 70 per cent of Canadian home improvement contractors say their clientele do not do enough due diligence during the hiring process. TrustedPros polled 395 home renovation contractors across Canada for the survey. They also said zero per cent of their residential clients asked to see their skilled trade licence.
Before you hire a contractor, research potential candidates to make sure the one you choose has the skills, licence and experience to meet your needs.
Ask about the company’s safety record. Make sure the company is properly insured. You don’t want to be liable if a worker is injured while working on your home renovation. You can check that a company carries workers’ compensation coverage by going to WorkSafeNB and searching for its clearance certificate.
Talk to your insurance broker or agent
If your home is damaged during the renovation, or damage is caused to a neighbouring property, you want to make sure your insurance protects you. Home insurance policies vary widely in terms of coverage during a renovation so be sure yours covers you before work begins.
If the renovation requires you to move out of your home for more than 30 days, you should call your insurance broker or agent to see if you need a policy update. Ask your broker or agent about a vacancy permit.
Some renovations can increase the value of your home and can affect your policy. Kitchen or bathroom renovations, for example, can add thousands of dollars to your home in terms of replacement value. Others, like certain upgrades to electrical systems, may qualify you for insurance discounts.
Understand the construction process
Ensure that you have a clear understanding of the steps involved in the renovation process from beginning to end, timelines for each phase of the project and the various milestones. It is best to get these in writing in a contract.
Get warranty information
Ensure that you have all details in writing of any warranties that come with the products and materials that will be used in your renovation project, and any after sales service warranties that exist.
Review your contract
Review in detail any contract before signing to ensure that you understand all of the costs and obligations (both yours and contractor’s) included in the deal. Do not feel pressured into signing a contract before you have had the opportunity to fully review it or seek professional advice. Do not rely on verbal agreements alone. If you have discussed any conditions, clauses or details with your builder, be sure they are included in the written contract.