Beware These Hidden Renovation Costs

Renovating your home can be quite an expensive undertaking, but it’s a popular way for Canadians to add value to their properties. It can also offer a more affordable option for getting into the housing market; if you are a first-time buyer looking at Edmonton real estate or Calgary homes for sale, for example, you might be considering the purchase of an older home and renovating it to give it the features you desire. However, while the price of an older home and its location may be attractive, there may be some extra costs that you hadn’t initially considered when trying to fix it up.

Here are some common hidden renovation costs that you should be aware of before you buy that fixer upper.

 Forgetting to Budget and Measure

 Failing to plan a budget is the quickest way to spend more than you intend on your renovation. Every detail must be costed out, from the materials, to transport, to the price of labour. As well, time delays can have a significant impact; deciding to swap out materials at the last minute, for instance, can lead to tradespeople working longer hours, sourcing issues, or adjusting overall scope of work.

And, while it may seem obvious, taking accurate and thorough measurements ahead of time is crucial: there’s nothing worse than ordering a custom feature or having a fixture shipped long distance only to realize it doesn’t fit in your home. Not only will this lead to time delays, but you’ll need to go through the hassle of returning it.

Making Sure Your Home is Up to Standard

 While much of the focus of a renovation is on aesthetics, it should be a priority to look below the surface and ensure the “bones” of the house – such as its electrical, plumbing, and structural systems – are in good shape. Having outdated wiring or pipes is especially common in an older home, and the costs to fix them are unfortunately unavoidable, as the home will otherwise be unsafe to live in.

It’s a good idea to determine the scope of these “hidden” fixes before you even buy the home – if possible, add an upon-inspection condition to your purchase offer, and bring in a home inspector electrician, plumber, and foundation specialist to confirm these aspects are up to standard.

If you do purchase the home knowing it’ll need some major work, prioritizing which renovations need to be done immediately and which can be put off to a later date can help with managing expenses. This will allow you to take care of the important tasks while giving you time to save for the other renovations.

 Not Hiring an Experienced Contractor

 While it may be tempting to take a do-it-yourself approach to your renovations – and indeed, there may some projects you can handle on your own – hiring an experienced contractor is key. This is not an area to skimp on expenses – while a cheaper-priced pro may be appealing, the adage “you get what you pay for” is especially true in the home improvement industry.

In fact, hiring someone who does shoddy work will likely end up costing you more in the long run to fix anything that’s been improperly built or installed. Always take the time to research your contractor options, sourcing both personal referrals and past client testimonials. As well, ensure you and your contractor put every aspect of the project, from payment, to schedules, to scope of work, in a legally-binding contract.

Living Expenses During Your Renovation

A commonly overlooked cost during the renovation process is where you’ll live while all the work is going on. Will you still be able to dwell in part of the house during your projects, or will you need to stay in a hotel or short-term rental? As well, you’ll still need to pay your mortgage payments, property taxes, and other utility costs for the home during its construction phase.

If you are staying in the home, will there be costs associated with not being able to use certain rooms? For example, the kitchen is one of the most commonly-renovated areas as it provides one of the greatest returns in investment; but living in a home without a functioning stove or sink might require you to eat out on a regular basis, which can quickly add up. It’s important to build these costs into your budget as part of the project.

With careful planning and budgeting, any home can be turned into the abode of your dreams – homeowners just need to ensure they have the realistic funds and resources to accomplish what’s on their wishlist, as well as hire the right people to handle the job.

Zoocasa is a full-service brokerage that offers advanced online search tools to empower Canadians with the data and expertise they need to make more successful real estate decisions. View real estate listings at zoocasa.com or download our free iOS app.

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