You’re ready to renovate! Now what? By: greening homes

June 1, 2017
Planning a Renovation

This blog is part of a series – Planning your home renovation.

So you are thinking of renovating your home. Great! Renovations can add considerably to your home’s comfort, aesthetics and value. They can also add considerably to your family’s stress level if not planned well!

Depending on the project’s scope, several months may be required to secure City of Toronto permits alone. As well, the project scope must align with your budget. All this takes careful planning and consideration.

When preparing for a renovation, we encourage you to consider the following.


The first question we ask potential clients is: where are you in the planning process? Do you already have architectural plans in hand, or are you at the conceptual phase and need guidance and design direction? Projects such as additions, specifically in Downtown Toronto neighbourhoods, can present zoning conflicts that can delay your permitting for several months. Starting the process at least four months prior to the preferred start date will provide the time needed to gain City approvals if you do in fact have a conflict.

If you’re planning to add space to your home, you’ll be asked for a property survey.  You likely received it when you bought your home, so check with your real estate lawyer if you can’t find it. You can also conduct an online search through ($350 average). Last option would be to employ a survey company to provide you with a new one, which could cost between $1500 and $3500 depending on the complexity and scope required.

Knowing your money saves money

It may sound obvious, but the scope of your project must align with your budget. We advise that you speak to a renovations company early in the process. They can provide you with the hard numbers, including what to expect from subcontractors and materials. If the numbers don’t add up, the renovator can advise on what options you have, especially if increasing your budget is currently out of the question.

Whatever you choose, knowing your available financial input will help the architect design appropriate plans. Communicating your renovation goals, as well as the desired aesthetics and feel with the help of images from magazines, Houzz and Pinterest, will all aid in the planning process.

A note of warning: it’s always good to receive a second opinion, but the costs should be fairly similar among most professional renovation companies. Always make sure to compare costs apples-to-apples, and beware of numbers that don’t match the average.

Expecting the unexpected: contingency

In renovations, expect the unexpected. Always budget a minimum of 10 percent for contingency as you may change your mind on the design; the inspector may request engineering reports or architectural revisions; you may be asked to upgrade the fire detection system; or include a handrail on existing stairs. Our experience has informed us that you can never be too prepared for this type of work.

Bottom line: the more prepared you are, the easier and less costly the renovation process will be.

A modified version appeared in High Park Magazine’s June 2017 issue.

You may also be interested in:

To sell or renovate in Toronto’s heated housing market

Building trust – working collaboratively with your home renovator

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