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Hiring a Contractor for a Home Renovation

Posted by Laurel on February 10, 2022
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Do Not Make the Mistake of Hiring the Wrong Contractor for your Home Renovation!

In this blog I am going to take you through the entire process of hiring a contractor and all the important questions you need to ask to help you make the right decision so you work with someone who meets all your goals and gets you the results you are looking for … on budget.

If we have not met before my name is Laurel Legate and I am a top producing realtor in west Toronto who personally rebuilt my own home … a major renovation in 8 months and I specialize in helping families reach their real estate goals.


Step #1

What I am going to do is take you through the process from beginning to end, including what responsibilities are the contractors. You are going to want to stick around for this because that is most important to you to avoid costly mistakes.

As always the most important step is planning ahead. The first thing you want to do is literally write out a description of the work you want done with as much detail as possible. You will use this to share with the contractors you interview and if you have it written you won’t have to repeat yourself  … just attach to email and away you go.

Also, as a first step I want you to check with the municipal building department to ensure the work you want to do complies with zoning or needs special permits or permissions

Step #2

Now that you know what you want to do you need to find a contractor. 

Ask friends and family for recommendations & local home builder associations

Once you have a list start reaching out providing the scope of work you wrote out and obtain at least 3 quotes and don’t forget to ask for references (this is something i didn’t do until we had already chosen the contractor) Once I had the testimonials I actually went to look at the other homes that the contractor built.

Review the quotes to ensure each has a complete description of the work, samples and and specifications of work

Step #3 The Contract

Once you have chosen a contractor … you MUST have a contract

There are many things that need to be included in the contract … I don’t have time to go through them all but these are a few of the most important

  • Detailed description of work including the details specs of materials to be used – trust me here because you do not want the contractor using lower quality materials to save money and increase profit
  • Clause stating work will comply with applicable codes
  • Start and completion dates with wiggle room of course. Ours began October and wasn’t complete until 12 months later … 4 months late
  • Price and payment schedule
  • Agreement on who is responsible for permits, inspections and certifications

Now who is responsible for what …

Contractor is responsible for 

  • Liability insurance
  • Damage insurance
  • Identifying necessary permits and ensuring legal requirements are met
  • All work carried out by contractors and subcontractors
  • Warranties on work and materials
  • Removal of construction debris

Homeowner is responsible for 

  • Ensuring work conforms to zoning bylaws
  • Ensuring adequate workspace
  • Ensuring prompt payment according to law and holdback payment schedule


Considering Building a Basement Apartment?

Now that we have discussed the most important steps to hire a contractor  you may also be interested in learning about BUILDING A BASEMENT APARTMENT

In the next video I will walk you through a few things you need to consider when making this decision from my own personal experience.

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