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What we learned from our renovation project

September 27th 2018 - by Amanda Huinink

To say it was a busy couple of months would be an understatement.  As many of you may know from following along in previous posts, our family bought a new construction condo a few years ago.  This past winter we decided we wanted to take on a new challenge.  Our own renovation project!

We knew we were not the couple to take on a full flip, so we sought out homes that were in great condition but could use some love inside. We were willing to take on almost anything cosmetic as well as a few “bigger projects” such as removing walls.

Low and behold, like any renovator or home flipper would tell you, things never go as planned, both for the good and bad.  We quickly discovered that is VERY true!  We purchased a great house, with great bones to work with and do some small improvements to make it our own, knowing the kitchen would be the biggest project. Of course, once the planning began and the sold sign was up, our plans for renovating grew by the day. Below are a few things we learned from our renovation project now that we are (almost) complete.

As I mentioned above, things never go as planned!  This was very much the case for us.  We ended up doing more demo and increasing our budget almost every day.  Although we were lucky that no real problems came up during demolition, every time we would move onto the next item on the list, we would add things – more lights, extra plugs, moving electrical boxes taking down more drywall, changing the flooring in additional rooms, upgrading the countertops beyond our original budget – I could go on and on!  Don’t get me wrong, I am very happy with everything the way it turned out, but man oh man, did our original plan change from start to finish. A couple important things we learned:

Budget for more than what you expect! With all the additional changes, improvements and upgrades comes an increased bill and it’s always a good idea to somewhat try to plan for that.  Even though we knew things had the potential to be higher than expected, we still didn’t budget enough.  Depending on how flexible you are, this may mean removing items you had hoped for, digging into your savings or increasing your renovation loan.

Hunt for deals everywhere you can.  This is one area I feel we did really well on.  Because we purchased our new home and had 3 months before we had to be in it, it gave us a little bit of extra time to hunt for deals, search on kijiji or purchase second hand items and compare prices on many big ticket items.  For example, we enlisted the help of family, who we were able to pay at a discount (or free), we did much of the work ourselves, we found a few store closing sales on big items like our appliances, kitchen events for cabinets and took advantage of in store sales and referral discounts.

Hopefully some of my tips will help you plan and save on your next renovation project!