Gather your ideas
Inspiration is everywhere — Pinterest, websites, magazines, catalogs, housing awards, real estate listings, showhomes, etc. – so gather your ideas for your dream space. Remember, photos are worth a thousand words, so the more visual examples of your vision, the better.
What are your goals? Prioritize your wants and needs
Now is the time to decide what your end goal is – renovations of your current space, buy a new home, or built a house from the ground up. Whether you are considering buying, building or renovating, you need to list your needs (functionality/experience) and your wants (nice-to-have enhancements such as bathroom upgraes). This list will serve as a reminder of what is important as you work through plans, budgets and timelines.
Establish Your Budget and Timeline Goals
Identify your financial resources and determine what your maximum budget is for your renovation or new home. If you don’t think you have enough to realize all your dream need and some want items, you will need to decide whether to proceed with a few items off your list, take a staged approach (if you are renovating) or wait and save up until you can get more of what you want.
Researching Your Professional Renovation/Build Team
When it comes to hiring your professional team, whether a renovator, architect, builder, interior designer, landscape designer, realtor, or another industry professional, a professional will help make the renovating/building/buying process easier for you – bringing their education, experience, contacts, time management and technical skills to help you create your dream space. Check associations such as the HAVAN, Better Business Bureau, Real Estate Boards, get personal recommendations, visit websites and local home shows, look at magazines and housing award finalists/winners for possible leads. Contact the companies to see if they have experience working on your scope of project, what their style is, what areas they service, and their availability to take on new projects. Start to narrow down your list to three to four companies you are interested in interviewing. Red flags to watch for: cash deals, waiving taxes (what else are they avoiding?), high-pressure tactics, don’t have WorkSafeBC, a builder license (if a new-home builder), or warranties.
Hiring Your Professional Build Team
You’ve done your due diligence, met with the contractors and decided on who you want to hire. Make sure you follow-up on references, required documentation, and make sure you are comfortable with this person/company because you will be spending a lot of your time with them, designing plans, reviewing changes, looking at product/homes, etc. Think of it as a temporary marriage. Now is the time to make sure you are confident in your choice and address any questions you may have.
Contracts and Get it in Writing
No matter how small or large the project scope, always get it in writing! Remember, this is the single-most expensive investment you will make so don’t leave it to chance and crossed fingers. Your renovation/build team should have contracts that specify all the necessary details of your project/home but I strongly encourage you to have your own legal advisor review it to ensure you are protected.
Communication with Your Professional Team
Similar to a relationship (remember, I mentioned this is like a temporary marriage), communication will help to convey ideas, resolve issues, and ensure both sides – you and your professional team – are happy with the end result. Be open and honest, and expect that from your industry professional. The pros will guide you throughout the process, bring both good and bad news to your immediate attention, and work hard to create your vision.
Living in Your Dream Space
Finally! After all the time spent making seemingly endless decisions, visiting showrooms or properties, reviewing paperwork (online or print), and skimping on your daily latte budget to pay for your home, you can walk into your new space and realize that not too long ago, what you see before you, was just a pile of magazine cut-outs and vision boards.