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Get a few steps ahead on those spring projects

PAT McGRATH / CANADIAN PRESS FILES

When seeking out contractors to tackle home renovations, there are many factors to keep in mind before settling on a person or a price tag.

While the deep-freeze types of temperatures we’ve experienced this winter may have left you feeling as if spring could never come, now is actually the time of year when many homeowners begin planning for those renovation projects they want to tackle as soon as the weather warms.

For those who aren’t the do-it-yourself type, finding the right company or contractor to do outdoor renovations can be a bit intimidating. The Manitoba Home Builders’ Association has some great resources on our website (homebuilders.mb.ca) for homeowners looking at doing home renovations that can help you plan and prepare for such a project and help you find professional renovators to do the job.

By clicking on the Renovating Your Home button on the MHBA website, you’ll access information and tips on how to plan, budget and prepare for your renovation project. The MHBA has helpful videos posted that provide tips on how to hire the right contractor for your project. As well, printable guides such as From Contract to Completion and Your Renovation Roadmap can help take you step-by-step through the entire process of hiring a contractor for your project.

Any renovation project should always start with a plan. Identify what you will budget, what work must be done and what your "wish list" is, should the budget allow. This will help you plan properly and outline the scope of work needing to be done. It will also help in getting accurate quotes from contractors you would like to work with.

Always get a detailed, written contract from your contractor. Without a contract, you don’t have any control over the work to be done, time frame for completion or what the final price will be. Professional renovators will back up their quote with a contract. This ensures you and your contractor are on the same page regarding the work to be done.

Ask about insurance and warranty coverage. Professional renovators will carry the proper insurance coverage and take steps to ensure your renovation is done safely. They will also do the work in a way that ensures the work done will not void the manufacturer’s warranty on products and materials used. Remember, your home becomes a construction site when renovations are taking place, from demolition right through to completion.

And keep in mind, the cheapest deal isn’t necessarily the best deal. In fact, it could end up costing you more in the long run. Finding someone "handy" who is willing to do the job for cash — tax-free and permit-free — may sound like a fine idea, but can come with big implications. Proper permits and a contract with a properly insured professional renovator can take away a great deal of worry and provide you with peace of mind, regardless of the size and scale of the job. Otherwise, you are leaving yourself open to hoping — rather than knowing — the job will get done properly.

A great opportunity to ask your home-renovation questions to industry experts and learn about how to properly plan for your next project is coming up March 13, when the Manitoba Home Builders’ Association hosts a free home-renovation seminar at the Victoria Inn Winnipeg.

This event is expected to fill to capacity fast, so make sure to email seminars@scu.mb.ca or phone 204-928-8015 to secure a spot today!

Lanny McInnes is president of the Manitoba Home Builders’ Association.

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