By: Mario Armani

Should you Renovate yourself or hire a Contractor?


Thank you very much to all those who read my blog post on Monday regarding buying a renovated house vs one that needs Reno’s. I really enjoyed writing it and received a lot of positive feedback from everyone especially many potential sellers in the VAUGHAN & TORONTO areas. My main goal is for buyers and sellers to be very aware of real life experiences as opposed to taking a TV shows word for it or really not knowing the true outcome of what one of these projects entail. Without further or due, the question of the day, should a home owner renovate a home themselves or should they hire a licensed contractor to do the work?

There are various different factors to consider. First of all, one has to BE REALISTIC IN CERTAIN ASPECTS: 1) what kind of time do you have to work with; do you have kids? A busy career? Are you caring for a loved one? 2) Do you have the cash for; 1) the amount that the renovation will cost 2) a buffer in case things go wrong or you decide to do any additions that weren’t originally planned 3) the carrying costs (mortgage, taxes, insurance, etc.). Before you even decide to buy a home that needs renovations please BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF in answering these questions. They will be the foundation to a project that may or may not go forward!
After responding “Yes” to all those questions, let’s look at the pros and cons to renovating yourself vs hiring a licensed contractor. For the record renovating yourself would also include hiring certain trades to do work that you don’t know how to do. People renovate themselves because of one reason, to SAVE THEMSELVES MONEY! Others (like me), do it because they like to know exactly what’s going on and also they enjoy project managing the job, it’s actually one of my passions! Project managing a job yourself requires a high level of commitment and in lieu of that you actually save roughly 25-35% in labour costs so it’s a fair trade off in my opinion regardless of the fact that it’s a crap load of work!
When doing a PROJECT like this you would have to 1) decide on a design, floor plan, layout changes & finishes 2) deal with permits and city regulations 3) look for trades with proper experience and track record to conduct the work accordingly  4) make sure the work is being done well and in the proper order; you don’t want to be installing hardwood while your still doing drywall and taping and yes I’ve seen nonsense like this many times before 5) make sure you’re on budget, the trades are coming in, not stealing from the job and so on and so forth. I would not recommend this to individuals who are not construction savvy. You will run into many issues and most likely it will not turn out well for you. It is very stressful to say the least and it’s not for everyone!
So why do people use a Licenced Contractor if they charge so much more? Simple. YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO ANTYHING BUT PAY THEM! They are responsible for everything. All you would do is pick your finishes and they take care of the rest. From my experience, you will still have to be on them in terms of being on schedule but besides that you’re done! Having them do the job also means that if there are any deficiencies (problems or work that wasn’t done correctly), they are responsible to fix it. With peoples busy schedules these days, this seems to be the option of many new homebuyers (at least the ones who could afford it).
I have a huge advantage as a REALTOR as I have successfully project managed 3 renovations of my own properties and have helped many clients purchase and sell real estate in Toronto, Vaughan & King City where they have either built new homes or completed a major renovation. I consider this investing because if you don’t buy the right property, you’re just sinking money into a home that might not allow you to re-coupe what you put into it. I would be thrilled to work with anyone looking to do this type of project. I am very passionate about what I do and no matter what it’s important for me to help you save money. I take it very personal and I wouldn’t make you purchase something that I wouldn’t. I would love to chat, shoot me an email, call or text and let’s see how I can help you!

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