Just like traditional homes, condos need makeovers too. Most condos are built with minimal design features to attract buyers of all tastes. But once you finally have a condo to call your own, it’s time to add finishing touches and design features that reflect you.
But where do you begin? Like any renovation project, it’s important to look at the big picture. Budget, materials and building guidelines can all determine the outcome of your renovation.
Here are some tips to relieve the headaches of your condo renovation.
1. Building Guidelines
When you live or rent a condo, you are subject to the rules of the condominium building standards. These outline the type of materials that can be used, the times of day renovations can occur and even the colours that can be chosen. Even something as simple as the thickness of carpet under padding can be controlled by a condo board.
So what should you be asking about when you talk to your board or management?
- All condo fire and building codes.
- What time are you allowed to have workers present?
- What are the rules about access to the building such as elevator rentals and use of commons spaces when bringing materials in and out of the building?
- What are the health and safety guidelines for construction teams during your renovation?
- What are the design rules – paint, fixtures, changes to interior doors, and trimmings?
Talking to your condo board or management office to make sure you are meeting all the rules set out by the building constitution can avoid potential legal and building issues later.
Even though a condo space may be smaller than a traditional home, it is still important to outline a budget for your renovation project. Discuss with your contractor about the cost of materials to determine the best time to buy. Some building materials are more readily available at different times of the year, meaning you could save a lot of money if you buy at the right time. Try to determine what you can get a wholesale versus retail.
Look at your project and determine what you can take on yourself versus what will require a contractor. Then review your overall plan with your contract to determine what costs to expect.
There are several key budget items to take into consideration when planning your renovation:
- Building materials
- Potential upgrades to meet building guidelines
- Fixtures and appliances
- Possible loan costs
Break down your budget room by room so you can figure out which renovation project to tackle first. Your contractor will review all of these costs with you to make sure the new look you want is affordable and meets your design expectations.
- Prioritize Your Project – Once you have a budget in mind, create a priority timeline to determine what you can afford to do now versus what you might want to put off. Do you enjoy giving parties or cooking? Have you always wanted to upgrade your kitchen? Then make that the priority before moving on to other rooms.
- Do you have family and friends that visit frequently? Turn that unused den space into a guest bedroom so you are always ready for your next visit.
- Maybe you are working from home more often and that unused den space would be better suited for an office.
Ask Yourself Questions Before You Decide Which Space You Start with First:
Room by room or the entire project at once.
Are you accommodating the need for more workspace or do you need more living space? Choose based on what is a priority right now.
Are you expecting company soon? If so, it might not be the right time to take on a complete renovation, but rather a room by room approach.
Change can be stressful for animals so always consider how any project will affect them.
Take some time to evaluate how your renovation project is going to positively impact your life and choose which spaces to start with based on these needs.
3. Design Features
Investing in a renovation will not only improve how your home looks but will also add value. Make sure you choose design elements and features that have some longevity so that potential future buyers can imagine themselves living there. Go with classic hardware elements and trimmings. Choose wall colours that make a statement without being too overpowering. Make sure you choose appliances that match. If your fridge is stainless steel, then make sure your stove and microwave are too. This attention to detail will guarantee it won’t take long to find buyers when it comes time for you to find a new home.
4. Renters Rules
Check with your landlord before you start any renovation project. Make sure you discuss who will be covering costs. Go over the design project with your landlord and do not make any changes without their approval or you may end up having to pay for renovation costs you weren’t expecting.
5. Hidden Costs and Upgrades
Budget for any possible upgrades or unexpected costs. You may find as your project moves along that your kitchen or bedroom needs rewiring to accommodate a new appliance or media system. Your condo board may require you to use certain materials that have a higher cost than you had originally had in mind. Make sure for up to 30 percent in cost overruns to ensure you don’t get caught short on cash when the project is done.
A renovation project is always an exciting time to let your creativity and personality shine through. Use these helpful tips to make sure that your project runs smoothly and that there are no surprises along the way. Make sure to plan, budget and always expect the unexpected and the result will be a new living space you can’t wait to come home to every day.