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The Foreign Land of Renos and Rebuilds – How to Navigate the Journey to a Better Home

Believe it or not, renovating or rebuilding can be like traveling in a foreign country. This process takes an inexperienced homeowner into unfamiliar territory. Some of your regular assumptions won’t apply. Terms you use may have different meanings to building professionals. There are even cultural differences. Not convinced? Here are some examples.

Assumptions can be dangerous

Ever gotten out of a taxi overseas to learn the quoted price was per person, not for the ride like it is here at home? Similar things happen during renos. When building professionals quote prices verbally, most won’t mention that their quote does not include HST. Meanwhile, homeowners often assume that HST is included. This assumption can lead to a 13% shortfall on project funds, which, given the large sums of money involved, can be thousands of dollars. Get clarity and don’t assume anything.

Words and phrases can mean something different

Ever bought an “all-inclusive” tour package only to discover that it didn’t include something important? In home renos/rebuilds, homeowners often misuse lingo like “construction cost.” Many don’t realize that the term “construction cost” does not include all the expenses associated with a project. The phrase refers to the total expense incurred by a contractor, plus overheads and the contractor’s profit. Architectural designer, consultant and engineer fees, just to name a few, are not included. Make sure you understand industry lingo, especially around budget.

Cultural differences exist

Ever heard the term “island time?” The Caribbean is lovely, but the locals operate at a different pace than we’re used to in Toronto. While there are exceptions, the building industry is not as rigorous about meeting deadlines as other industries. Your own schedule can affect timelines as well. The key is to have a fallback plan if things run late.

Use a guide

While some people like to land in a foreign country, having done little research, and simply wing it, this is not recommended when renovating or rebuilding a home. Use a guide. A lot of money is at stake and financial or time-related setbacks can impact your whole family.

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