RealManage Insight

Top Tips for Renovating a Condo

by Guest Blogger on Jul 16, 2020 8:29:00 AM

Are you just about to buy a condo that you want to remodel? Or have you been living in a condo for a while and think now is the right time to give it a refresh? Regardless of your circumstances, renovation work can be tricky. When you do this kind of project in a condo, it can often have even more challenges and cause more stress. Follow the steps below to help you achieve the most from your renovation and have fewer headaches.

Know the Condo Board Rules

Get to know the specific condo rules you have to deal with in your building before you start any remodeling work. Each condominium has governing documents outlining what can and can’t be done relating to things like cosmetic decisions, material selections, days and times when work takes place, when and how materials get brought into the building, and the use of elevators.

If you don’t learn about such logistical details from the start, you might have all sorts of headaches to deal with later. Governing document rules can affect your ability to schedule deliveries or tradespeople or get work approved. Often condo owners have to get permits before work can even begin. The more information you have up-front, the better you can plan your renovation and understand the timeline required.

Set a Budget for the Project

Setting a budget for your project is also advisable. There are always many factors to think about, and if you don’t give yourself some limitations, it’s easy to go overboard with spending when you’re caught up in the moment. You don’t want to outlay more on the remodel than you can truly afford or that is smart to invest (i.e., through over capitalizing on the property).

When it comes to your budget, decide on a total figure you feel comfortable spending, and work backward from there, allocating money out of this amount for each part of the renovation. For instance, you’ll likely need money for demolition and removal, materials, contractor labor, and insurance. You may also want to pay extra for a comprehensive home warranty to cover new appliances and systems you install.

Plus, don’t forget you’ll probably have to outlay funds for permits or legal or accounting consultations. Also, if you’re getting a loan or increasing your mortgage to pay for the project, you’ll have financial fees to add to your budget, too.

Be Clear About Who You’re Renovating For

Before you begin your remodel, get clear about who you’re renovating your condo for. That is, are you doing the work to make the home your ideal property, or to sell the house or to rent it out for a top dollar? The answer to this question should inform how much money you put into the project and the decisions you make along the way.

If you’re doing the work for yourself, you can make choices based simply on your personal preferences. (It’s still wise, though, to avoid over capitalising if you want to sell in the next few years and make a profit.) If you plan to sell or rent the property soon, though, it’s best to renovate according to what potential buyers and tenants in the suburb are on the lookout for.

Understand Limitations You Have to Work Around

Doing remodeling within a condo is quite different from doing such work in a standalone house or even a duplex or some other types of properties. Condos often have elements you’ll have to work around during renovations that can’t be moved or changed due to condo rules or the home’s structure. Similarly, sometimes issues are so big, they’d cost a fortune and would make going ahead with the changes unrealistic.

Make sure you’re aware of limitations before you fall in love with renovation ideas or do any demolition work, etc., that you can’t turn into reality or proceed with (or even have to reverse). For instance, your condo could have intrusive columns, structural walls you can’t move, oddly-angled walls, low ceilings, or other problems you have to workaround.

Utilize experts as required to find ways to make these limitations less of a sore point, such as drawing the eye elsewhere or rearranging the way you use rooms. Always choose experienced builders, tradespeople, etc. who have spent years working in condos and are familiar with the challenges these types of projects can bring.

Starting remodeling work is a big decision and quite a commitment when it comes to time, energy, and money. However, the results should be well worth it, provided you think strategically and follow the tips above to avoid as many problems along the way as possible.

Guest Blogger: Tiffani Wroe

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