Whether you've been staring at old linoleum flooring, stuffed closets, or just dreaming of installing a backyard hot tub, upgrades to our homes are always top-of-mind.
But before you make any home improvements, there are a few things you’ll need to take care of. Namely, planning your reno, deciding on a budget, and making sure you’re insured. Check out our home renovation guide to make sure you've covered all your bases.
Consider the scope of your renovationBefore you start to plan your home updates, consider the scope of the work. Renovations can be small or large, with different implications for your home's comfort and value. There are three types of common renovations that are classified by the type of home modification they offer:
- Lifestyle renovations to help meet your family's changing needs (like adding new bedrooms, an accessibility ramp, etc.)
- Retrofit projects to update core components of the home, such as mechanical updates or exterior upgrades
- Maintenance upgrades required to repair or improve your home
Typically, retrofit or maintenance will preserve or add value to your home, while lifestyle improvements may vary. Extensive kitchen and bathroom renovations may increase home prices, while smaller improvements like painting a bedroom, may not.
Finally, include a discussion about contractors when reviewing the scope of the updates. While it may be tempting to do the work on your own, contractors offer expertise and insurance. Opt for tradespeople that provide contracts and detailed invoicing — all protective in case something goes wrong.
Get a permit (if you need one)
Renovations may require approvals, depending on the size and scope of the project. Permits are typically required if you are:
- Adding a new structure to the land (including seasonal buildings)
- Doing renovations or repairs to your existing building
- Updating the use of the building (like changing from commercial to residential usage)
- Changing the foundation
- Making changes to an on-site sewage system
If you're not clear whether your project requires a permit, experts recommend checking with your municipality. No matter which jurisdiction you obtain a permit from, doing so before you start your project is essential. If your project requires removing or levelling structures before renovations can start, it requires an additional demolition permit.
What if I don’t get a permit for my home renovation?
Once you've got your permit, it must be displayed in the home's front window. Failure to do so may find homeowners guilty of an offence under Ontario's Building Code Act, 1992. First-time offenders may be fined up to $50,000 and up to $100,000 for subsequent violations.
Do I need a permit to renovate my condo?
If you're considering renovating a condo, there may be additional considerations before you start work. Whether or not your updates require a building permit, you may need approval from the condo board. Applications allow the board to review elements such as building materials or the impact of updates on common areas. The board may also have rules about when you can have work done and guidelines to manage the flow of contractors and materials throughout the building.
Renovations may have cost implications long after the dust has settled; updates may impact your monthly insurance premiums. Certain additions like a pool, home office, unique design features, or kitchen and bathroom upgrades may result in a higher insurance premium.
In contrast, renovations that improve your home’s safety like a new roof, updated plumbing and wiring, a new air conditioner or furnace, or a home security system may reduce your home insurance rate. Some renovations or additions may also benefit from having extra or separate coverage — talk to your provider to customize your coverage to better suit you and your family. For instance, Onlia offers policyholders freedom with their coverage — they can access, customize, and manage their coverage online, anytime.