Many homeowners don’t really understand what’s behind their walls – and breaking through one of these walls can be one of the most exciting and terrifying moments! Equally, most people don’t understand what it takes to makes changes to those walls. After realizing this, we developed these 6 points that we feel are important for any homeowner to know before embarking the process.

1. There’s always a choice

Even if you think you know the answer, ask your design professional to help you identify another 2 to 3 high-level options for your project; these might vary in their design approach, scope and cost. Take the time to explore the pros and cons of each as well, including their cost before you make a decision.  Keep in mind: many times the best answer is not the obvious one.

2. Time is money

Whether you are waiting to move in, or you’ll rent out – time has value for you. Ask for a comprehensive schedule that includes the whole project: planning/ design, approvals, buyout, and construction – and plan accordingly.

3. You can phase it

Be open to exploring scenarios which break down the project in 2 or more phases. This can be extremely useful when your budget is limited (by deferring a portion of it to the future), or if you are not ready to make some decisions.

4. It’s about trust

Take the time to meet your building professional candidates, and have a discussion with them; pick the ones you feel you can trust the most – you might have to trust your instincts! And, yes, to be successful it’ll need to develop into a mutual trusting relationship.

5. Think sustainable

There are upfront project costs – ie. what you’ll spend to update your property – and there are also lifecycle costs, which will occur in the future. These typically include energy costs for lighting, heating and cooling, and maintenance for your various systems.  Ask your trusted professional to quantify these and allow you to make educated decisions that will enhance your life, save you thousands of dollars, and help reduce the projects footprint– energy, water and materials.

6. It’s your project!

Never forget: it’s about your home! So the best outcome is the one that fits best your needs and your aspirations, and maximizes the value of your property.