Planning for home improvements in 2019?

Happy New Year! As we start 2019, many of us look ahead and start planning what we would like to achieve in 2019. A big part of this is often home renovations that we want completed in the coming year.

This is a perfect time for the Winnipeg Renovation Show at the RBC Convention Centre January 11-13. You have everything you need in one location to inspire your creative ideas, meet and interview prospective designers and contractors and see some of the new materials available in the market for your renovation project!

Whether you are planning an indoor project like a kitchen, bathroom, or basement or an outdoor project like a deck or new garage, there are lots of ideas and local professionals to answer your questions. I am doing a stage presentation Saturday, January 12 at 4:30 on Maximizing the Return on your Renovation Investment and on Sunday January 13 at 1:00 on Planning your Kitchen/Bathroom Renovation. Hope to see you there! Stop by our booth #712 to chat!

We will be featuring a few customer favorites – our line of electric fireplaces and our Hunter Douglas window coverings. Please stop by and introduce yourself! I love meeting my readers!

One of the questions I am asked most frequently is “How do I find a Good Contractor?” Well… I just call my hubby, Kevin, at KAT Reno! Most of the REALTORS® I work with are familiar with our team approach where I complete the design and our team at KAT Reno completes the renovations.

If the home is being sold, we then stage it for Maximum Impact or if the client remains in their home, we can help decorate with our extensive selection of quality furniture and décor from our showroom. We design and build kitchens, bathrooms, basements, sunrooms, fireplaces and of course finish off the room with our Hunter Douglas window coverings.

What are some of the things you want to consider when hiring a contractor? You want to ensure you are comfortable with the individual you hire. You will need to have a good working relationship and communication is key to a successful renovation. You can check reviews and references, the BBB, but it is easy to have friends post reviews online and use internet images as projects you’ve completed rather than actual completed projects.

The best way to check out a contractor is to visit completed projects. We can provide a list of customers that are happy to speak to and even show their projects to people considering us. This way you know you are speaking to actual customers and not just friends or family of the contractor.

Another important reference check to do is check with the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench Name Search Registry. If the company you are considering working with is in court regularly with customers or suppliers, you may want to look elsewhere. No one wants the stress of a reno to end up in court. Check both the business name and the owners individual name in case they change their company operating name frequently.

There are a number of other things you want to consider. How large is their crew? If it is only one of two people, that could be a concern. If someone gets sick or has a family emergency, will your project end up on hold indefinitely? Dealing with a larger crew allows your project to continue regardless of any individual absences. You want to ensure you work with someone who has liability insurance and is covered by Workers Compensation. You can go to to verify whether a company is currently covered.

Why is this important? Almost every year at the Reno Show we are approached by someone who did not hire a contractor covered by insurance and ended up having their personal home insurance cover damages or injuries!! Sometimes saving a few bucks on a Kijiji painter/handyman can end up costing you much more in the end!

It’s important to ensure you are protected as the homeowner and have the job done right! Feel free to ask for a copy of the Contractors’ insurance policy to have on file. Ask about safety policies within the company. We have safety procedures in place for contractors working alone. We have a second contractor available when a job requires more than one individual. This protects everyone from injury and unpleasant surprises.

Never, ever pay anyone in full before a job is done! Every year we have people tell us they paid someone in full and have projects either unfinished and their money has all been spent or the contractor disappeared with their money!

When dealing with reputable companies, a deposit is standard anywhere from 10 – 50% depending on the type of job, if the customer has custom materials that need to be ordered and paid for prior to the job commencing. A secondary payment can be requested up to 60 – 80% of the full cost. However, the balance should never be paid until the job is completed. Everything should be documented on the contract with changes and modifications agreed to by both parties in writing with any additional costs agreed to in advance. Finally, check with the Manitoba Home Builders Association for a list of RenoMark Renovators. This ensures they follow specific procedures and contracts with the necessary insurance in place. Keep in mind a large majority of renovations are completed without incident.

If you have a chance, join us at the Winnipeg Renovation Show this weekend! Friday January 11th from 12 pm-9 pm, Saturday January 12th from 10 am-9 pm, Sunday January 13th from 10 am-6 pm. Hope to see you there! Let’s start planning our 2019 Renovation Projects!!