What You Should Know Before you Build or Renovate your Home

November 10, 2022

Are you considering building or renovating your home? If so, we have you covered! In this blog post, we’ll walk you through the basics of what you need to know before you build or renovate your home, as well as provide you with 8 important points to consider before you start your project. With that said, let's get started!

#1 - Set a Realistic Budget and Timeline for your New Build or Renovation Project:

Before building or renovating your home, it is critical to take the time to set a realistic budget and timeline for the project. Setting a realistic budget ensures that you stay on track with your goals and complete the project within a reasonable timeframe. When creating a budget, it's essential to consider not only the cost of materials and labor but also any additional expenses and soft costs such as design and permit, as well as unexpected costs that may arise during the construction or renovation process. Consulting with a reputable contractor can provide valuable insights on what additional budget may be required based on the scope of the renovation. Additionally, taking the time to carefully plan and budget for a renovation project can help avoid delays, unexpected expenses, and ensure that the project is completed on time and within budget. Here is a quick checklist that might assist you in setting a realistic budget and timeline for your project:

  1. Identify the scope of the renovation project: Determine the specific changes you want to make to your home and the extent of the work involved.
  2. Prioritize your renovation goals: Decide which areas or aspects of your home are the most important to you and prioritize them accordingly.
  3. Assess the condition of your home: Evaluate the current condition of your home to determine the necessary repairs, replacements, or upgrades needed for the renovation.
  4. Research the cost of materials and labor: Research the cost of the materials needed for the renovation project, as well as the cost of labor. This will give you a rough idea of how much the project will cost.
  5. Set a budget: Based on the scope of the project and the cost of materials and labor, set a realistic budget for the renovation project.
  6. Determine a timeline: Consider the time required to complete the project based on the scope of the renovation, availability of materials and contractors, and other factors that may impact the timeline.
  7. Account for additional expenses: Set aside a contingency fund to account for any unexpected expenses that may arise during the renovation process.
  8. Hire a reputable contractor: Select a reputable contractor with experience in similar renovation projects to help you navigate the process and provide guidance on the budget and timeline.

#2 - Determine the Full Scope of Work Required for your New Build or Renovation Project:

After you have set your budget, the next step is to determine the full scope of work required for your construction or renovation project. This includes deciding whether you want to do a full-scale renovation or simply make some minor updates. As part of this process, it’s important to create a detailed plan that outlines the steps that need to be taken in order to complete the project successfully. It is a good idea at this stage to hire an architect or designer who can help you come up with the best plan for your renovation project. 

Your project plan would ideally include a detailed timeline that outlines each step of the renovation process, from demolition to completion. This will help you stay on track and ensure that the project is completed within the timeframe you've set. You should also include a list of materials and tools needed for the renovation, as well as any subcontractors or professionals that will be required for the project. Additionally, you should consider any potential challenges or obstacles that may arise during the construction process and come up with contingency plans to address them. By creating a detailed plan, you'll be able to approach the construction process with confidence, and your builder or general contractor can ensure that the end result is exactly what you envisioned.

#3 - Consider the Type of Materials and Finishes That Would Best Fit your Needs and Budget for your Project

When it comes to the materials that you’ll need for your renovation or new build project, it’s important to consider the type of materials and finishes that will best fit your budget and needs. This includes researching different product options and weighing the pros and cons of each one. You should also take into account factors such as durability, aesthetics, safety, and cost before making a final decision on what materials you’ll be using. Working alongside an interior designer, architect and contractor will help to ensure that you are making informed decisions on all of your material types and finishes.

For the most part, more economical materials for renovations can include things like vinyl or laminate flooring, low-cost lighting fixtures, prefabricated cabinets, and basic appliances. These materials can still provide a good level of quality and functionality while keeping costs down. However, it's important to also consider the long-term cost implications of using cheaper materials. While they may save money in the short-term, they may not be as durable and may require more frequent repairs or replacements, which can add up in the long run. When it comes to more significant renovation projects, such as structural changes or major upgrades, it's often best to invest in higher-quality materials that will provide better longevity and performance over time. Ultimately, it's important to strike a balance between cost and quality when selecting materials for your renovation or construction project.

#4 - Research Local Building Codes, and Know Which Permits, Applications and Licenses May Be Required: 

When it comes to getting your construction or renovation project off to the best start, it is very important to research what building codes, permits and licenses may be required in your area, and for your specific type of project. Obtaining the appropriate permits, approvals and licenses for your project, is critical to getting your project off to the best possible start. This will ensure that your new custom home, or your renovated home will meet the building code, and regulations set by local governments, and keeps both you and your neighbouring community members safe. Obtaining permits and licenses is quite simple once you’ve prepared the appropriate documents and requirements. Depending on the municipality you live in and the type of structure you are building, additional approvals or inspections may also be required. 

In the Province of Ontario specifically, building codes are established by the Ontario Building Code (OBC), which sets the minimum requirements for health and safety standards for buildings and their facilities. In addition, the Province of Ontario’s Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing oversees the construction and maintenance of buildings, and issues building permits for construction projects. Depending on the type of renovation or construction project, you may also need to obtain other permits or licenses from your local municipality, such as electrical or plumbing permits. It's important to note that failure to obtain the necessary permits and licenses can result in fines and legal issues, not to mention costly project delays, and so it's crucial to do your research and ensure that you have all the required permits and licenses in place before you begin any construction project.

Ultimately, by researching local regulations and requirements in advance, you will be better informed, better prepared, and you can minimize potential delays as you begin your new home construction or renovation project. 

#5 - Make Sure You Understand the Pros and Cons of DIY vs. Hiring a Professional Contractor for your New Build or Renovation Project

When it comes to deciding who will be taking on your renovation project, you’ll want to carefully weigh the pros and cons of both DIY and hiring a professional contractor. In some cases, taking on a DIY project may make sense if you have the necessary skills, tools, time and experience. On the other hand, hiring an experienced professional will provide you with the extra peace of mind that your project will be executed well and safely. Additionally, experienced contractors have the skills and expertise needed to complete the job correctly and efficiently, and can also help you navigate any potential challenges that may arise during the renovation process, as we’ve probably dealt with these challenges numerous times already!

Furthermore, hiring a professional builder or contractor can save you time and reduce stress, as they will handle many aspects of the project for you from design and planning to obtaining permits, sourcing materials, overseeing the construction process, scheduling and managing trades, coordinating inspections, and ensuring quality control. Professional contractors will also have access to specialized tools and equipment that may not be readily available to the average homeowner, which can result in a higher quality of work and a more polished finished product. In addition, contractors often have long standing relationships with suppliers and subcontractors, which can result in better pricing, and higher quality, of materials and skilled labor. While hiring a professional builder or contractor might seem like a bigger investment upfront, it will ultimately provide a higher level of quality and peace of mind throughout the construction and renovation process, and will ensure that your project is built right, the first time!

By researching both options thoroughly and weighing the pros and cons of each beforehand, you can ensure that whatever route you choose is right for your project and your needs. An excellent practice, and something we recommend all of our clients to do, is to get multiple quotes from reputable and professional contractors in writing, so that you can compare and review different options to help you make the best decision!

#6 - Consider the Existing and Future Space of your Home, and the Present and Future Value of the Home 

When it comes to building or even renovating a house, it is important to consider both the present and future value of the home, as well as the existing and future space. Investing into a quality renovation, or a high quality home build will only increase the value of your property, while a poorly executed renovation, or poorly built home, will be easily recognized by future homeowners or investors. 

When determining what type of home you want to build, think about how it will fit into the surrounding environment and if it increases or detracts from the overall aesthetic appeal of the neighborhood. Additionally, if you are considering a renovation to improve the value of your home, make sure you take into account the quality of materials, and types of finishes, and the anticipated value of the home once your renovation is complete (for example, as cool as an indoor Scandinavian sauna may sound, you might not recoup your investment on that one in the future!). Taking all of these factors into account will help ensure that your renovation or new build project is completed well, and will only add more value to the existing space, and future value of your home. 

#7 - Choose an Excellent Interior Design and Layout (or Hire the Best Interior Designer Possible!)

When building a house, creating an addition, or even doing a full renovation, it is important to consider the interior design, layout and aesthetics of your home. This will help to ensure that the structure looks and feels inviting, comfortable and functions well in regards to space planning and utilization. When creating your interior design plan, think about what style best fits both you and your family’s needs. Additionally, look for quality materials that are durable and easy to maintain over time. 

Hiring an interior designer can be one of the most important decisions you make that will impact the outcome of your project, and drastically affect the end results. Spend some time researching the best interior designers in your area, and meet with them to ensure you find the best possible fit. Your ideal interior designer will have the design eye and style that you are looking for, who understands your vision well, and who can capture all the important details and put them down on paper for your contractor to execute. 

By taking all of these factors into account when choosing the interior design features of your new build or renovation project, you will ensure that you’re on your way to creating a beautiful and functional living space. 

#8 - Hire the Best Construction Company You Can to Perform the Construction Work

Once the design is finalized and all permits are obtained, it’s important to hire a skilled professional to handle the construction work. This will ensure that your project is completed properly and safely, and that you won’t have to worry about any unexpected issues that may come up during the construction process. When you hire the best construction company you can to execute your project, you will have the peace of mind that your project is in capable hands, and that any unexpected issues that may come up through the process, will be addressed and handled accordingly by your experienced contractor. 

Additionally, an experienced and professional contractor will provide valuable advice throughout the project that can help you make smart decisions when it comes to materials, construction methods, durability and longevity, design and other important factors. Even if you decide to take on some of the smaller tasks yourself, hiring a contractor can still be beneficial as they will be able to manage larger projects seamlessly. Ultimately, hiring an experienced contractor is often essential for completing successful building projects without costly overruns or delays.


All in all, there are many factors to consider when building or renovating a home. From obtaining necessary permits and researching local policies to selecting an interior design and hiring a skilled contractor, it is important to plan ahead in order to ensure that your project runs smoothly and successfully. By taking the time to think through each of these points before you start your project, you can minimize any potential issues and guarantee that your dream home becomes a reality.

Overall, at Odera Construction, we pride ourselves on being a mindful construction company that prioritizes professionalism, excellence, and transparency. Our goal is to ensure our clients’ build or renovation is as positive an experience as possible. 

If you are looking for a general contractor for your custom home, commercial or residential construction project, it would be our pleasure to help. Our team is based in Oakville and serves the Greater Toronto Area, including but not limited to Mississauga, Oakville, Burlington, Etobicoke and Toronto. You can check us out online to learn more about our services or to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation: Contact us today, and we would be happy to help! You can also check out our resource pages below for more information on our services.

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