Renovation project in Toronto

What Home Renovations Require a Permit Toronto

Home renovations are quite popular in Toronto, but before you start planning the project it’s important to know if any building permits are required. Without the necessary permits you may be faced with fines or legal action. In some instances, the completed work may even need to be removed. According to the City of Toronto’s Building Code Act, a building permit is needed for the demolition or construction of any new building as well as for the material alteration of all existing structures and buildings.
This means there are laws in place for home renovation projects as they need to comply with the local regulations concerning zoning, electrical, plumbing, and building work. If the projected renovations meet with these bylaws then a permit will typically be issued. In addition, City of Toronto inspectors will look over the job to make sure everything is done according to the permit.

When a Permit is Needed
These are some of the more popular renovating projects that require a permit in the City of Toronto.
You’ll need a permit if you plan on renovating your basement by adding an entrance or a room as well as for altering or installing plumbing/heating systems. Other types of structural work also require a permit such as underpinning and excavating.
If you plan on building a pool house, solarium, workshop, garden shed, carport or detached garage you’ll need a permit if the structure will be bigger than 10 square meters. The same is true if you want to add an attached garage, porch, sunroom, or additional floor to the house.
A permit is needed for a deck if it’s more than two-feet above the ground as well as for enlarging doors and windows and removing or adding walls. In addition, you also need permission for installing a wood-burning stove/fireplace/chimney as well as making environmentally-friendly improvements including installing a green roof, solar systems, and storm-water systems.
If you plan on changing the use of a structure, such as turning your home into an office or changing it to a multi-dwelling building then you’ll require a permit.

When a Permit isn’t needed
There are some instances in which a building permit isn’t needed such as replacing or adding insulation or building a retaining wall which is under a meter in height, but the renovations still need to respect the local zoning bylaw.
You don’t need a permit when renovating a basement if you’ aren’t adding an extra room, new plumbing, or doing any material/structural work.
If you’re building a freestanding deck outside your house and it’s a maximum of two-feet above the ground then you don’t need a permit.
If you plan on installing sky-lighting in a home which is under four stories high and only one rafter needs to be removed, you won’t need a permit.

Permit Fees
Building permits come with fees and you’ll also be charged an hourly rate for an inspection. For the most up-to-date costs, it’s recommended that you contact the City of Toronto.

No-Permit Penalties
If you begin renovating your home without the required permits you could face financial penalties over $25,000, depending on the nature of the infraction. In addition, your renovation work may be stopped and any project that has already been completed may have to be removed.
It’s certainly better to be safe rather than sorry when it comes to obtaining building permits for renovations. This is just a general list and it’s highly recommended that you check with the City before starting any renovation projects. Or better yet, if you need help with your home renovations please feel free to contact us at York Construction Company and let us take care of all the required permits.

Have questions?
Have questions about your next renovation project?  Contact York Construction today, we can walk you through the process and advise you on permit needs.  We also offer a free in-home consultation.

Home Renovation in Toronto

How to Finance Home a Renovation Project

Whatever the reason is for renovating your home it’s always a good idea to make sure the project can be properly financed. Some remodeling tasks can be quite expensive and you may want to look into your options when it comes to financing the job. Depending on the size and complexity of the home renovation, you may need to borrow the funds to see it through. It’s recommended that you have the funds in place before beginning the work. You may have a financial advisor who can help you out and there are various places to borrow money from these days.

Credit Cards
If the renovation project is relatively small you may want to simply pay for it without having to apply for a loan. This means you can access the funds in your bank account or pay for the materials and/or labour via a credit card. Just remember to work out a payment schedule though so you don’t end up paying high-interest charges on the balance.

Line of Credit
A line of credit can be used for financing a home renovation and it allows you to access the money whenever you need it without having to apply for a loan. For example, if you have a $50,000 line of credit you can take whatever you need when you need it until you reach the limit. The interest rate is typically lower than a credit card and it’s only charged on the funds you have already accessed. In addition, you can pay off the loan of credit whenever you choose.

Loan
If you don’t like the option of paying cash or credit for the project or if it’s simply going to cost more money than you can readily access you may want to consider a personal loan. You’ll have to pay the principal as well as the interest during the period of the loan, but it will likely be lower than then interest charges on your credit card. The monthly payments will depend on the length of the loan and you may be able to choose from variable or fixed interest rates. If you find you need more funds for the project after the loan is paid off you’d need to apply for another loan.

Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)-Secured Line of Credit
A home equity loan and secured line of credit are similar to a personal loan or line of credit, the home’s equity is basically used as collateral or security. They usually include appraisal and legal fees as well as set-up charges, but also come with lower interest rates. In many cases, you may be able to borrow up to 80 per cent of the value of your home.

Refinancing your Mortgage
If you’re planning on a major home renovation you may want to consider refinancing the mortgage on your home. This allows you to pay the loan back over an extended period of time with the interest rates being the same as a mortgage. Like a home equity loan, there will be fees and set-up costs and you may be able to borrow up to 80 per cent of the home’s value.

Adding Renovation Costs to Mortgage
If you’re renovating a house that you’re about to buy you can inquire about adding the costs of the project to the mortgage. It’s a good idea to contact CMHC Mortgage Loan Insurance for more information on this option. They will let you know exactly how much you can borrow and how much of a down payment will be required.

When planning to finance your home renovation project you should always keep some extra funds aside for unexpected costs or if you decide on additional remodeling once you get started. If you already have these funds set aside it means you won’t have to apply for another loan or rearrange your existing financial plans. Also, the provincial and federal governments in Canada often offer rebates and grants for certain energy-saving remodeling tasks and Energy Star-rated appliances. It’s always a good idea to look into these as you could save money as well as help the environment at the same time.

About York Construction Company

York Construction Company is a Toronto based home renovation company that has been serving the GTA for over 50 years.  We provide professional services with a focus on customer service.  Contact us today to schedule a free in-home consultation.

Home renovation project in Toronto

HOW TO PRIORITIZE YOUR HOME RENOVATION PROJECTS

At one point or another most homeowners decide to dabble in renovating their homes. You might realize that your house or condominium unit needs a little bit of sprucing up due to age and the natural wear and tear process. Or you may just renovate it to increase your home’s property value. In any event, you’ll often find that it’s hard to just embark on one renovating project and that’s when it gets tricker on how to start and where to finish. We’ll try to help out by offering a few tips below. You’ll need to consider the costs and time of the renovations as well as the functionality.

Renovation Needs vs Wants

It’s always a good idea to ask yourself if a certain area of your home needs to be renovated or if you’d just like to renovate it.  It’s usually best to tend to your needs before your wants when it comes to renovating. Do what’s necessary first and then take care of the rest afterward. Once you’ve decided on what needs to be accomplished, try to concentrate in just one renovation at a time. It’s best to completely finish one job before starting on the next. It’s also a lot more rewarding and satisfying to complete something and it will add confidence to your next chore.

When looking through your home to see what needs to be done you may want to start with the easiest renovations first such as low budget jobs like painting and updating fixtures. Some areas which may need to be looked after including the exterior, furnace, plumbing, electrical system, roof, flooring, walls, windows, and doors etc. If things are falling apart you’ll need to take care of them to protect the investment you have in your home.

Once all of your necessary renovations have been completed you can now turn your attention to your wants and remodeling wish list. You can prioritize these by creating a budget for your renovations and then estimating the cost of each individual job. Once you know the approximate cost of each renovation you can decide in which order you’d like to do them. In some instances, you may need the assistance of professional contractors and you should always ask them for estimates and guarantees on their work.  They can also give you accurate cost estimates based on what type of renovation project you are interested in.

Renovations For Return On Investment

If your renovations are being carried out solely for the return of investment in the future when you sell the home, it’s always a good idea to do some research on the subject. For example, you may find that renovated bathrooms and kitchens are the most common ways to recoup the investment costs. You may also want to contact a real estate agent when it comes to this as they may have some helpful suggestions on where exactly to focus your time and money regarding renovations.

You can typically add value to a home as well as more storage space when adding on square footage via something like a mudroom. But in the long run, your prioritizing will usually be ruled by your budget. You simply can’t renovate the things you can’t afford unless they’re absolutely necessary or need to be done for safety reasons. If that’s the case, you’ll need to get financing help.

To recap, you’ll need to know which renovation jobs you can handle yourself and which ones will require professional assistance. Be sure to estimate the costs and ask contractors for written estimates and guarantees. Do the necessary repairs and renovations before simply cosmetic ones and don’t be afraid to ask for assistance and/or ideas from professionals. Another set of eyes and ideas could help you save a great deal of money and time in the long run.

York Construction of Toronto offers free in-home consults for all of your renovation projects.  Contact us today to schedule your consult and let us help you prioritize your home renovation project to-do list.

MAKE “NEXT YEARS” DREAMS BECOME THIS YEAR’S REALITY! CHOOSING THE BEST WAY TO FINANCE YOUR HOME RENOVATION

Home owners dream about the remodels and renovation they’d love to do to their house. Year after year circumstances comes up which unfortunately take financial priority, and their plans to renovate kitchens, add an income suite, or even given some out-dated features a makeover get pushed aside until “next year”.

Renovation and remodelling projects are within everyone’s budget, no matter the circumstances.  You just need the right guidance on how best to finance your situation, as winding up in debt can ruin your chances of getting larger loan approvals in the future.

Save Up

Placing a Piggy Bank on top your your fridge and adding to it each time you skip a Starbucks Latte or the amount you saved on your Walmart trip is a great way to accumulate money for home remodelling projects which is easy and planning-free. Even setting aside large amounts of money per pay-check takes a considerable amount of time to pay for labour and materials. This option is great for simple remodelling such as painting and less expensive upgrades rather than a full-room renovation or home addition.

Credit Card

A credit card is a good option for new home owners who wish to do a few small remodels to make their place more ideal. Without a huge line of credit or approvals for larger loans, you can use a credit card to pay for your project upfront. The downfall is that this only works on projects which do not exceed your credit card’s limit, therefore it’s best for simple, less expensive projects. You will also want to make sure you have a plan to pay it off quickly because retail credit cards have high interest rates.

Personal Line of Credit

When you apply for a personal line of credit, you’re essentially granted a predetermined loan based on your previous credit history, and agree to pay off a minimum amount each month. The good thing is you don’t have to pay interest charges until you begin using it, and they have lower interest rates than regular credit cards. You also have continuous access to the remaining funds without having to reapply. So what’s the catch? They take a while to pay-off, so this is a good option for long-term, ongoing renovation projects.

Home Equity Loans

A home equity loan is kind of like a line of credit, except they use your house as collateral. For extreme home renovation projects this may be a great option, as they offer the best interest rates and have higher limits- sometimes allowing you to borrow up to 80{898c5adb771c4fc3375688a3b4e0e1ab76f0a2c95a58d2679a6f6197c49cb1fb} of your property’s value! However, since the Housing Crisis in 2007, lenders are now required to verify your finances, which can accumulate hefty lawyers fees out of your pocket. And since you’re using your house as collateral, if you don’t end up paying off your loan you’ll lose your home…there goes a waste of an awesome renovation project!

Mortgage Financing

If you’re a home owner, chances are you’ll be paying for your home using a standard mortgage. When you purchase a new home with plans to renovate it you can add the estimated costs to the mortgage you’re applying for. If you’re renovating your current home you can refinance your project budget into your preexisting mortgage. Mortgages are great because they typically have better interest rates than home equity loans and lines of credit. However, have you ever heard the term “a slave to your mortgage”? You’ll be paying off the charges for a long time, and you may feel more obligated to stay put to justify the time, efforts, and costs put into your renovation.

Don’t Stress… Financeit!

If you’re uncertain about what option is right for you, let your contractors advise the best fix for you! Reputable Construction Companies will assist you in finding a person financing plan which works for your budget and your renovation project.

York Construction Company works with Financeit- a marketing-leading solution that allows home owners to apply for flexible and affordable monthly payment plans for their renovation projects.

With such flexibility in your payment plans, Financeit works with contractors and their clients on customizable solutions to make their home improvement projects come true quickly with payments organized in a comfortable time frame.

  • Costs are split into monthly payments over a compromised term – anywhere from 12 to 180 months (1 year to 15 years)
  • Interest rates are between 7.99{898c5adb771c4fc3375688a3b4e0e1ab76f0a2c95a58d2679a6f6197c49cb1fb} and 11.99{898c5adb771c4fc3375688a3b4e0e1ab76f0a2c95a58d2679a6f6197c49cb1fb} depending on your credit history
  • The amount of your loan can be up to $50,000!

The great thing is, you don’t need to stick to the minimum monthly payments, and are free to pay if you have the extra $$$. Get a big bonus at work, inherit a little money, win a jackpot? You can put use it to pay off your balance without penalties.

So what are you waiting for?

How you choose to finance your home renovation projects all comes down to you! If you’re good with saving, you may choose to pay upfront. If you’re diligent paying off loans, a simple line of credit may suffice. But let’s be real. A majority of us have big plans to remodel and make our home perfect, and money should not be a deal breaker. Suitable finance plans are available for almost everyone. Do your research, ask your contractor, and find out which is best to make your dream renovations come true!

EIGHT TIPS WHEN HIRING A CONTRACTOR TO RENOVATE YOUR HOME

So you’re excited to start on a project to increase your property value, give your house a make-over, and turn that fixer-upper you purchased into your dream home. Whether you’re doing some simple remodelling or undergoing an elaborate home renovation, choosing the right professional can be overwhelming.

For starters, you want to make sure you hire a contractor that is reliable, trustworthy, and won’t rip you off and leave you with a job half-finished. To help, we’ve compiled some tips to guide you in the selection process when looking to hire reputable contractors in the home renovation business who will deliver the results you expect and pay for!

  1. Personal Referrals

People are most likely to choose contractors based on personal referrals: it’s just the way we work. We trust those we know on a personal basis and whose homes we’ve been into because there’s concrete evidence that the job was well-done. York Construction Company, for example, has gained several new contacts through personal referrals, when the friends and family members of satisfied clients reach out to discuss the idea of renovating a kitchen or bathroom. After all, if a friend, family member or co-worker had a good experience with a contractor, you have a safer bet that you will too!

  1. Professional Referrals

What about when you have a very unique problem or project and word-of-mouth doesn’t work for a recommendation? Talk to professionals about who they’d recommend to do the job, whether other contractors in the home renovation business, realtors, or even lawyers. It’s their job to provide honest recommendations. However, be careful that one contractor may not just be recommending another to “help a buddy out.” Still do your research on the company to see what their clients have to say!

  1. Social Media Presence

Not every contractor has the time or money to spend on online advertising, especially Mom-and-Pop Businesses whose generation may not be familiar with sites like Facebook or Instagram. However, having a social media presence has become a must-have for most contractors, even if they’re not entirely active. Look for companies with social media pages and well-designed websites, as a contractor who is serious about growing his or her business will utilize these free start-up services as a spring board for their clients’ referrals.

  1. Qualifications

Never underestimate the importance of qualifications. Although experience is invaluable, contractors need to refresh and maintain their credentials to match the latest in home innovation technology. Think about it: would you ask someone who has twenty years of marketing experience but doesn’t understand how to use Facebook or YouTube? Like technology, the system updates on home renovations can be very intricate, and proper education provides contractors with the instructions they need to execute the job correctly.

  1. Scan for complaints

Use BBB (Better Business Bureau) and even try doing a legal search on Government websites such as the Canadian Legal Information Institute Canadian Legal Information Institute. Do a search of the contractor and see if they come up. In this case, no mention is often a good sign as they don’t have a history of conflict with their clients.

  1. Research your reviews

The Internet is everyone’s main source of information these days. Online reviews have become one of the most valuable resources for restaurants, hotels, and personal services, so it’s no surprise that they are widely used for home-renovation professionals. If a client is pleased with a job well done, they’re usually happy to write a review and post photos of their home renovation projects on websites like homestars.com. Use these reviews as a lead for your research, but beware: there may be some false or biased reviews. Be sure to follow up with an analysis on the contractor’s credentials to make sure that your services are legit!

  1. Look for their name in shining lights!

Okay so your local neighbourhood contractor may not have a 20-second commercial spot in Times Square, or even a Billboard down the rural route highway, but a good company in the Home Renovation Business will be proud to display their name and contact information on a sign on their client’s lawns. Firstly, it says they are proud of their job, and secondly it shows that their clients were happy enough with their service to promote them to them to the community.

  1. Sponsorships

Again, not every small business will have the financial funds to sponsor a playing field or a new wing at your local hospital, but businesses who do well give back to their local communities by donating to a new public building, a youth sports team, fundraisers, or events. It’s a way to show that their trustworthy character while simultaneously promoting their respective businesses. Strong community figures are generally more reputable than a contractor no one has ever heard of.

TIP: Be sure to check that your contractors are licensed and that they work in your area. Good, reliable companies can provide documentation to prove that they carry liability insurance and WSIB. In the event that your contractor fails to do his/her job or tries to rip you off, you can take your complaints to the licensing agency to help mediate the situation.

Good luck and have fun with your home renovation project!

THE TOP FIVE RENOVATIONS TO INCREASE YOUR HOME’S PROPERTY VALUE

Brand new homes won’t look brand new forever.

While some buyers enjoy purchasing a “fixer-upper” and renovating it themselves, it is much easier to sell a property for a much higher profit once you invest in some simple renovations. Even a fresh paint job and some new appliances can significantly beef up your asking price.

Below are the Top Five Home Renovations to increase your property value, which can have up to 5 times the return on investment on what they cost.

5. Replacing the Flooring

Cozy carpeted floors are a nice idea. Who doesn’t love the feeling of waking up and stepping onto a spongy carpet in the morning?

As lovely as the thought may be, carpets can be a royal pain to clean and maintain, and old carpets will need to be replaced if you’re planning to sell your home.

Installing hardwood floors has become both a simple solution to reduce maintenance, and to give an immediate boost to your property value. According to data from the National Association of Realtors, 54{898c5adb771c4fc3375688a3b4e0e1ab76f0a2c95a58d2679a6f6197c49cb1fb} of buyers are willing to pay more for a home with hard wood floors. Maintaining a clean appearance even on dark wood colours is simple – Swiffering followed by a light mop will do the trick!

Tile will always be a timeless choice in the kitchen and bathroom areas. Porcelain tiles are more durable than ceramic and are available in many colours and styles. To properly clean, use a “tile and grout” cleaning solution with a gentle sponge or rag, and use a toothbrush to clean dirt build up between the tiles. Bonus Tip: It’s best to use a test area first with brand new floors to ensure your cleaning method wont damage the tiles!

4. Upgrading Fixtures

Old fixtures can make an entire room or space appear old and outdated. Fixtures are considered as any addition to the home which is not necessarily permanent, yet the home owner will not take with them when they sell the house.

Replacing or upgrading old fixtures such as faucets, sinks, and ceiling lights can instantly make a home appear more modern and so increase your property value. In modern homes the addition of pot lights, especially in open-concept living areas, has become increasingly popular.

3. Bathroom Additions and Remodelling

A minor bathroom remodelling including replacing the toilet, sink, tub and flooring can dramatically improve the overall appearance of the space. If your bathtub is too large or expensive to replace, a simple re-glazing will make it appear almost brand-new. Tricks such as swapping a normal shower tub with a curtain for glass doors will create the illusion of space.

You can expect a more dramatic rise in the market value of your home with the addition of a full bathroom to one-bathroom home. Home and Garden Television (HGTV) suggests that with this addition you can recoup 80-130{898c5adb771c4fc3375688a3b4e0e1ab76f0a2c95a58d2679a6f6197c49cb1fb} of your investment. While you shouldn’t compromise bedroom for bathroom space, try adding even a half-bathroom to a “dead space” such as under the stairs or on the basement level.

2. Kitchen Renovations

A kitchen is the single most important room to consider when renovating your home. Not only is this an essential space for the cooking, preparation and consumption of meals, it’s an area which house-proud individuals like to show-off to their friends and family and engage in social conversation.

The overall appearance of a desirable kitchen is one of the main selling points of a house, therefore it is crucial to invest in fresh and modern cabinetry and appliances. Stone countertops and solid wood cabinets add value to your kitchen as well as installing practical features such as soft drawer closers.

Consider adding an island for extra working space, as well as a spot to set up bar stools to enjoy a quick meal or entertain guests when preparing meals in your kitchen.

1. Adding an “Income Suite 

It’s no surprise that biggest way to increase the value of your home is to build an income suite within the property. Choosing to rent out your basement or another level or section of your house is an instant cash-earning investment and can cover a portion or all of your mortgage payments – and sometimes even create wealth to supplement your income!

If you decide an income suite is right for your home, make sure that the room or area is still a useable space regardless of whether you or the next owner of the property chooses to rent it out.

A simple way to increase the value of your home is to convert an attic, den, or another un-used living area into an additional bedroom. It’s then easy for the next owner to convert this space into whatever best suits their needs, whether it be an office, gym, playroom, or the fantasy game and bar area they’ve always dreamed of!