Renovating a condo 
is not like renovating a house.

Renovating a condo 
is not like renovating a house.

With nearly 2 million Canadians residing in Condominiums, it only make sense for some of those units to need renovation.

The reason for Condo renovations are as varied as the owners themselves. Some may wish to purchase an older Condo to benefit from a lower square foot price, and lower maintenance fees. They would renovate to bring the unit itself up to modern design standards.

Others may wish to renovate an existing Condo to add extra storage, something that is always a premium for the Condo dweller. 

And yet others will renovate to ensure the maximum sale price when they’ve decided it’s time to move on.

Finally, many Condominium owners are finding the can maximize their rental income or value on AirBNB by simply giving their space an appealing update.

Regardless of whether you own a traditional home, or a sky-high Condo, maintenance and constant care are always needed. But there is a big difference when it comes time to renovate your Condo.

[Speaking of differences, can you find 11 difference between the two living spaces shown above? Answers follow this article.]

Before doing anything, reach out to the property or building manager and the Condo board. This is important and should not be overlooked. There are specific rules and policies regarding condo renovation, and the board or property manager can guide you and the renovator you may hire in ensuring the condo renovation stays clearly within those guidelines.

Condo restrictions may include minute details like materials that can or cannot be used, and forms that must be submitted before, during and even after a condo remodel or renovation. It is for these very reasons that you need to contact your building manager in advance of planning, and to ensure they have full knowledge about your build.

There may also be an official guideline available about the dos and don’ts of renovating a condo that they could provide you and your contractor with which could avoid a lot of headaches as the build progresses. The older the building, the more likely that there will be some strict policies and regulations in place.

After consulting with your condo board, or building manager, you, of course, will need to find a suitable contractor. This should be a contractor who is willing and more importantly, experienced in Condo renovations to take on your project. Don’t expect your handyman friends to be thrilled to take on your project,

Every Condo renovation is different, and while a Condo renovation may seem easier than a traditional home renovation, it can—in fact—be the opposite.

A Condo renovation faces logistical challenges a home renovation simply doesn’t have, such as finding available parking, co-ordinating bookings of the elevators, scheduling time and access to the official loading zones, etc. These restrictions make it a little harder to work inside a Condo building.

Also consider the physical limiting factors of the Condo unit itself. Unlike a home, you do not have the ability to add living space in a basement, or via an extension (unless you’ve just bought the adjacent unit as well). Tight Condo spaces are usually designed with odd-angled walls and intrusive columns in order to pack as many units as possible inside the building. This makes it hard to maximize you living space, which should be the number one priority of any Condo renovation, above and beyond purely cosmetic upgrades.

Knowing which walls can be removed and which will allow design changes, can help maximize the benefits of a Condo reno with improved livably and more functional storage space. As noted earlier, many Condos suffer from a lack of storage space, and while you may have an off-site storage room within the building, it does not allow you to keep things you need on a regular basis close at hand and out of sight. Think about countertop appliances, or your vacuum, or your personal decor items. These are things you may want to access and change up frequently, and heading down to the building’s basement, parking garage, or worse, having to leave the building completely can undermine the conveniences of Condo life.

It is essential to have a space where you can store things. Think about building a walk-in closet or a space-savvy pantry. Also consider how changes like these can positively affect resale by adding a premium to your Condo unit over others in the same building. Make sure you invest in your Condo while your are spending to renovate it. An experience Condo contractor can help you start planning the Condominium remodel before any work begins taking these very things we’ve covered (and more) in mind.

That’s why it is important to make sure that the contractor you are hiring not only knows how to renovate a Condo, but is experienced in all aspects of Condo and living space renovation, including experience with bathroom renovations, general contracting, intelligent space design (such as with basement renovations), kitchen renovations and much more.

Also think ahead, and ensure your Condo renovator can clean up after the work, or offer you cleaning services. Not all contractors clean up the mess after they have done their work. And believe us, cleaning it yourself is not something you want to deal with yourself.

Finally, consider your budget. While Condo prices continue to rise, only planning based on future profit can leave you with a shortfall in the near-term. Does your contractor offer access to a variety of financing options ideally suited to the type of renovation build you are considering? And as with all renovation projects, consider getting one or two competing bids. This not only will help you budget the build, but can give you insight into the strengths and weaknesses of the contracting companies you are considering.  

Looking for answers? If you have questions about renovation your Condo, simply give us a call.

If you are looking for answers to the picture puzzle at the top of the page, they are: The red arm on the clock is in a different position, the light is on, there is an extra cushion on couch, along with a cat toy. The tip of the cat’s tail is coloured, there are clouds in the sky and a globe on the shelves. Also, there is a fish in the bowl on the shelves, a different coloured cake, and a different shade of tea (or coffee) on the table.