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“There can be a lot of structural tie-ins — a lot of engineering that needs to be done. And it’s important to find a contractor you’ll be best suited with, who shares your beliefs. It’s a team effort between client and builder,” he says.

The planning and design department at Ultimate is preparing for work scheduled to begin the first week of January. Ritchie says he’s getting calls right now from people who want a kitchen done by Christmas, but he stresses the importance of doing the homework.

“People who accept our advice are happier in the end,” he says, with a grin.

Cold weather renos can be challenging, but Garth McDaniel of Allenbrook says that as long as things are reasonably warm, there’s no specific time to start.

“It’s whenever people are ready to engage,” he says.

Lytle has seen another shift since the double whammy of Calgary’s poor economy and COVID-19. Up until now, many clients were looking to fix up their homes so they could list it for sale once the economy turns around. Now, she says, people are renovating so they can love it.

“In the last six or seven months, I haven’t had a single person asking about renovations so they can sell. It’s all about maximizing the space in their homes,” she says.

For customers considering selling down the road, Lytle suggests putting their budget in one basket.

“You’re better off to leave something like a dated ensuite and spend everything on an amazing kitchen. You’ll have an easier time selling your home if people come in and say, ‘oh my gosh, the kitchen is brand new and I love it.’ That ensuite is super-dated but we’ll get to it,” she explains. “You don’t want them to say, I don’t know where they put that $70,000. It’s a little bit everywhere.”

Renovating the whole house at once can be cost effective and the least disruptive, Ritchie says. Room-by-room renovations are an affordable option, but create and follow a master plan, breaking the job into phases.

“You’ve got to find the line in the sand. Where do you start and where do you stop?” he says.

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