For additional resources about renovation planning, see this Canadian Home Builders' Association (CHBA) site

For additional resources about renovation planning, see this Canadian Home Builders’ Association (CHBA) site

In your mind’s eye, you can see your renovation project completed. You are your significant other are relaxing in your newly renovated home, unwinding in style and collectively patting yourselves on your back for your good taste and perseverance.

However, as anyone who has survived a renovation will tell you, the journey to get through your renovation is a little less idyllic.

The end product is usually amazing but life during the renovation is emotionally, socially and even at times physically gruelling.

Findings from a recent Houzz survey that interviewed couples after a renovation include :

  • 46 per cent of respondents said that they found a lot of common ground during the renovation process with their spouse, and described it as collaborative;
  • Interestingly, an equal number of respondents (46 per cent) found the experience frustrating; and
  • Renovations tested a number of relationships. 12 per cent admitted to considering a separation or divorce during the project.

While a renovation project is no doubt stressful, there is much you can do to mitigate the toll on your daily life, your relationships and your sanity.

Hire a renovator that you trust

Your best bet to a successful renovation project? Hiring a reputable, quality renovator that you can trust, like those associated with the Renomark program. It’s a good idea to seek someone out with credentials and community association, who is well-insured and who respects your point of view.

During the stress of a renovation, it is of untold value to have an expert to help guide and reassure you, all while showing excellent craftsmanship.

To keep the lines of communication open, make sure that you establish important things right in the beginning, like hours of work, accessibility to the property, storage, parking etc.

Live offsite

While it can be tempting to live in your home during the renovation process, especially if you are looking to save costs wherever you can (and what homeowner isn’t), you should carefully consider the potential downside if you are electing to stay at home.

Living without easy access to a kitchen/bathroom/privacy might seem manageable in the short term, but these inconveniences can quickly mount as the renovation project moves along its timeline.

Agree on the budget

When embarking on a renovation project, your budget is an essential part of the process. It’s also a super-hot button issue with your spouse if a renovation project requires you to deviate from what you’ve established as your limits, either because of unforeseen circumstances or because of spontaneous inspiration.

Before you even start, mutually agree on what your absolute limit is. Think hard line items as opposed to ballpark.

Be willing to compromise

Renovations, big or small, usually require numerous decisions. While this opportunity to create something new is uniquely exciting, it also sets the stage for all kinds of conflict- potentially.

The best way to avoid this kind of conflict is to agree ahead of time to certain compromises.

Be flexible

What’s that they say about best laid plans? Given the huge numbers of variables in a home renovation (construction, structural issues, multiple contractors, suppliers, weather etc.) it is very common for timelines to fluctuate over the course of a project.

However, if you are already expecting this, you’ll be able to take this in stride. Keep focused on the end result, and these little bumps in the road will seem well worth in when you are done.

This story written by Heather Wright for the Greater Ottawa Home Builders’ Association Renovators Council.