Thursday, 2 August 2012

Five Things to Remember when Making Your Old Bungalow New Again

Before and After Second Storey Addition, by
Photos: Before and After Bungalow Renovation Project: Second Storey Addition
A second storey was added onto a bungalow and over the garage.
The first floor was gutted and rearranged into open plan concept.
2012 @

It is not always easy to make the move from an old bungalow to a new house, especially given sky-rocketing prices in the GTA’s real-estate market. The answer: renovate instead of moving.

Here are five tips to make sure your new bungalow renovation is the house of your dreams.

Let’s face it: there’s very little chance you’re going to move out of an old bungalow somewhere in Toronto into a stunning example of new architecture somewhere else in the city. Even with ultra-low interest rates, the economics are just not there given the GTA’s red-hot real estate market.

But why put yourself into all kinds of debt when you can increase the value of your house? Whether you want to update a builder’s bungalow or build a ranch bungalow addition, a major renovation can really raise property values by combining old and new architecture. Here are five tips to keep in mind before embarking on the project.
  • 1. Make sure it’s just a "renovation." Even if you’re effectively building a new house where the old bungalow once stood, you want to be sure structurally-sound elements from the old architecture are preserved and incorporated into the new design. This way your project will technically be a renovation and not a “new build.” Your contractor should know this.
  • 2. Be prepared for the unexpected. Old houses harbour many secrets. It’s not until walls and floor coverings are opened up that years of sub-standard handyman repairs might be revealed. Removing and/or correcting these can often add extra time and cost to your project. An experienced design and build contractor should be prepared for this and suggest a suitable contingency fund be included in the budget.
  • 3. You get what you pay for. Beware low-ball quotes that sound too good to be true, or contractors who claim they can do high-end design and build quality for bargain-basement prices. Once your old bungalow has been ripped apart, you will be in no position to renegotiate terms with your contractor, and what seemed cheap at the outset can balloon "unexpectedly." Remember: you are ultimately trying to increase the value of a house and raise property value…what you don’t want is a barn renovation (unless you live on the outskirts of the GTA, in which case a barn renovation might be just the thing to increase your property value).
  • 4. Don’t try this alone. No matter how handy you may think you are, a major renovation is almost certainly beyond anything you’ve ever tackled before. From the permit process with the city to demolition logistics and a myriad other considerations that probably wouldn’t even cross your mind, bungalow additions or rebuilds are not to be trifled with. Call a professional. You will be glad you did.
  • 5. Have confidence in your design & build contractor. It’s no use getting involved with someone you don’t "feel right" about. Remember, you will be working with this person for weeks; and, you will be living with the results of your relationship with them for years! Talk to a qualified, experienced design & build contractor who specializes in combining old and new architecture. Ask for references and follow-up with them. A trustworthy professional will always be willing to have their past work and working relationships with former clients scrutinized.
The bottom line is simple: there’s no reason you can’t update your existing bungalow (or backsplit, sidesplit, etc.) by combing old architecture with new designs to create the home of your dreams and a renovation that raises the value of your property.

Attila Lendvai
VP of Strategic Development
Wo-Built Inc. - Innovative Design and Build

Turning your bungalow into a dream house mansion, collage by
Collage: Wo-Built's Renovation Projects: the Ranch and the Tower
Interesting Bungalow Additions with Architectural Merit.
Credit: MS Office ClipArt: Silhouettes

links: How to Turn Your Bungalow into a Dream House Mansion What to Do When You Outgrow Your House? Move or Be Moved?

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