How to plan for condominium kitchen renovations

remodeled kitchenScan any homeowner’s renovation wish list, and you’ll notice kitchen upgrades top nearly ever list. Whereas traditional housing needs little extraneous planning phases, condos have predefined rules that may prohibit contractors from pulling a single nail. Cutting red tape, dissecting the fine print and preventing condo owners like yourself from being thrown under the bus is this article’s sole purpose.

No, really…are you the owner?

Have you really bought your Montreal condo, or have you bought the modestly apportioned space but still have association rules that must be followed? There’s are many documented cases where new condo owners slide the cash across the table, sign their purchase agreement but fail to read the fine print.  When they try and remodel or simply upgrade their kitchens, they get threatening letters.

The pride one feels in condo ownership far exceeds the restrictive nature of apartment rentals. One should, theoretically, be able to make alterations to their condo by painting, upgrading kitchens or extending their living space. In many cases around Canada and North America, the owner of the unit needs permission from the owner of the building before any renovations begin. Another vote may need to come from the condo association themselves, so make sure you read all fine print before committing to your condo as future kitchen renovations may be prohibited.

Know local contractors

Condo owners are growing increasingly interested in adding backsplashes to their kitchens, but who is able to perform this work? Understanding the advantages, disadvantages and expertise of local kitchen remodelers will help you decide if they’re a worthwhile investment for your condo’s kitchen upgrade needs. Making sure they’re bonded, licensed and free of criminality would also prove judicious.

Let’s go back to the kitchen backsplashes to illustrate. Kitchen backsplashes, regardless whether they are made from stainless steel, plastic or glass, are no longer just meant to protect your kitchen’s wall from splatters and spills, even though that is still one of their main purposes. Backsplashes have become a way for condo owners to add a bit of glitz and glamour to their kitchen walls.  

However can contractors actually help you determine whether certain materials are sufficient for longevity? Will they overcharge for materials? Can you purchase the project materials yourself and just pay for labor? You need a contractor that can not only follow association rules, but can assist when your mind is drawing blanks. Most of all, not getting burned when kitchen remodeling is your goal.

Food for thought

Being a condo owner has its advantages. When you buy into the condo craze, you make an investment, one that can pay off not only financially but also in terms of the satisfaction of having a place to make your own. However, sometimes that investment takes a lot of work – work that most condo owners will have to do themselves.  Or, at least would prefer getting done in some fashion.

Always read the condo association rules, check to make sure your contractors are licensed and bonded, and openly dialogue with neighbors to make sure noises aren’t disturbing their peace.  Yes, even making a substantial investment doesn’t clear you from having to follow more rules than your traditional home. The goal, is to avoid getting burned by both the condo association, building owner and your contractor. Find that happy balance, and your new kitchen look can be realized sooner than later.