Ask Big Tuna, The Renovating Realtor


Dear Renovating Realtor: I am about to undergo a minor renovation of my property to make it more appealing for resale. What are some key things 
to consider when undergoing a renovation? Thanks, Stressed Owner.
Hi Stressed Owner: I understand this time can be stressful, but if you look at it from the perspective of an opportunity to really bring out your own lifestyle in your space- this is your chance! Before you start make sure you plan, plan, plan! Some things to consider: never accept a quote over the phone when hiring a contractor; a good contractor will always need to see the project before quoting the job.
Have a plan and set a clear budget with wiggle room built in for upgrades and unexpected issues that arise. A good rule of thumb is to leave about 
10 – 20 % in your budget for this. If you need to hire a tradesperson, it is your right to request to see their certifications and credentials.
Finally, should you require anything to be significantly altered, an Architect or Engineer may be necessary; be sure to check your local by-laws to see when this may be the case. If time is an issue, build this into your planning phase as city and town by-laws can hold up your project if you do not plan for them. Hiding your head in the sand and not 
being aware of what is happening with all aspects of project is what causes stress.
If you have your finger on the pulse it will hopefully decrease your anxiety level and in most cases the improvements you have decided to do will add value to your home on resale. It will be worth 
it in the end!

Dear Renovating Realtor: My husband just opened a wall and we are unsure if the wall is load-bearing, how can we tell? Sincerely, Doubtful Nancy
Hello Doubtful Nancy: If you are in doubt you should stop what you are doing and seek out a professional before moving forward with your 
renovation dreams. However, in the spirit of education there are a couple quick, but not definitive ways to identify a load-bearing (LB) wall.
Should you open up the wall and find the wall was built with 2 x 6 lumber instead of 2 x 4’s, it is likely LB. Alternatively, if when you open that same wall and you find a steel post or beam, it is most certainly load bearing. Finally, if the wall in question has another wall directly above or below it on the other floors of your home, it could be LB. It is important to note, LB walls can be moved but a permit is needed and plans must be drafted by an Architect or Engineer and submitted to the appropriate authority for permit approval before proceeding with the project.
There are many factors to consider when removing walls and it takes some serious know how. These are just some very quick and simple ways to identify LB walls to avoid major issues that could arise. If you do not have the skill or experience, it is not worth risking your biggest asset. Hire a professional!

Who is Big Tuna, The Renovating Realtor?
Julien Laurion AKA Big Tuna, is a local Real Estate Sale Representative with RE/MAX Hallmark York Group Realty in Aurora.
I am a real estate agent who has expertise in both Real Estate and Renovations and have been involved in this community for over 20 years. 
If you have a question for my monthly article or if you are considering buying, selling or leasing a home please feel free to call or email me directly at (416) 402-5530 or or by alternatively by visiting my website or Facebook page @bigtunarealty

Written By Julien Laurion
The Big Tuna of Real Estate