Renovating? Learn how to find a contractor, and more

Home renovations. Few things strike more excitement (and sometimes fear) into the hearts of homeowners.

There’s the dream kitchen, bathroom, or new man-cave to look forward to. And then there’s the expense, the inconvenience, and the headache of finding the right people for the job. To make your home project as hassle-free as possible, we’ve assembled a list of links to help you get started. You’ll find places to get quotes, read reviews, find out about green incentives and rebates, and most importantly, gather hiring tips.

The web is a great place to get information and begin looking for a contractor. But be sure to get recommendations from friends, neighbours or family members too, rather than relying solely on online sources. In the event you don’t know anyone who has had quality work done recently, don’t be afraid to ask a potential contractor you found online questions – and lots of them. Asking questions now will spare you disappointment later. Reputable contractors will be willing to answer questions, provide solid references, and may be open to showing you recently finished projects.

Our final word of advice before starting any project: if you plan on living away from your home while the renovations are taking place, contact your home insurer. Some policies become void if your home is vacant for more than 30 days. And always ensure your contractor has insurance.

How

TIPS & ADVICE ON FINDING A CONTRACTOR

Government agencies and building associations are a good place to begin your research. These links offer advice on how to find a reputable professional and list questions you should ask of any prospective contractor.

Advice from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.

Tips from the Canadian Home Builders Association.

Advice from celebrity contractor Mike Holmes.

HGTV's 25 biggest renovation mistakes.

CONTRACTOR DIRECTORIES

These directories offer an easy way to find professionals, receive quotes and read reviews. Since contractors often pay for their inclusion on these sites, it's a good idea to seek out feedback from past clients before hiring. A reputable company will have no problem providing you with the contact details of past clients.

Construction Canada offers a directory as well as tips on saving money.

Homestars provides a searchable directory, forum, and includes customer reviews.

Handycanadian.com lets you get quotes, read reviews and view contractor portfolios.

GREEN RENOVATIONS

If you're reconsidering your household reliance on fossil fuels, these sites offer information on rebates, products and professional services.

Green incentives and rebates from the Government of Canada.

Canadasgreenpages.com offers a paid-for directory of green and sustainable building products and services.

Here's to a successful and as-stress-free-as-possible home reno project!

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