Sunday, September 23, 2018

Why Won't Construction Trades Call Me Back?

"I can't get any trades to show up!"

This is something I hear from people all the time, people that have usually taken on a project on their own, either a renovation or a whole house build. They can't understand that when they call someone to come do some work that;

1. They don't come right away.
2. They don't come when they want them.
3. They don't have the right material or products when they arrive.
4. Their bills end up higher then they thought they would be.
5. They don't call them back at all.

There's a reason for this, in this area and in most area's these days trades are extremely busy. Most trades have grown their business in size to the point where they can't grow anymore, not because they don't know how but because they can't find more tradespeople to physically do the work.

There aren't enough trained people out there to fill the roles that are needed to do all the work and training new people trades years.

How does his affect you the homeowner?

Well there is a hierarchy in the trades business. Trades, no matter if they are HVAC, plumbers, electricians, drywallers or painters have enough work that they can stay busy all year round without trying very hard.

How do they choose their clients? Well its not what you would think. It's not a first come first serve bases. Its a little more complicated then that. Who gets top priority?

Repeat customers 

Repeat customers are the bread and butter of the trades. If you have worked with a trade before (and everything went well and you PAID YOUR BILL) then they will go out of their way to help you whether its an emergency repair or something new you require. Trades are always worried about not being paid, it happens so often that they have become dubious about anybody they don't know. Repeat customers are perfect they know they pay, they know that the customer likes the work they do (or they wouldn't have called a second time) and there is a relationship there that allows the work to proceed smoother because the homeowner knows who's going to show up and the trade knows what to expect when they arrive.

People that are well Organized

Trades will give more priority to people that are well organized. If you call a trades and book a furnace installation 2 month in advance then you will be guaranteed to get the date you want. If you have to change it to a different day a month later they will gladly move things around. Because you have taken the time to be organized they take that as a sign that your job will be organized and the job will go very smoothly.


Contractors get special treatment from trades. There's a reason, contractors do the first two things that are listed. They are repeat customers and they are organized and book in advance. I have worked with some trades for the last 20 years, every year I bring them work. That means that when I call I get top priority.
Trades also know exactly the way I like to see things done, they know how clean and organized my sites are and they know exactly how long it takes for me to pay the bills.
Contractors get such priority treatment that 50 percent or more of some trades work comes from contractors. That's a lot of guaranteed work for a company.
When a contractor is renovating a home or building a new home they are booking in advance and they stick to a schedule. This schedule works perfect with the trades as the contractor will call several times before the date to update the trade on what is going on and any changes that are required.

The Cold Call

The cold call is someone that a trade has never heard from before. They found their name on google and want a quote or want some work done. These are the kind of calls that trades are most dubious about. Usually the cold call asks a lot about the cost, how to get it cheaper, when can they come and how come it will take so long. 1/2 the time the caller doesn't actually know what they are talking about, they just know they require a new sink, or furnace or hotwater heater and they don't know the size, make or model. This signals to trades that there is a lot of time to be wasted before you can ever get the job or get paid for it. These people get put at the bottom of the list and will be fit in if there is a slow spot in the schedule.

How Does This Affect YOU?

Basically if you haven't hired a contractor to do the work that you need completed then you become pushed in to one of the two other categories of repeat customer or cold call. Since a big renovation or building a new house takes 20 to 30 different sub-trades then chances are that a lot of those trades you have never worked with before. That means that you get pushed into the cold call column. 20 to 30 trades are going to look at you as the cold call and give you the least amount of priority.

Whatever the cost of a contractor to do the work will be saved in time, effort and avoiding costly mistakes. Most people don't believe me when I say this but when people who don't hire their own contractor look back on the nightmare that was their job they usually realize that any money they saved from not hiring a contractor was wasted during the project with mistakes and the job taking twice as long as it should have.

If you want your renovation or new build to run smoothly and you want all those trades to call you back and show up on time and do the proper thing, HIRE A CONTRACTOR.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

5 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Starting Any Major Renovation

Before you jump head first into a major renovation on your home or cottage you should be asking yourself these questions, if you don't you are asking for trouble.

Can You Commit To A Major Renovation

Major renovations take longer then you think. The longer the renovation takes the more a lot of people become disinterested in it. Life can get in the way. Having major renovations is a big commit of you (the homeowners time) even if you have a contractor.

Can You Find A Good Contractor To Do The Job

In these busy times finding a good quality contractor to do the renovation for you is harder, the really good ones are usually booked and pretty busy. But if you star the process early enough and you look around for the right one you should be able to find the right contractor. Contractors will make time and space for you, as long as you appear to be serious about the renovation and you will be committed to having it done in a timely and efficient manner.

Can You Make Decisions In A Timely Manner

A good contractor will give you options on your renovations as the project proceeds. You the homeowner will have to make timely decisions or the project will come to a stand still. Some decisions will cost money others will save you money. Your ability to make an efficient decisions will help keep the project on schedule.

Can You Afford It And Can You Handle Paying For It

Renovations are expensive, the cost of labour and material has risen every year especially in the last couple of years. When you and your contractor figure out a budget you should add 10 to 15 percent on top for a contingency fund, this will allow for anything that was forgotten in the budgeting, changes to what you want and for fixing problems that are always found when doing major renovations. If you go into your renovation thinking that your going to be able to bring your renovation in under budget then your going to be in trouble.
The other problem some people have is that even if they have a budget they can't handle paying, renovations that last a long time require you to write a lot of cheques. You will be paying for things on the time. This can wear on a lot of people to the point were they come to a point that they just stop paying and the renovation comes to a grinding halt.

Can You Handle People In Your Home

Major renovations are invasive. You will have people (mostly men) in your home, their will be different people all the time as different sub-contractors come and go. In any renovation a good contractor will end up using up to 20 different subs. That's 20 different companies with 20 different sets of workers. Every sub will need access to a different part of your house. One thing you should consider is that you should move out during the renovation, this will help you if having people you don't know around you all the time.

Do You Know Why You Are Doing The Renovation

Sometimes people get it into their heads that their home needs to be renovated. This sometimes comes from what they have seen on TV or what their friends have had done. People get caught up in the "keeping up with the Jones", there neighbour got a new laundry room so they should too. Most homes that are older then 20 years usually need to be renovated, but its the amount of renovations that are needed is the big question. Everyone has a limited amount of resources that they can spend on renovations, you should make sure that you are spending them on the right ones.

Before you start any kind of renovation, or before you even start interviewing contractors you need to come up with a list of things you want to do to your home or cottage. From that you need to come up with a rough budget. With those two things settled then you can start the process of finding a contractor and planning your renovations. If you can't answer yes to all the questions above then you really should rethink having your home renovated.

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Can I Build A Custom Home And Sell It And Make Money 2018?

In 2012 I wrote a blog with this same title that talked about building a custom home and if it was possible and do it and make money. Well 6 years later and 10's of thousands of people reading it, I find that it is still one of my most popular blog posts. The subject is current but there have been many changes in not only the residential construction industry but also in the real estate market in Ontario as well. Hence I have decided to rewrite this blog updated for 2018 and the current climate (construction and real estate) that we find ourselves in.

Can I Build A Custom Home and Sell It And Also Make Money?

Building it myself or hire a contractor?

There are a lot of dangers/pitfalls if you try to build a custom home without using a contractor to do it for you, you need to decide right away if you want to hire a contractor, if they can help you and if they can do things for you that will actually help you make more money when you go to sell them home that offsets the cost of hiring them;

  • Safety. One of the main jobs of a contractor is that they make sure that all the subcontractors are working safely with the proper safety gear and are in compliance with the ministry of labour rules. If you don't hire a contractor and someone gets hurt on your job site you the owner can end up fined or worse depending on the severity of the injury. Safety is a serious thing now on all construction sites.
  • Access to trades, A good contractor has access to the trades that are honest, good quality and are fair in price. The contractor also has pull with them, meaning that they can get them there in a timely manner because they hire them routinely.
  • Warranties. A good contractor will supply a warranty for the work and will be able to enforce warranties of the subcontractors and also suppliers. This is a big selling feature to potential buyers.
  • Knowledge. Contractors build homes all the time, they know what works and what doesn't. They also know the costs of things to help keep you on budget.
  • New materials and techniques. One thing that has really changed in the last decade or two is that there has been a ton of changes in the materials that are used and the way things are constructed. A good contractor will know these and know which ones to use.
  • Building Code Changes. There have been thousands of building code changes in the last 5 years. Every part of a the house has been affected from the amount of insulation in the walls to the kind of breakers that you have to use in the electrical panel. Not knowing these could cost you money as you end up doing things twice.
  • Access to wholesalers. Contractors have access to wholesalers from timber to plumbing fixtures. The savings actually will help pay for the contractors fee.
  • Time. Contractors can build the home faster then you as a homeowner can, in construction time is money. If your having the build financed the faster you can get the home built the less carrying costs you will incur.
  • Insurance. Contractors come with insurance, if anything does go wrong on the build site then you know that their insurance will help make you whole.
  • Reputation. You can use the name of the builder to help sell the home as a high quality item. This will sell it faster and raise the cost of the home.

Costs Of Building The Home 

The cost of building custom homes has risen a lot in the last two years, with the labour increase that has happened and the sky high prices of materials your going to have to make sure you have a big enough budget. It will cost you more right now to build any type of custom home no matter what style, type or finish the home will have in it then any other time in recent memory.

If you are going to build a custom home to sell and make money you better make sure that you have access to good cheap financing to help you carry the costs of everything until you can sell it.

The cost of the custom home is another reason to hire a contractor, they will create the budget for your home and then help you stay on it until the build is complete.

Costs of the Land

The cost of  the land could vary depending on where you want to build the home. Vacant land is becoming harder and harder to come by, but it still exists. In fact there are still custom home sub-divisions that are around and there are still more being created, these places are where you can buy the property and build a home yourself. These newer sub-divisions have their pro's and con's. The cost of your land will directly affect the sale price of the home. If you pay more for the lot because its waterfront or waterview then you will be able to charge a lot more for the finished home. Make sure that you don't over pay for a piece of property that will not add significant value to the end price of your custom home.

Permits and Fees

Depending on where you build and what municipality they are in your building and development fees will have a wide range of costs. From $15,000 to $50,000. This must be taken into consideration when you are budgeting your new custom home.

Current Real Estate Market

The real estate market in the last 3 or 4 years has risen at an unprecedented amount. Costs of all types, sizes, styles and location of homes has risen dramatically. The market is being pushed by people moving in from other area's. These people are coming in with large amounts of funds from the sales of their homes in area's where the real estate market is even higher then the current local one.

Like every real estate market there are hot and cold spells and sometimes the market goes down in the cost of the homes, but the overall aggregate sales of homes is ever higher with year over year prices steadily rising.

This fact means that even though the cost of building homes and buying land has risen the real estate market has outpaced them both.

The real reason for the rise of the cost of homes in the area is because there simply is not enough homes in the area for the amount of people that want to live and play in the area. People are even buying homes that they don't really want just because they are in the general area that they want to live and then after purchasing a home they are adding additions and also extensively renovating them to make them acceptable to the style they are us to living in. The influx of people is not slowing down anytime soon and the amount of homes that are planned to be built in the area is not nearly enough to accommodate them.

In summary, Can I Make Money?

The bottom line is that you can make money building and selling custom homes. In fact the market is so in your favor that you can do it right. You can hire the right contractor to build the home and use their name to help sell the home and you have a very good chance of having the home sold before it is even finished being built! This will save you money on your carrying costs.

You still have to make sure that you pick the appropriate piece of property, the appropriate design and style and you need to pick the appropriate price point that you want to sell at. The higher the price the higher the finishes that you will have to install but the higher the potential for profit.

Find the right custom home builder that will work with you from the start, someone that will help you through the entire process. You will also need to find the right real estate agent that can give you good advise about what property to buy and what the value of the homes that are selling in that area. You then will need to settle on a design that you are comfortable with and one that will make you money in this market.

With the real estate market the way it is, now is the time for you to build and make some MONEY!

Rob Abbott
Village Builders Inc.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

5 Ideas to Transform Your Bedroom into a Luxe Den

Who does not want to sleep in a bedroom the looks like a thousand dollar hotel suite or a picture featured on the glossy page of a home décor magazine? However, the budget is a problem for most people. Besides, spending a fortune on expensive items doesn’t necessarily guarantee a sophisticated look. Without a proper plan, your room can end up looking like a luxurious mess! 

If you want to give your bedroom a luxe makeover, you have to be thoughtful with the details. Follow these five ideas as they can make your sleeping den look expensive and feel more inviting.   

Create a Hotel-at-Home Luxe with Glossy Materials

Have you ever thought how the big hotel rooms look luxurious so effortlessly? Well, there’s no big secret except for oversized furniture and incorporating some materials that look glamorous. If you have a big bedroom, furnish it with large furniture pieces in fine finishes such as leather and velvet. You can also choose the fabrics in silk and satin to add more layers and create a plushy feeling.


An Oversized Headboard

Upholstered headboard has long replaced the freestanding versions in an attempt to make the sleeping place more glamorous and comfortable. A large headboard covered with a plush fabric is a typical hotel device and is an indicator of the height of extravagance.

A bit of good upholstery goes a long way to making the room look luxurious. However, it won’t cost you a significant amount of money if you are a nifty DIY-er. Just keep in mind the overall scale of the space while determining the upholstery size, and then complement it with a big bedside table, beddings, and matching lamps. 

Smarten up with Wainscoting

Modern wainscoting can bring up a laid-back luxe style that is smart to look and easy to live with. You can choose it to create an accent wall just behind the headboard so that it gives the impression of a boutique hotel style.

Install raised panel wainscoting on the entire wall, and paint it in a slightly darker tone than the bedding. Complete the look with matt satin and Egyptian cotton sheets and a plush wool blanket so that the room looks elegant and sophisticated. Model Home Makeover is a renovation company toronto and shared a beautiful home interior design photo gallery for you to look at.

If you instead want to install the wainscoting on the lower half of the surrounding walls, try to give them a deluxe paint job in silver or gray color. These hues have the magical power of transforming even a quite simple place into something upscale and beautiful.

Choose a Rich Accent Color

There are no rules about the colors in a bedroom. You can try everything – from a soft pansy to bright yellow or a subtle lavender to screaming red. However, if your intention is to grab attention as well as create an impression of lavishness, jewel tones are the best choices. Sumptuous blues, greens, and reds add an instant extravagant touch to any bedroom. Choose a bright, accent color and spread it evenly into the whole room so that it does not disrupt the harmony of the place.

Go Neutral for a Royal Elegance

If fancy items, vibrant colors, and wild decorations don’t suit your taste, go for an entirely different take on glamor by decorating the bedroom with shabby chic style furniture and accessories. Exploit a neutral color scheme and stops it from looking too plain with an ornate mirror, glamorous lighting fixtures, and a few pieces of vintage furniture. Your bedroom will exude such a classy elegance that no one can help giving compliments!

These décor ideas will give your bedroom the perfect balance of recreation and luxurious drama. Whether you prefer a dark, moody scheme or find an all-white backdrop quite irresistible, there are numerous ways to translate your personal choices into a glamorous decoration. Don’t spend money on unnecessary, expensive furniture or renovations. Follow these tricks, and they will help you create your dream bedroom!