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How choosing the right contractor makes a world of difference

Whether you are contemplating an addition or embarking on a large-scale renovation, deciding on the right contractor to handle your home renovation can be an extremely daunting task. There are so many aspects to consider, from reasonable pricing to the speed of construction. How do you even begin to make such a fundamentally important decision?

Well, let me introduce you to the new generation of home renovators — contractors whose main objective is to guide you through the entire process from inception to completion. This new breed of contractors is taking customer service to a whole new level, ensuring the client is happy and receives a phenomenally positive home renovation experience.

The secret to picking the perfect redesign firm lies in just how well they plan on taking care of you and your needs. Customer service must be a top priority, and you need someone who will not only understand your vision, but will also make it their mission to see that your dreams become reality!

Fraser Homes Inc. is a custom design rebuild firm that specializes in residential home renovations. Located in Toronto, the business is run by two brothers — Rod and Mark Fraser — who form a dream team with backgrounds in design, construction, marketing, and business. They balance each other out completely. Mark is the designer and “lofty dreamer” while Rod has the construction and marketing experience.

The brothers opened their doors in 2009 and then officially incorporated in 2012. Their first official job was a single bathroom, which quickly escalated into an incredibly successful enterprise. The clients were so enthralled with their stylish new bathroom that they hired Fraser Homes to redesign their entire home from top to bottom.

What makes Fraser Homes unique is their emphasis on customer service, something the Fraser brothers say is lacking in the construction industry.

Their website has a special client login that allows customers to follow the progress of their renovations. Using this login, which can also be accessed using the company’s app, clients can request changes, communicate directly with their project manager, and choose products, among other things. According to the Fraser brothers, the purpose of this customer-centric focus is to ensure there are no surprises at the end of the construction period and that the client is, ultimately, happy with their work.

“We go a long way to keep client informed and updated on our production schedule and what’s happening,” Mark said. “Communication is the heart and soul of construction – letting clients know where you are and planning the job well and making sure clients are involved.”

“We don’t believe in a $70,000 charge for upgrades they don’t remember. At the end of whatever project, they were able to say we were kept informed and there were no surprises,” he said.

Photo provided by Fraser Homes.
Photo provided by Fraser Homes.

Client reviews, both on the Fraser Homes’ website and independent review outlets, showered the company with praise, saying the brothers were professional, communicative, and friendly. Nearly everyone described their experience as a success, and after speaking with them myself, I understand why. The brothers are deeply passionate about their work and when discussing design and renovation trends — a “mixture between the minimalist-modern … as well as semi-industrial” — their enthusiasm is contagious.

The brothers also like to push the limits of design and help their clients to think, not just outside the box, but way beyond it.

“You have to be the one taking your clients to the next level,” said Mark. “I tell people you have two types of rooms: you can have the one pictured in a magazine or you can have the one people take pictures of FOR the magazine.”

Fraser Homes has also been experimenting with green and sustainable building. They try to use eco-friendly products in their current construction process, but they are also putting together a few proposals for property developments that will be completely sustainable.

If you are planning a home renovation and are looking for personalized and professional experience, look no further than Fraser Homes. Please click here to visit the Fraser Homes website or contact them directly at 416-477-1186 or info@fhinc.ca

Making it right! Useful book tools for home renovations

This past December, as most people were decking the halls for the festive season, we began major basement renovations.

Yes, you read that correctly! Crazy, I know, but we actually didn’t intend for it to happen during the midst of winter and holiday madness. Since it was the first major renovation we did to our home, a series of events, some by design, others mostly accidental, led us to that time and place of no return. As our beloved contractors literally moved in to rock our foundation and lives, keeping it all together with two small children who were confined to a teeny play area in our jam-packed living room was no small feat. Nothing could really fully prepare us for the renovation, but looking back, I learned some valuable lessons, the main one being: before you renovate, do your homework.

This could mean many things. Talking to family members, friends, and neighbours who have gone through similar renovations will offer some invaluable advice and tips. It could also lead to some reputable contacts, professional contractors and designers who won’t lead you astray, mainly because of the referrals, when all the walls come tumbling down. I would also recommend interviewing at least three contractors and other home professionals, as well as gathering a few quotes before making any final decisions about a renovation team. You’d be surprised at how many contractors disappear or don’t ever deliver a quote. Finally, I’d look for answers in books and magazines.

We gathered quite the library of reference materials. Of course I went to Make it Right® sources, foolproof tips and advice from Mr. Mike Holmes himself. A few of our favourites were The Holmes Inspection and Make it Right® Attics and Basements.

In The Holmes Inspection, we learned, albeit after we bought our home, how to identify problems during the inspection process that can prove to be very costly for home owners down the road. Our basement was unfinished when we bought our home and although we didn’t identify any major problems in that state in the four years we lived in our home, the real problems came out during the renovations. We sure could have used Holmes’ inspection checklists as references.

Another favourite was the Black and Decker Complete Photo Guide to Home Repair. It includes 350 projects and 2000 photos for people, like my husband and me, who sometimes need the visual guide to explain complex undertakings. The useful advice and easy-to-follow instructions on almost every home repair and maintenance job from the interior to the exterior of a home make this book essential for all home owners, whether you like to fix things yourself or hire help. And, finally, but by no means the end of my book recommendations for home renovation and repair information, we found Real Simple: 869 New Uses for Old Things, a comfort read for making life easier every day. Finding new uses for old things is not only fun, it’ll also save you a ton of money so you could start the next major house renovation project.

I’ve got my eye on the kitchen. What’s yours? Good luck!

Follow Marisa on Twitter at @MarisaIacobucci.

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