Toronto Loft Conversions

Toronto Loft Conversions

I know classic brick and beam lofts! From warehouses to factories to churches, Laurin will help you find your perfect new loft.

Modern Toronto Lofts

Modern Toronto Lofts

Not just converted lofts, I can help you find the latest cool and modern space. There are tons of new urban spaces across the city.

Unique Toronto Homes

Unique Toronto Homes

More than just lofts, I can also help you find that perfect house. From the latest architectural marvel to a piece of our Victorian past, the best and most creative spaces abound.

Condos in Toronto

Condos in Toronto

I started off selling mainly condos, helping first time buyers get a foothold in the Toronto real estate market. Now working with investors and helping empty nesters find that perfect luxury suite.

Toronto Real Estate

Toronto Real Estate

For all of your Toronto real estate needs, contact Laurin. I am dedicated to helping you find that perfect and unique new home to call your own.


Tag Archives: jobs

Best Practices for Hiring a Contractor

1. Build a Short List

Despite there being tens of thousands of contractors in throughout Canada, it’s surprisingly difficult to find one. Here’s what you can do to build a list of potential candidates.

Neighbours and Fliers

One really great way of finding a contractor is simply by collecting and saving those ads you receive all year from local contractors in your area.

Ask Friends and Family

This is a good first step but you should be a bit wary of references from friends and family – there could be some bias in their referral. More importantly, contractors on larger jobs work in teams and the team that worked on your friend’s renovation may not be the same team that works on yours.

Online Classifieds

Websites like Craigslist and Kijiji are great for buying and selling items locally but remember that contractors can list their businesses there completely anonymously and for free. This should be a last-ditch place to look if you really can’t find someone.

Online Search and Directories

Google and rating and review sites are a great next stop. The thing to watch for here is that a search engine’s ranking is not related to a contractor’s quality. Just because a contractor appears at the top of your search doesn’t mean they’re the best in the city. Check those that do rank high by also searching specifically for their business name. See who has written about them and see who links back to them. If the websites that link back are legitimate – i.e. not just spam sites – it’s a good sign. If they’re linked back from sites that verify their qualifications, it’s an even better sign.

Sites Like uknowa

If searching for contractors doesn’t sound like the way you like to spend the first two weeks of your renovation, sites like ours offer a way of posting a job and having contractors come to you.

2. Check References

Not only will the contractor be coming to your home and interacting with your family, you don’t want them to disappear when they’re in the middle of a finished basement renovation.

Check or ask for a list of the following when interviewing contractors for your project:

Past customers – ask if they were satisfied with the contractor and their employees’ performance, the quality of workmanship, and whether the project was completed on schedule. Also ask if the contractor kept their work area clean and if there were any unpleasant situations that arose during the project.

Building material vendors – most contractors have building supply vendors they favour and you should ask him or her to provide you with a few names. Check that the contractor pays his bills on time.

Canadian Council of Better Business Bureaus –check with the Better Business Bureau for any bad reports on the contractors you’re considering.

3. Check Their License

Hiring an unlicensed contractor might seem like a good way to save a few dollars, but it could cost a bundle if things go wrong. If your home insurance company can prove that you knowingly hired an unlicensed contractor, they may not cover any damage that might be left behind.

Every province and territory in Canada handles licensing differently. If you are planning a kitchen remodel, finished basement renovation, bathroom remodel, or just hiring roofers to install shingles, there’s a pretty good chance that the contractors involved need a license.

Contact your city’s licensing office before signing any written contract.

4. Understand Contractor Insurance

Imagine a scenario where an employee of the roofing contractor you’ve hired has an accident while working on your home. Or the contractor who’s renovating your basement accidently floods the lower level of your home. Who pays for the bills? If your contractor doesn’t have insurance, the answer might be you, or perhaps your homeowner’s insurance policy.

At a minimum, your contractor should have:

Public Liability and Property Damage Insurance – covers damage to your home or property while your project is underway.

Vehicle Insurance – most accidents involving contractor vehicles on your personal property should be covered by the contractor’s liability insurance policy.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance – helps with medical costs caused by jobsite accidents and can also provide some income for the worker while they’re recuperating.

5. Create a Contract

It just takes one bad experience to make you wish there had been a written contract for the job.

What Your Contract Should Include The complexity of your contract is normally determined by the size of your project. The following items should be covered within the contract:

* Blueprints or project drawings with the latest revision date
* Site plans and permits if the project is a separate building or home addition
* Warranty information

An in-depth description of the scope of work including a list of any special fixtures or appliances agreed upon. This description can be the original estimate for the project if it’s detailed enough and all parties agree to include it as an addendum.

Where To Find Contract Templates

One of the easiest places to access contract documents for your project is the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation at the Government of Canada website : CMHC Sample Home Renovation Contract

A few books you may find helpful for setting up your contract:

Ready, Set, Build: A Consumers’ Guide to Home Improvement Planning & Contracts by Steve Gonzalez

The Homeowners Guide to Managing a Renovation: Tough-as-Nails Tactics for Getting the Most for your Money by Susan E. Solakian is the online matching engine that easily connects homeowners with qualified and available local contractors. Like word-of-mouth on steroids, uknowa allows homeowners throughout Ontario to post their renovation and repair jobs for vetted, interested and available local contractors and receive multiple bids within 24 hours, allowing them to easily compare prices and be confident they are paying the right price for their job. is the answer to the question we all ask our friends when we need to hire someone to do a job: ‘Do uknowa’ good contractor?’

Contact Laurin Jeffrey for more information – 416-388-1960

Laurin Jeffrey is a Toronto Realtor with Century 21 Regal Realty. He did not
write these articles, he just reproduces them here for people who are
interested in Toronto real estate. He does not work for any builders.