With the housing market so strong, more people are buying properties either for themselves or as an investment, and doing major renovations.

Where to start fixing up your pad depends on your priorities — we spoke with Dan and Nikki Hall from Sibling Rivalry for some professional advice.

The show features Dan, a builder with years of experience who goes head-to-head with his sister, a relative newbie with the golden touch to build the ultimate dream home.

Things you should considering before starting an investment renovation

1. Location — Find the proper location that best suits your lifestyle. Also, consider an up-and-coming area that might be better priced now but has the potential to go up in value.


2. Never buy somebody else’s renovation — Don’t pay for someone else’s work. It’s always more cost-effective to do it yourself.

3. Get the proper permits before you start and know the history of the land — Do your due diligence with the city and find out what the maximum GFA (gross floor area) is that you can build on your lot without going to the Committee of Adjustment. Also take note of tree locations. If there are any large trees standing in the way of your addition — the tree will always win.

4. Layout — i.e. location of walls, doors, windows, plumbing and mechanical and electrical. You need to have foresight to be able to see the finishes in your head before you start. Make sure to revise the plan often. It’s easier to make changes before the framing stage.

5. Budget — Stick to your budget as much as possible for unforeseen conditions and revisions. Always know that things can be done in the future — like finishing a basement.

Tips before starting a renovation when you have a family

1. Think ahead — If you plan on living in the space during the reno, make sure it’s a safe and clean environment. Seal off construction areas and enter only when necessary. Beware of dust, falling debris and holes in floors. Children’s safety always comes first.

2. Make sure you have a back-up plan. If you plan on moving out of the space, make sure you have a lease that can go beyond the original scheduled length. If you plan on living in the space, make sure you have a place to stay in case the construction environment becomes unliveable.

3. Storage — It’s always better to move everything out of the space and store it somewhere else. Furniture not only is easy to ruin but it can also pose a safety hazard.

4. For design — Make sure you are designing the space to accommodate your family and lifestyle. If you want privacy, implement walls. If you want open concept make sure it has a workable flow.

5. Talk to your neighbours – Let them know what you are doing. Ask them if they have any issues. Let them know if they wanted to do some construction at the same time it could help their budget and your budget by sharing trades. And finally, always be sure you have the proper permits.

– Sibling Rivalry airs Tuesdays at 8:00 p.m. ET/PT on W Network

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