Buying a fixer-upper? Here’s how to choose the right Vancouver contractor

There are a lot of contractors in Vancouver. So how do you know which one is right for you?

Picking your contractor is challenging at the best of times, but it is even more difficult when you are working with a fixer-upper. That is why it is so important to make sure you have the right contractor in place.

Why it’s worth buying a fixer-upper – and how contractors in Vancouver can help you make it your own

In Vancouver, it can be hard – or almost impossible – to purchase an affordable home. A fixer-upper is one of the only ways left to get a property at a decent price.

The challenge with a fixer-upper is that there are often a lot of upgrades to do. Even if you get a character home for free in Vancouver, you will find that the renovations and associated permits quickly add up. When you buy a fixer-upper, there are two major categories of renovations you may want to consider:

  • Repairs and necessary upgrades
  • Changes to make the home feel like your own

How do you know what renovations are necessary or how to make your home your own? This is where contractors in Vancouver come in. They can advise you about repairs and can discuss any ideas you have for making your home your own. If you are going to rely on this advice though, you need to work with professionals you trust.

How to find the right team for you in the sea of contractors in Vancouver

There are a lot of contractors in Vancouver. Not all are made equal though. Here some tips to help you find a contractor that you trust.

1. Ask for recommendations

One of the best ways to find contractors is to ask others for their opinions. That is because the best predictor of future work is past work. While there can also be a place for online reviews, remember that there are a lot of fake posts. Therefore, your best best is to ask individuals you know and trust for their recommendations.  

2. Look at portfolios

Once you have some recommendations, it is time to look at contractors’ portfolios. See whose style and work you like. If there is anyone where you don’t feel the work is up to par, remove them from your list of potentials. By the end of this step, you should have a shortlist of contractors.

3. Set up meetings

Book appointments with the contractors on your shortlist. Check to make sure you feel comfortable talking to the contractor. Do you feel heard by them? Do they listen to what you want? Are they able to explain industry-specific information to you in an accessible way?

4. Ask questions

Ask all the questions you have. Cover the company’s experience with your kind of renovation. Make sure they know the challenges of a fixer-upper. Ask if they handle permits or if they will expect you to do that. Ask about any other professionals they work with. Most importantly, ask if they will be doing the work personally or if they will be contracting it out. Make sure that you are happy with the answers you are receiving.

5. Get quotes and timelines

You want to make sure that the contractor you have chosen will be able to deliver your home by a certain time and with a reasonable budget for you. So ask about timelines and quotes! This is also a good test of professionalism. If you find that someone is beating around the bush or won’t commit in either area, that should be a red flag.

6. Check references  

You may have had friends endorse this company, but it’s always good to follow-up with references. After all, an outside person may cover something – positive or negative – that will sway your decision. Always remember, though, that references tend to be happy customers, so assume they come with a bit of bias.

7. Choose your contractor!

After all of this, you hopefully know which contractor is going to be right for you and this job. Contact your choice and book them!

What to remember about contractors in Vancouver

Good contractors in Vancouver are very busy, especially these days. That means you may not be able to get someone you have confidence in if you are looking for someone at the last minute.

Take this into account when you are buying a fixer-upper. Think about how long it will be before a contractor is able to start work on your home, as well as how long the work itself will need.

Once you have made your choice of contractor, don’t wait to book. You will need to get your renovation locked in to ensure that you don’t lose the window of time you were looking at. If the company is already booked up by the time you make your selection, consider if you want to look at a later date or if you are happy going with your second choice.


Want to cut through looking for contractors in Vancouver? Need someone who knows what they are doing with fixer-uppers? Get in touch with us to discuss your renovation and how we can help!


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