The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many of us to become quite familiar with our homes. Whether that’s through discovering every nook and cranny of our houses or fixating on a wall that needs a new sheet of drywall, we’ve come to recognize what we love (and what we don’t) about our spaces. We’ve had more time than ever to consider what type of home renovation and which homeowner reviewed pro could help us turn our current home into our dream home.
To better understand the trends in the world of design, additions, and custom home renovations, we spoke with Dwayne Butler, owner of Master Edge Homes. Dwayne is not only a business owner, he studied construction management, became a red seal carpenter and worked as a framer and site supervisor all over southern ON, but he is also an excellent source of knowledge when it comes to understanding home renovations, budgets, and building materials. Keep reading to find out Dwayne’s expert opinion on the subject!
1. How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted custom homes or home additions?
When it comes to a custom home renovation, homeowners are seeking to make custom changes to their home. They can come to the table with, what Dwayne calls, their “ultimate wish list.” Homeowners can articulate their needs, wants, and ‘must haves’ in a home. For example, if sharing a bathroom with the kids is no longer working, this would be the time to put it on the list. A design and build company can then collaborate with homeowners and walk them through the steps of design, budgeting or costs associated with building materials, and ultimately, the construction of a homeowner’s dream home.
When it comes to adding an addition to an existing home, designers and builders need to take into consideration the current use of space in the existing home and to consider what needs to be changed and added to. As homeowners are using their spaces more than ever, we can see firsthand how the pandemic has reshaped the way we use our homes. For example, private home offices and study spaces, equipped now for ‘daily use,’ have become an integral part of the home. Foyers and mudrooms have also become the main focus of a home as they play an important function in separating the ‘inside’ from the ‘outside.’
2. When it comes time to hire a pro for a custom home build or home addition, what are some qualities to look for in a company?
When it comes to hiring a pro, word of mouth has always been important, however, online reviews have become increasingly popular and have become an integral part to making a purchase. Dwayne believes when it comes time to hire a pro, a homeowner should follow that same journey. Before a hire, he encourages homeowners to take a look at a company’s ‘track record’ by searching for positive reviews. He says, “homeowner reviews are important because they speak the truth about how their project went.” Outside of reviews, warranties, WSIB, liability insurance, contracts, payment schedules, and licensed trades are very important things to keep an eye out for. Dwayne values communication and relationship building. Does the company listen to your needs? Is there a team to support you? And lastly, is the company ensuring that a project is being done safely, correctly, on time and on budget?
3. When it comes to preparing a virtual estimate or quote for a homeowner, what are your go-to methods?
During the pandemic, many companies have taken on extra health and safety measures. With virtual estimates, quotes, and project tracking, we’re seeing new ways that homeowners and pros can work together, safely. The pre-pandemic ‘face-to-face’ meeting is now replaced with a virtual video conference where introductions are made and Master Edge Homes can learn more about the homeowner and their renovation goals.
Master Edge Homes mentioned the importance of understanding the difference between an estimate and a quote. An estimate is an approximate cost that may be subject to change. On the other hand, a quote is a fixed price that does not change once agreed upon. Once the work has been evaluated and a price range has been accepted, homeowners are set up with a project management tool that Master Edge Homes calls the “Client Care System.” This tool provides homeowners with drawings, layouts, measurements, design elements and more. Throughout the entire design and construction process, homeowners can track their project’s schedule, budget, and can directly communicate with Master Edge Homes at any time and from any place.
4. During the pandemic the cost of certain materials, such as lumber, has significantly increased. What alternative materials would you recommend if homeowners are looking for a more cost-effective solution during price surges?
COVID-19 pandemic has impacted just about every industry. In the world of trades, building supplies were hit hard. For example, when the COVID-19 pandemic began, lumber mills closed but as homeowners continued home renovations, in particular decks and fences, the low supply caused lumber prices to skyrocket. For any homeowners looking for alternatives to lumber during the current price surge, Dwayne suggests metal as an option. Although plywood is still required for flooring and roof and wall sheathing, an alternative to wood studs for framing is metal studs, metal joists, and metal roof rafters.
An important part of any home renovation is the budget. Dwayne made it clear that you need a budget and it needs to be discussed during the early phases of any home renovation design. Once this budget has been set, the design and build team can assemble the appropriate designs that work with it and allow the team to better understand the scope of the project.
Dwayne has made it clear that communication is of the utmost importance during any home renovation. Asking the right questions, early on, will help companies better understand the homeowner’s vision and will allow them to make someone’s dream home a reality. If this year has inspired you to take on your next home renovation, start by reading homeowner reviews. From there, you’ll be able to find the right service professional who can create the space you’ve been dreaming of. If you’re located in the Markham or Newmarket region, you’ve maybe already stumbled across Master Edge Home’s HomeStars profile and taken the time to read their glowing homeowner reviews.
“Quality Craftsmanship You Can Trust”
Master Edge Homes is a family-owned company that has been building and designing dream homes since 2005. For sixteen years, Dwayne Butler’s focus has been to create “quality-built, personalized homes for people to enjoy for many years”. With a dedicated team and project management tools that put homeowners in the driver’s seat, Master Edge Homes’ foundation is built on expertise, unparalleled customer service, and crafting homes precisely how a homeowner envisions them. If you are ready for your “forever home”, visit Master Edge Homes’ HomeStars profile, read their reviews, view their 98% Star Score, and rest assured knowing they’ve earned their HomeStars Verified badge.