Originally we wanted to move into a brand new condo. We had no experience with renos and didn’t really want to live through them with our first place. We don’t even have a lot of background knowledge of how to fix everyday items, let alone reno a house. We were worried about being taken advantage of, if the work would be done well and on time. So when we looked at listings, we wouldn’t look at any places that needed a lot of work, or if we did, we immediately turned it down.
The problem with looking for ready to move in places was that for what we wanted (open concept new chef’s kitchen, 3 bedrooms, and either a great view or a big patio), we were way out of our price range for downtown Vancouver. We had our realtor drove crazy! But he stayed with us through 1.5 years of viewings before he brought us around to thinking a place with renos wouldn’t be so bad. We are renting currently and he convinced us we could keep renting while the renos were ongoing and move in when everything was ready. Not so bad after all. Sanjay found us our amazing place soon after that and we scooped it up quickly. We made sure we left the option open to back out though if the inspection didn’t work out. We knew a few things would have to change to make it our dream place and we needed to make sure that they would be doable before signing the deal.
It was at this point, that we were lucky to have a great friend who put us in contact with Boyes Brothers Contracting.
Adam and Billy Boyes
We spoke to Billy Boyes (the owner) on the phone first and got a good sense of his management style. He was super quick to respond to emails and phone calls and he even texted. This was huge for me. I HATE having to call people and leave messages and wait for a phone call back. I’m busy, you’re busy. Let’s ask and answer these small questions in between work meetings etc. I much prefer to text to get things started and then have a conversation via phone to get more depth. Billy said it sounded like what we wanted to do was doable (add a bathroom and convert the peninsula kitchen into an island kitchen) but he would be happy to come by to assess with his plumber to make sure. Our big roadblock was getting a second bathroom somewhere in the condo. Our options as I could see them was:
- Enlarge the powder room downstairs
- Make a combo laundry/bathroom upstairs
- Split the large bathroom upstairs back into two bathrooms (this is our last choice)
Billy and his plumber assessed the condo within the week. The then current owners were gracious to let us come in multiple times to look at the space and make sure our dreams of kitchen and bathrooms could potentially turn into reality. Very cool owners. I can see why their place was always a hub of activity for their friends. The plumber confirmed that our wants could likely be done, but at the very least, we could return the upstairs bathroom back to 2 smaller ones. Not our first choice, but they were pretty certain we could add a shower downstairs.
This was great news because we really loved the place. From the minute I saw the listing I just knew this was supposed to be our spot. We ended up buying the place and hiring Boyes Brothers Contracting at the same time. Billy and his crew started pulling together ideas for our specific place and needs. He gave me a few tips on how to get the building plans from city hall without tears and how to successfully work with stratas.
Boyes Brothers contracting company is well versed in the downtown scene which is essential to getting things done in a timely manner when stratas are involved it seems. Billy has this air about him that makes it impossible not to like him. This helps immensely with every business interaction as well. Billy is honest and direct, laid back but completely on top of things. We were so worried that we would have to spend a few months trying to figure out how to wade through forms for city hall and setting up meetings with two strata boards, that we were dreading getting starting. When we finally did ask Billy what we needed to do to set up a meeting with the strata board, he said no need, everything was already in motion. He had met with the downstairs commercial manager who got him in contact with the residential strata manager and they gave him all the forms to complete for the renos. This was music to our ears. We knew that we were in professional and competent hands. We like to be hands off except in important decision-making, so this worked really well for us. Now if only the city hall application and approval could be as easy…