Home Service

Getting Value from Renovations

Refurbishing and renovating are very pricey, yet, because of the rise of home decoration shows, lots of property owner believe that a reno will instantly add value to their home. The problem is that you cannot rely on a dollar returned for every dollar invested.

To help you make better financial choices, here are four pointers to assist you in planning effective house restorations.

1) Repairs first!

The most economical way to add value to your home is to just fix what has to be fixed. Focusing on areas that are in desperate need of attention will provide the highest ROI for your restoration dollar. For instance: dealing with a leaking roof, replacing broken tiles and rewiring an outdated electrical system add value even if they do not look sexy.

2) Remodel based upon YOUR needs

Plan to remain in your house a minimum of 5 years after renovating. Refurbished kitchen areas and restrooms will certainly increase your home’s value, but not by as much as the renos cost. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider restorations, but you need to think about the reasons for the reno. So consider your current and future needs and then plan your renos based on these requirements.

3) Build an add-on

Larger restorations, such as an addition, are lengthy and pricey but can be a smart option for a house you wish to stay in for a long time. Think about working with a professional organizer to identify if you’re using your current space to optimal potential. If, after organizing and de-cluttering, you feel there’s insufficient room, you may want to add a second floor or a ground-level addition to your house.


4) Go green

More than just reducing your carbon footprint, going green can put cash back in your wallet. By renovating for optimum heat and energy performance you can conserve hundreds, even thousands on your heating, electricity and water costs. Even better, there are usually tax breaks for undertaking this kind of remodeling. It is worthwhile having an Energy Audit done prior to remodeling. The cost of an audit — typically $200-to-$800, depending on where you live – is worthwhile as it will provide a reasonable idea of which upgrades will benefit you most both financially and in regards to comfort and resale.

Are Home Renovation Shows Realistic?

I think most of us are aware that what we see on television isn’t always realistic, but it’s easy to be fooled, especially when it comes to documentaries or shows that are supposed to be giving us information we can use. Home renovation shows fall into the latter category and the number of them on television has grown dramatically in recent years.


As we watch these shows we become more knowledgeable about such things as design, materials and techniques, but what about the cost of the renovations we see on these television shows? In that regard, misconceptions abound – deliberately or otherwise. In order to have an accurate understanding of what your proposed renovations are going to cost, forget what they said on the television show and get some real estimates from local professionals. Blindly accepting the costs quoted on TV will likely lead to frustration and disappointment.

On a particular show you might see a high-end kitchen installed for $20,000, but that is an unlikely amount in today’s market. It could very well be that labour costs are completely omitted as contractors will donate labour in exchange for having the name of their business displayed and mentioned on the show. Similarly, design fees are rarely included and materials used in these shows are often supplied at a discount – or for free – in return for the promotional value the show brings to the supplier.

So what do you do? The cheapest thing is to invest your own time in shopping for materials before making a final decision. That fabulous stove you saw on the show at $6,000 might actually retail for $20,000. There goes your budget. It is also advisable to consider labour quotes as being 20-to-30% lower than what you will finally pay. That’s just the way it is, as there are almost always unforeseen circumstances in any renovation project.

So go ahead and have fun watching home renovation shows on television. However, when it comes time to move ahead with your own renovation plans, don’t assume any costs you saw on the TV are accurate. Do your own local investigating before making final choices and deciding on a budget.



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