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  • Albert Zakay

Improving your home's resale value; The most profitable renovations

Updated: Dec 16, 2022

Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to invest to make them come true.

When you think about it, a renovation changes so much more than an old house - it adds life to days, brightness to nights, and creates a welcoming and comfortable environment for you to enjoy. Home is where our story begins, where love resides, and a place where some of our most treasured memories are made. Renovations have the ability to make us happier in the place we call home, but from a financial perspective, how do you evaluate the benefits of our investment?

Where to start? : Understand the cost/value added equation

Renovating entails balancing what you want and the financial resources you have available. Although about only 16% of Canadians renovate specifically to increase their home's market value, still, nearly 60% said they considered what impact their renovation would have on the market value of their home. When renovating your home it's important to understand that some updates can add more value than others, and some, that are focused on energy efficiency, can also offer a perpetual monthly return.

Getting the biggest bang for your buck.

Consider Bones first, not cosmetics

Considering practical upgrades among your renovating priorities should be seriously examined when renovating your home. If you are planning to make a large investment, it's also wise to get the home inspected and evaluate what needs attention, especially things you may not see. Your personal wish list might not necessarily align with what renovations are necessary. If your roof is over 20 years old, it is approaching the end of its life cycle and may need to be replaced or at least budgeted for in the coming years. If you want to build out a beautiful finished basement, you don't want to have a problem with your foundation and find out about it later. Windows can be often overlooked in renovating, but installation of high-efficiency windows tops the list of green renovations generating the best investment-recovery rate. Anyone buying your home will expect the furnace, air-conditioning, plumbing and electrical systems to be in good working order, so don't overlook these systems that are at the heart of your home. The Quebec government offers various programs that provide subsidies for upgrading your insulation, making your home more airtight, replacing doors and windows, or installing new equipment like water heaters, a heat pump, or a geothermal system. Besides being a good investment that will generate a higher resale value when you sell, the other big advantage of energy efficient upgrades, is that while you are living in the house they will also pay you back in energy savings year after year. Combined together, energy efficient renovations along with government grants, make good financial sense. Remember, good bones are important, so it is wise to be smart and get your renovation plan right.

Other renovations that add value to your home

A fresh coat of paint is one of the simplest, most cost-effective improvements you can do and can instantly update and transform the entire interior or exterior of your home. The caveat is that the job should be done neatly and professionally. Freshly painted houses can look very attractive, clean and updated - and that spells value. When selecting paint colors, keep in mind that neutrals appeal to the greatest number of people, therefore making your home more desirable.

Minor Kitchen renovations, such as a kitchen counter upgrade or a new backsplash can offer a high return on your investment if you have a small budget and you want to increase your home's value to sell it in the near future. However, if you plan on living in your home with a longer horizon after the renovation, a major kitchen remodel thoughtfully designed (like new cabinetry, a high end sink and faucets, all new quality appliances, lighting and new floors) will return 75% and more of your investment down the road. Open plan layouts place the kitchen at the center of activity and homebuyers assess kitchens as a high priority when considering a purchase. A well designed kitchen remodel is a recipe for success.

Aside from the kitchen, bathroom updates are also on the short list of the most important rooms that appeal to potential buyers. Old and tired bathrooms drag down the value of a house. Beautiful functional bathrooms can benefit your lifestyle and boost your home’s overall sellibilty. Having more than one full bathroom in your home will improve its value, but they don’t always have to have a full tub and shower combination. Having a full bathroom with a shower will still do the trick, as long as at least one other bathroom in the house has a tub.

One of the most appealing home renovation projects is adding a brand new deck or improving an aging deck to provide the perfect setting for an afternoon barbecue or an evening of relaxation with the family. Renovations that increase the size of the home like creating additional outdoor space remains one of the most popular ways to add value to your home and you can look to recoup upwards of 80% of your investment by building this functional outdoor space.

Don't underestimate the appeal of attractive landscaping. It may be a cliché, but, in real estate, first impressions really are everything. Yes, some may need a couple of days to think it over, but many potential buyers fall in love with a home the moment they pull into the driveway. Think of landscaping as the gift wrap and ribbon that ties everything your lovely home has to offer together.

Does a New Garage Door Increase Home Value?

The best home improvement projects are ones that make your home more functional, beautiful and increase its value. In the case of garage door replacements, you can achieve all three. It is useful to know that most of the projects with the highest return on investment are “curb appeal” jobs, which is work you can see from the street. Garage door replacements rank highly because they’re relatively affordable, but they also have a large impact on the curb appeal of a home - especially if the home has more than one door that faces the street. Other valuable investments include manufactured stone veneers (an estimated 94 percent of costs recouped), and siding replacements (75 percent).

Sometimes it's best to think outside the box, but to add more value to your home, think of what you can do inside the box.

There are other creative ways to significantly increase the value of your home by not just renovating existing space but by creating new rooms in the space you have. An example is adding a bathroom or bedroom to your property by reconfiguring and redesigning existing interior space. If you presently have cathedral ceilings, that's empty space that you can turn into an office or guest ensuite.

An attic turned into a bedroom can be just the right solution when the kids are a little older.

If your wish list includes an extra bed and bath and you are tight on space, consider making an addition above the garage.

Measure twice, cut once

Most renovations will cost more than you expect. It’s estimated that over half of home renovations go over budget. There are almost always hidden costs that are not visible but will increase the cost of your project. If you are planning to renovate, play it smart and budget at least 20% over the estimated cost of the renovation. A good contractor will inform the client of realistic costs to do the renovation, but plan for more.

Find a reputable contractor

Take the time to find a good contractor and thoroughly vet them on the front end. Take recommendations from friends and family and go see the work that the contractor has produced before you let them take on any work. Verify if the experience for the client was pleasant and that there was good after sales service. Be wary about quotes that are significantly lower. Often clients will pick the cheapest contractor thinking they are getting the best deal. They are often not skilled enough for the work, can protract schedules and produce shoddy work, or even introduce new problems. Be wary! Don’t be so eager to get the cheapest contractor---you might pay more for it later.

At Whiteoak Construction we know that to transform a space is to build something special. Thoughtful upgrades and renovations to the places where we live, work, and play can make all the difference. The Wizard of Oz got it right; " There's no place like home " and at Whiteoak we believe that If you can dream it, we can do it.

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