Is it Worth Renovating?

If you are like many homeowners, you probably have a long list of things you would like to do to improve your home.

Maybe it is a big project such as remodelling the kitchen, landscaping or even installing a pool. Perhaps it's a simpler venture such as painting or laying new carpets.

In any case, one thing we all wonder is if renovating will be worth the outlay in time, money and added stress. In a nutshell, will there be a reasonable return on the investment, economically and in terms of enjoyment of the house?

Your first order of business should be to figure out exactly why you want to renovate. Is it to make your home better looking, more functional, or to increase it's value when you sell?

If you have pressing needs such as a new furnace or better insulation, these should be attended to before all else. There is no point in adding snug new carpets if your house is cold and drafty in the winter. If you love your neighbourhood or location but just want a larger house, you might want to undertake some major renovations to add square footage. Be aware, though, that those kinds of renovations are very costly.

As for adding value to your property, many people make the mistake of thinking a big ticket item will automatically lead to an increase in value. While pools, decks and patios can be a source of enjoyment for you and your family, you may run the risk of not fully recouping your outlay when you sell. Often, you may be better off considering a more functional project.

There are no guarantees when it comes to realizing a profit on your renovation investment. If your goal is simply to increase the value of your home, the only method that works is to find out what is most desirable to the buying public. You can maximize your chances of making the right decision by consulting a real estate professional; REALTORS can tell you which renovations are popular and could lead to increased value.

Cosmetic renovations are extremely popular and usually the most affordable. Many homeowners are foregoing more expensive projects in favour of things such as interior painting, updated decor and new floors and carpets. Exterior painting and siding, as well as new windows and doors, are also high on the list.

Because potential buyers are drawn to attractive homes, money spent beautifying your property can also serve to increase its value.

Functional improvements such as kitchen and bathroom renovations are among the most likely to add value. Finished basements are a good choice, especially for families with children. Energy efficient features are also much sought after these days, and most buyers will enquire about your monthly heating and air conditioning costs.

The primary reasons homeowners cite when deciding to renovate are to make their homes more attractive, to add value and as part of regular maintenance. But surveys have shown that cosmetic and functional renovations have the best chance of increasing value. It appears that a new kitchen or hardwood floor offers more appeal to the average home buyer than a pool. This, of course, assumes your home is already well-maintained.

Landscaping falls into a separate category. Because you can opt for either modest improvements or a total transformation, your decision is more complicated. Modest landscaping, such as a new garden or walkway, will certainly make your home more sellable, but more extensive work can be very expensive and not all buyers will have the same taste as you do.

Pools and decks are anybody's guess. To the right buyer, they are extremely persuasive items. But some buyers will consider a pool a liability, limiting the potential market for your home.

Recent statistics have shown a growing trend toward renovation of all types among homeowners. More and more people are choosing to upgrade existing properties and this is expected to continue in the near future.

So, if you have elected to join the crowd, pick your project wisely and, if you are hoping to add value to your home, it always pays to consult a real estate professional first.

REALTOR® is a registered trademark of the Canadian Real Estate Association and identifies a real estate practitioner who is a member of the Association.




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