Thursday, Sep 27, 2012

Good renovation pays off in better space, home value
By The London Free Press (Joanne Richard)

Can't sit on that aqua-green toilet one more time? Hate that pink porcelain sink? Can't stomach that gold-speckled laminate countertop?

A good home renovation, large or small, will pay off in more ways than one -- you'll not only have great updated living space, but you're likely to recoup your investment when you move.

"Home is where the heart is -- invest in yourself," says design maven Jennifer Brouwer. "You will be glad you did."

Any improvement, large or small, can and will affect your well-being tremendously. "Think pedicure, how happy are pink toes? Or walk through a model home, they just feel so good," adds Brouwer.

Beverley Girvan, residential appraisal expert, agrees: "Small home projects can have a huge impact on the overall feel, and value, of a home."

They're an easy, cost-effective way to update and personalize your space, and increase your home's worth, adds Girvan, a member of the Appraisal Institute of Canada (

Despite economic uncertainty, it's shaping up to be a great year, says Brouwer, an award-winning design consultant and owner of Decor By Jennifer Inc. "Renovations are on the rise, as it is a buyer's market. People are opting to stay in their homes and modify."

Celebrate the good in the bad --like cheaper labour and the new federal home renovation tax credit, says Brouver, which not only helps offset the cost of making improvements, but may end up making your home more energy-efficient, too.

According to a Lowe's survey, one in five Canadians is more likely to renovate thanks to the new tax rebate. Actually, 47% of Canadians plan to renovate in the next year -- nearly two-thirds (63%) will spend as much as $5,000 on home renovations.

Somehow, that long-postponed improvement project is looking more appealing, thanks to the tax credit. Energy-efficient upgrades top the list of home improvements that add value to the resale price of a home, says Girvan. Using non-neutral interior paint colours and adding a cooking island in the kitchen also offer a good return.

But not all renovations are created equal -- whirlpool tubs, swimming pools and skylights provide the least payback, reports the Appraisal Institute of Canada.

According to David Foster, of the Canadian Home Builders' Association, renovators are reporting that green improvements are in demand, including low-VOC paints and finishing materials, wood products produced through sustainable forestry practices and energy efficiency upgrades, "particularly things that make the home healthier to live in."

To calculate the cost versus value of your reno, check out Renova at resourcecenter_renova.cfm.

Home is where the heart is -- invest in yourself. You will be glad you did.

Design consultant Jennifer Brouwer

Home is the cash is

According to CMHC, close to $19.7 billion was spent on home renovations in 2007 by an estimated 1.5 million households in 10 major Canadian centres. Nearly two in five homeowner households renovated their home, spending $12,800 on average.

Renovation archive

What do you think is a reasonable price for a kitchen renovation?
$10, 000
$25, 000
$50, 000
$100, 000