Thursday, Sep 27, 2012

Which upgrades will pay back best when house sells?
Pre-sale renovations
By Portage La Prairie (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 counter top?

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 impact your wellbeing 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 buyers 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 rebate, 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 up to $5,000 on home renovations.

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

Meanwhile, to calculate the cost versus value of your reno, check out Renova at

Home sweet home

It's home sweet home: 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. Close to two out of five homeowner households renovated their home, with the average spending of $12,800.

Looking for payback?

Here are the projects most likely to allow you to recover the most on your investment:

Siding replacement
Minor kitchen remodel
Window replacement
Major kitchen remodel
Bathroom remodel
Deck Addition

Source: Remodeling magazine's 2008-2009 Cost vs Value Report

Renovation archive

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