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Considerations for Renovations: Increasing the Value of Your Home

Updated Thursday, April 2, 2015  ::  Views (1663)

Are you thinking about making some investments in your home to increase its value?  If your answer is yes, there are many things to consider before getting started, from the exterior to the interior of the home. 

For the exterior, you can update the sidings, add new a porch or patio, and update the landscaping.   For the interior, you can remodel the kitchen, finish (or redo) the basement, update a bathroom, or renovate your key living spaces. While all renovations will give you a fresh and updated home that you can enjoy until you decide to sell, some renovations will give you more bang for your buck when you decide that it’s time to sell and explore other options.

When considering making changes to your home, it’s very important to make sure that you do not overly personalize the renovations, because doing so could adversely affect your property’s appeal to the general public. 

Here are my top tips for things you should consider when undertaking a home renovation:

Budget

First things first - set a realistic budget to get the job done right.  In the building industry, you get what you pay for, so don’t expect a champagne finish on a beer budget.  A good place to start is estimating your costs.  Generally speaking, major renovations will cost between $100 and $200 per square foot.  Make sure that you set aside a contingency fund, especially if your home is older, because you never know what issues will pop up during the project.  Typically, contingency reserves are anywhere from 5%-15% of the initial budget.  The rate will typically coincide with the overall initial cost of the project, meaning that the more expensive your renovation is, the larger the contingency fund you will need. 

Selecting a Contractor

Now that you have an estimated budget, it’s time to find the right contractor.  Start with soliciting recommendations from friends, neighbours or from your Realtor®.  Your needs and the expertise required will vary from project to project, so check and see if the contractor has done similar renovations in the past.  If possible, take some time to visit and evaluate the existing renovations that were done by the referred contractor.  Also make sure that you ask for additional references.  In the end, you should select at least three potential contractors to solicit quotes from.  Don’t forget to review and know your rights when hiring a contractor. 

Getting Quotes

Be aware that there is a difference between an estimate and a quote.  An estimate is the contractor’s best guess.  At this stage, you should already have an estimate if you have done your research and planning. A quote, on the other hand, is an actual “fixed price” based on the details of your renovation project.   When getting a quote, contractors will sometimes offer you the bottom line cost, but this isin’t always necessarily the best option.  You need to be able to compare quotes between contractors and to do that, you need a detailed list of costs for materials and labour. An itemized quote will also help you consider changes to the project in an informed way.  Select your contractor based on all the information you collected during the research and planning process, including reputation, quality of work, past references, and price.  

Once you have chosen your contractor and worked out the details, it’s time for the work to start. Make sure you keep a close eye on things and keep yourself informed.  A good contractor should keep you up-to-date on the progress of the work, but don’t be afraid to check in for a status update to see what is actually happening.   If you would like more renovation tips, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below or get in touch!

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