Canada is a renovation nation. Just look at all the building supply retailers, contractors and renovation experts offering their products and services in towns and cities large and small right across the country. And, oh yes, all those DIY reno shows on TV. The reasons for renos range from empty nesters renewing the ol’ homestead to home owners intent on increasing the resale value of their nest. If you’re about to join the reno revolution, here are some tips to reno success.

The basics

Plan perfectly – avoid costly and time-consuming delays by knowing exactly what you want before you start.

Budget carefully – be realistic and stick to it; constantly compare running costs to your budget.

Know extra expenses will happen – be prepared by setting aside a contingency fund of at least 10 per cent of your total reno budget.

Choose with care – ask for lots of references from builders or contractors and check them carefully.

Save with sweat equity – contribute your own labour where you can.

Stay on top of things – even if you’re using an architect, general contractor or project manager, be ready to make quick decisions about unexpected developments.

Know your financing options – make the right choice for you from among a secured or unsecured line of credit, re-mortgaging, a personal loan, or for larger projects, construction financing – a bank loan based on an appraiser’s evaluation with money released as specific construction milestones are met.

The paybacks –

Your satisfaction should come first but if you’re also renovating to increase the value of your home, here are some reno rules for resale returns.

Paint is cheap and delivers a solid return.

Kitchen and bathroom renos typically pay back almost dollar-for-dollar.

Basement rec rooms are lucky to return thirty cents of each reno dollar.

New windows and/or heating cooling systems may be necessary to make a sale but usually don’t recover costs on resale.

Curb appeal is in the eye of the beholder. Landscaping may help or hinder a sale but a new/renewed garage usually pays back at 100 per cent.

Additions are a big ticket reno that seldom pay because the real costs are hidden in the walls – wiring, plumbing, duct work and so on. Adding a main floor family room can pay off.

Swimming pools – the biggest money losing reno of all.

Your professional advisor can help you make the right financing choices for your reno that keeps the rest of your financial life on track, too.

David L. Brown

‘Your local financial consultant’

CFP, CPCA, Executive Financial Consultant

Ph: 250-315-0241

Fax: 250-315-0251

Investors Group Financial Services