Q.1. What renovations increase the value of a Canadian home?

Some renovations are done for practical reasons such as maintenance and repair. Other renovations are done for economic reasons such as putting in an energy efficient furnace while some renovations are done for lifestyle changes such as adding a sunroom or converting an attic. Most renovations result in maintaining or increasing the value of your property but some renovations increase the value of your property more than others. Kitchen and bathroom renovation and landscaping that improves curb appeal are usually the most rewarding. For seniors, some renovations are required for safety, security, and accessibility.

Q.2. What should I know before I start renovating?

When renovating a home there are always hidden costs and surprises. As you plan your renovations ensure that you are aware of all local municipal bylaws and obtain all necessary permits and inspections. When hiring contractors, ensure that they are properly qualified and get all estimates and agreements in writing.

Q.3. What should I do about getting a contractor?

Hiring a contractor is an important part of any major renovations and should be done carefully. Reference checks should be done and written estimates should be submitted before a clear contract is signed. A general rule of thumb is that you should not pay more than 15% of the estimated costs as a down payment on the work. Always read, and completely understand the contract, before you sign it. DO NOT RUSH! If you have questions, you may want to get some advice from a trusted source before you sign.

Q.4. How can I finance my renovations?

You need to know the extent of your renovations as this will affect the type of financing. For smaller jobs you could fund it yourself or use a credit card to pay for materials. For larger projects you could arrange for a personal loan, a personal line of credit or secured lines of credit and home equity loans. Mortgage refinancing is also a possibility. Remember, there are various grants and rebates available for energy-saving renovations.

Seniors may also be eligible for grants and rebates to help pay for accessibility-related renovations. Check with your local municipality, or province, or territory, to see if programs exist where you live.