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Is It Time to Update Your Home?

by Maximum Impact Plus, April 1st, 2017

One of the most frequently asked questions is “how do I know how much to spend on updates?” Home owners want to ensure they get the biggest bang for their renovation dollars.  The way to determine what is best for your home is to go to the people who decide what your home is worth.  The Appraisal Institute of Canada (AIC) has a wonderful website with a long list of suggestions! If you follow these guidelines, you can rest comfortably knowing that you will get a great return on the money you invest in your next home renovation!

Updating windows, HVAC, plumbing, insulation are all considered good investments.  These updates add to the value of your home as well as comfort and energy efficiency.  These are more commonly considered routine maintenance that is required as homes age.  Mechanical updates really don’t give you a great feeling of satisfaction or much of a wow factor!  However, there are some great inexpensive updates you can do to give a room a fresh new look. 

Focus your attention on your most important rooms.  Any high traffic area that could use a bit of an update typically will give you a great return on your investment.  Paint is one of the quickest or easiest and least costly updates for a space.  Ensure you choose neutral pleasing colors.  It’s much easier to add a pop of color with accessories that can easily be changed than to have to re-paint a whole house.  Updating light fixtures, flooring, countertops, door pulls, or even appliances can give a complete update to an old kitchen.  If you love the layout of your cabinets and feel they are in good shape – why change them?  You can have a fresh new look while keeping the cabinets at a fraction of a cost of a typical kitchen renovation!  Even in the bathroom, you can update counters, tile a tub surround, replace lighting and flooring and create a whole new space at a fraction of the cost! This is how you maximize the return on your investment!

If you want to undertake a complete renovation where you rip out the old and replace with the new, its critical to ensure you do not overspend for your neighborhood!  The AIC recommends having a Realtor or Appraiser give your home a current market valuation and give you an idea of what you could comfortably spend on updates to ensure you get ALL (yes all) your money back!!  It is a common misconception that you only get a portion of your renovation dollars back in your new home value. This is simply not true!  The single biggest mistake home owners make is “over improving” their homes.  It is critical to know what is typical for your neighborhood and ensure that your improvements are consistent with what is at the upper range for your specific neighborhood and your age of home!  Do not compare your home to the new build a few streets over, although it is technically the same neighborhood, the age of homes plays a huge factor in the valuation of a home.  This is the formula that real estate investors use to flip homes for profit.  It should be the same formula a home owner uses to ensure they get the biggest return on their renovation dollar!  It is very accurate way to determine what you should be spending.  We often help our clients, using our team of professionals, to determine what a reasonable budget is for the renovations they want to do and then help them allocate that budget to the improvements that will give them the best returns!  One of my favorite clients had her home appraised at $240,000, after $25,000 in improvements her home list for $315,000 and sold in a bidding war at $355,000!!!  It is not only possible, knowing what to do and how to do it can really increase your home equity!! We specialize in these renovations so we know how critical it is to know your numbers!!

The next big question is finding a Renovator that you can trust and can work with.  You want to ensure they understand your budget and give you a written agreement that details the work and materials and the cost.  We work closely with KAT Reno , .  A 10% deposit is common to hold a spot, with 50% when the contractor starts.  You should never pay the full amount up front before a job starts.  You want a contractor with $2,000,000 liability insurance.  They should be covered by Workers Compensation.  You can check on the WCB website to verify a company’s current coverage. Did you know if you hire a contractor who is not covered by insurance and he injures himself in your home and cannot work, he can and will sue you for loss of income and your home insurance will have to cover it!  Being in the industry, we have heard many horror stories where this has happened so it is important to ensure you are protected as the home owner.  Manitoba Home Builders Association, Renomark Renovators are a great source of skill and talent.  I still suggest clients check out Court of Queen’s Bench online registry – any serious disputes will always end up here.  As a matter of public record, you are assured the validity of the information is accurate and current!  If in doubt, ask to speak to and go see previous clients and the renovations in their homes.  Although price is always a concern, remember you can have the best service, best quality or the best price – which 2 are most important to you because after 20 + years, I have never seen a contractor who provided all three!  I prefer quality and service at a fair price! We are called no less than once a month by a home owner who went with the cheapest quote and is now unhappy with the work and wants to rip it out and start again… trying to save a few bucks is just not worth the added cost of doing the job twice!

If you are looking for inspiration, check out our showroom at 1924 Main Street, Unit #2 or visit my website at .  We offer evening classes that help determine what is best for your space.  You can sign up on our website for one of our upcoming classes! Happy Renovating!

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.