There are many reasons to renovate a home but the most important reason is for your personal comfort. It is true that renovations add value to a home and the “fix and flip” was a common sight in the Calgary real estate market of the mid 2000’s but renovations often add to appeal that may already be there. In a seller’s market, a fresh coat of paint can give your home that extra desirability and may result in a higher sale price. In a more balanced market, it is important to renovate for yourself and enjoy living in your home because a renovation may not add that much value to the more decerning and patient buyer. Here are some suggestions for renovations that will help you to enjoy your home and potentially increase the desirability of your home once you’ve grown out of it.

1. Painting is can positively change the  overall impression of your home with relatively little effort and money. Painting does not require a lot of past experience or knowledge and mistakes can be painted over. The return depends on both the overall improvement to the house and the type of colours chosen. If you’re thinking of selling in the next few years, try to pick neutral colours which may appeal to a wider range of buyers.

2. The kitchen is the hub of the house and renovating a kitchen that is dated can bring returns upon the sale of the home. There is aphorism that “kitchens sell houses.” This is true for most markets including the Calgary real estate market. Resurfacing counter tops, installing new cabinets and flooring can increase the value of your home substantially. As well, there will be an improvement to your comfort while you are living in the home.

3. There are regional differences which affect the return on various renovations. When selecting the types of renovations you are going to do, consider what type of region your home is in and what people consider to be important features of a home. In a cold climate like Calgary, improved heating systems, energy saving windows and doors, new roofing, and installing a fireplace may increase the resale value of your home more than these renovations would in a more moderate climate.

4. Concentrate on renovations which will improve your comfort level while you are living in the home. Most renovations will provide some return on your investment so try to make sure the renovations which you undertake will benefit you as well.

The Appraisal Institute of Canada does a consensus study of returns on renovations. Here is a summary of some of their results:

Renovation Expected Return
Basement Renovation 50%-75%
Bathroom Renovation 75%-100%
Central Air Condition 25%-75%
Fireplace Installation 50%-75%
Furnace Installation 50%-75%
Kitchen Renovation 75%-100%
Landscaping 25%-50%
Exterior Paint 50%-100%
Interior Paint 50%-100%
Window/Door Installation 50%-75%
Roof Shingle Replacement 25%-75%
Deck Construction 25%-75%
Garage Construction 50%-75%
Fence Construction 25%-50%
Asphalt Paving 25%-50%
Exterior Siding 50%75%
Concrete Paving 25%-75%
* Information obtained from the Appraisal Institute of Canada

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