Best home renovations to squeeze in before winter
According to a 2019 Remodelling Impact Report, 35 percent of homeowners would rather move to another home than renovate their current dwelling. We don’t blame them: Between the time and expense involved – not to mention people trampling in and out of your home – it’s easy to feel like scrapping it all and hiring a removal truck instead. Yet listen up: According to the US report – which was conducted by the National Association of Realtors Research Group – three out of four home-owners surveyed have an increased desire to be in their home after renovating.
We asked real-estate experts for their top pre-winter suggestions when it comes to upgrading your home, plus tips on getting the best result.
Our experts agree: If you’re going to focus on any room in the house, kitchens and bathrooms are good areas to start with. “These are certainly the areas where you’ll get the biggest return on your investment,” says real estate agent Karrie Gavin. One caveat, though: If you anticipate staying in your house for fewer than five years, opt for upgrading rather than a complete overhaul. “I rarely advise a seller to do a complete kitchen or bathroom remodel if you’re planning to sell it in the near future,” says Gavin. “It’s risky because you don’t know what the buyer will like. That’s why I typically recommend simple upgrades instead, like replacing worn-out benchtops or bathroom vanity, for example.”
While you’re on an organising kick, try these kitchen organising ideas you won’t believe you ever lived without.
Winter’s coming, which means it’s a perfect time to make sure your HVAC system is running most efficiently. Not only will you save money on your heating bills throughout the winter, but it made the top three list in terms of both attraction to potential buyers and realtors’ advice for important value-adds to your home.
Building a new master suite can pay off in two ways: For one, if you are adding a bathroom, that’s automatically going to be attractive to buyers, says Gavin. “Just having one bathroom can sometimes be a deal-breaker for buyers,” she says. “The potential buyer will be spending a lot of time in the master suite, so making it really appealing for the decision-maker is also a good idea.”
A new bathroom is on the list of 28 home improvements that will double the value of your home.
Wood flooring has a two-fold benefit to it. According to the realtor report, replacing wood floors is a good investment: Homeowners can, on average, get a 106 percent return on their money. “There are some things that are fairly universal that most buyers respond better to, and hardwood floors are tops on that list,” says Gavin. “If you have older carpets and are considering whether to replace it or exchange it for hardwood, it’s usually worth it to install wood flooring.” Installing them in autumn is ideal as you’ll be able to take advantage of the chillier air’s lower moisture content.
Wardrobes are the unsung heroes of the house. They make room for all of your stashing and storing, but because they’re out of sight, they can sometimes also be out of mind when it comes to renovation. Not so fast. Ranking certain projects from one to ten, the survey found that a wardrobe renovation scored a Joy Score of a perfect ten.
There’s nothing like a fresh coat of paint to instantly transform a room. Homeowners agree, giving a room painting a Joy Score of 9.7. Painting during the autumn months is ideal, too, because of the lower moisture content in the air, making it easier to apply and faster to dry. If you’re thinking of selling sooner than later, though, keep in mind Gavin’s suggestion: “Keep it in a neutral colour,” she recommends. “It doesn’t necessarily have to be all white, but stick to grey and tan and lighter shades.”
A new door may not be the first thing you think of when it comes to home renovation, but it has a pay-off: Not only can a new door be more energy-efficient for you now, but it also provides appeal for potential buyers down the road. “The front door is someone’s first impression to your home,” says Gavin. “Having a nice front door, either new or freshly painted, sets the tone for your house, so a new door is always a good investment. Windowless, steel and fibreglass doors rank higher in energy efficiency.
Insulation provides a good return on investment, with 83 percent recovered from the project, says the realtor survey, not to mention the immediate cost savings with an energy-efficient home.
And if you don’t, no worries. “My job is to help a homeowner with their vision,” says contractor Trace Brash. “Sometimes, people think ‘I just want new tiles, new benchtops,’ that kind of thing, but your contractor should help you envision ways to open up the space in a different way, or look at your space in a way you wouldn’t have thought about.”
This may sound like a given, but not necessarily, says Brash. “It’s common for people not to want to tell their contractor what their budget is because they’re afraid their contractor will push it right up to the limit of their budget or even go over, which makes it hard for us to do our job,” he says. “You need to trust your contractor and tell them upfront what your expectations are budget-wise so you can know if they’re realistic. A good contractor will include an allowance number in their bid, which is a pool of money for those items that haven’t yet been decided upon – fixtures, wall hangings, medicine cabinet and the like – so there are no surprises down the road.”
With many home renovation projects, there are a lot of moving parts. Ensure that nothing falls by the wayside by keeping tabs on the progress, which is especially important during the autumn months, to ensure it’s completed by winter. So don’t be shy, and ask for weekly or even daily reports, suggests Brash. “You want your contractor to be as transparent and communicative to the point of ‘alright alright, shut up already,’” he laughs. “I have project managers who send out regular emails saying ‘here’s what happened today, and here are the expectations for tomorrow, and what subcontractors will be there and when,’ so we’re all on the same page with the timeline.”
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