Here are some tips for choosing a contractor to renovate your home.
Many Realtors suggest following these guidelines if you want to renovate not
just for comfort and style, but for enhanced resale value:
- Donít "out-renovate" for your neighborhood. Housing prices are largely driven
by location. If you live in a moderately priced neighborhood and renovate your
home with a luxurious spa bathroom and upscale gourmet kitchen, you are not
likely to recover your costs. Compare your home to others in your neighborhood,
and donít renovate far beyond the area standard. The proverbial "best home on the
block" is often the hardest to sell.
- Stick to classic styles and avoid trendy renovations. In the 1970s the popular
style was wall-to-wall shag rugs and avocado green appliances, in the Ď80s it was
mirrored walls, chrome track lighting and pastel colors. Both types of interiors
that are now very hard to sell! Your best bet for resale value is timeless interior
finishing Ė neutral carpets or hardwood floors, classic wood cabinetry, and white
- Investigate zoning bylaws and permit requirements. For major renovations such as
adding a deck or garage, or converting a basement to an in-law suite, you will need
a building permit from your municipal city hall. Some types of renovations may be
restricted depending on the zoning for your property. Renovations completed without
proper permits can cause serious problems when it comes time to sell your home.
- Expensive doesnít mean better. Sometimes the most expensive renovations are the ones
that pay off the least. Swimming pools and hot tubs require a lot of maintenance and
take up a lot of space Ė these can sometimes detract from resale value. Air
conditioning and central vacuum systems are expensive to install and often donít
pay off as much as cheap renovations such as fresh exterior and interior paint,
new carpets and new kitchen cabinets.
- Get the job done right! The quality of the renovation work directly impacts your
resale value. Buyers are increasingly knowledgeable and will look closely at
workmanship and the quality of materials, in addition to having an inspector
examine the home from top to bottom. Unless you are a very skilled handyperson,
donít take on major projects such as upgrading plumbing and electrical systems.
- Do your homework. Before starting any renovation project, carefully investigate
material costs and product options, suppliers and professional contractors. Check
references for all contractors and get all agreements in writing. The Internet is
a great resource when you start planning.