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Rationale for Renovating Your Home

Gerry Cameron - Nov 07, 2019
When you decide to sell, do you make renovations or not? It’s a question most homeowners ask, and if the answer is yes, then you must ask yourself what renovations will get you the best return on your money.

A few years ago, my neighbour across the street was getting his roof replaced. If you own a house, it’s going to happen. But what made this interesting was the amount of time the roofing crew worked on the job. Normally, I’ve seen it take a maximum of two days to get a job done, but this roofing company was parked on the street for over a week. When your roof shingles are curling at the corners, they must be replaced, but will you get your money back when you sell your home?

When you decide to sell, do you make renovations or not? It’s a question most homeowners ask, and if the answer is yes, then you must ask yourself what renovations will get you the best return on your money.

In an article by Nilus Mattive (“10 Upgrades to Sell Your Home, or Flip 10x Faster”), he reports that most remodeling projects only increase a home’s value by 50% to 80% of the project’s cost. For example, if you remodel your bathroom for $10,000, you might recover $7,000 at best.

So, with a budget in place where do you start? According to Mattive, there are a few upgrades to seriously consider before putting your house on the market.

Exterior Lighting:

If you have a great-looking front lawn, you can accent your home’s curb appeal with elegant exterior lighting to grab a buyer’s attention before they even walk through the door. First impression is important, and it can be done, reasonably priced, with spotlights, walkway lights, and pendant lights. Exterior lighting also signals safety, a desired feature, with as little as adding motion-sensor lights, which can be a big plus for potential buyers.

Garage Storage Space:

When my father-in-law bought his home in St. Albert, it was the shelving in the garage that caught my eye. And for my father-in-law, it was a huge factor in making his offer – it was a place for his tools and lawn furniture, as well as the easy accessibility. For buyers with a growing family, extra storage space is always on their checklist.

Energy-Efficient Appliances and Windows:

As we all know, the purchase of a home will be a major expense, so potential buyers will be looking for details that can reduce their monthly payments. Therefore, energy-efficient appliances, windows, and doors are important selling features. According to articles in US publications, energy-efficient windows can trim heating and cooling costs by 12% while Energy Star-rated appliances, like washing machines, can save homeowners around $45 or more a year.


A friend of mine lives in California, and according to him, entertaining on the patio, 365 days of the year, is a way of life in the golden state. Of course, Alberta weather does not provide sunny, 28-degree days all year round, but we do take full advantage of our summer months. With that said, having a patio or deck allows buyers to envision themselves sitting outdoors with friends, having drinks or cooking meals. As a bonus, installing a patio increases your living space for a lot cheaper than building an addition to your home.

Walk-In Pantry:

It is known that a good percentage of home buyers want a walk-in pantry. Why? First, it provides more space than reach-in closet pantries, and second, it saves your kitchen from getting overcrowded when there’s not enough space to store essentials. Add to the fact that buying in bulk is popular with growing families, you can see why having a walk-in pantry is a crucial selling feature. Most walk-ins are about 5 x 5 feet with open shelves and are installed in cool and dry locations.

Walk-In Closet:

Walk-in closets rank among the top five must-have features by first-time and second-time home buyers. Current homes with only a reach-in closet, especially in the main bedroom, are at a disadvantage. Couples prefer a walk-in because they must share. And singles like the option to store all of their stuff in one organized space. Homes with a walk-in closet in the master bedroom are a lot easier to sell than homes without one.

During the week, one of the roofers explained to a few of us watching the job from the street that they were adding supports to the rafters and that the extra work will add an additional fifty years to the roof’s life. As he walked away, we turned to each other and agreed that our 76‑year-old neighbor will never see a return on this investment.