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Financing your renovations

Why renovate?

There are several reasons why homeowners may want to renovate. Some simply need a change while others must renovate for safety reasons and to protect their investment (e.g., a leaky roof or a flooded basement).

In general, renovation projects are divided into three categories: lifestyle, thermal efficiency improvement, and maintenance or repair. A successful renovation project may be a dream come true, but without proper preparation and supervision this dream can soon turn into a nightmare.

Try as much as you can to limit hard costs when doing the renovation. Instead of having to lay a new solid hardwood, you can borrow a floor sander and sand your floors in order to reduce the amount of money you will be spending on the renovation. Instead of replacing items in the home, it is better to refurbish them.

When you are doing the renovation, be sure to start with the kitchen and the bathrooms. These are the areas that most people will look at when they want to buy a new house. A simple coat of paint will go a long way in making your home look attractive.

Before picking up your tools, make sure to get all the information you need. Ask your contractor’s previous clients for recommendations and check if any complaint has been filed against him/her to make sure you are in good hands. Call your local authorities to know what by-laws you are subject to and ask for the necessary permits for your renovation. Ask friends and neighbors who have done some renovations for advice. Use all the sources of information available and remember the good carpenter’s motto: measure twice, cut once. Mistakes made on paper are neither costly nor hard to correct whereas those made on the jobsite are.

Answer the following questions to see if you are on the right track:

  • Are renovations necessary, do you have other options?
    While it is important to maintain your home and protect your investment, lifestyle renovations – and even some thermal-efficiency renovations – can sometimes be postponed or downsized (keeping the kitchen cabinets and updating only the doors, using an insulating film instead of changing the windows, etc.).
  • Are your expectations realistic?
    Learn to make the difference between what you want and what is necessary. Almost any renovation project will increase – or at least preserve – the value of your house.

However, some renovations will give you more bang for your buck than others when comes time to sell your house: kitchen and bathroom renovations, as well as freshening up the paint will give you the best return on investment.

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