Allison James’ Home Renovation Tips

I am often asked which home renovations bring the highest investment return for homeowners.  The answer is, of course, “it depends.”  A number of factors come into play in predicting return on investment, including neighborhood, price point and the home style.

The advice I always extend to my clients is to review your renovation plans with a realtor before launching the project.  If you are planning on staying in your home for a while, you should renovate it to suit your family’s taste and lifestyle.  If, however, you are planning to sell in the not-too-distant future, a realtor can help you retain equity by avoiding heavy construction projects that will not produce a healthy return on your dollar at closing time.

Kitchens and bathrooms almost always prove to be worthwhile investments.  If you plan to list the home shortly after completion of the remodel work, be sure to go with neutral and contemporary colors and materials.  Choose quality materials and fixtures but don’t go crazy as the extra money you invest is not likely to be recouped.   This approach leaves room for your potential buyers to imagine their own style juxtaposed on your tasteful remodel.

Landscaping in our area is an investment that carries a good return.  Curb appeal is a key factor in many home sales.   Well-maintained landscaping makes a house stand out from the crowd and welcomes you home every day.  Whether you employ a professional or do the hard work yourself, landscaping is a sound investment.  Unless gardening is your passion, aim for plants and designs that require as little upkeep as possible. Today’s busy homebuyers are, for the most part, not interested in spending entire weekends working on the lawn.

Finished basements can be very tricky.  In a neighborhood that permits multi-family homes, a basement apartment can pay for itself through rental income in just a few years.  In some areas, where such arrangements are either not permitted or simply not common, the added square footage may make your home more attractive, but will not add much in terms of value.  There are a number of factors to be weighed before undertaking a basement remodel, including the presence of separate entrances and walk-outs as well as waterproofing and liability issues.

Swimming pools in the Calgary area are a “no go” if you are looking to recoup your investment.  We have a short swimming season up here and the high cost of pool heating and maintenance along with liability issues combine to make pools a bad investment for homeowners in our area.  By all means, put a pool in because you love to swim, but don’t assume a healthy return on your investment.

Renovations can be very stressful.  Again, my best advice is to contact a realtor before undertaking any substantial investment in your home.  You may end up saving a ton of money and avoiding unnecessary aggravation, sweat and tears.


Do you need to move to celebrate the changes that are happening in your life? Let me serve you in helping you make the move to the place or home that reflects where you are in life’s journey! I will listen to your needs and use my knowledge and expertise to make this a smooth transition to the right place for you to call home in Calgary. Contact me at 403-708-5873,, or and let’s get on with your journey!

About Allison James

has been a realtor® since 1999 with Century 21 Bamber Realty Ltd. in the changing Calgary real estate market. A Century 21 Centurion Award 2007 recipient and a member of CREA and AREA, she specializes in residential real estate and has her designations as a Seniors Real Estate Specialist and a Certified Condominium Specialist. These designations testify that she has the expertise and resources to help her clients make a smooth transition to the next step in their life journey. She enjoys helping her clients as they move through many of the same stages of life that she, too, has experienced. The fact that the majority of her business comes from past clients and/or referrals from satisfied clients speaks volumes about her dedication to the high quality of service that she offers her clients to meet their Calgary and surrounding area real estate needs. She is a mother of four who are all on their own now, and a grandmother of eight. Besides helping people buy or sell real estate, she loves spending time with her family, being active outdoors, traveling and meeting new people, photography, playing the drums, reading, scuba diving, listening to music, learning new things, and nurturing her spiritual growth.

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Allison James

Allison James

CENTURY 21 Bamber Realty Ltd.
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