Return on renovation costs: How much will you get back?

Projects that can increase -- or decrease -- the value of your home.

Canadians are investing in home improvement like never before: According to an Ipsos-Reid survey, two-thirds of homeowners intend to undertake renovations this year. While most plan to spend reasonable sums, others say they'll go all out: luxurious materials, home theatres, a Jacuzzi on the patio...even $60,000 kitchens are not that unusual! But how much of their investment will be recovered when their house sells?

Homeowners tend to embark on renovation projects to meet their needs, improve their quality of life or simply pamper themselves with a little luxury. But even if you're renovating primarily for your own sake, you should try to assess the post-project increase in the value of your house, just in case you ever want to sell.

 Every year, the Appraisal Institute of Canada surveys its members and compiles a list of renovations that yield the best return on investment. Year after year, refurbished kitchens and bathrooms head the payback list: 75 per cent to 100 per cent of the outlay for these projects can be recovered upon resale. Adding a pool, on the other hand, is far less advantageous. Still, pool vendors did a booming business this past summer...

Such positive evaluations don't always hold true, however. For example, a kitchen that has been renovated to the tune of $25,000 but in appallingly bad taste could adversely affect the sale of the house. If renovating in order to sell, you must plan for changes that will meet the needs of a majority of potential buyers and ensure that the modifications are suitably up to date and will appeal to the maximum number of people.

“A house that looks nice inside will sell at a slightly higher price, but above all, it will sell faster". “It has to be fashionable and in line with current trends; people are increasingly inclined toward luxury.” At the same time, though, beware of passing fads.


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