Home renovations with the best financial, emotional return for owners

Home renovations with the best financial, emotional return for owners

Dream kitchens and luxurious bathrooms are often the go-to renovations for homeowners looking for the best return on investment, but experts suggest the biggest bang for their buck might be as simple as replacing a garage door.

Renovations in Canada are big business, with Canadians spending about $6.3 billion on residential renovations in August 2019 alone, up from roughly $5.8 billion in the same month the previous year, according to Statistic Canada.

Some projects offer more of an emotional return than financial, according to a report from the Appraisal Institute of Canada. Finishing a basement, adding a garage, building sun rooms, decks or landscaping a yard offer some of the highest enjoyment value.

“When you’re doing renovations, some of them have a different impact and it’s not always about value,” said Dan Brewer, a senior appraiser and former national AIC president.

People often choose to spend tens of thousands — if not more — on renovating a basement to give themselves additional living space, a better play area for kids or a space for extended family to stay when visiting, said Brewer.

But it also offers “a double-edge benefit,” he said, as buyers tend to pay a little more for homes with finished basements than those without.

Dollar-for-dollar returns tend to come from smaller tweaks, said Pauline Aunger, former president of the Canadian Real Estate Association.

Swapping kitchen hardware, installing new light fixtures or removing outdated decor, such as wallpaper, can help, she said.

Kitchens and bathrooms, on the other hand, often don’t boost the sale price by the cost of the renovation, said Aunger.

“I always say to people, ‘If you’re going to do a renovation of your kitchen and you’re thinking of selling two years from now: do it now, so you at least enjoyed it for the two years.”’

Some additions can dissuade buyers or push them to make a lower offer.

Think hyper-personalized design choices such as bright, not-neutral paint colours, like orange, said Aunger, or less-common features that can be expensive to maintain like wine cellars, saunas, hot tubs or swimming pools.

“If you had two houses, side-by-side and they’re identical houses but one has a pool and one doesn’t,” she said, “it doesn’t mean the buyer will pay $20,000 more for your pool.”

Exterior renovations tend to have the highest rate of return each year, said Clayton DeKorne, chief editor of construction focused JLC Group. One of its magazines publishes an annual report estimating the cost versus value of more than 20 common renovation projects. Their data relies on project estimating software and an online survey of more than 4,600 real estate professionals.

According to the 2019 report, an upscale garage door topped the jobs with the best return on investment, with an average price tag of US$3,611 and a return of $3,520, recouping 97.5 per cent of the cost.

The latest report found that only one of the top 10 projects with the highest percentage of cost recouped was inside the house — a mid-range, minor kitchen remodel. The other nine included replaced siding and windows, as well as deck additions.

DeKorne believes that trend comes down to curb appeal for potential buyers.

“People who are looking at houses tend to have a psychological connection,” he said.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Red Deer Advocate file photo)
Sentencing delayed in the stabbing death of Samantha Sharpe, of Sunchild First Nation. (Red Deer Advocate file photo)
Sentencing delayed in Sunchild homicide

Sentencing adjourned to March

Public Services and Procurement Minister Anita Anand and Major General Dany Fortin look on as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau responds to a question during a news conference in Ottawa, Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Pfizer-BioNTech cutting back vaccine deliveries to Canada due to production issues

OTTAWA — Procurement Minister Anita Anand says production issues in Europe will… Continue reading

A stainless steel monolith is set up along the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains in Alberta, in a Jan. 15, 2021 story. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Alberta monolith comes with message to save eastern slopes of Rocky Mountains

Installed it with the help of volunteers after getting permission from private landowners

FILE - In this Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021 file photo, Donald Trump supporters gather outside the Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)
Capitol rioters included highly trained ex-military and cops

Retired Air Force lieutenant colonel and decorated combat veteran from Texas among the most prominent supporters

Harvest Meats is recalling a brand of Polish sausages. (Photo by Canadian Food Inspection Agency)
Harvest Meats recalls sausages over undercooking

Recall affects customers in Alberta

Lesser Slave Lake UCP MLA Pat Rehn. (Facebook)
Updated: Jason Kenney kicks Lesser Slave Lake MLA out of caucus

Pat Rehn will not be permitted to run for UCP nominations

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials says it will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Coal mining a concern

Thank you for the Canadian Press article in the Advocate on Jan.… Continue reading

In this photo taken from a video distributed by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service, on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020, A Russian Tu-160 strategic bomber fires a cruise missile at test targets, during a military drills, Russia. The Russian military has conducted sweeping drills of its strategic nuclear forces that featured several practice missile launches. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service via AP)
Russia follows US to withdraw from Open Skies Treaty

U.S. completed its withdrawal from the pact in November

FILE - In this July 26, 2019, file photo, China’s Sun Yang leaves the pool deck following the men’s 4x200m freestyle relay heats at the World Swimming Championships in Gwangju, South Korea. The World Anti-Doping Agency says a Swiss court has overturned an eight-year doping ban against Chinese swimmer Sun Yang and ordered the case back to the Court of Arbitration for Sport for a second time but with a different chairman of the judges. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File)
Swiss supreme court details anti-China bias of Sun judge

Hostile social media posts by Court of Arbitration for Sport judge Franco Frattini

FILE - In this Saturday, March 7, 2020, file photo, Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba passes the puck during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Los Angeles Kings in Los Angeles. Bonding between veterans and youngsters has been a time-honored tradition in hockey. But in yet another setback related to the relentless COVID-19, NHL protocols aiming to curb the virus spread and keep the schedule on track could make that vital off-ice development of camaraderie more difficult. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)
Mentors wanted: Virus limits vet-rookie time away from rink

Bonding between veterans and youngsters has been a time-honoured tradition

FILE - In this Jan. 30, 2020 file photo, NFL Super Bowl 54 football game halftime performer Jennifer Lopez answers questions at a news conference in Miami. Lopez will give a musical performance on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol when Biden is sworn in as the nation’s 46th president next Wednesday. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Stars return to inauguration, with J.Lo, Gaga set to perform

Foo Fighters, John Legend and Bruce Springsteen will offer remote performances

An example of a child’s artwork during the COVID-19 pandemic is shown in a handout. Many of the children’s drawings show people alone, haunted by shadowy spectres, or worse, their own thoughts.The researcher behind the childart.ca project says the virtual gallery of illustrations by Canadian kids and teenagers showcases a wide variety of visions of the pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-childart.ca
‘This is too much’: Art shows children’s struggles during pandemic, says researcher

Recurring themes include confined figures, screaming faces and gory imagery

Bentley Blessing Pantry continues to faithfully serve the community

‘We just wanted to make everyone aware that we are still here to serve you throughout this coming year.’

Most Read