Homeowners and prospective buyers come at the idea of renovations in a variety of ways.
Some consider making improvements to add value to their home before selling. Others weigh the idea of enhancing their personal living space with shopping for a home that better meets their needs. Still others look at buying low and doing basic renos as a way to turn a quick profit.
In the Capital Region, the last category is pretty much non-existent, given the relatively flat prices, says agent and Victoria Real Estate Board member Wendy Moreton.
For other people, however, certain factors are important to consider.
“The first thing I would look at would be the market conditions, to see who’s buying right now,” she says.
“Are people wanting (the home) all done, or are people willing to roll up their sleeves and do the work?”
While kitchen and bathroom makeovers get many people excited, renovators have to be careful about how they go about such jobs.
“There’s cost-effective, there’s thrifty and then there’s just plain cheap,” Moreton says. “Sometimes people will do cheap and quick, but the majority of people can see through those kind of renovations.”
Spending a little more on such features as proper cabinet installations, decent bathroom fixtures, and well-fitted carpet or flooring can pay off in getting more serious prospective buyers.
Also crucial to consider is whether the property is a good candidate for a reno, Moreton says.
If it’s “a good little house with a good layout,” it might be a good candidate, she says, whereas if it’s on a busy corner or is clearly run-down, it might not be worth putting money into.
Experts say that while certain homebuyers are skilled enough to do some work themselves, they make up a small percentage of the total.
It’s also common for people to be surprised by the cost of renovations. When buyers purchase an older house that needs work, the upgrades frequently cost more than expected.
A good idea is talking first to a professional with renovation experience. For homebuyers on a budget, create a list of improvement priorities, work with a builder from there and spread costs over a period of years.
– Don Descoteau