Best Areas to Spend Your Renovation Dollars

Renovating your house, can be a daunting experience, especially if you have to live in the house while renovations are going on.

But why are you renovating? If it is to increase the value of your home, then you had better make sure you are putting your dollars into the right renovation.

One great way, to find out, is to get a professional real estate agent, with a good track record and lots of years of experience, to come and value your home.

We did this, and were very surprised at some of his answers. We assumed that the kitchen needed replacing, which was going to cost thousands, when in fact, he felt the cabinets were in good shape but the hardware and the counter top were dated and needed replacing. Which was much cheaper than a new kitchen, and looked really good when it was done. The kitchen looked brand new!

The bathroom was our next place of attack, but he said our bathroom was in really good shape, but should replace the vanity cabinet, as it was dated and dingy. We also repainted with a fresh neutral color and a new shower curtain, and got rid of all those mismatched towels, and got some fresh color co-ordinate towels, and the bathroom looked new again.

Curb appeal is a big one. He said edging of the driveway, makes a huge impression to a potential purchaser and adds to the value of your home. Everyone loves clean lines, it makes your home look cared for.

One renovation project he said would add thousands of dollars to the value of the house was to create a walk out from an old window.  There was no entrance on this side except for the garage so by adding a sliding walk out door we added huge value.Best Home ImprovementsCredit: diane palmer

The front door. Ours was a steel front door with dents. He felt it would be a good investment to get a new door.

The front deck was missing a railing, we had just never got around to it, so we finished it.

The point here, is to do renovations for yourself, as well as for a potential market. Even if you don't plan on selling right now, you never know, things can change quickly. New job, maybe you start a family, or maybe you are downsizing.

Renovations need to be planned out carefully. You need to spend your money in all the right areas. There is no sense in spending thousands on a high end kitchen, if the rest of the house is falling apart. You need to make a list of your necessary renovations, such as new roof or furnace, before you get started on the wants.Home Renovation DollarsCredit: diane palmer

Make a list of your "needs" and your "wants" and then make a budget for your renovation projects. Always keep in mind that this is your most valuable asset, you want to keep it that way. You don't want to be putting in more dollars than you could ever get back out.

If the rest of your street has houses much like yours, than adding a 30,000 dollar kitchen, is not going to bring you in more dollars when it comes time to sell. If this is what YOU really wanted, then you have to remember, that this comes under the "wants" list. Consider carefully you renovation dollars and maybe come up with a cheaper alternative.

If you can do some work yourself in your home, then you can save a fair bit of money. If you are not handy, you could still do any of the small demolitions and cleanup, making things ready for a tradesperson. This will save you, paying them a high dollar per hour to rip down old drywall etc.

Also, many of the larger hardware stores, offer free Saturday morning courses. These are great and informative courses, on things such as painting, when to use oil paint versus latex, how to tile a wall. All kinds of good informative course for the home handyman.

Make sure you also get a good recommendation for trades people. Try to allow for the "unforeseen emergencies" that can come up once a wall is exposed. This can happen, so allow some extra padding, but be careful of the "while you are at it" expenses, that can add up quickly. Stick to your plan as best you can.

If the purpose of your home renovations is to sell, then go through each room, and follow the advice of a real estate agent, they have lots of experience in this field. Make a list and stick to it.

It is amazing, what potential buyers will not like. Sometimes it is not the most obvious. In our case, we were selling, we had the new kitchen, fresh paint, everything looked like a magazine, until this buyer noticed the underside of the stairs going to the basement. Most new houses now drywall that part, and ours was not. We never even thought about it before.

Have a party and ask people what they would change if they were buying your house, you might get surprised at the answers. If you get a few common answers, then this is a good indicator of what a potential buyer would be looking for. If nothing else you get a fresh perspective of your renovation ideas.