Whether it’s a simple remodel to get the bathroom in shape or an entire overhaul to bring your new place into this century, a home renovation is your ticket. We asked experts in insurance and home financing, plus a realtor and general contractor, for what you should know.
Top tips from our insurance expert:
- Notify your home insurance broker about your planned renovation, no matter how big or small. Prior to the work starting, it’s important that your broker informs your insurance company to ensure you’re properly covered and have sufficient limits. Plus your updates are ultimately adding value to your home, so they need to be documented by your policy holder.
- Make sure any contractors you hire to carry out your home reno have Commercial General Liability Insurance coverage.
- If you’re doing an extensive home renovation that requires you to vacate your home, let your insurance broker know, as it will affect your existing coverage.
Top tips from our mortgage expert:
Are you an about-to-be homeowner with a limited down payment?
Consider financing based on the future ‘as improved’ value of the home. Through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s Purchase Plus Improvement Program, you can obtain a mortgage plus additional funds to complete improvements that increase the property’s value. The program gives you access to funds needed to complete the upgrades, even if you don’t have the required equity.
Are you a homeowner with established home equity?
Access home improvement funds as needed through a home equity line of credit, like Coastal Community’s Primeline. You’ll only be charged for the amount you use, and you can choose to pay off all or part of the outstanding balance at any time. Because a Primeline is secured by property, you also benefit from the lowest rates available.
Are you a homeowner with limited home equity?
Take advantage of today’s low interest rates with a regular line of credit or personal loan. These are great alternatives to high interest solutions like credit cards.
Tips from our realty expert:
- Be careful not to overspend with your reno, as you may not recover all your money in the selling price. Find out from your realtor what your home is worth in the current market and what it would be worth with the renovations—you might be surprised that you might not get the return on investment (ROI) you had planned.
- Kitchens and bathrooms have the best ROI and are likely the most used part of the home. Simple plans that appeal to the largest number of home buyers are ideal. And don’t forget about curb appeal! A nice looking yard will draw buyers into the home.
- Think energy efficiency! Items such as thermopane windows, solid core doors, proper weather stripping, added insulation in the attic, and improved air quality with the installation of a heat recovery ventilation system (HRV) are all worthwhile investments. Check out BC Hydro’s website for more information.
- Consider hiring professionals to take care of flooring and painting. If not done right, a prospective buyer will be estimating how much to take off your asking price to re-do what you just did.
Hired a contractor to take on your home reno? Here’s what you need to know
Tips from contractor expert:
- Begin by doing your homework (no pun intended!). As the homeowner, it’s your responsibility to make sure you’re complying with local bylaws and building requirements, so check with your local building department—they’re there for your benefit! Remember, work done without the required permits or inspections will almost always devaluate your property.
- Have a plan and a budget, and make sure both accurately represent what you want.
- Get current references. If you’re hiring a contractor of any kind, get a current reference. Go ahead and talk to their recent clients—they’ll be more than happy to tell you about their experiences, good and bad. Do the same for sub-trades too.
- Relax and be happy! Take pictures, celebrate reno milestones, or sign your name somewhere special. Although a renovation can be like having a baby (short-term pain for long-term gain) it’s also an adventure, so have fun with it.