Top 5 Home Updates That Pay Off

Calgary Home Renovations That Pay Off Malbec Homes

#1 Minor Bathroom Remodel

Average return at resale: 102 percent

It costs about $10,500 to replace the tub, tile surround, floor, toilet, sink, vanity and fixtures. You’ll get back an average of $10,700 at resale, a recoup rate of 102 percent.

If you can pipe a child’s name on a birthday cake, you can re-caulk a tub. Use a softener like CAULK-BE-GONE to get rid of the old caulk. Fill the tub with water after you’re done to stretch caulk while it dries.

If your old tub is too large to fit out the door, re-glaze it for a like-new finish. Cost: $300 to $400.

Remove dated wall coverings and apply a fresh coat of paint. For damaged walls, spray-on texture provides quick coverage. Replace old shower doors or remove them to add the illusion of space. 

#2 Landscaping

Average return at resale: 100 percent

The average homeowner spends about $3,502 for landscaping and $1,465 on a designer, according to the American Nursery Landscape Association.

Not sure where to start? Local garden centers often offer free design services or ask the neighbors what works for them.

Sod costs about 30 to 35 cents a square foot, so a 5,000 sq. ft. yard would cost about $1,500 to sod. Budget for delivery fee if you buy less than 1,000 sq. ft. of sod.

A splash of color at the front of the house is an eye-catching plus. For maximum impact, use one color and vary the height of plants.

If your doorway is overwhelmed by greenery, get out the shears. Replace overgrown shrubbery with flowering foundation plants, mixing heights and colors for dramatic effect.

A charming focal point like a walkway and fountain adds major value to your property. Roll a sealant on flagstones for a permanent wet look that enhances the color.

Kitchen Remodel Calgary Malbec Homes and Renovations

#3 Minor Kitchen Remodel

Average return at resale: 98.5 percent

A minor kitchen remodel averages $14,913 for $14,691 at resale, a recoup rate of 98.5 percent. Do a minor remodel when your kitchen needs a cosmetic update and not a drastically different floor plan.

A $15,000 kitchen update covers 30 feet of re-facing for cabinets and drawers, a new wall oven, cooktop, sink and fixtures, laminate countertops and resilient flooring.

Put recessed lights 3’ to 5’ apart on center and 18" from cabinets to light the countertops. Running the lights between two joists is easier than running through the joists.

If your home is worth more than $500,000, go with stone or trendy glass countertops.

Cover old vinyl with floor leveler so the pattern doesn’t bleed through. You can’t put a second layer of vinyl on if the subfloor is below-grade concrete.

Brighten up the kitchen by sanding and painting existing cabinets. It's much less expensive than buying new ones. 

Add decorator detail without the cost by changing drapes and window molding. 

Home Exterior Renovation Calgary

#4 - Exterior Improvements

(Vinyl Siding, Paint, Updated Front Entry)

Average return at resale: 95.5 percent

The average national cost to replace 1,250 sq. ft. of vinyl siding: $7,239. Average return: $6,914, with a recoup rate of 95.5 percent.

A gallon of paint covers 400 sq. ft. of house.

Paint color cards take the guesswork out of choosing the right color combination for doors, trim and siding. 

If your house was painted before 1978, test for lead before sanding or scraping.

Upscale, fiber-cement siding costs $10,393 and returns $10,771 at resale, an even better recoup rate of 103.6 percent

If you need columns to hold up a pergola, purchase the load-bearing type. Fiberglass composite columns are popular and durable. Check salvage yards for unique historic columns.

For an updated look, remove old awnings from windows and doors. Swap damaged wrought-iron railings for real wood supports for a more inviting entry. Give a bare, charmless porch a dramatic makeover by adding a pergola and columns.

Calgary Home Renovation Basement Malbec Homes

#5 Basement Remodel

Average return at resale: 90.1 percent

The average basement remodel costs just over $51,051 and returns $46,010, so you’ll recoup about 90 percent of the cost.

What do you get for $51,051? A 20 x 30 entertaining area with wet bar, a 5x8 bath, recessed lighting and a laminate floor.

Remember when finishing walls, you should keep your drywall panels a half-inch away from concrete floors, so they don’t absorb moisture.

Always fix flooding problems first. Add French drains, bigger gutters or re-slope the yard to keep water out. Test to make sure the fixes work before investing time or materials in a basement.

Want just the wet bar? Buy 10 linear feet of cabinets, a laminate countertop, a stainless steel drop-in bar sink and an under-counter refrigerator for about $2,500.

Cover concrete floors with an easy-to-install modular subfloor so floors won’t be cold. Add carpet squares with a traction backing for an amazing transformation.

In the West, basement remodels return 108 percent of cost, in the Midwest, 73 percent.

 

 

NOTE: ROI values and remodeling costs are subject to change.

Dream to Done: How to Build a Renovation Plan to Match Your Budget

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Part 1 in a new series on how to remodel a home, from the initial vision to completion

As a client, you may feel like you have little influence over whether your remodeling project stays on budget and hits the finish line on time. But you have more control than you might think. Remember, the scope of your project and the specific materials are up to you. 

The key to keeping a project on budget and on a schedule is nailing down the details before ground breaks. If you’ve never renovated or built a new home, you may not be sure about how the seed of an idea turns into a completed project. Here’s a roadmap for two early steps: putting together your renovation team and nailing down your project’s cost. 

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Who Will Help You Build Your Vision?

Before you meet with a professional, you should know what you want to accomplish. Is your goal to tear out your entire kitchen and start fresh? Or are you looking for less costly upgrades, perhaps replacing cabinet fronts and a tired backsplash? Or do you want to remodel your whole house?

Some homeowners know only that the current home isn’t working for them but aren’t sure how to fix it. If you are in this group, you may decide to work with professionals who can help you develop a plan and advise you on cost. A recent survey showed that 85 percent of Houzzers who renovated in 2015 did so with professional help. The survey covered 120,000 registered Houzz users, including 70,000 who renovated.

What Exactly Do Pros Do?

The most important documents you will need are the construction plans. Your building plans must be approved by an agency to make sure the home is safe and meets local codes. So unless you are familiar with building codes and construction methods, you will want to hire a professional to draft these plans. Rules for which pros can draft plans vary by state (and in some states by county or municipality) and with the size and type of project. Look to the local building department or the professionals you contact to explain the rules in your area.

Each profession has its special emphasis. Architects and interior designers create concepts and draw plans. General contractors build the plans. Landscape architects create designs and plans for outdoor spaces. Design-build firms offer both design and building services, some with in-house architects, others by contracting the design work out. 

Houzz guides to home improvement pros

Houzzers who remodeled in 2015 said the most valuable contributions of general contractors and design-build firms were delivering a quality result, finding the right products and materials, staying on budget and managing the project. 

Architects, interior designers, and kitchen and bath designers were appreciated for helping clients integrate their personal style into the design. Houzzers valued architects for understanding and complying with local building codes, and interior designers for finding the right products or materials. But these are only their most-appreciated contributions; each profession has a wide range of skills and resources to offer owners. 

Ask About Options

Many pros offer a range of services, from initial design to project management, which may be priced as menu options or charged at per-hour rates. For just one example, architects can provide evaluation and planning services, which can involve site analysis and selection, economic feasibility studies and helping you determine what you want, need and are willing to pay for. 

Architecture firms offer design services, including documents that define the space’s shape, and they may work closely with engineers as needed in relationship to the structural elements. They also may offer construction management services, involving consulting and coordinating with the various agencies overseeing your project, or manage the bidding process when you search for the right contractor. These are just a handful of the services your architect may provide, so it is worth asking about pricing and what is involved as you shop around. This AIA guide can be helpful. Also, there could be some overlap in the menus of services provided by the different pros, so be sure that you are clear on what you need and what services each will perform. 

Even if you are not planning to hire a professional to design or manage your renovation, you may want to hire a pro on a per-hour basis to help you refine your ideas. “A small percentage of upfront money with a professional can really help clarify the scope of the project and the budget before you get too involved,” says John Firmin, general contractor at Build-A-Home Inc., in Fayetteville, Arkansas, who founded the firm 16 years ago.

Select Your First Team Member

When hiring your first design team member, you can start with a builder, architect, designer, design-build firm or remodeler, depending on your needs and priorities. If you already know a contractor whose work you like, he or she will probably have a list of architects and interior designers to recommend. That is also true if you start with other pros. You also can use Houzz’s directory to find individual professionals, see their past projects and read client reviews. 

Narrow your list down to your favorites and then interview a few people. Ask for and check  references, and drive out to see past projects. Also, see how it might feel to work together make sure you have a rapport with the professional. You should find out whether they listen and whether they are good communicators, says Jon Dick, an architect with Archaeo Architects in Santa Fe, New Mexico, who has been practicing 30 years and worked on more than 100 homes. “Their design ability is very important,” Dick says. “But it’s also a long-term relationship. They’re going to ask pretty personal questions and know a fair amount about you.” 

You should follow this same basic process with an interior designer, landscape architect, general contractor or design-build firm. Keep in mind that the average kitchen remodel takes about five months once construction starts, but three times that long from initial design phase to completion, according to a recent Houzz survey. So the professionals you hire should be people you like and can communicate with. 

Whether to Hire One Pro — or More

Which pros and how many you hire is up to you. Among Houzzers who hired pros for their renovation projects last year, nearly half hired a general contractor, builder, kitchen or bath remodeler, or design-build firm — the professionals who actually build the project. About 20 percent employed an architect, interior designer or kitchen and bath designer.

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A recent Houzz survey found that 2015 home buyers spent $66,600 on renovations, while would-be 2016 home sellers spent $36,300 on renovations.

Be Up Front About Your Number

It’s helpful to be honest about your budget with the professionals you contact. Pros typically work with clients whose budgets are within a certain range. (Sometimes a pro’s range can be found on his or her Houzz profile.) If you fall in love with a pro whose projects start at $50,000, but you have $5,000 to spend, you’re probably not a match. Some homeowners pay a high-end designer to create the initial plan, only to realize that the products and materials suggested are out of range. 

Homeowners without constrained budgets may be afraid to be too forthcoming for fear that pros will push them to spend more than they would like. That’s where checking references and finding people you can communicate with comes in. In the process of vetting the pros you are considering, you will find reputable people who will not push you but use your target number to help guide your plan. 

Some Averages to Go On

If you have never renovated or built a home, you may have no idea how much it’s going to cost. To give you a sense of average budgets, here are some recent stats: People renovating kitchens had budgets ranging from less than $5,000 to more than $100,000, according to a survey of nearly 2,500 owners conducted by Houzz. One-quarter of renovators had budgets of $25,001 to $50,000, while 20 percent had budgets of $15,001 to $25,000. Only 10 percent had budgets of $5,000 or less, and only 6 percent had budgets of more than $100,000. The range of figures here is national; it should be noted that renovation costs vary by region and even city. 

That said, not everyone stays on budget — and that’s true regardless of geography. Only about one-third of Houzzers who renovated last year stayed on budget, while just 3 percent came in below budget. Another third exceeded their budgets, while the remaining third had no initial budget at all. Among those who exceeded their budgets, the top reason was selecting nicer finishes or materials. 

Major kitchen renovations cost an average of $50,700 for spaces 200 square feet or larger, while major renos in smaller kitchens cost about half that, according to Houzz data. A major kitchen renovation includes at least replacing cabinets and appliances. Major master bathroom renovations cost an average $25,600 in rooms at least 100 square feet and about half that for smaller bathrooms. A major bath renovation includes at least replacing the vanity or cabinets and countertops and toilet. Doing it yourself, of course, is less costly.

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Why Renovate?

Malbec Homes Calgary Renovations and Home Improvement

The renovation business is booming. Everyone is remodelling, which is one of the reasons it's so tough to find a good contractor.

Magazines and television shows inspire people to update. Big-box stores are full of great home-renovation products and offer easy financing and seminars for homeowners. No wonder everyone wants to improve their residence - I heard recently that about 10 per cent of Canadian homeowners are planning to make changes to their houses.

Since the average home renovation in this country costs about $15,000, there's a lot of money involved - to pay contractors and subtrades, and buy paint, tools, flooring, lumber, hardware, appliances and a ton of other supplies.

Why are you renovating?

Renovations increase the value of your home, but you need to think about why you're doing it. Is it to improve your home so you can enjoy living in it, to save money by adding energy-efficient windows and insulation, or to make money?

A lot of people are in the last category - and they can be making a big mistake because they often spend their entire budget on things such as finishes and decor, and don't think about what holds their house together, and keeps it dry, safe and standing.

IS IT A FLIP?

Some houses are renovated so they can be "flipped" for a profit. I love to renovate houses - I love to help people improve their homes, to make their dreams come true. And I think a lot of flips are crap.

In my experience, many people who do this are only interested in how the project looks. In order to maximize their profit, they do cover-ups - lipstick and mascara - and then move on, leaving the sucker who bought their house with a big problem - one that might not be discovered for years.

Nobody wants their renovation to bring the value of their house down. Obviously, you want your house to look good, and when it comes time to sell it, it's nice to make a profit. But, if you're renovating with an eye to selling, make sure you aren't just covering up problems. Fix what needs to be done right; take care of the basics - plumbing, electrical, insulation, and heating ventilation and air conditioning. Make the house better than it was when you bought it. Then once you've done that, make it look good.

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WHERE TO PUT YOUR MONEY

Kitchen and bathroom improvements increase the value of your house more than most renovations and offer the highest average return on investment.

The kitchen is the heart of a home - people gather and spend a lot of time there, so renovations that improve that room are a good idea.

Adding living space - either by finishing an unused basement or putting an addition on your home - is the second most popular reason to renovate.

Exterior projects make up almost 40 per cent of renovations and can include installing siding, a roof, deck or patio; improving the foundation; landscaping; fencing; building a garage; painting the exterior; sidewalk or driveway work, and making improvements to the gutters or eavestroughs.

With some renovations, you'll make back what you spend on the upgrades, plus a profit when you go to sell. But that's assuming the work is done well by a skilled contractor, using quality materials. A bad job might reduce the value of your home.

COSMETIC OR PRACTICAL?

Not every renovation you do on your house will give you the same return on investment if you're doing it to sell. You might replace your roof and windows and fix the foundation - and that's the right thing to do.

Practical renovations are smart and worth the investment in the long term.

Unfortunately, a lot of home buyers don't get that excited about these very important points - but a new granite countertop and stainless-steel appliances will impress them every time.

I think that the best reason to renovate your home is to enjoy it. Your home is not just an investment. But if you are renovating to sell, use quality materials and hire professional, skilled people to do the job right.

Mike Holmes is the host of Holmes on Homes on HGTV.

Calgary home sales rise, prices hold steady

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Calgary’s real estate market continued a spring resurgence in April as sales improved across all sectors.

Job growth and reduced single-family inventory helped bring some stability to the local market, according to the Calgary Real Estate Board. Its April report shows sales of single-family homes rose 6 per cent from a year ago, to 1,204 units. Year-to-date sales of detached homes are up 14.6 per cent, at 3,781 units.

Apartment sales rose 5 per cent, to 287 units, last month, and are up almost 18 per cent this year.

“More jobs means less uncertainty for people who are sitting on the fence,” CREB president David Brown said in a release. “There also tends to be fewer people who need to sell when employment improves, and that can prevent inventory gains and further price reductions in the market.” 

The average sale price of a detached home last month was 4 per cent higher than a year ago, at $562,633. The median price also rose 4 per cent, to $503,250.

CREB said steady sales growth has helped reduce housing supply in the city from elevated levels of the past two years. The number of detached homes on the market is down about 20 per cent from a year ago, it said.

“While activity continues to vary by location and product type, more balanced conditions will help to support overall price stability,” its report states. 

Oversupply in the condo apartment category remains a concern as new listings outpace sales growth, keeping prices suppressed, CREB said.

The median price for apartments last month declined 4.1 per cent from April 2016, to $267,000. The average price was unchanged at $303,000, though prices are down almost 12 per cent from the peak of 2014.

“Improvements in the employment situation were necessary to prevent further declines in the housing sector,” said CREB chief economist Ann-Marie Lurie.

“However, economic recovery is still expected to be slow, impacting the pace and quality of job growth. Based on current expectations this should translate into a more prolonged period of recovery in the housing market.”

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5 good reasons to renovate your house

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The best reasons for improving your home may not be the ones you think of right off the bat. Here are five to consider:

Sometimes it’s better to stay put

There are many compelling reasons to move, of course – relocating for work, upsizing for growing families, downsizing for empty nesters, or just needing to be in a different area. However, if these aren’t immediate factors in your case, consider staying put. Moving is not cheap. For a $200,000 home, there can be as much as $25,000 in transaction costs. If you like your area, why not spend that money to improve and renovate the home where you already live? The money not spent to sell your residence and buy a new home can be used to get new appliances, fix the roof or install an outdoor spa.

End the functional obsolescence

Construction preferences, like decorating styles, change over time. What worked when a home was first built may not work today. We’ve all recoiled at the sight of a decades-old kitchen in an otherwise beautiful home or window and flooring treatments that age a room beyond its years. This isn’t just true for décor. It also applies to the actual layout and construction of the house.

If you don’t need a walk-in closet for a guest room, perhaps that space would be more efficiently used as an extra bathroom. If you’ve spent years hauling laundry to the basement, maybe moving the washer/dryer to the main floor is the best improvement you can make for your needs. Or, if you want to create a greater sense of space, consider opening up a living room with sliding glass doors and adding a deck to create a modern, indoor-outdoor living area.

Maintain the basics

A 2015 study by Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies shows that homeowners spent $192 billion on home improvements in 2013, with only 30 percent of that going to discretionary projects that improved a property but not the home’s structural integrity. Most of the spending went to repairs and maintenance.

Making your home and yard more energy- and water-efficient can have immediate and long-term savings. Maintaining the overall repair of the home, including major items such as the roof, electrical and plumbing, is also a good investment as it can save on bills now and help prevent costly repairs in the future.

Tap into equity

With interest rates at or near historic lows during the past few years, millions of owners have locked in numbers they don’t want to give up. At the same time, home values in many areas have gone up and the result is a nest egg of increased equity.

According to the Federal Reserve, between 2010 and the third quarter of 2014, home values increased by $4.78 trillion. At the same time, mortgage debt actually fell from $9.915 trillion to $9.373 trillion, a difference of $542 billion. The net result is new equity worth more than $5 trillion.

These loan-to-value figures allow owners to obtain cash-out home refinances or home equity lines of credit, financing that can be tapped to fund home improvements. If you aren’t planning to move anytime soon, you can use this capital to make your home the best it can be.

Happiness counts

Probably the best reason to make repairs and improvements is to create a home you love. If new landscaping, a dream bathroom or a spa is going to enhance your lifestyle, then why not? A home should be more than a place to avoid the rain – it should provide comfort and enjoyment. For many owners, upgrades and renovations are the fastest path to better living.

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