Planning a home improvement project?

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Kitchen renovation offers best return on investment: survey

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It’s often been said that the kitchen is the heart of the home so it’s no surprise that it offers the biggest bang for your buck when it comes to home upgrades.

“Kitchen renovations typically yield the greatest return on investment, as this space is most frequently used and is perceived as the gathering place and the heart of the home,” says Mike Heddle, broker and team leader, Royal LePage State Realty in Stoney Creek.

“When a potential buyer views a home for the first time, the one thing that will stand out – for better or worse – is what the kitchen looked and felt like. They may not remember the size of the bedrooms or the colour of the walls, but they will remember the kitchen.”

According to Royal LePage’s Return on Investment survey of real estate professionals across the country, a kitchen renovation is the most worthwhile home improvement project.

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On average, it has the potential to increase a property’s value by 20 per cent. A bathroom renovation ranked second, with the potential to increase a home’s value by an average of 16 per cent.

Basement renovations followed at third (finished basement) and fourth (basement apartment). Each has the potential to increase a home’s value by an average of 15 per cent.

“In today’s market, investing in a basement apartment can greatly increase the value of a home, largely because it can help offset mortgage costs with a rental unit or appeal to newcomers looking for multigenerational homes,” Heddle says.

Window replacements can increase the value of a home by 13 per cent and interior painting can increase its value by 12 per cent. And exterior projects? An outdoor entertaining space or landscaping could increase a property’s value by about 10 per cent, while a pool could increase a home’s value by just six per cent.

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The survey found prospective sellers have been less inclined to renovate their homes prior to listing since the onset of the pandemic, largely because it’s been a seller’s market.

As the market shifts, some may want to consider a different approach. “Properties that are turnkey with modern finishes spend less time on the market,” says Heddle.

Even if you’re not planning to sell, there are lots of reasons to consider upgrading your home. “Whether it’s a new kitchen or upgrading your outdoor space, home renovations are a worthwhile investment, as you and your family will enjoy the new space, in addition to the potential increase to the overall property value.”

Many homeowners tackle a renovation to transform a dated space, so it better reflects the way they live today, as illustrated by some of the projects that earned the 2022 BILD (Building Industry and Land Development Association) Renovation Awards. The renovators behind these projects are Greater Toronto Area-based members of the national RenoMark program.

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KITCHEN RENOVATION

The assignment. The homeowners love spending time in the kitchen with family and enjoy entertaining guests but the kitchen in their century home lacked natural light and didn’t take full advantage of spectacular ravine views, says Mike Bean of MGB Construction Group. Because the kitchen was part of a full home renovation, MGB could open the back of the house. Natural light now pours through the rear floor-to-ceiling windows, resulting in a bright, open-concept kitchen featuring modern amenities.

Kitchen trends. Comfort and the ability to function with other spaces in the home top kitchen renovation trends. Kitchens are becoming a “seamless” part of adjoining rooms and requests for built-in seating and desk space are common.

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Best advice. BFP: Be fully prepared. “Plan and design plan and design again,” Bean says. “It’s the most important part of any renovation but especially the kitchen, as numerous trades and suppliers are involved in this project.” He encourages homeowners to be open to advice from the professionals they hire.

BATHROOM RENOVATION

The assignment. In addition to having a safe, accessible bathroom, the owners wanted aging in place to look and feel sexy. A large format porcelain tile on the main floor and back wall minimizes grout lines. Bamboo-looking tiles installed behind the toilet and on the shower fixtures wall help balance the movement in the larger tiles and bring an organic feel to the space. White linear textured tiles installed vertically behind the sinks provide a crisp white and modern backdrop for matte black fixtures, which contrast beautifully with neutral cabinetry.

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Bathroom renovation trends. There’s a definite shift towards bespoke (custom-made) boutique bathrooms and wet rooms that encompass both the shower and the bathtub, says designer Christina Fox. Homeowners are “starting to flirt” with technology, such as toilets with budget functions and smart mirrors.

Best advice. Hire a design-build firm that’s accountable for the project from design through construction. That includes sourcing design options within your budget and ensuring quality control.

BASEMENT RENOVATION

The assignment. The owner wanted to create an open and casual basement space for his team to hang out and enjoy a meal. The project involved increasing the height of the basement by 24 inches, so it no longer felt dark and cramped, which required underpinning, says Wallzcorp Inc. owner Nima Ahmadi. A hidden door on the main floor opens to a hallway that’s painted in red – a nod to the business’s corporate culture – and leads to the basement.

Basement trends. Homeowners are maximizing every square inch of their home and transforming under-utilized basements to meet very specific uses, such as an office, a spa or place to entertain.

Best advice. Create a clear roadmap with insight from professionals who can help you visualize the possibilities.

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