Which renovations should you pursue before winter comes

Reporter/Byline: Brendan Charters for the Toronto Star

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As colder months approach, your family will be spending more time indoors. As a result, you may be planning on upgrading your home to suit your family’s changing needs. But with tight budgets, it’s not always easy to decide between installing heated floors or new countertops.

When weighing your renovation options, you must evaluate the value you place on each project to ensure you’re maximizing your resources.

There are many different types of value, all unique to the desires of the individual. A residential remodel intends to change the way the current home either functions or looks to suit the needs and wishes of its occupants. The challenge is first to determine what your priorities are. While this can seem like a simple wish list, you may often find that you initial desires are not necessarily what is best for you, or our home, and the journey can shift our focus to a new set of “values.”

Here are four value categories to help you assess which renovations are most important to you:

Resale value:

This is the most common issue raised and is always top of mind. The factor driving the weight of this is how long you plan to stay in your home. If it’s five years or less, it requires heavy weighting. If over 10 years, it becomes fairly lightweight as housing trends quickly change. Renovations can date themselves, too, so anything over 10 years will likely call for an update of at least some finishes from a new owner.

Enjoyment value:

How badly are the changes you are planning needed or desired? Do you have a fourth child on the way and living in a two-bedroom house? That addition is pretty critical. Likewise, while the third-floor urban greenhouse may not add millions to the future selling price, if it is part of your retirement dream and will bring years of enjoyment to you, so that value should not be discounted.

Health & comfort value:

With so many new products on the market today, it is worth it to research the health impacts of different products you may consider installing in your home. Whenever possible, stick to natural materials, which are always better in the long run. Every house works as a system, and any changes to the building envelope and the HVAC system will affect the comfort of the home and the long-term health of its occupants. Topics such as radon gas, moisture and air management, R-value and off-gassing need to be discussions, if not research topics for every good renovation.

Social value:

How does the home consume energy, if at all? How does the renovation take environmental impacts into consideration when it comes to waste creation, salvage and new resource management? How does it fit within the surrounding area? These are all important questions to ask.

You may want to consider calling a professional to start to ensure your project is off on the right foot.

First published in the Toronto Star on October 19, 2012.

Related:
5 home renos that pay

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