Best Home Renovations


The Home Renovation Industry

We all know what we see on TV isn’t real, but the amount of home renovation shows over the last decade has changed the way people think and their expectations about renovating homes. We are more educated about design, open interiors, and granite counter tops and let’s not forget about stainless steel appliances.

But over the years of watching TV, in my opinion people have unrealistic expectation of the renovation process. On any renovation show you might see a whole house renovated for $50,000 or a high-end kitchen installed for $25,000 and start to finished in a 30 min show. (amazing !!)

Financial side of home renovations

Total spending associated with residential renovations and repairs has more than doubled since the late 1990s to nearly $64 billion last year, or nearly four per cent of Canada’s GDP. Debt-rating agency Fitch estimates Canadian home prices are, on average, 20 per cent too high. If there’s a significant correction, or a crash, homeowners will not only be faced with both the declining value of their homes, but paying back tens of thousands to the bank on top of it—potentially leaving them on the hook for more than their homes are worth.

Before you commit to a renovation project, get a financial plan and look at your situation. Ideally you have the cash to pay in full, but most use a line of credit tied to the equity in their homes. The danger with a line of credit is it doesn’t require you to repay principal each month. “The banks often only requires interest and people fall under the assumption that they can manage the interest payments, therefore they can go ahead with the renovation. But eventually the principal has to be repaid.

Best investment for your home Renovation Buck

Obviously a renovation always sounds great, but your house on an average street doesn’t have to look like the 20 million waterfront house in the magazine. A $10,000 porcelain toilet for your bathroom in an average home is probably not going to be a good investment, nor is putting a $25,000 kitchen in a 20 million waterfront house. If it’s not up to the quality expected in the neighbourhood, don’t do it.” Also remember your new kitchen won’t be considered new unless you sell in the next couple years. Real Estate investing

If you’re concerned about resale value, stay away from personalized designs, bright colours. “Pick something relatively neutral for your countertops and cabinetry, and always think what a potential buyer would like. Although every expert seem to have different opinions on the best renovations for your money. here are just a few.

Some of the best home renovations for your money are:

1 Remodel kitchen
2 Adding additional bathrooms
3 Paint interior and exterior
4 Rental suites/ extra space
5 Basic updates/street appeal

Some of the worst home renovations for your money are:

1 In-ground pools
2 whirlpools/spa’s
3 Sunrooms
4 Expensive landscaping
5 Skylight replacement

This is Percentage recovered upon resale written by Style At Home

Kitchen upgrade: 75% to 100%
Bathroom upgrade: 75% to 100%
Interior painting: 50% to 100%
Roof replacement: 50% to 80%
Replacement of furnace or heating system: 50% to 80%
Expansion (addition of family room): 50% to 75%
Doors and windows: 50% to 75%
Deck: 50% to 75%
Installation of hardwood floor: 50% to 75%
Construction of a garage: 50% to 75%
Fireplace (wood or gas) 50% to 75%
Central air conditioning: 50% to 75%
Finished basement: 50% to 75%
Wood fence: 25% to 50%
Interlocking paving stones on driveway: 25% to 50%
Landscaping: 25% to 50%
Asphalt driveway: 20% to 50%
Pool: 10% to 40%
Skylights: 0% to 25%


Everybody knows the age-old story of wanting to keep up with the Joneses but choosing the right renovations and the correct contractor can make your renovation a success. Remember Location, Location, Location




    • Tom, I was surprised by some of the percentage as well. Roof, heating and windows I thought had a high rate of return. I wasn’t surprised by pools and hot tubs.

  1. The home renovation is tempting. I used to have a neighbor who was very handy. He did the hardwood floor for his entire house, and installed the lawn sprinkler system. He told me that, the DIY work looked so easy on the TV, actually it was not.

    In your list of renovations, what attracts me the most is the sun room. That would be my paradise. When I did the house hunting several years ago, any house with sun room or screened porch would be a big plus. At the end, I had to compromise, and selected a house without either of them. If I win the lottery, definitely I’ll have my dream come true.

    • Hi Helen, I DIY on all home renovations except for electrical. I agree with your neighbor it is hard work and not easy. Unfortunately I have lived in my house for over 20 years and some of the renovations I did then, needs to be renovated again.

  2. Hi Steve,

    Awesome post. I love reading about home renos!

    I agree that HGTV is never the reality. I used to watch Income Property and Flip or Flop all the time. Inspired by their designs, I wanted those designs for our basement. But nope, it wasn’t as classy as that!

    We hired someone to do our basement. The good thing is we didn’t borrow money to do this. But oh my goodness, this was my biggest regret ever. I mean, it didn’t turn out horrible or to be a nightmare, but it was definitely not HGTV style. FAR away from that!

    My friends and family call me picky just because they like it and think it’s nice. But with what it turned out to be, I would’ve hired another contractor and not go with my dad’s friend’s recommendation. ‘Til this day, I just tell myself it was experience and we learned from it. I would honestly do things soooo differently if I could relive that moment.

    I agree with everything you mentioned in this post about what’s the best returns or not. The easiest and my most favorite is paint. That does so much wonders. Next, I would say kitchen and bath (keeping in mind efficient layout and space).

    There’s so many inexpensive design hacks that add tremendous value to your place. I love it when I see beautiful ceramic or porcelain tiles on really cheap clearance… that’s like the best bang for your buck!

    • That’s funny, I use to watch HGTV and all the DIY shows, now I only watch Caribbean life or Mexico life just for the exotic locals. I agree paint is probably my favorite DIY because my wife loves to paint so I don’t have to do it.

  3. Great post! Canadians are obsessed with using their HELOCs for home renovations. I really like doing renos (well pretty much gutted a house and hired a contractor to knock down walls, update a kitchen, etc.) but it’s not for the faint of heart. I agree that paint really helps update the place. Thanks for sharing the list of renos that don’t do well.

    • I agree with you GYM, Canadians are obsessed with using their HELOCs and not just for home renovations but more like a ATM for holidays, auto’s, and paying the bills. Canadians owe 170 per cent of disposable income. Crazy !

  4. “A high-end kitchen installed for $25,000 and start to finished in a 30 min show.” Haha…I have often wondered how they pull off these tricks! We are looking at doing some remodel here and there at our house after we have paid off a bit more of the mortgage. The focus will be on the kitchen and bathrooms. i would love to have a pool…but see it’s a waste of money! 😃

    • Hi Enoch, It has taken me over 20 years to renovate our house, when I had extra money I would pick a reno project, now the house has been fully renovated.

    • Michael, A high end kitchen would be nice, I put in a middle of the road kitchen when I renovated, I couldn’t justify spending the extra for the high end stuff.

  5. I find people seem to be obsessed with renovating their home. There always seem to be something that needs to be redone. I get it when your house is getting really old but most houses are not at that point yet.
    If you are going to do a big renovation, I think it is an emotional decision because money wise there is no guarantee you will ever get anything back. I see houses where the owners have redone everything and it’s not to my taste at all, no added value!

    • Hi Caroline, definitely emotional decision, renovating does not mean you will get your money back when you sell. If you are renovating for resale you have to be very careful where you spend your money.

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