There are a number of considerations to make in order to help you to make the best decision for you and your family:
Step 1: Create a list of what you “need” in a home.
Step 2: Create a list of what you “want” in a home.
Step 3: Assuming that budget is not an issue, evaluate whether or not your home is capable of providing you with what you need. For example, if you are on a narrow lot, and need a double car garage instead of your single, it’s likely not possible to create the home of your dreams.
On the other hand, it might just be a matter of utilizing your current space better. You may need to approach a designer/contractor for this to fully determine what you can and cannot do (HINT: anything can be done, but are you willing to spend what is needed to achieve what you want). A designer can help you to determine how you might be able to better utilize various spaces within your home. If renovations are needed, a contractor can help you understand the considerations and implications for this.
Another alternative you may want to consider is expanding your current space. Evaluate if your property lot is large enough to add additional space. If you think it can, consult with a designer and contractor to create a plan for adding space, and maximizing not only the new space, but the original rooms in your house as well. This will create a smooth and consistent design and flow throughout your home. As well, a contractor can help you to determine what can be done, and how much it will cost you.
Iain Kent of Eagleview Construction has noticed an increase in homeowners opting for additions to their home this year. “We’ve heard over and over again from homeowners that they love their current neighbourhood, but have run out of room in their current house and can’t find anything in the area that meets their needs and budgets,” says Kent. “Additions can be a great way to add that much-needed living space, but can come with a hefty price tag. A typical addition can run anywhere from $75,000 to well over $200,000 depending on the amount of space being added, the types of rooms being added (kitchens and bathrooms tend to be more expensive than other rooms) and the types of finishes desired.”
Now, before considering a renovation of this magnitude, you should always consult with your mortgage professional, real estate agent, and financial planner. Stephen Green of RBC Financial has seen this option weighed a number of times, but sometimes it is simply better to sell to get what you need. “If you do you have sufficient equity to draw from in your current residence it may be worth pulling that out towards the renovation, provided the final value actually does increase. This is where both your mortgage professional and your real estate agent can come in the play. If both your real estate agent and your mortgage professional deem it not to be a good decision to renovate, it might be the right time to list it and find the home that does everything. Sometimes the time and effort of a renovation is far more tedious than simply buying the house that is already what you want,” says Green.
Kent has noted that, despite the effort, many are still finding an addition the more desirable option. “With the growing trend of families wanting to live more centrally, many of the homes in the older areas of town are smaller than what modern households might require, and to find a bigger house in the same area might either be completely out of the budget or simply non-existent, says Kent. “Whatever the case may be, many clients are choosing that renovating and adding an addition to increase their livable space is the best option.”
Now, if you have deemed that you are ready and prepared to take on the renovation, you may be looking at your bank account, and wondering the best way to fund it. We asked Green about this, and he said, “If you are looking to do a large scale renovation, first ask your mortgage professional if there is an option to withdraw equity from your current home. Any line of credit that is secured against a property is always at a lower rate because there is security against it. If the value goes up from the work you have completed, you could then possibly move those funds into a mortgage portion to work at paying down principle. Another option is to go with a regular unsecured line of credit and then wrap it into your mortgage after the fact.”
Any renovation, large or small, should be given careful planning consideration in order to ensure a successful execution. In addition, local qualified contractors are finding themselves booked months into the future in order to keep up with market demand. Once the decision has been made, you’ll want to start the planning process and consult with a residential designer to help you to plan your renovation, and secure the materials that you need in order to keep the project on track.
- It will get messy – There is no sugar-coating this! You might think that you’re prepared for this, but most people are creatures of habit and a disruption like this can be difficult to cope with at times. Despite best efforts to maintain a level of cleanliness, you will need to be prepared to lower your daily standards of clean.
- Backup plan – With any renovation, there is always a margin of unknown and this could mean delays. If you have a tight timeline for when you expect things to be finished, ensure that you have a backup plan in case things go wrong.
- Find off-site storage – Review long-term versus short-term storage options and consider purging any items that will not be included in the new design instead of storing these unnecessarily.
- Protect your valuables – No matter how professional and careful your hired contractors are, accidents can happen. We recommend moving valuables off-site, to a secure facility such as your off-site storage, safety deposit box, or a trusted family member or friend.
- Find a safe haven for your pets – Change can be stressful on your pets, not to mention that the dust and debris throughout the process can be dangerous if accidentally ingested. If possible, find a temporary home for your furry friends.
- Consider finding a temporary residence – While this may seem like an added expense, it could mean savings for you in the long run. By finding a temporary residence, you will enjoy a more convenient lifestyle, allowing you to be more comfortable and productive, while allowing your team of workers the freedom to come and go from the work site at their discretion. When living in the home during renovations, your workers will ensure that you have as comfortable of a living space as possible at the end of each day, but this takes time to tidy and clean, and those are billable hours. If you have any allergies or sensitivities, regardless of how clean the home is kept during renovations, you may find that your body will react adversely to the presence of dust, fumes, and other renovation materials.