Five “Thou Shalt Not” Reno Rules For Home Sellers

It’s a great idea to do some renovations before selling your home, but there are some classic mistakes home owners make time and again. Here’s how to avoid them

I've seen it so many times – every real estate agent has. A home owner will renovate their property with the intention of increasing its value before selling, only to make multiple mistakes along the way.

The goal is always to get a better price for your home, but if you spend $100,000 to get $105,000 more on the asking price, is it really worththe time and money you've spent?

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Avoid this scenario by adhering to the following five “thou shalt not” renovation rules.

#1. Thou Shalt Not Tear Down Before Thinking

Renovating a property takes careful planning, and you should allow yourself ample time for things to go wrong. A lot of it depends on how big the project is, as wellas how intricate it is. Going to the shed and pulling out the sledge hammer the second an idea comes to mind isn't advisable. As well as having the proper permits (see point #5), you need to make sure you’re not taking out load-bearing walls, drilling into cables or simply making a mistake that will cause you to halt the project, otherwise you can be left in limbo. Nothing turns a buyer off more than a half-completed renovation project. Plan ahead – and however long you think it will take, double it!

#2. Thou Shalt Not Build Too Big

Size isn't everything, except when it comes to land in Vancouver. Don't go full steam into a project to turn your modestly sized bungalow into a two-storey behemothof a home. On the surface this might seem like a great idea, but if you are in a community full of modest bungalows, do you really want your lot to stand out in the crowd? The neighbours you've known for 10 years might not be too excited to have a giant in the area. Focus on making subtle upgrades to improve the land value, instead of reinventing the wheel.

#3. Thou Shalt Not Renovate In An Illogical Order

One day you are walking through Home Depot getting ideas for renovations and you see a set of windows on sale. They are environmentally efficient so you buy them and install them immediately. A neighbour comes by and mentions that the windows would look even better with a new façade on your house. This is another area where planning comes into play, big time. Putting the cart before the horse can lead to financial burden and tons of stress. Make sure you figure out your design before you make the leap into major renovations.

#4. Thou Shalt Not Go Over Budget

Everyone dreams of making the maximum price on their home sale – after all, that's the ultimate goal. But if you avoid making a budget when renovating for this purpose, your bottom line can start getting lower and lower. Investigate any renovators that you are hiring to make sure they stick to the budget they’ve quoted, and always make sure to get everything in writing. It's always good to give yourself a little breathing room, but anything over 10 per cent isn't wise. If your ideas are expensive, is it really going to increase the final offers you receive from buyers? That is the question to ask yourself.

#5. Thou Shalt Not Avoid Permits

Getting the proper permits is like paying your taxes, it has to be done! Anytime you venture into a remodeling project, it’s essential you've done your research. Checking with city hall is not only essential for securing a permit, it's also essential to find out it's even possible to do the renovation you are planning. If you try to get around this, you are in for a world of hurt. If a city inspector happens to drive past your home it's a good possibility they might realize your property isn't on their radar. Worst-case scenario, they shut the project down completely and force you to tear something down; best-case scenario they make you stop until you get the proper permission. When you go to sell, not having the relevant permits can actually reduce the value of your home. Is it worth the risk?

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