Kitchens can add the most value to your home when they are renovated.

Kitchens can add the most value to your home when they are renovated.

Given that your home is likely both the biggest asset and the biggest debt that you have, it only makes sense to do everything you can to grow that asset side of your balance sheet. If you are considering renovations with a specific interest in trying to get the most bang for your renovation buck, realize that not all renovations are equal, literally.

That’s not to say there isn’t value putting your own personal stamp on your home through renovations- there is. It’s just calculated differently. Your home is where you lay your roots, and where you can express yourself most freely, which creates an intangible sense of value. In fact, the Appraisal Institute of Canada lists their top five renovations for dollar value and has issued a separate list for enjoyment value. However, if you are trying to decide between a couple of renovation projects, or if you plan to sell your home in the foreseeable future and would like to seek top dollar, here are some of the top renovations to get the best return back on your investment.

The kitchen

The kitchen is known as the heart of the home, and it is easy to see why. It’s usually the hub of entertaining and family gathering. These days, it’s also mission command, with parents overseeing kids doing homework and the like while they are cooking dinner.

While hands down, a full kitchen reno is most likely one of the more expensive jobs you can take on to improve your home, it’s also where you will recoup the highest percentage of your costs.

If you can’t afford a full kitchen makeover, you can update your kitchen much less expensively by refacing cabinets and changing out hardware and fixtures to more contemporary styles.

The bathroom

Bathrooms have a funny way of becoming dated often more quickly before other areas of the house. It can be pricy to switch out tile and tubs, but it can really be worth it in the long run.

Similarly, if you are able to add even a three-piece bathroom anywhere in the house, you’ve just expanded your home’s sellable features, and can ask your price accordingly.

Windows and doors

While not the most glam of home renovations and repairs, any homeowner who understands the costs in maintaining and repairing a home will appreciate new, high-quality windows and doors. Not only will these help keep the house airtight and keep energy bills down, it’s one expense that a new homeowner will be able to put off for a while.

The basement

Statistics vary, but generally you can expect to recoup about 50-75 per cent of your costs when finishing your basement.

Finishing your basement effectively increases your home’s square footage, while offering living and configuration options for prospective buyers down the road. For extra value, consider putting in an extra bedroom, office and/or bathroom down there.

The garage

The garage is an often overlooked area of square footage in a home as well, typically serving as a storage catch-all. A simple organization system can help vastly increase your storage space. New garage doors also generally get a really good return on investment as well.

Curb appeal

Projects that help support and promote curb appeal will go a long way to increase the perceived value of your home. You’ve heard that you only have one chance to make a first impression? That is certainly the case when it comes to your home. Don’t underestimate the power of curb appeal. Many prospective home buyers have their mind made up about your house as they enter the front door.

Pay attention to exterior lighting, walkways, landscaping and back decks, which are a project where you can generally recoup a great deal of your costs.

Story contributed by Heather Wright