The 2 Best Renovations for Return on Investment


The Two Best Renovations for Return on Investment

I used to be obsessed with watching HGTV when I had cable (hello, Scott MacGillivray from Income Property? Need I say more).  Now that I don’t have cable (for a few years now) I am in rehab from my addiction to HGTV.

In Vancouver, it almost seems as if you don’t need to do very much and you still get a crazy return from initial investment “The market keeps going up” but there are a two home renovations that do provide more ‘bang for the buck’.  Of course your primary residence shouldn’t necessarily be considered an investment, but in crazy real estate markets like Vancouver, many people consider it their only form of investment and leverage like crazy and hope for the best.

In fact, the average price of a Vancouver condo increased to $650,000+, up 15.1% from one year earlier according to June 2017 reports in the Globe and Mail.

my renovations thus far:

I have been in my condo for the past 4 years or so and have made about $3000 in a bathroom renovation (I changed the bathroom countertop, changed the tiles in the bathroom to glass tiles, added a glass shower door) before I moved into the apartment.  The bathroom was nice, it was clean but it had a ‘motel’ look to it (white tiles) and I couldn’t deal with that.  Call me a princess or a spoiled millennial but I wanted soothing aqua blue glass tiles.

More recently, I have changed out the appliances in the kitchen to stainless steel appliances (from white appliances) to the tune of about another $3000 (new fridge, new stove, new dishwasher, and new over the range microwave).  I bought the appliances at Best Buy and saved money by negotiating.  Ideally, I would change the countertop in my kitchen and change the backsplash to something different to complete the updated look.

I also had it professionally painted for around $600 before I moved in.  4 years later with my dog who sheds everywhere it’s looking like the paint needs a touch up!

So in total, I spent about $6600 on renovations for my home.  I recently changed the appliances to stainless steel because I needed a bigger fridge for frozen meals (perhaps it was my nesting instinct, instead of cleaning I got a new fridge) given the new baby joining the family and also because the dishwasher was getting old.  Everything was working though but probably in need of updating soon anyway.  My reasoning was that if I were to sell this in about two years, then I might as well enjoy some of the updates now rather than later.

The Two Best Renovations for Return on Investment:

Well I’m sure you’ve guessed it by now…

According to This Old House the two renovations that provide the most return on investment are the kitchen and bathrooms.  This is where most people spend most of their time.  They are considered more costly to renovate though.  They also recommend neutral colours that are timeless.

HGTV estimates that the return on investment for kitchen and bathroom renovations are about 100% return of cost.

Moneysense suggests that you don’t need to update the whole thing or rip out the whole kitchen to renovate.  They suggest small changes that provide big impact, like changing the countertop or even resurfacing the wood cabinets or changing the light fixtures.

the small change that provides 165% of return on investment is:

Finally, one small ‘renovation’ that provides a 165% return on investment that is often overlooked, according to Moneysense is a fresh coat of paint.

Simple and easy to do it yourself (I preferred not to and hired someone to paint my own apartment) which provides an even greater return on investment.

When my husband sold his condo, he didn’t make any changes to the bathroom or the kitchen but instead just put in a new coat of paint to the tune of about $800 for a 1 bedroom apartment.  That coat of paint (a nice neutral light grey colour) did wonders to the apartment and made it look much more roomier and spacious.  The walls were a turquoise blue previously (left from the prior owners, not his doing!) which I’m sure is not up everyone’s alley when they peruse through during the open house.

Readers, has the renovation bug hit you too?  What have you renovated in your home to make it more ‘you’?

2 Best Renovations for Return on Investment


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About genymoney

GYM is a 30 something millennial interested in achieving financial freedom through disciplined saving, investing, and living a minimalist lifestyle.

20 comments on “The 2 Best Renovations for Return on Investment

  1. Hey GYM!

    I’m still an HGTV fan, I haven’t been able to wean myself off it yet 🙂

    My wife and I bought a house last year and did a major renovation (a gut job), and what definitely gets the most attention from people is the kitchen. One thing that saved us a lot of money was to go with a local carpenter, though I keep hearing good things about IKEA kitchens.

    • @Miguel- I think Ikea kitchens make sense for people who are handy and can DIY. I had gutted a house previously too and used a local contractor and it was pretty reasonable too. What colour is your kitchen!!! I love looking at Houzz kitchens, there’s something very therapeutic about it.

    • @Kris- I agree! I don’t have cable either. I really liked watching House Hunters (actually I would get really really irritated at the amount of house you can get outside of Vancouver, and I imagine you might think the same about SF!).

      “What, I can get a CASTLE in Ireland for the price of this tear-me-down house in East Vancouver?!”

  2. Hi GYM,

    I have not gotten into home renovations yet personally but I think that is pretty sound advice. I would agree with you though that when most people walk into a home if they see a nice kitchen they are way more likely to buy then a run down old one. Same with a ugly or non functional bathroom. We also have a dog that sheds everywhere and scratches the floors, but hes family so it’s all good.
    Damn Millennial recently posted…Market Monday: Multi Family Construction To Cool In 2018My Profile

    • @Damn Millennial- Yeah, the kitchen is the heart of a home! And I think people don’t like to have to ‘fix up’ anything (or most people don’t) and would rather it be move-in ready.

  3. Ooh I used to love watching HGTV! I think it was the before and after pictures that I was addicted to. I just love the comparisons and I was thinking that you should have posted a before and after 🙂

    I also think that I would go crazy if I had a bathroom that had a motel feel to it. I wouldn’t want that in my own home. I would want something that actually makes me feel like I’m actually at home.
    Melanie recently posted…Sure Fire Way to Write New Content Every Single TimeMy Profile

  4. Having just bought and sold a home and moved this year to get closer to work, I’m a bit fatigued with the joys of home ownership. Agree that (for most of us) a home is not an investment and should be viewed as a place you want to live. Agree with the tips. Be smart with your home improvement spending or a home can quickly become a money drain on your finances. Tom
    Tom @ Dividends Diversify recently posted…The Lights Are on But No One is HomeMy Profile

    • @Tom- Yes, agree! One of my friends spent $50,000 on a kitchen reno and then she ended up selling her home shortly after because they ended up separating.

  5. This is so true! We bought our home a little over a year ago and did a big renovation. We fully renovated the kitchen at the time to make it both beautiful and functional. The before-and-after photos would shock you. We also painted every room in the old, dirty-looking house. Bright white paint and light blue accent walls make the home feel super-fresh and modern. Paint is an amazing tool that is really underrated!
    Mrs. Picky Pincher recently posted…What A Frugal Weekend! November 19My Profile

    • @Mrs. Picky Pincher- I love the ‘after’ look! Your beautiful light blue glass tiles! Your kitchen looks amazing, I didn’t know you bought your home recently! 🙂

  6. 100% return on cost is awesome! Our kitchen is in good shape, but we are thinking about changing our flooring next year to a rustic/distressed gray hardwood. Yes, we are kind of addicted to HGTV as well – the favorite show is Lakefront Bargain Hunt – Renovation! 🙂
    SMM recently posted…What A Frugal Weekend! November 19My Profile

  7. It has taken me 20 years to fully renovate our house and now everything I have done needs updating. Just goes to show you are never really done renovations.

  8. Hey GYM!

    Omg I love Scott from Income property! He’s my fave from HGTV! He was my inspiration to reno my entire basement into a separate apartment. 2 bed, 2 baths, living room and kitchen w/ potlights throughout.

    And I also love paint! It’s amazing how something so small can do wonders to your rooms. I also agree that small swaps such as countertops, new appliances and refinished cabinets can add a lot of value w/our breaking the bank.

    I enjoy reading this as I love HGTV!
    fin$avvy panda recently posted…10 Ways To Be Financially Prepared For Christmas – Especially #2 and #3My Profile

    • @finsavvy panda- Ahh makes sense you like Income Property as you’re Canadian too!! Potlights are perfect for a basement. Nice, you have an income property of your own!!

  9. I’m pretty much a renovation addict. I just can’t stand living in a cookie cutter type environment or something that isn’t me. Though I don’t really watch HGTV as much as I used to for inspiration. Too many of the shows feel the same and gloss over the realities of a lot of home renovations.
    Patrick recently posted…How To Soundproof A WindowMy Profile

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