You’ve found the perfect home, but it just needs some TLC. Before you know it, you’re fixated on fixtures, countertops and deep into construction.
Home renovations can be incredibly exciting, but also overwhelming! Did you know your current home insurance may not cover you during the reno and you may need to restructure your policy? We want to help you be as prepared as possible before embarking on your fixer-upper. Here are our insurance and general home reno tips, to get you started on the right foot before making the big investment of a home renovation.
The Return on Investment
- A general rule of thumb when aiming for a good return on investment with home renovations is to keep the home design choices simple, classic and timeless. It will be much easier for a potential buyer to envision their home office for example, in a neutral room than a hot pink or bright orange den.
- Applying a fresh coat of paint to the outside of the home can go a long way to bring as much as a 300% return on investment.
- The most expensive room of the house to fix up is typically the kitchen, so be smart with your budget and make sure to carefully plan the project into your budget. This room can bring an estimated 92%+ ROI if done right.
- Bathroom additions can bring a lot of value, especially if other homes in the area offer more bathrooms than yours does.
- Window upgrades and deck additions are also value-adding changes to consider.
Choosing a Good Contractor
The best place to look for a referral is to start with your contact list. Friends and family will be able to give trustworthy recommendations, giving you a first-hand reputable way to source a contractor for the job. The Canadian Home Builders’ Association of B.C.’s Renovator’s Council or the Greater Vancouver Home Builders’ Association’s Renovator’s Council can also likely supply you with a list of member contractors in your area. When researching and speaking to companies, make sure you don’t just take the contractor’s word — ask to see a certificate and check to make sure it’s current. Once you’ve narrowed down your options, you will then want to obtain at least three written estimates from contractors in the area to get an idea of price ranges and what each contractor offers. There are many resources available on this process.
Make sure the contractor has their own business insurance during the renovation so you are both covered from any unfortunate events. They should have workers’ compensation and third-party liability insurance for all the people on the job and damage they may cause. Don’t accept or assume any liability for the contractor or tradespeople.
Choosing Your Materials
Homes can last forever if done right, so don’t go cheap out on materials. Select durable and high-quality products to avoid ending up needing to replace them in a few years. Having said that, make sure to budget out every single thing you will be spending money on before starting your renovation to ensure you stay within budget.
When selecting styles, skip being trendy and go with classic, simple designs that will last a long time. Prioritize for function over fashion – storage, for example, will be much more attractive to future buyers than a fancy accent wall.
Reach out to family and friends to see if they recommend specific suppliers. Your contractor can also be a great source for finding reputable contacts. If this is your first renovation, you may want to avoid taking too many risks – such as buying products off the internet without seeing them in person. Shopping from local showrooms is a great way to help the community, see products/colours/finishes in person and save on delivery costs.
What is Covered with Home Insurance?
One of the first things that are important to do before starting a reno, is to go over the fine print in your current home insurance policy to see what is covered. There is a clause in most home insurance policies that stops your coverage when renovating. So, if for example a pipe bursts and destroys your flooring, you may be paying out of pocket to fix it. Make sure to let your insurance agent know your plans and notify them when your renovations are completed.
Did you know the change/additions you have made to your property may also change your policy? For example, if your renovations have increased the property’s value, that needs to be reflected in your insurance. Also, if you plan to bring in tenants or do short term rentals, you will need to consider new insurance options such as tenant insurance.
Protect Yourself from Surprises
When renovating your home, the possibilities of unplanned and unfortunate surprises are unfortunately endless. It’s wise to budget an extra 20% into your budget to allow for the unexpected. Your home insurance may not include everything that could go wrong but there are ways you can make sure you’re as covered as possible.
Talk to your local Johnston Meier Insurance agent by phone, online, or in the office to get advice on the coverage needed for your renovations.