Inspect before you renovate

By: Eleanor King & Maurice King

Inspect before you renovate

Tags: #Inspection #Renovation #Real estate

There are many reasons why you might decide to renovate your home, such as making it more functional and enhancing its value. But especially as the cost of renovations grows, you might want to invest in a home inspection before tearing down walls. 

The HomeStars 2022 Reno Report found Canadians have made the largest investments inside their homes. On average, homeowners who completed renovations in the past 12 months spent about $13,000, up from $8,260 last year. Outdoor renovations followed at about $6,600. That’s an increase of nearly $2,000 from last year.

Funding renovations

When it came to funding those renovation projects, 80 per cent of homeowners surveyed reported paying for their projects with cash on hand or savings. But even with more cash on hand, the rising cost of building materials led 41 per cent of homeowners to postpone planned renovations. 

However, when asked about their renovation plans for the next 12 months, 75 per cent of homeowners indicated they plan to go ahead with renovations. Nationally, homeowners who plan to upgrade their spaces in the coming year plan to spend an average of $25,222 – nearly double what they spent on average over the past 12 months.

Fantasy renovations 

HomeStars also asked Canadian homeowners to consider what their top three fantasy home renovations would be if money and space were no object. The No. 1 renovation was the creation of an outdoor cabana space with a full chef’s kitchen at 40 per cent, followed by a fitness centre or home gym at 34 per cent, followed by an indoor pool or sauna at 31 per cent. Movie theatres also ranked high on the list of desires (29 per cent), as did outdoor pools (25 per cent).

According to a recent realtor survey, more Canadians see the value of renovating key areas of their home, such as bathrooms and kitchens, which typically yield 100 per cent or more return on investment. For those who aren’t willing to invest a large amount of money, simply putting fresh paint on the walls can increase the value of a home by 12 per cent.

Home inspections

Whether you’re planning a renovation big or small, a home inspection can provide valuable peace of mind. The professional consulting service determines the present condition of a home’s major systems based on a visual inspection of accessible features, the Canadians Home Inspections for Consumers explains. The service focuses on the performance of the home, rather than cosmetic, code or design issues. 

Inspections are often performed during a real estate transaction. Pre-listing inspections are performed before a property is listed for sale and provide a report to prospective buyers. A pre-offer inspection is performed by a prospective buyer before making an offer, allowing them to make an informed decision on whether and how much to bid on a home. 

Budget accordingly 

But home inspections can be done anytime and having your home inspected before beginning a renovation can save both time and money. It will help you better understand the condition of your home, including whether mechanical systems meet current safety standards, so you can set and allocate your budget accordingly as you separate your needs from your wants. 

Because a professional building inspector is trained to treat the whole house as a living system and understands how systems interact with and impact each other, you’ll learn how doing work on one part of the house will impact the other parts. Want to tear down a wall to make your cramped kitchen more expansive? Changes to interior walls can compromise structural support. A qualified inspector can help determine if a wall is load bearing. 

An inspector can also advise you on whether you need to upgrade your electrical, heating and/or plumbing service to accommodate your goals. If you’re planning to renovate the basement, an inspector can spot any foundational or structural issues and determine if moisture and mould need to be addressed first. 

Hiring an inspector

You’ll need to do some research to find a reliable, experienced and knowledgeable home inspector. The provincial government encourages you to look for a home inspector who provides written inspection reports, will give you references, has experience with the type of home you’re considering (such as condos or heritage homes), has an accreditation that shows training and experience, and will provide a written contract.
When hiring a home inspector, be sure to get quotes from more than one inspector, check references, ask about their training and experience, ask to see a copy of the inspection report they use and ask if they choose to have insurance. 
Whether you’re buying a home that’s in mint condition or a fixer upper that requires renovations, The King Home Team: Royal Heritage Realty understands that buying a home is the largest financial investment most of us will ever make. Count on us to conduct the necessary market research and to put our experience to work for you so we can help you make smart real estate decisions.