Home renovations. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt. Renovations are stressful, but worth it. Though I complained about them during the actual process, I think the end result was totally worth it. In my own situation, they were completely necessary.
My Home Renovations Experience
Our home in Nova Scotia was a run down 100-year-old home. Everything was outdated and it needed a ton of work. The price was right and we weren’t scared of a little elbow grease so we took on the project. We had NO idea of what we got ourselves into!
The renovations started almost immediately. The kitchen was first. We gutted it completely. There was even a time that I was doing dishes in the bathroom sink. Don’t ask….
At first, we were doing everything ourselves as money and time would allow. It was tedious and I seriously thought it would never end. I became accustomed to that white fine drywall dust covering every surface. The clean freak in me was not happy.
Fast forward to the fall of 2013. We decided we wanted to move to Ontario to be closer to my family. However, our home in NS was not ready to sell. If we put it up in “as is” condition, we were guaranteed that it would probably sit there for a long time and we’d never recoup the costs.
Hiring a Contractor
John and I discussed our options. We could leave it and try to sell it like it was, finish up the renovations ourselves or hire a contractor to get the job done. We chose option three to hire a contractor and I’m so glad we did.
It took about two months for all the work to be completed. It was loud, messy and busy with the contractor and the tradespeople coming and going. I was grateful that it was finally going to be done after all these years and that we could move on to the next phase of our lives.
Our contractor was great. He was efficient, reliable and professional. Hiring the right contractor is key. I’d recommend you steer clear of any contractor who wants to do things “under the table”. Having a written contract protects the interests of both parties. When you have no paper trail, how can you prove the job was even done? If you plan to sell your home, you’ll want to have a record of all the upgrades you did to the home. It’s like that saying, “If a tree falls in the forest, does anyone hear?”.
Ready to Sell
I was almost sad when the job was done because our home looked so good. We were ready to get it on the market!
When our real estate agent came over, she was impressed. She had seen the home years before when we purchased it and saw how much work we put in. She complimented our colour selections and said it was good that we went with neutral colours that would appeal to more people.
We listed the home in January 2014 and hoped for the best. Unfortunately, we lived in a small, rural area and not many people were buying homes at that time. The house sat there for months. I was getting concerned.
Owning Two Homes at the Same Time
When the spring rolled around, it came time for us to look at buying a home if we wanted to move by the summer. We bought our home in Pembroke, Ontario with a closing date at the beginning of June. Owning two homes at the same time was becoming a reality. It’s not an ideal situation, but our options were limited. My advice is to get a back up plan in case this ever happens to you. Bridge financing is available to cover the down payment and closing costs until the sale of your current home closes. This post lays out all the costs involved with buying a home.
We moved into our new home in Ontario in mid-June. Our home in Nova Scotia sat empty until the end of August when we finally had a bite of interest. At that point, we just wanted it sold so we took a loss on it when an offer came in. Our real estate agent told us that if we hadn’t done the renovations, it probably would have never sold. I was so happy the day it finally closed. It was like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders.
Do Your Research
I’ve been asked before by friends and family if that experience changed my perspective on buying and selling a home. In a way, it has. My advice now is to bring in the professionals!
Though I’m not planning on selling my current home any time soon, I am renovating again! So far, we’ve updated the upstairs bathroom, master bedroom, all the electrical and flooring on the main level. My upcoming plans include a kitchen renovation, new windows and finishing the basement. The two main reasons for these upgrades are to have a nice home I can be comfortable and proud to live in and to improve its market value when we plan to sell it whenever that may be.
RECO (Real Estate Council of Ontario), an organization that regulates real estate professionals in Ontario and protects the public interest through a fair, safe and informed marketplace, has a wealth of info on their site about buying and selling a home in the province. They offer buyers and sellers impartial advice to help you navigate through the process of either buying or selling your home.
If you are thinking of hiring a real estate agent to buy and/or sell your home, ask your family and friends for referrals. You can also check out RECO’s website to double check that a real estate professional is registered and in good standing and get information on the kinds of questions you should ask before you hire one. They recommend you meet with at least three candidates before you make your decision.
During Financial Literacy month, RECO sponsored a survey to better understand the concerns and questions Ontarians have about the current real estate market. The findings were quite interesting! They found that 800 Ontarians indicated that they have either bought or sold a home in the past two years or are considering buying or selling a home within the next two years. A whopping 45% are considering selling their home in the next 1 to 5 years.
1/3 of Ontarians said that they aren’t confident in their understanding of the home buying and selling process. My suggestion is to research reputable sources like the RECO site and learn as much as you can. Also, talk to a real estate professional about any other questions you may have. Go into the process with a plan. Knowledge is power.
This infographic sums up the survey findings. Take a look at the results and see where you fit in with your current situation and understanding of the market.
I’ve bookmarked RECO’s site and will be referring back to it when the time comes for us to move again. It’s nice to know that this kind of organization exists to help out consumers navigate through what can be a confusing process!
I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences with home renovations. Have you ever renovated a home in order to sell it?
Disclosure: I was compensated for this post. All opinions and experiences in this post are my own.