Home Renovation How To

What you need to know before you decide to commit to keeping an existing house, sell or purchase one when it comes to new renovations.


Home Renovations How To


When it comes to renovations, there are a few things you need to consider which I shall address by listing some questions then answering them. We can look at three key factors here that make a world of difference when renovating a house. You keep it, sell it or purchase an existing home.

photograph on renovation direction

Do I keep, sell or purchase a house?

Let’s look at each of them by the questions I have created to see the difference:


What is it you want to do?

1/ With a home your planning to keep, one thing you should always bear in mind is resale value. The area you’re residing in has a certain property value for the type of home you own and you’ll want to know how long your planning on staying in the home after your renovations are complete.

The reason for wanting to know the value of your home or at least you should want to know for example. Let’s say the street value of the homes in your neighborhood range from $200,000.00 to $400,000.00 on average. For simplicity, we are going to say that the houses are cookie cutter meaning the builders constructed the same basic house so the values at the time of sale where the same.

Now here we are ten years later some houses totally upgraded and others not touched or taken care of properly hens the price with some appreciation over the years $250,000.00 to $500,000.00. When you plan to stay and your house is worth $350,000.00 you can consider how much you’re willing to invest into your home before you max out above the street value.

For instance if your planning on doing a total makeover worth $180,000.00 and two months after completion you need to sell for sudden job relocation, that’s going to hurt. Your $30,000.00 over the top of the market and people may not want to pay the higher price.

If you can stay living in the home for another 2-3years, then perhaps the market will catch up, and your investment will once again be stable. By knowing the value of your home plus keeping the total cost of your renovations at or below market value for your neighborhood you’ll keep your investment and yourself in a better financial position.


photograph of buy or sell your home

What will I do? Click for the answer!

2/ When looking at selling your existing home, we already know about the market value by getting comparable comps, so it’s a matter of what will give you the best bang for your buck. If you sell the house with no renovations how much would you get? If you do some renovations so you can sell the home at a higher price, do you end up with more money after you calculate the extra money spent on improvements? Believe it or not, sometimes it is just not worth doing any excessive renovations before selling.

When selling before doing any renovations, know your market, then compare the cost of renovations to potential profit to see if it’s truly worth the time and money. Rule of thumb is to take care of all minor repairs, clean everything up, and a fresh coat of paint goes a long way. For larger renovations be sure to run the numbers before you get into deep!


3/ Purchasing a home is a little different than selling and offers you a better return to renovate knowing you plan on staying in the home for years to come. When you’re buying a home you’ve taken the guesswork out of the value because you’re the one setting the price you’re willing to pay. With that in mind, you can then figure out what you would like to renovate and get an estimate of your total cost.


The downside is you have no history of the home and could get some surprises once you start the renovations, as they say, “opening up a can of worms.” A good home inspection and some research can save you a lot of trouble in that department.


photograph of how to do renovation

Are you planning on doing any of the renovations?

Whether you keep, sell or purchase a home, one of the biggest factors to renovations comes down to how much are you planning to do. The more work that you are capable of doing yourself, the more you can save on the budget or more renovations you can complete for a less overall cost.

One of the other things when you have the time to do your renovations, you also save on all the extra taxes and hourly labor rates. Most contractors bill you full trade and helper rates with their company charges on top of that. Example: a certified electrician where I live will cost you $25.00 and $15.00 for his helper, but $40.00 is not the bill. You will pay at least $55.00- $75.00 per hour plus added taxes on top of that from the electrical company. Each sub-trade you get will cost extra.


How many different tradespeople do you need to do the job?

The amount of tradespeople you require depends totally on which renovations you’re performing and are you handling any of the work yourself. If you are gutting your kitchen and doing a total makeover with changes, you may possibly:

  • Hire a general contractor, and he brings in his crew. Electricians, plumbers, drywallers, tapers, carpenters, tile setters, painters, countertop, and cabinet installers to get your job done.
  • Decide to be a general contractor and save some money and hire the appropriate sub-trades for the job.
  • Save even more money by being the general contractor and doing some of the work yourself and just hire the extra trades you need.

One other thing I would like to mention at this time, is whatever portion you do will have no warranty for workmanship, your warranty is only for what the qualified tradespeople have done. Without qualified tradesmen, you are just dealing with what we in the trade refer to as curbside warranty. Once unqualified people have been paid they are gone, never to be seen again unless you’re going to give them more money. ( Unqualified people can cost you serious money in the long run!)


photograph of book cover for The ten Deadly Sins of Renovating for Profit


To check out this book

Click Here for The Ten Deadly Sins of Renovating for Profit!







photograph of book cover Home Building Know How


Click Here to see Home Building Know How!




  1. thank u for such an interesting article on Remodelling.
    My uncle used to specialise in Floors, Wall Fashions, Renovations etc. He is with us no more and his children have emigrated. I often thought how sad that the business was not carried on.

    You are so right to advise strongly from experience no doubt to beware of curb builders.. Indeed u will end up paying serious money when they vanish.

    Once again I am shocked at how professional some of these websites,are, yours being one of fthem. Well done indeed.

    Kind regards
    Mary somers

    • Hi Mary and sorry about your Uncle, hopefully he lived a good life.

      I have seen so many bad jobs that I have gone in behind what I call hackers and redo all the work properly so the home owners could finally be happy with the job they wanted the first time.

      I decided to do this website up to help people try to avoid the problems from inexperienced contractors and trades personal trying to cut corners running there own business doing jobs they are not yet qualified to do without proper and further training.

  2. More often, renovation cost goes higher because of unforseen work that will pop up along the way when renovation has started. My advise is to take a thorough investigation on the scope of work. There may be some areas that will be affected and needs to be repaired which is not part of the original work. As compared building new one, take into consideration a comparative cost between the two, otherwise, anticipate any additional cost in the renovation work.
    Hope this will help

    • Hi Leonard and thanks for the visit. Like you mentioned when dealing with renovations compared to new the total costs will always be a key factor into ones decision. Renovations generally always cost more for the same thing room by room because of demolition of what will be replaced and any damage or problems that may also arise during the renovation. One of the key problems with new construction is whether or not you could afford or get a new home in the located where you want to be.

      So either way one must really look into the two aspects to which one will work best for you.

  3. That’s a really in depth guide to home renovations – lots to think about. So often we just dive in and start changing something without thinking of the long term effects. And great advice on hiring professionals – I know too many people that have been stung by hiring substandard tradesmen.

    • Travis Smithers

      Hi Sara nice that you dropped by and glad that this post could give you some extra information about hiring professionals and how to avoid getting substandard tradesmen. There is a lot that one should take into consideration when doing renovations so I just want to help bring to light some extra options to think about.

  4. So my husband and his father are a little bit of handy-mans when it comes to certain things. And they’ve done a few jobs to our home to save the expense. But the later on we learned that what they did wasn’t exactly the best option, even though we thought it was at the time. Like for example, they cut a man door out of the back of the garage, but they didn’t want to cut down through the cement layer at the bottom. So now we have to step up about two feet to get out of the garage. Are there smaller things that are more worth the personal time and effort in the long run because there’s not much that can go wrong? Versus a big job where even minor mistakes can just make things worse?

    • Hi Sarah, one of the biggest things to remember about doing your own renovations is to know and understand your capabilities. The size of the job does not really matter when you know how and what needs to be done. I have seen many people build an entire garage or shed no problem and others struggle with hanging a door.

      Knowing what to do is key and can easily be learned. The ability to use tools etc will fall onto each persons capabilities. Some one that does renovations for a living will be faster and easier and can even do the same job with less people most the time but it does not mean the average person that has a job other than renovations is not capable. Usually you take a little longer or require more people to help.

      If you learn or know what needs to be done, take your time and do it with no short cuts you can make it work. Even the best of contractors can make mistakes, it’s making sure that when the job is finished you did it right and the best of your ability. No half stepping as I like to say or it may come back to haunt you.

  5. Hi Travis, thank you for the tips. I was remodeling my house few months back and it was a very painful process, With the help of this recommendations and tips that process would be much faster and easier, I know for the next time. I will refer your site to my friends. Keep up the good work.

    • Travis Smithers

      Hi Igor sorry I was not able to help you with your past renovation but as you say moving forward anybody that you know getting renovations done now you would be able to refer them to my site now that you know about it. As time passes I’m hoping to be able to help as many people as I can with the renovations they are doing. I know I’m not able to help everybody but I will see about getting the word out and do what I can.

  6. Wow, I love this website, my brother just bought his first house and is remodeling everything on his own. He loves doing this kind of stuff, and so do I. I have a stream of DIY tv shows like property brothers, just streaming on my DVR so when I’m done working for the day I can dream about how I will remodel my house when I finally buy it! I’m so glad there are books out there and websites out there with people who are genuinely passionate about what they are writing about. Thank you for making your site, it’s great, and bookmarked, oh AND shared with my brother 🙂

    • Thats great you like the site and your right about all the books, video and shows to help with DIY. The best thing about all of this is to learn the procedures so you understand and know how things are done. That why you are able to decide whether or not this is something you want to tackle yourself or have a professional do.

      It will also help you with making better design choices when you know what is involved to do any renovations. When you understand what material costs you will run into to by the type of renovation you want to do you will know if it is in your budget. That way you will know its a go, change it up or time to save more money. Either way when you know how it is done you will be able to design your work with in budget much better.

  7. This is a very helpful and practical article, thanks! The part about making the correct investment to increase the value of the home is great. It’s all about resale value but investing the right amount. One thing I always hear is just by adding an extra bathroom to the property, can instantly increase the value of your home. Is this true? and by how much?

    • It is true that adding an extra bathroom can add value to your home mainly if there is only one and you add a second one makes the most impact for extra value. The second way is adding an en-suite bathroom off the master bedroom which is also really good for resale. As far as how much value this will add depends on where the home is located and the type of finishes you use for the bathrooms.

      Before doing a project of this size for resale, I would check with a local real estate agent that really knows the area and they would be able to give you a proper evaluation on your home as it is now and what the home would be after the bathroom renovations where completed with the new bathroom.

      Hope that helps and answers your questions, you know where to reach me if you have more.

  8. How can you know when doing the renovations yourself is more profitable and money efficient than hiring a professional? We’re not renovating right now, but will be looking into finishing our basement sometime soon. But it may become a little bit of a remodeling with the design of the floor.

    • Hi Sarah and one of the things when remodeling that you can use as a gauge when looking to remodel is what ever your material costs are you can be sure a contractor is going to charge you at least dollar for dollar if not double for labor. On average if you have $1,000.00 for material then you’ll pay at least $1000.00 to $2,000.00 in labor depending on the over all job.

      Some jobs are mostly material costs if materials are very high end and some jobs are mostly labor do to the nature of what is being done. Most of the time the over all job is 1:1 or 1:2 in material to labor costs as I mentioned above. Getting some quotes will let you know how much you will truly save if your able to do the work yourself compared to hiring a professional.

  9. Wow, you have great tips here. Actually we have been planning to renovate our house but the problem is we completely know nothing about renovating which seems weird but it is the truth. Your post with the good short and straight to the point points has really helped me and am not worried on where am going to start from like earlier. Thank you very much.

    • Good to hear that this page on renovation how to was of some help to you, depending on what you’re renovations are actually on, you may find a post that already will explain what is required. Take a tour and see if any make a match, I’ll also be adding more post each month.

  10. Hello there
    Had new tiles installed last month, not exactly a renovation but something l needed done since long.
    Must admit im surprised how expensive contractors and materials already are.
    After all the hassle with tradesmen, l hope to stay in my place for a while, or otherwise said, l hope l never have to move, it`s expensive and inconvenient.
    Thanks for very useful tips.
    cheers Roamy

    • You’re right about the expenses of how much materials and labor costs. Each year with the cost of living keeps rising due to inflation, renovations only keep rising in costs, but there are ways to save major money on your renovations which is why I started the transformation on this website to start helping others how to start cutting all their renovation costs.

  11. Great Article! I love property. And i am pretty good in sourcing it out, like where to buy, what to buy, what kind of property? But i never really looked at it like how much you should spend on renovations if you want to sell it in few years?What will it be worth and what will be the ROI? That is a really good point. Thanks for enlightening. Another good way to add value is convert attics and build extensions. In Europe it adds 10-15 % of a property value, as usually it is a great investment. As neither attic conversion, neither building an extension does not really cost 10-15% of the property value?

    • Travis Smithers

      When it comes to renovations there are a lot of things to consider. Adding space in the attic when available or an extension can always be a great option. Sounds like you’ve already been checking out some very excellent options to improve upon your place.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *