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How to prioritize your renovation plans

So you've decided to stay in your home instead of selling, but you want to complete a few upgrades to be more comfortable. May be you have a growing family and need to change things up.  Or, you’re finally ready to complete those upgrades you’ve  been putting off. Guess what? You aren’t alone. A report from real estate consulting group Altus forecasts that Canadians will spend $74 billion renovating their homes by the end of 2018.

When your renovation budget doesn't quite meet the costs on your renovation to-do list, how do you prioritize? Use these five steps, ask yourself these questions, and learn how to separate and prioritize the “Must-Dos” from the “Nice To-Dos.”

Step #1: Brainstorm a To-Do List
This is the fun part. Grab a pen and a large piece of paper. With your family’s help (or at least your spouse’s help), write down every thing you’d like to do in your home. Go room by room, starting with your entryway, and list any repairs, painting, rebuilding, and upgrading. Include the little jobs as well as the big ones. Don’t worry about ordering the list, just brainstorm.

Step #2: Set a Budget
So many renovation projects to tackle and so many ways to finance them!  Using your savings, applying for a provincial renovation grant, or assessing whether borrowing the money makes sense, each of these options are important considerations.

Depending on your situation, a credit card might make sense for smaller projects. Good alternatives for larger renovations include a loan, line of credit, or home equity option like the Meridian Flex Line Mortgage. Talk to your Meridian Advisor about the best solution for you.

Once you’ve set your budget don’t forget to allow at least 10% for unexpected renovation expenses or overages.

Step #3: Identify Must-Do Home Renovations With These Questions
Prioritize your home renovation plans by going through your brainstorm list from Step #1 to highlight your Must-Dos. If your home requires any renovation work to improve safety – especially when it comes to keeping your children safe, it’s a priority.

Your home’s structural integrity is also important. Could further erosion, deterioration, structural issues occur if you don’t prioritize this renovation project now? Leaky roofs, cracked foundations and even clogged downspouts can result in problems down the road. If other renovations depend on this one, it’s a priority. 

Does putting this off impact the resale value of the home more than other things on your to-do list? If you plan to list your home in the near future, pay attention to upgrades that home buyers want to see. According to data collected from over 2 million users, Canadian home improvement site Trustedpros.ca found the top three home renovations were bathroom renovations, basement renovations, and putting on a new deck.

Step #4: Compare Must-Dos to Budget
Deciding which renovations to do first also means considering your budget. Start by pricing out the must-do renovations that will make your home safer. 

Can you do the work yourself, or should you hire a professional? Remember that some work (such as electrical) should be completed by a licensed professional in order to meet your homeowner insurance requirements.

Step #5: Choose At Least One Nice-To-Do
If you have room in your budget, try to include at least one item from your nice-to-do list to keep you excited about your home renovation. Often these items are cosmetic, and can modernize and freshen the look of a home. If necessary, choose an inexpensive one so you stay within your home renovation budget. For example, painting a room just requires a few cans of paint and a brush, and can dramatically change the look in a home. And you don’t have to pay a professional to do it.

Your home reflects the values of you and your family. Whether you’re renovating to sell, or to simply enjoy a more comfortable atmosphere, take time to prioritize your renovations before starting. You’ll save time, money, and stress.