7 questions to ask yourself before buying a house to renovate

Monday August 27th, 2018

7 questions to ask yourself before buying a house to renovate

You found a house to die for, but it needs a lot of TLC? You want to buy a house to renovate it and sell it in 2, 5 or 10 years? Before starting a project of this scale, ask yourself the following 7 questions:

What is a fair price for this house?

Your real estate agent can answer this question, because he has access to a database that provides the market history, including recent sales and assessments of any given neighbourhood.

What are the repairs to expect?

Cosmetic renovations are easily detected. However, you will need the expertise of a building inspector to see if your house has structural problems (foundation, roof, etc.). The professional will also examine the plumbing as well as your heating and electric systems. These often-invisible repairs can turn out to be expensive, but won’t increase the value of the home in the eyes of a potential buyer.

What are the costs of the required work?

A contractor will give you an estimate of the work to be done. You can then start saving the required amount or add it to your mortgage. List the tasks you want to entrust to the contractor and the ones you can do yourself to save money.

Should the whole family engage itself in the renovations?

A renovation project can last 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, maybe even more. Make sure that the whole family is ready to live in a construction site during the renovation period.

How long does it take?

Establish a timetable to coordinate the time required for each step, the associated costs and... your budget. For example, you can start by renovating the kitchen ($$$), then continue with the bedrooms ($) and finish with the bathroom ($$). Plan for extra time, since setback can multiply themselves when renovating.

What are the applicable regulations?

Do you need a building permit to carry out your work? Can you change your house’s surface materials? Contact your municipality’s information desk to find out.

What are the renovations that will pay off the most?

This is a vital question if you plan to sell your house in the short or medium future. An interior designer or a real estate broker can guide you on this. Here are some tips:

  • Consider getting a quality counter rather than costly wooden kitchen cabinets;
  • Choose decor-friendly colours: a fuchsia bedroom might discourage some buyers;
  • Focus on storage space;
  • Change your roof covering if it’s in poor condition;
  • Install new windows;
  • Restore your hardwood floor by giving it a good sanding and varnish.

For more tips, reach out to a professional such as your real estate agent or mortgage broker. They deal with projects like this daily!