OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 23, 2011) - Everyone has a different reason for wanting to renovate their home. Some may be looking to make a change in the way their home looks or feels while others may want to fix a maintenance issue or make their homes more comfortable or energy-efficient. Whatever your reason, undertaking a renovation involves a number of important decisions.
To help you make more informed decisions, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) offers a number of tips, tools and resources like the Before you Renovate: Renovation Guide. Consulting these resources before you begin can help you save time, money and a lot of frustration - resulting in a better overall renovation experience.
First, always take the time to thoroughly plan out your renovation before you pick up a hammer (or the phone). Mistakes on paper are much easier and less expensive to fix than mistakes on the job. Taking the time now to identify what your priorities are, and how you want to achieve them, can save you a great deal of expense (and more than a few headaches) further down the road.
Next, decide whether or not your planned renovation is practical. For instance, that addition may look great, but can your home's systems handle the additional heating, lighting and plumbing requirements? Learn to draw the line between what would be nice and what's really essential and consider hiring a qualified professional early in the process to help guide you toward what's practical for your home.
It is also a good idea to think about the long-term impact of your renovations. For example, renovations that make your home more energy-efficient could pay for themselves through years of lower monthly utility bills. In addition, think about your family's future needs by making sure your design is flexible enough to adapt to changes as time goes by.
To avoid going over-budget, have a clear idea in advance of how much your renovation will cost and how much you can afford. CMHC's Household Budget Calculator is designed to help you understand what you can afford. Get written estimates from at least two reputable local renovators, architectural firms or materials suppliers and if they ask for a deposit, make sure it is a nominal amount and get a signed receipt.
If you need help financing your renovation project, there are several options. You may be able to renegotiate your mortgage, apply for a personal loan or line of credit, or obtain a home equity loan. If the renovation will make your home more energy-efficient you might even qualify for financial assistance. CMHC recommends that you speak with your mortgage professional in order to evaluate and understand the options that are available to you.
For more than 65 years, CMHC has shared a wealth of knowledge and housing expertise, as well as useful tools and guidance, to help Canadians enjoy an informed and assured housing experience. To consult or download copies of CMHC's resources for renovating a home visit www.cmhc.ca and search "renovate".
November is the first ever Financial Literacy Month. This is the third article in a series of four, focusing on creating awareness of the various tools and resources that are available to help Canadians make informed and responsible housing decisions.