What’s the ROI on ‘invisible’ renovations?

Spending cash doesn’t mean you’ll see a return when you sell

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From the September/October 2016 issue of the magazine.

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Q: What’s the return on investment for renos you can’t see, stuff like soundproofing or extra insulation?

—Don, Milton, Ont.

A: Anytime we spend money to upgrade our home the hope is to see the investment translate into a higher property value. But just because you plunk down some cash, it doesn’t mean you will see a return when you sell. Quite often the money spent to upgrade an older home simply goes toward bringing it up to current building standards, explains Monika Furtado, a Re/Max agent in Calgary. While some buyers might recognize the added value of your work, others are going to be less impressed because all you did was keep your house from falling into disrepair. It may come down to the quality of the work and if you really believe there is added benefit in your behind-the-wall upgrades then a good way to highlight them is to provide documentation of your work. These can include photos of the upgrade process, a materials list, the method of installation, along with receipts and warranty information. “Keep in mind, vague terms like ‘upgraded insulation’ mean different things to different people,” says Furtado. “Your aim is to educate the would-be buyer in a meaningful way.”

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