in a neighbourhood of $400,000 homes can not likely afford the $800,000 property. Therefore, if you go all-in and design and build the ultimate spa- getaway in your ensuite bathroom or put in that home theatre you’ve always wanted in the basement, you will not get that money back if you are the only home in the area with those kinds of features. Your home will sit on the market for months until you come down to a much lower price than you would have wanted. To avoid these kinds of mistakes, we recommend using a real estate agent to help determine the types of renovations you can pursue to return a substantial amount of the investment cost. Your agent will already be familiar with the general standards of the surrounding area and what price ranges people are looking for. Agents know which improvements can bring the greatest ROI and are familiar with current trends. They can advise you on how to proceed and provide recommendations for reputable, qualified contractors. While you may have been thinking about going full-bore and putting in granite or marble countertops and all new kitchen cabinets — a renovation that would cost thousands — your real estate agent might talk you down to fresh laminate for the countertop and a new coat of paint for the cabinets to brighten up the room. Your remodel cost just went down from tens of thousands of dollars and a week or two without a kitchen to a little more than one or two thousand dollars and a few days of inconvenience. An agent will also go beyond your neighbourhood, looking at how your home compares with similar homes in the larger area. This is important as your real competition extends beyond what you can see out your front window.

Unless your neighbourhood has a unique setting or is


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