Spring cleaning: show your home some love!
By ATB Financial 13 September 2018 2 min read
You’ve been waiting all winter, and now—finally—the air doesn’t hurt your face. It’s time to dig out the shorts and espadrilles, dust off the bikes and get cracking on those home improvement projects you’ve been dreaming about since the snow started making simple tasks that much harder to accomplish.
First steps to home improvement
Take stock of the situation. Is the garage cluttered? The backyard not the best place for your kids to hang out? Maybe you need to do something as simple as paint your front door—or knock out a wall to let the light in. Perhaps this is the year you plant those lilac trees and embark on some serious landscaping.
Once you’ve settled on a renovation project, let your financial advisor in on your plans. Should you use savings or credit to make the upgrades? Also, you need to take into account your home’s increased resale value (on the one hand) and the possibility of higher property taxes (on the other hand)—before you start tearing down the carport. A real estate expert may be able to help you with evaluating renovation options as well.
Home improvement can have tax benefits, too. You may be eligible for Energy Efficiency Alberta tax rebates for installing insulation, tankless hot water heaters or energy-efficient windows. Calgary, Edmonton, Red Deer, Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Grande Prairie and Banff all offer homeowner initiatives for projects ranging from building a basement or garage suite to replacing your toilet. Check to see what incentives are available to you in your municipality.
Budget for the work you plan to do, and make sure you can afford it. Even though home improvements can have long-run financial advantages, it’s important that your plan to finish the attic doesn’t compromise your short-term budget, especially if you’re not planning to sell any time soon.
Some home renovations can be expensive and you might be thinking about throwing the bill on your credit card. But if it’s a time-sensitive project, or one that will increase the value of your home, you may want to borrow against the equity of your home using a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC). Whether or not you should go into debt for renovations is a complex question your advisor can help you with.
Reframe more than your windows
Maybe you can’t afford a new kitchen, but you could build that deck you’ve been talking about for three summers now. Maybe while spring cleaning you’ve discovered furniture, tools or vehicles that have been sitting around unused. Selling them can help you afford updated replacements, or help you pay for the improvements you want to make.
After you’ve made a solid plan, it’s time to roll up your sleeves! Doing some of the work yourself won’t only save you money, it will increase your satisfaction in a job well done. Your pristine new flower beds or remodelled kitchen will be that much more enjoyable if you’ve invested your own creativity and elbow grease.
Get your friends, family and neighbours involved. Turn a landscaping project into an outdoor pizza party! Bond with your in-laws over that 10,000-tile mosaic you’ve decided to install in the bathroom!
...However you decide to show your home some love this spring, with a little planning and hard work, you can create something beautiful without breaking the bank.