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Upgrading - Renovating your Living Space
Part III – Adding Value

The 2019 London Christian Prayer Breakfast
“An unseen Hope made the Red Sea Road where there is no other way”
Getting Connected on the Opioid Crisis – A Free In-Studio and Livestream Event
London Area Right to Life Newly Elected President - Jeffrey Belanger
A Sense of Place
Chaplain Rejoices as Flood Victim Accepts Jesus Christ
Videos of the 2019 Prayers for London
BookMark - Don’t Give Up: Faith That Gives You the Confidence to Keep Believing and the Courage to Keep Going (BOOK REVIEW)
Experience Another World Without Leaving Yours

In the March edition of Christian Life in London, we launched our series on Upgrading – Renovating your Living Space with Part 1 – Trends (Click HERE). In April we featured Upgrading – Renovating your Living Space with Part II – Spring Spruce Up (Click HERE)

In this, Part III, we investigate, “What should you look for as REAL added value during renovation projects.

Renovations are big business, how big? Scotia Bank said in a recent monthly real estate report that spending on reno projects is up by six per cent expected to clock in at $53 billion in total.

What makes that number even more interesting is that it would be as much as Canadians spent on new housing construction, the first time that's ever happened.

While the amount of overall money spent has never been higher, Scotiabank economist Adrienne Warren said the early years of the new millennium, between 2000 and 2007, saw even stronger pace of growth averaging nine per cent in the years before Canada entered recession.

This boom is why shareholders of Lowes, Home Depot, Rona (soon to be part of Lowes) and others are smiling all the way to the bank. There are now 304 of the giant box stores (Lowes, Home Deport and Rona) across the country with an average sale of about $65. The three companies had 2015 combined sales of $146 Billion (for all their stores in Canada, USA and Mexico.)

In this, Part II, we will provide you with what we hope will be useful information in the your decisions on the spring spruce up projects.

If you read the renovation advise books, they all cover “Value” and in their advice about value is consistent; “Doing it yourself is not always the best idea and more often than not, it’s a very bad idea”. The money you expect to save will be long gone when you hire the expert to do the job over, the right way.

If you are not a plumber, don’t complete the roughed in bathroom. If you’re not an electrician – PLEASE don’t mess with any of the electrical, if you not a roofer…if you’re not a mason….if you are not a painter…. If you have never been taught how to lay interlocking stone, change windows and doors, install an alarm system, a central vac, a furnace or a fence…don’t do it.

In most of these tasks you will spend less by hiring the experts than you will if you have to have someone come in to fix what you did. The job will be done and look great AND will meet all building codes that must be met.

Before hiring a contractor…repeating what we suggested last month: Know whom you are hiring by checking references. There are unethical contractors that will supply references with the knowledge that the client won’t check them. They think and unfortunately they know that by giving references, the client thinks they are golden. However, if the references are actually contacted, often the references are bogus.

So, for sure, get references and Google the business and people in it. Ask for references, at least three of them. Take the time to call or email them and ask what the contractor did best and if they could change one thing with the experience what would it have been. Google them. Google is a great tool for wanna-be private investigators. Google owners’ names, check their social media accounts, BBB account, comments in social media pictures, etc. It will give you a good idea of whom you might be working with behind that smile and handshake.

Adding value:

Most of us are looking for ways to add value to our homes without putting ourselves in the poorhouse. To spiff it up your home inexpensively, here are 10 good strategies for you to consider.

The actual cost and payback for each project can vary, depending on your home's condition.

1. Make your kitchen really cook. The kitchen is still considered the heart of the home.

For a few hundred dollars, you can replace the kitchen faucet set, add new cabinet door handles and update old lighting fixtures with brighter, more energy-efficient ones.

If you've got a slightly larger budget, you can give the cabinets themselves a makeover. "Rather than spring for a whole new cabinet system, which can be expensive, look into hiring a refacing/refinishing company. The will remove cabinet doors and drawers, refinish the cabinet boxes, then add brand-new doors and drawers. With a fresh coat of paint over the whole set, your cabinets will look like new."

2. Give appliances a facelift. If your kitchen appliances don't match, did you know you could order new doors or face panels for them? You can contact the appliance manufacturer to see about ordering a new face panel, but before you do you should know that many dishwasher panels are white on one side and black on the other. An easy do –it yourself solution!

3. Buff up the bath. Next to the kitchen, bathrooms are often the most important rooms to update. They, too, can be improved without a lot of cash. Consider simple things like a new toilet seat and a maybe a pedestal sink.

It’s also a consideration to replace the old, discolored bathroom floor with easy-to-apply vinyl tiles or a small piece of sheet vinyl. You may not even need to take up the old floor. You can install the new floor right over the old one.

If your tub and shower are looking dingy, consider having the tile re-grouting and replace any chipped tiles. A more complete cover-up is a prefabricated tub and shower surround. These one-piece units will require professional installation but can still be cheaper than paying to re-tile walls and refinish a worn tub.

4. Step up your storage. Old houses, particularly, are notorious for their lack of closet space. If you have cramped storage areas, you can add do-it-yourself wire and laminate closet systems to bedrooms, pantries and entry closets.

5. Add a room in a week or less. "If you have a three-bedroom house with a den, the only reason the den can't be considered a bedroom may be because it doesn't have a closet. If you add a closet to that room, you've now got a four-bedroom house. That adds a lot of value. It's usually possible to add a custom closet system and drywall it in for less than $1,000.

6. Mind the mechanics. Spend a few bucks on nitty-gritty stuff. It's often very worthwhile to hire an electrician and plumber for a couple of hours to look over your electrical services, wrap or fix loose wires, fix any faulty outlets, and check for and fix any water leaks.

7. Look underfoot. Carpeting is another detail that can quickly update a home and make it look cleaner. A professional carpet cleaning is an inexpensive investment, especially if your rugs are in good shape and are neutral colors. If your carpet is showing serious wear, cover it with inexpensive, strategically placed area rugs.

8. Let there be light. If you have boring recessed lights in your dining and living rooms, consider replacing one of the room's lights with an eye-catching chandelier. Home stores offer a wide range of inexpensive, but nice-looking, ceiling fixtures these days. If you have a ceiling fan and light, you can also buy replacement fan blades (leaving the fan body in place) to update the fixture's look.

9. Reframe your entry. Do you have a flimsy little knob on your main entry door? If so, spring for a substantial-looking handle-and-lock set. A nice, big piece of hardware on the front door signals to newcomers that this is a solid home.

Also, if you're stuck with a basic steel front door, consider painting or faux-finishing it for more eye appeal. You can easily paint existing metal doors with stain and paint.

After using a good metal primer, give the door a base coat of paint (again, be sure to use one approved for use over metal). For a cherry wood look you can use a burgundy base paint. After it dries brush over the base coat with a cherry wood stain. It will look amazing, and it only takes a few hours.

10. Adding Curb Appeal. Although it sounds obvious, a nicely mowed lawn, a few well-placed shrubs and a swept walkway makes a great first impression.

If you don't have a green thumb, consider hiring a landscaper to install some new sod, plant a few evergreen shrubs and give your front yard a good cleanup. These kinds of changes can instantly change the perception you and others have of your home and.

While we strongly recommend thinking twice about doing the big or specialized jobs, there is one very important task you can do. De-Clutter. This accomplishes so much and is very gratifying. By removing all of the clutter, it makes it far easier for you, or the contractor to do the renovation work.

Even if the clutter intimidates you, there are specialists to handle that as well. See our list of experts.

Remember, if you have not used it in a year, it’s probably ready for one of these:
  • Garbage Day – hire a local jack-of-all-trades to load up his truck for a trip to the dump.
  • Call Zubicks, they will take anything metal as well as old electronics and computers,
  • Hold a yard sale – it’s fun and it will generate some pocket money – or more.
  • Sell it on Kijiji. It’s easy and it’s FREE. But follow their suggested safety practices.
  • Donate it to charity. Your church may have a way of collecting and distributing to those in need or you can contact one of these charities:
    • St Vincent de Paul 519-438-7071
    • Bibles for Missions London: 519-473-8025, St Thomas 519-633-7300
    • Mission Services 519—434-1956
    • Salvation Army 519-451-0178
    • Habitat for Humanity Restore 519-659-1949 Ext 225
    • Ark Aid Street Mission 519-667-0322
    • Sanctuary London (Clothing and footwear only) 519-902-9774

These charities will take clothing, furniture, working appliances and electronics, toys, books, cutlery, dishes, etc. Some, like St Vincent de Paul, Habitat for Humanity and Bibles for Missions can arrange for no charge pick up of your donations.

In this, Part III of the series, we have again consulted many London and area companies. The ones listed here are committed to quality, service and value.

To read what they have to say just click on the link (below) of the company you want to read about.