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Renovation vs Remodel (What Is Right For You?)

February 22, 2022


Are you looking to update your home with new appliances, new light fixtures, and new flooring, or are you planning for a remodelling project where you change the original use of a room, remove interior walls, or re-wire the electrical systems of the home?


While all of these things involve updating your home, there are key differences to determine if you are undertaking a remodel or a renovation!


What is the definition of a renovation?

A renovation is when a property owner restores a room to its previous state with a new look or updated design.


For example, a bathroom renovation where you change the paint colour, resurface the cabinets or swap the laminate countertops with quartz countertops would all be examples of a renovation.


A renovation is when you spend time and resources to restore something to its previous state. This would include repairing, fixing, or updating a property.


Examples of renovation projects include replacing old tiles or flooring, changing the old windows to new windows, replacing old appliances, or updating the living room with a fresh coat of paint.


Another example of a renovation would be updating old kitchen linoleum flooring to white oak hardwood flooring.


What is the definition of remodelling?

A remodel is defined as creating a new use for a space. The definition of a remodel is to change or alter the structure, style, or functionality of a space.


For instance, if you turn one of the bathrooms in your home into a laundry room, that would be considered a remodel because you’re creating a new use for an existing space.


Another example of a remodel is when you construct an addition to your home since that would change the home’s original floorplan. Overall, a remodel transforms the home’s layout, structure or use of a room.


What are the similarities between a home renovation and a remodel?

Whether you’re planning a renovation or a remodel, you are ultimately updating and improving your home. The end goal is similar in that you are changing your current environment to suit your needs or style better.


What is the difference between a remodel and renovation?

A remodel includes anything that transforms a room’s layout, structure, and style. For example, reconfiguring a household floor plan would fall under a remodel.


For a remodel, you will likely require the services of an architect or engineer to oversee the project and ensure that the home is structurally sound.


In comparison, renovations are more surface or cosmetic changes. There are fewer surprises with renovations since you’re not ripping down walls, moving electrical outlets, or plumbing. As a result, a home renovation can often be completed with less time and resources.


Return on Investment

If you’re looking to take on a home improvement project to sell your home for a profit, then it’s a good idea to speak with your local real estate agent to see what types of projects potential buyers will value when looking for their new home.


Renovations will usually be less costly because they involve less structural movement. In most cases, the homeowner can do part of the renovation themselves to save costs on labour.


In addition, you often don’t need permits or approval for renovations, which results in a more timely process.


With a remodel, you may be moving electrical wiring, plumbing, or ductwork, making the project more expensive because it’s more complex and involves more time and labour.


Every homeowner hopes that making improvements will increase their property value, which is usually the case, but sometimes what homeowners view as improvements can be liabilities to future buyers.


If you plan to sell your home after you complete your renovation or remodel, then it’s a good idea not to get carried away with personal style preferences that the new homeowner can’t easily change.


Of course, the cost of the renovation or remodel and your eventual return on investment will depend upon the scope of your project.


To get the best estimate from your contractor, take time to write down each detail of your plan so that the contractor can include everything in their estimation.


What about permits?

Renovations can be more friendly for DIY property owners since you likely won’t need a permit for most cosmetic renovations. Examples of cosmetic renovations include painting, new countertops, or refacing kitchen cabinets.


A remodel will almost always require a permit because you’re changing the home’s structure and systems. Plus, permits benefit you as a homeowner since you know the work is completed to building code and will help with the resale value.


It’s always a good idea to check with your local municipality or contractor to see if you need a permit and approval before you start doing any work.


If you get too far along and need a permit, the city could issue a stop-work order or say that any improvements need to be removed. However, the risk of delay isn’t always worth it, so you should check before starting any renovation or remodel.


Both renovations and remodels tend to take longer and cost more than initially planned, but this is often because the homeowner makes additions or changes along the way. Other delays can include shipping delays with products or difficulty securing contractors or professional labor.


What about heritage homes?

There are two designations for heritage homes in Victoria, BC. The designations are heritage registered and heritage designated.


A property listed on the heritage register does not have any formal protection. It doesn’t require the approval of your municipality for alterations unless it’s subject to a heritage designation bylaw or is within a heritage conservation area. 


Whereas a property listed on the heritage register located within a heritage conservation area may require a heritage alteration permit when changes are proposed, depending on the scope of the alterations.


A heritage designation property is protected by a municipal heritage designation bylaw and may not be altered or demolished without the approval of the city or municipality.


How do you know what is the right choice for you?

Pay attention to the rooms you use the most or least, zoning bylaws, and any required permits. Also, factor in the time, resources, and costs to make the best decision for yourself or your family.


With a small renovation like new countertops or new kitchen flooring, you may be ok to live in your home while the renovation occurs.


But, you may not be ok living in the home while a months-long kitchen remodel takes place where they are adding in a kitchen island or changing the layout of the kitchen and appliances.


Are you interested in more real estate blog posts? Check out these posts below!

February 22, 2022

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