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Your next renovation project according to your province

couple on ladder painting wall together

Whether you’re selling your house or just looking to update your space, taking on a home renovation project is exciting. But you might be a little hesitant to begin without knowing exactly how this project will affect the value of your home. On the other hand, jumping right into a project can lead to common home renovation mistakes, like lack of planning or going over budget.

If you’re not sure where to start — or if you need someone to stop you before you tear down your entire house — it’s best to see what others have done in the past. By analyzing Google trends, we were able to find the most searched home renovation projects by province within the past year. From these searches, we’ve learned: 

  • The Yukon Territory tops the list of most searches for countertops
  • Ontario has the most searches for bathroom renovations, followed by British Columbia
  • Backyard renovations are heavily sought after by Canadians living in Newfoundland and Labrador
bar chart showing monthly google searches for certain projects

Which home renovations does your province search for?

Usually, Google is the first place you’d head to when you’re ready to tackle a new renovation project. From researching ideas and ordering materials to learning how to use the materials you bought — the internet makes it easy to find all the information you need. So we turned to the web to find the most searched home renovations by province.

One of the biggest things we’ve learned is Ontarians are all about home renovations. With the exception of searches for countertops and wall paint, they came first in all of the top renovation searches. So in order to highlight more provinces, we took a look at who came second. Check out our results. 

most searched renovations by province with illustrations

Alberta is prepared for anything

After researching the projects different provinces search for, we were curious about what other renovations Canadians are taking on. So we widened our search and explored the topic further. We ended up learning that the Northwest Territories might be filled with blacksmiths, Alberta is prepared for the end of the world and British Columbia wants a toilet that has a mind of its own.

illustrations of the most interesting home renovation searches

Let’s get into Return on Investment (ROI)

image showing plastic house on a table and return on investment formula shown

Happy residents make a happy home. When you and your family feel good about where you live, it shows. Updating your home shouldn’t solely be about getting it up to date for the market, but making sure it fits your family’s current needs and style. However, it doesn’t hurt to calculate your renovation’s return on investment (ROI) along the way!

According to Investopedia, ROI evaluates the value of an investment by measuring the amount of return relative to the investment’s cost. The basic ROI formula is as follows: ROI = (Current Value of Investment minus Cost of Investment)/Cost of Investment.

As a calculation, ROI can provide feedback, but the actual calculation won’t tell you if your decision to invest in a home renovation is a good idea or a bad idea. To figure that out you can either compare the return based on the averages or ranges that are collected and determined based on annual data collection and analysis. Another, more definitive option, to determine your renovation’s ROI is through an appraisal. A professional appraiser has the ability to examine the current market and assess any renovation plans, providing a report on how much of a return the owner can expect as soon as the updates are complete. In order to provide up to date percentages of different renovations, we referred to Remodeling Magazine‘s 2020 national averages.

While getting your home appraised, it’s important to keep in mind that the ROI you receive on a specific project differs from the ROI you’ll receive on your entire home. Earning 15% back on a bathroom renovation doesn’t directly translate into 15% back on your home’s full value.

Another factor to consider is your location. If you invest in adding a garage to your home in Toronto, it will grant you a higher return than if you added a garage to your home located somewhere with a lot more land. Since parking in Toronto is a premium, adding on a garage is sure to deliver both a high return on investment and very appreciative future buyers! All buyers have an internal checklist of what to look for when house hunting, so giving your home a little extra care always pays off in the long run.

5 Home renovation projects with the highest ROI

Whether you want to turn your house into the home of your dreams or put it on the market, here are five home renovation projects with the highest ROI. Prices listed throughout are in Canadian currency.

1. From bathroom to home spa

image of bathroom with roi cost range included

You know that feeling when you walk into a nice bathroom and think — wow. That’s how your bathroom at home should make you feel. Turn this space into a home spa by installing a free-standing tub, updating your vanity and using glass to enclose your shower.

Cost: A master bathroom will cost more money to renovate than a powder room. To do a complete renovation rather than solely replacing countertops or a vanity, you’ll need more room in your budget. Where a small bathroom renovation may cost around $28,214, a master bathroom can get up to $88,430 or more.

ROI: Everyone loves a gorgeous bathroom. The renovation is all worth it when guests see it for the first time and their eyes widen in astonishment. A nice ROI makes it worth it as well. A full bathroom renovation can return anywhere between 56.6% to 64% on your investment.

2. Your private oasis

image of outdoor deck with roi cost range included

Installing a deck can change your yard from being a plot of land to having to a unique purpose. By bringing an aspect of indoor comfort to the outside world, your backyard becomes a place to spend time with your family, entertain guests, or watch the sunset with your partner.

Cost: According to Remodel Magazine, the installation of a wooden deck in 2020 can cost around $18,952. If you want to be slightly fancier and install a composite deck, the estimated price is closer to around $26,206.

ROI: Taking the time to make your yard more appealing increases the likelihood of a future buyer falling in love with your house. If you’re looking to sell your home in the immediate future, adding a deck can return around 66.8% to 72.1% on your investment.

3. Life happens in the kitchen

image of kitchen with roi cost range included

The kitchen is the heart of the home. When your kitchen is happy, so is the rest of your house. Bring light to any space by adding bigger windows, sticking to a light and neutral colour palette, and using strategically placed open shelving. Add pops of colour with sleek appliances that complement your decor choices.

Cost: If you’re getting ready to renovate your kitchen, make sure you have the money saved up in your account. A small and modest kitchen renovation replacing countertops, wall paint, lighting, and window frames can cost around $30,356. A larger kitchen renovation which would also include all brand new appliances, flooring and backsplash can easily put you just over $178,178. 

ROI: One of the most common requests from buyers is an updated kitchen. From countertops and modern appliances to having enough space to host dinner parties for guests — a kitchen not only sells a home but can also yield an ROI range anywhere between 53.9% and 77.6%.

4. Underground value

image of basement with ROI cost range included

Renovating your basement might be your favourite project. It’s a free space that could be turned into an extra bedroom, a second living room, a play space for children or even a home theatre with a bar. Treat your basement as a living space rather than a storage area and increase your chances of a high ROI.

Cost: The cost of renovating your basement depends on your basement’s square footage, flooring, any necessary plumbing and a variety of other factors depending on how you wish to transform your space. Assuming that your basement is completely unfinished, you can expect to pay just over $100,000 on the lower end, while a more extravagant renovation can easily send you over $180,476. This top end would include custom home theatre options, a better-than-standard bathroom, the possibility of a second kitchen and better finishes. 

ROI: Doing a complete renovation of your basement isn’t cheap, but it can greatly impact the return you receive from the project. By either solely replacing the flooring and lighting fixtures or completely turning your basement into another living space by adding plumbing, air conditioning and other fixtures, you could see a return on your investment ranging from 40% to 58.5%.

5. Magic in a can of paint

Image of blue paint on living room wall

A fresh coat of either interior or exterior paint can have a huge impact on the value of your house. The right paint job can make the interior of your home feel bigger, newer, and well taken care of. To add some personality, consider adding an accent wall in your living room or bedroom. 

Cost: If you decide to trim down on the cost of interior paint by painting your walls yourself, then all you have to pay for is the materials. Two gallons of paint — excluding primer — is usually enough for one room. One gallon can be anywhere from $20 to $70. If you were doing a DIY paint upgrade on a four-bedroom home, it would cost you anywhere from $211 to $740.

ROI: Painting your walls is a cost-effective way to reduce the amount of visible ageing in your home, which makes your house more attractive to potential buyers. Painting the exterior of your home can lead to a 55% ROI, where painting every room on the interior of your home with a popular neutral colour or a soft shade of white can bring a return of up to 107%.

Whether you choose to take on a small project like painting your walls or a larger project like renovating your entire kitchen, getting your house camera and walkthrough ready will be worth the investment’s return. When you’re ready to part ways with your home, visit our seller’s guide.

Methodology

In order to determine which renovations people were actively searching for, we gathered some of the top Google searches from Ahrefs. We then examined the search volumes for each of these renovations within different provinces by analyzing Google Trends data within the past year. This made it possible for us to establish which renovations were the most important to people located in each province.

To gain insight into average ROI percentages, we referenced the experts at Remodeling Magazine, Canadian Home Renovations Ltd, Trusted Pros and the Canadian Home Builders’ Association. Through these sites, we were also able to determine the estimated price range of each project calculated by renovation experts. These home renovation projects included countertops, bathroom, backyard, kitchen, basement and wall paint.

Image of Romana King

Romana King

Romana King is an award-winning personal finance writer, real estate expert and the current Director of Content at Zolo Homebase. Romana has contributed to business and lifestyle publications including CBC.ca, Toronto Sun, Maclean’s, MoneySense, Globe & Mail Custom Content Team, and The Toronto Star. Among her achievements, Romana won silver for her annual Where to Buy Now real estate package in the 2019 Canadian Online Publishing Awards. In 2015, she won a SABEW Business Journalism award. When she was editor of CI Top Broker, Romana helped guide her team to obtain its first KRW Business Journalism nomination, and in 2011, she was part of a small team that helped MoneySense win Magazine of the Year at the 34th annual National Magazine Awards. Her north star is to consistently provide actionable, valuable and accurate information that helps elevate the financial literacy of everyone.