While we tried to give rough cost estimates, project cost can vary wildly depending on where you live in Canada, who you go to for your supplies, whether or not you’re eligible for rebates (government - NRCAN or otherwise), and if you’re doing the work yourself.

Energy-saving home improvements

Whether you want to shrink your utility bills, make a positive environmental impact (or, both!), adding or changing certain items in your home can help you save money and lessen your carbon footprint. There are many financial incentives available for certain improvements, and they vary province-to-province.

By looking for ENERGY STAR products, researching EnerGuide labels and even getting a home energy assessment (where available), you can make the best choice for your pocket and your local ecosystem!

According to NRCAN, there are 5 major categories of improvement for energy efficiency in the home. Consider these when determining where you need/want to spend your $15,000 the most.

Lighting: LED or ENERGY STAR lighting provides quality and last longer than their incandescent cousins. It takes a bit of time for the savings to come through (the bulbs are more expensive) but it’s worth it. They also don’t heat up, which prevents them from becoming a fire risk and can make a difference in hot weather for smaller homes. Check out this LED Cost Savings Calculator from Philips to see how much you could shave off of your bill.

Windows: High performing windows can help keep cold and heat out during extreme seasonal temperatures.

Air-sealing & Insulation: Modern & improved insulation for walls, the attic, basement and air-sealing for doors, electrical outlets, vents and around windows will help maintain the right temperature all year long and not produce energy waste through drafts, under-heating in the winter or over-cooling in the summer.

ENERGY STAR appliances: High-efficiency heating and cooling appliances keep your utilities as low as possible.

High-performing equipment: Think of the operational guts of your home; the furnace, water heater and air conditioning unit. They’re the biggest energy guzzlers for any home, and the newer they are, the more efficient they’re likely to be. Most furnaces have a shelf life of ~20-23 years. Imagine the efficiency upgrades that could have been made in its lifetime and how that could impact your utility bills!

Kitchen renovations

The kitchen is the heart of your home! Upgrading it, even just aesthetically, can make a big impact on the resale value of your property. That said, because it has complex plumbing and design, it can also be the most expensive. According to HomeStars.com, the average cost of a kitchen reno in Canada is between $17,000 and $21,000 for medium projects.

Large projects, such as a total overhaul, can be as much as $50,000. Small projects can be done for under our $15,000 threshold! Such home improvement projects can include refacing cabinets, sink upgrades, new appliances (energy-efficient fridge, stove, microwave), adding a breakfast island, upgrading faucets, lighting, new countertops (depending on how much space you have), and adding a backsplash.

While you may not be able to get marble countertops with this kind of upgrade, the good news is that there are so many economical options that are just as durable. For example, a crushed quartz/polymer resin countertop gives a beautiful, modern and practically indestructible kitchen workspace. Want more ideas? Check out this great video from Consumer Reports to see what you could accomplish!

Bathroom renovations

Bathrooms, like kitchens, are complicated and heavily-used rooms. But, also like kitchens, upgraded bathrooms can make a huge impact on resale value. According to Renoassistance.ca, a “small or budget bathroom” upgrade can vary between $10,000-$15,000. They also give a little insight into the cost disparity between Toronto vs Montreal (the average difference is about $2,000!).

One of the major impacts on cost will be how durable you want your changes to be and, of course, your personal taste. For the $15,000 price tag, you can give a new paint job (the right bathroom paint matters a lot!), upgrade the vanity & storage, new hardware and lighting, a new high-efficiency toilet and maybe some new flooring (depending on the material you're using).

When it comes to upgrading the shower/bath, sometimes getting a “Bath Fitter” option is there, but the price can vary wildly depending on the size of your bathing area.

Garage renovations

If your garage door is terrible, upgrading it can be one of the best things you spend your home renovation loan on. According to Remodeling magazine, you recoup 92% on what you spend.

Custom doors cost the most, and semi-custom doors will be less while still matching your home’s exterior. Adding pegboards and shelving for organization not only improves the look, but also the efficiency.

And, just like with any room in your house, the right lighting can make a world of difference in the mood of your garage, whether you use it as your car’s bedroom, a workout space or storage unit.

Deck installation

Adding an outdoor entertainment space can have a very positive effect on your resale value! Modern, durable and easily cleanable, composite decks are popping up all over the country. They are a pricier option, but they last much longer than their wooden counterparts.

The average cost of deck installation hovers around the $40 per square foot mark, according to HGTV (price adjusted for the Canadian market). You can save a significant amount of money if you build it yourself, as much of the install cost is labour.

Landscaping

If you’re fortunate enough to have a big, beautiful and empty front yard, then a landscaping project is the easiest thing to do to improve your curb appeal! It’s all about finding the right balance - beauty but low maintenance for the best resale impact.

An average landscaping project costs about $13,000 in Canada, with higher costs around very expensive urban areas. Interlocking stone paths, front patios, shrubs, trees and flowers, stone walls are all some things you can do in your front (or, perhaps back) yard. According to the Edmonton Landscaping company, low-end average cost ranges between $15-$20 per sqft. with mid-range hovering between $20-$40 per sqft.

Benefits of a home renovation loan

Once you figure out what home improvements you want to make, you’ll need to think about how you’ll finance the cost. Don’t have enough in your savings account? Don’t worry, a home renovation loan can help you see your projects through. 

Home renovation loans offer many benefits including:

  • Increasing the value of your home: Renovating your property increases its resale value so you make more money whenever you choose to sell. 
  • Allowing you to use funds the way you want: Dreaming of building a swimming pool, adding a patio to the backyard, or finishing the basement? Whatever you have in mind, home renovation loans have few limitations and can be used for projects big and small.
  • Many loan options available: Home renovation financing comes in many forms including home equity loans, mortgage refinancing, lines of credit, and more. These products often have lower interest rates, making them more cost-effective compared to other types of loans. They also offer varying terms to accommodate every project and budget.

Other home renovation loan options 

Generally, you need at least 20% equity in your home to be eligible for a home equity loan or home equity line of credit (HELOC). What happens if you don’t have enough equity, can’t refinance your mortgage at a lower rate, or have poor credit? Traditional lenders like banks will most likely turn you down, but there are other ways to secure financing for your home renovation.

Let’s compare the pros and cons of some other financing options:

  • Credit cards: Credit cards provide ongoing access to funds as long as you make the monthly payments on time. They’re great for small home improvement projects, however, it can be difficult getting approved for one if your credit score is below 650.
  • Payday loans: With promises of guaranteed approval and no credit checks, payday loans appear like a great choice, but the truth is, they’re the most expensive type of borrowing. Interest rates are insanely high, with APRs reaching 652% in some provinces. Payday lenders are also notorious for charging hidden fees and forcing borrowers to follow short repayment plans, which often cause them to snowball further into debt.
  • Personal loans: Also called installment loans, personal loans beat payday loans in every aspect with lower interest rates, longer repayment periods, and the ability to rebuild credit when used responsibly. Personal loans are also easy to qualify and unlike credit cards, offer predictable monthly payments, so you know exactly how much you owe every month.

Build your dream home with Fresh Start Finance

Whether you’re looking to give your kitchen a makeover or tackle a big landscaping project, Fresh Start Finance is here to give the funds you need to turn your house into the home you’ve always wanted. 

The reputable online lender makes the entire personal loan process quick, easy, and stress-free: 

  • Home renovation loans up to $15,000: From redoing your bathroom to fixing an emergency repair, Fresh Start Finance’s secured or unsecured personal loans can be spent however you like. All credit scores are considered so you can still get approved if you have poor credit, no credit, or have gone to collections.
  • Speedy funding: Watch funds arrive in your account via direct deposit or Interac e-Transfer on the same day or within 24 hours of getting approved.
  • Flexible repayment plans: Terms last from nine to 60 months so you can pick a longer term to make lower monthly payments or a shorter one if you’re set on paying the loan back fast.
  • Convenient application process: Skip the hassle of bank appointments by applying online or over the phone with a live agent.
  • Zero fees: No application fees. No maintenance fees. No hidden costs. Ever.
  • Trusted lender: Fresh Start Finance has helped thousands of Canadians pay bills, reduce debt, and make important purchases. Read their stories on Trustpilot and Feefo.

Ready to get approved for a home renovation loan? Apply online in just minutes or call 1-888-556-6441 – live agents are ready to chat 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 

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