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Renovate or RRSP?

In this series of articles, we discuss how investing in real estate over equities is not as black and white as many people would believe. Today’s article addresses renovations – was the cost worth it?

Canadians spent nearly twice as much on renovations as they contributed to their RRSPs

In 2016, Canadians spent $31 billion more on home improvements than saving for retirement* – the average RRSP contribution was just $3,000, while the average renovation cost was $13,000.

Myth: Renovations are an easy way to boost the value of my house

Why do so many Canadians use their money for renovations at the expense of saving for their retirement?

Because they think that it will provide a stronger return on investment.

Reality: Renovations don’t always pay off

Renovations can improve your lifestyle, but not necessarily boost the value of your house. Even so, many people spend $50,000 to $100,000 on renovation projects thinking they’ll get it all back, and possibly more, when they sell. They may – but not every renovation pays off.**


Remodel bathroom 75–100%

Renovate kitchen 75–100%

Interior paint 50–100%

Roof replacement 50–80%

Furnace or heating 50–80%

Addition / basement reno 50–75%

Doors and windows 50–75%

Deck 50–75%


Wood fence 25–50%

Interlocking driveway 25–50%

Landscaping 25–50%

Asphalt driveway 20–50%

Add swimming pool 10–40%

Skylights 0–25%

Reality: The value of renovations depreciate

The chart above is something that many renovators live by – and if you’re fortunate, the renovations will appreciate the value of your house as stated.

Keep in mind, however, that improvement values only apply for a limited time – think avocado bathrooms. Tastes and styles change.

That avocado bathroom renovation from 40 years ago will likely be out of date, and a future renovation from a prospective buyer will be priced into the value of your house.


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