Renovations can be expensive – especially with a big project where costs of labour and materials can really add up fast. In B.C., there are some simple and easy ways your parents or grandparents can save money when upgrading their homes with features to help keep them safe.
If you plan ahead and make thoughtful, beneficial changes, you’ll help your parents stay in the comfort of their home for longer, using an opportunity that has always been right under their noses.
Keep these seven tips in mind the next time your parents or grandparents start talking about doing renovations to their home. You’ll be keeping them comfortable, safe, and might even help them save some money with programs like the BC Seniors’ Home Renovation Tax Credit. Not sure if you qualify? Find out about this and other services that might suit you and your family at gov.bc.ca.
1. Apply for the B.C. Seniors’ Home Renovation Tax Credit
If your parents or grandparents are residents of B.C. and are aged 65 and over, they’re eligible for the B.C. Seniors’ Home Renovation Tax Credit. Under this program, they can receive a credit for up to 10% of any qualified renovation expense to a maximum of $1,000 per year. Qualified expenses include renovations that improve access or mobility within the home, or that reduce the risk of harm in the home. Apply now.
2. Plan in advance
Start by outlining your ideal timeline, maximum budget, and the projects you want to undertake. You can start by identifying small changes that, if made now, could have a big impact later – like secure hand railings, ramps, and other improvements that will add comfort and safety. And if you can accomplish your project before year-end, you’ll see the tax credit in just a few short months on your 2015 return. Win-win.
3. Identify opportunities for home improvements
Make easy (but helpful) fixes by installing door locks that are simple to operate, non-slip flooring, hands-free taps, or grab bars and related reinforcements in the bathroom. Renovations like these, that make homes safer and more accessible for seniors, are eligible for tax credits. Check out the full list and decide which are the most important.
4. Find easy fixes
Simple changes can make a big difference. Look for high quality lighting fixtures (motion-activated if possible) that you can install throughout the home and near exterior entrances. Deciding to make easy fixes like this can have a major impact on your overall costs and safety.
5. Shop at recycling or salvage centres
The professionals always suggest pairing the old with the new. Not only can salvaged materials make for a great feature wall or vintage piece of furniture, but they can also save you a lot of money on things like windows, doors, flooring, and more. If you’re not picky about paint colour, you can often find great deals on mis-tinted paints, too. Stop by garage sales on your block or visit local recycling centres to find some fantastic discounts. Your parents will love the nostalgia, and the savings.
6. Hire a contractor who’s on your side
Undertaking a large-scale renovation and need some help? Talk to friends and family to connect with a contractor they’ve used before—one they trust. A good contractor will likely find you smart, money-saving options and might even be able to give you discounts on any odds and ends left over from other jobs. In any case, make sure the one you choose signs a contract and can provide proof of insurance, permits, and credentials.
7. Start construction in the off-season
Most renos happen in the summer months. If your parents are retired, they likely have some flexibility in timing. By choosing to do projects in the off-season, they may be able to save money. If possible, hire contractors just after the New Year for reduced costs on labour, materials, and deliveries.
Find out what services you may qualify for, like the BC Seniors’ Home Renovation Tax Credit, at gov.bc.ca.