Making house decisions: To renovate or to buy?

By Lavonne Kroeker, PHEc

Perhaps like me, you’ve spent much of your winter thinking about this question, perusing, getting quotes from contractors, dreaming, stressing, meeting with your financial institution and talking with friends and family.  Making housing decisions can be stressful because there are so many factors involved and anything you do will not be cheap!

I remember back in university getting a resource called “How Much Home Can I Afford?” which helped me in my initial home-buying process. Now, there are a number of calculators available online through the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation that can be helpful when one is making decisions.  Another tidbit of knowledge that came back to me during this process was the term NIMBY – “not in my backyard” and the concept that our suburbs can disconnect us from community.  In thinking about that further, I realized that is one of the reasons I like my neighbourhood – it is a community.  Some of us don’t have garages (ironically on my wishlist for my addition) which means we actually see each other in our daily comings and goings as opposed to whizzing into our garage and entering the house without being seen or interacting with our neighbours.  I also love that I live on a street with people from all walks and stages of life.  If I built in a new development, that is less likely and something that I don’t really want to give up.  So you can see which direction I’m leaning . . . I hope to make a final decision by the time the snow melts!


As a professional home economist, Lavonne Kroeker has worked in a wide variety of settings – an adult learning centre, child welfare, private industry and since 2007, as a Rural Leadership Specialist with Mantioba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives.  Her job involves “creating leaders” in rural communities – whether its supporting volunteer 4-H leaders, chairing a Safety Day committee, developing programming for women in business or organizing training for farm women, there is never a dull day!  Besides her day job, Lavonne enjoys volleyball, biking, creative pursuits and almost any outdoor activity!