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In Canada's most competitive real estate markets, where million-dollar homes are the norm, many first-timers find buying their dream home is just that - a fantasy.

The solution is to simply build your desired abode, or add a few strategic improvements to a starter home. That second bedroom, spa bathroom, or chef's kitchen could be just a long weekend's worth of work (and a considerable loan) away.

Need some renovation tips? Here are the top areas to focus on - and avoid - to get the most out of your do-it-yourself dollar.

Click here to see the entire infographic, and learn more about your renovation options.

Penelope Graham

A first-time homeowner and newbie investor, Penelope Graham is the quintessential millennial, navigating the world of personal finance and wealth management. A self-professed monetary policy nerd, she follows the often-controversial housing market closely and specializes in mortgage, credit card and personal finance news.

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