Most homeowners will want to customize the look and ambiance of their home to suit their lifestyle, regardless of how new or modern the finishes. In Toronto, dropping half a million dollars on a home no longer mean getting the house of your dreams – but simply getting a house, that you can turn into that of your dreams. However, before the first demolition party happens, it is wise to consider a couple of very important facts.
1) Investing in the property’s infrastructure is very important even if it isn’t seen
2) Some renos will give you a much higher rate of return than others
The question that will determine the kind of renos to make is this: how long do you plan on living in your home? If the answer is more than ten-fifteen years, then any reno you make will be worth your investment because you will have time to enjoy it. Keep in mind that some renovations will dramatically enhance your personal lifestyle but won’t necessarily be what future homebuyers want in their dream home. If you don’t plan on living in your home for at least ten years, then choosing the right kind of renos to make is crucial to getting your money back when you sell.
You might be wondering what is meant by “lifestyle renos?” The term refers to any renos that are important to your family’s happiness but won’t necessarily appeal to the majority of homebuyers. For instance – landscaping your grounds, installing a swimming pool, adding a wine cellar and creating a main floor office are just some examples of these lifestyle enhancers.
Interestingly, while infrastructure renos don’t really bring a high return on your investment, the flip-side is that people expect that the infrastructure is in good shape and will haggle the price of a house down if they have to do extensive infrastructure changes including electrical, plumbing, windows, roof and doors.
While swimming pools can be a life-saver during heat-waves, the truth is many people don’t like them because they do require a certain amount of maintenance and on-going investment every year. Add to that the fact that they can only really be used for about three months of the year, can be a danger to young children and small pets and take up a lot of real estate in a yard, they are often a negative when it comes to selling a property.
Landscaping your property will definitely add to its curb appeal, but rarely will it add enormously to its value for the simple reason that although you might love a meandering flagstone walkway and a messy garden of wildflowers, a prospective buyer might prefer a modern concrete walk with very precisely planted gardens – or no garden at all! Tastes vary enormously and while a buyer might find it nice that the grounds are landscaped, it is generally not a make-or-break element in a house search.
Adding a room will definitely your family the space it needs to spread out comfortably, but it might not suit the needs of everyone as it will impact maintenance costs as well as upkeep. So, the main floor office, the extra ensuite, the wine cellar or the second floor addition – will all give you a better lifestyle, but not a significant return on your investment.
The other element to keep in mind when doing renos is to keep your ambitions within the limits of your neighbourhood. If you live in a lower-end neighbourhood, but fill your home with high-end finishes, you are not going to be able to get that investment back when you sell as the neighbourhood will not support that cost. So, it is important to keep your neighbourhood in mind when doing renos.
Naturally, all of this advice goes out the window if you plan on living in your home long term and if you want to enjoy your stay as much as possible without regard to a return on your investment.