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Should you convert an extra bedroom into an ensuite?

150 150 Nisha Muire

The question of converting an existing bedroom into a master ensuite is a good one – especially in a hot Toronto market. Unfortunately, there is no straight-forward answer to this dilemma. Whether such a decision is a good one or not will depend on several factors and it is best to gauge the sentiments of the buyers in your neighbourhood to truly determined whether a room conversion will add value or decrease the value of your home.

Generally, Ontario homebuyers will look for certain house-types in a given neighbourhood. If your neighbourhood is full of three-bed, two-bath homes, then your four-bedroom home might benefit from a conversion. However, if buyers flock to your area for four-bedroom properties, then you will significantly impact the value of your home.

Another factor to keep in mind is practicality. Usually buyers expect there to be a bathroom on each level of a home. So, if you have a basement bathroom and you relocate it to the main floor, this will certainly add value. Additionally, buyers generally expect a ratio of 2 baths for 4 bedrooms – if you have this, then adding a third bathroom might be excessive. If your home has 4 bedrooms with only one bath, then an extra ensuite will certainly make your home more attractive.

Another very important element to be aware of is the cost of such a conversion. If the homes in your neighbourhood are selling for $200,000 and it will cost you $40,000 to convert a room into an ensuite, then it might not be worth your while to do so as you are not likely to recoup your full investment.

The market in your area is another big consideration. If you are in a family-oriented community, then having more bedrooms will likely attract those with larger families while if your neighbourhood is mainly home to young professionals and retirees, then you will likely have more success with an ensuite and fewer bedrooms.

If you have an attic that you can turn into a loft, then converting an existing bedroom into an ensuite might be worth it as you would simply be diverting the space from one area of your home to another.

The last piece of advice we can give you is to check with a realtor if you have any doubts. Most realtors in the Toronto area will provide this service free of charge if you are interested in knowing whether such a conversion is a good idea or not.

In the end, however, if you want the ensuite for your own convenience and you intend to live in your home long-term, then you might as well make the investment so that you can enjoy the ensuite.

Lifestyle Renos that Don’t Add to your Bottom Line

150 150 Nisha Muire

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.

Swimming Pools
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 rooms
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.