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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.

Increase your home’s value with smart renos

150 150 Nisha Muire

Increasing your home’s value might seem like a no-brainer – just update old fixtures and floors, add a coat of paint and maybe do a full-scale reno or two. However, getting the most out of your renovation dollars means renovating your property smartly. There are certain elements of a home that will automatically fetch more money on the market if they have been updated.

Things to Consider First
Aside from actual renovations, other factors will also play a significant role in how much you should spend, and on what. Location is a very big factor as more expensive neighbourhoods will expect higher-end renovations to be done than renos done on homes located in less expensive neighbourhoods.

The value of your home versus the value of similar homes in your neighbourhood is something else that you should take into consideration. You certainly don’t want to be spending more on renovations that your house is worth on the market. For instance, if you paid $350, 000 for your home and put in renos worth $50,000, then you should expect your home’s value to rise to at least $410,000 – if it doesn’t then you should scale back the scope of the renos you want to make in order to make a bigger impact.

Smart Money Options
The first things you should renovate in your home if they have seen better days are your roof, your windows and doors and the home’s infrastructure, which includes plumbing and electrical. While these basic elements are not very sexy and will not really get much notice from your friends, they will definitely impress homebuyers who want a solid structure that will provide them with peace of mind.

Next, the two most important places in a home that will sell homebuyers are the kitchen and the bathroom(s). Adding a family room and master suite are also popular options that bring value to a home. Adding a swimming pool or landscaping your yard, while nice, won’t increase your property’s value by very much.

Choice finishes
Renovating properly is another very big requisite to get the best return on your money as possible. While you may want to spend the next 20 years in your home, it still doesn’t mean that you should indulge in the retro pink kitchen cabinets. Eventually you will want to sell and those flashy cabinets will drag the value of your home down. Choosing classic finishes that will age gracefully is your best option. Elegant, neutral finishes are the way to go if you want something that will last a lifetime and will still be appealing when you are ready to sell.

Consulting with a savvy real estate agent before doing renos is very helpful and a smart agent will be able to highlight those areas that will give you the best return.

Real Estate Resolutions

150 150 Chris

Entering the Ontario property market can be a daunting thought. However, with the New Year just hours away, there’s never been a better time to buckle down your short list of Toronto real estate goals to start the next twelve months off on solid footing. You can now sweep away the old to make way for the new and if you plan on purchasing a home within the next year, then planning for it and budgeting for it are the best ways to ensure that you will be bringing in 2016 in a new home.

While the Toronto property market does not show any signs of slowing as yet, there is hope for those hoping to either enter the real estate game for the first time or to move up to a more luxurious home and neighborhood. In one of our previous articles, found here //bit.ly/1wWtlPf we cover up-and-coming neighborhoods in the city that still offer very good value for money while in this article over here //bit.ly/1xq0sui we talk about the city’s most prestigious neighborhoods. In a third article found here //bit.ly/1wDaJS5 we discuss how urbanization is going to be keeping housing prices up in Canada’s most popular cities including Toronto.

To join Toronto’s real estate game you need to first put together a realistic budget of just how much home you can afford. Next, you need to research those neighborhoods with the kind of homes and services you want in order to lead the kind of lifestyle you envision for yourself. Once you have a budget and a short list of the neighborhoods in which you are interested, next you need to decide what features you want in a house. After listing all of the features important to you, whittle that list down to “must-haves” and “would be nice to have” columns. The “must haves” will be those elements that you definitely want in a home. Although it might sound silly to do this, it is important because, depending on your budget and the neighborhoods you want, you might have to comprise to get the most that you can afford.

Lastly, when looking for a new place, you need to get a hold of a good realtor who can show you the ropes of property buying and who can steer you toward the best deal and those properties offering the most value for your money. A good realtor will not only help you find a home, but they will only show you the kind of home that would interest you, in the communities of your choice.

Once all of these elements are in place, you are sure to find the perfect pad for your family.