Return on your makeover


It is no secret that Canadians, specially those in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) are investing a lot of money in home improvements now a days. Without reading too much into it, one might credit the endless number of home improvement shows on TV as well as the home improvements stores that provide easy access to tools, materials and expertise, all of which one may need to take on a renovation project.  I agree! that is true to a point!, This has been the trend for the past few years but in my opinion there are a couple of factors other than the above mentioned influences that have contributed to why this trend has picked up speed.

One of the main reasons that a home owner decides to renovate is to make their home meet their changing needs, improve their quality of life and treat themselves to a bit of luxury. Now, hold on to that thought. I will explain why! To say that in the past few years the GTA housing market has been hot is an understatement! It has become a sellers market due to having more buyers and much fewer houses for sale. This hot real estate market has brought with it arguably some questionable practices such as bidding wars and bully offers which has become more common in the past couple of years. This of course makes it difficult for many to upgrade their homes or find and buy a home that they really like. Hence, that is why I think more and more people are choosing to renovate their existing home if at all possible instead upgrading their home through a real estate transaction.  In some cases they may choose a home that is not up to par, for a lot less money and renovate it to avoid competing for “ready to move in” homes.

Another reason that has contributed to this growing trend of home improvement is of course, to increase the value of the home or/and prep to sell. In a stable housing market, one would have to be careful where to spend those renovations dollars. As most experts tell you, NOT every reno-dollar spent will return a 100% or more in value. However, I have been witnessed to some crazy real estate transactions in the past couple of years in the Greater Toronto Area that contradict what most experts say. I have seen renovated homes or homes that have upgrades in them sell well over what I would have evaluated their value to be. And more so, such homes sell faster as buyers try to out bid their competition for these “ready to move in” stylish homes. Of course, assuming that the upgrade is done tastefully and done with reasonable quality.

Whatever the reason maybe for renovating your home, here are a few things to think about before you tackle any projects;

Choose projects that give you the biggest bang for your buck

As a realtor I have seen the impact the following improvements have on buyers. It is important to choose projects that give you the biggest bang for your buck and try to keep in mind that the amount spent in improvements should be relative to the value of the house (don’t spent $100,000 in improvement if the avg price of the house on the street is $200,000). Below is a list of what I think today’s buyers value the most in improvements.

  1. Open concept living
  2. Hardwood flooring
  3. Kitchen
  4. Bathroom
  5. curb appeal
  6. paint
  7. income suites

If you spent those reno dollars wisely, meaning choosing renovations that bring the most value and making sure that its done right and with good taste and good craftsmanship, then you have done well to get the biggest bang for your buck.

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