Introduction to Toronto Home Renovations
There are two reasons to renovate your home. First, for your own enjoyment and lifestyle. Second, for resale value. Sometimes those two reasons align and sometimes they don’t. In an expensive real estate market like Toronto, a house is the most valuable asset that many people own. Therefore, the resale value of a renovation almost always pushes the renovation decisions. We advise clients to do all the expensive, dirty renovations as they live in the house to improve the home’s value and then to focus on their own taste and lifestyle when they are changing up the cosmetics of the house. Unless you are planning on selling within five years of renovating, chances are your home will need to be freshened up a bit before the sale anyways. Assuming you are renovating a home that you plan on spending several years in, here is our “do” and “don’t” guide
Wet basement: Nothing deters buyers more than a wet or damp basement. Waterproofing your basement and installing sump pumps really increases the value of your home. This will also improve your quality of life in the home and make your basement more liveable.
Roof: Don’t put off doing a roof in order to do a kitchen. Kitchens are easy: a coat of paint and new countertops go a long way. But an old roof really scares off buyers who look at those peeling shingles and just see dollar signs. Putting off doing a really old roof can also lead to mold issues in your attic. Deal with it early and live with the peace of mind that it is done.
Windows: Updated windows speak well for a home, even if the rest of the house is dated.
Electrical: Wet basements terrify new buyers but old electrical is pretty scary too. If you have old Knob and Tube wiring, get rid of it before you put your house on the market. The bonus is that you will save money on insurance and not have to worry about your outlets shorting out all the time.
Otherwise, renovate your dream home to your taste. With all the expensive work that no one wants to do out of the way, you should feel free to make your home yours. Just before you sell, it is easy to refresh your house by painting it all white and staging it. With that said, as you’re renovating the fun things, here are some things you shouldn’t do:
Splurge on very expensive eccentric things. Do you love orange kitchens? GO WILD! Get all the orange cabinets you could want. Buy orange appliances for all I care! But stay away from spending thousands of dollars on that orange quartz countertop unless you’re prepared to change it out before you sell. Cabinets are easy to paint and appliances are easy to switch. Countertops? Not so much.
Create a one-bedroom home: Lots of childless couples do this and, unless you can easily put the lost bedrooms back in, it’s a bad idea for resale value.
Remove all bathtubs: You would be surprised how many times no bathtub in the house is a dealbreaker for buyers.
The Kim Kehoe Team