Now that Easter is over with, it is renovation time. Here are some hot trends that people seem to be putting in their house to increase their overall value. Be careful though, not everything is desirable to all buyers. You might be overspending and not receiving the return if you decide to sell your house.
SEVEN hot home-improvement trends
– Home theatre
– Hardwood floor in kitchen
– Laundry room on main floor
– Whirlpool bath
– Built-in kitchen appliances
– Office on the ground floor
– Kitchen island
Percentage recovered upon resale
Kitchen upgrade: 75% to 100%
Bathroom upgrade: 75% to 100%
Interior painting: 50% to 100%
Roof replacement: 50% to 80%
Replacement of furnace or heating system: 50% to 80%
Expansion (addition of family room): 50% to 75%
Doors and windows: 50% to 75%
Deck: 50% to 75%
Installation of hardwood floor: 50% to 75%
Construction of a garage: 50% to 75%
Fireplace (wood or gas) 50% to 75%
Central air conditioning: 50% to 75%
Finished basement: 50% to 75%
Wood fence: 25% to 50%
Interlocking paving stones on driveway: 25% to 50%
Landscaping: 25% to 50%
Asphalt driveway: 20% to 50%
Pool: 10% to 40%
Skylights: 0% to 25%
Its not a big news thing, but it is good to know that the biggest Real Estate board in Canada is upgrading its system.
You can now add up to 20 pictures to the mls listing service. Its a long time coming.
This is great because you can properly showcase your house with 20 pictures. It previously was 9 and its very limited, and you had to pick and choose what you would showcase.
This doesn’t mean that agents that don’t post any pictures, will still not post any at all. There are still many who don’t and I’m waiting for the day when those agents would be fined or the they won’t be able to post a listing without some pictures. (Sorry Little Rant)
When I list a condo, I always get asked by my sellers if we can do an open house, or should we. I always say it depends. I have done many in my time but there are a few hurdles to go through.
First off you must find out through management if is allowed in the building. Some Condo Corporations do not allow it for many reasons. Mostly its due to safety. You’re having strangers enter a secured building. Imagine ten listings in a condo having an open house.
If you are allowed to do one, you must then think of the amenities. If there is one agent doing the open house, are you going to show the amenities at that time. Most likely no, because if more people come to your open house, you cannot leave and go show the other people the pool for instance.
Then there is the question of parking, concierge, and getting people upstairs. Is there enough visitor parking for all these people if they come, do you have the concierges co-operation in communicating with you when a buyer comes in. If there is a landline in the condo, or an intercom, then you can simply let them in, and let them sign in and park. If you do not have that, you will have to get the owners cell phone, which may be inconvenient.
I once had a condo, where I had to go downstairs each time and bring the buyers up. It was really hard if I was showing the condo to other buyers, they would have to wait. Which is not necessarily a bad thing.
The next thing is that you must consider is if the building will let you post an advertisement in the building, or directions where to go. Some don’t. If they do this is a good thing because it can draw direct traffic from renters in the building, who can just come up whenever they want during your open house.
While most agents do not do an open house in a condo because of these hassles, and because there are a lot of speculators, sometimes it can work. I suspect with all of the present and future condo development, open houses will be a normal thing every weekend.
If you are a buyer in Toronto right now, you are familiar with submitting an offer with no pending clauses. The most important ones being Financing & Inspection. Two very important clauses. There are other potential ones but these are the cookies that matter.
Waiving these clauses and offering a good amount does not even guarantee that you will win a bidding war, but it is almost necessary if you are buying a house in the 416 right now.
I strongly disagree with waiving these conditions, but it is necessary to, or you will find yourself just putting in offers on properties, over and over and being overlooked.
My buyers always ask if it is better to insert these clauses, and just go over and beyond in the asking price. I always say the same thing, its not always the price that matters. In most cases sellers will take less money to have no clauses.
Let’s observe why having a closing right away is better than risking keeping the house on the market.
Last year I had a few properties that were sold conditionally with these clauses in effect for 5 business days. On the fifth day, in more than one occasion, they requested a mutual release and return of their deposit. Their financing did not go through.
At this time, we had to put back the house on the market, and the other potential buyers already moved on, further keeping the house on the market and losing thousands of dollars.
Put yourself in the sellers shoes, you take a bit less money and your house is sold now. No questions, no further negotiations, if the home inspection comes back sour, too bad you took the house.
In the 80’s there was no real thing as a professional home inspector. What happened? Well lawsuits started happening and here we are. Another thought is that just because you have a home inspection does not guarantee that there are no deficiencies. They cannot find everything. Although I do refer great Inspectors!
The risk of removing a financing clause is as follows. If you are “Pre-Approved” the bank may say that the house is only worth a certain amount due to the comparables in the area, and only finance a certain amount, or the insurance company if you are not putting 20% down, will not cover the amount needed. In these cases, you must cover the deficient amount. That could be a deal breaker. Where are you going to come up with the $80000 you just over paid for a house.
Now if you don’t close, you lose your deposit, and will be sued for damages by the seller for x amount. Its a scary road ahead. The best thing to do, is to see if you can be backed by in most cases, your parents, or someone willing to back you. I hope you have good friends or parents!
The risk of removing the inspection clause or use the inspection the listing agent provided, is that there may be other things that are missing. The one thing a pre-listing inspection does very well is cover their ass. It states that there might be this and might be that, and that they won’t be held liable. In one case I had, they didn’t list that there was knob and tube wiring in the upstairs. Thank God we pushed for a non biased home inspection. We knew that it would cost a significant amount to put new wires in before hand, which they agreed to do.
Clauses in the agreement of purchase of sale are there to protect both parties, but if you live in Toronto, you must waive those protections to be competitive, and it can lead to a very litigated road for all parties involved.
I’m begging you, please stop listening to the news for your Real Estate advice. I know I harp about this a lot. The news does such a bad job of predicting the housing market. Sometimes the news influences people so much that skews their decision. Real Estate is a big ratings boost. That is why you see a report almost daily about the market, even though there is nothing going on.
You must understand that the news can take an ordinary day in Real Estate, and inflate that to make a story out of it. They must do that because in the end, they are out to sell newspapers and sell T.V. commercials. They don’t care about your knowledge.
Saying this, there are a few news reports that are actually honest and report responsibly.
The solution to watching the news is to examine the facts about what they are saying. Do not trust some weird company that says that in a report they predict this and that. The truth is nobody knows what is going to happen in Real Estate. Its like the stock market. Not even the Real Estate boards know what is going on, even though they have their own reports on Real Estate.
The best thing to do is follow the stats from month to month. You can find stats on the various Real Estate boards website, open to the public. The best way is to ask your fellow Real Estate agent, and see if they can pull up some numbers for you.
If you haven’t noticed the news now uses the same tactics on Real Estate, as they use about terror on C.N.N. and those those types of news programs. The headlines are, “The Market is Gonna Crash” or “It could crash by the end of the year.”
Stop listening to the news now!