April 15, 2013

Day in and day out; as a Real Estate Sales Representative I have the advantage of seeing a lot of homes and condominums units so I keep my camera available for unique things. I am always amazed; some good, some bad and some absolutely horrible! I walk away saying “What were they thinking?” When it comes to home renovations, I am amazed at how quickly Realtors ® will recommend stagers or contractors. This really shouldn’t be the case. As a successful Realtor ® I should know what sells homes and condominiums and that includes how they are presented and represented. I find the best solutions for my clients is to provide advice and expertise to help them make smart decisions. Nowadays, I find that my clients have a dilemma as to whether they should renovate especially when they see all the sales and ads for new products. My recommendation always depends on what they want to do and why they want to do it. If it is for their own personal use; then go to town but be careful about staying within your budget and do a lot of comparable pricing. If they are asking for recommendations on improvements to sell their home for a higher price; then I ask them how far they want to go and how much do they want to spend. Renovations can really get out of hand. You also have to remember that a renovation still needs to match the rest of the home and ensure some consistency. You can’t go from 1 room and feel like you are living in 2013 while walking into a time warp in another room; right out of 1968. I have found that some minor touch ups may work such as painting but in many cases do not address the most important part that would actually increase value of their home and/or increase salability. Painting also needs to remain neutral throughout. Don’t mix your colours from room to room and always stay light and fresh, plus consider refreshing white kickboards, door frames and doors. The key room in any house or condominium apartment or townhouse is the “KITCHEN” Do you want to update or renovate your kitchen? The first concern is how far do you want to go. Do you want to order a whole new custom made kitchen? Do you just want to replace the doors and handles? Do you want to leave your cabinets as is and just basically install granite or quartz countertops? Be very careful on what you decide and make sure that when you do look at the finished product; you can stand tall and say “wow that looks fantastic” and yes it was worth the price you paid for it. I have been told that you have to be extremely careful when you contract a kitchen cabinet company. There has been complaints where the custom made kitchen you ordered at a higher price may only have the facing custom made and the company may be ordering the basic framing from IKEA, Home Depot or Rona. The advantage of a custom made kitchen is that you can change the design. If you only change the doors then the original design of the kitchen stays the same but you can add attractive features; such as moulding at the top of the cabinets provided you do not have a bulkhead. A bulkhead is the big box you will find above your cabinets. Sometimes these are empty space and once removed there is no problems however that is not always the case. Many times builders will hide the return air and heating systems in these bulkheads so if you want them removed, there may be an additional cost to have these systems re-routed or condensed. I owned a home where we had the bulkhead condensed in size. We found that the best way to do it was to order a custom made metal box around the system and then glue the drywall to the box. Taping and sanding could then be carried out normally. This condensed the size of the box as much as possible to accommodate the tall kitchen cabinets. You can also add the same moulding under the cabinets and install a recessed lighting. What about your “COUNTERTOPS” Countertops can either make or break a kitchen renovation. The more expensive option is to replace the counters with granite or quartz. They range about the same price; granite is a natural rock therefore it will not look the same throughout the entire slab and depending on the style of your counter and if there is a curve or bend, there will be a seam. Quartz is manufactured to the colour of your choice and seams are most likely hidden. Countertops made of quartz are 90% quartz and about 10% acrylic/epoxy resin. Granite will have to be sealed about once a year while quartz does not require any additional sealing. The pricing of both quartz and granite are about the same. It really will depend on our budget. The least expensive way is to install a laminate countertop. If that is the case make absolutely sure that it is a modern design, colour and edging. A clean modern sink with nice fixtures is extremely important. The reason I covered kitchens in this article is because it is the #1 area where cleanliness has to hit you in the face! There is nothing worse than showing a home where the kitchen is gloomy, dirty, old and run down. They needs to be fresh and feel sanitary clean and that includes the presentation on the appliances. I cannot believe how happy Buyers are when they walk into a kitchen and a see a new stainless steel fridge and stove with the stickers still on them. Funny, the cost can be easily included in the sale price because pricing on appliances have reduced considerably over the years but mainly because now the Buyers don’t have to save more money to buy appliances because they are already included in the price. Warm weather is just around the corner, no doubt there will be Open Houses around Ward 29, 30, 31. 32 and 33 so next time to step into a home think about my comments. I would definitely love to hear from you if you are thinking of buying a home or selling your home and/or condominium. In fact, even if you are thinking of renovating give me a call.. I will be happy to help! Keep Smiling Linda Pinizzotto, Real Estate Sales Representative Top 1% Nationally Sutton Group Quantum Realty Inc. Cell: 416-561-7373

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