Reno Expert: Don’t Move, Improve
by Jim Caruk
If the real estate market has you feeling jittery about moving, why not focus your attention on the home you already own
After more than a decade of almost non-stop rising home prices in Toronto and the surrounding suburbs, things seem to have finally started to taper off. Still, with the average home price in Toronto peaking somewhere north of $1-million, with realtor fees, land transfer taxes (provincial and municipal if you buy within the city limits), lawyers’ fees, and the various other closing costs, you could quite easily spend $100,000 or more just to swap your old house for a new one, without doing any renovations. Why not put that money into your current house and create the home you’ve always dreamed of?
FAVOURITE FAB UPGRADES
Kitchens and bathrooms are two of the most popular rooms people focus on when upgrading their homes. Whether it’s a fully functional chef’s kitchen with high-end appliances and plenty of countertop workspace, or a spa-like master bathroom complete with soaker tub and a bevy of spray jets in the shower, these projects can convert an ordinary home into the extraordinary.
You can’t go wrong building a communal living room around a fireplace.
Why not buy one that’s made in Canada by Napoleon?
CAPTION: Photography courtesy of Napoleon
A MAN CAVE FOR ALL SEASONS
I wouldn’t be doing my duty to all the men out there if I didn’t mention the coveted “man cave.” Whether the focus is on a bar, a pool table, or a big-screen TV on which to watch the game, many a man has appeased his mid-life crisis by ordering up a place of his own where he can hang with his buddies. But if such an upgrade seems to be a tad lopsided, another more inclusive option is to create or remodel the family room into a home entertainment hub.
Some people would rather focus on the great outdoors. Obviously, now isn’t a good time to start building a new deck or installing a pool, but it is a great time to line up a contractor and make some decisions on design and materials so work can get started as soon as the snow is gone.
A NICE DIP INTO THE EQUITY POOL
Of course, these luxury upgrades come at a cost. But even with home prices on a bit of a slide right now, if you’ve been in your house for more than a couple years, it’s almost certainly increased in value. You can access that “virtual” cash by taking out a home equity line of credit.
STAY PUT IN STYLE
So save yourself the stress and cost of looking elsewhere for a dream home. That perfect space is possible right where you currently reside, with the added bonus of not purging your possessions and packing your life up into boxes.
|Jim Caruk, Renovation Editor
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