As realtors, we are tasked with interpreting the latest Toronto real estate market trends. Over the past decade, due to climbing prices and a shortage of freehold housing stock, more and more Toronto homeowners are gravitating toward condominium ownership. Even if you are planning on staying put for a while, you may be wondering how you can best increase the value of your condominium. While there are countless common improvements that might boost asset value, there are some that we consider essential for condominiums. However, before tackling any of the projects on our list, it's important to consider a couple factors that are specific to presenting a condominium for sale.
First, as we have spoken about on numerous occasions in our seasonal Toronto Real Estate Forecasts (visit urbaneer to read them in their entirety), there is far more inventory available in the condominium market than in the freehold market. Right now only one out of four high-rise units are securing a Buyer each month. As we have stressed in the past, an essential component of creating an effective sales strategy is helping your unit stand out and make an impression on the Buyer. It’s all about the unique, wherever and whenever possible.
Second, there are those that believe that condominiums should be updated frequently in a bid to preserve (and boost) their value. This may be something to keep in mind moving into your next purchase. Condominiums can get dated pretty quickly; with the fashion of housing making kitchens and baths have a life span of around eight years, and with all the high-style new condominium stock continually entering our booming market place, there can be some stiff competition when trying to sell. But there are some important changes to be done:
In a smaller space, one of the key aesthetic elements (and one that will increase the perceived value) is the flooring. When budget allows, opt for engineered hardwood, because of its durability, as well as its polished look. Right now engineered plank floor in a warm neutral is all the rage. While it's important to ensure your selection reflects the overall design aesthetic of your space - and you're not installing something that will clash with fixtures and fittings - we tend to recommend choosing materials which are current and on trend.
Avoid carpet when you can. While it serves a purpose, carpet wears quickly and can make a space look older than it actually is (though if you're operating within a limited budget, carpet is acceptable in bedrooms). Carpet is also linked to personal taste; one Buyer may like your colour choice, whereas another may not. In the name of neutrality, as well as style - we recommend you go for the solid, sleek surface in the entertainment zones.
While a total kitchen overhaul may not be in your budget, you can fast-track your cabinetry into the current day with some blingy handles and door pulls. This is a very inexpensive way to inject the contemporary. The ubiquitous gets a bit of a custom-feel, and lends a spot of understated luxury. Incidentally, in older condominiums we're often recommending painting old wood cabinets white to give it a cleaner look which Buyers find more appealing.
Like your flooring, your counters are a major focal point in a smaller space. The general sentiment at the moment is towards granite or quartz for countertops, which are excellent for durability. A word to the wise though. Buying the top-end counter top may not translate directly towards return on your investment. Pick a quality product that makes sense in your décor. It should serve to tie the overall flavour of the space, both in colour and in finish - and that is what will create the best impression on the potential Buyer. Be cognizant of where resale values for condos like yours are landing, as you don't want to over-improve your space relative to the resale values in your building.
In a smaller space, what is it that you long for the most? More space? Probably more storage space, to be exact. An empty ill-organized closet can be a missed opportunity to communicate value to Buyers. It’s not just about the size of any closet, but the purpose and utility of storage space. Divide the closets with shelving, and built-ins, which are generally not costly. Use the same tactics with drawers and cabinets as well.
People tend to choose their lighting based on affection for a particular light fixture. This will not help you to boost your asset value. Rather, remember the purpose of the light, and how it can transform the sense of a space - from wide open to boxed in. Make sure that light fixtures match the rest of the décor, including hardware. Pot lights and recessed lighting, although more expensive to install, are valued by Buyers.
At urbaneer, it is our mission to help you put your best property forward, both when you are selling- and when you are occupying it. We pay attention to the details and nuances that will appease Buyers, transporting your sale towards top dollar most expressly. We are property owners too, and have real-life experience with the value that certain renovations can contribute. With over two decades of experience, we’re here to help!
Like what you've read? Consider signing up in the box below to receive our FREE monthly newsletter on housing, culture and design, including our love for Toronto real estate and other unique urban homes.