Time to Renovate? or Time to Sell?


Did you know that in our community, renovating is becoming one of the largest sectors of discretionary spending?

The discussion around renovating your home, often becomes a discussion of whether you should renovate and sell, or maybe renovate and stay. Often when families start to discuss moving, it is to correct problems they see in their current home. Sometimes these issues can be fixed by a simple renovation, such as a bathroom that needs a facelift, or refinishing a floor. Other problems such as not enough room, or needing one floor living when you own a two storey home can be more complex. When you begin to consider building additions, or repurposing main floor living spaces, it pays to fully consider your options. The cost of renovation may well out pace the value of the renovated home.

Another time families discuss renovating is when they have decided to move. Many times families downsize, or decide they want to enjoy condo living instead of maintaining a property, or perhaps just a change of area. In these cases, much thought should be given to renovating to place your home on the market. Studies show that some renovations will result in you increasing the value of your property by the amount you invested. Two examples of this are kitchens and bathrooms. You should always keep in mind that this is not always the case.

You should always consult with a professional when you are considering spending money on your home before selling.  Often buyers have entirely a different idea on how they would renovate your home if they were to buy it.  A larger percentage of home renovations are completed by people after they buy a home – ususally within the first 12 month of living there….

If you have questions, or are considering a move, call one of our real estate professionals.  They know their community and can help guide you in the right direction.

Should you wait until after the Holidays to list your home?

christmas-christmas-decoration-christmas-tree-cute-house-lights-Favim.com-83660At this time of year, many homeowners think they should wait until after the holidays to put their home on the market. Also, some homeowners who have had their home on the market decide to take it off the market until after the holidays.

If you are in this dilemma, here are six things to consider:

  1.  Buyers who are looking during the holidays for a home are serious buyers, and are ready to buy.
  2. You are in control of the showings on your home.  You can decide when your home can be shown or not.
  3. Homes often show better when decorated for the holidays.
  4. There is less competition from other sellers at this time of year, as many do decide to hold off selling until after the holidays.
  5. Buyers who are being relocated by their employer are always out there.  They will be looking to get into a home quickly to get their families settled.
  6. The supply of listings generally increases after the holidays.

These six items all suggest that there is a benefit to the seller who decides to move forward with selling their home during the holidays.

As always, you need to consider your particular circumstances and needs. One of our professionals at Coldwell Banker Pinnacle Real Estate will be happy to help you determine what course of action would be best for you.  Why not call one today?

Thinking about Buying a Cottage or Vacation Home?

Buying a cottage or vacation home for you and your family can be one of the best decisions you make, but it could also cause you the most headaches if you don’t give it lots of thought first.

When you are considering buying a cottage, your first decision must be whether you intend to buy this only for your personal use, or if you intend to possibly use it as an investment, renting it out when you and your family are not using it. This initial decision will help you decide where you want to buy. If you intend to rent it, you will want one near popular areas, with close proximity to amenities. If you intend it for your sole use, you are free to locate exactly where you want to be, even if that if the middle of nowhere.
Also, when buying for your own use, consider your lifestyle, will you be having lots of visitors? Will you entertain frequently? Do you have certain activities you want to be close to? These are just a few of the things to consider before you jump into buying.

When you start to look at properties, don’t get carried away by all that is available. Make sure you set a budget, and stick to it. Just because you have the down payment doesn’t mean you want to pay the mortgage costs. You want to enjoy this vacation property, not worry about what it’s costing you. You might even consider a family property. Maybe you have brothers/sisters or friends who would like to pool resources and buy a vacation home. If you decide to go this route, keep in mind that the amenities you are looking for will change if you are all at the cottage at the same time.

Another consideration is where do you want to buy. Consider how far and how long you want to travel to reach your property. Consider how long you will be staying at your property, and is it worth the time to get there if it’s just for weekends.

When you have decided where you want to locate, decide if you are looking for a house or if a condo would better meet your needs. If you are looking to get away from it all and have no maintenance to worry about, a condo might be your best choice. If you are buying this property for investment purposes, be sure if you chose a condo that you are permitted to rent the unit. (you should check the rules for any other restrictions that might affect your enjoyment or that of your tenants).

Before you buy, be sure you are buying a vacation property for the right reasons. Don’t buy on impulse. Just because you are enjoying a vacation at someone else’s cottage does not mean it is the right decision for you. Think it through carefully. This could be a large investment, and the real estate market can be fickle, especially with vacation homes. The market is not the same year round, or even year to year.

When you decide a vacation home is the right purchase for you, talk to your banker, and your real estate professional. Get some good advice on what is available, and also on how to finance your purchase to your best advantage.

If you have any experiences you would like to share, please add your comments below!

Spring Maintenance Checklist – If You Don’t Have One Get One!

Last week Ann was talking about choosing a Home Inspector and it reminded me about a Spring Maintenance Checklist because most good home inspectors include maintenance checklists as part of their service.

 Every home owner should have some sort of maintenance checklist  to ensure all the elements of the home are receiving the required attention. I always refer to a house as a living organism with many little parts that need to be serviced on a regular basis to ensure the organism is operating at its peak.

 Many home owners ensure their automobile is maintained on a regular basis but neglect their largest investment – their home. Little things like cleaning eaves troughs and down spouts and making sure they are properly attached to the house can help to avoid serious water problems in the future. Another minor item that, if left unattended could become costly is all the caulking around your home. Over time caulking will shrink, dry up, and crack exposing the home to weather conditions and possible damage to the exterior and interior of the home.

 These are just a couple of examples of maintenance items. Check out the following websites for more great tips on home maintenance:




 My best advice to any home owner is to put your house on a regular maintenance schedule as soon as possible. Remember, a little bit of work and a few dollars now could save you thousands of dollars in damage repairs in the future.

 If you have any good home maintenance tips you would like to share please do. I’m sure our readers would appreciate it.

A New Home – Is it the Right Choice for You?

This is an interesting topic for me, because believe it or not, I have never lived in a ‘second hand’ home. I know growing up, it wasn’t by my choice that the homes were always new, but even as an adult, I don’t think I ever thought –’It must be new’ – it just happened that way.

I am likely an example of the hard to please buyer. I want it done exactly my way, with no exception. The size of rooms, the layout, the colour of brick, the type of flooring, finishing styles… These are all part of the new home buying process and something I like to have control of.

Buying a brand new home can be an exciting process. From picking the area you want to live, to touring model homes to see the quality of the different builders, to finding what you can afford. And this is before you even decide what style of home you want! Once you have done your basic homework, the fun starts. You have a blank slate on which to build your ideal home. Just keep in mind, all those nice to have ideas come with a price tag – sometimes far more than you might expect (or be willing to pay, for that matter). Once you have made all your choices, the wait begins. A new home can take more that 4 months to build, all the while you are anxiously watching the progress, or sometimes lack of progress, when weather or other unforeseen events slow down your new home.

Once it is finally done, your moving day has come. Hopefully all your careful planning has created a home in which all your belongings will fit, especially items like the king size bed, or the grand piano…

If your luck is like mine, moving day will be after a few good rain storms, so your front walk, (if you can call those pieces of wood on mud a walk) is a sea of mud, with you slipping and sliding your way in with multiple boxes of treasures.

Be prepared – when you finally move in, not everything will be finished! At least that has been my experience. We moved in once with no sinks in the bathrooms – brushing your teeth in the bathtub is a memorable experience. Or, once they didn’t have the gas turned on – fortunately it was fall weather… cool, but not freezing.

Once you are in, there will be the outdoor landscaping to take care of. Not very often does any more than a bit of front grass get laid before moving day, and not always that. You need to budget to spend a few dollars putting in front walks and driveways. Be sure to wait a season to let the ground settle before spending dollars on fancy walks and driveways. You don’t want to be redoing paved driveways!

Buying a new home is not for everyone. If you need to see the finished product before you can decide if it will work, a new home is not for you. If you like established neighbourhoods with lots of trees and amenities, likely a new home is not for you.

My number one suggestion if you are thinking of buying a new home is to have a really good look at the homes the builder you are thinking of using has built. The trades people who build the next home may not be the same ones as built the homes you are looking at, but the final product is a result of how good the builder is at selecting trades people, and also how closely the builder monitors the quality of work being completed. A good builder will try to ensure consistent quality.

Just as an aside, I am starting the search for a new home shortly, and believe it or not, I am not looking for a brand new home! Although, I am looking for one to renovate… just never satisfied with what I see I guess…

Is Condo Living Right for You?

Deciding to live in a condominium is not just a decision on type of ownership, it is a lifestyle choice.

When you are ready to buy your next home (or first home for that matter) one of the many choices you will make is whether to live in a condominium or a freehold. Both of these choices offer many amenities, you just need to determine which is the best fit for your lifestyle.

A condominium offers a low maintenance choice. You pay a monthly fee to have all or some of your outside maintenance taken care of, the building maintained and the maintenance of the shared use areas, such as gardens, swimming pools, games rooms and more. Some condominiums also include utility expenses in the monthly fee. This can be the ideal choice for people who love to travel and want to feel they can just close the door and not worry while they are away. Condominiums are also great for active people who want to participate in activities, such as tennis, lawn bowling, swimming, bridge and more, as many of the newer condominiums have been built with this active owner in mind. They truly are communities of individuals with shared interests. There are condominiums built in all price ranges and styles, townhouses, apartments, detached homes and more. If you are looking for this type of lifestyle, there no doubt is a condominium that will provide all you are looking for.

Freehold living offers a different range of amenities. Freeholds can also be townhouses, semi-detached, row houses, detached and more. With a freehold, the owner is responsible for the maintenance of the home and property, upkeep and repair. As the owner, you can do what you like with the house and property (within the limits of the local bylaws), such as build fences and decks, put in a pool, build on an addition, or change the look of the exterior however you wish. Freehold living is not quite so easy to just close the door and leave. If you want to go away, you must be sure the grass is being cut or the snow being shoveled.

I have lived in both condominiums and in freehold homes. Each suited my lifestyle at the particular time in my life. There is no better choice – just the right choice at the time.

The Hamilton and area real estate market has a wide variety of condominium and freehold choices. When you are in the initial stages of buying, be sure to review all your options. The right property is out there, you just have to work with your sales rep to focus on what you want, and get everything in order so when you find it, you are ready to make the offer!