01.12.2024 | Renovations

A Complete Guide to Home Renovations in Toronto

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Homeowners in Toronto often have a love/hate relationship with renovations and remodels. The process seems to take forever while you live in a construction zone. But the results? 

When you walk through your now gorgeously updated home, you may feel like you want to pinch yourself. If you’ve done a full remodel, you can hardly believe this is the same house. Everything appears brand new and fabulous, from the gleaming floors and luxurious kitchen to the spa-like bathroom. Even if all you did was add a coat of fresh paint, it does wonders to refresh your space and add a touch of modern appeal. 

Any upgrades you make today can also add significantly to the resale value of your house should you decide to sell. The trick is to know what projects to take, what to leave to the new owner, and how much to invest in the current market. In this post, we’ll provide you with a top-to-bottom guide to what renovations might maximize your sale and make you fall in love with your home all over again.

Types of Houses in Toronto

Toronto’s housing landscape is as vast and diverse as the people who live there! Your typical neighbourhood consists of a healthy mix of older-style houses full of history and character and modern condos with the latest and greatest conveniences. There are also townhouses, new and old, along with numerous semi-detached residences and some bungalows. It’s also not uncommon to find a few custom homes that the owner has renovated into something completely new and unique. 

The structure of your home plays a significant role in planning the size and scope of your project. For example, if you live in a newly-constructed townhouse or condo, your renovations might consist of a few nail holes so you can add your favourite artwork. 

If your home is one of the older dwellings built in the 1950s or before, you may have a little more work to do. But what a canvas you have to work with! 

The stunning architecture often features beautiful brick exteriors, wrap-around front porches, gabled rooftops, and impressive bay windows that slow traffic down on the streets outside. Once your vision is complete, your home could be transformed into an impeccable, perfect blend of olden-style charm and modern design.

Knowing what to do and what NOT to do is essential when selling a home. Here are a few more tips that will help you get the results you’re looking for:

Prioritizing Projects

Before taking another step in your home improvement plans, it’s a good idea to think about your priorities and what you want from the project. Are you renovating for personal reasons, to mould your space into the home of your dreams? If so, you’ll have more freedom with your design and decor. However, it never hurts to keep the resale value in mind just in case you decide to sell a few years later.

If you’re upgrading in the hopes of selling your home in today’s market for the highest amount possible, you’ll need to be more strategic in your approach. Some renovations add value, while others can even detract from your sale. 

It all depends on your location, the type of property, and how the market is behaving at the time. Your best course of action is to first consult a local real estate agent who is familiar with the ins and outs of your neighbourhood. Often, they will begin the process with a pre-list inspection to determine the best opportunities for improvement.

With rising housing prices and soaring rents, renovating to add income potential has become a top priority for many Toronto homeowners. Recent legislation makes it easier than ever to build a secondary suite right in your own house or in your backyard.

What Are the Primary Value Adds?

The thought of renovating to prepare your house for a sale may seem overwhelming. However, it may not be nearly as bad as you fear. The buyer will have their own vision for your home, which usually means that a top-to-bottom overhaul is unnecessary. 

Instead, you can free up your time and energy by drilling down on minor repairs and updates that make visitors see your home’s true potential. The trick is to focus your attention on the rooms that are most important to prospective buyers. Situations can vary, but here are some specific upgrades that generally make the most impact.

Kitchen Updates

There’s a reason you hear the “kitchen is the heart of the home.” It isn’t just about meal times. This is the one room where everyone connects no matter how busy life becomes. From games around the table to short conversations as you pass each other, the kitchen is the place in your house where fond memories are created. 

As such, it is worth focusing on when preparing your home for sale. Even then, you likely don’t need to go overboard. Attractive new backsplash, fresh paint, and updated hardware on drawers and cupboard doors can give your kitchen a stylish, contemporary appearance.

Bathroom Makeovers

For some buyers, the bathroom is as important as the kitchen. It’s more than having a place to scramble to get ready for work and school in the morning. With the right ambiance, the bathroom can be a sanctuary to relax and unwind after a long day.

Once again, a total overhaul is rarely called for. Start by taking a look at the silicone around the sink and bathtub. Is it peeling or stained? This is an easy repair to make that adds instant appeal. Adding light or neutral-coloured paint adds an air of spaciousness and tranquillity. For the finishing touches, a new faucet and lighting fixture give the room a spa-like feel that is a pleasure to come home to. 

Living Room

The living room is one of the first things a potential buyer sees when they step inside your home, and you want to make sure it has an impact. Depending on how much wear and tear the room has, you may be able to get away with a deep cleaning. 

Start by scrubbing the floors, baseboards, walls, and ceiling. Most importantly, make sure the windows are clean and streak-free as this helps flood your living room with natural light. 

Do you still think a few updates will help? As always, you can never go wrong with a coat of fresh paint! Changing the lighting fixtures and ceiling fan will help to modernize your living room. 

If you want to take your renovations to the next level, consider investing in new flooring. Unlike the other minor repairs we’ve suggested so far, this upgrade will cost more in terms of time and effort. However, installing new floors can offer a substantial return when the time comes to sell.

Search the world over, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better place to live than Toronto! Here are just a few reasons why:

Should You Add an Income Suite?

Speaking of more extensive renovations, one option you might want to consider is adding an income suite. Some planning and cost will be involved, but the payoff can be significant. Rental units are in high demand all over Toronto, which provides a pool of eager tenants the moment your unit is ready. 

  • If you decide to keep the house, an income suite can eventually pay for itself by generating passive income each month. 
  • If you choose to sell, a home with income potential often results in a higher price.

Are these benefits enough to make the investment worthwhile? The first step is to analyze your potential costs to build the suite versus the profit potential you can expect once it’s completed. Here are some other considerations before signing up with a contractor.

  • What are the local by-laws in your neighbourhood?
  • Can you get the required building permits for your project?
  • If you add an income suite, are you ready to be a landlord?
  • Do you plan to use your income suite for Airbnb or Vrbo? If so, it’s important to understand Toronto’s strict rules regarding short-term rentals. For example, you can only rent out the suite if it is your primary residence.

Investing in Toronto can be complicated, but it can also be one of the most rewarding adventures of your life. Here is a little more food for thought:

From the Planning Stages to the Finish Line

Now that you’ve run the numbers and have a plan in place, it’s time to start making things happen. If you are handy, you may decide to tackle some of the work yourself. However, for the best results, you likely want a team of professionals to help and guide you.

  • A real estate agent with investment experience in Toronto can help you focus on the projects with the most significant payoff.
  • A financial adviser will give you a clear picture of what you can afford in terms of renovations. This is particularly important when upgrading your home for personal reasons without a sale or income opportunity in mind. In addition, they can review your financing options with you. For example, should you take out a home equity loan to finance your investments, or are you better off using an unsecured line of credit? 
  • A team of contractors and tradespeople can take much of the work off your plate, allowing you to oversee the process with less stress and fewer demands on your time. They will also ensure that all projects are completed to an impeccable standard.

Renovating your Toronto home can be both stressful and exciting. Whether you’re doing it for your own pleasure or the financial benefits, having access to local expertise and a network of professionals will ensure you end up with results you love. 

Do you want to know more about what upgrades have the most impact when selling your Toronto home? We are here to answer all of your questions. Reach out to 416.443.0300 or ERICA@ERICAREDDY.COMto start a conversation today.

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