Welcome to the latest edition of Dear urbaneer, where we help our clients sort through some of their most troubling property questions. This time around, our client has fallen in love! As our couple plans to co-habitate and merge two properties into one, he's made the decision to sell his condominium. He wonders what he can do to really boost the resale value of his condominium.
As my partner and I prepare to move in together, I am taking steps to sell my condominium. Although I am sentimental about my place, I have a very pragmatic desire to try get top dollar. I know that sometimes you need to invest a little elbow grease and money to do this in advance of selling. In terms of condominiums though, what improvements do you recommend?
How do I Make my Condo Most Appealing?
Here's our response:
First off – congratulations! That’s great news! Secondly, applause to you for taking the time to thoughtfully prepare your pad before you bring it to market.
As we have spoken about numerous occasions with our Forecasts (click here and here), there is far more inventory available in the condominium market than in the freehold market (Here's a link to recent blog on how there are currently ten times more high-rise condominiums for sale than low-rise property in the downtown core – so that right now only 1 out of 4 high-rise units are securing a Buyer each month). As we have stressed in the past, an essential component of a sales strategy that involves garnering top dollar for your property is helping it stand out and make an impression on the Buyer. It’s all about the unique, wherever and whenever possible.
There are a few things to consider that are specific to presenting a condominium for sale, mostly because of their efficiency of space. While there are common improvements that will help boost asset value, there are some which we consider essential for condominiums.
Furthermore, there are those that believe that condominiums should be updated frequently in a bid to preserve (and boost) their value. So 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 8 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. Here is a good story from the Globe and Mail with some suggestions, along with ours, below.
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 can be in the bedrooms). Carpet is also a little more linked to personal taste, so one Buyer may like your colour choice, wheras 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. The photo above shows my own condo kitchen in The Movie House, where I used white caesarstone to create a clean contemporary feeling.
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. In fact, I invested a tidy sum to create pairs of custom wardrobes and a chest of drawers in the bedroom of my Movie House loft, which you can read about in this Peak-A-View Post. I think great storage provides a return on investment. Any savvy Buyer will acknowledge the value of good storage.
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. As you can see in the photo above. I'm a huge fan of symmetrical track lighting which allows me to focus attention on my art collection which, in itself, elevates the value of a space.
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!
~ Steven and the urbaneer team
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