Home renovation and maintenance information, advice and tips.

What Renovations Will Add Better Value to My Home?

 Saturday, June 16, 2018     Hilda Campbell      Home Renovations and Maintenance

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WHAT SHOULD I RENOVATE?

I am often asked how much of a “payback” specific renovations give. Certain renovations provide a much greater rate of return than others. Not surprisingly, kitchens and bathrooms offer the biggest return on investment. Other renovations may not provide a huge payback, but can certainly help sell a house. If you don’t plan on moving for a long time, renovate to suit your taste and lifestyle. If, however, you plan to move within a few years, it is important to ensure the renovations are properly, professionally done and the renovations will be suitable to a large pool of buyers.  If you are unsure what renovations to undertake call a real estate professional for advice. In the meantime, I hope the following list will help:

*Percentage recovered upon resale:

Kitchen upgrade: 75% to 100%

Bathroom upgrade: 75% to 100%

Interior painting: 50% to 100%

Roof replacement: 50% to 80%

Replacement of furnace or heating system: 50% to 80%

Expansion (addition of family room): 50% to 75%

Doors and windows: 50% to 75%

Deck: 50% to 75%

Installation of hardwood floor: 50% to 75%

Construction of a garage: 50% to 75%

Fireplace (wood or gas) 50% to 75%

Central air conditioning: 50% to 75%

Finished basement: 50% to 75%

Wood fence: 25% to 50%

Interlocking paving stones on driveway: 25% to 50%

Landscaping: 25% to 50%

Asphalt driveway: 20% to 50%

Pool: 10% to 40%

Skylights: 0% to 25%

Keep in mind that the amount spent on renovations should be relative to the value of the house. For example, a $25,000 bathroom does not belong in a $100,000 house (chances are you won’t be able to find a house at that price, but you get the drift).

Also, if you do plan on moving in the near future, some minor updates can make a big difference.

  • Sanding and re-staining dated or worn kitchen cupboards and replacing kitchen hardware can go a long way.
  • A fresh coat of paint in a neutral tone gives a home a fresh and clean look. Don’t bother with expensive paint. A bargain brand can be just as good as its more expensive counterpart and the new homeowners may want to personalize to their own taste after they move in anyway.
  • Depending on the season, plant flowers in the garden and have planters outside the front door.
  • Replace inexpensive or outdated light fixtures.
  • Replace both interior and exterior doorknobs.

Any questions or comments? I welcome the feedback.

If you're thinking about selling your home, please contact me and I'll be happy to help you find what you've been looking for. 


What Type of Wood Flooring Should I Choose?

 Monday, March 19, 2018     Hilda Campbell      Home Renovations and Maintenance

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Most people are aware there is a difference between hardwood vs. laminate floors, but often don’t know much about engineered hardwood floors. Some think it’s the same thing.

What’s the difference? How can you tell one from another? Here’s how:

Hardwood Floors are just that, wood. They are durable, timeless and add value. There are many different types of woods, colours and finishes to choose from. The cost will vary depending on the thickness, type and grade of wood, and whether the floors are pre-finished or finished on site. A solid wood floor can last for decades.  Solid ¾-inch boards can be refinished up to 10 times. Thinner ones can’t be sanded as much, but if topped with durable factory-applied coatings, they shouldn’t require frequent refinishing. Design tip: When it comes to the length of strips used, longer strips mean fewer distracting end joints. To make a small room appear bigger, use shorter strips.

Engineered (or composite) Hardwood is composed of a top layer of hardwood and multiple layers of plywood. At first glance, it can be difficult to distinguish from hardwood. Unlike solid hardwood floors, engineered hardwood doesn’t shrink or expand, making it resistant to warping and cupping. It’s considered very strong and stable. It can be sanded and refinished although not to the same extent as hardwood. There is some debate about whether or not engineered hardwood can be used in a basement. Although it is more resistant to moisture than hardwood, engineered hardwood is not as resistant to moisture as laminate flooring.

Laminate Floors are a multi layered synthetic flooring product fused together through a lamination process. Laminate flooring simulates hardwood and is usually composed of melamine resin and fibre board materials. It is less expensive and easier to install than solid hardwood and engineered hardwood floors. When installing laminate, the strips can be fastened or glued down, or left to float.  Laminate floors are a popular flooring choice for basements. They can also be the better way to go if you have a dog.  You can often tell whether or not a homeowner has a dog by the condition of their hardwood floors. Both hardwood and engineered hardwood can get scratched up pretty easily by dogs, unlike laminate.

At the end of the day, the flooring you choose for your home will depend on cost, the look you’re going for and where in your house you plan to use it. There are pros and cons to all three. Weigh the options and decide which one or ones will work best for you.

When you’re ready to buy or sell in the Burlington or Oakville area, please contact me. I can help!


What Should You Do About Unwanted Pests in Your Home?

 Thursday, January 25, 2018     Hilda Campbell      Home Renovations and Maintenance

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It’s the time of year when most of us are shopping for the holidays, enjoying winter sports or cozying up by the fire to watch a movie. It’s also the time of year when unwanted critters try to make their way indoors for warmth and food. 

I have had the misfortune of having a few minor critter infestations over the years, from mice to ants to wasps to birds. Wasps were especially fun. I never used to think much about these critters until I started watching the show “Infested” on Animal Planet.  Some of the infestations were so bad that the homeowners were forced out of their homes – permanently. The critters had taken over the house and won. After watching just one episode I armed myself with a caulking gun and sealed every single crack and hole I could find on the outside of my house. So far so good.

There was an article in The Toronto Star this week about a semi-detached house in Riverdale that is infested with rats.While the house is abandoned I would hate to be the unfortunate soul living in the house attached to it.

There are steps you can take to minimize, and hopefully eliminate, the risk of unwanted animals or bugs getting into your home.  First, seal all holes and cracks on the outside of your house. A good way to do this is to stuff them with steel wool and then seal them off with caulking compound.

Second, if you have any large trees close enough to your house that squirrels or raccoons can get on to your roof, you might want to consider getting rid of it. Depending on where you live, you may have to get city approval to remove the tree. I have a large tree immediately in front of my house and just this past summer a raccoon was on my roof trying to get in through a second story window.

Third, if you have an outdoor compost bin keep it as far away from the house as possible. 

Finally, make sure all garbage can lids are tightly closed and kept in either the garage or backyard shed, if possible.

The show “Infested” hasn’t been on for several weeks now. While I enjoyed watching it, I think it made me a bit paranoid. I keep hearing sounds coming from my attic …

When you’re ready to buy or sell in the Burlington or Oakville area, or for the name of a good exterminator, please contact me. I can help!


Tips for Hanging Artwork

 Thursday, December 28, 2017     Hilda Campbell      Home Renovations and Maintenance

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One of my pet peeves in life (and I have more than a few) is improperly hung artwork. What I mean by “improperly hung” is the artwork is hung too high on the wall, or a grouping of artwork or photographs are improperly spaced, as an example. There are some very simple rules of thumb, which I have learned from the many interior designers and home stagers I have worked with, that I would like to share with you so that your artwork is properly hung and shows better in your home.

The general rule of thumb is the artwork should sit 57″ from the floor to the center of the artwork/picture. This is “gallery height” and roughly eye level for a person of average height.

This 57″ rule also applies to groups of pictures. Think of the group as one picture. It is best if you play with different groupings on the floor first, pick the one you like best and then hang them.  Now that you have arranged how you want to group them, start with the artwork/pictures that will be the centre point and hang them at 57″ on center. Then surround them with the rest of the group, leaving 2” between each piece of artwork.

If you wanted to hang two pieces of artwork, one above the other, you would again treat them as one large picture, find the center point between them, and use the same 57” rule.

One hook can hold up to 50 lbs and there are no tools required to install. You simply push the sharp end of the hook into the drywall and turn until only the hook remains visible on the outside of the wall. 

When you’re ready to buy or sell in the Burlington or Oakville area, or for general real estate advice, please contact me. I can help!


Real Estate and Things That Go Bump in the Night

 Friday, July 21, 2017     Hilda Campbell      Home Renovations and Maintenance

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It seems just about every neighbourhood has its infamous haunted house. You know, that creepy, dark, run down house overrun with weeds and the curtains that are perpetually drawn. What if said haunted house was listed for sale? Would you consider buying it?  Would the reputation of the house affect the value? How about a house located next to a cemetery, or a funeral home?

Whether you believe in ghosts or not, buying a house that’s said to be haunted or that’s located in close proximity to a cemetery can definitely have an affect on value. While there are buyers who see the pros of buying these properties, there are many more who would not even step foot on these properties, let alone consider buying them. Also, there are certain cultures that are particularly averse to buying near cemeteries. Depending on where you live, that can have a dramatic affect on the value.

However, think of the benefits of living near a cemetery. They are well maintained, offer lots of green space, they’re peaceful, you don’t have to worry about re-zoning, noisy neighbours or barking dogs.  It could also be a nice place to go for a walk.  In certain neighbourhoods living next to a cemetery can actually increase the value of a property.

How about the benefits of buying a haunted house? It is likely a house that is reputed to be haunted would sell for below market value due to the stigma attached to the property. So if you’re looking for a good deal and aren’t spooked by things that go bump in the night, a haunted house could be for you. In a survey conducted by Realtor.com, it turns out there are more than a few people who would be okay with it.  Here are the results of the survey:

  • 41% of respondents would buy a place with reported ghost sightings
  • 36% of respondents wouldn’t object to levitating objects
  • 15% of respondents would pay full market value of the home
  • 9% of respondents would take a 31-50% discount

Whether you’re looking to buy a house, haunted or not,  in Burlington, Oakville or the surrounding area, or for general real estate advice, please contact me.  I can help!

In the meantime, Happy Hallowe’en everyone!

Real Estate and Mortgage News

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DateHeadline/Summary
Oct 02 Sales and average price at record levels; Active listing remain low
(Oct 2, 2020 - Hamilton, Ontario) The REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB) reported 1,751 sales of residential properties located within the RAHB market area were processed through the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System in September 2020. Sales are up 37.67 per cent over last month and up 53.9 per cent over September of last year. New listings are up 32.67 per cent over August 2020 and up 8.5 per cent over last September. The average price for residential properties was $721,354, which is up 3.8 per cent from last month and up 19.8 per cent from September 2019. The number of active listings available at the end of the month was 40.4 per cent lower compared to the previous year.
Sep 02 Typical August Market In a Year That Is Not
(Sep 2, 2020 - Hamilton, Ontario) The REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB) reported 1,272 sales of residential properties located within the RAHB market area were processed through the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System in August 2020. Sales are down 21.14 per cent over last month and up 12.7 per cent over August of last year. New listings are down 16.1 per cent over July 2020 and up 7.3 per cent over last August. The average price for residential properties was $694,690, which is up 0.24 per cent from last month and up 16.3 per cent from August 2019. The number of active listings for the month was down 18.6 per cent over last year.
Aug 05 July 2020 Activity Higher Than Typical Summer Months
(Aug 5, 2020 - Hamilton, Ontario) The REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB) reported 1,613 sales of residential properties located within the RAHB market area were processed through the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System in July 2020. Sales are up 23.7 per cent over last month and up 27.8 per cent over July of last year. New listings are up 15.5 per cent over June 2020 and up 8.8 per cent over last July. The average price for residential properties was $692,999, which is up 2.6 per cent from last month and up 16.3 per cent from July 2019. The number of active listings for the month was down 21.4 per cent over last year. "With the reopening of the province, and the increased confidence in both the economy and the health of our communities, we are seeing higher activity in both sales and new listings throughout the RAHB market area. Typically, spring is busier than summer; however, COVID-19 seems to have pushed the market back by a few months," says RAHB President Kathy Della-Nebbia. "Throughout the pandemic, the average price of residential properties in our market has held steady. If Ontario's recovery from COVID-19 continues, we shouldn't see a decrease; however, we are cautious that any relapse or a second wave could slow activity and affect average price."
Jul 03 June 2020 Activity Higher as the RAHB Market Area Moves into Stage 2 of Reopening
(Jul 3, 2020 - Hamilton, Ontario) The REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB) reported 1,304 sales of residential properties located within the RAHB market area were processed through the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System in June 2020. Sales are up 53 per cent over last month, and are down only 0.2 per cent over June of last year. The average price for residential properties was $675,223, which is up 13.7 per cent from June 2019, and up 3 per cent from last month. "With the reopening of the province, and the increased confidence in both the economy and the health of our communities, we are seeing higher activity in both sales and new listings throughout the RAHB market area. Typically, spring is busier than summer; however, COVID-19 seems to have pushed the market back by a few months," says RAHB President Kathy Della-Nebbia. "Throughout the pandemic, the average price of residential properties in our market has held steady. If Ontario's recovery from COVID-19 continues, we shouldn't see a decrease; however, we are cautious that any relapse or a second wave could slow activity and affect average price."
Jun 02 COVID-19 keeps activity low for May 2020, but market improves over April
(Jun 2, 2020 - Hamilton, Ontario) The REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB) reported 852 sales of residential properties located within the RAHB market area were processed through the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System in May 2020. Sales are down 42.2 per cent over May 2019, and up 43.4 per cent over last month. The average price for residential properties was $655,418, which is up 10 per cent from May last year, and up 6.3 per cent from last month. "New listings and sales are understandably down compared to May 2019; however, the average sale price has held fairly steady week-over-week during COVID-19 due to a balance of buyers and sellers," says RAHB President Kathy Della-Nebbia. "The province moving safely into phase one of re-opening has improved consumer confidence, leading to an increase in activity compared to April. If progress continues and the weather cooperates, we should expect higher activity in June."
May 04 COVID-19 affects RAHB market area in April and REALTORS® work virtually to slow the spread
(May 4, 2020 - Hamilton, Ontario) The REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB) reported 482 sales of residential properties located within the RAHB market area were processed through the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System in April 2020. Sales are down 63.4 per cent over April 2019 and 56 per cent over last month. The average price for residential properties was $614,412, which is up 4.3 per cent from April last year, but down 6.6 per cent from last month. "The beginning of the year was quite active and we were anticipating a busy Spring; however, the number of new listings and sales within the RAHB market area for April were down compared to the previous month and year as a result of the measures that were taken by the province and my fellow REALTORS® to slow the spread of COVID-19," says RAHB President Kathy Della-Nebbia. "RAHB REALTORS® have been working remotely where possible to assist their clients to buy and sell properties when the need is vital. This includes virtual open houses and showings, and abiding by the provincial and public health guidelines to ensure everyone is healthy and safe."
Apr 02 COVID-19 affects RAHB market area in March and REALTORS® work virtually to slow the spread
(Apr 2, 2020 - Hamilton, Ontario) The REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB) reported 1,098 sales of residential properties located within the RAHB market area were processed through the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System in March 2020. Sales are up 10 per cent over last month, but down 3.1 per cent over March 2019. The average price for residential properties increased to $658,161, which is up 1.8 per cent from last month and up 14.5 per cent from the same month last year. "January and February saw increases in sales and new listings, as well as average price. For March there was growth at the beginning of the month; however, COVID-19 infiltrated our communities mid-month and slowed activity in the latter half," says RAHB President Kathy Della-Nebbia. "Our REALTORS® work to be a part of the solution in the fight to flatten the curve, all the while servicing clients who are in great need of their assistance. We are seeing the impact on our market activity and expect to continue to see a slowing of the market as our communities focus on this unprecedented fight."
Mar 03 RAHB market continues upward momentum in February
(Mar 3, 2020 - Hamilton, Ontario) The REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB) reported 998 sales of residential properties located within the RAHB market area were processed through the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System in February 2020. Sales are up 30 per cent over last month and up 25.5 per cent over February 2019. The average price for residential properties increased to $646,667, which is up 4.5 per cent from last month and up 15.5 per cent from the same month last year. "The RAHB market is quite active with a significant increase in number of sales compared to last month and last year. We experienced similar activity at the beginning of 2016, which was one of our busiest markets on record," says RAHB President Kathy Della-Nebbia. "With the increases in average price and new listings, overall we are firmly in a seller's market; however, there is greater demand at certain price points - such as below $600,000."
Feb 04 RAHB market bounces back after slow December
(Feb 4, 2020 - Hamilton, Ontario) The REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB) reported 692 sales of residential properties located within the RAHB market area were processed through the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System in January 2020. Sales are up 5 per cent over the same month last year, and up 18.3 per cent over December 2019. The average price for residential properties increased by 11.9 per cent from January 2019 to $617,496. "Our market area experienced a reduction in activity and average price in December, as is the case for that typically slower month; however, we bounced back in January," says RAHB President Kathy Della-Nebbia. "Buyers seem to be coming out early, so sellers shouldn't feel the need to wait for the spring market to get a great value for their property. We expect the spring market will be strong with more competition between sellers, as many wait for the flowers to bloom to market their homes."
Jan 16 RAHB REALTORS® Release 2019 Year-End Statistics: A Modest Sellers' Market
(Jan 16, 2020 - Hamilton, Ontario) The REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB) reported 12,866 sales of residential properties located within the RAHB market area were processed through the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System in 2019. This is 10.1 per cent more sales than in 2018. The average price of a residential property in 2019 was $587,745. This is up 4.9 per cent from 2018, and 95.3 per cent higher from 10 years ago. New residential listings were down 4 per cent compared to the previous year. "The RAHB residential market has balanced out from the high activity experienced in 2016 and 2017; however, increases in average price and number of sales, paired with a decrease in new listings, indicates that 2019 favoured sellers more than in 2018," says RAHB CEO Carol Ann Burrell. "Buyers in 2019 were able to take more time to find their preferred, and in many cases more affordable, property compared to previous years, and so the sellers' market was not as noticeable."
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