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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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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Jan 04 Much Needed Supply Gains In 2022
(Jan 4, 2023 - Hamilton, Ontario) The REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB) 2022 marked a year of adjustment in housing demand across the REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB) market area as sales activity eased by 30 per cent over the near-record highs achieved in 2021. Rising lending rates, previous price gains and limited supply options weighed on potential purchasers. At the same time, new listings continued to grow in the region, but only for homes priced above $800,000. The pullback in sales was enough to support inventory gains across all price ranges by December. While inventories have nearly doubled, levels reported in 2022 are still nearly 20 per cent below long-term averages for the region. Moreover, supply levels remained well below typical levels for homes priced below $600,000.
Dec 02 Supply Levels Improve Over Last Year's Record Low
(Dec 2, 2022 - Hamilton, Ontario) The REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB) reported 672 sales of residential properties across the RAHB market area through the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System in November 2022. The number of sales were down by 13 per cent from October 2022 and down by 42 per cent compared to November 2021. There were 1,248 new listings in November 2022, which was down 21 per cent from October 2022, and compared to November 2021, there was an increase in listings of nearly two per cent. The benchmark price* for residential properties across the RAHB market area was $830,900, down 0.7 per cent from October 2022, and down nine per cent compared to November 2021. There were 3.2 months of inventory** in November 2022, compared to 3.1 months in October 2022.
Nov 02 Listing Growth Driven By Higher Price Properties
(Nov 2, 2022 - Hamilton, Ontario) The REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB) reported 756 sales in October, similar to levels reported last month. While sales are below the ten-year average, new listings levels are higher than last year and support more balanced conditions when measured against sales. The adjustments in sales relative to new listings have caused inventory levels to rise from record lows, but inventories remain well below record highs. "There is no question that we have seen a shift from the unsustainable activity that occurred throughout the pandemic as some of the supply challenges have eased," says Lou Piriano, President of RAHB. "While fewer new properties are being listed below $800,000, there are more opportunities for buyers looking to move up in the market. The danger for both buyers and sellers can be trying to time the market. With conditions sometimes turning quickly or silently, it is important to talk to a professional RAHB REALTOR® who is plugged into the local market."
Oct 05 Higher Lending Rates Weigh On Sales In September
(Oct 5, 2022 - Hamilton, Ontario) Sales eased across all property types and regions in September, contributing to the lowest September sales since 2010. "Significant gains in lending rates impacting affordability and concern regarding a housing correction has dampened consumer confidence. This is contributing to the decline in sales seen throughout our market," says Lou Piriano, President of the REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB). The pullback in sales was also met with a gain in new listings supporting supply growth. While supply levels in September are significantly higher than the record lows seen last year, they have returned to levels similar to what was recorded in 2019 and remain well below historical highs.
Sep 02 RAHB Area Sees Decline In New Listings As Sales Increase In August
(Sep 2, 2022 - Hamilton, Ontario) The REALTORS® Association of Hamilton-Burlington (RAHB) reported 906 sales of residential properties within the RAHB market area through the Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) System in August 2022. The number of sales were up by 11.7 per cent from July 2022 and down by 24.2 per cent compared to August 2021. There were 1,641 new listings in August 2022, which was down 8 per cent from July 2022, and compared to August 2021, there was an increase in listings of 20 per cent. The average sale price for residential properties across the RAHB market area was $858,405, down 2.3 per cent from July 2022, and up 2 per cent compared to August 2021. There were 2.6 months of inventory* in August 2022 compared to 3.1 months in July 2022.
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