Same Model...Different Price
The question I’m asked most often is “Why do the same models of homes sell for different prices?”. In fact, in Oak Park I have seen the same model home on the market for $420,000 and $490,000 at the same time – and the price discrepancy is completely warranted. For the purposes of this Blog, I’ll continue to use Oak Park as an example, but the rules of thumb stated throughout are applicable in any neighbourhood. Oak Park is no longer a first-time home Buyer area. Its homes are aging – between 8 and 15 years now. Thus exceptional finishes are crucial. This means new appliances, refaced kitchen cabinets, granite countertops, new hardware on the cupboards & drawers, new fixtures, new carpets, fresh paint and updated bathrooms. Builder’s ‘anything’ won’t cut it anymore, except perhaps for staircases and hardwood floors (unless of course, the original Buyer chose the upgraded kitchen from the Builder).
To keep your home updated and to maximize your dollars, you have to start thinking about updates when your home reaches a minimum of 5 years old. This is when you need to freshen the paint and update the colour and décor scheme. Light fixtures need to be modernized and/or updated from the Builder. Dimmers need to be installed. Chandelier investments should be investigated. Between 5 and 8 years, you should have updated all window coverings, installed crown molding and potlights and tackled your backyard landscaping and outdoor entertainment areas. By 8 years, it is necessary to replace carpets (which showcase wear and tear) and it is also time to update your kitchen. At 15 years, air conditioning units and furnaces will need replacing and roofs need consideration. Appliances should also be replaced – both for modern looks and for upgraded efficiency. Locally, I am finding that finished basements in an Open Concept design help increase prices as do exceptional outdoor entertainment spaces. (Note: Finished basements that are cut up do not help as a selling feature and therefore supply a poor return on investment.)
An important point – don’t over-improve for the price point of your home and at the same time, don’t under-deliver. (i.e. A Sub-Zero fridge will not give you any ROI in a $400,000 range home, but might be standard for $1,000,000+) My caution or yellow-light areas that MUST reflect the home value: kitchen cabinets, taps, sinks, tubs, appliances and flooring.
With an increase of housing inventory on the market it becomes easier for Buyers to compare houses. This is why your Real Estate Agent’s expertise in determining the Fair Market Value of a property is more important than ever in the selling (or buying) process. They are aware of recent selling prices in the neighbourhood, and most importantly, they are aware of differences in homes that seem similar but do not have the same updating. Please check out my YouTube video “Reno's for Resale” (in today's Oakville Real Estate Market) to see how a home’s value can be increased while still retaining a return on investment dollars spent.