Countertops add value

the value of quality countertops

Quality countertops are definitely not a fad

For well over a decade, homebuyers have been showing their love for high end countertops.  When you consider that many homeowners don’t start thinking about spending money on updates and upgrades until it’s time to put up a “For Sale” sign, it shouldn’t be a surprise that one question homeowners frequently ask is  “should we put in granite countertops?”

Can a countertop add value?

That depends on the material. Standard ones, the kind you’ll find in cookie cutter new home construction and on the shelves at your local Home Depot or Lowes are laminate- a composite material covered in a decorative paper and melamine coating. They’re definitely at their prime during the first 5 years of their life (or until someone forgets what a cutting board is for) and are prone to nicks, cuts and burns by regular use or accident. With careful use, they can look great for decades but very few make it through a growing family without taking a hit or two. Even a new laminate counter many not add the value you would expect since it’s the bare minimum that buyers expect. Solid surface and stone countertop options are considered to be definite upgrades and tend to add value because their function and lifespan are so appealing to Buyers.

An alternative to a full kitchen reno

Most homeowners dread tackling kitchen renovations. The thoughts of spending tens of thousands of dollars and living without a functioning kitchen for a week or two can be overwhelming-emotionally and financially. The good news is that it may take you longer to select a new countertop than it will take to have it installed. Just like other renovation projects, the more prepared you are the better. Perhaps that new granite counter will be best served with a new under mount sink and that sink will probably be best served with a new faucet and maybe, that faucet is going to need new plumbing. You may want to accent your new countertop with new back splash and perhaps even a new slide-in range. The key is to make a plan and set a budget, keeping in mind that the end result will be well worth it.

Buyers love quality countertops

There’s absolutely no doubt in this Realtors® mind that decor and staging definitely helps sell a home, but one of the most fascinating trends I’ve seen over the past decade in the Hamilton real estate market, is Buyer attraction to quality countertops like quartz, granite and brand names like Corian and Caesarstone. And, it doesn’t matter what the price range of the home is, buyers seem to be willing to look past other issues when the kitchen and baths have awesome countertops. At first I thought it was a whole kitchen thing happening, but I don’t believe that’s the case. Seems like refurbished, painted or even original cabinetry take on a whole new life once they’re capped with a high quality counter.

Enjoy your countertop investment

At $60-$90 a square foot, decking your kitchen out with quartz, granite or one of the other materials may seem to be an expensive option especially if you’re going to be moving out of the house in the near future. But then again- why wait until you’re moving? Select the right product and it’ll look just as good 5 years from now as it does the day you have it installed. The true value may be in you getting to enjoy your investment.

Countertops & Technology

If you’re going to start shopping for counters make sure you check out Dupont’s charging stations- one of the solid surface technologies we’re bound to see more of in the future.

Speaking of HGTV- their 13 favourite countertop materials

Check out the difference in countertop materials at Popular Mechanics!







House Flipping and Renovating- Making a Profit


House flipping staple- the 1960's kitchen

House flipping staples- the 1960’s kitchen

House flipping for a living is a lot harder than it was a decade ago. Even though buyers are eager to snap up them up like hot cakes, their home inspectors are ready to identify every single imperfection that you’ve left behind. Today, home renovations, renewals and flipping are a big boost to the local economy.  Dumpsters, panel trucks, workers buzzing around a house like a hive of bees- all signs that something magical is about to happen in the neighborhood. Just like an artist carefully strokes oil on a canvas, the renovator up the street is creating something beautiful – there’s a home that’s about to go from drab to fab.

Now, anyone who has done a few renewals or flips will tell you, it’s not quite as easy as the shows on HGTV or Flip this House would lead you to believe. Not everyone gets to dance around the “Sold” sign celebrating a huge profit hours after the house hits the market. A talented renovator makes it look easy. Like other forms of art, a pro makes it look easy because they know what they’re doing. It’s a different story for the novice renovator. Avoiding some key traps can go a long way in ensuring success.

House flipping mistake #1 : Overbidding 

Not every Power of Sale or Estate Sale is a good deal for a flip or renewal. Check the MLS® history of the listing. Has it ever been on the market before? Why didn’t it sell then? Mold? Grow op? Seasonal moisture issues? Hidden knob and tube wiring? Dry rot? You wouldn’t be the first person to see profits disappear by adrenaline fueled overbidding.

House flipping mistake # 2: Ignoring price ceilings 

Location, Location…Location. It holds true with flips and renewals. Every location has a ceiling in prices. It’s easy to think that you may be able to push it to a new high with a wonderful product, but it’s a huge risk. Check with a local REALTOR® who knows the area to find out what the price ceiling is. The thrill of selling fast can be countered by the agony of a mutual release if the appraiser can’t support the value.

House flipping mistake # 3: “It’s not that big of a deal”

Be shrewd. Roof, hydro, plumbing, kitchen,furnace,bathroom, flooring & parking-all important elements that if not considered, can cost you your profit. No drives or mutual drives may be common fodder in one price range, but quite a deficiency in another. Know what you’re creating and who you’re going to be selling it to.

House flipping mistake # 4: Too much or too little 

Divide your local market into 3 parts; low, middle and upper. If the house is in the low market, don’t chew up your profits with high quality hardwood floors and granite counter tops. In the upper market, don’t loose your profits by putting in laminate flooring and lower end light fixtures. Know your market and get it just right.

House flipping mistake # 5: Bad Math 

Overestimating the work that you’re going to have to do will hinder you in the bidding process – underestimating will result in paying too much. Be informed and have trusted trades on call. Sharpen your pencil and do your math. If you start writing in red, double check to make sure you’re not being over cautious. If you can’t see a profit at the end of the day- don’t be afraid to move onto the next property.