There is a tendency for many in the real estate industry to write about the difficulty, frustrations, and bad turn of events. Believe me, I have many such stories but sometimes things just work out well and with the right outcome.
Steve was nearing 80 and was semi-retired. He had spent his career in the arts, a passion well worth living that had left him rich in experience but less rich in his bank account. With a lower income over the years he did not quite have the savings he had hoped for at his age.
His lawyer suggested that he call me and I made an appointment to meet him at his condominium suite. It was a good visit as he was a delightful man and he gave me a tour of his condo which was a good sized suite. We discussed his many options as he was typical of so many, “house rich, money poor.” All of his investment was in his home.
Rent to Retire in Toronto
After we discussed his options Steve decided he would rent to retire. He would sell his Toronto home and invest the money with a financial planner who could get him yields, on the safe side from 5-6% per annum. Then, he would find a modest rental apartment and his pension would cover most of the rent.
This was pre-Covid and, as an experienced real estate appraiser, I valued his suite at approximately $500,000. There were issues with the suite, some of the wall colours were very dark, he had too much furniture clutter and he had original broadloom. It is common for clients’ homes to need some care and attention before listing in order to increase the value of their house so I can get the best possible profit for them. In this case, I knew my experienced team of home renovation experts could take this condo from tired and old to fresh and ready for a new owner. First, my crew decluttered the suite, some furniture was given away, and some went into storage pending his move. Then we painted the walls a neutral tone and, most important, the broadloom was removed and replaced with a quality dark stain laminate flooring throughout.
From House Poor to Pension Rich
The entire renovation cost was under $10,000. In the end, we achieved a sale price of $565,000 – $65,000 more than the original valuation, all because Steve trusted our experience to get him the best price for his home.
When I suggest to clients that they spend money to upgrade their home prior to listing, it is common for them to feel resistant to invest in a home they no longer see a future in. However, it is proven that updating and giving the public what they want (few want broadloom today) will increase the market value. In one case, we successfully raised a price by over $200,000 by spending $20,000 upfront.
Renting VS Owning in Retirement
Steve has kept in touch with me and has shared how happy he is these days. Now that he’s renting there are no more condo fees and no money tied up in the upkeep of his home. He has funds invested and with semi-annual returns on them he told me that he has not been more at ease in years. He feels free and although his rental suite is not as lovely as his former condo it is very affordable and he has fixed it up to reflect his personality.
How to Sell Your House in 3 Steps
- Ensure your home meets the current design trends. Check out MLS photos online, and go to an upgraded open house to see what people want.
- Declutter & decorate. Dark colours are out these days, soft off whites, greys, and taupes are in.
- Upgrade Flooring. Install laminate or vinyl plank flooring. If you have carpet over hardwood, remove the broadloom and sand and stain the existing hardwood, darker is more desired than natural oak.
A Little Goes a Long Way
To increase the market value of your home it does not always take large amounts of cash. The effort you put into your home before selling will give you a greater return on the sale of your home and therefore more money in your pocket. I designed and wrote the accredited course on Senior Real Estate and it’s my passion to help you go from house poor to living well in your retirement. For more information on Senior Real Estate call 416-399-2852 and let’s have a chat about your situation and your needs.