CASH IN ON VALUE OF HOME

Mar­ket’s hot and so is sum­mer: Cre­ate an oa­sis

Windsor Star - - HOME, POOL & GARDEN -

What’s hot­ter than midsummer in Es­sex County? The lo­cal hous­ing mar­ket. With sale prices siz­zling and bid­ding wars heat­ing up, many cur­rent home­own­ers who had thought about mov­ing are now giv­ing their res­i­dences a sec­ond look. With help from the right con­trac­tor, de­signer or ar­chi­tect, their present ad­dress could be­come what they have been search­ing for.

“All of the builders are go­ing flat out. They are build­ing houses as fast as they can,” notes Den­nis Ger­rard, ex­ec­u­tive officer of the Wind­sor-Es­sex Home Builders’ As­so­ci­a­tion. “In the real es­tate mar­ket, you have a scarcity of sup­ply.”

That is driv­ing up the prices buy­ers are will­ing to pay. The Wind­sor-Es­sex County As­so­ci­a­tion of Re­al­tors re­ports that in April, the av­er­age lo­cal home price was $283,295, a hike of 24.51 per cent com­pared to the $227,520 paid in the same month in 2016. Of­ten, buy­ers paid sig­nif­i­cantly over the ask­ing price.

Sea­soned real es­tate agents who have been sell­ing houses in Wind­sor-Es­sex County for 30 years have never seen any­thing like it.

Do­ing the math, some home­own­ers find it is more af­ford­able, con­ve­nient or log­i­cal to stay put, ren­o­vate and en­hance what they’ve al­ready got.

It’s a trend iden­ti­fied by the Canada Mort­gage and Hous­ing Cor­po­ra­tion’s 2016 mar­ket anal­y­sis, which found the ren­o­va­tion mar­ket is boom­ing, nearly dou­bling since 2000.

Pay­offs for ren­o­vat­ing the home, putting on an ad­di­tion or turn­ing the back­yard into a per­sonal par­adise are big.

An out­dated kitchen can be re­con­fig­ured with an in­tel­li­gent floor plan, well-crafted cab­i­netry, stone coun­ter­tops, is­land and pantry.

A tired bath­room can be­come a pri­vate spa with a multi-head shower/steam room, deep soaker tub and van­ity ta­ble with glam­our light­ing.

The wall sep­a­rat­ing two small bed­rooms can be knocked out to cre­ate a spa­cious mas­ter bed­room and walk-in closet.

Other de­sired on-trend fea­tures that may be achiev­able in an older home in­clude: a home the­atre, home of­fice, main floor laun­dry room, and new hard­wood and tile, lam­i­nate or vinyl flooring to re­place worn-out car­pet­ing and linoleum.

Even mi­nor re­dec­o­rat­ing can re­new a home, such as chang­ing out light fix­tures and re­paint­ing the walls or old cab­i­netry.

Home­own­ers blessed with a back­yard “are bring­ing their in­doors out­doors,” says Mar­garet Ketler, who co-owns Bluewater Pools & Spas in Wind­sor and Leam­ing­ton with Mike Shana­han.

When peo­ple call in Bluewater, “we take all of their ideas and cre­ate a back­yard oa­sis that suits their fam­ily’s needs,” Ketler says.

The de­sign is based on the home­own­ers’ life­style.

The mo­ti­va­tion to in­vest in a pool and spa is “the en­joy­ment of be­ing at home,” says Ketler. “Sum­mers are hot. It’s al­most un­bear­able with­out a pool to take ad­van­tage of that out­door space,” she ob­serves.

A spa pro­vides year-round ther­apy and re­lax­ation.

With ap­prox­i­mately 130 builders in Es­sex County, along with trades­peo­ple, ar­chi­tects, de­sign­ers and dec­o­ra­tors, home­own­ers have ac­cess to ex­pe­ri­enced and tal­ented pro­fes­sion­als who can trans­form their vi­sions into beau­ti­ful, phys­i­cal re­al­ity.

At the very least, the up­graded prop­erty will be ready to score top dol­lar should the home­owner de­cide, af­ter all, to sell.

- COURTESY BLUEWATER POOLS

Projects like this Bluewater Pools in­ground swim­ming pool al­low home­own­ers to beat the sum­mer heat and “take ad­van­tage of that out­door space,” says the com­pany’s co-owner Mar­garet Ketler.

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