Think­ing ahead boosts value of your condo

Calgary Herald - Calgary Herald New Condos - - New Condos - MARILYN WIL­SON

One thing buy­ers of new con­dos of­ten lose sight of is one day, they may want to sell their prop­erty. It’s un­der­stand­able; they’re typ­i­cally faced with the some­times over­whelm­ing choice of many op­tional up­grades.

But the re­sale value may be quite dif­fer­ent from a pur­chase price plus the cost of any up­grades or ren­o­va­tions the owner has done. It’s im­por­tant to re­mem­ber all up­grades are not cre­ated equal.

Ful­fill­ing your dreams and de­sires is won­der­ful, as long as you re­al­ize they may not be shared by prospec­tive pur­chasers if you de­cide to sell.

On the flip side, the seller’s re­al­ity may not be that of a pur­chaser ei­ther.

I’ve talked to many condo own­ers who had the chance to buy an ex­tra park­ing space or stor­age locker, or could have up­graded a lam­i­nate coun­ter­top or kitchen cab­i­nets but de­clined, dis­miss­ing it as a waste of money.

In fact, an in­vest­ment in such up­grades may pay div­i­dends when you come to sell.

When de­cid­ing on up­grades, if you put on a buyer’s hat, the an­swer to what to in­vest in will be clearer. Typ­i­cally, prospec­tive sellers rat­tle off in de­tail all the up­grades that make their condo su­pe­rior to the one down the hall.

In re­al­ity, many of them add lit­tle or no value and some may ac­tu­ally de­tract from a prop­erty’s at­trac­tive­ness, such as gold-plated faucets, brightly coloured cab­i­nets, sinks, tubs and show­ers and unique ceramic tile work and floor­ing.

These might be valid op­tions for the owner, but their value is likely to be di­min­ished in the eyes of prospec­tive pur­chasers.

Some­thing as sim­ple as a can of paint can ei­ther in­crease or re­duce a unit’s value. Light, neu­tral colours in small spa­ces help with con­ti­nu­ity and make the space seem larger.

Most ceil­ings start off white. How­ever, if you paint the ceil­ing and walls in a warmer colour with a con­trast­ing crisp, white trim, you can change the space and cre­ate a warmer feel to the room.

For a dif­fer­ent ef­fect — and an even warmer, cosier feel — paint the walls and ceil­ing the same light colour and the trim with one-quar­ter of that colour mixed in with white.

This gives def­i­ni­tion with­out cut­ting the space up visu­ally.

How you use paint will de­ter­mine if you have added value to your home. And the nice thing about paint? If you don’t get it right the first time, you can also change it.

If you re­ally love that dra­matic red wall or turquoise bathroom, en­joy it un­til you’re ready to sell. Then change it to a light, neu­tral colour.

Un­for­tu­nately, chang­ing it is not so easy for floor or kitchen cab­i­net up­grades. Now, in gen­eral, these up­grades add value at re­sale un­less you choose colours or styles that scream time warp.

Speak­ing of style, try to choose one that is con­sis­tent with the build­ing style, which is what, more than any­thing, will at­tract prospec­tive buy­ers to your condo when you want to sell.

If the build­ing is ex­tremely con­tem­po­rary, do not in­flict a coun­try kitchen on your condo, even if you get a good buy on it. Don’t lose sight of the bot­tom line — re­sale value.

Get­ting back to in­vest­ing in that ex­tra park­ing space: even if you are do­ing your bit for the en­vi­ron­ment and have a sin­gle ve­hi­cle, re­mem­ber that most cou­ples down­siz­ing to a condo will have two.

Of­fer­ing a condo for sale with two park­ing spots in­cluded in­creases its value. If you don’t need a sec­ond spot, think about rent­ing it to an­other condo owner. Will you re­coup the ini­tial price of the ex­tra space? Per­haps.

But you will cer­tainly set your prop­erty apart from the com­pe­ti­tion. The same goes for an ex­tra stor­age locker.

De­pend­ing on how well you ne­go­ti­ated the ini­tial pur­chase, you are likely to make up the ini­tial cost at sale time.

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