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The Upgrade

Toronto’s real estate market is a thriving one that continues to grow at a steady pace. For those who are looking to add value to their properties, it can be beneficial to improve an area of the home to attract potential buyers. Representing some of the most prestigious properties in Toronto, we spoke to four of Sotheby’s leading agents to discuss where to focus your investments should you decide to give your place a boost.

What are the latest technologies that you are seeing in homes these days?

Richard Silver: A lot of the newer homes, and some of the older homes, are becoming “smartified”: lights that go on and off during the day, keyless doors, monitored heating and air conditioning systems, alarm systems and more. A lot of changes will be coming in terms of smart fridges and cabinets that will help you keep your household well stocked. The house will let you know when you are low on toilet paper and paper towels, automatically order them from your favourite store and deliver, possibly by drone.

What are some trend setting design innovations in bathrooms?

Andy Taylor: I’ve seen some crazy bathrooms. The walls and the seats were all heated, with speakers in the walls of the showers. The stone that you use is also important. This one house had onyx instead of granite or marble, which really stands out in terms of how everything looks. When it comes to lighting, people are using more chandeliers or light fixtures, so it is becoming a little more ornate. Having His and Her bathrooms is also a big thing.

When big investments are made to modernize technology into the kitchen, are homeowners who make them rewarded when they look to sell?

Paul Maranger: Absolutely! When done correctly, buyers view new kitchen appliances as fresh and clean. Also, the kitchen budget has to be in line with the value of the property. A contemporary kitchen, in a classic Victorian home, in a heritage neighborhood may be a flop. The key is to keep the budget and style consistent with the value and style of the house. Good taste is always well received.

When choosing the right material for your floor, what is the first thing that renovators should consider?

Alex Pino: It depends on many things in the house or condo. What is the traffic of the particular floor? What is the ambience and taste like? What is the budget and materials? When changing the floor, you always have to consider the location of the space in the property and ambience.

Do trends make a big difference in this area?

Alex Pino: They do affect the choices because the marketplace will give you different options. With increasing environmental concerns, having a heated floor is becoming the norm. The in-floor hot water system is probably the best. It’s a lot cleaner as there is no dust or noise from vents and central AC. It’s easier to maintain, as well.

Do you think investing in this adds value to a sale?

Alex Pino: People will pay a premium when they have a finished product. But, there are certain expectations that need to be set. Are you renovating because of yourself or for resale? If it’s for yourself, you have to live in it to get profit and appreciate. Today, the way we are connected, everyone will know how much you have put into a property. They have access to all this information. If you are asking a lot more for a place, you have to substantiate it.

Christian Vermast, Paul Maranger, Fran Bennett, Sotheby’s International Realty, Header image: Shelley Shapiro, Sotheby’s International Realty

Christian Vermast, Paul Maranger, Fran Bennett, Sotheby’s International Realty, Header image: Shelley Shapiro, Sotheby’s International Realty