Richmond Hill's Heritage Estates & Mill Pond
October 10th, 2011 
Jim Reid
Broker, ICI, ABR

Royal LePage Your Community Realty, Brokerage
To make the best Heritage Estates or Mill Pond renovate or move decision, it is important to understand all the reasons that you have to renovate and all the reasons that you have to move. This article reviews important reasons why people move around in the GTA. As you read each of these reasons, consider how much it applies to you and note how strongly you feel about each one. Be sure to discuss these if you also have an involved spouse.


The size of your at-home family has changed. Of the many reasons to move, the size of your current home is the most common. Many young couples in the GTA originally purchase a cozy two or three-bedroom, 1500-square foot home that suits their situation perfectly. The home has a master bedroom, a guest bedroom, and possibly a home office. A single living area with couches and an entertainment center provides the couple with ample space for the two of them and their visitors. As they start a family, the first child moves into the guest bedroom and toys take over the living area. The perfect house for two becomes too small for three or more.

Of course, the opposite may occur for mature families where the kids finally move out. There are justifiable concerns about having a place for the grand-children to stay when they all come to visit. But, sooner or later, Mom and Dad realize that it is also great when the kids all go home. In fact, it is unlikley the whole family needs to stay over very often. The real lifestyle issues are cleaning the empty rooms and maintenance costs on a four bedroom home and large landscaped lot. It becomes time to find an easier lifestyle.


Young families want the best possible schools for their kids. Unless your children attend private school, where you live usually dictates which school your children attend. In a metropolis like Toronto and the GTA, cultural groups are shifting around into different neighbourhoods. Thus, it is important to live in an area where your family fits in. This is great for building a sense of community in the neighborhood as children can walk or bike to school together. A school nearby can also cut down on travel time for dropping off and picking up your children.


Your commute to and from work may be too long. A common reason to move is the change of a job. Be it out of province or in another community, most people will only commute so far. If you want to have a shorter commute, then moving may be the only answer.

Mature parents will often find their lifestyle improves by moving closer to where their kids live.


You do not like renovating. Renovating is not for everyone, especially a second time! No matter how it is accomplished, two things are unavoidable: the inconvenience and the decision-making. The inconvenience can be as little as not using your kitchen for a day while it is being painted or as much as moving out for six months while some major work is done. For some, any inconvenience is too much, so a move may be the way to go.


You do not enjoy your neighbourhood anymore. Each neighborhood has its own characteristics. Some have big yards; some have small. Some have sidewalks and streetlights; some don't. Some have many rental homes, some have few. Some are full of 1,000-square foot houses; some only have 3,000-square foot houses. Some neighborhoods have kids playing on the street all day long and friendly neighbors stopping by to chat every day. In other neighborhoods, people keep to themselves and rarely wave as they drive by each other on the way to work. As much as we all would like to change some features of our neighborhood, many are out of our control. If the neighborhood doesn't meet your needs, a move may be the only solution.


Your current home has an outdated floor plan. You may not be able to remodel the house you live in. It may be too costly to make it what you want. If you want a kitchen in front and the family room facing south, but your home has the kitchen in back and the family room facing north, a remodel may be too expensive to be practical. Due to lot size, building codes, or physical barriers, some homes may not lend themselves to remodeling the way you want. Building codes can limit the type and size of additions as well as their appearance.


Your yard is too big/too small. For many, the yard is an integral part of a house. A yard is land to call your own, a place to plant flowers or vegetables or an expanse of grass that you take pride in keeping green and manicured all summer long. Depending on your lifestyle the yard can also be too large and actually create more upkeep than you need or want. No matter what it is about a yard, most of us want one. The question is how big of a yard do you want? There can be good reasons for wanting a smaller yard as well as a larger yard.


Renovating is too expensive. You can profit from an intelligent updating or upgrading, but in reality, some remodeling projects are not worth the investment or effort. If your dream is to live in an affluent neighborhood with large lawns and 4,000-square foot homes, and your neighborhood is full of bungalows with single car garages, the chance of getting what you want by remodeling for a reasonable amount of money is unlikely, (except in the Mill Pond area of Richmond Hill and a few specific areas in the GTA). Remember you never want to be the best home on a street of lesser value homes. The reverse is much better.


Your home is already the largest and nicest on the street. You may have remodeled your home before and now your home is the largest and nicest in the neighborhood. This is great if you love the neighborhood and plan to stay in the home for years to come. However, if you have been remodeling your home because it needs updating and you still have to add additional space or amenities, then a move may be a good idea financially.


You are planning to move in the next few years. If there were a wrong time to remodel, it could be immediately before you move. It may be risky to go through the expense and the inconvenience of remodelling and then put the house up for sale the next month or the next year. If you are staging the home to sell it, then you should have a professional stager guide your work. Moving right after a remodel can be costly unless you managed your remodel project very carefully to minimize the cost and maximize the market appeal of the work that was done. Also, moving immediately takes away one of the biggest benefits of remodeling: enjoying the results. If there is a reasonable chance of your moving in the next 24 months, it may be better to move now to get the house you want rather than to remodel. Be sure to check with Jim Reid to get the best advice.


Changes in your cash flow often make moving the right thing to do. Incomes can change and expenses rise. It is just as important to increase the size of your real estate investment(s) when you are in your 20-50's, as it is to diversify your real estate holdings when you approach a semi- or full retirement lifestyle. The first group should be seeking to leverage themselves to grow their real estate equity. The latter group should be looking to cur their real estate operating costs and to acquire some income generating real estate.

If you are thinking about or discussing any of these issues, you should call Jim Reid to help you form your real estate goals, strategies and plans. Jim has the expertise you need to make prudent real estate decisions.
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