Friday, April 20, 2012

If I had some money, honey

I think that no matter what condition the home you live in is in, you often play renovator in your mind. There are always upgrades to be had, even if the only way "up" is to buy a $12,000 bathtub or something. At the same time you need to balance resale value vs the cost of these upgrades. If you plan on staying in your home for many years, the return on investment might not mean much for you. However, if you know this is a starter home or an investment property, then you want to carefully price these things out.

In my building, not many units have upgraded kitchens or bathrooms. I am fairly certain the things you see in new condos today (granite, stainless steel etc) are almost standard! But I actually think these options weren't offered to the original buyers in my building- I have rarely seen fridges that aren't white or black, and we all seem to have the same brown speckly laminate countertops.

I do think my condo is aesthetically pleasing, and certainly nothing is in NEED of repair, but I often think of various upgrades that I would like to do. I would need to be careful (you don't want to be the nicest house on the block) and I would have to understand the values of properties for sale in my building and the potential buyer of a condo as small as mine.

That being said, there are things that I think would be a positive upgrade in my condo:

1. Continuing the hardwood all the way to the front hall.
It is a little hard to see in the picture (I don't feel like cleaning to get a better one), but you can see all the floors going on by the kitchen over there (hardwood, tile, carpet). I have no idea why carpet would be in the FRONT HALL. Yes, it is dirty as sin from all these years. I need to deep clean it, but I have been putting it off cause I'm super lazy. I would love to extend the hardwood into the front hall. The current flooring is engineered hardwood so I am confident it would hold up well to dirty boots and such. I have no idea if the current wood and new wood would match, and stripping and staining is a daunting thought as I have no other room to move furniture into!

2. Replace kitchen countertop and sink
I realize that in straight up material, but countertop wouldn't cost much, but labour costs also have to be factored in here, people! I can't cut stone myself! I think I would go Corian in here, but I would need to fully research stones before I can commit to that choice! I would also do an undermount sink and investigate the option of having a piece of stone fit to cover half the sink (so I would have more countertop, but still a double sink). I am sure I saw that somewhere before! As for the appliances, stainless steel would be too jarring in a tiny kitchen, but I would like a countertop depth fridge so it sits back a little bit.

3. Redo the bathroom sink
I would love a new countertop and sink in this room too! The countertop on this vanity actually IS in rough shape. I find it looks cheap and poorly constructed. I am not sure what kind of option I would put in here. The vanity is in good shape and I haven't decided how I feel about it.

4. Make the front hall more usable

A lot of my square footage is wasted in this front hall. I would like to install sliding doors for the front hall closet and laundry closet. I always have shoes and random things hanging out here and it can sometimes be difficult to open the doors to access the laundry. However, I would lose the storage on the back of these doors- so that is a consideration. I would also like to replace the shoe dresser with a nice built-in to store boots, shoes, and other things.

5. Zee Patio!
I know I have mentioned this before, but I would love to install nice wood flooring out here. It is just a lot of cuts (dang triangular balcony) and I don't have a means of making those cuts any time soon.

Does anyone have any other ideas for good upgrades I could consider that would have a good return? And no, a Murphy Bed is not in the cards. Does anyone actually fold those up? And what would I use the 6x3 foot space it would free up? I know a lot of studios have them, but I don't see the appeal for me :)

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