Worth more on the market?

Is a well-maintained house really worth more on the market?

In Montréal, according to some real estate market experts, a heritage house that has been well maintained does have a higher market value. However, do all of these residential properties benefit from this “appreciation in value” in the same way? Let’s see if there are differences and what should be taken into consideration…

— Jean-Jacques Bédard

For accredited appraiser Marc Jutras, who practices his trade in the central portion of the island of Montréal, to properly maintain a heritage property is an investment… but under certain conditions.

“The market value depends on different factors, including the asking price and the curb appeal, but especially the location. Plateau Mont-Royal is a case in point.” Another example: “The extension in the past few years of the Jean-Talon Market had a definite impact on the value of properties in Villeray and in the Petite-Patrie,” says Lison Dubreuil, a real estate broker who knows these sectors well.

For his part, George Bardagi, real estate agent at Remax du Cartier, a well-known figure in Outremont, Town of Mont-Royal and Plateau Mont-Royal, emphasizes that “a beautiful home built on a piece of land that lacks character and that is located in an uninteresting sector will not necessarily be a good value. On the other hand, a beautiful, well-landscaped property with a heritage character will draw competing offers that will increase the selling price.”

Well maintained homeCan we put a figure on the appreciation in value of a well-maintained heritage home? Lison Dubreuil admits that it is difficult “but the price can be 25% higher, perhaps even more, than the price of an equivalent regular house in the same sector.”

All three stress that there is steady clientele for heritage single-family homes or plexes. “This type of house generally has the proverbial ‘curb appeal’,” says Georges Bardagi, “in the sense that it looks beautiful and it catches the eye.” Buyers are looking for these houses that have great presence and that blend in with the architectural character of the neighbourhood in which they are located.

A house with a soul

Lison Dubreuil says that buyers in this category are in search of a house with a soul. The look inside is also important, according to her. “These buyers want to have beautiful woodworkAny joinery work or wooden lining, in particular on the walls., original mouldings, hardwood floors and high ceilings.”

Buying a propertyHer colleague, Georges Bardagi, totally agrees. “Both exterior and interior elements are looked at: a slate roof, copper eavestroughs and sophisticated masonry will be the most valued components but the inside layout is also important. Buyers are in search of looks, luminosity, storage space, comfort, luxury—in other words, the right combination of the old and the new. ”Lison Dubreuil emphasizes that the current condition or the quality of the renovation of the roof, exterior facing, plumbing and electrical system are taken into account by buyers who prefer a turnkey formula. The impression left by these elements will be reflected in their offer.

Buying a property with potential

“Of course, there is also a market for those who prefer to buy a house to completely or partially restore to their own taste or who wish to avoid buying a house that was poorly renovated or renovated in poor taste,” says Georges Bardagi. Appraiser Marc Jutras gives the following advice to these heritage homelovers. “One must be aware of the costs involved when buying a house that was not well maintained, no matter how much potential it has. There is the in for a penny, in for a pound factor. That is, some renovations cannot be done as a stand-alone project and, because of this, there are often unforeseen additional expenses.” Hiring artisans or specialized contractors and buying materials can be expensive and well-advised buyers should know this beforehand.

In fact, he invites potential buyers to be cautious by pointing out that conditions in the real estate market can change and be less favourable to sellers. “New owners could be waiting for longer periods to register an increase in the value of their house, longer than what was the case in recent years,” says Jutras.

A definite interest

Heritage Renovation is key to your home's valueOur three experts all agree to say there are particular trends in this real estate market. Nevertheless, they stress that there is a new generation of owners who show a keen interest in “heritage” renovation. These owners are motivated: one can see them replacing aluminum staircases with wrought iron or wood ones in keeping with the original character and materials of their building. Some put in doors and windows that are reproductions while others have their masonry, cornices A generally horizontal building element, with a sometime utilitarian role (to throw rainwater clear off a wall) but mostly decorative. and exterior woodworkAny joinery work or wooden lining, in particular on the walls. restored to yesteryear’s fashion. Yet again, others who enjoy urban living are searching for duplexes to convert into single-family homes so they can have a living space that better meets their needs.

Marc Jutras thinks that relevant municipal by-laws have something to do with this new fervour. He thinks it’s wonderful and concludes that, depending on their tastes and interests, buyers usually benefit from investing in a heritage property. Furthermore this fervour is a plus for everybody: a house that is well cared for contributes to a neighbourhood’s revitalization and can generate pride and a sense of belonging among the residents.