The Linda Maguire Team | Renovation Reality Check for Burlington, Ontario Homes

If, like us, you’re a fan of HGTV’s home remodeling shows –  Love it or List it, Fixer Upper, Property Brothers, etc. – you’ll know that they all seem to follow a similar formula: there’s always a who needs help renovating their home, but they have a limited budget and need it done “yesterday.” Cue the photogenic host who steps in to save the day with a perfect renovation plan, an army of skilled workers and access to suppliers who make more on-time deliveries than Amazon Prime. Presto, before you know it, the remodel is complete. Of course, there have been a couple of hiccups along the way – it makes for good television – but the end result is stunning and the couple is delighted (often to the point of tears) by the transformation.


The host then gives a breakdown of what was spent and what the house is worth today. Don’t expect any surprises at this point – it’s always good news. More often than not, the value of the house has jumped by far more than the money spent on renovating it.


When the numbers make sense and the process seems so seamless and simple, it’s no wonder that more and more Canadian and Burlington, Ontario, homeowners are plunging headfirst down the renovation route.[1]


But before you take a sledgehammer to the dining room wall, let’s have a little reality check.


Are the costs on TV realistic?


No. One of our biggest beefs about these shows is that they set false expectations. The homeowners do pay for the renovations themselves, but the costs are far below market value. The price you see won’t include all labor costs (some subs will work for free, just for the exposure the show gives them) and some products will also be donated by sponsors. A quick look at the FAQs for the Property Brothers show, says it all. In answer to a question asking how so much could get done on such a small budget, the brothers replied:


“We are working with real budgets on the show, set by the homeowners. The show provides $10,000 including labor, certain sponsored products, as well as the expertise of Jonathan’s design team.”


Will the post-renovation value of my house cover my costs?


The answer depends on several factors, including the amount of the investment, what was done, and the current state of your local real estate market. As a general rule, however, don’t expect an immediate payback. Nationally, the figures vary, but the average return on a renovation investment is about 70% after one year. Of course, we all know people who’ve bucked this trend and that it’s entirely possible to make a good living renovating and flipping houses. But, on the whole, you should approach your renovation project with the clear understanding that the dollar amount you put into it won’t necessarily be fully recovered, at least not in the short term.


The Appraisal Institute of Canada (AIC) regularly publishes a list of the renovations that yield the best return on investment (see below). Kitchens and bathrooms can return 80% to 100% of the renovation cost, while adding a pool or skylights is far less advantageous. However, a kitchen that has been renovated to the tune of $35,000, but in very bad taste, could negatively impact the value of the house. If you are renovating to sell, you must choose wisely and make changes that will appeal to the maximum number of people. A relatively simple reno such as freshening up the interior of a house with a coat of paint could return 50% to 100% on the investment, assuming the color palette is tasteful, and may be the key to getting your house sold more quickly.


In its very useful publication entitled “Tips to Choosing “Smart” Home Renovations” (, the AIC cautions against over-improvement. It is possible to over-renovate a home in relation to the surrounding neighborhood, it warns, so keep your costs in line with the value of your home.


Percentage recovered upon resale (Source: AIC)


Kitchen upgrade: 75% to 100%

Bathroom upgrade: 75% to 100%

Interior painting: 50% to 100%

Roof replacement: 50% to 80%

Replacement of furnace or heating system: 50% to 80%

Expansion (addition of family room): 50% to 75%

Doors and windows: 50% to 75%

Deck: 50% to 75%

Installation of hardwood floor: 50% to 75%

Construction of a garage: 50% to 75%

Fireplace (wood or gas) 50% to 75%

Central air conditioning: 50% to 75%

Finished basement: 50% to 75%

Wood fence: 25% to 50%

Interlocking paving stones on driveway: 25% to 50%

Landscaping: 25% to 50%

Asphalt driveway: 20% to 50%

Pool: 10% to 40%

Skylights: 0% to 25%


Renovations take a long time


There’s nothing more frustrating for general contractors than the shortened timelines shown on the home reno shows. On TV, renovations seem to go from concept to completion in the blink of an eye. “While most people understand that a major home renovation will take longer than a few weeks, they still seriously underestimate how long it will really take,” says Dave Perkins, Heritage Renovations. “These TV shows distort reality and that makes it harder for us to make clients happy.”


The reality is that a large project takes months of planning before construction can even start – you’ll need to factor in several weeks for design and planning, another eight to 12 weeks to complete construction drawings, and another two to eight weeks to obtain a permit. The construction itself could take between three and 12 months, depending on the size and scope of your project. Also, don’t forget that good contractors get booked up and may not be able to schedule in a new project for many months. Weather and the time of year will also impact the construction schedule.


The bottom line is: don’t expect remodels in real life to mirror those you see on TV. Remodeling can be a rewarding experience if you have reasonable expectations. If you keep reality in check, your Burlington, Ontario, home renovation could turn out as well as – or better than – the ones you see on TV, even though it will take more than an hour.


About The Linda Maguire Team


The Linda Maguire Team provides expert real estate services, and are previous Diamond Award winners. Their real estate services include staging, listings, selling and they will always help you find the best Burlington, Ontario, homes for sale.


Contact The Linda Maguire Team today.

[1] Spending on home renovations in Canada has surged at an annual average rate of 7% over the past decade. Source: TD Economics


The Linda Maguire Team | Fixing Your Unfinished BasementExpanding familieswith two incomes make up a large percentage of the households in Burlington, Ontario.  These are families where both parents work Monday to Friday so when they are looking for a new home, they want to move in on a Saturday and return to work on Monday.  One aspect of a home that is very important to growing families is the basement, and the Burlington real estate agents from The Linda Maguire Team wantto shed some light on the long- standing debate regarding basement renovations.


Should You Renovate?


Homes with finished basements are appealing to buyerson the real estate market in Burlington, ON, and generally sell faster and for about $30,000 more in areas such as the Orchard, Central Burlington, Headon Forest and Millcroft.  However, this doesn't necessarily mean that finishing a basement will be a good financial decision for a homeowner.


While renovated bathrooms and kitchens generally result in a goodreturn on investment, basements and backyards are far more expensive to fix up and the homeowner rarely makes a profit on the renovation when they sell the house. In a 2400 square foot home, a homeowner may put in more than $50,000 to finish the basement but will typically only get $30,000 in return.


There is also the issue of time. Renovating a basement often takes 6 weeks or more to complete. If you start a basement renovation in the spring and hope to sell in the spring, there isa risk of missing the peak sellingseason. Brian Maguire from The Linda Maguire Team explains: “If a house didn't have a finished basement at this time of year (spring) I would put up a for sale sign and forget about the basement. The advantage to the buyer is that they can decide what renovation they want to do, when they feel like doing the basement, and when they have the money to do so."


Fixing the Unfinished Basement

An unfinished basement doesn't necessarily need the addition of a bedroom or bathroom to attract buyers.  Instead, especially when time is tight, the aim should be to enhance what is already there to create an area that families can move into without major changes.


Brian Maguire has experienced the allure of an unfinished basement first hand: "I was in a bungalow recently with an unfinished basement and both the floor and brick walls were painted a nice, clean, white color.  Buyers didn't go down there thinking it needed improvement, instead they saw the great potential."


Cleaning up, and beautifying an unfinished basement helps to highlight the potential and can add value to the home.  Cleaning the windows and the furnace can help make the basement presentable.  A nice white paint job creates a larger,more open finished look that shows the buyer that the homeowner valued and looked after the house. Buyers will appreciate that they are also saving a bit of money since a house with an unfinished basement will cost less, so they can afford to finish it themselves at a later date.


For more information regarding real estate in Burlington, please contact The Linda Maguire Team today.


The Linda Maguire Team | Burlington Ontario Home SalesBurlington, Canada, June 8, 2016- The Linda Maguire Team recently announced their success with selling a home in Alton Village, Burlington for over $100,000 above the asking price.


Listed at $729,000, the family was pleasantly surprised and impressed when their home sold for a whopping $836,000.


The Linda Maguire Team used its Active Staging service to really show off the home and maximize its appeal.

According to Brian Maguire there is a difference between staging practiced by most real estate agents, and the Active Staging service offered by the Linda Maguire Team: "The typical realtor’s “staging service “involves walk through a house pointing at things that need to be done, removed or replaced, but these realtors don’t actually do the work themselves. They just suggest to the homeowner a list of things they need to do or buy."  This technique adds more pressure and cost to homeowners.


“What we do is called Active Staging, because we take an active role in getting it done. We actually go to our staging warehouse, and using a truck, we bring in accessories, furnishings, carpets, wall pictures, outside tables and chairs, plants, etc.  We also get involved in things like taking down wallpaper and painting.  We do a lot of the staging and preparation work ourselves.  For this particular house we brought in furnishings, lamps, pillows, and accessories, while the owners took on the role of de-cluttering the house of the children’s personal belongings." 


Another successful strategy used by The Linda Maguire Team was their advice to the homeowners to list at the predicted market value and not to allow offers for a few days. As a result they received 9 offers, including the successful bid which was more than $100,000 over the asking price. 


Overall, the great success in this sale was attributed to the combination of a hot market, the right listing strategy, the homeowners’ efforts to de-clutter and the Active Staging service provided.  The family who ended up with an extra $100,000 tax free in their pockets, were especially grateful and enthusiastic about moving to the next stage of their lives.

About The Linda Maguire Team

The Linda Maguire Team consists of highly experienced and dedicated real estate sales representatives with Royal LePageBurloak Real Estate Services. Our team includes Linda Maguire, Brian Maguire, Elaine Blamauer, and Cathy Buttrum. Whether assisting with selling or buying homes for sale in Burlington, Ontario, The Linda Maguire Team will understand their clients’ goals, and guide them through the processes to achieve success. To find out more about these real estate services and homes for sale in Burlington, Ontario, or to schedule an appointment with The Linda Maguire Team, call (905) 335-3042 or visit


The Linda Maguire Team | Free Ebook Tips on Selling in Burlington






Burlington, Ontario – May, 2016 – Increasing the value of a house does not always have to be an expensive endeavour. Real estate specialists, The Linda Maguire Team, share essential Burlington, Ontario, real estate information, services and tips in their new e-book about how to increase the value of a home. The free e-book giveaway offers pertinent information for those looking to spruce up a house before a sale.


Check out the new e-book about how to increase the value of a home, from The Linda Maguire Team.

Tweet: Get the @lmaguireteam e-book with #RealEstate info and services tips to increase the value of your home.


The Linda Maguire Team spoke to a list of trusted industry professionals to gather information that would benefit clients and homeowners that are preparing their homes for sale. Topics covered in the e-book include painting, electrical, interior stone surfaces, landscaping, staging, tiling and hardwood floors. Each expert was asked how they would increase the value of a house on a minimal budget to make a home more salable.


The e-book presents a long list of low cost suggestions for improvement, each with the potential to create a big impact on a home’s overall impression and ultimate salability. Some focus on the appearance of the home, while others target items that could scare off buyers, or pose a potential hazard for homeowners.


The Linda Maguire Team Seller Services

The award-winning Linda Maguire Team works with clients of their Burlington, Ontario, real estate services through the entire home selling process. Beyond complimentary advice from their network of home professionals, they prepare a thorough market analysis and selling strategy, and will help clients prepare their home with active staging services to maximize its value. The Linda Maguire Team works with buyers and sellers, and aims to earn long-term relationships.


For more information about Burlington, Ontario, real estate, please contact The Linda Maguire Team at (905) 335-3042 or visit

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