Luxury real estate

Luxury Property

The time has come and you're ready to purchase your next property. You're knowledgeable about potential red flags (you've got a trusted home inspector on speed dial), you know which locations are desirable and most importantly, you've got the capital to spend on what you want.

So what should you focus on when property shopping?

First, stay away from novelty features that can quickly become fads. Remember faux wood paneling, linoleum flooring and laminate countertops of the 70s? How about sunken living rooms, snail showers and microwave built-ins of the 80s? Or pine cabinetry and pink or forest green carpeting of the '90s? Sure there are style trends that periodically seem to make a come-back but for the most part, these kitschy fads are better left forgotten.

Skip the current trends of Zen gardens, themed rooms and pre-wired surround sound systems. Stay away from technology that will quickly become obsolete and may need to be replaced.

Instead, focus on timeless features like high ceilings, open-concept layouts and picturesque views. Look for properties with ample natural light, classic architecture and grand entry ways. Stick with post and beam or coffered ceilings, over-sized spa showers and professional kitchens with commercial-grade appliances. Find harmony and balance in homes that combine environmental systems and modern materials into the architecture of the property and take advantage of light and shade.

Opt for features that never go out of style and look for homes that have ample storage space or room to expand. Safe, secure and located in a great neighbourhood are also desirable features for any property.

Similar to luxury brands that have stood the test of time, stick with clean lines, functionality and classic beauty for a solid investment.

The benefits of an older home

The benefits of an older home

Many of us dream of owning a brand new home. Whether it's the appeal of starting from scratch or the lure of the most modern design choices, the temptation of purchasing a new home can be very alluring. While there are certainly many advantages to purchasing new, there are also ample benefits to purchasing an existing or older home.

For starters, selecting an older home can mean acquiring a move-in-ready property. Purchasing a home in an established community also means bypassing the ongoing construction mess in and around the neighbourhood of a new development. No noisy trucks, incessant hammering, dirty roads or endless stream of workers. An established neighbourhood means mature trees and landscaping, privacy and regular traffic.

Let's not forget the land itself. As the cost of land increases over the years, many newer builds offer much less footage than what was previously considered a standard. Older properties were typically built on larger plots of land with ample room for children and pets to play in the backyard while easily accommodating extras like a pool, toolshed or deck.

Older neighbourhoods also tend to be in the best locations around the city, often easily accessible to shops and restaurants and can mean a shorter commute to the office.

If the maintenance of an older home has you worried about potential costs down the road, consider a property that's been regularly maintained or recently renovated. In some cases, an older home may be a very reliable choice, having weathered many storms and withstood the test of time.

Skip feuding with your neighbour over property lines and fence costs, and enjoy the already cemented perimeters around your property. Didn't factor in the additional costs of blinds or curtains for each window or light fixtures for each room in your dream model house? Not to worry! With an existing build, these extras can be factored into the total cost.

If a cookie-cutter neighbourhood is a turn-off, the traditional craftsmanship and unique features of an older home are charms otherwise unattainable in a new build. History gives a home its character and there is no shortage of gems on the market to discover. 

With an established neighbourhood, you can avoid the wait and enjoy the home of your dreams as soon as you move in.

Forever young: The adult-lifestyle bungalow

Kitchen

Steadily increasing in popularity as more and more baby boomers retire, adult-lifestyle bungalows provide a desirable "next step" investment.

So why are these bungalows all the rage among older audiences? Although today's boomers are for the most part active and in great health compared with generations before them, many realize further down the road they may not be so fortunate. Flights of stairs may become tedious, yard work may become laborious and the overall upkeep of a large single-family home may become a strain. A move to an open concept home with master bedroom, den and laundry room on the main floor are just some of the features that can help prolong independent living well into senior years.

More and more home builders are adding bungalows to their mix of models with specific features like walk-in showers, easy to reach cabinets and wide entrances designed to accommodate potential walkers or wheelchairs. Downsizing no longer means sacrificing luxury, as all the bells and whistles can be added to many of these models. Floor plans come standard with cathedral and vaulted ceilings to open up the home, often creating the illusion of more square footage.

Planned pockets of adult-lifestyle bungalows are also being built in communities where amenities and shops are short distances away. Integrated into neighbourhoods of single-family homes, boomers can still be a part of a young community.

Planning ahead and investing early in this style of home can only bring added benefits down the road when boomers shift into fixed income retirement. As the demand increases, so does the value of the home as builders are already showing signs they will be unable to keep up with future demand. With the number of Canadians over 65 set to double by 2036, the adult-lifestyle bungalow is sure to be a hot commodity of the future.