A Designer’s Thoughts on Two On-Market House Hunters


Q: I’m a single woman. I’ve just moved to a small, 200-year-old row house. It’s located just across the street from a historic courtyard in an established area. What do you think is important for me to get my dream house right now in this neighbourhood?

A: I’m sorry to sound so elementary, but as an interior designer, the single most important thing to consider is identifying your price range. The type of home you purchase is very, very much affected by the price range in the neighbourhood that you’re living in. So the better the price range, the better chance you have of purchasing a home that matches your needs.

But the price range itself is not necessarily germane to the design or style of the home. If you go with my least expensive urban home in my listing, which is $700K, it has “a healthy dose of TLC,” but it’s still priced for someone who wants a house with nice, white hardwood floors, a muted colour palette, neutral furnishings, etc.

As a matter of fact, some of the most desirable house in Toronto, Toronto Real Estate Board data shows, are $500K+ homes. So I recommend you go with something for under $700K and the price per square foot of $550 is about the average asking price in this neighbourhood. Don’t let size or square footage be the focal point of the home and don’t over-invite or discount how many bathrooms you want in the first place. Yes, you would like extra space in your bedroom, bathroom, etc., but you shouldn’t be focused on the size. In a very tight, tiny home, the home’s design and configuration becomes an incredible selling point. The designer and builder will also have a vision for the space you’ll live in but that shouldn’t be your primary thought.

Q: I also heard that it is important to consider the “look” of the house and not just the size or layout. Can you help me with that?

A: I think very little is more important than living with a home that is perfectly suited to your needs and lifestyle. That means your home should be energy efficient. It should be flexible. It should be energy-efficient. And it should allow you to live in the home with the comfort you deserve in ways that allow you to live a happy, healthy and fulfilling life.

As far as the design and style of the home, I think it’s also important to consider what’s important to you. Are you a closet-challenged individual? Do you have particular personal style? If so, your home will need to reflect those tastes, even if they aren’t exactly in line with your value system. As an example, an open-concept floor plan with a high-end aesthetic might not work in a narrow living room where you don’t want walls.

Q: What is typical for a sale in the current market?

A: While there have been some exciting deals in Toronto in the recent weeks, your data won’t tell you how old and outdated this property is. So, it is impossible to speculate on its true market price. Price or availability will always be subject to bargaining or buyer negotiations. Remember to speak to your realtor or your agent about who can advise you on the market price as an added advantage for your home.

Q: Is there anything else we can do to improve the kitchen/bathroom?

A: Make sure you spend a day/week in the house before putting it on the market. This allows you to really see the space in your own eyes. Your realtor can also visit it as well, so you can focus on the kitchen and bathroom, which will be very important to your realtor in the negotiation process.

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