Are Condo Renovations Worth It?

A lot of clients ask me if it is worth them renovating their condo and if they will get a return on their investment. For the most part, I believe you should only renovate for yourself to enjoy unless your goal is to flip a property. If you are planning to live there and you don’t like what you have, then spend your money and make the space into something you will love.

5 reasons I believe renovations aren’t always worth it:

  1. A potential buyer may have different taste
  2. Save that reno money to spend on your next place and do the reno there
  3. The rest of the condo may be of a lower quality
  4. You might be over improving for the specific condominium
  5. You may find new problems that you are now going to need to fix by starting a renovation

Don’t get me wrong, if you do a really great renovation to your condo you will most likely get more money when it comes time to sell (assuming you do everything else right) making it TOTALLY WORTH IT. Everyone loves that picture perfect right from a magazine look when it comes to buying homes and condos. Those are the places that usually get the most offers, but it really depends on the market.

In a down market it may be hard to recoup your renovation costs. In today’s market here in Toronto you can sell ANYTHING because there is so little supply and so much demand that it is difficult to say if you will get that return on your investment, especially if you over improve in a condo building that won’t attract the right type of buyer.

There are however some renovations that can go a long way and won’t cost you a fortune. Some of my favourite less expensive renovations you can do with relative ease are:

  • painting the kitchen cabinets (if you have those old brown wood cabinet doors a nice two tone black down low and white up top looks really sharp)
  • painting the walls of the condo (this is an absolute must)
  • updating the counter tops (usually costs around $5k-$10k but makes a HUGE difference)
  • changing the faucets / other plumbing hardware (adding a nice faucet or shower head can really catch a potential buyer’s eye)
  • new flooring (if the existing floors are in rough shape – this can get expensive depending on materials selected)
  • replacing door handles (sometimes the little things can make a big difference)
  • putting in a new backsplash (subway tile is a safe classic look)
  • new kitchen cabinet hardware (cheap and can go a long way)

One of my past clients really wanted to buy a place in a building that had a renovated kitchen. We ended up going into a bidding war which we lost as she reached the top of her budget, but I managed to find someone in the same building selling an identical unit without the renovation for around $20,000 less. By doing the renovation herself, she managed to save thousands of dollars. Here are the before and after pics (she updated the counters, painted the cabinets and changed the backsplash):

Kitchen Reno


Kitchen Reno After

If you need help determining if a renovation makes sense in your condo building just send me an email and I am happy to let you know what I think. Otherwise check out this beautiful condo renovation that a Liberty Village resident just completed.


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