And by “dated” I’m referring to the word “old.” I’m just being nice about it.
It’s like that friend-of-a-friend who says she was “dating” this guy, but he turned out to be married, with a child, and he only ever met her at out-of-the-way locations outside the city. They weren’t really “dating,” and the ten items I’ll show below aren’t really “dated;” they’re really, really old.
Now I’m not knocking dated condos at all. Many of them represent a great opportunity to renovate. I am, however, saying that today’s condo buyers want three things, new, new, and, well, I’ll let you guess the third…
Where you see potential, others may see problems.
If you want to “add value,” others might just want to unpack and relax.
I see both sides to the coin, and I can’t tell a condo buyer who wants to renovate that they should spend more money for a polished condo and avoid the hassle, just as I can’t tell a busy-body who wants move-in-ready that they should try to improve an older space.
A client of mine recently nixed a unit at Mozo Lofts (333 Adelaide Street East), because, as she put it, “That building is way too old.” Mozo is about a decade old, and while that’s still young to somebody living down at Harbour Square, ten years is an eternity to some condo buyers.
It’s all relative, and some buyers seek more space where others seek newer finishes.
Having said that, there are some features of a condo that buyers just can’t get past, whether they’re looking to renovate and update, or whether they want something more polished.
Here are the top ten items I see in today’s condos which really, really make the condos feel dated:
It’s a simple fix, right?
It’s not even what I would consider a “renovation.”
You simply hire your good ole’ neighbourhood flooring-guy, swipe your VISA, and you come home to new floors. Or at least that’s an experience I’ve had before…
Buyers constantly complain about the floors in condos both new and old, since it’s the largest “feature” in the condo, and one you see every single second that you’re not sleeping.
While most buyers don’t nix a condo because of the floors, since they can “live with it” for now and renovate later, there is one type of flooring that offends the senses right off the bat: parquet.
9) White Appliances
“I care if my food is kept from rotting. I don’t care what colour the not-rot-maker is.”
That’s what a client once told me when I suggested that she swap out the white kitchen appliances for stainless steel in order to make the condo more current, and I can’t argue with the logic.
But we have become so accustomed to stainless steel appliances in Toronto condos these days, that when we see white appliances, we immediately discount the unit.
8) Vertical Blinds
Sorry if you have vertical blinds, and you’re reading this.
But guess what? I only see them in like 5% of all condos.
Horizontal blinds? Yes.
Vertical drapes? Absolutely.
But these blinds make the condo feel like it’s owned by our grandparents, in Florida:
Bonus marks for combining vertical blinds and parquet floors…
7) “The Passthrough”
So far, you know that you can change the flooring, swap out the appliances, and easily update the blinds.
But the “passthrough” in the kitchen? Oh, that’s major work to remove a wall!
Today’s condo buyers want open concept, and they especially want the kitchen open to the dining. The passthrough in this condo helps show its age:
And if you are going to renovate and update the condo, don’t work AROUND the passthrough like these folks have done:
6) Glass Block
Let’s play word association.
I say “Glass Block.”
Probably “80’s,” which is the most likely answer. But I recall either Michael Douglas’ beach house, or Charlie Sheen’s condo, or both from the movie “Wall Street” having glass block:
5) Fluorescent Lighting
The only thing worse than this fluorescent light is the fact that there’s no cover to prevent us from looking directly at the bulb:
I tell my condo buyers that there are three simple things they can do to improve the condo right away: paint, change the light fixtures, and swap out old kitchen appliances for stainless steel.
But fluorescent lights are a major pain to remove, as they change ceiling height, and often require drywalling.
They also SCREAM “outdated,” and condo buyers are suddenly reminded of Grade 8 homeroom…
4) Black Toilets
Wooden toilet seat? Yes, that’s bad too. That’s even older than the black toilet!
Carpeted toilet seat? Yeah, that’s terrible. But you know that grandma lives there, and it’s kind of heart-warming.
White toilets with black seats? Awful! But it reminds you of Oreos, and suddenly you feel warm, like grandma is handing them to you with a glass of milk (just hopefully not in the bathroom…)
But a fully black toilet is brutal, and apologies to a member of my extended family who still has one.
Although there are remedies available for the black toilet:
3) Green ANYTHING
Green is a very cool colour, no doubt about it.
“Greenery” is a much sought after feature of some homes, and “Green Space” nearby is another.
But green tile, and green stone counters, push buyers our the door faster than just about everything on this list, except perhaps #1.
Seriously, is there anything appealing about this:
2) Baseboard Heating
This doesn’t just make a condo seem old; it guarantees that the condo is old!
Developers in 2015 condos don’t get together and say, “Hey, instead of using gas, why don’t we use baseboards to heat this condo?”
It’s like a home-builder installing an oil tank instead of a high-efficiency furnace.
This is one thing for sure that you can’t change in a condo, and while the cost of electric baseboard is exceptionally high, I think it’s more the “feeling” of the heat source that makes buyers feel the space is just far, far too dated.
Yes, the kitchen.
Number one with a bullet!
You can change a LOT of things on this list, and you can even change a kitchen, but when buyers see that familiar “brown wood stripe” on the kitchen cabinets, they immediately check out of the condo:
The brown-wood stripe is undeniably 80’s, is it not?
And whether consciously or subconsciously, we all start to feel like we’re in somebody else’s condo, and that
Bonus points here for combining the old kitchen cupboards, fluorescent lighting, AND a home phone on the wall:
The kitchen is the focal point of almost any condo these days, and it’s the first thing people check out when they set foot inside.
Sure, some of the more detail-oriented buyers will open the hall closet when they enter, or peek into the powder room, but most buyers make a B-line to the kitchen. And if they see something out of the 80’s, 90’s, or hell – even the early 2000’s, they’re turned off.
Has it really come to this?
Does a condo really have to be less than 5-years-old to be considered “current?”
Kudos to those who are looking to do some work! You’re definitely adding equity!Back To Top Back To Comments