By Peter Squire
Given the unseasonably cold temperatures we are experiencing in Winnipeg, the traditional rites of spring, which include MHBA’s Parade of Homes and this weekend’s Winnipeg Home and Garden Show, may seem overly optimistic. Fortunately, we all know that warm weather is fast approaching, and spring is a perfect time to be proactive and kickstart important maintenance and renovation projects in your home.
The Winnipeg Home and Garden Show is being held at the RBC Convention Centre from April 5 to 8 and can help you greatly with your projects. The show offers a wealth of exhibitors eager to educate you on all aspects of homeownership, from renovating inside your home to designing the perfect outdoor space. With Winnipeg in possession of some of the oldest housing stock in the country, homeowners are wise to take advantage of the many ideas and one-stop shopping that is offered by this annual show.
According to the Appraisal Institute of Canada (AIC), while outdoor enhancements might not be included in the top five renovations for return on investment, they score very well in terms of highest enjoyment value. Based on the popularity of a WinnipegREALTORS® supported and sponsored Take Pride Winnipeg contest that offered a residential curb appeal award, gardening and landscaping in general is an activity Winnipeggers make the most of during our short summers.
So what are the topics and products at the show that you may want to pay particular attention to that will bring you the highest return on your investment as determined by AIC? The most important enhancements you can make to your home include kitchens, bathrooms, repainting interior and exterior of home, updating décor and de-cluttering. Improvements to your décor should include lighting and plumbing fixtures, countertops, replacing worn flooring or refinishing hardwood floors.
Of course, you cannot forget that in a competitive real estate market such as Winnipeg’s — where your home is up against similarly priced homes putting their best foot forward — you also need to be mindful of maintaining the value of your home. Your checklist should include replacing roofing, updating heating and cooling systems, replacing windows and doors, updating electrical panels and fixtures, and repairing any structural deficiencies.
There are over 50 first-time exhibitors this year offering a variety of new things to see and fresh information if you thought you had seen it all last year. For example, Mortgage Professionals Canada is in the show and their timing could not be better. As of January 1, 2018, the federally regulated lender requires buyers of homes with uninsured mortgages (20% down payment or more) to meet a new stress test. You must qualify for a mortgage rate 2 percentage points higher than your contracted interest rate, or the Bank of Canada’s five-year benchmark, whichever is higher. This same stress test already applies to buyers of insured mortgages or high-ratio mortgages.
As the national mortgage industry association for the country, Mortgage Professionals Canada will have experts available to speak to you about what the new stress test means. You’ll also be able to meet with one of their professionals to get pre-approved for a mortgage before engaging a Realtor in finding a qualifying home. One advantage of looking for a home in the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region is that there are many affordable options in and around Winnipeg that include a variety of property types to choose from besides the single-family home.
If your interest lies specifically on the outdoors as that long awaited warm weather approaches, the category Garden, Decks & Patios, Landscape & Outdoor offers 29 exhibitors all on one floor for you to check out.
Besides all of the exhibits, the Winnipeg Home and Garden Show features a main stage with presentations from HGTV celebrities Kortney & Dave Wilson, Todd Talbot, Tiffany Pratt and Carson Arthur. These pros will present valuable tips on renovating and adding value to your home. Todd Talbot, who is a Realtor in Vancouver with the hit HGTV show Love it or List it, is going through his own transition by selling his large home in Lions Bay and renovating a far smaller older home in East Vancouver. This is an especially interesting challenge in that it involves his wife and two children. Any family who has gone through the renovation process will find his experience particularly relatable. In his presentation on Saturday and Sunday he’ll discuss “right-sizing.”
Once you ascertain your financial capability to buy a home, Realtors such as Talbot begin the home buying process by asking questions about what it is you really want and need at your stage in life. No matter the square footage or layout of the home of your dreams, a Realtor will find the right fit for you!
Enjoy the Winnipeg Home and Garden Show, and be inspired this spring to put their many ideas to work for you.