2015 – The Year of (more) Renovations

My husband and I have been living in our 1921 built home in Hamilton’s Gage Park area since spring 2013. We bought this house because it met all our needs and wants, including the fact my 6ft 4inch husband could stand in the basement and attic with EXTRA Head Space. That seems funny to some, but that matters when it comes to an old home. You don’t get that much!! There is 2.5 storeys of space, character, oh….and renovations. Like most first time buyers, we wanted to get our hands dirty. We wanted to make this house our home. Granted, we got help along the way, as we are both not overly handy, but it is still the joy of remodelling a house just for you.

Our house was used for many years as a duplex. The previous owner had started transforming the house back into a single family property. They did a good amount of work (not the best quality work). We, with the help of our families and contractors, have been renovating since we took possession. Now, I am sorry that I never posted/blogged during our first 6 weeks of renovations. I can let you know that we completed the attic space from bare flooring and visible roof rents, to a cosy living space (that we still need to furnish). We gutted the 2nd level bathroom. We now have new drywall, tub, vanity, the works! We even tore apart the basement; but that is a future project that you will see down the road via this blog. The house also got a full face lift – refinished flooring (that is to die for) and paint throughout the house.

You are now up to date!

I can happily inform you that 2015 is our year to tackle more renovations. I will share with you, my readers, all the trials, demolition, and bliss of remodeling my house. February marks the beginning of our kitchen remodel. I am over the moon excited to have a new kitchen that isn’t falling apart before my eyes.

But, before the posts commence, I wanted to share some information I found on remodeling costs, time frames, and tips. I hope to keep you in the loop of how long my renovations take, where I found the best bang for my buck etc. These articles shed some light on things you may not have considered or known. I found them helpful and I hope you do too.

First off, the image attached to the blog is a great reference for value of your renovations. I am a REALTOR of course, so I think of resale value all the time, for myself and my clients. As much as this renovation is for us, I have to always bare resale in mind. Its just what I do!
Also Check out:

The Best Way to Finance a Renobest place to start when considering a remodel/renovation

How much did your Kitchen Renovation Cost?

A Valuable Guide to Kitchen Remodelling Costs my favourite read being that I am working on my kitchen

How long is that remodel going to take? – Which I must note comes from the National Association of Realtor in the United States of America. Sorry I couldn’t find a similar one for us Canadians.

Let the kitchen remodel BEGIN!

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Start 2015 with Good News about HAMILTON, Ontario

HAPPY NEW YEAR! 2015 has arrived! Where did 2014 go? No matter. Shake off 2014, begin those New Year’s resolutions, and get back to work. Or, continue to work away, in my case.

I found myself working throughout the ‘Christmas Break’. I am married to a teacher, so I felt entitled to 2 weeks off to spend with him, but that’s not real estate. My career and work hours are not ‘typical’. The real estate market in Hamilton has not cooled off, like our temperatures. 2015 is expected to be no different. So, for my first post of the year, I thought I would simply share all the good news coming out of The Hammer.

Off the top, you should read the CBC Hamilton article Boom town: Hamilton housing predicted to stay hot in 2015. ‘Hamilton was the tightest market in the country all year.’– Doug Porter, chief economist, BMO Financial Group within the article. We expect it to continue in this way. Hamilton is a great place to live and invest and is truly HOT, quoting the article, of course. Best to join the party early. Also, select the links at the end of the article for further reading. These are related pieces discussing the Hamilton condo market boom and much more.

People still view Hamilton as a gritty, steel-milled, stink hole. Growing up, I recall friends calling my hometown the ‘armpit of Ontario’. Okay, we are not shiny or smell like roses, and maybe we never will. We are a working-class community trying to clean-up. But, you cannot deny the changes that are coming and are HERE! Gentrification is giving our downtown new life. For the full read, have a gander at the Globe and Mail’s article How Hamilton is revitalizing its downtown to bring new life.

To sum it up, you need to investigate our ambitious city for yourself. See it and Hear it – Have a stroll down James Street North, Locke St South, or Ottawa Street North and the character homes in and around it. Taste it –  Then, I would highly recommend you visit one or more of the top restaurants in our city. Huffington Post’s article Best Hamilton Restaurants: Where To Eat In The Hammer is the perfect guide. Experience the difference.

Finally, after you have warmed-up to Hamilton, come invest! Give me a call, shoot me an email, or post a reply, and we can discuss your real estate options here in my hometown – Hamilton (saying it proud with a mighty fist up to accompany the cheer)!

All the best to you in 2015! There is much more to come from this proud Hamiltonian.

The Hamilton Royal Connaught!

Downtown Hamilton’s gem, The Royal Connaught, sadly closed its doors in 2004. In 2014, as of this week in fact, the Royal Connaught has become the city’s gem once again and is now allowing for the purchase of its first block of condos.  Yes, this 1916 building boasts 700 suites and has an approximate occupancy of 2016. You can own a piece of Hamilton history!

The Royal Connaught is not only a famous landmark but it is now a true symbol of the revival downtown Hamilton and in the city itself.

I hope to feast my eyes on the stunning art deco lobby this weekend and get a glimpse of the model units and their purchase prices. If you can not make it down to see the beauty in person, here is a 360 degree view of the lobby thanks to Microsoft Photosynth 3D. The Hamilton Spectator has also provided a great article on the new, old Royal Connaught for more insight into the development.

Proud Hamiltonian signing off!

Link

A Day Out – Hamilton Hot Spots

As I sit by the window, wrapped in a blanket with a tea, watching a blizzard rip through Hamilton, I wish only for spring to arrive. Or, to come back at least. Hamilton experienced a small taste of spring the last few days. As temperature touched 5-7 degrees, John and I took advantage of the sun and warmth. We had a wonderful start to the March break. We were out and about on Hamilton’s thriving James Street North and up-and-coming Ottawa Street North.

John and I started our afternoon at Burnt Tongue. I had the chance to try the delicious soups a time before, but this was his first visit and John LOVES soup, like a rabbit loves carrots. He instantly swooned over the soups we ordered. I have had 3 different creations before at the soup restaurant and I have not been disappointed. We added their simple but wonderful grilled cheese and amazing fries and the fantastic meal was just under $25. We will be back and often, I am sure.

But before we left to shop along James North, a piece of art caught our eye. We were directed to Mixed Media only three shops away. Mixed Media is just that; a store to purchase paints, paper, unique stationary, artwork and the like. John and I fell in love with a silk-screened print of “the City of Hamilton on 30 October 1958” by Raymond Biesinger, which was hanging up at Burnt Tongue, and bought it without hesitation.

We continued our shopping spree at Needlework. What a pretty shop! Full of colourful fabrics, sewing machines, and a spot for the shop dog. You can purchase material and related items to make your own creations or you can learn to sew. During this March break they even have sewing camp which is awesome! It was here that we purchased some material for our wedding.

Our next stop involved an autumn latte at Mulberry Street Coffee House. YUM! They also make my favourite London Fog (tea latte). Had a chance encounter here before making our way down James North. We popped into The Hamilton Store. Yes, there is a Hamilton Store,and it carries wonderful photos of the city, artwork, and the most knowledgeable Hamilton historian Donna Reid. Our pop-in ended up being a much longer visit with Donna which was inspiring. We are all very proud Hamiltonian’s. Finally, I needed to have a look around at the vintage finds of Hawk and Sparrow.

Why stop at James Street North (was our thought) on this fine spring-like day? Next stop Ottawa Street North in our own neighbourhood of Crown Point!

I can’t walk down Ottawa St, full of antique and textile shops, without a hot drink from The Cannon Coffee Co., so  grabbed another yummy tea latte. The Cannon is a gem on the corner of Cannon St and Ottawa St N serving sweet and savoury waffles and some incredible tea latte creations. I do love the bright yellow chairs and decor at the cafe too.

With our lattes in hand, I needed to visit a newer shop on the street in hopes of finding a once loved dress for a up-coming event. The Edit is a shop made for me! There are beautiful vintage clothing and accessories to die for. I love the mix of old, quality pieces with modern basics. The owner is pretty damn stylish herself. The shop is just another diamond on the strip. John and I felt that The Edit will help bring back the some-what rundown street to its previous glory.

Finally, after a purchase at Antique Avenue (a couple amazing Canadian Red Cross life guarding posters that pulled at John’s heart strings), we headed home where we discussed how lucky we are to be enjoying a spring day in such a wonderful city that is ever changing.

It seems this winter weather will never end. I do look forward to warmer temperatures and sun shine to have another day enjoying the joy of the city. Stay warm out there!

Can you tell I am a proud Hamiltonian?

Hot Market in Hamilton = Big Changes

This quote from the CBC online article says it all — In the last five years, “local attitudes — the way Hamiltonians think about the prospects for their city, especially the downtown — have changed,” he said. “There’s a lot of belief in the possibility of revival.”

The hype in Hamilton’s change is being felt not just in Hamilton, but in the surrounding areas and it is this reason, as well as low mortgage rates that we here in the Hamilton House market can feel the change. Its FANTASTIC!

I am born and raised in Hamilton’s west end. As a child, I loved the city. As I aged, I felt like there were a million other places I would rather be than in the Hammer. I have traveled the world, and now that I am back and happily settled in Hamilton, I am in love with my city once again. I have hope for this prospecting revival of my ‘Steel Town’. I believe others feel the same.

Have a read – SOLD! How a hot real estate market is changing Hamilton

This article is a couple days old now, but it is worth another read as we head into a couple outstanding festival weekends here in the city.

Locke Street Festival is tomorrow, Sept 7, in Hamilton’s most popular neighbourhood. Local vendors line the street while people eat, drink, shop, and listen to some of Hamilton’s local talents on stage. Next weekend Sept 13 & 14 is Supercrawl! This is the festival that truly displays the change in the city. James Street North shuts down and the galleries, shops, and eateries are swarmed with people from Hamilton and beyond. Last year’s attendance was incredible and I would suspect the same will occur this year, especially when you look at the line-up of artists playing the many stages down the street.

Have a read or come join the festival fun and see what Hamilton has to offer. I wouldn’t be surprised if more out-of-towners end up consider Hamilton for their next home purchase.

How Realtors Help

Are you thinking about buying or selling real estate? Are you working with a REALTOR®? Well, why not?

I would advise that you should chose a REALTOR® to assist you in the transaction. People may question the use of a REALTOR® but they are professionals and experts in what they do, which is to help their clients buy and sell real estate on a daily basis. Why wouldn’t you want to work with a professional when making the largest purchase of your life?

Market knowledge and services provided vary from REALTOR® to REALTOR®. But I would highly recommend that everyone should review the howrealtorshelp.ca website to see the value that a REALTOR® can bring to your next real estate transaction.

By the way, the commercials are incredibly funny!