Will Home Modifications Decrease The Resale Value Of My House?
An Interview with Jeffrey Kerr, Realtor
When faced with reduced mobility, people are often stuck trying to choose between two very difficult options. Do they leave the place they’ve called home until that point, one filled with treasured memories built up over the years to move somewhere new? Somewhere where they’ll be able to get around, have their independence back and finally feel at home once more. But that may be away from their neighbourhood, family, friends and support network. Or, do they stay where they are, and modify their home to meet their new needs so that they can get around safely once again?
It’s a tough call, and it’s made all the more difficult by a common worry faced by those looking to make home modifications: that the changes required would decrease the value of their home. It’s a dilemma. Do they then make the modifications thinking of the present and their own independence? Do they face the stress of moving somewhere new? Or do they make do without, with the worry of reducing the value of what is, most likely, their most significant asset?
To dive deeper into the subject and answer the all-important question of whether home modifications decrease real estate value, Age Safe Canada had a chat with realtor Jeffrey Kerr, who works with RE/MAX Unique Inc. in Toronto.
Jeffrey Kerr: helping clients buy and sell accessible houses and condominiums
So Jeffrey, what’s one of the first questions your clients ask you?
“One of the first questions I often get asked is ‘Should I modify or move?’ If my client loves where they live, I always encourage them to consider modifying. Not all houses are suitable for aging in place, so it’s important to get an opinion from a professional contractor that is knowledgeable on accessible modifications”.
What kinds of home adaptations do people consider making?
“Certainly, home adaptations need to address the current needs of the individuals, but there are many common, universal changes that can be enjoyed by the new homeowners as well. Things like a well thought out bathroom design and the inclusion of a home elevator are two of the biggest ticket items that can actually lead to a better resale value of the home”.
So, home modifications could actually add value, rather than reducing it?
“Yes, everyone can appreciate and benefit from a new universally designed bathroom. Whether you walk or roll into the bathroom, a stylish, well-designed universal layout will add value to your home. Navigating stairs can be a challenge for many. Adding a home elevator can make your home accessible for everyone for years to come. When it comes to selling, many buyers will appreciate having an elevator, especially older adults looking to age place”.
So there you have it
As Canada’s population ages, the need for housing stock that is move-in ready for people hoping to age in place will be enhanced, making an investment like a Homelift a no-lose proposition. Rather than decreasing real estate value, changes made to homes that add to their accessibility will, in fact, increase the value, from homelifts to any other modifications that may be necessary for anyone hoping to stay in their home, no matter the reason behind their reduced mobility.
What type of elevator should you choose
for existing home
Safety is of course paramount when considering a mobility solution, but homeowners also want things that look good. Something that looks as though it is part of the home (house pride is a very strong motivating factor). Solutions that are more attractive and discrete.
Compact electric elevator
A compact, electric elevator is a smaller, traditional home lift that requires a shaft or enclosure surrounding it. The elevator system is assembled within the enclosed hoistway and attaches to the existing floor joists for support. The reduced capacity and cab size keep the price affordable.
- Can serve 2-4 landings
- Automatic operation
- Automatic cab door
- 35fpm speed
- Greater construction scope
- Requires more space in comparison
Shaftless personal elevator
A shaftless, personal elevator is an attractive and compact two-story lift that travels through an aperture between the floors. It can be installed in almost any room in the house given its small footprint, and can be parked on another floor to conserve the useful space for passage.
- Compact footprint
- Lower total project cost
- Can be hidden when not in use
- Visibility while traveling
- Slower 16fpm speed
- Constant push operation
- Can only serve 2 landings
Find answers to common questions about our residential elevators in our FAQ section. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, feel free to contact us for assistance
What is the total cost?
The total cost is a combination of the elevator system, approx. $30,000 – 35,000, and the hoistway construction to accommodate the elevator. The later depends on the home and can range between $25,000 and $100,000.
How much room does it take up?
Same as a large closet, approx. 5ft x 5ft will allow a good sized elevator cab.
Will it fit in a staircase?
In most cases no, unless your staircase has a large enough void to satisfy a 5ft x 5ft (or larger) enclosure.
Can I enter the elevator from one side and exit the other?
Yes. We can configure the elevator cab to meet your design, whether its on/off same side, on/off opposite, adjacent opening, or all 3!
Are there any grants that cover the cost?
Available grants and tax breaks depend on local provinces/states and may be available for both a homeowner or home builder. We strongly recommend you research beforehand in order to take advantage of them. In Ontario, Canada where Cambridge Elevating is located in, there are two grants available for homeowners.
The first is the Seniors’ Home Safety Tax Credit. This credit allows a homeowner to claim a 25% rebate on up to $10,000 for a maximum of $2,500 back for a renovation to make a home safer and more accessible. Visit https://www.ontario.ca/page/seniors-home-safety-tax-credit for more info.
The second is the non-refundable Home Accessibility Tax Credit (HATC). It applies to qualifying expenses incurred for renovations (including both work performed and goods required) made to an eligible dwelling for eligible individuals. For 2022 and subsequent tax years, a maximum of $20,000 per year in qualifying expenses can be claimed resulting in a maximum tax credit of $3,000.
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How often do I need to service the elevator?
The manufacturer recommends twice annually but it can depend on how often the device is used. At least once per year, to maximize dependability and performance, certain elevator components require cleaning, lubrication, tolerance checking and testing.
Can I just buy the elevator and have a family member or friend install it to save money?
Sorry no. Only certified and/or factory trained mechanics can install elevating devices given the inherent dangers and risk of personal injury & death to those installing the devices and/or passengers riding them.
I cannot afford that, can you come check my house to see if there is a less expensive way to install it?
We have a reno-friendly Homelift model that only serves two floors. The total project cost is usually less because it does not require the construction of a full enclosure. The budget for that product is $45,000 – 50,000.
Will it increase the value of my home?
Yes. There is plenty of evidence that a home with a private elevator commands greater resale value and sells faster than an equivalent listing without because it appeals to a larger audience. Namely the growing number of people wishing to Age in Place and families with multiple generations at home.
Do you do the construction work?
No. However we can connect you with quality contractors who have intimate knowledge of our requirements from experience working with Cambridge Elevating on numerous projects over the years.
Does it fit a wheelchair?
Yes, we have many different cab sizes available. To ensure the cab size satisfies your accessible needs, the hoistway footprint available must be large enough.
Do you offer construction services?
No. However Cambridge Elevating or our network of dealers across North American might be able to connect you with quality contractors who have intimate knowledge of our requirements from experience working with our products on numerous projects over the years.
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