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Oakville homes are the safest investment, says Oakville contractor

(Oakville) – Despite a 15% year-over-year increase in the price of Oakville single family homes, a new study released today shows that housing affordability in the GTA is at its highest level in years.

Oakville home renovations expert Mike Manning credits Oakville’s strong relative affordability in the single-family home segment for helping to buck the Toronto-wide trend of falling sales in March.  Oakville and Milton Real Estate Board statistics for March show detached home sales were up 8% year over year, with 61% of sales in the affordable range of $400,000 to below $800,000.

The President of Refined Renovations of Oakville, Mr. Manning said that older, affordable Oakville homes are sought after because a shortage of GTA building lots means there is also a shortage of new detached homes. As a result, he predicts that even in the event of a Toronto-wide softening in home prices, affordable homes in Oakville will continue to increase in price.

 “A report for the Building Industry and Land Development Association of Toronto that came out today shows the average price of building lots at the edge of the GTA is more than $350,000. So a house in Oakville in the $600,000 range represents good value,” said Mr. Manning.  He pointed out that by the end of 2012, the average price of a new GTA area detached home had risen 16% during the year to $632,000.

 “People are attracted to new homes because the older existing stock lacks the features and space they expect,” said Mr. Manning.  “But with older, and especially unrenovated homes, there is an opportunity to buy right and then renovate to get what you want”. He said his advice is especially relevant to Oakville homes that are well-located on the Toronto-area transportation network.  “These will be the homes that will be in demand in the long-term as it gets harder and harder to commute from the periphery of the GTA, where the new housing is, by car.”

 Refined Renovations helps homeowners and their agents select an affordable home with good structural potential, renovate, and then either enjoy living in it, or selling it at a profit.

 “A highly regarded authority, the Appraisal Institute Canada, says you can’t do add value beyond the cost of the renovation to a house,” said Mr. Manning.  But I have personally done profitable renovations to buy and flip, and have helped clients do a profitable renovation. I now believe I have the experience to advise people on what works and what doesn’t.”

The Appraisal Institute releases a list of renovations items annually, and consistently reports that homeowners can expect a 0-100% increase in home values from their renovation. Mr. Manning explained that Appraisal Institute evaluates items such as bathroom renovations or the addition of skylights on an item by item basis.

“On one hand, I agree with the Appraisal Institute,” said Mr. Manning.  “If you have a dated home and you do just one or two items, you can’t sufficiently change the look and feel of the home.  You have improved it, but by leaving most of the house in its original state you are have a dated house and people coming in to see it can only see all the work that will still need to be done, in order to bring the house up to modern standards.  Doing one or two things on this list will not create value beyond the cost.”

About Refined Renovations of Oakville:  For more than 20 years Refined Renovations has been providing cost effective, high-quality home renovations in Oakville and area. Quality craftsmanship with our “Built to Last” guarantee is delivered to you by a professional and service oriented organization.  We share your passion for home improvements and strive to make your renovation as rewarding as possible.

About Mike Manning: Mike is an Architectural Technologist by training, but has used his knowledge and experience in the building science field for more than 30 years.  He graduated from a three-year diploma course in Architectural Technology from Algonquin College in Ottawa in 1979. Shortly after, he moved to Calgary where he worked for three years in condominium development, reaching the level of Site Superintendent.  Eventually, he moved to a division of the commercial construction giant PCL as a Site Foreman.  In 1983, he began to do renovations on single-family residences in addition to his commercial work. In 1986, he relocated to Toronto, received his carpenter’s licence, and rejoined PCL working on very large commercial developments including Scotia Plaza and Waterfront Place. In 1991 he decided to focus on finish carpentry and started his renovations company. 

Home improvements get a welcome boost

The GTA renovation sector is welcoming news that the federal government will offer a tax credit on home improvements.

By: Tracy Hanes Toronto Star, Published on Sat Feb 07 2009
The GTA renovation sector is welcoming news that the federal government will offer a tax credit on home improvements.
The Home Renovation Tax Credit will provide a one-year, temporary 15 per cent tax credit on eligible home renovation expenditures for work performed, or goods acquired, between Jan. 27, 2009 and Feb. 1, 2010. The credit may be claimed on eligible costs after spending $1,000 but no more than $10,000, making the maximum credit $1,350.
“I think it’s great. Of course, we wish it was larger,” says Sandra Baldwin, chair of BILD’s Renovation Council and president of A Lifetime Contractor Ltd. “Still, it’s a boost for our industry sector. I do think it’s an effective incentive.”
A $10,000 renovation project would be fairly modest, she says.
Baldwin says few details have been given about the tax credit so far, and as chair of the renovation council, she hopes to see rules that require a licensed contractor to do the work.
“We’ll be disheartened if it goes to do-it-yourself projects” and all the money ends up being spent at home improvement stores, she says. As well, she is concerned that the funds may go to small, unlicensed contractors who work for cash.
“This is a great opportunity for the government to monitor and effect change in the cash economy,” she says. “I hope the requirement will be in place for contractors to be licensed, to have adequate insurance and liability coverage in place.”
She says the RenoMark program, which is offered in many areas of Canada, offers assurance to consumers that member renovators are licensed, properly skilled, knowledgeable about current building codes and other rules, have proper insurance and meet a strict code of ethics.
“Between the Home Renovation Tax Credit, the First-Time Home Buyers’ Tax Credit, the increase to the RRSP Home Buyers’ Plan withdrawal limits and the enhancements to the ecoEnergy Retrofit program, the feds have clearly acknowledged the strategic importance of construction within the broader economic context,” says Stephen Dupuis, president of BILD. “The Home Renovation Tax Credit promises to spur the most immediate results, because everybody’s got a job jar and now they have an incentive to reach in there and pull out a project.”
Coupled with other grants, it means Ontario homeowners can receive up to $11,350 for a single home improvement project.
They will be allowed to “double dip” from two different programs announced in the federal budget: the Home Renovation Tax Credit and ecoEnergy Retrofit Grant – for maximum benefits of $1,350 and $5,000 respectively – and the provincial government will match the ecoEnergy program with a grant of up to $5,000.
Baldwin says she is “so pleased” the government is continuing with the ecoEnergy grant. “It’s a huge benefit for homeowners to make their homes more efficient.”
The Home Renovation Tax Credit applies to most home projects, while the ecoEnergy program only applies to energy efficiency improvements. Examples of improvements that qualify for both programs include new energy efficient heating or cooling systems, upgrading to an instantaneous hot water heater or energy efficient windows, or increasing insulation.
To be eligible for the ecoEnergy program, homeowners must first have an energy efficiency audit done, which costs around $300 (the government provides a $150 rebate). The renovator documents the aspects of the project that relate to increasing energy efficiency. Upon completion, a second audit determines that the work was done properly and scores the energy efficiency improvement. At this point, the grant application goes in.
“This is a substantial amount of money that is available between now and February 2010,” said Catherine Marshall, vice-president of Suntech Renovations in Oakville, a licensed renovation company. “Those who have been sitting on the fence considering a home improvement project should act this year.”
Although the ecoEnergy program is more complex, Marshall says homeowners shouldn’t hesitate.
“Contractors are becoming more informed about the technical aspects of the program and can help guide homeowners through it.”
Baldwin says the timing of the announcement gives homeowners time to plan a project for spring.
The landscape industry will also benefit from the Home Renovation Tax Credit, as projects such as landscaping, new decks, fences, retaining walls and laying of new sod will be eligible.
Other eligible home improvements include: kitchen, bathroom and basement renovations; new carpet or hardwood floors; adding a new furnace or water heater; interior or exterior painting, and driveway resurfacing.
Examples of ineligible improvements include: furniture and appliance purchases; tool purchases, carpet cleaning and maintenance contracts for furnace cleaning; snow removal and pool cleaning.

Suntech Renovations Wins Best Large Booth in Show Award at Interior Design Show 2009

Oakville, ON February 8, 2009 — Suntech Renovations of Oakville enjoyed a tribute to its workmanship and creativity when the booth that it built for Jelinek Cork for the Toronto Interior Design Show 2009 took the top prize for “best large booth in show”.
Suntech Renovations President Mike Manning said that the booth was eyecatching as it showcased a cork exterior overlaid on a wooden frame. “It was a very innovative design and it allowed Jelinek to display cork in an innovative way that attracted a lot of attention,” said Mr. Manning.
Mr. Manning said that building the booth was an exciting challenge for Suntech as it usually focuses on residential projects. He said that Suntech was on site at the Jelinek booth during the show to answer questions about the construction as well as talk to homeowners interested in renovations or home improvements in 2009.
Since its inception, Interior Design Show has scoped out forerunners in Canadian and international design. This year’s show’s slogan was Trends, ideas and new products for everyone. IDS09 attracted approximately 50,000 attendees to the Direct Energy Centre, Exhibition Place, Toronto.

About Suntech Renovations:
Suntech Renovations has operated in Oakville, Ontario since 1991 providing high quality and professional home improvements. During its 18 year history, Suntech has developed a reputation for reliability and professionalism. Suntech’s dedication to quality results in fewer projects undertaken in order to provide the individual attention required to complete each project in a professional, caring manner. Suntech is licensed and insured, and complies with all construction industry regulation and are members of the Registry of Professional Contractors of Ontario. Suntech’s founder, Mike Manning, has a three-year diploma in architectural technology and is a licensed carpenter. Suntech is a sister company to Greenbilt Homes of Oakville, a custom home builder focused on environmentally sustainable and energy efficient housing which was founded in 2008. In conjunction with its sister company, Greenbilt Homes, Suntech offers home energy retrofits.

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