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I want to renovate my condo's retro bathroom. Where do I start? Add to ...

Question:

I found the perfect condo! It’s in an older building, so it’s quite big. Really the only drawback is this ugly glass-block wall in the shower. Can I just tear it out?

Answer:

Ah yes, I know those glass-block showers all too well. Very reminiscent of the 1980s! Most people are aware that bathroom and kitchen renovations yield the best return on your investment (typically 150-170 per cent). Not to mention the satisfaction and enjoyment you will get from your new-look shower.

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Before I delve into whether or not you can do this, I would like to bring up some considerations about what type of shower/tub you choose to install. The most popular shower choice by far these days tends to be frameless glass (i.e., without block) showers. These are made with large pieces of tempered glass on each side of the shower, with only hinges and a handle for the shower door. This coupled with subway tiling tends to be fairly economical and popular among many buyers in today’s market. There is plenty of inspiration on the Internet – Pinterest might be a good starting point.

Another key consideration is whether to simply replace with another shower stall, or install a bathtub/shower combination. In my experience, most buyers also want the option of a bathtub. If resale isn’t a concern for you, then a shower stall on its own will be just fine.

When it comes to rules and regulations with regards to renovations inside a condo unit, your options vary depending on the building. Whether you are considering purchasing a unit, or you already own, be sure to consult your specific condominium rules and regulations. A quick call to the property-management company will also help, but don’t rely solely on their word without verification through proper documentation. You can obtain this information by ordering a status certificate for the specific unit in question. The status certificate will contain all sorts of information regarding the specifics of the unit itself, financial health of the condominium and, finally, rules and regulations. I’ve found that interior renovations like bathrooms and kitchens typically aren’t a problem in the majority of situations. It is usually changes such as balcony/window décor, and knocking down walls, that can be cause for concern for condo corporations.

Once you have determined that the renovation you plan on doing is within the rules of the condo, I personally believe the bathroom renovation is a great idea. As I mentioned earlier, it will not only provide an excellent return on your investment but it can become a key selling feature down the road.

Ricky Chadha is a broker with Royal LePage Estate Realty in Toronto, and specializes in applying social media and other digital tools to the business of real estate. You can find Ricky on Twitter @your416 or at his website RickyChadha.com .

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